Watch Squidnice’s Visuals For “Trap By My Lonely”

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.

New York’s Squidnice Teases Upcoming EP

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.

T2 Ghetto Hippie Releases Visuals For “Double Cups & Taco Trucks”

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 Drops Summertime Ode “Rick Rubin”

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.

Jay IDK Premieres “OMW” Alongside Partnership Announcement

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 Bank is 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.

CJ Fly Crafts Red-Tinted Dream In “Dope” Visuals

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.

Listen To REO’s Remix Of Anne Dereaux’s Wistful Single “mo[u]rning”

Los Angeles-by-Nashville singer Anne Derueax dropped her sibilant new track “mo(u)rning” earlier this month, impressing listeners with silken vocals over a swelling electronic base. The singer now brings light to the REO remix of her track, offering a stronger EDM base to an already very strong submission from Dereaux.

Dereaux sings of heartbreak and healing, leaning on the “morning” vs. “mourning”  wordplay to produce a bittersweet track looking backwards at love lost and forward at other the future of her romance. The original track underscores her vocals with electronic chords that bring her voice out more as they modify it. REO flip this base, accentuating it with plucked keys and synths that groove with Dereaux’s voice beautifully. The track climbs to a climax before tumbling down over itself in a lyrical cacophony reflective of the track’s themes.

Dereuax has already shown herself ready to take on the world. Her endorsement of the REO remix shows her readiness to see her track take on a life of its own. Stream “mo(u)rning” on Soundcloud below.

Higher Brothers & Famous Dex Drop “Made In China” Visuals

China’s underground rap sensation Higher Brothers have proved that they are more than virality. The nuanced trap style that they bring has granted them hit after hit, emerging in China and internationally under the umbrella of 88rising with songs like “Isabellae,” “Black Cab,” and “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe.” MaSiWei, Psy.P, DZ, and Melo now bring listeners a new track to add to the rotation; “Made In China” continues to break down the barriers that have kept foreign Asian hip-hop sequestered, even tying down Chicago’s Famous Dex to a feature on the track.

The quartet rap over Richie Souf’s production. The instrumental ironically flips the Asian-style samples that have long put Asian rappers of all nationalities in a difficult-to-escape box. The Higher Brothers body the first verse, undermining the material-rap genre with their emphasis that all their steez is “made in China.” Though travel constrictions prevented Dex from appearing in the visuals, he flows hard over the instrumental, hitting every inflection with purpose. In his place, the Higher Brothers opt for a censored screen again playing on a stereotyped Western conception of their home country. The second half of the quartet carry out the track to its completion, adding their own specialty of breakneck rhyme schemes.

The Higher Brothers continue to set the tone for foreign rappers. In conjunction with collectives such as 88, they provide a real aspiration for foreign artists trying to hit international airwaves. Check out “Made In China” below.

Artist Interview // Kakuyon On Debut Album, ‘Now Go And Flourish’

\Kakuyon has been around the East Coast scene for several years now. The enigmatic New Jersey musician has brought his unique brand of production to numerous track lists, including friend and frequent collaborator Shotta Spence’s recent album, Upfall. His style is as hard to pin down as it is distinctive, resulting in a rare level of quality in production from the overarching dynamics to the minutiae of the songs he touches.

Kakuyon’s presence on Spence’s album demonstrated his ability to mold his production to different styles. The fruitful relationship between the two is something that Kakuyon openly alludes to, happily conceding Spence’s “dangerous” hit-making talent and potency in versatility. The two work seamlessly together on songs such as­­­­­ “Throne” or “All The Wrong Things,” creating a streamlined sound.

The careful engineering that Kakuyon brought to Spence’s album is characteristic of the musician. Summer 2014 saw him begin to work on his debut album, a platform to share his own voice freely. It was in between starting the project and releasing it that Kakuyon put his touch on Upfall, no doubt providing him with exposure to the challenges and nuances of creating an album that handcuff so many artists.

Now Go And Flourish dropped in January, two and a half years after its inception. The album is a narrative of growth, decay, and the dynamism of the human experience. On both a musical and thematic level, it is complex and meaningful. Kakuyon changes tone on nearly every song, at times pulling his ethereal instrumentals into the vocal path and at other times letting voices rise far above the beat. It is an album that seems stitched together of countless pieces, a patchwork of stunning musicality that is reflected in the jarring but cohesive album artwork.

Kakuyon’s album is a truly impressive debut; since first listening to it, I still find myself unpacking all of its contents. I recentlyspoke to the man himself to pick his brain about his musical identity—check out the full interview below:

Tell us a bit about how you began working on your debut project.

I started working on my project two and a half years ago—summer 2014. That’s when I decided to be a vocalist. I had just been a producer/composer till then. I had a lot of great music that never saw the light of day. I just liked to make music that I never heard before, but that I still enjoyed listening to. I wanted to share my music with the world, but for some time as a producer I was depending on other artists to record vocals over my production before releasing songs; this was before Spence started seriously recording. I started writing so that I could make sure my favorite songs reached people’s ears.

My good friend Seph Pierre has always been a mentor on how to create music and the creative process. He’s an incredible artist, so are Spence and SaBang, I’m blessed to be on a team with them—they’re all on the project and we’ve all worked together since the beginning.

Summer of 2014 was when I decided I wanted to make music that I could put out for people to enjoy as much as I enjoyed making it. The recording all happened in the months of September and October 2016, which glued together two and a half years of evolving production into one unified sound on the album.

“I add layers to songs here and there to make myself fall in love with them all over again.”

Stylistically, you’re very versatile. The first thing I noticed listening through “Now Go And Flourish” (NGAF) was that you constantly changed up your sound. How would you define your style and can you identify any influences that you derive it from?

Influences… I listen to a lot of music I guess. One of the biggest things that sculpted my sonic identity might be how my pops used to chill with me and schooled me on a bunch of eclectic music he used to listen to. I was exposed to Prince early. He got me hip to older Outkast and a bunch of Motown, Soul, and Funk. I can remember him talking about Philadelphia sound with Jill Scott or Minneapolis sound and all the artists associated with the movements. He was great at drawing those maps and connections that helped me later draw maps and connections for my own understanding of music. Throughout my childhood we drove a lot, and one year at a track meet we had Jackson 5 on repeat while another year we had Amy Winehouse on repeat. When my mom wasn’t in the car, he’d play Get Rich or Die Trying or Busta Rhymes and Trick Daddy haha.

Everything influences the music in different aspects, I couldn’t begin to scratch the surface. You might say a sentence with a certain cadence, or the words you say might sound like something else and that gets my mind going too. That’s just a loaded question, the answer will always be different for me. I couldn’t begin to define one style, I always get bored of my old self.

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One of my favorite parts of the album is how different each song is—any one could be the album’s focal point. “Trough/Crest Interlude” is a really good expression of this to me. Can you tell me a bit about your creative process for that track?

A lot of time went into that one in every aspect. It started from a conversation about balance with one of my boys from school, Shayan. A few days after that, I recorded the sample at the beginning of the song—the spacey piano and vocals that loops over the first part. Then I found a near perfect match of those chords in my archives: a 2-year-old recording on my phone of Seph on the piano teaching me a lesson on composition. So I sampled that for the second part. That was the first iteration… like super simple: 2 samples and some drums. It was actually glitching like crazy for some reason, so that rumble at the end was actually sampling a glitch from the first iteration.

The song became what it is after multiple times coming back to it, adding layers one at a time from there. I came back, added the bassline, then the strings, then more drums to the intro, then the choir of V’s vocals. Then I sent it to Spence and SaBang to do their thing and I added my verse last.

“This project was just me coming out as an artist: finally releasing a body of work, in what I thought was the best and most honest way I could present it.”

It’s evident that you put a lot of thought and emotion into on NGAF, its a very diverse and dynamic album, and you manage to capture so much in just 11 tracks. What was your selection process like when crafting the album? 

Well in the fall, I was sitting on like 16 that I had actually recorded for Now Go And Flourish. So the project was initially about an hour and change. Then I sat down with my homegirl V—my friends Ammar, Kev, AO, and Shayan were there too—and I was showing them the 16-track joint from front to back. Then V just came out and said I should trim it down, which was a bold move cause I was very opposed to the idea at first haha. After 15 minutes of good points from her I was convinced to trim it down.

I think that was an excellent decision though, I think it made it more chewable as a project, especially considering the songs that stayed and went. I went home and decided to cut like six tracks, down to ten. Then while mixing/mastering, I just kinda started getting bored of most of the songs and I added layers to songs here and there to make myself fall in love with them all over again. And eventually I made a whole other eleventh song, Leverage.

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How was the actual process of creating your project different from what you would have imagined? You mentioned sampling in the glitch on Trough/Crest, were there other moments like that where you just had to roll with the punches and embrace where the project was going?

I would say it was different because it took longer than I thought. Overall I was happy with it though. I like the fact that it didn’t go exactly as planned. I like the fact that each song’s first version wasn’t the version that I released.

When I say it took longer than expected, I took longer to record than I thought, and mixing and mastering took forever too. I was inexperienced in both singing/recording and mixing/mastering going in, and I still think I could’ve done a better job in both realms. I’m working on it though. I’m happy that I revisited production till the end and kept all the songs fresh for my own ears.

Also I got to shadow Spence before the release of his debut Upfall, and I got to watch his recording and mixing process. He showed me that recording vocals and mixing them was just like another dimension of producing, which I’ve been doing longer than I’ve been recording myself. This made it a lot more fun to record my vocals than I expected, since I got to play with effects and layers on the vocals. Everything was just a sort of dance between being in control and having no idea what you’re doing. But I guess that’s just like anything else, even beyond the music. The guidance from vanguards before me always helps though.

The four of you—Shotta, Pierre, and SaBang—all seem to be very familiar with each other’s styles, and are very adept at working with each other. How was it different working with them on this project than previous collabs you’ve done together?

To be honest it wasn’t any different really, it was as natural as ever.

Seph has always been a mentor when it came to the creative process. When I was just starting to produce popular music in high school, I would send him like everything and he’d give the best, most constructive feedback. He’s always been on another level musically and just sees music way different from me. So when it came to NGAF, it was more or less the same thing, but I called him to the action of actually composing and recording his own sax parts over what I was sending. He did sax over “Trough/Crest” and “Troubled Water.”

Shotta and I also go way back, he’s just grown into an incredible artist. I think he snapped on everything he touched on the album whether he was mixing vocals or actually writing and recording. I don’t think people understand what he’s sitting on right now as far as his own music is concerned; he’s dangerous for real. I knew I wanted him on Sunny Soon when I made the instrumental—in fact I sampled his voice from another song on the hook. Trough/Crest was meant to showcase his versatility, just something you haven’t heard him do yet.

SaBang is just an enigma haha—another one who’s been around since the beginning. I still remember the smallest thing he said one day at track practice about me and Spence and it’s all happening now, he’s just got crazy good vision like that. But I remember him going crazy over the original Troubled Water instrumental, which was like a 1:30 little joint, so I added room for an extra verse cuz he had to be on it. That ended up being perfect too, actually, cause it forced me to think of the “Wade in the Water” interpolation that tied the whole song together.

How do you see your relationship with your collaborators evolving from where it used to be, and can you predict where it might go in the future? 

I see us working even closer in the future. I mean me, Spence and SaBang, we talk, and there’s definitely exciting plans ahead, but I should probably hold myself from saying anything, haha.

SaBang would body any visuals if we end up trying to get in some videos for NGAF cuts. But that might be just something for the future, maybe just a later project.

On the music tip, I just see us continuing to work in the same organic way we’ve been doing it, just maybe some day in a new setting. I definitely want to get Seph on more production. He just sees music totally different from the way we all do. It’s really incredible every time he sends anything or just puts me on any new musical game. If he could be closer to the process in the future that would be dangerous. But he’ll be more involved regardless.

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What do you want listeners to take away from NGAF?

Well, anyone could take their own thing from NGAF. I used a lot of extended metaphors throughout. I would say that I want the listener to know that no one’s perfect, and that we all go through some type of struggle. We’re dynamic, we don’t feel the same things all the time, and we learn from old mistakes. There are ups and downs and that’s what makes the ride fun.

But beyond that I just hope the chords and melodies and flows were cool haha. I hope it inspires someone else

Your brand of music is so unique and attractive, and from what you’ve said it seems like we can only expect more evolutions of your style. What does this project mean to you, and how do feel your relationship with it will grow over time? 

Thank you, I really appreciate that. This project was just me coming out as an artist: finally releasing a body of work, in what I thought was the best and most honest way I could present it.

You’re right; I wouldn’t want to be boxed into any sound I presented on NGAF. It has a special place in my heart as the first release, plus the memories it captured from the times I produced and recorded the tracks.

In time I think it’ll always have a special place in my heart. I’ll mature out of some of the imperfections from that record, and I guess it can serve as a snapshot of me at the point that the album was created and released.

What’s something you hope to build on from this album moving forward? What’s next for Kakuyon?

New stuff is happening everyday that makes me feel some type of way. I just want to keep capturing that in song. I want to keep telling thought-provoking stories. I feel that stories are told even beyond the words that are said, through the notes and percussion that you hear too. That being said, keep an eye on Shotta Spence this year. I’d bet I produced something for him that he might put out eventually, but I couldn’t say. It would probably also sound really good.

I’m always passively writing, by jotting down ideas, and I produce when I can too. I really like songs like “Molt,” “Leverage,” “Ethereal” so some evolved form of those sounds moving forward. I also love pop music so much. I’ll keep pop and dance records on releases moving forward.

I also don’t want to put anyone’s expectations at any level… we’ll play by ear what comes next I guess.

Right now, the sky is the limit for Kakuyon. Revisit the full album above and check out what we had to say about it here.

T2 Ghetto Hippie Drops Introspective Single Ahead Of Project

Houston’s T2 Ghetto Hippie is yet another artist coming out of Texas promising to put the state on the map. Living in the state’s most populated city, T2 brings us his latest single discussing how to stay grounded in a lethargic ode to the simple things in his life. “Double Cups & Taco Trucks” sees T2 break down into a slower delivery as he builds momentum on the road toward his latest project, earning him a spot in NPR’s “All Songs Considered.”

T2’s single is an ode to the things that anchor him as he continues to delve deeper into the musical world. As his surroundings grow larger and more unfamiliar, the Houstonian looks back towards double cups and taco trucks as a symbol of his humility and origins. T2 breaks it down in a major way; his bars are thoughtful and pointed, and he flows from verse to verse seemingly without pause. This stylistic choice is indicative of T2’s range, representing a notable shift from the flows he brought on previous tracks such as “Hustletown.” “Double Cups & Taco Trucks” has a vibe that is hard to pin down – perhaps reminiscent of a young Chance, but with hallmarks of the ever productive Houston music scene which has shown such support for the young artist.

T2 is yet another exciting young voice in the scene. Keep up with him: stream “Double Cups & Taco Trucks” on Soundcloud below.