No Rush – [Kiana Valenciano] ft. [Billy Davis]

By Mike del Ro // 13 Feb 2020

There’s certain songs that take a listener out of their surroundings, seemingly slowing down time for the moment their tuned in. RnB vocalist Kiana Valenciano does just that on her latest track, “No Rush”. Blending electronic, funk, and RnB into a mesmerizing mix, Valenciano and producer Billy Davis turn wherever you are right now into a dancefloor. Over the smooth production, Valenciano’s sweet, airy vocals become the main attraction on this track. She mirrors the melodies of the track’s synths and guitars in a way that blends into the beat seamlessly, encapsulating the sound of the song in her own tone. The rising artist’s discography so far showcases her versatility, culminating last year on her album ‘See Me’. “No Rush” continues to highlight the breadth of her talent, venturing into a fusion of genres that pairs perfectly with her crystal clear voice. Listen to “No Rush” by Kiana Valenciano below:

Two Three – [SoloSam]

By Mike del Ro // 13 Feb 2020

Chicago rapper SoloSam released his ‘Plated’ EP a few months ago, and now he’s given one of the project’s standout tracks a worthy visual to accompany it. “Two Three” pays tribute to Chicago legend Michael Jordan, idolizing him for his hustle and iconic status, and the music video follows the same pattern by recreating some of the most memorable pop culture moments of Jordan’s career. SoloSam has built a reputation for conceptual videos that pair well with the themes in his songs, and he’s found success working with Chicago-based directors Stripmall Productions in the past. Sam and Stripmall continue to strengthen their collaborative relationship on “Two Three”, really playing into Jordan’s larger-than-life influence and integrating it into the video through Stripmall’s signature visual effects. “Two Three” adds a fun visual accompaniment to an already energetic track, making it all the more enjoyable to listen to and watch.

A Conversation With Pivot Gang’s MFnMelo

By Mike del Ro // 7 Feb 2020

For MFnMelo, the adage that you’re only as good as who you surround yourself with seems to hit home in a way that’s different than most people’s interpretation. It’s more about looking out for everyone in his inner circle over himself, only feeling fulfilled if those around him do too. This value for looking out for his loved ones holds true so much for the Chicago rapper that it comes up as the central theme of his latest project, ‘Everybody Eats’–an impressive sophomore effort from the Pivot Gang member that positions his consistently strong flows and ear for melody at the fore. 2019 marked a busy year for MFnMelo, marked by both the releases of ‘Everybody Eats’ and Pivot Gang’s group project ‘You Can’t Sit With Us’. On both projects, Melo came into his own, distinguishing himself sonically while proving to be yet another powerful weapon in Pivot Gang’s homemade arsenal. With 2020 ahead of him, Melo stresses to only expect “more muhf**kin” in the near future. Find out exactly what to look out for from Melo and watch him break down the process of making ‘Everybody Eats’ in our new interview below: *interview by Mike Del Ro & Elliot …

Nightmare – [Alex Banin]

By Mike del Ro // 5 Feb 2020

Every once in awhile there’s that one song that sticks in your head after you’ve only heard it once or twice. Not in an annoying intrusive way, but in an organic way where the melody just organically makes its way through your ears and imprinted in your brain without you even realizing. Songwriter Alex Banin strikes that careful balance on her latest single, “Nightmare”. Banin’s songwriting and vocal abilities get their shine on this song over bubbly poppy production from vlush. Despite the lyrics centered on the memories of an ex lingering around, the song elicits this feeling of dancing through heartbreak. The song’s composition builds in intensity in a way that prevents it from getting repetitive, and the harmonic layers of Banin’s naturally raspy voice stack on top of each other, adding a level of emotional intensity that mirrors the production. Banin’s previous single, “Hollywood (No This Isn’t)”, embodied a more soulful RnB sound, and while “Nightmare” may be a poppier detour, both tracks fit together on an emotional level and suit the Chicago-based artist’s voice in a way that sets her apart. Get familiar with Alex Banin on her new single “Nightmare” below and keep up with her …

The Idle Mind – [Yourbeautifulruin]

By Mike del Ro // 4 Feb 2020

When a producer releases their own project, it’s a unique chance to get a more in-depth look at an artist who usually isn’t the main attraction of their own work. On his debut project titled ‘The Idle Mind’, producer Yourbeautifulruin opens up his own mind to offer a glimpse of his purest form of creativity, amplified by a versatile circle of collaborators who each add their own voice to the mix. Marked by luscious live instrumentation all throughout, ‘The Idle Mind’ is not only a flex in Yourbeautifulruin’s knack for exciting compositions, but it blossoms into a blissful listening experience as it plays through. His mix of jazzy percussion and uncanny rhythm floods each track in a sea of sound that swirls around a listener in unexpected and hypnotic patterns. He mixes in flute solos and funky bass lines to keep things moving at a fast-pace, allowing for a plethora of memorable moments to come to life with perfect timing. ‘The Idle Mind’ also introduces a roster of impressive vocalists, ranging from soul vocalists to rappers who all make their contributions intentional in moving the project forward. Standout tracks include the animated “Anything’s Possible” featuring Miyka’el, IsaiahG, Kashow & sunswan …

Diva – [The Kid LAROI] ft. [Lil Tecca]

By Mike del Ro // 31 Jan 2020

The Kid LAROI’s takeover seems inevitable at this point. The buzzing Austrailian artist continues to build traction with his versatile mix of angsty pop melodies and addictive flows, and these highlights of his music come through loud and clear on his new track, “Diva”. Not to mention he adds fuel to the fire with a feature from Lil Tecca, a combo that meshes naturally over the song’s trappy, upbeat production by Dez Wright. Following up his work with Cole Bennett on the music video for “Let Her Go,” LAROI and Cole make it happen once again with another memorable and crisply edited visual for “Diva”. The video has fun with the song’s subject matter, showcasing Tecca and LAROI trying to get away from a neurotic diva personality. In between, the two young and already-certified hitmakers click on-camera and on the record, making for a collab that’ll soon find its way into your daily rotation.    

Q&A: Chicago’s CP releases debut project, ‘CINEMA’

By Mike del Ro // 24 Jan 2020

For Chicago rapper CP, making music just seemed to go with the natural flow of his life. From messing around in the studio with his friends to dropping his first official song a few years ago, the process has never been something that’s forced. This approach to rap resonates on CP’s debut project, ‘CINEMA’, which showcases the artist homing in on his own sound–an eerily cold mix of hard trap and drill production paired with the rapper’s whispery, raspy vocal tone. While CP distinguishes himself on ‘CINEMA’ by embracing this darker side of his sound, the rappers who’ve influenced him up to this point effortlessly come through in his own flows. As a result, ‘CINEMA’ functions as a solid introduction to a rapper who thrives off of following his gut, never overthinking while still delivering something that sets him apart from the pack. Listen to the full project and find out more about the making of ‘CINEMA’ in our latest Q&A below: — MDR: How did you get into rapping and how long have you been doing it for? CP: I’ve been making music for about 2 years. It started ‘cause I was just trying some new sh** with my …

FAF/Peakin (Music Video) – [Juto]

By Mike del Ro // 17 Jan 2020

Following the release of his ‘Wool’ EP in November, Juto is back with a visual for two tracks off the project, “FAF/Peakin”. The singer and songwriter has established his name with a unique blend of RnB, funk, and alternative influences laden with a soothing vocal style, and all of these aspects of Juto’s music come through both sonically and visually in this new video. Directors Tommy Nowels and Matthew Kaplan align their vision with Juto’s musical style in a way that meshes naturally, and the overall cinematography of the video utilizes creative shots that match the tone of the song. Being Juto’s second official music video that’s been released, his character comes through in front of the camera and matches the indifferently angsty attitude that gets portrayed lyrically. The second half of the video switches tones to a much more serene environment, as Juto is seen lounging in a dreamy tropical garden, finding peace of mind as the credits start to roll. Watch the video for “FAF/Peakin” below: