Fresh and Frozen

Gotta make ya’ll aware of a couple of new releases that are coming out, not no obvious stuff though this is a place of discovery. I got a few albums from dudes who have shown and proved in the past at least once, and now they got some ear blessings to grant. I’ma just get right into it.

Dig these groovy sounds from the DMV superstar, and fancy flow extraordinaire, Goldlink. Cuz has been putting in work with a handful of hit singles, a dope video that got some major press, and even a noteworthy verse in that Frozen 10-awarded Mike of Doom joint.

Enjoy

Fat Trel recently signed up with the MMG crew, and had to follow up with this project here. This cover has to be the most hilarious cover I’ve ever seen.

Underground hip-hop vets, Cunninglynguists, present this project featuring a load of other underground legends. These dudes have been in the game for over a decade, and continue to fail to disappoint. If you paid attention you might’ve peeped a single or two. Also, this joint was out for free for a few days, so ya’ll gon have to forgive the late report, but you can still listen to the whole joint playas.

Last but not least, it’s ya boy Rugby, the Kush God, the one and only Smoke DZA. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know what this is. Go ahead and support that, dude throws in 20+ brand new tracks.

M.J. Withers – Past Times and Hard Liquor

Past times and hard liquor, it gets realer. You ain’t never heard nobody exemplify the dark and deep sound like M.J. Withers. Few artists can summon such passion, and emotion in their stuff. Additional M.J. has an incredible composing talent with putting the right sounds in the right places.

Itzme Review: Big KRIT – #WeekofKRIT

After some slightly underwhelming efforts of the Mississippian emcee, Big KRIT smashes on the game with the Cadillactica prequel and hype-builder titled: #WeekofKRIT. This collection of 6 songs, plus a trailer and documentary (which we’re not talking about right now) is absolutely excellent. It easily raises the bar for anyone putting out some content in the near future. The beats are all just so awesome, and the songs are otherwise well-composed. Not all of them really talk about something, but they still maintain that impressive musical element.

The first of his onslaught of gems is the “New Agenda” joint with rap’s favorite [living] fatboy. Some groovy head-bobbing trunk blasting music that you’ll expect from Big KRIT with some jazzy flavor sprinkled in. Both KRIT and Rozay ride the beat in catchy fashion, particularly rhythmically on that drop in the verse. And you never get a Ross verse without a quick reference to some lemon pepper wings.

The transition on the last verse is just icing to the definition of KRIT’s producing genius.

Next up is the Conscious Effort freestyle. You can tell, the opening ish-talk was inspired by recent collaborator, Z-ro. But anyway, this song is on some slight stuff. Really simple, yet likeable, instrumental loop with a relatively clever freestyle layered over. You get aggressive boasts and a rare punchline from Big KRIT like:

“If I say I’m poppin’ fo’ sho’, you’ll probably think I’m fryin’ fish

…Maybe I was ***,

cuz dropping a boombox in your bathtub is the only way you could buzz more”

Awkwardly executed, but I dig it. Like I said, this song was just some slight stuff.

Laclaclaclaclac slammin’ doors and uh… This is the jam. Has that really old-school southern feel to it. This song feels like some old school UGK blended with some throwback Bone with that Ferg verse in it. Well… almost. The A$AP representer delivers a cold fast-paced flow, but then reminds you why you often don’t take him seriously with rudimental lines like, “I can see you haters from here, I can spot you out of my chair”

Still something you can ride slow to though.

Whoooo lawd, Wolf on Wallstreet has that sound that should earn it as many awards as the movie it shares name with. Bruh, this joint SLAPS. It’s gon have your grandmother doin triple backflips and whatnot. I don’t know how KRIT and Childish Major made this beat together, but boy did they kill it. First UOENO, and now this? If you don’t have an eye on Childish Major right now, you slippin.

Then step into the 3-man spitfest with frequent collaborators: Big Sant and Smoke DZA. The song is ridiculous honestly. Those drums are just so active on this joint, they chill for a few seconds then go ham. The dinging noise filled into those intervals almost too nicely. I literally cannot explain to you how bombastic this beat is. Then to match, you get three incredible verses as well. KRIT puts pressure on you fools with some aggressive delivery, and Big Sant continues the legacy with that same intensity added along with some lewd, but effective rhyme schemes. Then Rugby Thompson cruises in on the chill tip, and Mortal Kombat finishes it by going in on the drop. Mm mm mm.

Last, but not least, Egyptian Cotton. Actually, Egyptian Cotton is the most impressive song out of this collection. KRIT expresses the feeling of living with and without luxury. The song sounds like some fresh, sleek, satin-type stuff. I don’t know what Egyptian cotton feels like, but this song makes it sound like the materials for Heaven’s best tapestries. This is one of Big KRIT’s best songs.

