Rap

Beyond The Surface

Anderson Paak's "TINTS" visual dropped earlier this week. The song will be featured on his upcoming album, Oxnard, set to drop on November 16th.
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On the 26th, upcoming soul singer, Herizen, released an experimental album entitled Come Over To My House. The album is her first official EP and on it the hipster displays her musical versatility. Herizen metaphorically discusses day-to-day obstacles in relating to one's self and others. Come Over To My House is available on major streaming platforms.
Joji shares the official visual for his Ballads 1 single, "Wanted U". Like his music, the "Wanted U' visual is almost transcendental.
The official visual for Reason's "Situations" dropped last month. The single is off the TDE artist's latest album, There You Have It.
On October 17th, Asian Doll, released So Icy Princess months after the trap queen became a part of rapper, Gucci Mane's label, 1017 Brick Squad Records. So Icy Princess is the rising rap star's proclamation as the first lady of the label and reiteration that she is the hardest "Doll", ahead of other female artists with the stage surname. The album is true to the trap genre; for the most part it is upbeat and aggressive. Asian Doll raps mostly about her South Atlanta roots, desire to get money, and street beefs. So Icy Princess is available on all streaming platforms.
Teyana Taylor released a super intimate visual for her single "Gonna Love Me" which is one of eight Keep That Same Energy tracks.
Lord JaH-Monte released a simple visual to accompany his single, "Uber Uptown" from his recently released album #BestRapperCLT (Real Life 3).

Beyond The Surface

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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.
Submissions: hiiighercalling@gmail.com
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.

Beyond the Surface

On the 21st, Lupe Fiasco's seventh album, Drogas Wave was released a week before its proposed date. As expected the album is lyrically and musically impressive. The 24 track album is dynamic sonically, hosting a variety of sounds-- whether it be through Lupe's chosen style of delivery, production, or the inclusion of other genre artists. With Drogas Wave, Lupe takes a fictional route in highlighting truths about slavery and it's lasting affects on world culture. Execution practices such as throwing slaves overboard while at sea and baiting slave babies to alligators, colonization, and miseducation of "blacks" are remembered in the fabricated tale about a group of slaves dying at sea, but return in spirit. The album progresses to shed light on the continued efforts against "blacks" post slavery-- ie, drug wars, and the material manifestations of the psychological effects of slavery, ranging from lack of self knowledge to gang violence, and even diet. Lupe highlights the widespread controversial notion that the indigenous race is the Creator's people, referring to curses spoken about in multiple religions and our connection to celestial bodies. I think Lupe deserves a grammy for this one. Drogas Wave is available on all streaming platforms.
Earthgang and Arin Ray teamed up to turn out a love song about a sticky situation. "Stuck" overall sound is reminiscent of Outkast.
I am (an EP) is RnB star in the making, Symphani Soto's, first official project. On I am, Symphani melodically uses her vocal range to speak on a push and pull affair. The project is available on all streaming platforms.
Submissions: hiiighercalling@gmail.com

Submissions: hiiighercalling@gmail.com

Day's after the release of his album, 6lack shared the visual for the album-titled single "East Atlanta Love Letter". Future appears in the video to perform his fervent portion of the collaboration. Read more about East Atlanta Love Letter.
Earlier this week Jorja Smith's "On Your Own" visual was made public. The single is off her sensually melancholic album Lost & Found, released June of this year. With few moving parts, the "On Your Own" visual is still eye-catching.
A week ago Masego took a public poll to determine which song from his recently released album to shoot a video for; on the 20th, the jazz musician delivered the official video for "Old Lady" as requested. Learn more about his album, Lady Lady.
The official video for Ella Mai's "Trip" went viral on the 18th. The director takes a simplistic approach, capturing beauty shots of the singer on various sets. "Trip" along with Ella's other smash hits will be featured on her self-titled album Ella Mai set to release on October 12th.

Beyond the Surface

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Submissions: hiiighercalling@gmail.com

"Better" is Khalid's first single after the release of his debut album, American Teen last year. On the track the rising RnB star sings about a love formed in friendship.
6LACK's sophomore album, East Atlanta Love Letter is just that, the gathering of thoughts in the name of love. The artist airs his vices that have a history of getting in the way of what he really wants. The performance, made public on the 14th, definitely gives the likes of Bryson and mainstream artist, Drake, a run for their money. Though there's plenty of room for all the artists, it certainly makes the anticipation of blended genre releases more exciting. Overall, East Atlanta Love Letter is fluid and solid.
After two years of seclusion, Noname returned on the 14th with her sophomore album, Room 25, a collection of Hip-Hop ballads that tell it like it is. Even with the all the alliteration and allegorical metaphors, the artist's stance is explicitly made: She can rap and America ain't shit. The lyrical activist psychologically dissects the ongoing offenses against indigenous people, insinuating that there is a need for systematic oppression and hate projection to progress political agendas such as the matrix. "Under one god" officials are sedated and manipulated into believing that unjustified murder is on the endless list of things that qualify for repentance, completely eliminating concepts of morality, righteousness, and accountability from christianity. And in the midsts of state of emergency trauma the bottom 90% are encouraged to (temporarily) buy back their happiness from the top 1% -- classic.

Just as the political bologna begins to digest, Noname feeds us truths about her innerworld. The artist accounts for her silent disappearing act, revealing the causes of her depression that drove her to alcoholism.

On the 11th, Dreamville artist, Lute dropped two freestyles. Listen and read along below.

[Intro]
We recording?
Gotta put some respect on my name!
Let's get it
LETS GET IT

[Verse]
When that money hit the bank I buy the hooptie instead of Gucci
Wood grain with the blue tooth, bumpin' Juicy
Mama used to tell us that money don't grow on trees
Now a nigga makin' paper off discarded loose leafs
Truth be, I'm tired of provin' I could rap to niggas
'Till I slap a nigga, he come back with niggas
Then I get to cappin' all these wack rappin' niggas at the same time
Never gave a fuck about what ain't mine, peace of mind
I be sleepin' fine but you still gotta keep an eye
Twenty reasons why, glove box where I keep the 9
Watchin' niggas shine when the light is lime, fuck you mean
Been that nigga since Girbaud jeans, I was 16
Some days I wondered if my days were numbered
Some days I wish I knew what I know now when I was younger
Head above the water line, I'm older, shit can't take me under
Even though I'm swimming in my thoughts, nigga
So much on my mind, surround yourself with those who rock with ya
Plot with ya
Cause same niggas dap me up, would never confront me
I hear more 'bout me from them, through mutual company
Funny how this whole time these niggas thought the goal was money
Meanwhile, niggas on the Gram to hide the fact they bummy
If only niggas focused on the craft, then what you seek is given
Fifteen hundred likes on Instagram and niggas think they did it
Nigga please, that's how much my rent be
Plus my livin' fee, then my Jordan [?]
That's three grand a month, y'all matching to buy a gram of weed
Mind your fuckin' business, I take care of me, fuck you mean
Went from prayin' on my knees to spreadin' my wings, somewhere in between
Must have forgot that I will slap a nigga, ain't your average rappin' nigga
Fuck you mean
So next time you see a nigga chillin', thinkin' that he did it
Tell him he trippin' a thousand likes below the price of livin'
Nigga you broke
Above water now, nigga we afloat
Fuck a boat, I got money now, I should build a moat
You too close, five years ago niggas was a ghost
Be the same nigga sayin' I'ma blow
Damn

[Intro]
This is a homage beat

[Verse]
Head on a swivel, I don't trust nobody at all
Includin' myself, ties I sever off
Cause fake shit be bad for your health
I don't preach, I just keep it real
How can I touch the bases if you don't know how to feel?
Heart full of fear cause you afraid to live, fly on the wall
But you on Instagram reciting hooks by Lil Duval
How can you evolve, if you the one that's stuntin' your growth?
Relyin' on time, in your mind you think the progress is slow
But what's the rush though? I'm just asking for a friend
Same niggas you impress and can you depend?
All be all, but it's not the end, just gotta have trust
I'm all in but you don't think about us
You all about you, and that's cool, but don't tell me how to love
You lack emotion yet my love is potent
You burnin' bridges yet im crossin' oceans
My hand on your thigh, to me that's promise land, im just sayin'
I'm with the shits if you with it too
Forbidden fruit, I take a bite of you
God forbid I lose the sight of truth
Got more to gain but even more to lose
So who I gotta prove I'm that nigga still?
West sides reppin', watch these niggas get to steppin' when I'm unconcealed
Who is you to tell me how to feel?
Head on a swivel, I don't trust nobody at all
Includin' myself, ties I sever off
Cause fake shit be bad for your health
I don't preach, I just keep it real
How can I touch the bases if you don't know how to feel?

Source: Genius

Beyond the Surface

This weeks underground features are as followed: 

Jay Pluss (+) released another single from his album in the works, #3blacc. The single is entitled "Unbreakable" and it supports my suspicion of an introspective album with its underlying theme of  mental strength.
Salma Slims is also focused-- on getting money. On the 10th, the songstress released the official visual for her single "Money Bags", months after the song's March release. The song is a form of self-empowerment by way of productivity which is often needed after a bad romance.
On the 9th, Tha Materials, AKA Tha Mats, debuted the visual for their first official single, "Malcolm X Plicit", of their album, Cartoons and Car Tunes, which dropped in June. The song carries a heavy message of racial equality for "Black" people.
Rap artist, Tahji released his debut EP, Genesis, earlier this week on the 10th. The project as a whole is upbeat and serves as introduction into the artist's inner world, heavily centered around prospering.
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A much different sounding, Satin Jackets, released a smooth disco track about a highly desirable timeless romance, a couple weeks ago.
Vinnie Dangerous dropped a risky visual for "You Belong To Me" (sexually speaking). The Hip-Hop artist is known for his sensual mellifluous style which differs from most other rappers today and keeps my ears enticed
Elton released his 2nd EP on the 10th, and it is truly a work of art. The EP is entitled, Elevated,is diverse in sound and dense in lyrical content. The artist's focus for this project is his change in perspective, which is now more forward-thinking, this is implied time after time, track after track. The subject matter is funneled out and applied to more specific ideas such as love and revolution. The EP is available on all streaming platforms.
One of my favorite bands, Capital Cities, released their third studio project, Solarize, on the August 10th. The album has 16 tracks and is greatly focused around concept of cosmic consciousness. The album has a few features, surprisingly one of the features being Rick Ross.
Mick Jenkins released his single "Bruce Banner". On the track, Jenkins is reiterating his superiority over other rappers lyrically stating "can't nobody come for me except Kendrick, and I hope you offended" and repeatedly questioning "f*** wrong with them?" as to say anyone that thinks otherwise is delusional. What do you guys think?.
An honorable mention this week is J.I.D.'s freestyle over the "Oochie Wally" beat from March 2017. The footage resurfaced after J. Cole's recent performance over the beat. The super-talented artist is signed to J.Cole's label, Dreamville.

Submissions: hiiighercalling@gmail.com

Off his album, Blue Boy, released in April, "Before I Self Destruct" is a part of a collective that expresses the sorrows of Gold Mysterio. On the album, the young rapper openly battles with depression and contemplates suicide, but is able to overcome the dark desire by weighing the effects of his absence and by the use various coping mechanisms.