Beyond the Surface



"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.

We recording?
Gotta put some respect on my name!
Let's get it

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

This is a homage beat

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

Soul singer and Dreamville artist, Ari Lennox, intimately shares the ins-outs of a break-up she experienced years ago with her song "Whipped Cream"-- the title reminiscent of her go-to comfort food at the time. Days ago, on the 5th, she shared the visual for the song which beautifully captures the gist of the relationship.
In contrast, IAMDDB's "Drippy" embodies self-worth. This concept is expressed both visually and lyrically as the multi-faceted artist flosses designer gear while eluding to "leveling up" in men. The song is one of eight that can be found on her album, Flightmode, Vol. 4 released in June of this year on all streaming platforms.
Former Danity Kane, then Dirty Money member, Dawn (now solo), shares the visual for her single "Jealously". While the song is a message to her man's lingering ex-girlfriend, the visual is much more abstract, capturing cultural and lighting aesthetics.
Full Moon Bloom is JuztKP's 3rd studio album. Like his other projects he discusses the topics that matter, but tend to get little air time in pop culture. The album opens up with "In the Waters", a song about being reborn with the revelation of self as a "black" man of royal blood. He goes on to discuss his overstanding of oppression as an illusion, touching on the many efforts to keep the indigenous aloof of their cosmic origins and potential. Such efforts include miseducation, drug wars, mass incarceration, mass murder, and contaminated water supply, just to scratch the surface. Like other conscious rappers as of late, JuztKP predicts that divine intervention is near as prophesied in ancient and modern texts. He ties his exoteric gains to those within himself, acknowledging his growth by way love and fatherhood. This West Coast vibe can be found on all streaming platforms.
"Spirit" is one of two love songs that ambient duo, Majid Jordan released on the 7th, almost a year after the release of his album, The Space Between.
"Circles" by Dahlia is a metaphor for isolation-- the result of her neo-soul longing to escape the cycles she keeps finding herself in along with her unhealthy "survival" habits.
"Think About It" by Hunnah was released at the top of summer. On it the RnB artist comes clean about unresolved feelings she's been carrying from a previous relationship.


Lady Lady, jazz musician, Masego's sophomore album is the ultimate vibe for creative bachelors, centered around intimacy or lack thereof, and full of heart throbbing sensual sounds. While the musician constantly longs for, pursues, and speaks to true intimacy (love), he is actually fearful of it-- poetically revealed throughout the album. His fearful reactions to the possibility of love is easily masked as a healthy appetite for women and excitement, his reasoning for protesting commitment. The timeless album can be found on all streaming platforms.
Guru's Groove is Philly's Jazz Singer, Masie Blu's debut EP. Only consisting of three tracks, the project is a farewell to her once lover and a "hello' to herself. Without the extra baggage, she is more equipped for her spiritual journey to healing and peace-- a message.