Il Trap Italiano | Sfera Ebbasta

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.”

Ravyn Lenae & Steve Lacy Sway On ‘Crush’ EP

Fresh off touring with SZA and SminoRavyn 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.

Sonder Returns For “One Night Only”

As the brain child of sultry singer Brent Faiyaz and producers Atu and DpatSonder 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.

ODIE Previews New Album With “Little Lies”

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.

Don’t Sleep Spotlight | Dae Zhen

Earlier this year, we introduced our first official Spotify playlist titled Don’t Sleep. Named after our efforts to put you on to our favorite upcoming talent, the W&V crew will also be digging deeper into their backgrounds, recent accolades, and plans for the future in our latest spotlight series.

Our first Don’t Sleep spotlight features Dae Zhen. The Los Angeles resident introduced fans to his lyrical prowess with YouTube freestyles, which segued into his Polaroids EP with KATO and the Mike Derenzo-produced “Dipset.” The catchy tune has feel-good vibes throughout as Dae weaves between punchy verses and a sweet hook.

Following the release of his Women & Wordplay project, Dae stayed pretty lowkey aside from a few covers and features. He returned from his hiatus with “Friday,” which also appeared on NPR. The track essentially picks up where “Dipset” leaves off, serving as another weekend anthem fit for any celebration.

2018 marks the true return of Dae. As the next peak at his forthcoming album, “Hotline” shows Dae at his finest. Self-produced alongside Derenzo, his latest offering rides smoothly with a gentle piano riff and an explosive chorus. Dae’s warm return leaves us excited to see what he has in store in the near future.

Get familiar with Dae Zhen and check out the complete Don’t Sleep playlist below.

IDK & Denzel Curry Team Up For “NO_WAVE”

Still hot from the release of IWASVERYBADMaryland’s IDK is hoping to make 2018 an even bigger year for himself. Dropping off “Hello Pt. 3” at the beginning of January, 2018 XXL Freshman candidate IDK also alluded to a new project currently in the works as a well as teasing an exciting link up with XXL alum and renegade rapper Denzel Curry. The two will join ASAP Ferg on tour this year, but it seems that they have been hitting the studio together ahead of the first show in February.

After a very public exchange on Twitter that built anticipation for the single, the two finally released “NO_WAVE” this morning, a crazy, piano-driven track that sees both feed off each other in an exciting and energetic collaboration.

IDK and Curry come together over production from Razjah, who also took the reigns on IDK’s “Baby Scale.” “NO_WAVE” is another warning shot from IDK, whose intent in 2018 becomes clearer with every bar. IDK fashions himself one step ahead, switching the wave up on people who just figured it out; he snaps at his critics and anyone who pretends to run in the same lane as him, bringing a nasty edge to his bars that we’ve heard from him before on projects like Subtrap.

Denzel comes in with a massive verse, catching IDK’s hook and running double time over the instrumental. Speaking with XXL, IDK says that Curry “fit the beat,” enabling both of them to relax and enjoy themselves. The Floridian brings his trademark verve to lines like,”For the new wave, I started it, like a durag when you open up the starter kit,” unleashing bar after bar until he allows IDK’s hook run the track out.

IDK spoke about the chemistry between himself and Denzel, noting that the song is not the only product of what appeared to be a productive studio session. There’s more to come from both this year, hopefully both together and independently.

Catch “NO_WAVE” on Soundcloud below.

Here Are 10 Essential Tracks From 2017 You Need To Hear

As with every year, 2017 saw the rise of an innumerable amount of talented artists. From the explosive return of SZA to sweet debuts from GoldLink, Smino, and Sabrina Claudio, many received their well-deserved shine.

To help sift through the sea of newcomers and veterans alike, here are a few of our favorites from the past year:

Andy: While more commonly recognized for his production for artists including A$AP RockyRick Ross, and FutureChildish Major is continuing to climb the charts for his vocal work as well. I first came across the Atlanta artist when he teamed up with SZA and Isaiah Rashad on “Happy Birthday,” a track that would serve as one the lead singles from his recent WOO$AH project. “I Like You” pairs his fleeting verses with verses from 6LACK and DRAM, topped off with woozy production from Supah Mario.

Andy: As a member of the creative empire known as MSFTSrep¿Téo? weaves between bellowing croons and crisp verses. “Uno Dos” with Jaden Smith plays like an ominous Amélie soundtrack B-side with a fresh rap twist. Subtle guitar riffs and a steady pocket from Teo Halm carry the track forward as ¿Téo? and Jaden trade swift verses. Needless to say, this is one I’ve had on repeat for a while now and leaves me looking forward to more music from the MSFTSrep crew. – Andy

Jonah: IDK‘s IWASVERYBAD boasts a routinely self-reflective tone, delving into IDK’s life as he discusses love, youth, his relationship with his mother, and more; the Maryland rapper offers himself for examination as a microcosm of the industry that changed his life, challenging the voyeuristic obsession with the American “gangbanger.” These themes come to head in “Black Sheep, White Dove,” a glowing ode to IDK’s late mother that is a testament to his musical, lyrical, and emotional progression. Boasting a painfully melancholy hook, the track undergoes several evolutions that work in tandem with IDK’s ongoing reckoning with the past, searching within himself for acceptance and absolution. IDK poised on the edge, penning a powerful eulogy and proving himself a complex artist and person that does not fit within the two-dimensional chalk lines he refutes. – Jonah

