Zarin Micheal – Fuck You Reloaded (The Best EP You’ll Hear This Year)

It’s crazy how the world works. After listening to Fuck You Reloaded on SoundCloud a few days ago, I felt like I had just been slapped in the face; overwhelmed at what I had just heard. Just a day later Zarin’s manager submitted it. I was incredibly flattered, as this is the best EP I have heard all year, period. Every track sounds like Meek Mills’ Dreams + Nightmares, especially in the intro Blackface.

While Meek focused on impressing us from the beginning of his debut, it seems Zarin NEEDED to record this. He sticks to timely topics such as the fucked up state of our society, our crumbling political system, and finding strength in numbers. He raps about specific events in his life, and although it may come across as anger and pain, he often promotes rising above things we cannot control.

The production blew me away, and oddly enough frequent submitter Bijan Amir handled much of it. Preston also had his hands in it, and their collaborative powers created something classic.

The only problem I have with FYR is how short it is. I want more, and I rarely feel that way after hearing a someone’s music for the first time.

C. Shreve + John Alex Harper – Boom Bap Bistro (prod. by P.U.R.P.) (New Track)

Making his 5th flowsfordays appearance, North Carolina’s C. Shreve hits us with another classic collaborative record. If you’ve been staying up on the Professor, you’ll know he frequently works with fellow Free The Optimus member Mike L!VE. They always come through with the jams; using heavy instrumentation to compliment their dynamic bars.

It’s obvious Mike has excellent chemistry with Shreve, and John Alex Harper is another natural fit. He’s featured on their recent drop Boom Bap Bistro, which is Shreve’s most impressive track to date. They could damn near be a duo with how natural they sound trading bars. Their solo verses are just as solid, and producer P.U.R.P. gives an ample platform for both to wax poetics.

Shreve is currently finishing up several projects and preparing for a deep south tour that will take him through Atlanta, New Orleans, Birmingham, and other cities in the region. If anyone deserves this, it’s the Professor.

Nique – 25 To Life (New Track)

The burbs of Chicago rarely get love. One artist that might change that is Aurora’s Nique. He’s starting things off right with his debut SoundCloud single, 25 To Life. It dropped on his 25th birthday, and in just over 3 minutes he’s caught us up on his entire life.

The song speaks on his vices, specific struggles, and passion for music. A standout line sits in the beginning, giving us an honest portrayal of a man making art out of personal weaknesses : “I ain’t always living right/ I’m just tryin’ to feel the high.”

The sleek production comes from John Savage, providing a nice backdrop for Nique to wax poetics. I hope to see more collaborations between the two.

It’s only up from here.

Washington’s ZAK. Gives Us The Scoop On His Melodic New Single ‘On The Line’ (Dissection Interview Series)

Hey ZAK! How are you? 

I’m great Julie thanks for asking, and thanks again for the interview! 

Before we get into the music – give us some background on yourself and your music. 

So I’ve been making music for the past 6-7 years. I’m from Washington state, and consider myself a vocalist / mc. I started out writing poetry, which soon evolved into songwriting once linking up with some homies in college. I used to be a huge old school/underground hip-hop fanatic, but in the last 3 years or so my taste in music, and direction have changed pretty significantly. I’ve been making and releasing music for years, but I finally feel like I’ve reached a point where I have found my lane. 

So you just dropped a song called On The Line. Your submission subject was “alternative r&b song” and I have to admit I was expecting another run of the mill autotune record. This is much different. How do you stay fresh with so many artists following this trend? 

 I initially started out making strictly underground boom-bap ish hip-hop, but once I started experimenting more and more I found my love for melodies was just as strong as my love for rhymes. So I decided to combine the two, with some musical influences from my upbringing, to make what I like to call an “Alternative R&B” sound, music that is rooted in hip-hop, but leans more toward the melodies, smoother flows and more of a focus on the instrumentation and harmonies in the production. 

 Production comes from Eden. How did you guys link?

So myself and Edeez have still yet to meet actually. He is a young producer from Canada. I heard some of his work with Toronto’s Bane, and knew we had to get some work in. We connected via social media. Once I heard that beat I knew that was the one we needed to start with. Expect more work from myself and Edeez in the future. 

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How did the song come together? What was the recording process like?

The song came together very naturally for this one. I had heard of Edeez and asked if he could send some beats thru. He really enjoyed my sound and told me he’d send a pack thru. He did that and I immediately knew we’d be able to cook up some crazy sounds. Once I heard the beat I knew that was the first track we had to cook up. Still haven’t met the dude, but I’m stoked to see where our creative relationship goes, the kid is crazy talented. 

Did the lyrics come easily? What was the inspiration behind them?

The lyrics for this one came very easy. Once I wrote the hook and bridge, I heard the beat drop and knew exactly what I wanted to do and where I wanted to take the song. The song for me represents everything you’ve put on the line to get where you’re at, and knowing that you won’t let a soul get in the way of where we’re headed. I’ve worked with countless people who talk the talk, but when it comes to down to the work, can’t follow through. After going thru this so many times, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands, and build a new team from the ground up who I knew was going to help me take this to the next level. 

How do you manipulate your voice?

So I use a bit of auto tune on my vocals. Along with more vocal effects, but I’ve been really focusing in on the delivery of my vocals, and learning how to sing certain lines and verses in order to get the type of sound that I want. I’m inspired by an array of vocalists and mc’s but recently my most important goal has been “finding my voice”, and since I’ve been doing that it’s been opening so many doors creatively. So I’m thinkin I’m just gonna keep pushin the envelope and trying new things and see where it takes me. Ever since I started singin more, I fell in love with songwriting all over again. 

What has been the response like for On Your Line? Are you satisfied with how the song is doing?

The response for OTL has been decent. Not quite what I was expecting, but I’ve been gone a while so this track was a nice reintroduction to my music and all of the work we’ve got dropping in the next few months. 

What’s coming next for you? 

Coming next is a whole lot of singles to heat up the summer, get ready for some visuals soon and a project that is already in the works. Basically show the world this sound I’ve been molding, and show em the full range of my versatility as an artist, and then take it to the next level. We’re just gettin started!

ANXT – Watching Paint Dry (New EP)

ANXT is a hidden gem in the Chicago music scene. Who in their right mind would create a 17 minute project inspired by watching paint dry ? WPD is one of the most significant releases the lo fi hip hop world has ever seen, and I say that with no hyperbole.

Stream of conscious bars seem to ooze out of him; and these are no simple lyrics. Complexity is the name of the game, and ANXT does it beautifully. Just peep a segment from opening track Alchemy:

Mortal loud mouths making minimal sound/ too dense for vibration to bounce.
I found myself, building on foreign borders/ searching for common ground. The combat is close quarters.

It would be easy to compare the album to Madvillany (Madlib + MF Doom) in it’s theme and character, but ANTX’s performance sounds more genuine and from the heart. The production is mind boggling, with contributions from E.N.C., Donn $oulo and Save Allen. So much ground is covered in just 6 tracks, including (but not limited to) suicidal thoughts, the savagery of PETA, Pakistan, prostitution, racial divides, and temptation.

I was stunned to see the low stream count of WPD, and hope this write up draws more attention to this classic piece of work.

 

Jocky Bay – OG Jocky (Track, Video, and Artist Spotlight)

Florida Platinum Dynasty Gang representative Jocky Bay has been involved in music since age 7. Initially singing in his mother’s church choir, he learned how to play 5 instruments by the time he was 12 years old.

Struggle often pushes us into creative outlets, and Jocky suffered early on in his life. His dad ended up going to jail when he turned 13, and writing poetry kept him sane. As time went on, the poems turned into raps, and by the time Jocky was 20 he decided to pursue a music career.

He’s been working relentlessly on his upcoming project Florida Boi Blues, which is set to drop on Father’s Day. This is a very significant day for him, and a perfect time to release his debut.

I am pretty strict on our submission rules as I like to keep content fresh and timely. Although the official music video and SoundCloud stream of OG Jocky was released some time ago, his story moved me and I decided to make a rare exception.

The actual music and video are entertaining, but contain some somber lyrics. One sticks out in particular “Damn I miss my Daddy.” While sonically it may sound like a bouncy down south anthem, there is much more to it.

Get ready for Florida Boi Blues dropping on the 7th of June by following him on SoundCloud.

 

Mpulse – Untitled Bars (New Track)

The most skillful rapper out of Chicago has come through with another boom bap classic in Untitled Bars. He ditches the hooks for straight up bars, showing off his rhyming abilities. The musical chemistry between Mpulse and producers Keef & Lyle becomes more and more apparent each time they collaborate. You’ll hear it again in track Can’t Be Scared, released over half a year ago.

In Untitled Bars, Pulse wonders why “all these dudes sound the same,” as he continues to rep for classic hip hop brought to the forefront in the early 90’s. This marks week 38 out of 52 for Mpulse’s “52 Weeks” music campaign, where he plans to release new music every week for a year straight. You can check the previous 37 releases below. Don’t forget each one is available for free download.

 

Law Tha Dragon drops his best visual yet in ‘Free Spirit’ (New Video + Artist Spotlight)

Taking time off from a buzzing music career is few and far between. East side of Chicago rapper Law Tha Dragon knows this first hand. He’s been pursuing music since 2011, and dropped his first mixtape in 2012.

Fresh Start wasn’t a drop in the pan release, as he teamed up with Chicago legend DJ Honorz via LiveMixtapes. Law wasn’t satisfied with his sound, so he took a break to re-brand it. It all came together with the release of his independent album Sleepless Nights, which hit all major streaming sites in June of 2015.

The development paid off, as his aggressive approach to hip hop sounded more polished and passionate. It is best shown with the title track off his recent project, Free Spirit. Today we’ve been blessed with the visual treatment shot by Rickee Arts. Every bar is fueled with a confident camera presence, as we find Law on top of buildings, speaking on his soon to be takeover of the Chicago hip hop world.

Stream Free Spirit below.

Threat Digga – La Familia (New Track)

flowsfordays favorite Threat Digga hits our pages once again with another bangin’ record titled La Familia. The Pemberton, NJ shows his loyalty to his crew and the ones that have stuck by him since the start of his career. He also speaks on his successes, as his music continues to gain attention and press. Threat makes it clear that whatever clout he gains will be passed on to his extended family.

Any rapper will tell you having support for their endeavors is priceless. When they take L’s their friends build them up and push them to more forward and keep grinding. Keeping that at the forefront, Threat shows his mastery of high energy bars and descriptive lyrics. Production comes from KLAE who serves as the talent that brings everything together.

Casscade – #LivingInTheMoment (New Project + Review)

A flawless project is hard to come by, especially if it’s off SoundCloud by an artist that has barely cracked 250 followers. Casscade first drew our attention from his submission Favourite Girl which dropped this past February. We gave it a great review , and knew great things were on the horizon for the North West London emcee. Others have been taking taking notice as premieres have come from BBC 1xtra’s very own Charlie Sloth, Westside Radio’s Rebecca Judd, and Annie Nightingale, who hosts a show on 1xtra.

His newest offering, #LivingInTheMoment, is an exceptional project, and as previously mentioned, flawless. You’ll hear his undeniable spirit the moment opening track For The Manor hits. On Every Year he states: “if I said it then I meant it,” and you’ll believe his conviction after a full listen.

Most of the records have an accelerated pace, but things slow down on Pink Cocaine. The 808’s remain intense, but his flow is lethargic. Deep End is a sultry ode to a romantic relationship with beautiful vocals from r&b songstress Deanna Chase.

One thing you will notice throughout the tape is his confidence and eagerness to take the rap game by storm; not just in London but worldwide. He makes an excellent case. According to his Instagram and SnapChat the response has been incredible, and we couldn’t be happier for him.

Bonus: A direct quote from Casscade about #LivingInTheMoment:

This project was inspired by life itself. It was like a build up of moments from last year to now of trying to enjoy life with friends, life experiences and working hard on myself. I took a break just before summer last year to get my mind right, work on the craft some more and get that uptempo fire that I felt like I lost back.

Yomi – #THATHARPIST (New Mixtape)

After listening to just a few songs off Yomi’s new mixtape #THATHARPIST and I was lost. This wasn’t a negative experience – but a completely positive one. Yomi is a producer, harpist, and vocalist out of Chicago who is talented across the board. In her newest project she continues to hone in on her skills both with the strings and behind the boards.

This isn’t a solo affair, as vocal features come from Blake Davis (on four songs) and Pivot Gang member MFn Melo (on three songs), The rest is all Yomi, who will draw you in thanks to her ambient production and incorporation of live harp instrumentation. It is not an album, it is not an EP. It’s a mixtape from a harpist who has something to say. As the opening track encourages, “I hope everything goes your way today.

Additional Credits:

Engineered by Jasper MacRae (@jasper-macrae)

Album Art by Matt Wotjan (IG: digitalpaintfumes)

 

 

Adam Reverie – Passion (Video + Review)

Adam Reverie is celebrated amongst all of my blogger friends. From Justice (of the Demotape.com) to Joe Hovas, (joehovasmf.com) everyone seems to have caught on to his undeniable talent. When I started my first blog in 2011, Adam was one of the first artists that reached out to me. His first submission was Black Boy Out In Poverty, which sits in my iTunes to this day.  I’ve watched him grow for 6 years, and the hard work has continued to pay off.

Last year I purchased a physical copy of his EP Soul Ties after playing it through only once. (It helped that he did an excellent job on the packaging.) The project was released 8 months ago, and up until April, his output had ceased. Then his single Passion dropped, and SoundCloud went crazy. Now, with over 30K plays, we’ve got the official music video to the best song he’s ever created.

The quality of the song is matched with the visual directed by Uprising.TV & co-directed by himself. Reverie gives a passionate performance laced with high energy, vicious lyricism & a bad boy persona. His presence on film is exceptional; but it is the inspiring footage from his Sway In The Morning appearance that ties it altogether. It’s hard to imagine Adam doing anything other then prospering in 2017.

Nuworld Flood – Juiced Up (New Track + Review)

Southside of Chicago rapper Nuworld Flood has been proving his worth since 2014 when he first started recording. His first post on SoundCloud was a venting session, with similarity to J. Cole’s prowess as a story teller.

He’s not just a bar for bar rapper. 8 tracks and 1 project later, he’s shown his versatility ten fold. He can make melodic singles, flow over high energy production, and create summer anthems. His newest release, Juiced Up, is the latter.

It’s his most ambitious track yet, and a perfect way to start off the summer season. It brings together all the elements he has perfected in his 3 year long career…great lyrics, confident wordplay, and a choice of smooth production which has become his bread and butter.

The summer anthem part comes in with the liveliness of the production, trap influence and catchiness of the chorus. Play this loud, and get in tune to one of the hardest working rappers out of Chicago.

Skipp Whitman – Wild World (Video)

Hip hop started with the struggle. From The Message to Fuck The Police, to the expression of emotional struggle from cats like Drake and Chance The Rapper, we’ve heard pain and suffering since the inception of the genre.

While celebratory songs have always been a part of rap, we relate more to the trials and tribulations of relationships, mental illness, and the like. But, where are records about achievement and happiness?

Wild World, Skipp Whitman’s ode to the beauty in life, has hit on all of the above. This quote from Skip himself might give you a better understanding of the song:

There is something about moving on to the next phase of your life which forces you to think back on what it took to get you to where you are, and about what may lie ahead of you – in your future.

In the video, shot in North Hollywood, CA, you’ll see Skipp basking in the sun surrounded by a pool, seemingly as a metaphor for the bright aura that has surrounded his being.

The visual is shot by Imani Pina for Sweven Productions, and co produced by Elijah Harris. Wild World, is a song from Skipp’s new album, Piece, that I highly recommend giving a spin.

Ajani Jones – Eternal Bliss (New Project + Review)

Our love for Ajani Jones is endless. Just read our write ups. He’s released an EP, a few loosies, and performed at shows around Chicago. His work has all been leading up to this: his debut project titled Eternal Bliss.

To get a full length from Ajani is more than a blessing, but essential to the year 2017. He is one of the most talked about new talents out of the Windy City, and this LP has proven his worth. It was premiered by arguably the most influential hip hop blog of all time, FakeShoreDrive, and has hit a total of 8K total streams in just 3 days. His success isn’t lucky, it’s well deserved.

Eternal Bliss is his most ambitious project yet, starting with the production. Guitar licks, ambient soundscapes, classic hip hop samples, and gospel influence laces the 10 tracks. 3 producers contribute to the project, with Blooka on 6 songs, Quickly, Quickly on 3 and The Kount on 1. Ajani approaches each song with a different mindset. Some contain off kilter rhyming, others with a classic hip hop flow. One thing stays consistent – his ability to rhyme efficiently on every topic imaginable such as hope, pain, the past, and the future.

The featured artist’s are not all rhyme slingers, but songstresses and back up vocalists. With one full listen you’ll hear the depth and amount of work that went into just under a dozen records. Give this thing a listen, as it will undoubtedly make year end lists around Chicago hip hop blogs (at the very minimum.)

 

Savage G – California Palm Trees (New Track)

California hip hop is not my forte, but I’ve grown to love the diverse sounds coming out of The Golden State. The Bay Area has always been a hot bed of talent, but other towns are continuing to show promise.

