Hatemonger is a new single from Indian hip hop artist, Atishbaz (Mo Boucher). After a 6 year hiatus, Mo gloriously returns to the scene with this fresh and highly anticipated jam. Mo Boucher and his associates from the crew “Thugs Unit” are rumored to be the only Urdu rappers in the entire world. This particular song is pimp tight, and I have to say is one of the most interesting hip hop releases I’ve ever heard. It blends melodic elements from traditional Indian music with hip hop and even Jamaican vibes. While some of the lyrics are in Urdu, there’s a substantial amount of English spoken (as one might ascertain from the title) as well. A few listens, and I guarantee you’ll be singing along with lyrical gems like “Hatemonger! Round the clock I be spitting hate on ya!” The vocal interplay is impressively choreographed, and the structural dynamics of the sound are solid. This jam is musically, artistically and mathematically legit. The timing makes all the difference in this type of track, and it is on point here. The guys from Thugs Unit may be the only Urdu rap game in town, but they still manage to perform at a high level. Their upcoming album is called Resurrection 040. Be sure to keep an eye out for it.
In the Shit is the debut single from Georgia-based artist, QTdabutcha. QT lays it down eloquently in this lucid and frank track, which features haunting beats and faint piano melodies. The artist offers up a pressure cooked batch of emotion, refreshing in both its honestly and expressions of angst. QTdabutcha doesn’t hold anything back as he discusses his troubles and triumphs. The song combines elements of hip hop and soulful, old school R&B. In the Shit manages to pack quite a punch for its modest 2:38 runtime. There are a number of catchy lines repeated that make this jam a quietly memorable “sleeper hit.” QT obviously has some skills in the delivery/flow deparment and above average singing chops. This is a pretty solid debut, and more importantly it establishes QTdabutcha’s distintive style, which is actually unique.
Black Rose Project is the debut independent album from artist, Manny Maserati. Released on the Street Allure Music Group record label, this album contains a whopping 15 adrenaline packed tracks. Super stylish and occasionally retro backing music sets the stage for Manny’s no-nonsense delivery and commanding vocal presence. His lyrics are less cliche than those of most hip hop adjacent releases. He often goes into great detail and uses creative metaphors and similes, occasionally even incorporating medical terminology into his songs. I found myself wondering if maybe this guy even spent some time in med school. There’s a worldly “jack of all trades” element to his writing and just a ton of substance here.
The ambiance ranges from laid back to intense, but all songs are lively and action-oriented. For example, the title track Black Rose is formidably engaging, while Flooded Jewels is more of a getaway car jam. Black Rose Project is professionally put together, and it would still be impressive even if it wasn’t a debut album.
Shoes on the Chevy is a new single from Alabama-based hip hop artist, Kiyahotpeppa. This song is full and rich with teriffic sonic quality. From an audiophile perspective I’d have to consider this to be one of the most pleasing mixes I’ve ever heard in this genre. It just hits all the right frequencies. Blending elements of hip hop, pop and R&B, the music never veers too far off in one direction. The appeal is very mainstream and approachable. Kiyahotpeppa values sincerity and realism, and one can sense this expression in the tone of his delivery. B.Unique’s backing vocals help to soften and smooth out the edges of the track, accentuating the eloquence of Kiyahotpeppa’s vocals. The ambiance is mellow but determined, as Kiyahotpeppa comes across as profound without being aggressive or arrogant. Shoes on the Chevy is an excellent and enchanting piece of music. This guy does a fine job of representing the Birmingham music scene.
320 is a new album from hip hop artist, Trey Dilla. At first glance this might seem like a straightforward hip hop release, but it quickly becomes clear that the backing music is much more complex and better quality than most standard hip hop fare. The background makes use of a lot of soft chimes and ambient synths while being anchored by firm beats. Trey’s delivery is often conversational and reflective. It almost has the feel of a “fireside chat” in rap form. His vocals are just very engaging and sincere. He oscillates between a range of emotions in these songs, often displaying surprising sensitivity. Some of the tracks contain romantic undertones, while others (such as Look at Us) are full blown love songs. The opening jam, Southside Everywhere is a hard hitting, nostalgic trip that slowly gives way to making plans about the future.
