With the year winding down, I just want to take a moment to show some love to a project that I felt like glossed skipped over by the majority. I found Peak in an article somewhere in like May, and was honestly blown away by the fully developed and organic sound, truly bare and honest lyrics, and a wave of emotion packed into each track. Probably the most interesting part of this album is that it’s Chokers debut, self-produced and self-released. Blending indie pop nuances with a Hip Hop core and some artistic embellishments, Peak has a wide soundscape that reminds me of a lovechild of Frank Ocean and Toro Y Moi with a dash of Joy Division. Chokers spoken word style flow puts you right in the middle of each scenario he describes, pulling you in with scenes of love, heartbreak and growth. The instruments are tightly contained and all over the play at the same time. One moment they can be soft and subtle, and the next you can be hit over the head with beautifully aggressive kick drums and synthesizers, shown in the breakdown in Sunflower and the production on Moshka. If you take the time to listen, this project really checks all the boxes of a good record. I don’t wanna sit here and give you a massive breakdown of the album, that’s not the point of this. I just wanna let everyone know, if you skip this one, you’ve skipping easily one of the best projects of the year.
Now I never expected anything less than the best from Doeman.. But damn homie, why’d you gotta do us like that?!
From his first LP The Gold Blooded dropping in 2014, to dropping single The Man and album Stereo Types in 2015. To which was my favorite project O.B.E (Outer Body Experience) and Barrio God V1 in 2016. This mans sound has developed so smoothly – he’s really made for this.
None the less, I appreciate him for putting on for the Latin culture, giving fans nothing less than the greatest work. This album is definitely my favorite and one of the best to drop in 2017. From My Soul To Yours available on all major streaming platforms Apple music, Spotify and SoundCloud. Get that damn thing, TODAY.
RIP Thomas. Also be looking out for our interview with Doeman dropping soon!
If you’ve been following Popped Cherry throughout 2017, you’ve probably seen the name Tan The Terrible pop up on the timeline. The Arkansas native and Los Angeles resident mixes a unique blend of pop/rap that balances heavy melodies with pulsing 808’s. The 8 track album titled Never Fails is straight vibes, each song transitioning smooth throughout the whole project taking us through Tan’s journey of the past year chalked full of hustling, women, moving across the country, and the long journey to success.
Featuring production by Ian Eastrn, who happens to be Tan’s cousin, you can tell they’ve created a great vibe together. Then I found out Ian was 16 and I was blown away. He has a great understanding on how to build a song, drums are always on point and he allows enough space to let Tan’s creativity and melodies shine through. Other production credits go to the incredibly talented Yuni Wa, Uncle Nick, and Mach Soul.
- “Never Fails” – This song was the first single/visual released prior to the project and has racked up a few thousand views on Soundcloud. Produced by Ian Eastrn the insanely catchy chorus had me hooked the first time I heard it. Figuring out track placement is sometimes the hardest decision for newer artists, I love that Tan lead off the album with a song people were familiar with encouraging them to click on song 2 and dive further into the project. Run this one up.
- “Iced Out” – My favorite track and possibly the most underrated song on Never Fails lays a filtered chorus over an infections melody produced by Uncle Nick. Tan speaks on being iced out even when he stays low-key, but wishing he could share those luxuries with a bad one. Makes sense to me. This one will be on repeat for a long time.
- “Rainbow” – One of the more emotional tracks on the album, “Rainbow” was produced by fellow Arkansas native Yuni Wa. The multi-genre producer lays down some deep 808’s that really bring increase the depth of the song. Tan mentioned “Rainbow” was a direct result of some of the stuff he had been dealing with at the time. You really feel that angst and sadness in his voice. A lot of people’s expectations, especially when artists move to LA, is that the path to success is littered with giant achievements, fame, and money. Tan comes off as super self-aware and confident in his journey and where it’s going. Most of the time, that’s all you can do.
With new music dropping shortly, I hope we see the timeline full of new Tan The Terrible. Like we mentioned in our previous posts, the blend of pop/rap that Tan excels at creates an almost infinite ceiling of growth. Definitely an artist I can see being on the radio, and sometimes all it takes is for one of these songs to hit to take him to the next level. Regardless of when that will be, the kid from Arkansas is going to keep on winning because if you’re putting in that work you can never fail.
Stream Never Fails on Spotify below or click here to view on SoundCloud.
Austin’s Grizz has been building and crafting his sound for awhile now. The Team Next member has been dropping consistent heat for the last 3 years and gained plenty of notoriety around the area after his 5353 EP dropped at the beginning of 2017. It’s been straight uphill since then, putting out a bevy of singles and solidifying his sound by working with frequent contributor Scoop Jackson, and fellow Texas producer LDevell.
That momentum lead to the release of Texxaco Shawty, the 8 track project hosted by NTRL is chalked full of bass booming street anthems. One thing that always stands out on a Grizz record is the production. Learn it from Grizz, get the best engineering and production money can buy, cause it goes a long way. Texxaco Shawty doesn’t disappoint. Scoop did a masterful job mixing the project, making sure the sound was consistent throughout the 8 tracks.
Grizz has the ability to blend small amounts of auto-tune when he needs it, with hard cutting lyrics that could really fit on any beat. The energy is always high, and it’s incredibly easy to feed off of that when you’re listening. Grizz is a low-key dude, which only adds to the mystique and character, so anytime he drops something you have to listen.
“Skurt” 2 – skr skr skr skr skr skr SKURTTT. Easily my favorite record on the project, the LDevell produced beat is as classic as it gets. Heavy bass and bells with interlaying keys lays a solid foundation for an uptempo Grizz. Also, out of all the “skr skr’s” in rap nowadays Grizz makes his completely original, this chorus is gold.
“Flexas” – After getting the inside scoop on the next project Grizz is dropping (right around the corner) track number 4 is a look into what we’ll be hearing more from Grizz. A nice laid back approach with all the same content matter, this one vibes really well. Scoop Jackson is the best producer in Texas in my opinion, this one doesn’t disappoint. The combo is magic. “Flexas” going to be on repeat for awhile.
I know I only picked 2, but I could legit put the whole tape on the Top Songs list. This is my favorite project from Grizz to date, can’t wait to see the buzz when the next one drops. Take a listen to Texxaco Shawty below. Leave a comment below and let us know what you think or what your favorite track is.
The SAMO IS ALIVE EP is our first introduction to SAMO6. He shows up with a tape exclusively produced by fellow Texas creative and heavily sought out producer, Steelo Foreign. I was genuinely surprised with this tape when SAMO sent it over to me. The tape is filled with luxurious up-tempo beats and laid back flows from SAMO.
This introduction is suiting for the new artist as he dives into a new sound we’ve yet to explore, with melodic-monotone deliveries and a unique repetitiveness that gives some new flare to an already familiar sound. While the monotone delivery can be a turn off to some, the beats from Steelo give it a high replay value, providing a smooth journey throughout the project.
“Runaway” – The second track on the EP embodies the whole sound of the project. The uptempo beat by Steelo is a heater, paired with an uptempo delivery from SAMO provides the listener with a dope track to listen to before diving into the rest of the project. Definitely will have this one on repeat.
After hearing a few quality singles from SAMO, I’m excited to see where he goes for here. They mysterious sounds and few visuals can go a long way into creating SAMO’s character. We’ll be here to watch.
Stream and take a listen below to the new project and let us know what you think!
In 2 or 3 years, we’re going to be able to look back at Austin’s rap scene and pinpoint the turning point. It feels like 2017 is that shift. With new artists popping up seemingly every month bringing new sounds to the table, there has not been a shortage of good music coming out of the 512 this year. While hundreds of artists still flood SoundCloud with their singles and mixtape hoping to get found, more and more know exactly what it takes to build a brand the moment they come into the game. Austin’s own, K.C.J., is one of those who knows how to make an entrance.
His debut album, Vibes, is not only a great first project but a collection of the best sounds out of Austin. One genre isn’t enough to categorize it as it floats between R&B and Rap on almost every song. An introspective journey that features plenty of heartbreak, nights fueled by lean and drugs and the confidence that grows as you make it through that journey. The list of features is long, but Popped Cherry regulars like The Teeta and TEDDYTHELEGACY make appearances alongside other area standouts like Aaron Moss, the beautifully voiced London Monet, Freequency, K Gunna, and a handful of others.
The standout on this project has to be the production. Mason Flynt, Steelo Foreign, 1080, Polo, Chris Winston, and Atlanta’s Bosssbeatz really help craft a consistent and deep sound on Vibes. K.C.J. is in his element. With any new artist building a sound, a project of this size this early, usually is a collection of a bunch of different ideas and competing sounds. I never got that feeling with Vibes, K.C.J. knows where he fits and keeps it consistent for an impressive 15 songs.
- Hallelujah ft. TEDDYTHELEGACY – This catchy single produced by 1080 really captures the sound of the entire project for me. Teddy adds some depth to the hook and K.C.J.’s catchy “Got a lot of diamonds like I just bought the Jeweler” is going to have this one on repeat for a long time.
- No Love ft. Aaron Moss, The Teeta – One of the singles that dropped before the project, has racked up over 25k plays on SoundCloud. Produced by 1080, No Love is an angsty anthem for showing no love to haters, girls, and anybody that isn’t rocking with you. Teeta’s verse is top notch. This is one of those rare songs that you could play in the club, in the whip, and by yourself.
- All Day – One of the more rap centric songs on Vibes is the first one. Produced by 1080, All Day starts the tape off with a banger. K.C.J. impresses me with his ability to open up emotionally, have it be relatable and still catchy enough to keep on repeat no matter the mood I’m in. This is a great one.
I’m excited to see what comes next from K.C.J., he has definitely staked his share of the scene and shown that he can build and curate an incredibly deep project full of features and producers. Sometimes that skill is far more important then who has the best rhymes or flow. For that stuff will come with practice and more hours in the studio. For right now, K.C.J. knows the scene and what makes it tick as good as anybody. Listen to Vibes below and find the project on Spotify, iTunes, Tidal, and Google Play.
