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Tamrind Targets – [Tha God Fahim] & [Left Lane Didon] ft. [Mach-Hommy]

By John Matraia // 17 Oct 2019

Despite his massive back catalog, Tha God Fahim refuses to miss. He’s currently on a run like none other. Take, for example, the beat that immediately graces the listener’s ear on his collaborative track with Left Lane Didon and Mach-Hommy, titled “Tamrind Targets”, which has a new set of visuals to go along with it. Like I said, Fahim doesn’t miss, and he lost his mind on the beat here, as he produced this track himself. The production features some very subtle percussion, as the beat is most prominently dominated by an absolutely stunning, but eerie string sample that carries the five-minute track without growing stale. Fahim wasn’t finished there however, as he drops a great verse as always, preceding a nice verse from Left Lane, and the two emcees show great chemistry here with compatible styles. Mach-Hommy is a name that will always turn some heads. There’s no verse from him on this one, as he’s just on the hook, but we’ll take anything we can get from him. He does a little singing number as he tends to do from time to time, and it adds an intimidation factor to the track. This track is part of a …

YBN Cordae – RNP (feat. Anderson .Paak)

By John Matraia // 15 Oct 2019

The Anderson .Paak-assisted “RNP” is not only a standout from YBN Cordae’s breakout album The Lost Boy, it’s a musical highlight of 2019. The sharp and funky production, playful lyricism, and unmatched chemistry between Cordae and .Paak makes it a song that deserves all the praise it can get. Luckily, the track is back in the spotlight with some fantastic visuals to accompany it, and just like the song itself, they pull out all the stops for this one. It stars ‘Big Play’ Cordae and ‘Sweet Shot’ Anderson in all their glory, who, throughout the video, prove to be brothers on the street, and on the basketball court. The video follows the two on their quest to the 1975 summer classic championship not only on the court but off the court as well. This truly is quite the production. There are a number of different scenes throughout the video, with various different costumes, all of which are phenomenal. The story depicted here matches the sentiment of the song and really brings a whole new light to the track. It’s truly a blessing to see this video, starring .Paak and Cordae, come to life, due to the infectious and seamless nature of the track, …

uknowwhatimsayin¿ – [Danny Brown]

By John Matraia // 7 Oct 2019

Danny Brown’s brand new album uknowwhatimsayin¿ is the sound of the Detroit rap artist settling into a new chapter in his life. It’s been three years since the release 2016’s Atrocity Exhibition: an off the wall rap record that has proved to be a standout from the decade due to its erratic nature, dark topical focus, and ability to push boundaries to a point where it can’t quite be classified at times.  Most have been wondering since then, how does one follow up an album like Atrocity Exhibition? Based on the singles he has released in 2019, along with his new record’s cover art and his overall appearance, all signs pointed towards a Danny that is in a better place than ever. And now after hearing uknowwhatimsayin¿ in full, that is further exemplified, as this is Danny having his most fun in years. Of course, Danny’s rapping is on point as always, and the production is top tier here, with credits from Q-Tip, Paul White, JPEGMAFIA, Flying Lotus, Thundercat, and more. Something else that stands out from this record are some extremely well-placed features, from Blood Orange to JPEGMAFIA. The JPEGMAFIA contributions in particular need to be mentioned, mostly due …

Terror Management – [Billy Woods]

By John Matraia // 7 Oct 2019

Billy Woods isn’t the easiest artist to write about. There’s so much that can be said about the range of ideas packed into his verses. Based solely on his bars, there’s no doubt that the man is a genius, and he puts this on display once more with his second album in 2019, Terror Management. It follows the Kenny Segal-produced Hiding Places from April, and this one proves his consistency and versatility more than ever.  Terror Management is all over the place, which serves as a nice contrast to the more cohesive and linear Hiding Places. There are genuinely pretty moments standing right next to startling and dark ones on Terror Management, like the track “Birdsong”, which consists of two wildly different parts. Messiah Musik, Preservation, and Blockhead each produced multiple tracks here, Elucid handles the beat on “Cornstarch”, and Uncommon Nasa contributes a noisy, thumping beat on “Gas Leak” that Billy absolutely bodies.  Lyrically, Billy seems to be in a rut similar to the one he found himself in on Hiding Places, as he touches on a range of topics, some political, and some personal. He continues to prove what makes him such a great lyricist, as this project features …

Pusha T Deserves The World

By John Matraia // 30 Sep 2019

Photo Credit: Matt Berg (Instagram) (Twitter) Attending school in Western Massachusetts is pretty much what it sounds like. For those unfamiliar with the area, it consists mostly of farmland, and while the vast space can make for some beautiful scenery, it is far from an urban environment. The densest areas population-wise are colleges and surrounding towns, the largest of which being the University of Massachusetts in Amherst (UMass), with a student enrollment of over twenty thousand. The school is the centerpiece of the area, and as a result, has been able to land performances from big names in the past. Rap music fans like myself eagerly await the announcement of these school-wide concerts, due to the general concert drought we tend to find ourselves in. Live music is abundant in Western Massachusetts. One can catch an indie rock band in a basement somewhere on pretty much any weekend, but rap shows are rare. This past March, the school secured Future to headline a show at UMass, and it was without a doubt a highlight of the year. So, when a poster appeared on a bathroom door outside of my information systems class declaring that the legendary Pusha T, alongside Lyrical-Lemonade …

6 A.M. – [$avvy]

By John Matraia // 27 Sep 2019

Sometimes a music video can really elevate a song to the next level. It’s not that the song can’t stand by itself, but that sometimes visuals can more easily convey an artist’s message and show their true artistry. This is how I feel about $avvy’s new track and video “6 A.M.”, which features some visuals that ought to make anyone do a double-take. $avvy’s image and overall aesthetic has been impressing me for a while, and his ability to capitalize on this with his distinct music and visuals makes him the real deal to me.  Sonically with “6 A.M.” we get some pretty subdued boom-bap production, done by the man himself, and some personable bars from $avvy, who drops just one verse here, full of solid rhyme schemes and nice double entendres. He mostly speaks on the reality of having to work hard once you grow up, and the visuals depict this perfectly, with great costume design that switches throughout the video mirroring his lyrics. The video most notably features a pretty simple but effective editing technique, one that depicts $avvy in a new scene, and thus a different situation, every time someone walks by the camera. After working hard …

Don’t Go Summer – [Tha God Fahim]

By John Matraia // 18 Sep 2019

Summer is over, and while Tha God Fahim isn’t happy about that fact, he’s ready to face the reality of it on his new track “Summer Don’t Go”. This is the second track he has recently released that is produced by Earl Sweatshirt, and this producer-MC combo proves to be killer once again. The sentiment of this track consists of Fahim’s deep admiration for the warmer months, as he reflects on his summer lifestyle as it comes to a close for the year. The hook here is such a great embodiment of his feelings, as he lays out all of the different seasons and how he tries to embrace the feeling of summer no matter the month. He wishes that summer would stay in the fall, and come sooner in the spring. In the winter, he tries to channel that warm sensation despite winter and summer being at opposite ends of the climate spectrum by dancing in “summer flames”, as he raps. The production here is primarily a pretty simple loop, with a nice piano melody and subtle bassline that compliments Fahim’s flow well and fits the warm, nostalgic mood of the track. His delivery is top-notch as always, and …

in and out – [Ladon Alex]

By John Matraia // 18 Sep 2019

Most of the population can’t say they are talented in even one sector of the arts, so when someone that dabbles in multiple facets and is actually talented, they deserve all the praise they can get. This is how I feel about Ladon Alex, who has been blessing my twitter timeline with aesthetically-pleasing visuals for quite some time, and now on top of this, has caught my ear with his new track “in and out”. Cover art is as important as ever, and Ladon is completely aware of this reality, as the artwork here, which he designed himself, reflects the skeptical and reflective nature of the track. The production here is handled by masked man, who brings a somber instrumental with some cool details included that coasts under Ladon’s raps and guide the song well. “in and out” consists of just two hooks and a verse, but it comes together nicely and says everything it needs to in just one minute and forty-four seconds. The hook reinforces the sentiment that the verse relays about trusting the process, and growing as life comes at you, realizing that everything happens when it does for a reason, despite how it seems in the …