Funhouse Mirror – [Marlon Craft]

Personally, I’ve been following the long and exciting journey of Marlon Craft for several years. The NY based rapper has evolved from throwing up classic hip-hop remixes on Facebook and YouTube into an artist capable of offering some of hottest bars in hip-hop on an original and refreshing new album. Funhouse Mirror, Craft’s debut album, contains a plethora of impressive flows, lyrics and production and includes features from Nyck Caution, Dizzy Wright and more. Craft’s effortless delivery, intricate rhythms and multiple cadences are proof that the young emcee is more than capable of running with the best. Already acknowledged as one of the strongest lyricists in New York, Marlon Craft is destined for greatness with this one.

Give It/What I Get – [HUNJIYA]

Every single day, multiple times a day, I find myself scrolling through SoundCloud looking for new artists to write about. Few and far in between are the artists that I find myself latching onto, but when one of these artists finally does come around, I always try and figure out why I’m so allured by their music. In the case of my latest discovery — HUNJIYA and the incredible new song, “Give It/What I Get — the reason for my sparked interest is that of knowing oneself and one’s team in an artistic sense. From the very opening seconds up until the switch up and the eventual end of this two-part offering, it’s clear that everyone involved didn’t just know their role, but rather, they knew how to play as a team. If I hadn’t read the credits of the song in the description on SoundCloud, I truly would have never guessed that this was a collaborative effort. The seamless marriage between production, lyrics, deliveries, aesthetic, and everything in between honors cohesivity more than anything else, and resulting is an unbelievable song with a dream team of collaborators as the masterminds behind the job. That said, not only is “Give It/What …

Believe in the Tree – [Reek] x [Sage]

San Antonio bred rapper Reek and producer Sage have combined their talents to share an album that showcases their individual skill and collective greatness. Believe in the Tree, the nine-track album proves Hip Hop is alive in well in the Lone Star state. This may not be their first collaboration but it surely ranks as one of the most exciting thus far. Comprised of laid-back production and entrancing lyricism, Sage and Reek deliver a clear and present sign of their chemistry as a tandem. The opening track, “Wings,” sets the groundwork for the project’s overall sensibilities that resonate for the 22-minute duration. Focusing on each contributor individually, Reek showcases his abilities as a rapper on songs like “Jigga Man,” “925” and “Barry White” artfully controlling the inflection in his voice to create a varied effect with each bar. Moments when we get to hear the gifted wordsmith sing only fuels our curiosity into the future sounds to come. Producer Sage is a master behind the boards, contributing a malleable production on tracks like “P” and “Wake Up” that can keep the mood relaxed or amped. The replay value of the pair’s latest offering is off the charts, especially when you blare it …

Sweet Darling/Switch Up – [Kevin George]

Though he’s been steadily dropping music this year (all of it exceptional), I’ve been really excited for something big from Kevin George; probably because his music has been so great. Now, with the announcement that his debut album, My Darlings A Demon (set to drop August 9th), it looks its time for the Connecticut crooner to cash in on all his hard work. Giving you another chance to hop on the bandwagon before it’s too late, George dropped off a two-pack with “Switch Up” and “Sweet Darling.” With these two, it’s a pick-your-poison approach, because you really can’t go wrong with either one. In fact, with a more pop-centric vibe, they are both likely to get stuck in your head. “Switch Up” definitely has more edge with a heavy, cutting guitar driving the production, but even with a lighter, breezy feel to match the subject matter, “Sweet Darling” has its own distinct power. George’s ability to hit with a variety of styles, all with a distinct, radio-ready feel, is one of his strongest assets and if these two cuts are any indication, My Darlings A Demon, will be must-listen stuff. That said, stream “Switch Up” and “Sweet Darling” down below:

Zoo – [Carlito]

By: Stacy Burse, Jr. Last week S.N.B.JR. Records artist, Carlito, dropped an amazing piece called “Zoo” which is part of his #Lito12fo12 series. In “Zoo”, Chicago Rapper Carlito shares his truths.  He shares his struggles about trying to make it in life as a young black man and as an aspiring rapper from the Chicagoland area. He does this over an “old-school” inspired beat with multiple flows and electric energy, which becomes more enticing as the track progresses. In the #Lito12fo12 series, he plans to release a song every month (12 songs in total). Every song will show a different style of Carlito. “Zoo” is the second track of the #Lito12fo12 series. The first track of the series is called “Rolling“. Check out Carlito’s “Zoo” below and let us know what you think in the comments.

Waste My Time – [Zaia]

Last month, I was put on to Zaia thanks to Seamus’ dope write-up of “Blue” and I’ve been spinning’ it like a dreidel ever since. Still, with a few different styles (all packaged together perfectly) I was really eager to found out what he would follow up with so I could get a better sense of who he is and what kind of music he makes. Well, after “Waste My Time” I still can’t pin him to any one genre, but I’m officially a fan. The Atlanta product feels like a rapper with the way he fits in with the snapping drums, but he has a little bit of crooning in his delivery which makes me feel like he’s more of a singer. Those aren’t the only two forces in play either; with the subject matter, the punching delivery on the hook, and the subtle rasp in his voice, I get a strong bluesy, rock influence as well. He may be tough to pin down, but that’s not a bad thing. Whatever you want to call it, I’ll take as much of this as I can get. Zaia definitely has himself a new fan here.

its like basketball – [MIKE]

MIKE is one of the most promising up-and-coming rap artists at the moment. From his intoxicating and off-kilter delivery, to his unique and eclectic production choices, he’s proved his prowess for dense songwriting and received waves of attention in such a short time due to his boundary-pushing artistry. Last year he dropped one of the better rap albums to be released in 2018, late-December’s War In My Pen. Now in 2019, he has a new project, titled tears of joy, releasing on June 21st, and his new song “its like basketball” is the first offering in support of it. The production on here, handled by Sportinglife and DJ Blackpower, is hypnotizing as ever, and MIKE’s cadence is hazy but strong, perfectly suiting the ethereal beat. Along with this, the rhyme schemes housed within his pitiful delivery are enthralling. It’s safe to say that all of the great elements of MIKE’s music are on display during this minute and a half teaser track, and I can’t wait to hear his new project in full. Check out the “its like basketball” visuals, courtesy of Dey Visuals, for yourself below and look out for MIKE’s new project on June 21st. You won’t want …

Iridescent Luv – [Flwr Chyld]

I love the growing trend of producers taking the reigns and releasing their own albums. Considering that they are the ones largely pushing the genre, ushing in new sounds and styles, it’s only right they get the spotlight every once and while. It’s not an easy art form to master, however, as it’s easy for the producer’s voice to get lost amongst the sea of features that accompany the instrumentals. Well, Atlanta producer/songwriter, Flwr Chyld found the perfect balance on his new Iridescent Luv and earned his first Lyrical Lemonade feature in the process! Though he doesn’t sing himself, Flwr Chyld makes his voice heard with some stellar warm, R&B-leaning production. Despite a different voice (or three), on each track — all of whom do a great job of complimenting the producer’s sound — the project flows perfectly and feels cohesive thanks to the texture and bounce Chyld puts in his boardwork. Iridescent Luv is a nice summer listen, and a good intro to a producer who I’m excited to see more from whether in the spotlight or in someone else’s credits; I have a feeling he’ll be getting some work after this one. Standout Cuts: “Feel The Breeze,” “Love 2 U,” “Cocoa”

Cousin Stizz’s Suffolk County: Identity, Storytelling, & Longevity

As an artist in today’s day and age, it’s easier than ever before to make your music accessible to the world. This empowerment for creators arrives with numerous benefits, but it also operates at the cost of visibility and in the long term, longevity. Now that anyone can put their music online and gain a following at the click of a few buttons, it’s easy for great art to get lost in a sea of mixtapes and loose singles, regardless of quality or sound. Furthermore, even if a given project or upcoming artist does begin to receive their deserved attention, the sheer volume of options that listeners are now presented with makes it difficult to capture an audience’s focus for more than a few moments. With this in mind, how, in the current condition of music, does a project last? Why do people keep listening and what is it about either the music or its positioning that makes them want to stick around? Well, like all things, there’s no black and white answer to provide here. Nevertheless, one reason that we’ve seen in several cases throughout recent years is that of cultural context. If a project can capture and create a moment …

Baller – [Helen Hailu] ft. [Deus Lee]

Developing your appeal as an artist is certainly no simple feat. For some artists, it takes time to refine both your sound and image in order to present the art in the best light possible, but for others, this appeal is innate. In the context of Helen Hailu, the latter is the case. Hailu’s silky smooth vocals and naturally-alluring personality are only a few pieces of the puzzle that makes her such a great artist. Seemingly without trying, she always knows just how to capture and maintain the attention of her audience, and today, we see this in the context of Hailu’s incredible new visuals for “Baller” featuring Deus Lee. Warm-weathered and love-minded as can be, this track is certainly an anthemic release to use as the soundtrack to this summer. Hailu’s flawless deliveries wash over the hypnotic production with a luxuriant tint, and Deus Lee’s strong guest feature backs this up while furthering the message of the song and keeping the perspective fresh. That said, a great song deserves great visuals, and we’ve received just this in Hailu and Lee’s new music video. Not only does this one capture the inimitable smoothness of “Baller,” but it does so with …