Deep Thought is a new album from Denver-based artist, Dama. This dreamlike, often hypnotic release delivers the meditative goods. Combining elements of synthwave, hip hop and retro 1960s sound, the songs create a 21st century psychedelic experience. Sonically, the music has a zesty analog quality to it, adding to the mysterious and contemplative ambiance. Deep Thought lives up to its name, allowing the listener to really dive into those late night ponderings. While the pacing is chill, the stylish Alice in Wonderland vibes will pleasantly engage your senses. Right from the opening piano/synth driven intro (Dissociation) I thoroughly enjoyed this album. It’s a real trip.
Send In The Hero is a new single from alternative soul artist, Shaun Mykal Walker. Featuring surprisingly rocking guitars and assertive drums, this is soul music with a fierce bite. There are synth components to the backing music as well, lending the track a hint of the ethereal. With a pacing that’s relatively mellow, the song impacts with its condensed force rather than mesmerizing us with flashy, lightning speed. The vocals are expressive and intense as Shaun can definitely maintain his ability to carry a tune even at maximum volume. The highlight of the song is the ultra powerful chorus, where the artist summons his “inner Herculean” 80’s energy. The word “epic” has become someone overused through memes, but Send In the Hero fits the classical definition.
Want You to Know is a new single from Colorado-born artist, SM (SICKMINDED). His professionally produced tracks have already racked up 130k Spotify streams in a single month, and I also have to compliment his album cover artwork, which is definitely in the upper echelon of quality as far as indie releases go. This particular jam, Want You to Know, blends elements of pop and hip hop. It makes creative usage of breaks to give the music an unconventional yet innovative structure. The synth driven beats and vocals come through crystal clear, and the sonic quality in general is just incredible. Whoever was involved in mixing and mastering this really knew what they were doing. As the title indicates, this is an emotionally expressive and romantically themed song with alternative male and female parts. The conversational dynamic is well choreographed, and the narrative is easy to follow. Want You to Know is a solid release. This guy has his own unique style nailed down.
So Untouchable is a new single from Los Angeles-born hip hop artist, Prime 1. My first impression is that this guy can deliver at speeds that would give Bone Thugs-N-Harmony a run for their money. Turns out he’s actually opened for them before and Too Short as well. You don’t really need to listen for long to realize Prime 1 is a seasoned professional.
Born in 1983, he grew up during a golden age of hip hop and his music reflects a kind of retro 90’s style. Not in any kind of gimmicky way, there’s just more of that attention to skill and music quality that you don’t see as often anymore. He apparently started out as a gospel rap artist for several years. Putting in that kind of substantive work in his early days probably explains why his fundamentals are so sound and he can actually sing. Prime 1 can hold his own rapping, but it’s clear from hearing his vocals that he could probably excel in almost any genre of music he wants.
So Untouchable is a romantically themed, pristine jam which manages to incoporate some groovy guitar in the backing music. The catchy “do do do” chorus is sure to get stuck in your head. This is a very talented artist, and I can see why he’s able to score shows with hip hop icons. Pretty soon, up and coming artists will be wanting to open for him.
KNOW is a new single from North Carolina based artists, Micah Thomas and IGOTEM (with Thomas being from Fayetteville and IGOTEM from Lumberton). This track combines elements of hip hop and R&B, and offers an elevated listening experience. With a classically refined, smooth and — at times — surprisingly futuristic backing, this song sets the stage for some impresssive rapping. The performers do deliver on that front as well. The timing and clarity are both on point, but what I especially admire in their performance is how they tackle long monologues without needing to come up for air. It’s not that difficult to rap a few clever lines and hold it together, but the way they manage to “get on a roll” and go on for extended periods demonstrates some real talent. The skill level here is high and the beat is especially tight. KNOW is a classy, reflective and emotionally intense song which also seems to promote spirituality.
Blue is a new single from Los Angeles-based artist, Jozsef James (he’s originally from Australia). I absolutely love this song, and not just because blue is my favorite color also. The music has a very retro, early ’90s aquatic feel to it, both in presentation and instrumentation. It reminds me a lot of the kind of music you’d hear during an upscale club/cocktail party or beach volleyball scene in a cool sumertime Cinemax flick. The production is very advanced however. This is “yacht rock” for the 21st century. There’s really not enough good things I can say about this jam. It’s stylish. It’s fresh. It’s cutting edge. Blue is meticulously constructed to perfection and a work of art. This is the sort of music I wish they played on the radio instead of the garbage they actually do.
It Been Snowin is a new mixtape from hip hop artist, CE Da Bear. He definitely goes hard with this release, as the tracks capture a spirit of determined intensity. His professional, focused and no-nonsense delivery is backed by climactic beats, theatrical music and strategically placed samples. The sense I get is that this guy is very driven. He’s all about plans and goals, and these songs don’t waste a moment of their duration on anything distracting. His performance is consistently action oriented the whole way through. Production is solid, with a much better quality mix than I anticipated. Everything sits at the levels they need to be at, and the sound is crystal clear. It Been Snowin will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat.
It Sounds Better With Your Eyes Closed is a new EP from Topeka, KS based artist 1Day. Okay first off, this album is wild. The brightly retrofuturistic intro is beautiful and clear. The ethereal vibe really sets things up nicely for the 2nd track Bar=Magic!, a jam which totally rocks and has elements of pop punk and emo. Then things calm down a bit with the aptly titled Truce, a smooth and loungy track that taps into sentimental reflection. There’s actually quite a bit of musical variety on here for it just being an EP. Lock Down is a powerful, radio ready jam, with a delightfully creepy, attention grabbing opening. The vocal performance is quite good, and I have to say this is my favorite song on the album. 1Day’s fanbase refer to themselves as “DayMakers.” Well, count me among them. It Sounds Better With Your Eyes Closed is teriffic. It sounds good, period.
Already Know is a new single from Berkeley-based hip hop artist, Yungshulgin. He’s 20 years old and originally from Cali, Columbia. Sound wise, Already Know is a smooth and mellow party jam you can vibe out to. The song makes creative use of vocal layering to give the track a conversational feel. Yungshulgin’s delivery is laid back and has a naturally pleasant tone. While the backing music is very chill and ambient, this track still has a solid beat and a decent kick to it. I have to say actually the intro is pretty groovin’. The overall mood of the song fits well with the title. Yungshulgin doesn’t try to sound like he’s trying to prove anything or act grandiose. He knows that you Already Know. Be sure to check out the track on Soundcloud below.
CEO is a new single from hip hop artist, Philly Blocks. This biztastic jam features top of the line production and a solid, straightforward vocal performance. The title isn’t so much to be taken literally (even though it’s great to make a lot of money and be rich). Rather it’s more about adopting a CEO mentality, handling your business and taking charge of your life. In that sense it is a somewhat motivational song, while his other recent track Days of Our Lives centered around nostalgia. Philly’s assertive and confident delivery is backed up by genuine skills. This guy has a good, natural flow and structuret to his cadence. The video is excellent visually and is well edited. The setting isn’t exactly one where you’d expect to find a CEO hanging out, but that serves to emphasize the song’s message of “finding your inner boss.” CEO is a cool release, and this artist continues to produce high level output.