-itzme

Itzme Review: SHIRT – RAP (Album)

Not too many people have the nuts and the wits to pull off what Shirt pulled lately. In case you’ve been living in a cave, the dude made up a New York Times article (featuring himself) that fooled tons of people and garnered attention, and even praise for his slyness. I’m not about to regurgitate another news article for you, but Shirt just dropped a new album that he obviously wanted attention for, the question to ask is, “was all that effort made to bring attention to trash or treasure?” The answer is, “It leans toward the treasure side.”

RAP is hit with the “album” title, but it comes across as more of a mixtape. Not too sure, if it has any original beats at all, but one doesn’t really get that feeling listening to it. T.Shirt just has an amazing presence on all of his songs. He’s the star. This is about him, and his life, no features, just really emphasizing the man at every detail. Even in his “Tuscan Leather” rap-over, he’ll make a listener forget it was originally drake’s song about halfway through. This track presence is a really unique skill Shirt has as a rapper, which makes him stand out.

The other thing that makes him stand out is just the strong imprudence of a lot of his lyrics. His song “N** On coke” exemplifies that with lines like:

“I f*** love your friends.

I wanna f*** you friends,

I’ve been thinking was to tell you ‘I wanna f** your friend’

Basically I just wanna f*** two, three of your girlfriends”

(Talking to his spouse) Oh you bastard, you.

Lines like the ones he has in that song among others (particularly the ones on his project The F* [NSFW]) are audacious even for a rapper. despite the appall, he’s also really inspiring and introspective in his rhymes. In “Life and Art” the rapper vents about how he was losing touch with the actual love of the music, art, and culture of rap to “the life” or being obsessed with the riches, business, and success portion of it all. Powerful stuff.

None of that wall of text above really even matters if the songs don’t sound good though.

They do.

“New B***” could easily be the best rap track of the year. The instrumental is irresistibly groovy from the beginning to the beat switch at the end. Shirt flows so catchily, and the whole record just gives off the feel of a cologne commercial. Any person who listens to this will just feel like that dude. Just walk in the club to this joint, and you’ll be more popular than the dos equis guy. “Stolen Norman Rockwells” is guaranteed to have you doing the Terio dance.

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The song has a flawless pace with the rhythm of his verses and the transitions between them and the chorus. everything is in equilibrium.

RAP feels like another one of Shirt’s one-two punches. He’s definitely building his buzz up with this. Most would be satisfied with an overseas number 1 hit record, not Shirt. He’s saving the haymaker for once he gets on top (no pun intended). As far as hold-overs go, this is very impressive. definitely cold.

Favorites: “New B***” “Understated”

Songs That Blew Me: < I can’t believe I typed that for this project, bruh.

SHIRT Spotlight

Itzme Review: Isaiah Rashad – Cilvia Demo

As you probably already know if you’ve been interested enough to read this, Isaiah Rashad is the newest signing to the upstart rap label TDE. Back in ’12 they was pretty much dropping the best hip-hop collectively, aside from Fool’s Gold. That being said, people tuned into Isaiah Rashad quickly, being associated with that name. Now all of a sudden everyone’s excited about this Cilvia Demo. “ISAIAH RASHAD ISAIAH RASHAD OMG”

kinda blindly in a way. Butttt is this album deserving of ALL the hype? Nottt reaaaally.

Okay okay, now don’t get me wrong. Cilvia Demo is a cool listen, it’s not hot gahbage. The overall feel is really laid-back (aside from Soliloquy) and sort of dreary like a boring summer day or a chill Sunday. Rashad sports a comfortable array of cadence patterns to fit his beats. A common shortcoming of rappers that he manages to avoid on this album is that he doesn’t rap the same on every song.  There’s subtle sorta-clever moments throughout this joint, namely on the aforementioned “Soliloquy”.

“Don’t you put me on Freshman covers, I’m posin’ for lunch”

Most of the songs are pretty catchy, even if just by pure repetition. All of the beats are cool, they all kinda add to that feel I was talking about before. So pretty much anybody can pick up Cilvia Demo, and not be disgusted by it. That’s an extreme emotion though.

