Tag Archives: hip hop

Arcane T-Rubble – Forgive and Forget


Forgive and Forget is a new mixtape from artist, Arcane T-Rubble. Blending elements of trap soul, R&B, hip hop and funk, this 11-song release is set to drop on Valentine’s Day (Feb 14th) via the label, Untouchables Records Realm. A prolific artist, Arcane T-Rubble already has a number of recent releases under his belt. His sound is typically vibrant and cerebral, featuring swift, well-timed lyrical delivery that frequently interspersed with smooth narration. Thematically, the songs have romantic undertones, while the backing music is high energy and club-friendly. Singles like Twix and Phoenix are perfect examples of this, although Arcane T-Rubble seems rather versatile and open to stylistic experimentation. Keep your eyes peeled for Forgive and Forget, as Valentine’s Day is only a week away.

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Jay Gudda – Dead Wait


Hip hop artist Jay Gudda’s Dead Wait serves as a prime example of how a song can thrive creatively without extravagant budgets or lavish overproduction. This jam is raw, confrontational and darkly engaging. It is also pretty damn good. The video for this release is unique in that it appears to be filmed from the perspective of a dead body, a recently vanquished corpse being dragged around the room along with the brooding backing beat. It’s an effective touch, giving the listener/viewer the feeling that they’re actually there at the scene and part of something seedy that may have just went down. It transcends mere “voyeurism,” by bringing the listener directly into the action (and thus the song) from the get go. It’s not all serious biz here though, with occasional eerily comedic gems such as: “I can see the hate especially, secondly, I can see they try to steal my recipe.” Jay Gudda displays some real skills with this bad boy, both technically and creatively.

For more info:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WhoIsJayGudda
Twitter: https://twitter.com/whoisjaygudda
Website: www.whoisjaygudda.com

Katrel Kelly – Night Before the Dawn 2.0


Night Before the Dawn 2.0 is an album from Katrel Kelly, released on GalacticOnes label. With 13 fun filled and action packed tracks, the album offers a full listening experience. Katrel’s (also known as “Trel Mack”) delivery style is slow-mid paced and charisma driven, reminiscent of many popular 90s hip hop icons. He has a knack for coming up with catchy and sometimes amusing lyrics, making his songs memorable, even while he makes it clear he’s all about handlin biz. Warren Buffett and I Hate These Rappers are tracks which include some of the more choice lines. The songs on this album are more musical and melodic than the average hip hop song. Each track has a uniquely complex musical backing. There’s no padding and cutting corners here. Musically my favorite song on this album is Make You Love Me, which features some absolutely killer female backing vocals. When this jam kicks into high gear is when I made up my mind that this album has “the good stuff.”

Most of the tracks on Night Before the Dawn 2.0 are pretty solid, carried by Katrel’s personality and skills as a poet / entertainer. Wisely, nothing is neglected on the musical or production side. The complex musical elements enhance this release significantly, elevating it to the upper echelons of indie hip hop.

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Social Media:
IG: @iamkatrel
Twitter: @Iamkatrel

Thuggizzle – Get Cha Hustle Up


The term “freestyle” gets thrown around a lot nowadays in hip hop and is frequently misused to refer to “freedom of thought” or simply “free form” such as unstructured, free verse poetry. However, rapper Thuggizzle freestyles in the true, authentic sense in that he raps without pre-written lyrics. He simply delivers lyrics off the top of his head on the fly. Creating coherent hip hop songs in this way is a kind of a lost art and has always been seen as a metric of credibility. So it’s great to see Thuggizzle embracing it. His new jam,Get Cha Hustle Up has a smooth flow and makes creative use of vocal layering. The backing music consists of a synth driven, groove-shakingly danceable beat of light drama and medium intensity. It’s a solid release with better production than what you’d expect with most indie hip hop songs. The song mixes 90’s style musical artfulness and authenticity with contemporary production values and futuristic flavor.

For more info:

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Thuggizzle
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Thuggizzle


HELLTOWN – faerytalesaretoorealtobear


One of the more creative releases I’ve come across is HELLTOWN’s faerytalesaretoorealtobear. This surprisingly avant garde jam blends hip hop with indie alternative music to create a truly unique sound. If you just casually heard this song playing somewhere, you might assume it’s just emo coffee house music, but if you listen closely it’s actually hip hop which is adapting a certain aesthetic. The song is slightly creepy but in a good way. The romantic undertones present themselves as a kind of sick love, a madness screaming for more. This is one of the better hip hop songs I’ve had the chance to review. It’s kind of a shame something this artful will likely be relegated to obscurity, but hey that’s the real sickness of the world we live in.

