Tag Archives: Rap

AJ Bray – Enigma (Project)

Anybody who’s seen AJ Bray knows. He’s full of life whenever he performs, commanding the audience and coming with an energy and presence that rivals that of some of the biggest artists. He separates himself, not defined by his hometown or his influences, but by his music alone. His latest project, aptly named Enigma, encompasses all of that energy to produce his most clear cut and impactful project yet.

Start to finish AJ Bray comes at you with a whole new clarity, and has set himself up to reach a new level. The opener The ReUp really sets the tone for what you’re gonna experience on the rest of the project,  from a better mix, harder beats, and endless flows. Each track to track transition is smooth, with every song fitting together but standing on its own to be an interesting listen.

Song quality and structure are good, poignant and super catchy. AJs calling card is his quirky and effective lyrics, flexed in a way that really makes them stick with you. She Hates My Hoes should be all over nightclubs(wassup Club Rio), FrFr tells these boys the needa stop cappin out here, and Play Around is probably a personal for me on the project. As he continues through his career, AJ has yet to disappoint. We’re watching first hand someone who’s dedicated to his shit and refuses to ease up. True to his projects name, AJ Bray is a real life enigma.

 

Big Ace – Gabby Douglas ft. Mel of TOTX (Music Video)

Dallas rapper Big Ace is making major moves. With help from Mel of TheOutfitTx, he dropped off the visual for his new track Gabby Douglas, and it’s definitely not something to sleep on. The Icedoutjit production is smooth and lowkey, while Ace approaches it with huge swag and charisma and Mel comes in as a perfect compliment. Watch below and look out for more from Big Ace soon.

 

Lona – Let U Tell It & Have U

Houston artist Lona has really prided himself on his versatility. Whether he’s rapping about his own self reflection, growth and flaws, or singing songs of love, passion, and pain, he’s constantly shown himself as a mixed bag of emotion and mindset. As he prepares for the release of his next album 346, he dropped 2 songs that truly encapsulate his duality. Let U Tell It is a transparent look into the mindset of a young nigga on the come up, letting the naysayers speak with he forges his own lane, while Have U has Lona reflected on the pain of failed relationships. Listen to both below, and be on the lookout for 346 this July.

Austin’s hard hitting Grizz continues to drop heat with “Savage”

Grizz turns the heat up just in time for a Texas summer with the hard hitting single “Savage” produced by BosssBeatz. The Atlanta producer continues to provide absolute fire for a growing number of Texas artists as his Killstreak collaboration projects with fellow Next Gang member Teeta opened up the doors to a lot of new opportunities. I hope it doesn’t stop, based on what Grizz did on “Savage”, we could see a lot of successful collab projects in the future.

Grizz has been one of the most consistent artists out of central Texas over the last year, dropping countless hot singles and projects certified for the street. If you haven’t gotten familiar, we think this is a strong introduction. Stream “Savage” below and let us know what you think.

xxxtentacion – ? (Review)

Love him or hate him, X’s status and one of the game’s most versatile artists to date shouldn’t be debated. In the short span of his career, he’s played with post hardcore, trap, boombap, and alternative indie all at once, encapsulating the emotions of depression with his last offering 17 in multiple styles. His new project “?” (Question, question mark, unknown, idfk) is more stylistic variation, but with a more lighthearted energy. While 17 expressed every ounce of sadness and made you truly feel it, “?” takes a more varied approached, covering a range of topics and styles that are widely different yet somehow still work together.

From the jump X wants to make it apparent that you shouldn’t go into the album expecting one thing, using the opening track Introductions to tell the listener to open their mind to the alternative style. No two tracks are the same or would even make sense in context if this was an album from anyone else, but that’s kind of what makes it interesting. Like, who else would you expect songs like Infinity (888), a classic New York sounding boombap track featuring Joey Badass, and I don’t even speak spanish LOL, a latin pop hit, from at the same time? What I like about X is that he doesn’t seem afraid to explore different territories that other artists labelled under a specific genre like rap maybe wouldn’t, and does it authentically, having it feel more natural than awkward. Floor 555 is probably the closest he’s gotten to his original aggressive lo-fi low-quality sound since he blew up, while Pain = BESTFRIEND is an angry post hardcore track reminiscent of bands like Touché Amore, and Schizophrenia sounds a lot like Let The Bodies Hit The Floor.

