Forces Unknown – Lil Bit of Heaven

FU Front Cover

Lil Bit of Heaven is a new single from Southern California-based artist, Forces Unknown (aka Fund*Amental). A member of the Smashpop Collective, which also features artists like Recworm, L.O.R.D., Dominic Bowen, and DJ Limegreen, Forces Unknown has been part of the underground hip hop scene for over 25 years and has performed with Wu-Tang Clan, Cypress Hill and a plethora of other iconic acts.

This latest track boasts a surreal, synth-driven backing that’s brimming with melodic appeal. The beat has just the right amount of bass and balances nicely with the enchanting, music. The lyrical delivery is high octane and engaging. Forces Unknown rhymes with a determined intensity. His style reminds be a bit of slam poetry, with its charismatic energy. His voice is powerful, and you could tell people would still listen to this even if there was no music at all.

Forces unknow ad ali

As the title implies, Lil Bit of Heaven incorporates spiritual metaphors into its message of courage, love and perseverance. There’s actually some really phenomenal singing on this track, which was pleasantly unexpected as I was expecting this to be just a straightforward hip hop jam. The vocals are beautiful and deliciously soulful. Lil Bit of Heaven delivers plenty of action, while somehow managing to retain an insightful and endearing innocence.

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M-Dash – Anytime (Feat. Mr. Maph)


Anytime (Feat. Mr. Maph) is a new single from Vallejo-based hip hop artist, M-Dash. An award winning performer with nine albums and dozens of singles under his belt, M-Dash dazzles with his latest track. It features a groovy and ethereal, synth intro that is simply captivating. The song is actually a smooth and somewhat romantic jam that’s ideal for candle-lit dinners with your significant other but still packs a crisp enough beat to get down to on the dance floor.


As per usual, M-Dash’s delivers his lyrics expressively and his performance balances confidence with sensuality. Surprisingly, the song also contains some tropical elements and intersperses some reggae vibes. The vocals on this track are pretty sweet and melodic, elevating Anytime into something beyond a mere “rap” song. Musically, the song has a lot to offer listeners from different audiences. It transcends genres and also has a timeless feel. If I heard this song randomly, I might not be able to guess what decade it was made. M-Dash has definitely carved out his own unique sound, and the ambient blend he concocts here works quite well.

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NatStar – BBL

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BBL is a new single from well-known hip hop artist, NatStar. This track is slick and has hit written all over it. A lot of songs have meme-worthy or marketable titles, but BBL backs it up with top notch production, good music and a straight up performance. The sonic clarity is excellent. This seriously sounds better than most major label hip hop releases. There’s not not even a trace of anything abrasive in the mix. NatStar’s delivery is tight and businesslike as he manages to rap about the salacious subject matter is a cool and professional tone. He keeps a good poker face throughout the track. The timing with the vocals and the beat is razor sharp. You really can’t ask for much more. BBL is a song that’s dialed into contemporary pop culture, and this jam definitely has the ingredients to take off.

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@natsocold on all social platforms

Big Dojah – Three-17


Three-17 is a new EP from North Carolina hip hop artist, Big Dojah. He has released a number of jams since 2019, often collaborating with other North Carolina artists. Songs like Watchu like (Tudda), Guardian angel (B.A.M.B), and Saliva are some of his more prominent releases to date. He is also apparently known for talking about himself in the third person and talking to himself, and freely admits there is a hint of madness to his persona. ā€œOf course I talk to myself, Iā€™m the only one who truly cares what I have to say,ā€ he has been quoted as saying.

His recent release, Three-17, definitely demonstrates he’s focused and professional when it comes to rapping. His stream of consciousness delivery style flows evenly throughout the tracks. You can tell this guy really has a lot of experience freestyling. He’s a natural storyteller, as the lyrics on the opening track 317 Gs make clear, and he gives a detailed version of events relating to a recent arrest. Against the backdrop of a crisp, suspenseful beat, the content is just very engaging and detailed. Free Rio offers another fine example of this, and has probably my favorite musical intro on the album as well. Other songs like Still Barkin have more of a a dreamlike and surreal vibe. Big Dojah brings both skill and a unique personality to this EP. I think we can expect to hear a lot more from him in the future.

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Kemini – Vendetta


Vendetta is a new album from artist, Vendetta. His style combines elements of rock and hip hop. The unique twist though is that the songs also have a haunting and surreal vibe, unlike older blended styles like rapcore. The backing beats are high intensity and have a futuristic, almost industrial quality. Kemini’s vocal delivery is expressive. He spouts his rhymes with passion and emotional intensity, while also occasionally revealing a relaxed side on some of the lighter tracks.


He’s a surprisingly versatile performer, who’s able to transform his vocal style to accommodate the frequent changes in the music. There are a lot of lyrics packed into these songs, as Kemini’s “stream of consciousness” style flow seems to never be at a loss for words. My favorite song on Vendetta is probably Be Like Wayne with its snappy rhythm and witty verses. The most prominent and radio friendly single on the album is probably Cross the Line. There’s a sweet video for this jam that’s slightly psychedelic and artistically edited.

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Instagram @youhearkemini
Tik Tok @keminimafia

Kobra Man – Man On a M.I.S.S.I.O.N.


Man On a M.I.S.S.I.O.N. is a new album from Buffalo, NY-based hip hop artist, Kobra Man. You get the idea this is something classic right away with the first track, Basic Instinct. The piano-driven back beat is exquisite and gives the music an almost vintage feel, while the overall ambiance is haunting and hypnotic. Kobra Man’s delivery style is conversational and reflective. It’s like listening to a contemplative monologue or storytelling session. He has a naturally charismatic and attention-commanding flow, and his voice occasionally builds in intensity, corresponding with the climactic points of the songs.

One of my favorite tracks on here is the no-nonsense jam, Fully Equipped. The minimalist beat is balanced by some rather creative vocal effects and a lively performance. Kobra Man playfully incorporates animalistic metaphors to emphasize his ferocity and go-getter attitude. Man On a M.I.S.S.I.O.N. is stylish and original. The title turns out to be very appropriate, as the mixtape remains thematically and artistically consistent throughout. It’s the work of a determined man who knows what he is going for and sticks to the plan.

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Xay Herron – DROP (Prod. By Skeyez Beats)


DROP (Prod. By Skeyez Beats) is a new single from Minneapolis-based hip hop artist, Xay Herron. The backing beat on this track is futuristic and slick, with a nice, crisp bass that’s sure to bump in pretty much any sound system. Xay Herron’s delivery is dynamic and moves along in a rhythmic, methodical fashion. Occasional breaks in the beat help to shake up the song’s structure a bit, adding an element of complexity. The robust bass is balanced by a chill atmosphere and melodic vocals. With its fresh and slightly mysterious ambiance, this is definitely the kind of jam that seems ideal for nighttime drives through the city. Xay Herron has quite a few interesting releases under his belt. I recommend checking out some of those as well.

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Promising Young Artist Ellen Alexander Reveals What Inspires Her (41)

A simple girl from Moscow, who conquered America, the modeling business and cinema, now wins people’s hearts with her music. We talked to Ellen about a new stage in her career, inspiration, music, and most importantly, how she combines work for iconic magazines such as L’Officiel, SHAPE, VOGUE, acting, filming music videos, and recording new songs, while finding at least some time to herself.

Ellen, you started your music career quite recently. Tell us what brought you to music?

From a very early age I practiced vocals, sang in the choir, learned to play the piano. I lived with my family in Moscow then, studied at the Physics and Mathematics School (my parents are famous Soviet physicists), but I was always attracted by creativity and music in particular. I started writing songs when I was still very young. Probably, this is where it all started. And then I just continued to develop quite organically in this direction, until I found the time and energy to start recording and release my songs.

In one of your interviews, you said that your goal for the coming years is to release 200 songs you have written. It’s a lot! When did you manage to write so much?

As I said before, I started composing songs and music from early childhood, I have been doing it all my life, as long as I remember myself. Now I improve many of them, change their sound, correct words and only then release. Of course, I take only those songs that find a response in my heart. Maybe they are well suited to the situation or fully express my feelings and thoughts. I record only such songs.

How do you write songs? What comes first: music or text? What inspires you?

It inspires me to be healthy. Especially now, with such a difficult situation in the world. I’m really concerned about our current situation, so I can’t answer this question any other way. Ask me next time, maybe I will tell you something more interesting, but now my health comes first.

As for the second question, first comes the feeling, emotion, inspiration, idea. Maybe an example of another author: I listen to a song, and it turns me on at once that I run to create something of mine. (43)

How long does it take to make one song? When do you realize that it’s ready, and you can go to the studio?

