Based in Houston, Texas, MIKEY is a prolific indie hip hop artist with a plethora of releases and an assortment of obscure jams. His tracks often feature a low-key mellow vibe and organic sound. At times it’s almost like if you mixed acoustic rock with hip hop. Even the more traditional sounding hip hop songs utilize artistically distinct vocal effects. Mike Will*I*Am’s soft spoken delivery dives deep into emotion and sentimentality. This guy has certainly carved out a unique and impressive niche. His presentation may be less flashy and egocentric than most hip hop artists, but when it comes to the actual music, MIKEY does deliver. What he lacks in press releases and self promotion, he makes up for in talent. These songs are really quite good and have cross genre appeal. One could just as easily imagine this music being played in cozy little coffee houses as they could at backyard kickbacks with the crew. There’s a lot of potential here and some real passion fueling these tunes.
23 year old London based hip hop artist “Prime Sinister” has released a number of singles as a prelude to his new album, Patient Zero. For those not familiar with Prime Sinister, he’s crafted his own unique rhyme style that he refers to as “syllabism,” which involves lyrical intraconnection and symmetry. You only need to listen briefly to his songs to recognize the geometric-like design and framework of the words. Clearly there’s a lot more thought that goes into these jams than the average rapper. This isn’t just spoken word, stream of consciousness style rhyme games or freestyle.
In one of his newly released tracks, Midnight, Prime demonstrates tight and meticulous delivery against a hypnotic, metropolitan oriented, synth backbeat. His crisp enunciation blends effortlessly with the backing music, giving the song a razor sharp edge, tempered only by the tracks’s deep, late-nite ambiance. Production on this jam is credited to Harvey Gunn, who manages to do a superb job bringing out the ambient elements in the mix.
Prime Time is actually my favorite single of the three I listened to. It features a warm, analog record “crackle” sound and a eerily intense, piano driven beat. It’s almost like horror movie music in an old castle scene. I highly recommend the animated video that accompanies this song. There’s a retro quality to it that brings to mind animated vignettes and promos from 1980s era HBO and Nickelodeon. The aesthetic definitely activates the nostalgia, albeit in a dark way. Prime Sinister’s vocals on here are in top form and are presented with crystal clarity courtesy of producer “Muckaniks.”
Out For Me is another high quality release and more on the avant garde side. With retro 70’s synths and a psychedelic beat, this track could serve as an excellent meditation device. Just sit back, enjoy the kaleidoscopic show and delve into your deepest dreams. Once again, the production is professional (credited to Baileys Brown). I’d say it’s basically major label quality production but with more substance and artistic value than what major labels actually put out these days. Prime Sinister is clearly a serious artist and one of the few rappers who actually lives up to the hype surrounding his releases.
I’m Your Rain is a new single from Asian rock singer/songwriter, AMEL D. The track contains elements of alternative rock, EDM and even emo, with some groovy guitar shredding thrown in to spice things up at key moments. The lyrics are delivered passionately at full throttle, giving the romantic content an unmistakable sincerity. AMEL’s vocal tone strikes just the right balance between hard and soft, reminiscent of artists like Letters to Cleo. Production on this song is crisp and clean, while effects are kept in check and the complexity is mixed neatly into a suitably compact and portable sound. This is a solid jam from an enigmatic artist with a prolific string of releases. Keep them coming.
Chandelaire Thunder is a new EP from Montreal based hip hop artist, Bizza Caviar. This smooth groovin’ release features dreamy backbeats and lounge vibe aesthetics. The lyrical delivery is crystal clear and conversational as Bizza’s charismatic voice and quick wit attempt to captivate the listener. Unconventional tracks like Utah Game 6 flaunt avant garde and creatively hypnotic elements. Even though the album isn’t particularly long, there’s a lot of variety in the beats and plenty of structural experimentation, lending this release a fullness that similar sized albums may lack. The EP was executive produced by Era beats (who I must say did a fine job) and includes guest apperances by Nikki Joku on two of the songs. Chandelaire Thunder is actually interesting musically and Bizza Caviar demonstrates intellectual curiosity as an artist.
Heaven is a new single from Tampa and Colorado Springs based artist Jevon Jamel James. This smooth and poignant jam contains elements of hip hop, indie and roots reggae. It’s very much in the avant garde experimental category as well. The uniquely personal lyrics are artfully delivered like a spoken word poem over a chill and ambient backbeat. Mellow and abstract, the song reaches the listener on a meditative level, very much in line with the naturalistic imagery which accompanies the release. Jevon focuses on mood, tone and substance in this effort. You won’t find any flash or ego. Heaven is pure thought provoking goodness, and the artist’s vocals are rather pleasant to listen to. This track clocks in at about 4 minutes, and it’s peppy and productive enough the entire time to hold the listener’s interest.
Different Trains to the Station is a new single from UK based artist Stew Fisher. The song is a promo for Fisher’s album, The Artistic Spectrum (which this track also appears on.) His music seems to focus (in an abstract manner) around experiences and reflections on living with autism. Different Trains to the Station in particular, is an ambient jam with a humbly avant garde music video. The title hints at the meaning of the track in accordance with the visuals which are from the perspective of a contemplative individual riding a train. The artist is demontsrating how people with autism will often use their own unique thought processes yet arrive at the same conclusions as others.
That the song manages to be thought provoking and intellectually profound without any lyrics is an accomplishment. In fact, even if I listened to this having no idea what it was about ahead of time, I still feel like it would take my mind to interesting places. The musical aspect is fairly high octane as well, combining a pulse generating beat with an ethereal, almost dreamlike ambiance. People could get down to this track even if they weren’t hip to the subject matter. The music is very dynamic, changing frequently with smooth transitions, juxtaposing nicely with the scenery. I like this artist so far. Stew’s musical eloquence, attention to detail and artistic sincerity make this song worth a listen.
