Get Refreshed: Making Sense of Guilty Gear, Defining HYPERTRANCE, and an Ode to Neo-Y2K Design

“Get Refreshed” is a weekly column by Billy Bugara covering all things digital in the music world. Refresh yourself here.  Cover by Nick D’Apolito Outback + optic core: “dreamcosm” Oh to be as talented as either of these two forces of dance production… it’s a dream that I certainly have without question, but that really doesn’t matter for someone in my position. I can’t even imagine how other full-time dance-based producers must feel when listening to the continued near-flawless work put out by both BetterTogether’s Outback and Eldia’s optic core — it must be hard knowing that the absolute most has to be done in order to top what these two are capable of on their own and in so many different manners at that. Given what’s been said of their respective solo work, the prospect of their combined talents coming together as one would make any fan and/or contemporary alike ecstatic to no end. And with the release of “dreamcosm” – the first single off of the duo’s forthcoming collaborative EP set to drop less than a month from now – consider that idea of a “prospect” to be dead and buried. Instead, pay witness to the expected greatness …

Atlanta’s Most Wanted – [Ola Runt]

Ola Runt’s prolific behind-bars run of faithfully dropping music continues today with the release of the much anticipated project Atlanta’s Most Wanted that is another collections of songs Ola left behind. If you are a die-hard Ola Runt fan then you have already heard a few of these tracks, but it is still unbelievable to me that now after months of incarceration Ola is still able to pump out a steady-stream of music that still has not taking a drop in quality and is yet to lose its experimental edge. It is honestly a tragedy that Ola has been taken away from us as he is easily one of the very most exciting Atlanta artists to surface within the decade and unlike so many others in his city Ola never once shied away from pushing boundaries and trailblazing his way to his own unique flows and sound. “Zion and Zay” is a melodic new cut I had not yet heard from Ola, as is the VL Deck and 24Lefteye assisted “Zone 6” where the trio memorialize the area lost to gentrification through a romanticized lens of a violent and drug-addled, albeit tight-knit and very historical, remembering the good and the bad and …

Out Da Box – [Ola Runt]

Despite still being locked behind bars Atlanta Zone 6 representative Ola Runt has been consistent and prolific with his musical output and is still showing no signs of slowing down despite having been gone for several months now. “Out Da Box” is Runt’s latest visual that was brought to life by an Atlanta based dance group whose performance matched Ola’s in both energy and swagger and it is interesting to watch Ola and his team innovate with his videos as he obviously cannot currently be on camera but nonetheless still manages to put out captivating visuals. The menacing and upbeat production was supplied by Beyondrich YT and the video’s direction and editing was handled by Benji Flores. Keep your head up Ola, all of us cannot wait until you come back and drop some new music and I can say firsthand that in his hometown of Atlanta his absence is being felt greatly.

dltzk: A Life Before Teen Week

It has become abundantly clear that the next era of music will be defined by the idea of adolescence. Not just through the teens that are crafting and communicating these notions in the online music landscape, but the music industry as a whole in how teenage-centric it is slowly coming to be. The loudest and most creatively-sound voices in this artform are coming from – or, at the very least are inspired by – this age group and all of its contemporary signature facets. But in taking all of this in, a central question remains: what kinds of things define this adolescent archetype? Well, as far as an artist’s perspective is concerned, 17-year-old New Jersey prodigy dltzk seems to have all of the answers.  It’s a telling sense of self-awareness; it’s a high level of uncertainty; it’s a constant mental battle day in and day out; but maybe most of all, it’s impassioned creativity. These are all aspects of one’s modern teenage life that dltzk has given to us on nearly every single one of their past offerings. Vocally, lyrically, and instrumentally alike, this phenomenal talent has expertly communicated these sentiments in a wide-ranging and all-encompassing manner all by themself. …

Washington St – [24Lefteye]

Atlanta’s trendiest upcoming rapper 24Lefteye is back with a new visual this month for his track “Washington St.” that showcases his unique flow and complex wordplay skating all over the stripped back and minimalist production that allows his bars to stand in stark contrast to the beat. The Henxhmen Gang affiliate has been making quite the name for himself in the city alongside the currently incarcerated Ola Runt and is proving worthy to fulfill the shoes Ola is leaving behind for the time being. Much like many of the other exciting young Atlanta rappers Lefteye is obviously a stylistic disciple of the legendary artists that he grew up listening to but in his distinctly trendy fashion he is putting his own spin on the sound and flow that turned the city into the epicenter for all things rap in the whole world. I can’t wait to see where 24Lefteye takes his sound next and am excited to see him start to collaborate with more producers and continue to feed the streets of Atlanta with his music.

