Amethyst is a new EP from artist, “Kev, Just Kev.” The ambiance is bright and casually uplifting, as these songs are performed in the spirit of promoting change and well-being. Blending elements of pop and hip hop with a light, tropically futuristic vibe, the music is poignant and enjoyable. This album has a jovial and innocent quality, inspiring people to push forward with a positive attitude. It makes for a very pleasant afternoon listen. The backing beats are colorful and pretty, really setting the mood. Kev, Just Kev’s vocals are laid back, quietly sentimental and occasionally profound. He has a knack for writing clever lyrics, which he often delivers in creative and unpredictable ways. My personal favorite track is probably Aura, which has a vaguely retro 1960’s pop feel. It’s just very cool and classy.
How’d I Get Here? is a new EP from Southern California-based hip hop artist, Kris Greer. His delivery is tight, and the flow is off the charts, especially in the attention-grabbing first track, Losin’ Control. This fast paced and multi-dimensional jam impresses on many levels, as it incorporates complex songwriting structure and vocal choreography. Everything is just very well timed. Black Roses has more mellow, minimalist and ambient backing music, with Greer’s vocals up front driving the action. He has a sharp and quick cadence when rapping normally, but his freestyle takes on a more “stream-of-consciousness” style vibe. The final two songs are the most melodic and feature elements of pop and R&B. They also show a little bit of the artist’s sentimental side. On these tracks he goes beyond rapping and demonstrates that he’s a fairly capable singer. This little album is fresh, and the performances live up to the polished production and stylish beats.
Savages is a new single from French multi-genre musician, composer,writer, artist and producer, DALMAS Emmanuel. This guy is something of a musical warlock, as he seems to be incredibly proficient in every genre and can shapeshift at a moment’s notice. This latest track is a hip hop piece. The song is well choreographed, and the vocal delivery maintains precision timing even at impressive speeds. The lyrics are rich with clever creativity, and the artist manages to pack a lot of words into the 3:09 runtime. Featuring a high intensity backing beat that will keep listeners engaged from beginning to end, (with some allowance for taste/mood) this jam is about as close as you can get to a “perfect” hip hop jam. While his talents may already have been well known in his locale, with Savages, DALMAS Emmanuel has revealed his power level to the wider world.
Looking For You is a new single from electropop duo, Martin Brothers. This retro-futuristic track combines 80’s nightclub aesthetic with contemporary production flair. Well crafted and brimming with high-octane energy, the song seems tailor made for the dance scene. Visually, the group yields comparisons to outfits like Daft Punk, but Martin Brothers give off more of a Californian, Americanized vibe. While the vocals have a Top 40 pop-like quality, the pacing is quick, pushing the odometer into EDM territory. The synth backing creates an energizing and mildly euphoric ambiance, setting the overall mood.
Featuring a professional mix and studio tier production levels, the song wouldn’t sound out of place if you heard it on the radio. Nothing too shabby here. The group has put a great deal of effort into cultivating a certain image. Fortunately, they haven’t neglected the musical side, so the listener won’t be disappointed. The video for this summertime club jam is cinematically impressive and boasts some incredible picture quality (this isn’t VHS-C “home video”). It really comes down to whether or not you dig this style of music or the surrounding scene. These guys know what they’re doing and have done a fine job carving out their niche in this genre.
$ippin on the Tree$ is a new single from Brooklyn-born hip hop artist, King Soloman. The short and sweet track features eerily engaging backing music and King Soloman’s stream of consciousness style delivery. Everything flows together like an exotic dream. The mix is very fluid and smooth. Some of the lyrics deal with practical subject matter like not being able to fix the air conditioning. King Soloman’s laid back and down to earth demeanor juxtaposes neatly with the tropical rainforest-like musical atmosphere. In the spirit of quarantine life, $ippin on the Tree$ is a song that seems ideal for kicking back with close friends, and it just has a generally chill vibe.
Silver Rain 4 is a recent tape from hip hop artist, Tra Bolo. It has already been given a shoutout by Bronx-based legend, Mickey Factz. You get the idea right away with the first track, Desert Storm. Tra Bolo employs some unique backing music that’s a real attention grabber and sets the tone for his distinctive delivery style. Not content to just bust rhymes, Tra Bolo often creatively uses his voice like an extra instrument, really getting the most out of it. He doesn’t try to be too flashy with his performance either. Rather, his delivery is organic and naturally larger than life. There’s a couple of cover songs on here that in my opinion are more imaginative than the originals. The backing music is much better than what you find on most contemporary hip hop releases and demonstrates that the artist incorporates an aesthetic vision into his releases. In other words, the guy has good taste. These tracks are never boring. Tra Bolo dials up the entertainment level to the max. This tape punches above its weight. It’s not surprising to see that it already has so many streams.