Jonah: BROCKHAMPTON haven’t been out of the headlines since dropping the first Saturation. Three albums later, BROCKHAMPTON have attracted an ardent fan base and released some of the year’s finest music. Saturation III represents the culmination of the series, tying together themes and demonstrating the group’s growth over the course of the three installments. “BLEACH” stands as one of the album’s few unexpected collaborations; Ryan Beatty’s chorus is a bittersweet R&B falsetto that tinges the song with a mournful flavor as the Brockhampton boys combine with characteristic coordination. Each verse is very much a part of those surrounding it, gradually spiraling into the pitched murmurings that carry it towards its close and invite listeners to get lost in the track just as its creators did. – Jonah

Keenan: To say that Brent Faiyaz has had an incredible year would be an understatement. Besides singing one of the catchiest hooks I’ve ever heard on a Grammy nominated single, his Sonder (alongside producers Dpat and Atu) released their stellar project Into. To cap it all off, Faiyaz dropped his intensely personal debut album Sonder Son, perhaps my favorite album of the year. “Gang Over Luv” is one of my favorite cuts off the album, invoking a vivid youthful nostalgia. – Keenan

Keenan: For years now Sángo has made a name for himself by taking samples of Brazilian “baile funk” or “funk carioca,” flipping them with his own unique spin. “Conte a Todos” is Sángo at his best, combining hard hitting drums with an infectious melody impossible to stay still to. 2017 was the year I dove into the wave that Sángo has created in Brazil and beyong with “Conte a Todos” standing as one of the songs that dragged me in headfirst. – Keenan

Camille: With its mellow beat, bright keys, and smooth harmonies, Rejjie Snow‘s “PURPLE TUESDAY” featuring Joey Bada$$ and Jesse Boykins III presents a call for unity in the face of modern day struggles. – Camille

Camille: Produced by H.E.R. and MNEK, “2” illustrates a twisted tale of love, cheating, and revenge. The self-titled album was intended to allow “women to really feel how honest and vulnerable [she is] and to understand that they are not alone and that these are all human emotions.” – Camille

Andy: Ciscero has been killing it all year. From teaming with GoldLink on “Fall In Love” to the JULiA LEWiS-produced “Potential,” the DMV rep is steadily building his resume. j.robb flips the Mick Jenkins and BADBADNOTGOOD cover of “On The Map,” allowing Ciscero, Jay Prince, and Foggieraw to swoop in and create the perfect soundtrack for whipping around town. – Andy

Andy: Rayana Jay has an alluring voice and aura that allows her to reel in listeners with ease. As one of the true standouts from her Morning After EP, “Magic” recruits producer ROMderful for a disco- and funk-filled joyride. She shines over a whipping bassline with a classic call and response that culminates in an effortless jam that’s sure to have you grooving along. – Andy

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Don’t Sleep playlist on Spotify.

 

Event Recap // Tropicália Fest 2017

With a little something for everyone, Tropicália Fest united a wide range of audiences at The Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA on November 11. From headliners like Chicano BatmanJhené Aiko, and Kali Uchis to rising stars including Yellow DaysSmino, and Jorja Smith, the festival’s sold-out debut gave fans a truly unforgettable experience.

In addition to all the lovely music that filled the air, attendees were also given access to a taco buffet featuring a wide range of vendors from along the West Coast. Fan favorites like Carnitas El Mono and Burritos Del Palma served up their classics among many others.

Tropicália gave light to many Latino artists and beyond. Being able to catch artists like King Krule and Smino in the same day showcased their ability to bridge multiple audiences and genres. While we await more information on the next one, check out a few photos from Tropicália below.

Raveena Serenades On “If Only” For COLORS

Earlier last month, Raveena emerged into the scene with her Shanti EP. The New York songstress crafts a six-track joyride that’s dreamy from start to finish, capturing her alluring vocals over production from Everett Orr.

Raveena makes her debut on our pages this week with a truly stunning performance of “If Only” for COLORS. Her soothing voice melts over twinkling piano melodies and a jazzy pocket. The track is easily one of the smoothest I’ve heard in a while, serving as an effortless ode to being better without a former love.

Get familiar with Raveena and check out “If Only” below.

Skizzy Mars Returns With Reflective “2006”

Following his Alone Together album from 2016, Skizzy Mars has remained mostly quiet in the music scene aside from a few features. To kick off the year, Skizzy is back with his latest single titled “2006.” The New York artist dances in the realm of hip-hop with a mellow cadence as he comes to terms with his past. His effortless verses trail over piano-led production from frequent collaborator Michael Keenan, laced with a tinge of pop. His warm return to the scene gives us hope for more quality content from Skizzy in the near future.

Vibe out to “2006” below.