San Bernardino County is one of them thanks to Savage G. Although his stream count may not match his quality output, I am confident his movement will continue to grow.

One song that will help him out is California Palm Trees. With a minimal beat from producer Young Taylor, Savage spits with aggression about his hope to one day be the king of California. While this might be a little difficult to achieve, he is definitely on his way to a successful career within his hometown – and hopefully beyond.

lowlifeilli – Fuck It (New Track)

“Mumble rap” is often seen as a joke in the hip hop world. It’s become a bit of a worn out trend, especially among the hopeful rappers in the SoundCloud universe. I’ve heard a great many that sound uninspired; almost as though they are riding the wave just to cater to listeners that are drawn to the sound.

A good chunk of the submissions we receive do fall into this increasingly popular sub-genre. While some are actually pretty dope, there are many that fall to the wayside. lowlifeilli’s newest track Fuck It is not one of them. He has admirably tagged the track as mumble rap, calling out the elephant in the room. Yet, he’s confident in what he has created. His producer, Antonio West, sent him the beat, but lowlife could not think of what to rap about. He said “fuck it” (hence the title) and wrote about “literally nothing.”

Lowlife describes Fuck It as “a fun song about nothing. Perfect for when you are in a “fuck it” mentality.” He doesn’t give himself enough credit for this one, as his enthusiasm propels the song forward – especially with the chorus over Antonio’s thumping bass. Give this song a listen and FREE download above.

Izzy Strange – A Good Day 2 B The Bad Guy (New Project + Review)

Dropping 6 singles before the release of an album is unconventional at best. Pennsylvania’s Izzy Strange did it anyway. Why wouldn’t he with features from Blu, Mick Jenkins, and Nate Fox?

It all worked out as his sophomore album A Good Day 2 B The Bad Guy is flawless. Izzy sent me an apt description of the project which you can find below.

“AGD2BTBG represents the stigma that chasing your dreams brings. The project revolves around the obstacles of the pursuit and what comes along with it. It also serves as a statement to prove that even thru the doubts and struggles, I’m here to stay. Music is my sole calling and I’m willing to go to any lengths to prove that. It was time to finally tell my story and share it with the world. I hope listeners appreciate the music and take away just as much feeling as I put into making it.”

Although the promo singles were numerous, this is truly a project meant to be played from front to back. Netherfriends, Danny G, Red Pill, Tahlyn, Mike Incite and DJ Halo also lend a helping hand with the body of work, making it a family affair. Many are involved, but Izzy is the obvious star of the show.

AGD2BTBG’s bread and butter is Izzy’s honesty. Some of his most personal songs of his career are on here, making the 15 tracks a compelling listen. Stream above.

Photo Credit: @blvcksirens

Mpulse – Broadcaster (New Track)

You know the drill – Mpulse drops a song – we post it. It’s never a favor to him, just a tribute to the amazing music he makes. This one is called Broadcaster, and is Pulse at his most confident. He demands respect for his capacities as an emcee, and it’s hard to not give him props. Although I enjoy his collaborations with his go to producers, it’s great to see a fresh face in the line up.

estrykerSPEAK provides a gritty, boom bap instrumental, helping Mpulse evoke a 90’s NY type flow. Broadcaster marks week 36 out of his 52 week campaign, and the series is only getting better. You can catch all of the drops here.

5th Sequence and Randal Wyatt – Why Oh Why (New Track)

Portland stand up! We rarely get submissions from one of my favorite cities in the world, but when it happens it’s always a welcomed surprise. 5th Sequence and Randal Wyatt are new to my ears, but they’ve just released one of my favorite tracks this week in Why Oh Why.

It’s mellow, soulful, and a perfect pick me up for any bad day. The duo describes themselves as “Boombap specialists & avid hip hop fans with a desire to spread awareness of social issues while advocating revolutionary agendas of self empowerment.” With one listen to Why Oh Why, you’ll understand their reasoning.

This is the first single from their upcoming album Circadian Rhythms, dropping July 30th. The record is a great introduction to what they are capable of as a duo. The LP is only their 2nd release together in over 4 years, so I have no doubts it’s going to be something special. I’ll be watching for the release, and you can too by following them on BandCamp. 

Lastly – 5th and Wyatt have started a GoFundMe page for those who want to pre-order the album and merchandise or just support the cause. Those who are interested in supporting the album can pre-order/donate HERE.