I go to the studio without a ready song. I create all the songs at once in the studio. The most important magic is happening there. Usually I come to the studio with a small set of ideas and come out with a ready song. Working in the studio itself inspires me a lot. It’s all about atmosphere there.

What is the most pleasant stage for you in creating a song?

A moment of inspiration. Especially when it comes from another song, not mine. I listen to something, and I like the idea, the motive and at least a couple of notes, and it pushes me to my own creative process. And you know, time somehow starts to go differently, I create something, write it down, think about it. My favorite stage is the beginning of the creative process.

How much time does it take to record one song? How many hours do you spend in the studio?

I work on the song for many days and hours in the studio. But in fact, it can take much less time to record. It’s just that I’m a terrible perfectionist, so I spend a lot of time to bring my material to perfection. I polish my songs until I realize that they are already fully made. And I will keep working on them, try to think of something extra, try them in different sounds until I find this very perfection.

How do you manage to do everything? You are a model in high demand, who is wanted by many very famous brands. How do you retain your strength to pursue a musical career as well?

I would say that I have not much strength left after busy days. I live a very active life, I’m used to a fast pace and a lot of business. Of course, it’s difficult to combine, and I myself don’t know, to be honest, how I do it. Probably, I have time for music, because it’s really important for me.

What do you write songs for? What does music give you in life?

Satisfaction. I like to be useful, I like to invent and create something. With music I can express myself, maybe inspire someone else, support people with my songs. I don’t like to sit still. And music covers a huge part of my spiritual needs. (42)

And besides music plans, what are your current goals for the next five years?

Develop further. Take care of my social networks, make them more interesting and lively. Work, create, learn. Another goal for the next five years: maybe already get married and have children. I’m ready for family life, I think. But five years is a long time, I don’t think it’s worth puzzling so far.

And last question: describe your music in three words.

Major, inspiring and encouraging.

Well, thank you very much for the interesting and bright interview! I wish you to fulfill all your goals and conquer the musical Olympus!

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JIFFTHEGENERAL – Love Potion (46)

Love Potion is a new single from South London-based hip hop/R&B artist, JIFFTHEGENERAL. The song is an early precursor to an 8-track album titled The Final Lap, which is tentatively slated for release in 2022. With Love Potion, JIFFTHEGENERAL blends a unique, salacious brand of Afro-swing with some delightfully melodic rapping. The vocals are so precise, it’s almost hypnotic. You can’t ask for lyrical delivery that’s more on point than this timing wise.

Musically, the song has an eloquent and tropical feel, with subtly sensual undertones and summertime night vibes. The catchy rhyming style and occasionally witty verses give Love Potion potential pop sensibilities. It’s classy, yet down to Earth enough for people to dance to in a casual setting. It’s almost like the hip hop equivalent of yacht rock. For people seeking leisurely escapist fun and romantically charged atmosphere, this jam could be just what the doctor ordered.

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Tony Ro$e – I Owe You, Vol 1 (EP) (45)

I Owe You, Vol 1 is a new EP from Tony Ro$e (aka Tax Free Tony), a hip hop artist based in Portland, Oregon. With a plethora of releases under his belt, he’s been passionately representing his community and supporting other Portland artists for two decades.

This latest release marks Tony Ro$e’s longest and most ambitious release this year. The sound is stylish and flavorful, blending aesthetic old school vibes with 21st century intensity. Colorful and rhythmic mixes provide worthy backdrops for his casual and charismatic delivery style. In true collaborative spirit, the songs are peppered with guest artists as well, such as Charlee Brown, Eso.XO.Supreme, Louie Slugga and DJ Pryce Miyagi.

The performances are professional and and the flow is very smooth. Unlike with other hip hop releases, I Owe You, Vol 1 never projects even a hint of insecurity. You never get the sense that any of these people are “trying too hard.” These are relaxed, confident and proficient rappers who know what they’re doing. (44)

One of my favorite tracks on here is titled Dope. It employs some echo effects that really enhance the tone, and it’s just extremely satisfying, sonically. The retro organ melodies on the song Magic give it a golden age hip hop feel. You don’t hear that as often on newer jams, which tend to bombard listeners with heavily processed beats. Overall, this EP has a robust and invigorating sound, ideal for backyard summertime pool parties and fun car rides. Don’t overlook the underlying sentimentality and appreciation for friendship in the songs though. Such expressions give I Owe You, Vol 1 a lot of its charm. Also, be sure and check out the video (produced by KanielTheOne) for Tony Ro$e’s single, Tax Free, which is embedded below.

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