POSTS BY: JOHN MATRAIA

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Maneuvers – [They Hate Change]

By John Matraia // 4 Dec 2019

They Hate Change is striking while the iron is hot. The Florida duo has completed their 2019 trifecta – three great EP’s in one year. And the best part: they’ve only gotten better with each release. Every EP sees the duo honing their skills and perfecting their sound. One day, we’ll look back on 2019 as the year They Hate Change took it to the next level, and began their journey to stardom.  The newest EP, released yesterday, is titled Maneuvers, which serves as a fitting title to top off the group’s year full of huge moves. Production-wise, this is the group’s sharpest project yet. It’s full of low-key synthesizers that create a unique, futuristic atmosphere, and serve as a backdrop for Andre and Vonne’s fantastic verses packed with quotables. Vocally, the duo is hungry, and on every track here, they bring relentless flows chock-full of charisma and energy. Along with that, their chemistry only improves as the two make music together, and they have an impressive amount to say here. Maneuvers closes out with the epic “Steven”, a glitchy track with a jazzy twist that coasts along smoothly until the EP comes to a close on a high note. …

One Year Later, Earl Sweatshirt’s ‘Some Rap Songs’ is the Sound of Perseverance

By John Matraia // 2 Dec 2019

Great accomplishments often follow dark moments. As cliché as it sounds, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and we learn the most about ourselves at our worst moments. One can only grow from hitting rock bottom, and how we take responsibility for our situation and respond to adversity is a true test of character. Earl Sweatshirt’s Some Rap Songs, released one year ago, is the product of pain, stemming from different forms of loss, and it’s an album that represents the epitome of growth in sonic form. It’s a grim record, but the album’s core principle bleeds hope. From lines like “found a reason to live” and “I found a new way to cope”,  to the joyful nature of the instrumental outro “Riot!”, Some Rap Songs is an album built to guide listeners through trying times with knowledge that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Some Rap Songs came after a wait. It arrived over three years after the two projects Earl dropped in 2015, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, alongside Solace. With projects like these, it was hard to anticipate exactly what Earl would deliver in 2018, but no one was prepared for what fans received after the hiatus. Upon hearing the project …

Eat – [ElCamino]

By John Matraia // 26 Nov 2019

ElCamino recently released his great new EP, ElCamino 2, proving himself to fit right in with the other talents of the Griselda crew. It’s a project that subscribes to the “all killer, no filler” approach, with consistently great production, and ElCamino putting everything he has into all seven tracks.  Yesterday, as I was giving the project a listen, I decided that track six, titled “Eat”, was my favorite on the project, surpassing the ever so silky smooth and uplifting “Shrimp at Phillipes”, featuring Benny the Butcher. Now, there’s new visuals to support “Eat”, and I couldn’t be happier to see it. “Eat” features arguably the grimiest beat on the whole record, done by JR Swiftz, with great reflective story-telling from ElCamino, and a relentless flow. His lyricism is merciless, and cadence-wise, he poses as a nice middle ground for Griselda, with a sound that the group can easily build around, and off of.  Revisit “Eat” by checking out the visuals below, and stream ElCamino 2 here.

Premiere: Basics – [They Hate Change]

By John Matraia // 25 Nov 2019

Watching artists finally garner some well-deserved attention for their impressive work is beautiful to watch. They Hate Change has recently been gaining some traction, and it’s nice to see, considering their unique artistic vision and mind-bending musicality. More specifically, their most recent EP, Juices Run Clear, has turned some heads, for good reason, and today they’re back with insane new visuals for the track “Basics” from the project. “Basics” is a perfect example of what makes They Hate Change such a great group. Production wise, we get an alternative culmination of sounds that come together and result in an otherworldly beat, and on top of this, Andre and Vonne both lay down buttery smooth verses packed with charisma and catchy flows.  The visuals, shot and directed by Xandra Robyn, are up close and personal, like other They Hate Change videos, but this one has to be their best yet. It’s very disorienting, with intoxicating color palettes, and distortions that match the intricacies of the production within the song.  Andre and Vonne are on an absolute roll right now, and seeing a video like this further proves they’re destined for success. Check out this video down below and the rest of …

Poison Klan – [PlayThatBoiZay] ft. [Denzel Curry] [Anonymuz]