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Syzl Lytnin – H8taBlockaz


I’ve been doing these reviews for a long time, and it’s pretty rare that I come across something new or that I haven’t seen before. Syzl Lytnin’s H8taBlockaz is one of the rare exceptions. In addition to being a musical artist Syzl Lytnin actually has her own line of sunglasses. Not only does she use her music to promote her sunglasses, she actually combines these two things conceptually and artistically. Her sunglasses (called “H8taBlockaz”) are designed to shield one from the sun and also from negativity. Her musical single with the same name also shares these elements. H8taBlockaz features quirky synths and some lightning fast paced rapping coated with positive energy. The song is upbeat and lyrically confronts themes of keeping one’s head up and deflecting the negativity others throw at you. It’s an impressive release on its own but earns bonus points for being enveloped within such a unique creative context.

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Terry Milla – It’s Bangindo


Terry Milla’s It’s Bangindo is more than just a geniously titled hip hop track. It’s a lively, piano driven jam with enough going on musically to keep the listener engaged the whole way through. The song features both male and female vocals, with Terry leading the way with rhymes and “Flossy Mae” providing some excellent accompanying hooks. Her expressive, emotive delivery gives the song some dramatic flair. According to Milla,It’s Bangindo “is about the music being dope even if it’s not on the radio.” True enough, but I would also add that it deals with the drive to get things done and the frustration in waiting for others to come through and get the ball rolling. Some people are just “always on” and rather that wait for everyone else to finish doing the hokey pokey, they have to just move forward and do everything on their own. Anyhow, It’s Bangindo is a solid jam and marketable. Terry Milla strikes me as a fun going, entertaining performer that takes care of business.

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P.A.T.M.A.N. and Robbin’

P.A.T.M.A.N. album cover front

Nobody is hungrier for their music to be heard than indie hip hop artists. Whenever I am on the strip in Vegas, I always get stopped and accosted by aspiring rap gods trying to peddle their CDRs. They are out there all day and all night hustling on the streets, like 1920’s newsboys yelling “extra extra!” Not just in Vegas though or on Hollywood Blvd. This sort of thing happens in downtown Scottsdale even. Occasionally I have purchased jams from them, more out of respect for their work ethic than any genuine desire to listen to their music(aside from CD’s being cumbersome to carry, who even still owns a cd player? the number of people is surely dwindling fast.)

Anyhow, this brings me to a hip hop artist known as P.A.T.(no relation to the old Saturday Night Live character.) P.A.T.(whose real name is Pat Fraser) isn’t actually one of those street hustlers. He’s more advanced and sophisticated than that(musically and “promotionally.”) The point though, is that the indie hip hop community is vibrant, determined and interesting while most modern mainstream hip hop is lifeless and dumbed-down. P.A.T.’s 13 song album is cleverly called “P.A.T.M.A.N.(Powerful Artistic Truth, Misunderstood, or America’s Nightmare.”) It’s actually aptly titled, as the album contains each of those elements, and the artist leaves everything open to interpretation by keeping you guessing as to what his intentions and motivations are. At times the lyrics seem typically smug and assertive, but you quickly get the sense that he’s being somewhat ironic, covertly making fun of stereotypical hip hop cliches while knowingly espousing some of them at the same time. The song “Pay Me” is a good example of this: “I hate workin’ for the white man…I’m just playin.’ I hate workin’ period… now I’m serious.” Pat frequently injects humor into his rhymes, with pop culture references coming from left field such as in “Legendary.” I got a chuckle out of lines like “I’m movin’ up like The Jeffersons” and a Wrestlemania (III?) analogy transitioned from a biblical one:

David to Goliath pulling out my slingshot
Hulk Hogan to Andre The Giant with my leg drop

He makes very good usage of samples as well, which provide fishing hook intros to each song, as well as backing to various sections of tracks. As such, they give a refreshingly early 90’s feel to most of the songs. He maintains solid enough production values without veering into overly auto-tuned, shamelessy overproduced pop territory. One thing I would like to see is hip hop artists choosing more obscure samples. It’s too cheap and easy to take a known hook from a classic hit song and basically have a built in, time-tested hook. The best samples should be unrecognizable except to seriously detail oriented movie and music buffs, tv trivia nerds etc. He samples an instrumental portion from “The Look Of Love” (which actually works very well with his song but has probably been sampled to death by now.) I think I detected some Laurence Fishburne dialogue in there somewhere, The album contains a lot of other samples, most of which blend in smoothly with his beats and music unremarkably (a good thing.) Hint: If you want a good Laurence Fishburne sample for your next album grab the one from “Apocalypse Now Redux” where he is singing a Beach Boys lyric.

The songs on this album are very catchy, and the lyrics are quite poetic for the most part. What seems to separate P.A.T.M.A.N. from most other hip hop artists is a self awareness and witty sense of humor about the matter. Even though you can tell he has some street cred and could get tough if he wanted to, he comes off more as a guy you’d want to hang out with and wax nostalgic about vintage Super Nintendo games and 80’s TV than someone who’s going to corrupt your children and radicalize oppressed peoples. His demeanor is just too polite and reasonable for all that. Check out his music. It’s worth a few listens.