Beyond The Surface

You Are Here was released late 2018 by April + Vista, a DMV duo that came together in 2014. The album is their first-- and 3rd of a catalog inclusive of two EPs. On You Are Here the dynamic duo showcases their classical backgrounds while keeping their unique attributes infused and at the forefront-- April, a gifted writer and Vista, a sound master. Their project is all about relationship with self respectively first, then others. You Are Here is available on major platforms.
Days ago staple southern artist, Big KRIT, dropped an EP entitled TDT which is comprised of mini projects Double Down and Thrice X, released in the ladder part of 2018. Amongst the already released songs are three new tracks, "Energy", "1 Oh Oh" and "4 Tha Three".
I vowed that 2019 would be 'Hashtag: MoreTrap2019', so I will be sure to include a trap (in this case versatile) artist with each BTS post. Los Angeles artist, Huey Briss delivered on said versatility with the release of "Regardless", a track in opposition of his usual West Coast lo-fi sound, captured on Black Wax, a collaborative project with producer, Niko Beats.
On January 4, UK sound engineer, Marc Mac released the eighth part to a continuum documentary on wax, Beats N Knowledge". All Power To The People, like the other seven parts, consists of historic educational audio over sounds by Marc Mac, this cute specifically focuses on the legacy of the Black Panther Party-- genius and truly a vibe.
Urban soprano, Ryahn, delivers a hit about living up to romantic desires with the release of her single, "Popstar". Other recent singles can be found on major streaming platforms like Apple Music along with her breakout track, "Baby Boy", released 3 years ago.

Beyond The Surface: The Return of the Matriarch

The repression of the feminine has led to a planet on the edge of collapse. The re-emergence is going to be a dance to behold.
— Clare Dakin

Self-proclaimed, Princess Nokia, released a super transcendental, lo-fi fusion album, entitled, Metallic Butterfly. The project, which is celebratory of matriarchy, serves as a trip to the fifth dimension, where all are free from low vibrational feelings and thrive in love. In so many words the Princess states that she will no longer "keep it cute", but instead will vocalize her truths. On Metallic Butterfly, Nokia speaks on feeling like a supernatural butterfly in a toxic environment-- in a specific instance, no longer resonating with a romantic partner after a paradigm shift within leading her to surrender for the sake of her energy. Metallic Butterfly is sacred house music for all self-proclaimed queens-- because the only way to come into power is through its recognition! Metallic Butterfly is available on major streaming platforms.

Dreezy drafted Kash Doll for her latest single, "Chanel".

Indie Arie dropped a single/visual combo just days ago; "That Magic" is a beautifully inspiring divine love story.

Hip-Hop lyricist, Sa-Roc, exudes empress energy with her "Goddess Gang" song and visual. The visual was released months ago in October and is one of many since her last full project in 2015, Gift of the Magi.

I come in peace, but I pose a mother-loving threat.
— Queen P

Beyond The surface

The first visual of Noname's Room 25 went viral on the 4th. The "Blaxploitation" visual accurately captures the extensive demonization of "Black" America by the media and its brainwashed consumers.
On the 7th, upcoming rapper, Domo Genesis, released a super chill uptempo Hip-Hop EP, Facade Records. On it, the Cali bred rapper speaks on his crime ridden beginnings, weed and carrying out plans to elevate his career. Amongst my favorite tracks are "Two Tone Durag", "Online" and "Power Trip", which features Dreamville's Cozz. Facade Records is available on major streaming platforms.
Earlier this week RnB songstress, Tink, dropped her single, "Different", on which the decline of a relationship begins with the singer's intuition.
Jaden finally shared a more than fit visual for his single, "GOKU", months after its October release.
Latin lover, A.CHAL, released EXOTIGAZ, an 18 minute trap EP centered around his unwillingness to take life too seriously right present day. On EXOTIGAZ, A.CHAL speaks on turning down the possibility of a longterm commitment to instead party, smoke and "hook-up". "Indigo Girl" is my favorite track of course, followed by "000000". EXOTIGAZ is available on major streaming platforms.
Saba is up again this week with his forth single since November, a love song entitled "Papaya".
Nigerian artist, Davido, took the opportunity to make a beautiful gesture to honor powerful African women with the visual release of his "Wonder Woman" single.
Jorja Smith dropped the official video for her single, "The One". The song can be heard on the artist's Lost & Found album, released June of this year.