By John Matraia // 22 Nov 2019

Raw energy isn’t something every rapper can say they possess, and because of this, it never gets old. It isn’t as easy as just screaming into the mic, it’s about being able to hold you own over hard-hitting, noisy production. PlayThatBoiZay brings this much-needed energy to his songs and is able to bring the hard-core trap to the next level.  A perfect example of this is his new track, featuring Denzel Curry and Anonymuz, titled “Poison Klan”, from his new EP. PlayThatBoiZay was featured on the earth-shattering “P.A.T.” from Denzel’s most recent project ZUU, and here Zay proves he can bring that same energy to his own work. This track, in particular, is another meeting of the Florida minds, hence the title of the track, and proves how deep the talent in the Florida hip-hop scene runs. “Poison Klan” features a blistering, eerie instrumental, produced by Anonymuz, which makes for a tight knit, yet smoky, banger, and the visuals that accompany the track bring out its supernatural nature. The video is glitchy and distorted at times, and the forest backdrop makes sense, as this track has a hypnotizing nature that pulls the listener in and leaves them wondering exactly what …

Shrimp at Phillipes – [ElCamino] ft. [Benny the Butcher]

By John Matraia // 17 Nov 2019

I know, another Griselda write-up. At this point, it’s probably best to accept that if the crew keeps pumping out quality tracks like these, I’ll never stop covering them. This time, it’s the collective’s newest member, ElCamino, with a new track featuring Benny the Butcher, titled “Shrimp at Phillipes”. These two already lost it on the recent clipping. album. Both of these guys were featured on the same track, titled La Mala Ordina, and I’ve been obsessed with it since release. They both dropped great verses on unlikely production, and proved they could hold their own no matter the backdrop. ElCamino’s verse specifically stuck with me, with some hard-nosed and memorable lines that had me wanting more from the youngest Griselda shooter. I loved his cadence as well, it’s a nice contrast to the other members and allows everyone to shine in their own respective manner when on a track together. This new track featuring Benny is a must-listen, with a beautiful sample loop that complements the buttery smooth flows both emcees bring to the track. You know only to expect greatness from Griselda at this point, check out this track for yourself on all streaming services now and pre-order ElCamnino’s …

Uncommon Nasa: The Backbone of The Underground

By John Matraia // 13 Nov 2019

Uncommon Nasa is authenticity at its finest. He’s comfortable in his own skin, and he’s been operating on his own terms for years now. His unapologetic commitment to himself and his art for over a decade is what has solidified him as an impactful legend in the New York Indie scene. Nasa’s music is deeply rooted in New York culture, which is to be expected, considering he’s been there his whole life. It’s his default, in a sense. All of his music references home, sometimes more than others, but it’s always there. Despite some of the topical similarity that echoes throughout his music though, he refuses to stick to one sound. The classic, New York boom-bap influence is there, but Nasa understands the importance of pushing the ball forward, and makes his art with the intent that it won’t grow stale. His style is hard to pin-point, as his delivery can almost be classified as slam poetry at times, with extremely tight rhyme schemes and lyricism that demands the listener’s attention. Incredible amounts of time and detail go into Nasa’s art. He takes his time to make sure that every aspect of a record makes for a cohesive and engaging …

Grim – [Wiki] ft. [Denzel Curry] [Lil Ugly Mane]

By John Matraia // 7 Nov 2019

Songs that act as reunions have a special place in my heart. When artists spend some time apart and then join back together to make something great, the result isn’t just a song. It’s a testament to growth. The new Wiki track, titled “Grim”, featuring Denzel Curry and Lil Ugly Mane, features a couple of reunions, and the result is a great new cut. The production here is a nice middle ground for all of the artists involved. Woozy background synths add to the ethereal mood that suits Ugly Mane’s reflective, self-doubting lyrics, and the head knocking bass complements Denzel’s flow. Wiki brings it all together, and proves the fact that these three only get better with time. All three bar out on this track, bringing a focused energy, and complementing each other perfectly. It’s exactly what you would expect from three artists with such great ability as rap artists. This one came together quite nicely, and is an indicator that Wiki’s new album, Oofie, dropping tomorrow, will be great. Get ready for the new album by checking out this new track for yourself on Spotify down below.  

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