The songwriting itself is haphazard throughout the album, but for the most part it’s all pretty good. Moonlight is sonically pleasing and catchy to listen to, but lacks in the substance department lyrically, and while $$$ is my favorite song on the project, it’s most because Matt OX’s hook is SO. DAMN. GOOD. X’s verse is ok, there’s nothing that really catches you like the hook does. (I really hope we get new Matt OX music soon, gahdamn that boy ate). Infinity shows off and unlikely combination that works very well together. Both Joey and X have great chemistry and super strong verses, Joey pulling out the heavy punchlines while X shows off multiple flows and insane syllable work, and this makes me think that the collab project they teased a couple weeks ago would be a lot better than I originally gave it credit for. My least favorite song on the album is probably smash, just because I didn’t really find it interesting to listen to, and I’m not a huge fan of PnB Rock cuz I consider him like a Dollar Tree version of Fetty Wap. I personally feel like the Indie stuff is where x shines, songs like Love Yourself interlude and Changes really hitting you where it hurts in terms of invoking emotion. He’s very good at writing and orchestrating songs that make you feel something, which is part of why 17 was so good, you could really feel what he was trying to convey. X has proven himself to be diverse in that he writing coincides with how he wants the song to feel. He can write a pop hit, a lyrical track, or some heavy shit whenever he really wants to.

In summary, the project is cool. There’s something for a very wide range of people to enjoy, which is different than what a lot of other people are doing right now. It’s a very diverse project that has sounds that maybe some who just knows his hip hop work may not be used to, but if you are open, or are versed in multiple genres like me, you’ll have a strong appreciation for what X is trying to do with it. He’s really pushing his versatility as appeal. Why only push one sound when you enjoy and are influenced by so much more? Listen to it below if you haven’t already.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/2Ti79nwTsont5ZHfdxIzAm

Backyard Boyz – Distance

After a haitus, the Backyard Noise gang is back in full effect with their new single Distance. Each member delivers a verse that presents their own style and character, while fitting together with seamless transitions. Spacey production from AKA provides an eerie knock that pushes the squad to another level. Be on the lookout for more from the crew coming very very soon.

FRITSGOD – Red Limousine

LA rapper Fritsgod just dropped the very cinematic visuals for his track “Red Limousine”. The dark, almost evil sounding track is complemented with a video just as captivating, playing with smoking, color, and dark imagery as Frits raps about “dancing with the devil in a limousine.” The Eem produced track itself is very astral and ambient, with airy synthesizers complementing Frits’ autotuned voice and smooth vocal style. This is super dope, definitely give it a look below.

WHOISBAMA – RUN IT UP

Texas rapper WhoisBama dropped of some visuals for his track Run It Up. Directed by Leke Laflair (one of the best out rn), this is one of the cleanest videos I’ve seen in the underground, for one of the catchiest tracks I’ve heard in a minute. Bama is super commanding on the song, projecting his presence all over with a lot of energy and confidence. Watch the video below, check out Bama’s music here, and see more work from Leke here.

PNTHN – Potluck

Making major waves in the central Texas area for a minute now, the ascension of the PNTHN boys has been very interesting to watch. They came in with their own swag, super high energy at shows, and a greater attention to detail in their music than a lot of niggas out, plus they’re always making the right moves to keep all eyes on them. They just dropped Potluck, an 6 song EP that shows they just keep getting better with time. Every member brings something unique with their verses, and their in house producers, Por Vida & Romby, are some of the best in the area. Each track holds serious weight, with Chrome and Vigilantes being some major standouts. Listen to Potluck below.

Lona x A.K.A. – Moments Notice EP (Review)

The chemistry of artist and producer is arguably the most important thing in rap right now. Like, everybody wants to work with Metro, but not everybody can even fit with what he brings to the table (cough, Nav & Big Sean, cough).  More than ever we just hear artists rapping over beats sent to them, sounding good to the ear but lacking true depth, and it’s honestly become rare to hear something that sounds truly organic. Sometimes though, if you look hard enough, you might find collaborations that fit like a glove.

Members of the Backyard Noize collective, Lona and A.K.A. are no strangers to working to together, yet this project is the first time everything has felt so tight knit. A.K.A.s vibrant, bouncy production style is in full force, matching Lona’s voice and delivery very well, whether he’s holding a melody or delivering a verse. He has a talent for remaining distinct with his sound while keeping each beat unique in their own right, with their own life and style. A.K.A. steals the show with his feature on LUV 4 U as well, his R&B pseudonym Alvynne showing serious melodic ability. Lona’s versatility is one of his best qualities. Being able to transition between rapping and singing with ease is a highlight, his singing standing out on Precious Tyme, and 1998 Freestyle showing he can rap with the best of them over a classic feeling bounce.

Neither of these guys ever disappoint. Serving as an appetizer until Lona’s 346 album drops, Moment’s Notice is the blend of artist and producer connection that the game needs more of. Listen below.