Escape From Ohio is a new single from Ohio-based duo, Fam Band. It’s just a rich and dynamic rock song with a well-written, complex structure. There a traces of alternatives and the verses have a fun and quirky vibe. Basically the artists aren’t talking about a permanent escape from Ohio (which seems like a pretty nice place) but merely escaping for a little while. Apparently the song itself was inspired by such an excursion. Sometimes you’ve just got to get away and clear your head. One thing the song somehow manages to pull off is to rhyme the word “while” with Ohio. It’s one of those catchy, memorializing hooks that give the song character. The musicianship is “classic rock-tier excellent” throughout, with technically proficient guitar playing and some very impressive vocals. It’s refreshing to see artists that don’t hype themselves up so much for a change. The talent and substance on here speaks for itself. Great jam.
Couple of P’zz is a new single from Compton-based hip hop artist, Billionaire Buck. Like a short film, the video for this jam actually has a narrative that correlates with the song’s content. It also features Billionaire Buck rapping in front of an stunningly impressive mural. The minimalist beat is tight and creates an atmosphere of suspense. Buck’s delivery is very paced and deliberate. He’s one of those rappers that maintains his poise when performing but you can tell he is ready to conduct biz at all times. The lyrics are straightforward and simple, yet catchy. There are a couple of choice lines. Overall, this track has solid construction and incorporates an entertaining vibe.
Pineapple Sunset is a recent album from artist, Calvin Priice (stylized with two “i”s). Everything about this release is smooth. The recording has excellent sonic quality and vocal clarity. There isn’t anything harsh or abrasive in the mix. It sounds better than what you’d get from most contemporary major labels. Most of the beats combine groovy retro vibes with a contemporary aesthetic and relevant cultural references. Calvin cohesively blends the better elements of pop, R&B, funk, hip hop and EDM to create a formidable sound.
In an interesting fashion, the track Downtown Love is immediately followed by Uptown Love. These two distinctive jams mirror one another, with each attempting to capture the romantic ambiance of their respective areas. Both tracks can either be interpreted to literally (to reflect love as experienced on these particular sides of town) or figuratively, in the sense that downtown and uptown can symbolically represent different kinds of love, regardless of one’s physical, geographical location. Musically, these songs are fantastic, but the depth elevates them artistically and intellectually. There is also a video for Downtown Love (embedded below). It’s professional quality and features some great shots of various areas in New York. The vid is worth watching even just for the incredible intro.
Most of the songs on Pineapple Sunset have romantic and laid back “lifestyle” related subject matter, but the mood is chill, and Calvin maintains a relatively humble and low-key demeanor. The standout track on the EP(aside from the two mentioned above) is On Point, which has a great beat and features one of Calvin’s best vocal performances.
It should be noted that Calvin has a brand new EP called Bon Voyage, that’s slated to be released July 24, 2020 (that’s tomorrow). The album features tantalizing new tracks like Sugar Honey Iced Tea,Party en Casa, and Amor Galactico.Downtown Love also reappears as a bonus. Keeps your eyes peeled for this new release to hit Spotify and all other platforms.
Houston-based artist Emcee Fresh has a new self titled album. As an artist, Emcee has an eclectic and unique sound. It’s largely hip hop oriented, but he creatively incorporates elements from a wide range of other genres to give the tracks a distinctive vibe. The album opens with a super catchy jam called I Be On Like a TV. Most of the songs have contemporary cultural relevance. The standout song Do the Tik Tok seems like it was born to go viral.
This guy has a knack for writing great hooks and clever catch phrases. The most important thing though is that the music is very good. The production is clean and polished, the beats are vibrant and the Emcee Fresh’s performance is solid. Clap Your Hands (which has a groovy backing beat) is a good example of how the artist combines lyrical simplicity with intelligent, complex songwriting. If Emcee Fresh could obtain some serious financial backing, almost anyone of these songs have the potential to be hits. Hopefully, with some grass roots promotion, one of these jams will take off. I can definitely see it.