Trey Dilla can obviously rap decently, but what’s more interestng to me is that he’s actually a good poet and songwriter. Many technically good rappers are not necessarily good writers. Trey’s abilities as a lyricist seem highly advanced, perhaps indicating a background in creative writing, or maybe he just puts a lot of heart into his work. No problems with the production. Everything is clean, and he doesn’t muddy up the vocals by using a lot of processing or autotune. Just a nice smooth sound.
Jasmine is a new single from New York artists, Jxhar and DenZe. The release is part of their upcoming collaborative effort called Don’t Play With Fire. There’s actually a video for this jam, and I have to say it’s one of the better indie music videos I’ve seen recently. There’s an actual narrative, and it’s filmed in a split screen style, with a soap opera visual aesthetic. It’s almost like watching an intro to a televsion show. Romantic undertones, communication struggles and dramatic relationship dynamics play out in the lyrics in a way that will resonate with listeners of all types. Watching the couple bicker gives the track a voyeuristic, reality tv vibe. As far as the musical aspect, it’s a pretty straightforward pop song with solid production and vocal performances. It will definitely get people interested and wanting to see more from these artists. They’re definitely off to a great start, and I highly anticipate the release of the rest of this project.
The Old Were Best is a new single from Norway-based band, NADROA. The sound blends elements of alternative, grunge and hard rock. A lot of bands label their music “alternative” but NADROA’s The Old Were Best comes about as close as you can get to the original, authentic ’90s alternative sound. Stylistically, the vocals fall somewhere in between Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and REM but with a little bit more of a gritty edge. The singer is quite good actually and seems to have the ideal tone for this genre of music. His voice is just oozing with that contemplative, anti-hero charisma. The guitars are full and hit the sweet spot of grunge distortion without going into crunch overload. Production is clean and competent but not overly polished or as theatrical as something like glam rock. Despite the nostalgic title and ominous reflections, this isn’t one of those slow and depressing alternative jams, as the guitar pacing is peppy and vibrant throughout. There’s enough action here to keep your adrenaline going as the song quietly stirs up old emotions from the inner depths.
Majestic is a new album from “M.A.T.T” This spicy EP features romantic tracks that blend elements of hip hop, R&B and pop. Repetitive, mantra like choruses make these jams instantly catchy. Songs like Thinkin’ Bout You almost immediately gets stuck in your head. M.A.T.T’s vocals convey sentimentality and humble strength against formidable backing beats and smooth instrumentals. Each of these tracks has a really cool and attention grabbing intro before it kicks into high gear. As an album, Majestic has a ton of pop appeal. The sound is very mainstream friendly, and the relationship dynamic in the lyrics should resonate with both sexes, depending on perspective. While the album has alludes to a sexually charged atmosphere, it isn’t particularly explicit. The ambiance is more oriented toward late night romantic encounters and the emotional bond being formed. This is a good mainstream friendly release with a couple of radio ready tunes. My favorite song on here is Tonight, which is graced with some memorably stellar female vocals.
Art of Wu II is a new mixtape from hip hop artist, Vice Carter. This is actually the 15th mixtape this guy has cranked out and the sequel to Art of Wu. As the title suggests, the “Art of Wu” series is intended as an homage to the iconic hip hop outfit, Wu Tang Clan. This epic release features a whopping 25 tracks. With classic analog vibes and robust language, these songs capture the spirit of 90s hip hop. Songs like Cobra Clutch are bumpin’ from the opening bell with an assertive delivery, thick beat and no-nonsense vibe. There is just so much material here to peruse. Gumbo is another interesting mix with a more mellow and ambient vibe. With a plethora of samples, beat variety and performer contributions, Art of Wu II will keep you entertained for hours. You should definitely peep this recording.
Schwem is a new single from hip hop artist, Takis. This guy may not waste time on a lot of hype, but he definitely has some skills. The muic speaks for itself. He can maintain a tight flow at impressive speeds and adapts to abrupt pacing changes with ease as he raps over a surprisingly complex beat. It’s one of those quick witted beats that oscillates unpredictably and keeps you on your toes. The high degree of difficulty indicates this guy is no amateur and has a lot of street experience. The track utilizes some distinctive voice alteration processing, giving Takis’ voice a bit of a darker, supernatural edge. There isn’t a lot of flashy marketing or overblown production associated with this song. All of the focus is on skill, the substance and “meat” of the track, and it does indeed deliver in that department. Schwem is actually a pimp tight jam that’s worth checking out. You can give it a whirl in the links below.