Insomnia – [Juno] x [AViT]

Standing adjacent to the washed out and tired trends that the apex of pop music showcases is its less-prominent, yet ever-rising counterpart — a scene made up of artists that find solace in embracing the truest and most genuine aspects of pop rather than its “popularity-based” facets. This is a group of musicians who find solace in embracing the most abrasive, wholesome, and absolutely genuine aspects of what makes this genre click, all from their own unique cast of singular inspirations.  Two acts that have debuted within this scene just recently and have since seen their stocks rise at such exponentially-drastic levels – all based on their remarkable talents alone – are Juno and AViT, both laying claim to a rapid rise in success after their respective pop stylistics did all the work for them. These two are exceptional examples of the ways in which this scene clicks from an artist-to-artist based perspective; they are simply two admirers of the history of pop music – whether mainstream or otherwise – and have taken those inspirations and ease-of-access to them in their own hands to create music that is wholly future-peering in essence.  The two just capped off their life-changing 2020 …

Red Rum – [Ola Runt]

Atlanta rapper Ola Runt is back yet again with his new visual “Red Rum” off of his recent Beggin’ for a Body project and this TK808 produced song comes at a time of much chaos and upheaval in Ola’s home city and his native Edgewood has been making several headlines over the past month or two for their raucous, not-socially-distanced block parties and most recently a mass shooting during one of these said block parties over the Fourth of July as twenty-three people were shot and two, unfortunately, lost their lives. However even amidst all of the strife and chaos throughout Edgewood and the greater Zone 6, Ola Runt has managed to unite this area under his own unique and brash banner of support that was recently stamped for eternity when Gucci Mane made Ola his first signee to his revamped label “The New 1017” alongside other new street titans like Foogiano, Pooh Shiesty, and Big Scarr. Gucci recently even hopped on Ola’s breakout track “Feel Like Guwop” which paid homage to the East Atlanta legend who in many ways walked so Ola could run, and also musically bears many similarities even though the sound and culture have certainly evolved …

Squeeze – [24LeftEye]

24LeftEye is another rapper showing tremendous promise from Atlanta’s notorious east side and recently the Ola Runt collaborator unveiled his debut mixtape “Life of a Henchmen” which although very raw was a fantastic first release from the youthful MC. My favorite visual and song from the project has got to be LeftEye’s menacing track “Squeeze” that reveals both the grimy, grittiness that emanates from his music, but also the distinctive charisma that has helped make him a quick fan favorite for many. The mixtape features his FrontStreet peers Ola Runt and Woo Da Savage and I am very excited to see where 24LeftEye can go from here and I am certainly very interested to watch him carve out his place alongside Ola Runt as one of the premier rappers in Zone Six.

Atlanta’s Ola Runt talks recently signing to Gucci Mane, his debut mixtape “Mama Tried,” and coining the term “ZaZa”

The current climate of rap has been hurting for years thanks to a generation of copy-cat artists and “type” songs, and while there is no inherent problem with this and its categorical nature has helped canonize many of rap’s under-publicized sub-genres, the issue at hand is how sparce innovation has become, and when artists do attempt to go outside of the box to try something new their attempts often come off as generally facetious or attempt to pass it off merely as trolling when it is not well received. It is quite rare for an artist to be able to simultaneously experiment while holding the increasingly short attention spans of their audiences, and this is, at least in my opinion, one of the main hallmarks of great artists in the digital world. Atlanta’s Ola Runt has been able to do this masterfully, pushing the envelope by further warping and developing the trap sound that his city has polished for over a decade now. The Edgewood native is no stranger to criticism and comparison, as he was recently thrust into the public eye after inking a deal with Gucci Mane that made him the new face of 1017 alongside fellow Atlantan …

SANTANA – [Slim Santana]

Melodically inclined Atlanta rapper Slim Santana returned recently with a new eight-track project titled “SANTANA” which gave us another look at the Yung Bans and YNW Melly collaborator who is looking to cement himself in both the fast-paced Atlanta scene, but as well as more of a presence from the masses of rap listeners on the internet. Santana is quite naturally gifted and has a unique voice and flow and on this latest project, he seems to have found his voice more and is beginning to carve out his own personal style. The project features Oz Sparx, Ola Runt, and Yung Bans and these could not have been more perfect selections for SANTANA’s guest verses. As usual Slim’s beat selection was always in pocket and never dull and I have to say that the Oz Sparx featuring track “Like I’m Durk” is my favorite track out of the eight. Keep an eye on Slim Santana for the rest of 2020 and I am personally very excited to see what he unloads next.