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Category: Hip-Hop

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2020 SINGLE REVIEWS: YUSEF SLIM – KAKÁ

Yusef Slim pioneers an organic fusion of jazz and drill on “Kaká”, creating an irrepressible and compelling tune. Opposites attract; this is the theory that makes artist Yusef Slim’s new song “Kaká” so magnetic. Jazz has long been a key element in hip hop beat making, but the synthesis of this time honored genre with the bold bass lines and […]

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2020 REVIEWS: FXLLEN – OUTLAST

“OUTLAST” is an incredibly clean and polished record with moments of brilliance, but the album’s greatest achievement is the construction of an identity for its creator. The artwork that covers “OUTLAST” is abstract and monochrome. Swathes of black and white pollute the space, outlines of barbed wire tangle and writhe like loose threads. It’s a portrait of a man fractured, […]

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2020 SINGLE REVIEWS: JOHN ALONE – SUNNY SKIES

While he’s generally a master of melancholy, London-based singer-songwriter John Alone has time and time again proved that he has a knack for infectious, upbeat material (last year’s ‘Two Suns’ being a prime example). With his new track ‘Sunny Skies’, he’s explored that avenue once again. Employing a melodic rap style that he’s previously used on tracks like ‘Kid Rap’ […]

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2020 REVIEWS: MIXED MATCHES – II

The second full length from Mixed Matches continues the drowsy romance of last year’s “Late”, with some novel ideas that hint towards an expansion of his sound. For a grouping of loose singles, “Late” is a stunningly beautiful album. The soft, sheer vocals provided by singer – producer Mixed Matches swirl around in various octaves, layered like veils; each piece […]

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2020 ARTIST INSIGHT: REMI

Since I last wrote about Remi, he’s well and truly lived up to his potential. Working with some of the best producers in the underground, the London rapper has left a scorching trail of grime-tinged cyber-trap that has already proved to be revolutionary in an over-saturated, homogenous scene. Following the release of the largely Bloodline Genesis-produced King of the Underground […]

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2020 ARTIST INSIGHT: CHIZZY CHAYNES

North Carolina’s Chizzy Chaynes ended 2019 on a high with “Back 2 Ballin pt. 2”, and the mantras he set out with the project are set to lead him to new creative peaks this year. For the modern underground artist, every day can feel like a race. The blinding light of success rains down from the social media accounts of […]

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2020 REVIEWS: DAG – WHEN THE ICE MELTS

Canadian collective Styx City Cult have had an amazing year so far, and with the release of Dag’s two track EP When the Ice Melts they have another high-quality product in their collective discography. Check the project out here. Dag not only raps with immense confidence, stringing verses into hooks so seamlessly that his tracks as a whole sound like […]

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2020 SINGLE REVIEWS: WELLYBLANCO – HUMAN BEING

WellyBlanco approaches the concept of honesty with cybernetic soundscapes on “Human Being”, with vocals that sound organically processed. Seattle vocalist and producer WellyBlanco approaches vocal processing with the perfect intent. His application of pitch correction is obvious, the speed is turned up high; each note flickers to the next rapidly. Behind the autotune, though, is real passion; In his singing […]

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2020 ARTIST INSIGHT: JOUNIN N1¥

Jounin N1¥ strikes a balance between rough-edged rage and total serenity with a wide range of musical expressions. “I know it’s painful to see the ones you love struggle, not as strong as I was before” croons rapper – singer – producer Jounin N1¥ on “Perfect”. Whilst the lyrics oppose the title entirely, their presentation is sublime; the slightest reverb […]

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2020 SINGLE REVIEWS: OKODN – LOSINSCREWS

The first of three songs that the rapper has dropped in 2020 so far, ‘losinscrews’ is okodn’s first true melodic triumph. Working with rapper/producer ShawnMartian on this track has been hugely beneficial for oko. Martian’s pensive instrumental is key to establishing the self-reflective mood, perfect for the Louisiana artist’s smooth vocal performance and wistful lyrical content. While the beat could […]

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2020 ARTIST INSIGHT: LUIS THE LOVER

Austin, Texas’ Luis the Lover is a tenderly-voiced singer-songwriter that dabbles heavily in the lonely, detached sounds of modern R&B. His 2019 project I Wanna Die More Than You is an excellent collection of initially disparate sounds that ultimately converge into a beautiful orchestra of experimental sound. ‘From a Distance’, which dropped over two years ago and is self-proclaimed to […]

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2020 SINGLE REVIEWS: YUNG MOOTLA – ULCER

Best known for being an exceptional hook writer, Yung Mootla has kicked 2020 off with another huge banger. Like the rest of the rapper’s discography ‘Ulcer’ employs huge trap production and an earworm chorus, but where it differs is in its scope. More often than not Mootla’s efforts to ram a phrase into a listener’s head succeeds, but never before […]

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2020 SINGLE REVIEWS: MVSON – KTA

On ‘KTA’ MVSON lets his true self flow through an unbreakable verse. “I don’t give a fuck about nobody, shit, I’m the worst of all” lies at the centre of ‘KTA’, the latest single by Chicago rapper MVSON. This unapologetic declaration is the core of the song’s only verse, a tightly knotted set of bars delivered with dexterity and confidence. […]

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2020 REVIEWS: STONE – SEMI SWEET

The follow up to 2019’s uber-hazy Gypsy, Semi Sweet is SToNE’s most accomplished offering to date. The production credits are familiar, as are the disoriented flows, but there’s a tighter sense of songwriting here than ever before. Check it out in full here. ‘High Note’ features one of three credits from frequent collaborator Nephew, his woozy beat makes the track […]

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2020 ARTIST INSIGHT: METAL SLUG

From South St. Louis emerges a multi-hyphenate artist veiled in ghostly energy. “80 on the dash, bitch I’m in the fast lane” raps South St. Louis artist Metal Slug calmly on ‘4DALUVOFMONEY’. The line wouldn’t feel out of place in any modern trap song, but in the context and surroundings of Metal Slug’s artistry it is a mission statement, a […]

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2020 SINGLE REVIEWS: SICFREID – ZORO

Sicfreid is a gruff-voiced rapper/producer who dropped singles periodically throughout 2019, the best of which was undoubtedly ‘Zoro’. Clearly a lover of anime, the artist had tapped in to this hazy trap sound seven months prior on ‘Phantom Troupe’, but here he essentially perfected that direction. Perhaps the reason for this was the self-production, a new feature at the time […]