The main thing that holds back Cilvia Demo is there’s no standout features about it. None of the songs are really about any… thing. There are no genius concepts, flow acrobatics, mind-melting punchlines, impressive melodies, just… decent music. Throughout the joint, Rashad makes a lot of shallow references to his father, and by the end of the tape you wonder if he actually cares, or if he’s just saying it to invoke sympathy or make him look deep. He wavers from rejoicing in his debauchery and potheadedness, to sort of feeling guilty about it, which would be a little more respectable if the looks at them weren’t so shallow and short-lived. His delivery doesn’t help either. Albeit decent to listen to, it doesn’t have any feeling to it. You listen to “Banana” and he’s literally yelling:

“My daddy left me with no details

Came back with a b** and a stepson

I guess he forgot he left sumn”

But it comes across with the same passion as the subsequent line:

“Pearl necklace, I empty my left nut”

Just Eeyore level personality.

The other qualm with this album is how he does a lot of the hooks. Some of them may be catchy just off the virtue of the same thing being repeated over and over and over and over, but some of them are just sad. Danny Dee descends from the beat heavens and gives him this “Brad Jordan” instrumental and he says “feel like I’m Brad Jordan, feel like I’m Brad Jordan, feel like I’m Brad Jordan, feel like I’m Jordan” in the most dull mumbling he could think of, and it’s shocking because the verses are pretty nice. He gets on his J. Cole ish by singing his own hook on “West Savannah” even with a very capable singer being featured on the track. Needless to say, it made the song much less enjoyable.

Cilvia Demo is great background music. A person listens to Cilvia Demo, and they probably bob their head, wave their shoulders, perhaps even enjoy the lyrics. However, that person really doesn’t learn anything about Isaiah Rashad, but that his father left (and not how he feels about it besides it’s bad… I guess), he smokes and drinks, and he listens/ed to the same stuff that 90% of people who listen(ed) to rap listens to. If I had to describe the album it would be smooth, shallow, and bland.

This joint cool enough to be in the refrigerator though.

Favorites: What favorites?

Songs that blew me: None really.

Unstoppable

Art by Mya Carmichael

Rap gets so much flak. Ever since NWA, and even before, rap has just been incriminated constantly as something that’s so negative for society. It’s been seen as a main and even sole contributor to gang violence, promiscuity, vulgarity, etc. All rap isn’t the same, and everyone knows that, however it’s still looked down upon the same by most of society. All of this is to try to knock rap off its pole position.

In its humble beginnings, rap was more of a party music. After that, though, it evolved to a conscious and political style of music, and has remained so since. Rap has subjects about literally everything, good or bad. Things like police brutality, gang violence, drugs, urban struggles/oppression, and so on do not get talked about in other genres as much. In [roots] reggae you get a lot of religious and government critical lyrics, but that doesn’t add up to the widespread consciousness of rap. Despite this, rap has been painted as such a negative thoughtless, violent, and negative culture of music. Even now you’ll have people talk about how “everyone listens” to Gucci Mane, Chief Keef, etc. even though Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore (both conscious rappers) are some of the highest selling recording artists in the game right now. The “nobody wants to hear that type of stuff” excuse isn’t applicable anymore, and hasn’t been in about a good decade.

As Jermaine Dupri said, rap songs have more lyrics than other songs. Rap songs have floods literary devices, poetic techniques, and figures of speech. In fact, some rappers abilities rival those of major poets. A naysayer would love to mention songs that have repetitive lyrics or simple and vulgar lyrics (that are debatably not even rap songs) and say that is the norm for the genre.

One of the main premises of rap is “who is the best MC?” The culture of rap is so competitive. Being the most clever with your wordplay or rhythmic and intricate with your flow is the most ideal things in this genre. In other genres where two singers may collaborate with one another, the reaction would be “oh what a pleasant sounding duet.” Whereas in rap it’s “this guy had the better verse, he killed that track.” Though these are generalizations, you don’t really find the latter situation in an R&B or pop or rock song. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing is ones opinion, but as far as its impact on culture, it shows that having real thought and effort behind a rap artist’s music is important to the listeners as well as fellow artists.  The hip-hop culture is very critical, and (barring few situations) we hold artists very responsible for everything they say and do. For recent example, the situation with J. Cole making a comment about mental retardation in his rhymes.

Stop trying to ostracize and incriminate something that you are ignorant to. We are so passionate and hardworking over this, why try to break us down. If you don’t like it, don’t listen, and as Kanye said, “don’t talk.”

For another look on the hip-hop culture, check out this Emmy-nominated documentary by Byron Hurt:

Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes

Kwes da Natty Jedi – R*O*T*I

Audial epics by ST3 rapper, Kwes da Natty Jedi. Yo boy chills, spits, swags, and flows his way through this 8-track EP. He establishes himself in more than one type of sound, which is commendable in itself. You also get a piece of Kwes the man, in his personal life. It goes deeper than just talking trash on tracks. Features Frozen 10 awardees, CJ the Genesis and Suede Moccasins, among others .