Australia’s Manu Crook$ continues his hot streak with the release of a sweet set of visuals to go with hit single “Ridin'”. The young rapper dropped the song earlier in July to accompany his other impressive singles “Everyday” and “Assumptions.” The loosies Crook$ has offered listeners are remarkable. Racking up over a million streams between the tracks, Crook$ never fails to impress with his content. The visuals for “Ridin'” are no exception.
Simplicity is the name of the game for Manu. Much like his musical style, the crux of the video is built on two or three distinct and strong foundations. Crook$ ability speaks for himself; his dexterity in switching flows as well as ability to body his own hooks are what make his music so convincing. Knowing this, it is unsurprising that that Manu opts away from excess in the visuals
The music video revolves around three things: Manu, his girl, and a red corvette. The red-tinged shots pan slowly and subtly, but never dare linger long on any one of the three subjects. The trio gradually come closer together throughout the video, until they finally intertwine at the end.
Crook$ accompanied the video with the announcement of his upcoming EP, mood forever, dropping August 18. Until then, get your Manu fix with the video for “Ridin'”, stream on youtube below.
Touring on the heels of his latest album More Than Anything, Bay Area native P-Lo returned victoriously to San Francisco to play a final show in front of a hometown crowd at the Regency Ballroom. Joined by fellow Bay Area artists Pluto Mars and Rexx Life Raj, P-Lo brought his music home, delivering song after song to a deafening and energetic crowd. The show was a testament to three things: P-Lo’s growth as an artist and performer, his authenticity, and the powerful love that shines between P-Lo and his Bay Area fans.
A founder of the HBK Gang with Iamsu!, P-Lo has always involved his contemporaries in his music wherever and whenever he can. His unique, consistent, and quality level of production has seen him produce for and collaborate with countless other artists in and outside of the Bay. As a result, P-Lo has garnered a distinct level of recognition and respect that was evident at the show. Speaking in a short interlude during his set, Rexx Life Raj, himself a Bay Area centerpiece, had nothing but praise for P-Lo:
You meet a lot of people in the music industry. P-Lo is one of the most genuine and talented people I’ve met. That’s why I fuck with him.
His fans seemed to agree. Even before P-Lo had touched the stage, his name had been chanted countless times. Entering to deafening cheers and with his all too familiar tag echoing around the Regency, P-Lo dove straight into his More Than Anything lead track, “The One.”
Playing through his new album, P-Lo took time to bring out some oldies to pay service to his fans. Rexx Life Raj emerged again to join him on the Cal-A track “Real One.” Performing just some days after the late Mac Dre’s birthday, P-Lo paused the show to pay tribute to the Bay legend—in his words, an “inspiration”—taking a moment to wild out with the crowd on “Feelin’ Myself.”
Moments like these encapsulate P-Lo’s image as an artist. Grounded, talented, and entertaining, P-Lo has never let his accomplishments eclipse his origins. He is a leading figure in the resurgent Bay Area movement, which he admits “for a second… was pretty dead.” Yet, he is always ready to shine the spotlight on others, whether it is bringing up young artists like Pluto Mars or standing back and letting Rexx Life Raj do his thing.
The concert wrapped after just under an hour and several layers of clothing later with P-Lo playing his smash hit “Put Me On Something”—twice. Fellow HBK man Kool John made an appearance on stage to wild out during the song; no one seemed to want to miss out on partying with each other in the atmosphere that P-Lo and company had created.
P-Lo has been essential to the new Bay scene that so many are enjoying now. As a performer, he is experienced, energetic, and enthusiastic. As a person, he’s just another music fan who loves to have fun with his crew. Friday night at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, P-Lo made countless new friends and went dumb with them all.
Revisit our piece on More Than Anythingand stream the album below. Make sure to catch a P-Lo concert as soon as you can.
Harlem’s Don Mykel made his long-awaited return to airwaves with the aptly named single “Return of the Don.” Mykel’s third song of the year, “Return of the Don” picks up the reigns after a three month silence. The track is a lesson on fundamentals for all young artists. Building towards his upcoming project Infinite, Don Mykel gives listeners exactly the content they want with “Return of the Don.”
Don Mykel has been piqued as one of Harlem’s most talented young voices. Any questions as to why are answered by “Return of the Don.” Mykel brings an avalanche of lyricism down over a vintage instrumental. His delivery is immaculate. Mykel’s energy and poise on the mic are a lethal combination. Slowing and speeding his flow at will, he is in impressive control of the bars while maintaining a dense volume and complexity of lyricism.
“Impressive” is the most concise was to sum up Mykel and his latest track. The Don marked a confident return that has certainly earned him new listeners. Check out the song on soundcloud below and stay tuned for more from Don Mykel.
The Bay Area’s rich musical legacy is sustained by talents that have steadily released content of a reliable and remarkable quality. While artists such as Kehlani have grabbed the spotlight recently, names like P-Lo merit just as much recognition. P-Lo is a familiar figure throughout the Bay Area. The HBK Gang co-founder’s name is littered across the hip-hop industry as a prolific producer. Alongside the aforementioned Kehlani, P-Lo has credits on work from YG, Yo Gotti, and Iamsu! just to name a few. P-Lo has established himself as a hitmaker. However, never one to rest on his laurels, the Pinole native continues to push himself as an artist, recently dropping his solo studio album More Than Anything as evidence of his versatility.
More Than Anything collects 15 tracks that P-Lo describes as coming from real “experiences” and “real places.” In typical fashion, P-Lo recruits various HBK members including Kool John and Iamsu alongside other prominent names such as Rex Life Raj, G-Eazy, and E-40 to help him bring classic Bay sound to the album. Despite being a clear product of the hyphy movement, P-Lo doesn’t let this define his musicality. Songs like “The End” or the titular “More Than Anything” bring a different side of the rapper to light—the more stripped down tracks that see P-Lo solo over the instrumental stand out as new and refreshing. These more meticulously crafted pieces provide nice contrast to the energetic anthems P-Lo has made a name for himself with, and round the album out well.
More Than Anything is showing all the layers I have as a human and artist. I’m a hyphy ball of energy but some people think I’m all slaps – I’m going to show them that I can do more than that.
Produced with the help of Cal-A and Michael Keenan, More Than Anything signals a change in P-Lo’s image. P-Lo is a veteran of the music industry and well-respected on the West Coast. His draw as a producer is evidenced on the album. Songs like “Put Me On Something” show his ability and experience in making hits. More Than Anything goes past this however, demonstrating P-Lo’s willingness to take risks in order to grow as an artist.
P-Lo’s More Than Anything Tour kicked off with a bang and is all set to round up in San Francisco. Catch the tour dates below and stream the full album on soundcloud here.
New York’s Squidnice brought his hit single to life today in a blue tinted set of visuals. The rapper dropped “Trap By My Lonely” back in 2016, announcing himself as a major threat in the game as the track was picked up by several different national radios. “Trap By My Lonely” that speaks for itself. Squidnice doesn’t attempt shroud himself in mystery, diving headfirst into the song with an infectious hook that weaves in and out in his own voice. The following verses follow the same pattern. Squidnice blends humorous bars with more serious lyrics, creating a song that is unapologetically him.
Authenticity is a big part of Squidnice’s appeal. The rapper has a massive core fan base in his native Staten Island that is beginning to grow throughout the New York area. Squidnice continually pays homage to this community, releasing new content continuously since “Trap By My Lonely” as nods to his supporters. The visuals for “Trap By My Lonely” are no different. Squidnice is certainly not by his lonesome in the video, surrounded by his crew as they bag up xans and roll up together. The visuals encapsulate the song – “Trap By My Lonely” wraps up Squidnice’s talent and intent in a succinct and impressive piece of work.
Squidnice is set to drop his debut project soon; in another effort to recognize his growing fanbase he is lined up to perform the mixtape live at landmark New York venue SOB’s. Catch the music video for “Trap By My Lonely” below and stay tuned for his album.
Since announcing himself with his huge debut track “Trap By My Lonely,” Squidnice has seen his presence in the New York and national music scene blow up. Following features on Blonded Radio and Noisey Radio, the rapper is gearing up to release his debut project later this month. In preparation, Squidnice laced his fans with a set of loosies, “OMG,” “Lit Now,” and “Still.” The 20-year-old’s latest drop shows just why he caught the attention of so many last year, building on and branching off the foundation he created with “Trap By My Lonely.”
“Still” leads the trio as a calling card for Squidnice. The rapper hops on top of an A. Lau and Tony Seltzer joint that joins the woodwind wave that has been sweeping producers everywhere. The airy flute winds in with the trap production to bring the best out of Squidnice and Gloss Gang. Squidnice pushes the track with his drowsy vocals and stylish inflections that have made him one of the most vibrant talents to come out of New York in recent months. Squidnice described the tracks as “something for [his fans] to hold on to” until his EP drops. Listeners will hope that the EP can replicate the quality of the tracks that precede it.
Stay tuned to Squidnice and catch his debut EP soon. Check out “Still” and the rest of Squidnice’s collection on soundcloud below.
Houston’s T2 Ghetto Hippie garnered an impressive amount of attention with the release of his single “Double Cups & Taco Trucks” back in March. The leading single of his upcoming project, the track earned itself a place in NPR’s “All Songs Considered” as well as glowing praise from leading critics. The track spoke of contrasts and balance, finding equilibrium in the often chaotic musical world that has the propensity to eat up young young performers. T2 is not one of these artists. The Houstonian flourishes in the spotlight, putting his nose back down to the grindstone to create a swirling set of visuals to go along with the track.
Regressing into the wilderness, T2’s self-directed video sees him performing the song atop the titular taco truck in front of an odd carnival gathering of masquerade dancers, fire blowers, and other similarly concocted audience members. The visuals entrance and unnerve, gliding from shot to shot with loose focus that conjures the double cup imagery. T2 and his team build on the song’s theme of contrast, painting a picture of a world in delicate balance. The track serves as a reminder to listeners that the things we love most can also be the objects of our downfall. “Double Cups & Taco Trucks” roots us in the basic and important parts of life as anchors for the rest.
T2 continues to build the hype for his upcoming album. Take a look back at the single here and stream the visuals on youtube below.
Jimi Tents is back with another superb new track as he continues to build anticipation ahead of his upcoming sophomore album. One of Brooklyn’s most exciting young voices, Tents has kept a quota of roughly one new track per month since the beginning of the year, recently dropping the scintillating “Phone Down Freestyle.” Tents is looking towards what could be a landmark album for him this year. His latest track “Rick Rubin,” is just another example of what Tents has in his locker.
“Rick Rubin” bares Tents’ ambition to push himself to the top like the enigmatic Rubin. The track is as much an ode to the producer/founder/president as it is a declaration of Tents’ plans to emulate the man. Jimi brings his trademark drawl over a reverberating instrumental, adding an infectious tone. He layers his voice over looping ad-libs that push the song forward, creating an organized cacophony of sound that comes together as another Tents classic.
Jimi Tents has been piqued as one of the hottest things to look out for in the coming months. Stream “Rick Rubin” below.
Since the beginning of the year, Jay IDK has been hinting at some major moves in 2017. This week, the DMV rapper announced his groundbreaking partnership with Adult Swim that will see him creating visual and lyrical content for the group in the coming year. The partnership is a major sign of Jay’s understanding of the corporate game. If his 2016 project The Empty Bankis anything to go by, Jay understands the necessity of and how to maneuver in the rap scene that is no longer just about rap. Jay, however, won’t let us forget about the musical strength of his game: his announcement was followed up by the release of “OMW,” a track that shows Jay poised delicately on the brink of blowing big.
“OMW” sees Jay hop on top production by Mike Hector with assistance from Nate Fox and Alex Tumay. The big names in the credits of Jay’s track bring the best out of him on the song. IDK leans on a woozy hook pronouncing how close he is to catching his own wave. Fittingly, Jay rides the instrumental with a classic IDK flow before breaking down again into the infectious hook. Jay raps with a new brand of confidence saying he “lives where your dream at,” so close to Mike Dean he could “use a n—a wifi.” From the production of the track to the way Jay presents himself within the bars, IDK seems to know he has what it takes to get the top he is already so close to.
IDK promised to take 2017 and make it his. So far, he hasn’t failed to deliver. Keep an eye on Jay IDK this summer. Stream “OMW” below.
Pro Era‘s young gun CJ Fly dropped his first studio album Flytrap in December of 2016, providing listeners with a comprehensive illustration of his lyrical ability. The Brooklyn-based rapper spent his younger years freestyling with Joey Bada$$ and several other Pro Era members. While Fly’s songs offer clear points of contact with his fellow Pro Era founding member, his particular craft remains distinct in many ways.
“Dope,” a centerpiece to Fly’s Flytrap, is an exemplar of hedonist rap. Self-directed in collaboration with Anthony Supreme, “Dope” sees CJ finding himself in a eclectic red-light district, rolling up pounds of the titular dope on or around a supporting cast. The overtly explicit video is tinged with red neons reading “GIRLS”; both the eerie lights and the girls they promise mark an unmistakeable presence throughout the visuals. With a joint in hand throughout the entirety of the shoot, its hard to tell if CJ is in his own personal heaven or hell.
CJ Fly commands a certain amount of respect on ability alone, but it is creations like this that really speak for his craft. Watch the (NSFW) visuals for “Dope” on youtube below.