A Friday the 13th special, Gutless is a new single from punk rap artist, Jack Acid. Contrary to what the title would have you believe, Gutless is a bold and genre defying release, as Jack takes a stab at achieving crossover appeal in a difficult market. Jack Acid functions as a one-man musical doomsday machine. While the ambiance is dark and the vibe is that of “horror movie metal,” the rap elements really are there, and the track is surprisingly high energy. The lyrical delivery is tight and on point. This isn’t just some dude screaming fiendish chants into the void. There’s melody and musical cohesion here. The backbeat is thrashin’ but contains hypnotic “siren-like” sounds and the occasional creepy voice. Gutless is also fairly dynamic. There are a lot of changes and a number of different distinct segments within the track, almost as though there are several songs within the song, each combining with one another to a some kind of epic demonic centipede.
The video for this jam (which premiered on WorldStarHipHop) does a solid job of matching the mile-a-minute pacing of the song (there are literally scenes with him driving fast and belting out lyrics, with his head sticking out of a car window.) It’s professionally shot and edited in a manner that always keeps the action moving. The visual elements are those of the average 80’s horror movie: blood, leather jackets, the devil, long hair….and in the context of metal (or in this case, metal adjacent) those visuals are timeless and never will seem out of place. As a performer, Jack manages to display the kind of charisma where you know people will either love him or hate him, reminiscent of other pop/metal/punk stars who experiment and venture outside of their comfort zone. That’s just what happens when you take artistic chances. The underlying potential is there though. It would be a welcome change to see artists like Jack Acid, who practice this more brazen and darkly medievel style, replace the more milquetoast pop/rapcore class of crossover artists like Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit.
Apparently Gutless is even available on 7″. That’s right you can get this bad boy on translucent red vinyl. Pretty cool.
Sack is a new single from Chicago (West Side) based artist, NoSleepCity. City is fairly well known, having been part of the “Mud Brothers” musical duo with the late producer LeekeLeek (who produced Chief Keef’s Ballin’). Sack is a straightforward and no-nonsense hip hop jam. As is usual in the Chicago style, the song isn’t overly flashy, instead City focused on organic performance, lyrics and solid delivery. The track is backed by a hauntingly hypnotic beat, providing some serious ambiance. City’s delivery style makes it clear he’s all about handlin’ business and focused on what’s important to him. This is not a fan who falls for distractions easily. He also has a knack for lyrical storytelling, as the song packs in plenty of interesting biographical tibits. While the content is serious, the vibe is still chill enough to kick back to and even dance. Produced by GETZH, the track’s production quality is very good, a clean, professional mix which blends old school quality with contemporary clarity.
Dating back to around 2015, Atomic Rebel is a well known youtube channel that features a plethora of remixes and original music, with a focus on trap. Seriously though the channel is massive and has racked up over 11 million views. There are literally hundreds of videos. Some of the jams appear to be artist submitted while others are releases from Atomic Rebel. The channel is somewhat enigmatic. There isn’t a lot of background info or hype. That’s okay, because the music does the talking, and there is a lot of it here.
The very first vid I checked out was the recently uploaded Cradle Song, and I was immediately impressed. It is in fact the actual cradle song you’d hear in a baby’s crib, but reimagined as a trippy, high octane dance track. Surreal, memorable and creative, this one is an instant crowd pleaser, and right away it becomes obvious we’re clearly dealing with a professional operation here.
Another standout jam is Glass Slipper, an ambient and futuristic tune. It incorporate both colorfully sofy musical elements and mechanical, assertive sounds to create a quasi robotic mini masterpiece. One thing I really like about these Atomic Rebel songs and remixes by the way, is that they are relative short and condense. A lot of dance music/DJ stuff typically is very indulgent and has exhaustingly lengthy runtimes. Atomic Rebel’s tracks get right to the point, pack quite a musical punch and never overstay their welcome in your ears. Most of them clock in at around 3 minutes or less. There’s no fluff, filler or drag.
Piranhas In the Waterfall is an energetic and high intensity dance track, with an erratically enamoring beat and a subtle sexual energy brimming just below the surface. This song offers a jarring and suspensefully brooding intro entrances you and pulls you into the action. What begins as hypnotic syhths, builds and transitions in and out of euphoric, ecstatic peaks.
There is honestly just a ton of content on this channel. It’s just wall to wall music, and over 4 years worth of it. There’s a lot of primo trap/dance music here, and quite a bit of variety in terms of artists and style. Atomic Rebel is definitely worth a sub.
Not Alone is a new single from DJ Forrest Houston, featuring Kelsey Edwards (who is credited with the vocals and songwriting while Forrest is responsible for the beat.) The song is a peppy and colorful pop/dance jam with an optimistic and comforting message. Basically the lyrics reassure listeners that despite what they may be going through, they are not alone. It may seem like a simple concept, but we’ve all needed to hear that at some point. The voice of Kelsey Edwards carries the song well as she belts out the lyrics emotively and with sincere passion. It helps that she can really sing, too. Her performance rivals major label pop artists.
The beat is dynamic and refreshingly complex. It’s melodic and fast paced while maintaining a calming aura, and there’s still enough energy in the track to light up a club dance floor. This isn’t just some throwaway, filler backbeat, there’s real musical substance there to provide a proper framework. The sound changes throughout, always keeping you on your toes. The “must see” video for Not Alone is visually stunning. Really high production quality for an “indie” video. It also does a fine job of visually conveying the lyrical narrative of the song, taking on the role of a short film. The song and the vid complement one another effectively to create a complete artistic package.