AJ Bray been making waves in Central Texas for a while now, and after dropping his latest single Mobbin and moving out to LA this summer, he’s been hard at work at his next project, the follow up to last springs Gucci Durag Chronicles. The first was a nicely developed representation of him as an artist, and the sequel takes what he’s curated as his sound and pushes towards its next level.
I put this thing on for five seconds, and I looked in the mirror and had a complete edge and the wettest waves on the planet. Beginning to end, Gucci Durag Chronicles II showcases AJ in his purest form, owning his flows, being overtly confident in his lyrics, and showing off a strong ear for production, coming into his own and really dominating his individual sound. Though the tape is short, it doesn’t really lack any weight, sacrificing length in exchange for high quality. Track by track you don’t really find anything missing or bare. Straight out the gate, the intro track Busy is a braggadocious banger. The idea behind the track is that somebody like AJ Bray doesn’t have time for any extra, he’s too busy running up bands to worry about anything more. Indolence Beats production on it sets it off with think heavy 808s and a dark melody, but it’s the presence of the artist that gives it true life, which is a theme that’s mirrored throughout the whole project. Waitin On is an energetic track that makes fun of the opps that fail to bring AJ down in any way. The guest verse from Chxpo fits nicely and adds that extra layer of depth to the track, the transition from the hook and the feature so seamless that it’s like they were together in the booth when they recorded. Those paired with the other tracks, Dap You Up, WWYD, and Mobbin all work together to offer a nicely cohesive project, the Aye Cue verse on WWYD is a strong standout as well. Sounds from producers like Kashcloud and Cashmoney AP sprinkle the project and add a nice punch with their beats, and there is no mistaking any style or flow on the entire tape. This is 100% AJ Bray.
As a whole, GDC2 is dope as shit. It serves as a strong introduction to a blossoming artist if you weren’t already familiar, or shows a new form of growth of his artistry for his fanbase. With the being the first induction of the type of level he’s on since his move, I’m already ready to see what else he has in store. It’s only a matter of time before we start to see big things.
Some artists demand your attention whenever they pop up, and some artists keep your timeline consistently full of new content and music. One artist who has done the latter this year has been Austin’s underground hit-maker D. Brooks. Yesterday he dropped off his debut project Unorthodox Rockstar, a 10 track album chalked full of hype and a visual for his short song “6 for 6” filmed by buzzing Texas videographer Worthy Sire. The video is a look into D. Brooks brand, and sets the tone of the rest of the project.
Executively produced by tredyboi1hunna and TrigaFTW, with a few production credits to Ninetysixbeats and EldrickBeats, the projects’ consistent sound is the most impressive part. Rarely are artists able to find one or two producers who they consistently go back to each time. Brooks and tredyboi have a connection that will only continue to grow. Surprisingly, Unorthodox Rockstar was only dropped on Spotify, iTunes, Tidal, and Google Play. Brooks has had great success on SoundCloud recently, racking up over 40k plays on just 6 songs this year, but continues the trend of artists skipping over the free platform as a way to have the music mean a little more then the stats that define SoundCloud culture…and to make a little money too I suppose.
“Fiji Water” is one of my favorite tracks, and the clear “industry single” on the project. A 808-heavy anthem from Tredy, D. Brooks does what he does best with an incredibly infections chorus and some of his best verses to date. Sometimes D has a tendency to try too hard, but this one is as effortless as MJ’s jumper. This one will be on repeat for the rest of the year.
“Mick Jagger” is another standout on a project full of singles. An ode to one of the greatest rockers of them all. Brooks mixes a few different flows, and is able to float all over the spacey production. Setting the scene of a wild party, all D see’s is hoes doing blow and getting stoned. We might need a visual for this one.
“Hello” is another track with industry single potential. The chorus and melody dominates the song, with a few short verses to keep it from getting too repetitive. I have a feeling this is the one all the shawty’s will rock to.
“Rockstar” holds the only feature on the project. Arkansas’ hit maker Tan The Terrible freestyles a melodic verse that bangs. This one goes crazy, and has been on repeat ever since it was released back in April. The two met at SXSW last year and vibed enough to make this magic, hopefully we hear them both on a track again soon.
I already know this project will be underrated, it requires a slightly longer attention span than most are willing to give, but if you listen through the entire project, I promise you will walk away with a favorite song and a new artist to keep an eye on. Brooks has shown an insane amount of growth over the last 6-8 months, this one might not be the project to blow him up, but at this rate… it’s going to happen eventually.
Listen to Unorthodox Rockstar in its entirety below.
Memphis rapper 30Rock has been proving himself this year with dropping singles left and right to now finally blessing us with his highly anticipated project “Rocky” hosted by DJ SWEENDAWG. This 8 track project is literally full of bangers. If you aren’t already familiar with 30, go ahead and get familiar by pressing play below.
Atlanta artist CKENT blessed the streets yesterday with the SURREAL [EP]. His 5 track EP is completely produced by Rob Surreal of NY. The project shows the Young Legend: CKENT’s growth and progression as an artist. He is comfortable on the unique slapping beats and sounding like nobody else before on top of telling his own real story. Get familiar with CKENT and check out his latest offering down below.