Tag Archives: Rap

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.


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.


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.

Key! – ICE SCREAM HELLO! Prod. Kenny Beats

If you never heard of Key, you’ve seriously been lacking.  He’s an Atlanta heavyweight, dropping quality music for majority of the 10’s, and is an originator of a lot of the flows and styles dominating the scene right now. He may not have gained the mainstream clout he deserves yet, but any new music from him is a big deal for the underground. Ice Scream Hello just might be his best song yet, full of quotable lines and dreamy yet slapping production from Kenny Beats. What has always made Key impressive is his ability to go right catchy trap lines, “My bitch look like Hillary Banks” is a quote for the ages, and how he can switch through multiple flows with ease, both skills that are on full display here. The new year just started, and I already found my favorite song. Listen to Ice Scream Hello below.

ZOTiYAC – Lost Language

While we wait for his next project, Blackball, to drop, ZOTiYAC tossed us some new shit to pass the time. Lost Language may be small, but the energy behind it is huge, delivering 5 heavy hitter tracks. Zo is known for his dark, almost evil sound, and is really in his bag with this one. His gritty lyrics and trademark flow are always on point, and the amount of pure aggression he consistently brings whenever he drops is all over LL. The standout tracks are LICC HOE$ and Unleashing Sum, but each track carries serious weight on their own. One of my favorite underground artists, he never fails to bring the ruckus. Check out Lost Language below, as well and his Too Hotty freestyle.

JMAC The Dragon – The Wait (Prod. A.K.A.)

For the past few years, JMAC the Dragon has been a soldier on his grind. He’s consistently shown a strong pen game and a serious hunger for success, and he enforces that even more with his latest, The Wait. He’s delivering every line with a newfound energy, fully owning his sound, flow, and style, and the A.K.A. production is powerful, the grimy melody and heavy bass making each bar feel harder than the last. Peep the wait below and be on the lookout for what else JMAC has in store.

Don’t Sleep: Choker – Peak

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.