Beyond the Surface

On the 26th, JID released his highly anticipated LP, DiCaprio 2, the sequel to DiCaprio (released in 2015). On DiCaprio 2, JID lays down more skillfully executed verses as he allows his past to resurface alongside his heightened awareness; the artist's platform has always served as a revolving door to his mind and each go around its expansion is up for consumption by listeners. On DiCaprio 2, JID does more rapping than anything, and instead uses beat selection, delivery, and subject matter as means of creating depth. The project is solid for sure-- but then again, JID never misses! Amongst my absolute favorites are "Off da Zoinkys", "Workin Out", "Tiied" and "Skrawberries". DiCaprio 2 is available on major streaming platforms.
A new wave has washed up on my lap. The quartet, Good Girl, is a heavily melinated 90's heir to the throne's dream. The dream team released their single "I Can Be Yours" which features upcoming rap artist, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. Their 2016 EP, Goodie the Appetizer is available on major platforms.
This week, Ravyn Lenae shared a glamorous visual for "The Night Song", a single off her EP Crush.
On the 30th, sound engineer, Kaytra released an EP entitled Nothin Like U/ Chances. On the project the soundstress features artists Ty Dolla $ign and Shay Lia. Assumably the project is short and sweet ode to an apparently magical muse-- because vibes don't lie. Nothing Like U/ Chances is available on major streaming platforms.
Krizzle, formally known as Big KRIT released another EP, entitled Double Down. The 2 track project is more in line with KRIT's signature southern rap sound in comparison to Thrice X.
Odd Future member, Earl Sweatshirt, released his third solo project, Some Rap Songs, earlier this week, and I would describe it as a 'casserole of vibes'. The LP is a mesh up of verses or maybe chop up of songs; however every thought is complete. The project is reflective of Earl's journey through a metaphorical shadowed valley as a rite of passage into divine manhood. On the journey the artist has come to realize that it is up to him to unchain himself from drug dependency and to relieve himself of the pain that keeps him chains him to it, all of which he elaborates on. Some Rap Song's 15 tracks can be listened to in under 30 minutes on major streaming platforms.
Saba released another single entitled "Excited". On it he reveals a new project is in the works, but we knew this!

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Beyond The Surface: Rapper’s Delight


At the top of the month Hip-Hop artist, Vince Staples, released his third album FM!. FM! is a lot more hyphy than the artist's previous work, Big Fish Theory, but rightfully so; the artist has more songs centered around his street mentality, which is all about survival, and the West Coast influence is sonically prevalent throughout the album. Tracks "Run the Bands" and "Tweakin'" are my favorites at the moment. FM! is available on all major streaming platforms.
On the 9th, rising rap star, Cupcakke, released her sixth studio album, Eden. On Eden, cupcakKe showcases her penmanship and dynamic flow while discussing an array of things. "PetSmart", "Dangled", and "Starbucks" are my top 3 from the well-made project. Eden is available on major streaming platforms.

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Conscious North Philly artist, Hprizm aka High Priest, released his third studio album deliberately entitled, Magnetic Memory. The album is very soothing in fused sound with its rather aggressive intent to wake up the chosen ones. All conscious artists desire to do such a thing, but along with telling us what to do, Hprizm tells what to overcome. My favorites are "Infusion", "Asia", and "Electric Ladyland". Magnetic Memory is available on major streaming platforms.
A$AP Rocky released his single "Sundress" along with a visual earlier this week on the 20th.
On the 25th, King Draft dropped the visual for his single "Make Sen$e" which features Kelly Kale. The single is the first off Draft's album, Two Eyes, to have visual representation.

Beyond The Surface

Dreamville's Ari shared two more singles this week, one entitled "Pedigree" and the other "No One", both soulful.
JID shared "Off Deez", a single that will be featured on his upcoming album, DiCaprio 2. The project is set to release this year on the artist's birthday, November 26th.
On the 16th, Big KRIT released a short compilation entitled, Thrice X. The project is centered around finding God in isolation and in return not feeling indebted to anybody. Thrice X is available on major streaming platforms.
Tyler, The Creator released a not so festive holiday EP, entitled Music Inspired by Illumination & Dr, Seuss' The Grinch. If you and your cousins like to make "Store runs" (side-eye) before joining the rest of the family for holiday dinner, this just may be the EP for your. The project is available on major streaming platforms.
This week Saba released "Beautiful Smile", a single about maintaining optimism when things are bad.

On the 16th, Anderson .Paak released his highly anticipated album, Oxnard and it did not disappoint. The Self-righteous revolutionary album is relevant and just on time. Paak, who is keen on using his instruments to make statements allows us to relate where we can to his firsthand experiences. Taboo subjects based in politics, spirituality, love, financial freedom, and more are discussed as the artist spill from his heart. The album is very much so a rock and funk influenced classic that can be played for many summers. Oxnard is available on major streaming platforms.

Beyond The Surface

On the 8th, smittened Smino, released his second studio album, NOIR, an ode to his "life being a black ass movie". The versatile rapper delivers scatted verses that tell-all about his highs and lows as of late, mentioning partying, casual relationships, heartache and hardship. NOIR is full of timeless sounds, from jazz and caribbean influences to galactic effects and latin flavor. The album is available on all streaming platforms.
Anderson .Paak released his second single from his upcoming album, "Who R U?", which takes on a much different sound than "Tints". Both singles will be featured on his upcoming album Oxnard which is available for pre-order now.

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Upcoming rapper, Kash Doll released a visual for her new single, "Ice Me Out". The single is separate from the rapper's Brat Mail mixtape, released in March.
Dreamville, Princess, Ari Lennox released two jazzy love songs this week. The artist, known for her candid approach, sings about wanting to "pull up" and get choked out-- during sex of course. She makes it's sound so dreamy though. "Grandpa" and "40 Shades of Choke" are available on major platforms along with "Whipped Cream".
Artist: Khalid
Album: Suncity
On Things Could Be Worse rising Hip-Hop artist, Alex Aff speaks on life post-transition from Durham to Charlotte, NC-- a move made in hopes of "getting rich quick". Instead, the artist was met with obstacles and resolved friendships, but in turn used love, and the "little things" as his solace. Things Could Be Worse is self-recorded and produced, therefore takes on Aff's signature raw, coasting sound. The album is available on major stream platforms.
Known Hip-Hop Producer, 9th Wonder brought out the Jamala Squad with the recently released 9th Wonder Presents: Jamla is the Squad II, a sequel to part one, released in 2014. The project, mostly Hip-Hop, is dense in appearances, featuring the likes of J. Cole, Rapsody, Busta Rhymes and to my surprise, King Draft.

Beyond The Surface

Two days ago, on the 26th of October, Mick Jenkins released his sixth studio album, and it is nothing short of a masterpiece. The album, entitled Pieces of a Man, commences with jazz feels and open mic dialogue, both of which shape the rest of the album. On Pieces of a Man, The artist uses his poetic flow to speak on the purges he has been experiencing (mostly by way of resolved friendships). He also elaborates on how he has chosen to fill the fresh voids with extreme focus on himself, relationship, and craft-- and a side of recreational narcotics. Mick, rough around the edges (evident in his delivery, "bout that life" narratives and grungier music choices), manages to be so without using misogynistic terms-- a gesture I find honorable, making the album title Pieces of a Man fitting. Be sure to check out his single. Check out his single "Bruce Brunner". Pieces of a Man is available on all major platforms.
Earlier this week, Justine Skye shared a heartfelt visual for her single "Build", featuring Arin Ray, in which she speaks to a woman's burning desire to craft the perfect man worthy of love, respect and time.
Jamila Woods shares the visual for her single "Giovanna", a self-praise anthem. In the visual she channels various parts of herself through embracing aspects of her deeply rooted culture.
NAO's Saturn dropped on the 26th as promised. The album's title is symbolic of the lessons life's has to offer-- and in NAO's case by way of romance, thus the album is centered around the concept of using love as a learning tool and growth gauge. Sonically there is a nice balance between slow and up-tempo tracks, and of course NAO sounds great. The album is definitely a must-add to the vibiest of playlist. Be sure to check out the "Make It Out Alive" visual. Saturn is available on major streaming platforms.
Spacedad20xx and Cuzo Key's collaborative album, Universal Player, released on the 25th , is the epitome of southern rap-- but with twist; the collection of "love" songs is immersed in futurism, easily making Universal Player something to roll-up and ride to, or just chill. It has an ebb and flow of lo-fi instrumentation and wide ranging melodies. The album is available on all streaming platforms.
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Rising star, Joji, released his second studio album this year, Ballads 1 and 'yes' is really all I want to say. The artist of Japanese-Australian heritage is well versed in many genres and eras of music, as it can be heard. He fluidly runs together psychedelic rock, pop, RnB and trap and I'm in awe. On Ballads 1 the artist speaks from the giving end of selfless love, longing to be on the receiving end, if not today than in another lifetime. The artist sings his memoirs of inadequacy as he collects his thing to go. Ballads 1 is available on major streaming platforms.