Hip hop artist Mel has a new jam out called “Late Nights.” It’s very smooth and the jazzy background grooves actually do give the song a feel of being on a late night drive through the city thinking things out. The production quality is very good and Mel’s delivery is measured and easy going. A lot of times, a rapper’s tone or volume doesn’t fit with the mood of the music. This isn’t the case with Mel, whose style lends itself well to the theme and vibe of the music behind it.
You can find more info on Mel and listen to some of his tracks here.
As of midnight tonight, Queens artist Mikey Shyne has a new single out titled “I Really Want.” Mikey describes his music as a “blend of pop,rock, hip hop and urban” genres. “I Really Want” comes across as a very upbeat and energetic track. Parts of it almost seem to have a Caribbean pop vibe. These are probably my favorite portions of the song. The production quality is top notch, as professional sounding as anything you’d hear on the radio. You can find more info about Mikey Shyne’s music on his website, here.
Big Chris wants you to know he’s returned after being out of the scene for a few months. He released a mixtape a few years ago called “In One Hand,” which some people might remember. His latest single is called “F the World,” which despite the bleak title, is intended to be motivational and promotes the idea of overcoming the adversity life throws at you. It has an RNB/hip hop club vibe. It has a radio pop quality to it, but the vulgar lyrics would probably preclude it from being played at your local mall’s background music. The track is available to listen to on Spotify, here.
Los Angeles based songwriter and guitar player Kal M is releasing his second EP, “Kalmworld.” It contains six songs, but the standout track to me is City Nights, for which a pretty solid video was produced. One thing that makes this song work so well is how it perfectly captures the ambiance as implied by the title(of both the track and the EP.) With it’s clean production and mellow pacing, “City Nights” has a calming effect. You get the feeling of driving around the city late in the evening, when the nightlife has died down and you’re just cruising and thinking. In that sense, it’s almost a futuristic R&B, like if you mixed rhythm and blues with something like vaporwave. Other songs like “I’m ready” and “Hands Out” are more peppy and energetic, but have a similar vibe. Kal M is a very talented songwriter and deserves some more recognition.
The song “Shine On” delivers its message in a refreshingly upbeat manner. It’s performed by Darick DDS Spears, Natalie Jean, and Dennis Sy, an unlikely trio, with each coming from different musical backgrounds. They bring it together to create a positive sound which mixes light hip hop with elements of jazz and with a bit of Caribbean flavor. It reminds me somewhat of late 90′s pop classics like Vitamin C’s “Smile,” only with more substantive content. The song conveys its subject matter in a unifying and friendship seeking tone, which should allow listeners to be more receptive rather than feel instantly alienated the way they would with less tactfully presented material. The performers all balance each other very well, and nothing seems out of place. Musically, “Shine On” hooks you in right away with it’s funky and festive intro and is never boring. The only downside to this jam is that it’s just a single. It’s a good one though.
Herman Martinez, a self described singer/songwriter/multi-Instumentalist from N.J, has a new album out titled, “Solopsi Radio.” It was produced by Ahmed Mahmoud. The songs have an experimental quality to them that seem to mix different rock genres, while including obscure samples and defying traditional song structures. The very first song, “Phonic Chronicles” is a good example of this. It’s very hard to classify but still rocks just the same. A lot of the songs vaguely remind me of variations of 90′s indie experimental music. The track “Sculptor” has an alternative feel to it, reminiscent of old school Sebadoh. One element that seems to work really well is the way each song continuously builds momentum. Often they begin with very minimal guitars or quiet samples/noise, but slowly work their way up toward bellowing, blended chaos and a darker, fuller sound. With 11 songs total and nearly an hour of music, this album delivers a great variety of content. I’d recommend this album to anyone who is looking for music that isn’t boring. It leaves you with a great feeling of not knowing what to expect.
Young rapper “Jazz” from Texas has a jam out called summer. The backing has kind of an early 90′s feel to it, which matches the aesthetic of the cover. The beats seem to transition back and forth from tribal to modern throughout the song. Jazz has a very laid back style of spoken word delivery, that’s very easy to listen to. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys mellow summertime hip hop songs.
California group Africali’s “You Don’t Love Him Quite Like You Love Me” has a pleasant 1970′s folk aesthetic. The percussion elements and musical backing contribute to creating a really authentic ambiance. I would love to hear how this sounds on vinyl. It would make an excellent track to relax to on a summer afternoon. You can listen to it here on Soundcloud.
Valley Joe, a rapper from Vallejo, CA has a new single out called, “If I Got Rich.” Like the title suggests, the lyrics mostly about what he would do with the money in the event he accumulated a lot of it. The production is good, and the eerie backing is well chosen. Valley Joe has an assertive style and tone to his delivery, which gets the point across clearly and plainly to the listener. I recommend you check out his music if you are into contemporary West Coast hip hop / NorCal style.
Hailing from Greensboro, NC, Jerrel Moore has a new mixtape out, titled, “Dear Nas.” It seems to be somewhat personal and autobiographical as the songs attempt to convey various aspects of his personality, experiences and outlook to his son(the first sample is one of a baby crying) He has a mellow, echoey kind of delivery style. The production and sample integration seems to fit well. The lyrics are more personal than you would expect from this kind of recording but often interesting and unpredictable. You can check out Jerrel Moore’s mixtape here: