Sango’s new album ‘In The Comfort Of’ drops March 16.
Paving the way for producers in the Italian trap scene is the Milan-born Paolo Monachetti, known as Charlie Charles. Having grown up in Seguro, Charlie stepped into the rap scene at only 14 years old. At 21 years of age, he released XDVR alongside Sfera Ebbasta, a record that placed him in the front of the Italian hip-hop scene and caught the attention of Roccia Music and Marracash, an independent Italian hip-hop label. Especially after the release of Rockstar with Sfera Ebbasta, Charlie sits at the top of international charts.
A few standout songs I recommend checking out are “Bimbi”, “RAP”, and “Tran Tran”. Each has a unique style featuring rap talent from across Italy. The tracks stand as a mix of modern American trap, combined with elements of reggae and old school hip-hop, with a dark, mysterious tone. From unique loops to nontraditional synthesizers, Charlie is often accredited with bringing new futuristic sounds to Italian hip-hop, breaking the norm and introducing new sounds in the emerging genre.
Despite the immense amount of respect he’s gained while making moves for Italian trap, when it comes to the crazy life of a rap star, Charlie dejects it. Charlie claims to have “fired himself” from future live sets, and continues to produce music in the comfort of his home rather than traveling around.
“Non voglio passare per spocchioso, ma quello che sto facendo in Italia è distintivo… Sento, nel mio piccolo, di aver dato qualcosa alla trap senza scadere nel banale.”
In other words, Charlie isn’t interested in the luxurious, wild lifestyle that is assumed for such a big artist. Having rejected big labels, including Universal and Warner, it’s clear that Charlie wants the best for his art without the industry getting in the way. Rather, Charlie is set on molding the growing trap genre, bringing something new and distinct with the music he releases.
In 2016, Saba dropped one of my favorite albums to date titled Bucket List Project. The Chicago artist solidified his spot in the music scene, especially with standout tracks like “Stoney” and “World In My Hands.” As one of the most talented in Chicago and beyond, Saba continues to bolster his ballistic flow and clever lyricism.
Saba returns to our site with his latest track, “Busy.” Standing as one of his most introspective tracks to date, Saba touches upon everything from trust issues and mental health to maintaining relationships and tour life. Fleeting melodies from Daoud, daedaePIVOT, and Saba himself are brought to life in a set of elegant visuals from director Peter Campbell.
With his ability to captivate listeners with his skilled pen, Saba is sure to have another great year ahead. In the meantime, check out the video for “Busy” below and grab tickets to his upcoming Care For Me tour.
Serious Klein style of rap is electric—his Summer ’03 Problems project stayed in heavy rotation following its release back in 2016. Since then, the occasional singles have kept listeners interested and engaged in Klein’s trajectory. Ahead of his new project expected to drop this summer, Seri is back with new music. Teaming again with preferred producer Rascal, Klein drops off “Boy Boy,” a calling card and quintessential track from the German born rapper.
Klein’s multi-lingual, multi-national background gave him an incredibly broad exposure to musical styles; in various interviews he has highlighted artists ranging from 2Pac to Luther Vandross as stylistic influences. Cosigned by Mick Jenkins, Denzel Curry, and The Underachievers, Seri’s eclectic and variable approaches have made each new release better than the last.
“Boy Boy” is a warning shot to everyone. Klein’s first verse catches listeners up with where he’s been, “burning down the scene, muma I been burning down stacks, Dubai with the team,” and builds into the hook, referring to himself with his favorite moniker: Seri the King. He doesn’t mince words, spazzing on the hook before launching into his second verse, a terse warning to “fugazi ass rappers” and their “counterfriends.”
“Boy Boy” is an typically sharp, direct Serious Klein track. Catchy, hard-hitting, and indefatigable, it’s hopefully a sign of things to come from the overseas rapper. Stream “Boy Boy” on Spotify below.
With mellow bars and a taste for soothing beats, KOTA The Friend is well on his way to becoming a household name. In addition to his freestyles over tracks like Kanye West‘s “Ultralight Beam” and Childish Gambino‘s “Redbone,” the Brooklyn artist has been holding us down with projects like Palm Tree Liquor and Paloma Beach.
KOTA makes his debut on our pages today with his new Anything EP. Featuring talent from fellow W&V favorites and contemporaries Khary, Childish Major, and Sylvan LaCue, KOTA paints a snapshot of his life over production from Secret Stash, Ashoku, and Mantra. KOTA finds balance between cuts like “Good” and “Sydney,” highlighting his versatility and another step forward in his sound. Tasteful hooks are paired with his introspective verses, culminating in a refreshing experience for fans to vibe along with.
Stream Anything below.
Rejjie Snow finally brings his debut studio album to listeners. The long-awaited project is preceded by popular tapes such as Rejovich and The Moon & You, stellar and cohesive EPs that garnered the Dubliner a passionate following. Dear Annie is Snow’s attempt at something more expansive. The album is uniquely variable; outstanding production top to bottom allows Rejjie to experiment stylistically, lyrically, and conceptually. Features from superstar contemporaries including Jesse Boykins III, Cam O’bi, and Aminé underline what is an incredibly rich project that encompasses a number of powerfully relatable themes
Dear Annie is as much a letter from Rejjie to himself as it is to us. Raised in Ireland, Snow has spoken repeatedly on the struggles he faced. Snow continues to grapple with his personal and artistic identity. Songs like “Rainbows” and “Greatness” touch on being black, his influences, past, and future.
Romance is a particularly evocative theme across the album. Snow has a distinctly multi-dimensional perspective on love, and attacks it from a number of different directions. On “Mon Amor,” Rejjie joins Milena Leblanc over production from Lewis Ofman, delivering French vocals and two detached verses that speak to his addiction to pain of love: “Fuck love, its ugly.” “Spaceships” touches on lust and idealism. Perhaps the most eye catching track on the album, “Egyptian Luvr,” produced by Kaytranada and featuring Dana Williams and Aminé, is written about the last moments between lovers:
“Tomorrow isn’t promised and we learn this the hard way. The last moments with your lover. In this song I was […] telling my girl how much I love her and thanking her for this journey we rode.”
Rejjie brings a calculated emotional complexity to his album. Love is a beginning and ending point for this intricacy. Transient and ephemeral, love is tied closely to death on the album, influencing Snow and dictating what drives him. As powerful as love is to him, it’s also a catalyst for the growth of his emotional intelligence: “I hate love but in a crazy way,” he raps on “23”; later on “Désolé” he emphasizes “love is just a fucking sin.”
“My album has lots of different feelings if you care to listen to it. I wanted it to feel like you’re slowing dying and losing your mind throughout.”
From Rejovich to The Moon & You, it’s been difficult to pin down a distinct characterization of Snow’s style. Seemingly as adept a rapper as he is a singer, Snow has adopted different styles and approaches to his albums over the recent years. On Dear Annie, it is similarly difficult to pinpoint any one cadence as Snow’s trademark sound. The variety of producers on the album is mirrored by a dearth of features ranging in genre and style. Snow gives nod to collaborator Rahki for pushing himself out of his comfort zone on songs like “Annie.” The titular track combines a faster paced instrumental and resonant vocals from Jesse Boykins, bringing a looser style out of Rejjie distinct from much of his previous work.
Several tracks, however, rise above the others and demand individual attention. “Mon Amour,” “Room 27,” and “Désolé” all share production from Lewis Ofman, with instrumentals heavy on synths and organ that create an airy, dreamlike tone that contrasts Snow’s verses examining themes of, death, isolation, and more. “Room 27” makes direct reference to the infamous 27 Club, which, for Snow, represents a symptom of the personal difficulties that come with modern music. “Désolé” examines Rejjie’s personal relationship with love, regret, and insecurity. This trio of tracks in many ways the most understated yet revelatory tracks on the album. They are stripped down and at the same incredibly complex, and all the more beautiful for it.
At the end, however, Rejjie reminds us that these feelings are just part of the human condition. Dear Annie does not pretend to be anything it is not: an eclectic mix of songs, emotions, styles, and intrigues. The album picks up pace towards the end, ushered out by bouncy tracks including “LMFAO” and “Bye Polar,” reminders not to take yourself too seriously, and to enjoy all the good in life.
Take a moment to listen to Dear Annie on Spotify and keep an eye out for Snow’s tour dates below.
In the midst of their nearly sold-out headlining tour, China’s hip-hop supergroup Higher Brothers is back with a new music video, “Trickery.” Their latest offering via the 88rising empire channels heavy ’90s R&B vibes with DZ on hook duty and MaSiWei taking control of each verse. Topped with bouncy production from Soulection representative j.robb, the crew has a truly refreshing and dynamic sound that’s sure to have you dancing along.
Catch “Trickery” below and stay tuned for their TYPE 3 EP next week.
While alternative rock dominates the Italian music market, new genres are beginning to emerge amongst growing communities across the country. Various forms of hip-hop, from trap to R&B (with an Italian twist), are becoming increasingly widespread. Il Trap Italiano is my attempt to touch on the key figures, international influence, and business foundational to genres avant-garde to Italy’s dynamic music scene.
With over 8 million plays in the world within 24 hours of the release of his latest album, it can be said that one of the leading figures in Italian Trap is the bold and compelling Gionata Boschetti, more commonly known by his stage name Sfera Ebbasta. With the help of the talented producer Charlie Charles, he has received both Gold and Platinum records certification for his music, released his own brand with Charlies called BHMG, and plays a huge role in the emerging Italian Trap scene.
Rockstar is Ebbasta’s second album curated by Charles and Daves the Kid under Def Jam Recordings and Universal Music Italia. There are two versions of the album for the international market, allowing Ebbasta to catch the attention of listeners worldwide. With features from big names, including American artists Quavo and Rich the Kid, his name is spreading rapidly across Italy.
With massive sub beats, heavy hip-hop synthesizers, and skilled use of autotuning, Ebbasta’s music is undoubtedly classified as trap with the influence of reggae, Latin, and electronic styles strongly prominent throughout Italy.
What’s next for the artist? “Ho girato l’Italia e l’Europa, ho fatto featuring internazionali, mi sono evoluto molto. E non ho intenzione di fermarmi qui.” In other words, Ebbasta is confident in his international presence, stating “I’m not going to stop here.”
Fresh off touring with SZA and Smino, Ravyn Lenae has continued to be a fan favorite in Chicago and beyond. The singer-songwriter resonates like an old soul with a fresh twist through her decadent vocal work, highlighted in 2016’s Moon Shoes EP and the Midnight Moonlight EP from last spring.
To keep the momentum going, Ravyn is back with her latest project titled Crush. The five-track EP was executively produced by Steve Lacy of The Internet, who also appears on two songs “Computer Luv” and “4 Leaf Clover.” Ravyn and Steve build upon the rampant success of lead single “Sticky” with more funk-filled goodness for your ears. Their chemistry permeates throughout, leaving listeners entranced by bursts of disco and grooves sure to have you dancing along.
Stream Crush and check out the video for “Sticky” below.
As the brain child of sultry singer Brent Faiyaz and producers Atu and Dpat, Sonder stands as one of the freshest groups in the current music world. After emerging into the scene with their impressive Into EP last year, the crew embarked on a headlining tour with several sold out dates.
Sonder returns to our pages today with their latest tune titled “One Night Only.” The track first appeared as a demo on Soulection Radio #330, building upon the trio’s signature late night sound. Brent sways over slick guitar riffs and wastes no time to get what he wants. Sonder’s infectious dose of sizzling R&B is sure to leave you excited for more.
Stream “One Night Only” below.
Rising artist ODIE captivates listeners with both his raps and croons. The Bay Area artist cites inspiration from Fela Kuti, Coldplay, and Kid Cudi, reeling in listeners over the past year with standouts like “Crescendo” and “Trance Dance.”
ODIE makes his W&V debut this week with “Little Lies.” The first peek at his upcoming Analogue album is a truly fleeting escape. Slick guitar melodies and ODIE’s soothing vocals carry the song forward in a sea of bliss. A woozy outro tops off the track as the chorus washes over in waves of deep emotion.
Stream “Little Lies” below.