Let's Talk about the Living Legend that is LA's Terrace Martin
Jan 12, 2022
Terrace Martin’s sound is still evolving, and that’s because he doesn’t only have one. Like everyone on this planet, he’s complicated. But unlike anyone on the planet, Terrace Martin has found a way to explore the depth in each and every of his complexities to the tune of a damn good record. His soundscape is complex because his sounds are many, and his draw is simply that he’s omnipotent in exploring new directions that are simultaneously so very rooted in sounds of the past.
Pink Siifu |
2021's Best and Most Influential Artist of the Year
Dec 31, 2021
For an artist, releasing one album is enough of a challenge. Sometimes a project can take years. Sometimes, a masterpiece can take a decade. But for the Birmingham-born rapper and all around experimentally creative tour-de-force that is Pink Siifu, one album – albeit a masterpiece two other albums in the making, at the end of a string of Gulf Coast underground exhibitions that have shaken hip-hop to its avant-garde core – is small change.
Joyce's Wirce's Overgrown |
The Project that Defined 2021
Dec 30, 2021
True to her rangy roots, Overgrown brims without any boundaries of stylistic scope. And perhaps a play at her own sweet time taken in its release at last, the album’s name, too, is an admission that all of her time exploring music has left her own musical prowess vining over the fence to continually seek nourishment in newness. Here, Overgrown basks in its sunny stylistic transcendence.
The Rise of Nappyhigh |
The New Artist that Defined 2021
Dec 29, 2021
At all times, his sound breathes of the storied past of the West Coast beat narrative, and yet, his sound is also undeniably new. A new chapter for transcendent production that brings together a rangy scope of artistry across genre and era; that brings to mind the genius of other modern names like Kaytranada, Sango, and the Free Nationals. Nappyhigh is the kind of new artist so necessarily rooted in the past while willing to take liberty with it, that his impact will be greater than just about any other by the time it’s all said and done.
Don't Go Tellin' Your Momma | The Video that Defined the Year
Dec 28, 2021
Some context: the film is at once a visual representation of Topaz Jones’ 2021 album of the same name; an immersive short film dictated by the transcendent soundscape of hip-hop, funk, soul, and jazz; a collection of diary entries pulled from the Jones family archives; a documentary brimming with the insight of Black community leaders; and a reinvention of the Black ABC’s: a 70’s Chicago-founded flashcard system that helped Black youth learn the alphabet through visual motifs born from relevance in their own lives.
Meet Me On Cloud Nine | A RhymezLikeDymez Pop-Up at Art Basel
Dec 18, 2021
During Miami Beach’s annual installment of Art Basel, a mosaic of artists, fashion designers, and musicians descend on Wynwood, even when they and their work aren’t linearly connected to the gala. And of them in 2021, it was Belgian-born and based Robin Velghe – better known as his project name, RhymezLikeDimez – whose illustration and animation brought to life the most fitting of identities to land itself in Wynwood.
Periphery | An Essay on Everything that Happens in Art Basel's Orbit
Dec 11, 2021
Art Basel’s 2021 Miami Beach Edition, where the palpable creative energy of the city, and of artists and creative minds from around the world, come together to exhibit and celebrate far beyond the walls of Basel’s own extensive gallery held within the awe-inspiring modernity of Miami Beach Convention Center. Around the rest of the expansive city, from the charming antiquity of Little Havana to other rising neighborhoods eager to share their own art – their own stories...
A New Era | How a Street Culture Oriented Crew Stole the Miami Show
Dec 10, 2021
Even amongst a string of original Warhols and a gallery room dedicated to immersing viewers in the provocative etchings and sculpture of Basquiat, the neo-cultural transcendentalists – rapped about over trap beats, written about on Highsnobiety, collected by hyebeasts – found themselves and their work stealing the show and the conversation at Miami Beach in 2021; at the onset of a new age merging the analogue with the digital, transcending the boundless spectrum of artistry and redefining its definition at a macro scale.
Recap | A Comprehensive Review of Art Basel Miami Beach
Dec 9, 2021
No one viewer can claim that they see – that is to say that they aesthetically appreciate or even understand – everything on display. Instead, Art Basel’s immense expanse at its Miami Beach edition alone grants any and all attendees the opportunity to immerse themselves in art and whittle down their specific yet undeniably always evolving taste for aesthetics, experience, and their intertwined paths that bring about inspiration and awe...
Best in Show | Larry June Live in Denver @ the Summit Theater
Dec 6, 2021
It’s always a party when Uncle Larry rolls into town. The son of musicians, exposed early in life to the vibrantly unique and rapidly expanding soundscape around him, the ardently West Coast lyricist and father of his own particularly mellow take on Bay Area hip-hop has been developing that skillset and texture since youth. Elevating both his own style and subsequently – through years of consistent releases and much-deserved growth – that of the modern West Coast cloth and all of hip-hop at large...
BLK ODYSSY Mints a Golden Thesis on Retrofuturistic Range
Dec 1, 2021
There’s a bone-chilling vernacular that bleeds from every darkly poetic, silkily sewn corner across the timeless discourse of funk, hip-hop, and soul. You know it when you hear it even if it can’t be defined in straightforward terms. It’s simply there. It is simply is, it simply was, and it simply always will be echoing of human emotion, projecting of something deep within our hearts and, for lack of a better word, our soul...
The PSV Store is Curating Creative Intersections in Nashville
Nov 28, 2021
‘I don’t even see myself as a bridge, honestly. I’m more of an intersection. We’re all supposed to meet at some point. I just make it a little more intentional on showing love while we are all at this particular red or green light. Really, I’m just the crossing guard,’ he said when we asked him to speak on connectivity. Ask any Nashvillian to discuss creativity or traffic metaphors, and you’re sure to get a thought-out response.
Mike Floss is a Hip-Hop ‘Oasis’ with Poetry and Power Driving New Project
Nov 24, 2021
As a short EP should be, it’s a deep-diving exhibition on the complexities of his creative sphere, predominantly as a rapper with a whole lot to speak on. For Floss and through Oasis, that hip-hop palette emerges clearest through the traditional pillars of rap: the rhythm and the poetry; the written and the delivered; the thought-provoking, the emotion-evoking, and ultimately, the connected to.
Dijon’s Debut Album ‘Absolutely’ Defies Stylistic Expectation
Nov 20, 2021
It has always been a challenge to define what it is that Dijon does. Music, absolutely, but beyond that, the immersive scenes he sets accept – rejoice within – an air of illusive indefinability. Opaque in their nature to belong anywhere specific, yet simultaneously gleaming with specificity towards the most curious of musical moment, lyrical detail, the Maryland-raised, Los Angeles-based songwriter thrives in an ability to liken his debut album to the anonymity and surprise of a roll of disposal film being developed.
Femdot is ‘Not For Sale’ Balancing the High-Energy, the High-Minded
Nov 17, 2021
From Chicago with one of the most unique sounds across the hip-hop landscape, Femdot is Not For Sale. Musically, creatively, personally, and at a grander scale, socially, his sound, and his thematic discourse, too, have detailed the balancing act between rising notoriety in the creative sphere through a medium that has long thrived on braggadocio and hype with a continued obligation to his community and those in the community and beyond who listen to him, look up to him.
Everything You’ve Heard About Summer Walker’s ‘Still Over It’ is True
Nov 10, 2021
The slow, meditative, traditional R&B with a new-wave cut is Summer Walker’s bread and butter. Poetically navigating the rest of the album with a layered expression of emotion wallowing in the constant relationship struggles that plagued her debut album, and though evolved, continue to plague her current one, too, she constantly proves worth the hype of staying in sad on a Saturday night. And really, there’s not much more we can say that hasn’t already been said...
Art + Design
FOLKLORE | Seck's Exhibition Debut in Nashville, Tennessee
Nov 9, 2021
‘For me, identity is always important. I’m not saying that you have to look at my work and see me in it, but somehow a part of me belongs on it. And I feel like that could be the reason that I draw the way I do. When I used to draw cartoons and stuff, I was just bored, and it was just doodles. Now I actually draw with intention. Now that I have this style, and this that I want to convey, and this that I want to do, the intention is there, so the Senegalese roots play a part in it.’
Raveena is Accepting Applicants to her Mutual Aid Grant
Nov 3, 2021
The first round of mutual aid applicants are applying for a musician wellness mutual aid grant that ‘prioritizes Black and Brown women and gender-queer artists with audio-based soundscapes, providing micro-grants and mentorship.’ As a first generation, bi-sexual, Indian woman and artist, she’s aiming to support those with a complex identity like her own who can in turn shine a light – like she does – on the art of underrepresented peoples...
How New Zealand’s ‘I Love Ugly’ Edged out Streetwear for Lifestyle
Nov 1, 2021
I Love Ugly. It’s a bold central affirmation from which to outwardly cultivate a brand, let alone to build a brand into one of the most intriguingly design motivated and understatedly consistent collectives in the underbelly of an oversaturated streetwear market. And yet, without a glimpse in their portfolio that any eye would likely consider ugly, the New Zealand brand, born and bred, has spent more than a decade curating a blend between the idyllically minimal and the omnipresent statement...
Kyle Dion’s ‘SASSY’ is a Musical Reinvention of Fun-Loving Self
Oct 31, 2021
As a person and as an artist, he aims to push his boundaries, and with a voice like his, he also has the ingrained opportunity to push the boundaries of music and expectation altogether. At the end of the day, it seems that during the curation of his new chapter, his complexities leaned more toward the rooftop than the bedroom, and the outcome flies in the face of expectations on R&B music today; defying, too, that one can even label Kyle Dion as an R&B artist without completely undermining what is it that he’s building...
An Interview with Denver-Based Rapper + Artist, Jerney
Oct 26, 2021
Walking through South Denver’s Washington Park, Jerney’s stoic nature was the first thing to notice. A mosaic of changing leaves stood at all times cohesive with the pale pink military jacket he sported, either juxtaposing or just matching enough the color already on display. And yet, from hearing his music – most recently his new collection, Motion Picture Season 2 – the natural aesthetic vibrancy meeting head-on with his mellow stoicism made a lot of sense...
The French Boot Company Merging Sustainability and Style
Oct 25, 2021
Make sustainable footwear, make it look good and high-quality, use its conscious pedestal to make it stand for even more, and then make it all cyclical. With Virón, Matt Rombaut, his entire creative team, the brand producers in Portugal, and their collaborators in Berlin are making some of the most aesthetically dynamic, environmentally sustainable, morally founded, ethos-centric, futuristically designed, and collaboratively intertwined footwear anywhere in the world today...
An Interview with Nashville-Based Creative Enigma, $avvy
Oct 20, 2021
The 21-year-old enigma of breadth is a product of many places, many sounds, many looks, and many passions. A musician, a rapper, a vocalist; a model and a designer. $avvy at once breathes of a creative maturity and an easy-going youthfulness that leave him in a place to create freely while also doing so with an exactitude of direction. And so early on in his career, the bountiful range he already exudes is sure to continue to bloom. But for now, we speak to him on his roots, his influence, and the depth of his vision...
Refined in its Many Diasporic Styles-du-Jour, Juls’s Sounds of My World
Oct 13, 2021
Above all else, the album’s amalgamate auditory journey exists within the walls of a long night spent dancing at a club in Accra; an early morning emerging from a South London basement party where the DJ, like Juls – or maybe Juls himself – bleeds of a musical understanding that is especially wide-ranging. Tethered akin with a case study on West African rhythm, the highlife of beachy guitar strums tied to choral progressions...
Leon Bridges Put Aside the Pop-Soul and Dropped a New R&B Moment
Oct 11, 2021
Out with the saloon piano, in with the playful key progressions. In with Terrace Martin and Robert Glasper, along with Nate Mercereau and Ricky Reed who oversee the album’s production at large. And with the legendary composer-producers, in, too, with the modernity of hip-hop basslines, jazzy composition, digitally perfected production, and subsequently, a new sound of Leon Bridges – something more stylistically aligned with Funk and Rhythm and Blues than influences from the earlier decades that his foundation was built upon...
Chuck Indigo’s Newest Project Explores Every Shade of his Sound
Oct 10, 2021
Through its twelve tracks, Shades Of Indigo first and foremost lives up to its name. A rainbowic exploration of all the color in Chuck’s expansive sound, the EP is one that should be handed to a listener when they first stumble across his ever-expanding soundscape. A one-of-a-kind vocal register that bleeds through the music whether he’s delivering his words rapped or sung; the ability to harken onto that register and deliver soulful bouts and hooks throughout; the knack – perhaps the sharpest tool in his bag – to envelope a listener’s attention with poetic, prophetic penmanship and immersive...
Why You Need to See God-Like Bassist, Thundercat Live in Concert
Oct 3, 2021
Even amongst the almost entirely positive stream of emotion and connection that concerts have in our lives, there are generational acts that bring an even greater sense of awe than others. Of them, it would be hard to argue that in the modern touring circuit, any artist brings more gusto hand-in-hand with an atmosphere that can only really be described as positive, fun-loving, inviting, and enticing, than Los Angelino, Acid Jazz playwright, and Neo-Funk virtuoso with an 6-string bass, Thundercat.
Theo Croker's 'BLK2LIFE || A FUTURE PAST' is Your New Jazz Go-To
Sep 28, 2021
Theo Croker’s innate ability to capture the essence of stumbling downstairs to a late night venue where the subtle blaring of a trumpet bleeding out from the walls of a graffiti stained alley acts as the warmest of invitations, all the while merging with the soulful genius of his collaborators, places his 2021 album in the permanently downloaded folder of so many jazz fans on the lookout for their next staple go-to...
VanJess Release Deluxe Edition of Early 2021 Album, 'Homegrown'
Sep 26, 2021
When it was released in February, and in every moment since, Homegrown was already one of the best projects – in any stylistic realm – to come out of a 2021 stacked with R&B masterpieces in particular from Joyce Wrice’s Overgrown to Snoh Aalegra’s Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies. Now, with the release of its Deluxe Edition, the album proves that the future of R&B’s sheen lies in sourcing from its golden past, that no one is doing that better than VanJess, and that they’re just getting started.
Dom Kennedy's New Album Continues his West Coast Evolution
Oct 19, 2021
Amongst a canon with more depth and consistency than just about any other rapper in the modern hip-hop scene, it’s hard to detail just where it is that Dom Kennedy’s From the West Side With Love series of tapes and albums falls into the equation. Rather, into the greater algorithm of unapologetically West Coast hip-hop over the past decade-and-a-half, Dom’s lackadaisical flow and lyrical ferocity juxtapose one another with distinct fervor and Summer-tinged sunshine through the sequence of projects that now number three and span an eleven-year stretch...
The Westword Music Showcase in Denver, CO | Mission Ballroom
Sep 18, 2021
The Mile High City has always had an intersectional sort of luxury built on a central location and a long list of venues ranging from the cozy and charming to the modern and moving, that have made the city an overwhelmingly underrated hub for live music, for years. Just like the cattle trails, trains, and interstates that have historically crisscrossed from coast-to-coast, comfortably bow-tying at Denver’s mid-country hearth, bands and artists on tour, too, find themselves always passing through....
JMSN's New Album is Inherently Soul of a Spanish Influence
Sep 17, 2021
Heals Me exists in substance as what it is that JMSN’s self-made stylistic scope, suspended in artistry by slappy basslines and juxtaposed falsettos through a sort of spinning Neo-Soul spectrum reaching both back in time and setting an untouchable precedent for the future, means to his personal sensitivities. It is a culminative marriage between the man and the artist – an uncalculated expression of truths that define his duality...
On Cloud Nine at the Dirty Bird BBQ in Denver | The Levitt Pavilion
Sep 15, 2021
Walking into the grounds of an all-day, outdoor concert series these days comes with even more of a serotonin-fueled feeling of non-reality, escape, and simultaneous immersion than it did before our world was left in concertless limbo for the entirety of 2020’s absentee Summer run. This Summer, for better or for worse when it comes to our collective health both mental and physical, has been one brimming with the restored magic that Summertime concerts have long stamped as seasonal exclamation points...
iNTRO’s ‘Welcome To Next Year’ is a Jarring yet Cohesive Exhibition
Sep 12, 2021
From its opening drum intro, iNTRO’s new project, Welcome To Next Year, bleeds of the rangy, analogue, and oft jazz-oriented mosaic that the Nashville hip-hop scene is beginning to script as signature. Removed from any singular sound that can be ascribed to the city’s overarching auditory aesthetic, unlike certain movements that other cities and other scenes have been host to past and present, Nashville’s underground hip-hop and soul sounds seem almost always loosely tethered to its jazz and blues oriented past...
The Transcendent Chicago R&B Artist Bringing his New Wave to the Scene
Sep 8, 2021
HXRY grew up listening to his mother play records from Mary J. Blige, The Isley Brothers, and a whole lot of disco. He grew up to his dad supplying the rock, blues, and hip-hop. “But, it wasn’t until [he] started linking with other producers on SoundCloud who had super electronic backgrounds that inspired [him] to keep experimenting,” he told us in 2020 in an effort to delineate to some extent the incalculably wide-ranging sound that he boasts today.
An Affirmation that Nashville's Musical Expanse is Much Different than Most
Sep 6, 2021
Beyond the party busses humming and the chaotic human low points reached every minute by another lost soul on the stretch of Lower Broadway, everyone truly standing up for Nashville – really working in and representing the city – and its surrounding webs of townships and neighborhoods, is seemingly an artist or involved in the artsy undergrounds to some extent, working on one or two extracurricular explorations of their passion, be it musical, visual, stylistic, photographical, or otherwise....
Nashville’s Hip-Hop Scene Shows Out at Deep Tropics Festival
Sep 3, 2021
If the energy in orbit around Deep Tropics’ minimalistic secondary stage called Congo – tucked into a corner of the grounds, sparsely decorated with tropical houseplants, and accidentally cut with bear-trapping holes – is a sign of things to come, Nashville’s hip-hop scene is a powerful force just beginning to peak its wide-ranging glimpse out from the underground, with its eyes set on the top...
HXRY’s Debut Album Reflects on he and R&B’s Past, Defines he and R&B's Future
Aug 25, 2021
What is perhaps most daunting about Reflections is not only the emotional range HXRY so effortlessly explores through eleven tracks, but that he ultimately ties them together both stylistically and through the lines of his story being told. Track to track beyond the leading singles and through all six new songs and intermissionary snippet, Teknikal Issues, pain and emotion at its deepest to passionate explosions in the opposite direction, HXRY proves yet again, and with his debut album...
McClenney’s ‘On A Virgo Mind’ is a Genre-Fluid Mosaic of his Intricacies
Aug 22, 2021
What On A Virgo Mind is can be spoken about in terms of its inadherence to the traditional boundaries of style or genre hand-in-hand with a consistent adherence to emotional tranquility and overarching sense of calm. The project – true to its title – breathes of the placated assumptions that the zodiac generation makes of Virgos like the Maryland transcendentalist. Humble, natural, kind, sympathetic, the emotion rings true through the album’s calming, meditative, and introspective half-hour...
李丁丁 + Devin Morrison Link through ‘This Little Screen’ Duet
Aug 17, 2021
Old school but new wave, timeless but speaking on the modern issues of long-distance relationships held together by a screen, delicate, worldly, and experimental, This Little Screen is everything that is right with modern R&B music, even if it dissects everything that is wrong with human relationships as they intersect technology....
The Legacy of Zion I’s Steve ‘Zumbi’ Gaines, who Passed at Age 49
Aug 16, 2021
From the very beginning, the hyper-lyrical, consciously rooted raps of front man, Steve ‘Zumbi’ Gaines danced across the framework of electronically nuanced beats from DJ and producer, Amp Live. Undisputedly ahead of their time when it came to infusing a signature sound with cyber-punk keystrokes that left a listener suspended sans gravity in a futurist sonic space, Zumbi’s raps acted as a balancing act, carrying more than enough gravity to bring a listener not only back to Earth, but into their own mind....
$avvy is ‘Calling It Quits,’ but We’re Begging for More After New Single
Aug 10, 2021
When Nashville’s one of-a-kind art school rap enigma, $avvy puts out a new single, it’s time to put on a smile with your high-fashion babushka and get weird. Most recently, Calling It Quits came to fruition, putting on display his quirky and addicting approach to hip-hop at an even more grandiose scale than we’re accustomed to. Gleaming with the juxtaposition of a deep bass, and mellow keystroke beat, Calling It Quits grants $avvy the auditory space to meander....
JMSN, Alexa Demie & the Filmic Masterpiece that is ‘Love 2 U’
Aug 10, 2021
Take a little bad boy glam, add a string of falsetto perfection, blend it into a filmic nonreality, cut jet black with neon color, and stamp it with the exclamation point of a panty-dropping, face-melting guitar solo. In that artistic space, JMSN’s cinematographic marathon, Love 2 U, beams. Like a James Bond intro merging with the Neo-Noir holographic lust of Blade Runner under a cinematic banner where the timelessness of Soul music soundtracks all, his new visuals...
Art + Design
Get to Know the Dizzyingly Floral Digital Pop Art of Nashid Chroma
Aug 5, 2021
To see how Chroma sees is to grasp the abstractly innate in something seemingly straight forward, pulling out an inner, oft-sensitive identity from a web of studied but necessarily assumed postulations, meticulously curating a visual re-understanding of a subject who was at first captured by a photographer or by the cultural cloth at large, and then redefined – rebirthed – by the artist’s digital brush strokes...
Pink Siifu Utilizes All the Spice in the Cabinet for Artsy, Wild 'GUMBO'!'
Aug 3, 2021
Pink Siifu wanted to make an album that reminded him of the music he and his crew used to listen to while cruising through the country towards Birmingham. He wants you to play it loudly. He doesn’t want to be put in a box. Pink Siifu decided to make GUMBO’!
Isaiah Rashad | 'The House Is Burning' and from its Ashes, Hip-Hop Feels New
Aug 2, 2021
Tethered together by the jazz-oriented, mellow keystroke, and heavy bass production that transcends from his club bangers to his introspective spells of wordsmithery, The House Is Burning is Isaiah Rashad’s third bright success in as many attempts when it comes to crafting an album that plays in perfect run-on composition from beginning to end. But, unlike his earlier work, The House Is Burning also sees Rashad abandon any sort of formulaic construct for his own sound...
‘Lake Effect’ is Making for a Cold Summer as Sango and Waldo Link
July 29, 2021
One: a dynamically mellow composer of the modern method, infusing everything he touches with the subtle intricacies of his signature production. The other: a lyrically pervasive wordsmith curating spellbinding verse to the thought-provoking mark of his mastery. Together, Sango and Waldo craft Lake Effect, spurring a new age for the pointedly poetic leanings of modernly minimalist, albeit at times explosively experimental hip-hop...
An Interview with Re-Emerging UK Neo-Soulstress, Dionne Bromfield
July 28, 2021
A decade ago, young British soulstress, Dionne Bromfield was expanding her horizons. Having recently signed to her Godmother, Amy Winehouse’s label, Lioness, and releasing her debut project, Good For The Soul, the sky was the limit as she backed up her idol on tour. But then, tragedy struck. Now a decade since the passing of Amy Winehouse, and Bromfield again finds herself at a crossroads, albeit this time, one of opportunity, growth, and penultimate closure...
En Route to Isaiah Rashad’s New Album Immerse Yourself in ‘Cilvia Demo’
July 27, 2021
2014 feels like a lifetime ago. We were all different people seven years in the past, and that includes Isaiah Rashad. Yet, his illustrious breakout album from the same year, Cilvia Demo, still bleeds of newness, detailing the image of an enigmatic hip-hop force battling through his emergence by way of the current scene’s most experimentally daunting and ultimately influential debut. And now, just days away from his tertiary Top Dawg Entertainment LP, The House Is Burning, it’s time to take at least one last listen to where it all began....
Juls Recruits Knucks, Sam Wise + Kadiata for ‘Wicked’ Single
July 23, 2021
Sliced from the greater weight of his forthcoming debut album, UK-Ghanaian producer and commanding influence on the global rise of Afrobeats from its diasporic pillar in London, Juls is releasing the first of his leading singles alongside a flurry of collaborative forces. Wicked – which comes in tow with a fiery, rum-fueled neon visual directed by the keen eye of Ray Fiasco, who has also worked with names like Kojey Radical, M. Huncho, and Aitch – folds in the flows of Knucks, Sam Wise, and Kadiata for an upbeat party anthem....
With ‘Love 2 U’ JMSN Explores the Rangy Intricacies of his Soulful Guitar
July 21, 2021
Love 2 U feels like being immersed in one of his live performances where steamy guitar solos tend to take center stage, sharing the limelight and the voice of JMSN’s expressly romance oriented scope. It’s the kind of lengthy tracks that can play over and over again without even noticing where it once ended and where it began again. And it’s yet another example of why not only R&B and Neo-Soul need JMSN, but ultimately why every corner of music can use his influence in the same way that every corner of his own musicality draws from such a wide range of stylistic breadth....
Langston Bristol Teams Up with Marlon Craft + redveil for‘Activate’
July 21, 2021
Naturally, a rangy artist like Langston Bristol attracts other creatives towards his own creative spaces, and his latest single, Activate is a perfect example of his collaboration with others, and ultimately with the differing ends of his own artistic spectrum. Marlon Craft and redveil join the ranks with verses of their own on the warm weather anthem, where Bristol himself delivers and opening verse and a sing-songy hook perfectly curated for a Summertime drive....
It’s a New Zodiac for R&B with a Golden Era Twist | Phabo's 'Soulquarius' Debut
July 20, 2021
There have been a number of solo singles since 2017 from Phabo, the LA songwriter who has spent the greater part of his creative career behind the curtain – behind the lyrics – of a slew of fellow soulstresses and R&B kings on their own rises. But now is a different season – a different zodiac – a different moon rising for music: Soulquarius. It’s his debut album, and for those that don’t know, the songwriter is also one hell of a vocalist, igniting reminiscence of R&B’s Golden Era with his crystalline pitch....
Who TF is Grip? Get to Know Shady's Newest Signee and What's in Store
July 17, 2021
For Shady – in the same way that JID or EARTHGANG signing to J Cole’s Dreamville felt so well-curated and acutely designed – the lyrical ferocity of Grip merging with such an established and pervasive lyrical rap co-op is eye opening and exciting for any fan of the hard-hitting, lyrically-founded dynamism of the no-fucks-given pillar of rap’s history. Grip – along with his new friends and collaborators at Shady Records – may very well have a death grip on the future direction of that edge to the greater hip-hop spectrum...
Vince Staples + Kenny Beats Make a Simple, Beautiful Hip-Hop Album
July 12, 2021
There is something inherently telling about a great artist’s self-titled project coming nearly decade into their career. It speaks to a sense of vulnerable self-renaissance, to a desire at making something genuinely theirs, towards honesty in their music; honesty in their words. And to be fair, Vince Staples has always boasted a knack for being up front and honest. His spoon-fed, effortless flair at delivering penmanship more encapsulating and immersive than most has long left him with the label of a street poet....
Snoh Aalegra takes on a Wave of Color + Emotion with new Album
July 11, 2021
For Snoh Aalegra, it always starts with the heart, the keystrokes, and the bass. Distorted vocals spewing poetic stanzas provoking a listener’s thought merge with underwater synth strokes, and some signature bass to open a different kind of album for a different kind of Snoh. And just who is this different Snoh Aalegra? Listen and you’ll find out. She’s nothing if not an open book, and unendingly open to pushing new creative boundaries. From beginning to end, Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies is more than just another new album from one of R&B’s most signature contemporary names...
OGTHAGAWD + JosephFiend Link for Unexpected Summer Tape
July 6, 2021
From its opening keystrokes, crafted and delivered by the steady hand of producer and all-around creative, JosephFiend – who also produces the rest of the project – OGTHAGAWD’s LIFE OF A GHOST 2 breathes of a rangy newness steeped in tradition that defines the entirety of a burgeoning Nashville hip-hop underground. Jazzy influence, Southern roots, lyrical depth, and experimental nuance in its production and in the deliveries of its fronting artists grant the scene an emerging signature that leaves its listeners from the old-school and the new....
MFnMelo + squeakPIVOT Team Up for Collaborative Chi Tape, ‘En Route’
June 30, 2021
Where MFnMelo’s fiery bars drive intensity into the tape, squeakPIVOT’s cool keystrokes douse them in equilibrium. Where MFnMelo’s established artistry saw just another day in the studio, squeakPIVOT’s pervasive, youthful energy in the creative process pulled both artists into their respective sweet spots. And from beginning to end, En Route – true to its name – is a Summertime case study on the producer-rapper relationship through more than just one project, but through life and towards a continuously emerging future for Chicago’s always influential soundscape...
GoldLink's 'Haram' is Insanely Experimental, but that's Expected
June 28, 2021
Haram! as a whole is undeniably unique, surprising a listener expecting any of the many roads GoldLink’s indefinably influential career has traveled in the past. But, with a great sound system and an open mind, it’s also yet another boldly experimental patchwork of risks taken successfully sure to have a monumental impact on the scope of hip-hop’s futurist texture....
Tyler Channels Gangsta Grillz, Goblin & Wes Anderson w/ Album
June 25, 2021
There’s something hip-hop has been necessarily missing from its most prominent names in the most recent years. It’s an intersection of a grungy imperfection in its production, some lighthearted poeticism in its penmanship, and a timeless relatability to any fan of the scene through almost any era. Call Me If You Get Lost – channeling the fast-paced, rap-heavy, antic-laced audacity of Goblin – quenches the drought of a wider hip-hop try-hard main stage by reintroducing a tried-and-true formula with a new twist....
For The Culture | of the culture | A VSNR Gallery in North Nashville
June 23, 2021
It wasn’t the art on the walls or the photos in the plastic greenhouse; it wasn’t the curated DJ set or the conversation pit upstairs; it wasn’t the breaks for reposado in the truck or a smoke break outside; it was instead, the confluence of it all. VSNR’s For The Culture beamed with a self-awareness of the scene it represents, where artistry and community are tethered to one another in a delicate dance of creative experimentation and emerging genius that at times, because of its prominence, is easy to overlook....
An Interview with Nashville Hip-Hop Artist and Meta-Creative, Ron Obasi
June 22, 2021
It seemed a fitting place – a tomato garden – to take photos of Nashville’s Ron Obasi. Not just any garden, but that of friend and producer, Coleman (@mixedbycole) whose lady boasts an unendingly green thumb. Drenched in sun, resonant of growth, teeming with life, and quietly calm, the setting was a reflection of the subject. For those that don’t know, Ron Obasi is a mellow human with a mellow, oft-melodic rap delivery boasting a thought-provoking dichotomy in the work ethic endured and the real life lessons explored in his art....
The Internet - Together & Alone - are Omnipotent in Creative Influence
June 11, 2021
An early detour from Tyler, the Creator led Odd Future’s roots, Syd – an impeccably crystalline soulstress and songwriter – and Matt Martians – a productive and percussive wizard often behind the curtain, act as the band’s bookends. And between them have also emerged only icons. Guitarist, Steve Lacy. Bassist, Patrick Paige II. Percussionist and mixer, Christopher Smith who himself is the only member not to have (yet) carved out deep notoriety as a solo act. Together the five....
Kaleem Taylor and The Code are ‘Vague Detail’ and their Debut is Sharp
June 7, 2021
. A fan of R&B is a fan of the emotional responses that the music evokes in our day-to-day lives. And a fan of that emotional vulnerability will find a lot of reminiscent comfort, while at the same time, a whole lot of experimental newness in the interwoven artistic force of Kaleem Taylor and The Code. Both artists are such raw products of the past – raw R&B vocals, 80’s synths, 90’s drum patterns, and the timelessness of heartbroken penmanship – and yet both forge new paths not only in the respective stylistic lanes...
Mereba’s New EP, ‘AZEB’ Shines as an Introspective Spring Project
May 30, 2021
From top to bottom, her newest EP is an exhibition of a sound that has come to exist only by her hand. No one else in this world is making music so infused with the specific blend of stylistic influences that she is. And though only a seven-track EP, AZEB is an explosion of late Springtime anthems coordinated in tumbling perfection in accordance of one another. Drawn akin by silky vocals, thought-provoking raps woven effortlessly into them, calming guitar riffs, and perfectly suited production surrounding it all, the entirety of ‘AZEB’ in many ways feels like one run-on composition...
1 : 1 | A Photo Essay Exploring One Year of Protest and its Relation to Culture
May 26, 2021
a perspective photo essay on one year of protest & movement since George Floyd’s death, and how America’s continued fight for social justice and racial equality unendingly intersects a necessary understanding of Black America’s dominant influence on global music, art & culture at large....
Patrick Paige II Takes Flight with Wide-Ranging New Album
May 24, 2021
through its 45 minutes, that knack for immersion and fluid flexibility is something that defines If I Fail Are We Still Cool?; defines Patrick Paige II as its creator; defines its creator as one seemingly always exploring self-reinvention with one hand firmly on the album’s aviatic theme and the other on his affinity and knack for a hip-hop oriented exploration of his myriad inspirations. Both points are unexpected. Both are welcome...
A Return to Altè | The West African Soundtrack Your Summer Needs
May 22, 2021
Altè becomes defined by its mellow albeit emotional existence as something new for anyone looking for exactly that. And on the verge of Summertime where all of us aren’t only looking for something new after a year wrought with pandemic and quarantine pain and monotony, but where all of us have, too, been forced into a new perspective – one more inward-facing, introverted, and emotionally disconnected from what existed before this break in modern history – we owe it to ourselves to allow Altè into our daily lives...
Terrell Morris’s New Project is an Ode to the Concerts that Can't Be
May 12, 2021
All alone, save for anywhere from one to four instrumentalists and the closing support of powerhouse vocalist, Adria Kain, Terrell Morris spends a smooth fifteen minutes across four of his favorite local stages as an homage to place, to people, and to the music that will eventually rekindle the two in confluence of one another....
We Went to Our First Concert Since the Start of The Pandemic
May 5, 2021
We admit that we’re spoiled here in Colorado. The weather, the scenery, the weed, the music. Most notably, all of those elements come together at Red Rocks Amphitheater, and for the first time in such a long time, so many came together at Red Rocks for some reminiscence on normality – or rather, the abnormality of a feeling what was once in the not so distant past so normal for us all: a concert....
Rising UK Rap Duo, A1xJ1
May 4, 2021
We live in the era of the quick come-up. From technological advances that have allowed anyone and everyone to create their own music, to social media that has allowed any artist to share their work with the world, one hit heard by the right pair of ears can take off and propel its artistry into the stratosphere. Case and point: A1xJ1….
Topaz Jones’ New album is a Confluence of Funk & Hip-Hop
April 29, 2021
A refined, timeless confluence of 70’s funk and modern hip-hop drives the expansive direction of Topaz Jones’ new album, Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma. The album, that’s auditory aesthetic bleeds crystal clear of its influence when paired with the mirroring visual aesthetics of its accompanying Sundance award winning short film directed by Jones himself and directing duo, Rubberband….
Ron Obasi is More than Nashville’s Cool-Tempered
April 28, 2021
Tune into Nashville these days and find yourself immersed in an impossibly broad creative and stylistic spectrum, bending the arts and the culture to the will of an emerging class of skillfully transcendent rappers, vocalists, designers, photographers, videographers, educators, and community activists. Truthfully, it feels like not a sole contributor to Nashville’s hip-hop and Neo-Soul oriented underground does one thing....
An Interview with Prolific, Emerging West Coast Producer Nappyhigh
April 22, 2021
If you don’t yet know Nappyhigh, you’re about to. Not just through the length of our conversation with him here, but through the undeniably West Coast yet indefinably wide-ranging aesthetic in his signature sound, the LA-rooted producer, DJ, musician, songwriter, and rapper finds himself today at the cusp of greatness alongside a short list of other talented names whose refined sounds attract any and every rapper and vocalist to be a part of the sonic worlds he builds. Those worlds – four albums – WeekDaze, Orange, Villains, and Yellow....
Topaz Jones, Rubberband & 'Don't Go Tellin Your Momma'
April 21, 2021
With Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma, Topaz Jones is merging the many cultural lanes that have long inspired his artistry and continue to drive the larger cultural web of the US and the world. And at the focal point of that larger cultural web has always existed a hypocrisy of embracing Black music, Black art, Black genius, period, without really embracing Black culture. Now, that choice no longer exists, and all of us undoubtedly have something to learn and to love from the upcoming release...
FlySiifu’s ‘$mokebreak’ Rings of Tradition to Rap's Timelessness
April 20, 2021
After their acclaimed 2020 FlySiifu’s – the duo’s collaborative debut that doubled as an immersive concept album painting both artists as blunted employees of a milk-crate record shop dropping bombs – not bars – in the back of the store, $mokebreak hinges on that same storyline, as an explorative albeit pointedly removed continuation of the plot and the range of sounds from where it is rooted. $mokebreak as a title itself, in accompaniment of the project’s cover artwork that sees Fly Anakin and Pink Siifu posted up amongst shelves, crates, and banker’s boxes overflowing with vinyl...
An Essay on the Wide-Ranging West Coast Sound of Nappyhigh
April 11, 2021
Beneath the mire of jazz and soul samples of the past, funky key progressions, West Coast synths à la Dre’s genius, and the entangled mosaic of his many featuring modern guest artists, exists Channy Cardenas. And Channy Cardenas is a product of his environment. Born in Fresno, raised in South Central Los Angeles, and residing in Palmdale, his was an upbringing of the same environment that raised many of modern hip-hop’s most notorious influences. Everything about that seems obvious in his sound today...