Barcelona – [Mick Jenkins] prod. [NISSIM]

By Mike del Ro // 23 Oct 2018

We’re just days away from Mick Jenkins’ highly-anticipated ‘Pieces of a Man’ project, and it seems the Chicago wordsmith just couldn’t wait till Friday without blessing listeners with another preview of what to expect. Monday, Mick dropped a killer visual showcasing two tracks off the album, “Padded Locks” featuring the legendary Ghostface Killah and “Barcelona”. While the first song gets teased, the majority of the video centers around the second track. Mick raps his ass off in a way that makes it impossible not to appreciate his craftsmanship. He talks his shit with a razor-sharp tongue, taunting his competition with a barrage of flows. It’s refreshing to hear Mick coming through so energized here, and it only makes the prospect of his forthcoming album sound even more promising. It’d be criminal not to also recognize the insane beatwork on “Barcelona”, courtesy of NISSIM. The producer and college student currently based in Chicago makes his presence known, laying down an eerie instrumental that Mick absolutely bodies. Keep an eye out for more from the young producer via Soundcloud if you like what you hear. Peep the video and new singles below and get hype for Mick Jenkins’ ‘Pieces of a Man’ …

Aolani EP – [Aolani]

By Mike del Ro // 22 Oct 2018

Aolani, a 20-year-old singer-songwriter out of LA, dropped her debut EP last week. The self-titled project blends cozy, groovy RnB with elements of dream pop, allowing for a full introduction into her world. The rising artist’s songwriting centers around love, relationships, and all the feelings that come along. Aolani writes from a place of unguarded vulnerability, and while the lyrical content itself may not jump out at a listener, the emotions running through Aolani’s mind carry over seamlessly in her inflections. On the production end, entrancing synths and syncopated lo-fi percussion accentuate the softness of her vocals throughout. As she floats almost weightlessly across these 8 tracks, Aolani carves out a space for herself in the up-and-coming RnB genre that’s all her own. Stream the EP below, and keep up with Aolani’s Soundcloud page here.

Different – [Family Reunion]

By Mike del Ro // 19 Oct 2018

Watching Family Reunion’s Jackie Carlson carve out her own niche in Chicago’s music scene over the past year has been nothing short of a spectacle. She dropped ‘J’ back in February, a debut EP that tied together the alternative/indie and electro pop sweetener that made her early singles slap. Her output hasn’t slowed down since, and with a second project set to drop Oct. 26, Family Reunion’s come through with a new single titled “Different”. Leaning more heavily on synths to drive the track, “Different” sits on the more poppy side of Family Reunion’s discography so far. Guitars still pang back and forth, putting a serrated edge to the rest of the lush, clean production. Not to get overshadowed by the production, Jackie’s songwriting stands as the main attraction. Fed up with the negativity surrounding her and hearing people talking shit, she refracts her bitter heart into melodies that you can’t help but bop along with. Listen to “Different” below, and look out for her EP dropping next week.

Breezin & Coolin – [SoloSam]

By Mike del Ro // 16 Oct 2018

The steady success of SoloSam’s ‘ITIS’ EP has been well-deserved for the independent Chicago rapper, and his come-up thus far has thrived solely on the quality of his music. His style is grounded in straightforwardness, leaving nothing to distract from his sheer rap skills and abilities as an artist. In his latest video for “Breezin & Coolin”, a standout track off ITIS, Sam reminds us of this fact with a visual that packs a punch behind the laidback single. He embodies the song’s title in multiple ways: riding around on a scooter, playing tennis with a giant robot, and turning into a centaur for some reason, he appears to give zero fucks as he delivers some of his strongest bars to date. Directed by Chicago brother-duo Stripmall and premiered via HotNewHipHop, “Breezin & Coolin” marks an exciting new development in SoloSam’s already successful year. Watch the music video below:

Robot Jesus EP – [CLICHE]

By Mike del Ro // 12 Oct 2018

Following up on a couple fire singles, CLICHE drops his debut effort today in the form of an EP. Titled ‘Robot Jesus’, the project offers an introduction to the scope of the 19-year-old artist’s talents, painting him as a dextrous lyricist with an imaginative mind. Over four tracks, a constant bounce supercharged by CLICHE’s seemingly boundless energy resonates, making for a project that’s altogether just fun to listen to. He has an undeniable ear for catchy hooks, and in between the nursery rhyme-like cadences, he makes stories based on real experiences feel like outlandish tales. Under CLICHE’s animated presence lie beats that feel just as playful, thanks to producer Jachary. He embellishes CLICHE’s buoyant persona with pounding percussion and video-gamey textures—a natural combination that ultimately pays off. With the release of ‘Robot Jesus’, CLICHE secures his own sound and gets a party started along the way.

Clockwerk Orange – [Vagabond Hendo] Prod. [Swarvy]

By Mike del Ro // 11 Oct 2018

A rapper by the name of Vagabond Hendo makes his first appearance on our page today with his latest track, “Clockwerk Orange”. I’d never heard of Vagabond Hendo before coming across this song, and upon hitting play, his name was engrained in my mind within seconds as one I ought to remember. My immediate first impression was how difficult it felt to place Hendo in an era, and while his deep-toned, steadily knocking flow delivers a dose of old school nostalgia, his output thus far feels more timeless than a nod to the past. On “Clockwerk”, he ruminates out loud, pondering his place in the world, his relationships, and his art. It’d be criminal to not mention the ridiculously cold beat that’s enabled Hendo to do his thing. Philly/LA-based producer Swarvy has produced some of my favorite beats this year, and Hendo flips Swarvy’s track “Overdose” in a way that fits naturally. It’d be easy to get outshone by the beat, but instead, Hendo wields it to his advantage and raps his ass off in the process.

Jordan vs Jackson (Like Mike) – [Eiigo Groove]

By Mike del Ro // 9 Oct 2018

Hearing about a new song or artist from someone in person versus on the internet makes the discovery feel that much more organic. At a party this weekend, someone mentioned I should check out a rapper from Chicago named Eiigo Groove. I immediately typed his name into Soundcloud and played his latest song, trying to drown out all the other noise around me at the time while holding my phone up to my ear. Although listening conditions were far from optimal, the track still stuck, and after hearing it again in the peace of my own room, it became apparent that this rapper who I previously hadn’t heard of was on to something. Eiigo Groove’s “Jordan vs Jackson (Like Mike)” seems to pit the two legendary Mike’s toe-to-toe, and along the way, the Chicago artist turns the track into a come-up anthem of sorts. He raps about aspirations and hustle with a fresh sense of ferociousness, offering listener’s a quick spitfire of a track that shows a whole lot of promise in the process. The booming production fits his flows with drums that crash to the punches of his tongue-twisting cadences. He puts full conviction into everything he says, making …

Break the Simulation – [Cameron Butler]

By Mike del Ro // 7 Oct 2018

North Carolina based producer Cameron Butler is no stranger to our page, and the multi-faceted artist’s output this year has been nothing short of impressive. Along with his full-length ‘Pink Nirvana’ project, on which he introduced listeners to the most experimental limits of his sound, he also recently dropped the smooth, vaporwave-inspired ‘Fly On The Wall’ EP. Today, Butler keeps the hot streak going with a new single titled “Break the Simulation”. Butler continues to prove he’s not afraid to push his style in different directions, going for more a party track with this song. With that said, he still works in the spacey textures and auto-tuned vocals that have become a staple of his sound so far. Listen to Cameron Butler’s new song below: