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A Beginner’s Guide To Brockhampton

Here’s a great place to start for new listeners of the acclaimed group.

If you ask any given person to name the most prolific boyband of the twenty-first century, I’m willing to bet his or her answer would be One Direction. He or she would be incorrect. Now, don’t get me wrong; that mistake is common and understandable.

The U.K.-based quintet-turned-quartet did, after all, release five studio albums in four years. That’s impressive. Only one boyband, though, has ever released three studio albums over the course of six months. Only one boasts somewhere between fourteen and thirty-eight members who met on the Internet. That boyband is Brockhampton — and they exploded in the summer of 2017, delivering some of the most exciting hip-hop I have heard this decade.

Riding the momentum of their 2016 mixtape All-American Trash, and a Viceland program titled American Boyfriend, Brockhampton entered 2017 hungry. Over the course of the year, they wrote and recorded so much high-caliber material that they just could not settle for one album. In fact, the creativity flowing between the six spitters, two singers, three producers, and visual arts masterminds was (and continues to be) so intense that the group nicknamed their house in L.A. the Brockhampton factory. For the sake of brevity, I will resist the impulse to write extensively about each member. Here are the nine tracks from the Saturation trilogy you should check out if you want to get into Brockhampton.

Saturation I

“HEAT”

This track was my introduction to BH, and it quite literally blew my head straight off my neck. It was my most played song on Spotify in 2017; the first time I played it was in June. The heavy, industrial drums and muddy bassline have such primal energy that I feel like I’m discovering fire every time I listen. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that Ameer Vann’s verse is one of the hardest I have ever heard kick off an album.

Talkin’ ‘bout release dates, I’m tryna make it to tomorrow.
—Dom McLennon

“STAR”

If I had to encapsulate the essence of this iconic single in one word, it would be bars. Bars on bars on bars on bars on bars on bars on bars. Rapping over a simple beat accented with eerie keys, Dom, Ameer, and Kevin deliver three airtight verses that are so dense with witty pop culture references that each one doesn’t sink in until the guys are three lines ahead. I like to think of this track as a mission statement of sorts for the group; it’s a perfect snapshot of the talent and personality that make BH so compelling.

Heath Ledger with some dreads/I just gave my nigga head.
—Kevin Abstract

“BANK”

One of the most underrated tracks in their discography. The pounding drums hypnotically mesh with a riff that’s played on either keys or a ukulele — I have no idea. The record is made all the more mesmerizing by an odd, ear worm sample of a woman’s voice that immediately locks me in. Kevin is the undisputed genius behind this song, teaming up with Dom to spit one of their best bridges and going solo on an electrifying, off-the-wall outro.

I’m addicted to writing shit that make niggas scared of us.
—Kevin Abstract and Dom McLennon

Saturation II

“GUMMY”

The lead single that got BH fans out-of-their-minds excited for their second LP of the summer. The beat is undeniably groovy and features a piercing synth lead that jars the ears at first but eventually gets under the skin in the best way possible. I have heard this song no fewer than 1,000 times, and Kevin’s opening verse continues to knock me on my ass. The bridge is perfectly tailored to Merlyn Wood’s wild vocal style. Ameer and Dom deliver landmark verses in their catalogues.

I could get shot in the back, and they’d tell the world that I fought em/We ain’t taught em nothing new but somehow they been getting smarter.
—Dom McLennon

“JUNKY”

Kevin’s verse, dude. Kevin’s VERSE. Those sixty-three seconds are enough to sell this single. Not since Danny Brown’s Atrocity Exhibition have, I heard a hip-hop instrumental this unsettling. Each rapper manages to go hard while delivering some of the group’s most vulnerable and revealing lyrical content to date. A perfect display of what makes Merlyn so unique.

Love is knowing you didn’t do it by your lonesome.
—Merlyn Wood

“SWEET”

I swear, there is a reason I’m focusing strictly on opening verses. This one encapsulates everything that makes Matt Champion so great; he brings a charismatic personality with a flow that’s just laidback enough to leave you wanting more. Kevin’s hook is guaranteed to get stuck in your skull after one spin and Dom flows more smoothly than he usually does — which is saying something. JOBA, primarily a vocalist and the group’s sound engineer, snaps on his verse with flow and pitch you won’t hear anywhere else.

Lap you in a UFO, I ain’t started yet/Still gotta figure exactly where to park it at.”
—Dom McLennon

Saturation III

“JOHNNY”

The best BH song to date. If you listen to one, make it this one. With jazzy drums and horns, summery guitar, and nostalgic record scratches, it features one of the prettiest and grooviest instrumentals the group has ever laid to track. Kevin spits a hook that is as unorthodox as it is catchy. JOBA scales back his demeanor and pours his heart out on the album’s best verse.

Anxious, impatient, and always wanting something different/I hate the way I’m feeling, I’m sick of chasing feelings.
—JOBA

“BLEACH”

Guest vocalist Ryan Beatty sings a heart-wrenching hook over a spacey, somber instrumental that features a moody trap beat and meandering guitar. Merlyn brings his best verse to date with an odd, high-pitched inflection that I love.

I wanna die during sex or religion/God, and pussy only know my intentions.
—Merlyn Wood

“RENTAL”

I love this instrumental: trap beat, overblown bass, and keys that alternate between subtle and commanding. The hook is simple, repetitive, and tight. Matt Champion shows off his falsetto; his preface to Kevin’s hook is my favorite vocal performance across the Saturation trilogy.

I got a lot on my mind, not enough hours to shed/Not enough trust to believe, not enough feeling to care.
—Dom McLennon

So, there you have it. If you’re trying to get into the Internet’s first boyband — something you should be trying to do — listen to these nine tracks. If this playlist doesn’t get you hooked, I don’t know what will. Make sure to watch their music videos, too. Whether he’s behind the mic or the camera, Mr. Abstract can do no wrong.

We’ve taken the liberty of assembling this playlist on Tidal for easy listening! Listen here.

I am an economics student at The University of Massachusetts Amherst. Beyond my studies, I work as a DJ at the university radio station: 91.1 FM WMUA Amherst. Back in July, a good friend of mine launched a political debate website called The Dialectic, where I currently work as a staff writer and the Editor-In-Chief. I love all genres of music - everything from hip-hop to post-rock to hardcore punk. Aspiring writer. Avid reader. Coffee addict.
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Pressure Dommer Teases His New EP With ”Dopeman” Single/Video

The big record is a brilliant look into the crystal ball of what to expect going forward.

Orlando, Florida, rapper Pressure Dommer is currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on his upcoming EP, 8. Set to be his biggest release to date since signing on with No Convo Entertainment — headed by acclaimed record producer Fye Jones — and to wet our appetites, has dropped off a new single and video, Dopeman.

Directed by Brill Adium, the shadowy visual is a cinematic experience, with Pressure on the late night grind; the at times frantic camera motion plays up the almost paranoia-ridden state of being experienced by a trafficker in the trap amid a sea of potential downfalls. The big record is a brilliant look into the crystal ball of what to expect going forward.

“I would describe my sound as reality music,” he tells AAHH, “very influential and soulful … full of jewels.” As he describes it, his grandad and grandma influenced him the most; “seeing them work hard to provide for multiple people — and do it from the bare minimum — [pushes me to strive for the best].

He also tells us that signing with No Convo rests among his most significant achievements. “It’s an opportunity for me to do what I love and be supported by a company that believes in me,” he says.

With his eye on the prize, and the goal of creating a lasting legacy in the music industry, Pressure is one of the hungriest rappers we’ve come across in a minute. “We’re getting this project ready for the masses,” he confidently, pointing toward the near future. It’s about to be a hot summer!

Check out the visual, below. 

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Tee Grizzley’s Highly-Anticipated Debut, ‘Activated’ Has Arrived

After months of anticipation, Detroit’s breakout star Tee Grizzley has released his much-hyped debut album, properly-titled, Activated. Since coming on…

After months of anticipation, Detroit’s breakout star Tee Grizzley has released his much-hyped debut album, properly-titled, Activated.

Since coming on the scene in 2017, he’s been building up to this moment with songs like the platinum hit single, “First Day Out” and critically acclaimed debut mixtape, My Moment. Tee Grizzley tells his story of trials, tribulations, and triumph growing up in the Motor City. The 24-year-old seizes his moment with his signature street mentality and aggressive attitude.

Activated features all-star cast of guest appearances including Jeezy, Chris Brown, Lil Pump, Lil Yachty, YFN Lucci, and many more. Tee Grizzley’s debut album features 18 brand new songs, including hit singles, “2 Vaults”, “Jettski Grizzley”, and “Colors”. Activated is available everywhere exclusively through 300 Entertainment.

Courtesy of Spotify, Stream Tee Grizzley’s debut album, Activated below.

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Q&A With Rapper Minty Burns

Toronto-rapper Minty Burns has been around for a while now; in fact, if you live in or have been to…

Toronto-rapper Minty Burns has been around for a while now; in fact, if you live in or have been to Toronto, you’ve likely seen his stickers — or his tag on a white cube van. In 2014 he made waves, collaborating with the likes of Zoey Dollaz, Lil Duke, and Big Lean. With his ever-growing, loyal fan base in tow, he’s been rolling [pun intended] out his latest effort The Dispensary, which shares the name of his niche cannabis clothing line. To top it off, he’s making a move to LA to embed himself in the west coast stoner culture.

Fresh on the heels of Coachella and the release of his “Green Man” visual, featuring legendary dancehall artist Louie Rankin — of Belly fame — he sat with AAHH for a quick Q&A. Check it out, below.

 
How did you get into the game?
 
I started out freestyling with my friends in high school which led to me doing battle rap for a few years. I won some big battles in Toronto and then started putting out music independently.
 
Who were some of your influences coming up?
 
I use to listen to a lot of Big Pun, Tupac, and Eminem.  Rappers like Fabolous and Jadakiss also inspired my style a lot. Before rap, I listened to a bit of rock too.
 
I hear you’re headed to LA; what are your plans out there?
 

I can’t wait to get back to the lab and work with producers I met while working out there. I also plan on shooting a bunch of new videos and stopping by some radio stations. Check out my last interview and freestyle on dash radio.
 
Let’s chat about your latest video; how did you connect with Louie Rankin?
 
Louie is an OG, and he’s always in Toronto. We got to link up one day, and I played him the song. He started spazzing so when I thought of the concept I knew he would be dope to kick it off.
 
Is there a project in the works?
 
My mixtape is coming out this summer. It got a lot of different sounds and collabs on there. I’m super excited for my fans to hear what I have been cooking up in the past year.
 
Tell me more about The Dispensary.
 
The tape features Zoey Dollaz, Lil Duke, Big Lean, 808 Mafia, Arrabmuzuk and more. I also have a clothing line called the Dispensary which im pushing alongside the tape. Look out for an official release date and release parties in a city near you.
 
Canada is about to legalize weed: thoughts?
 
I think it’s about goddamn time. The movement has been stable for ten plus years now, and I’m happy to see people not having to face charges and worry about going to jail for weed. Hopefully, the government here in Canada can figure out a good system to distribute it and still offer good quality at a reasonable price to the consumer.
 
Any last words?
 
Follow my social @MintyBurns and subscribe to my youtube channel @planetminty. My Official video for Green Man video is out now! Go check that out and burn one. Much Love!
 

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Cole Delivers On Record-Breaking KOD

The real is back, the Ville is back. Legendary North Carolina rapper J. Cole burst back onto the scene last…

The real is back, the Ville is back. Legendary North Carolina rapper J. Cole burst back onto the scene last week after a relatively quiet year, releasing his 4th full-length studio LP titled KOD. After an action packed three days, which included two international pop-up shows and a series of exciting tweets, the album was finally released on all major streaming platforms on Friday, April 20th (international stoner day, hint hint). Buckle up, my friends, because there’s a lot to unpack here.

The three alternate album titles, Kids on Drugs, King Overdosed, and Kill Our Demons, along with the artwork – which features children snorting cocaine, sipping lean, and smoking weed – pointed to the album being a critique of todays youth drug culture. While addiction and substance abuse are major themes of the album, KOD lacks specific direction and is not solely based on these issues. The project is more so general social commentary, with Cole flittering back and forth between a litany of deep and timely topics. The combination of the cover artwork, the 4/20 release-date, and title themes are misleading. There’s far too much going on in KOD for a concrete storyline to come to light.

While online theories are entertaining and partially correct, they still don’t account for the many conflicting portions of the album. Take kiLL edward, for example, who is listed as the album’s lone feature but is actually Cole’s drug abusing alter-ego (when edward speaks, it’s a heavily filtered version of Cole’s voice). It would be all well and good if, as theorized online, edward is the evil king of the rap game attempting to lure Cole to the dark side and join the youth in their reckless and hedonistic behavior. Throughout the album, Cole fights off edward with all of his might and eventually kills him (so they say online). But edward only has a minimal presence on the album; he’s only featured on two songs. The entertaining back and forth that could have been never comes to fruition and ultimately, the theme falls short of its full potential.

 
To complicate matters further, it’s nearly impossible to tell when Cole is speaking from his own perspective or that of someone else. Take the track “KOD,” for example, which, flow-wise and production-wise, is a slapper. Cole starts the track with lyrics that are undoubtedly from his own perspective, as he’s known for going platinum twice before without any features: “How much you worth? How big is your home? How come you won’t get a few features? I think you should? How ’bout I don’t?” Later on the track, however, Cole, who doesn’t even smoke weed, brags about sipping lean: “Yeah, at this shit daily, sipped so much Actavis I convinced Actavis that they should pay me.” Is this kiLL edward speaking? Is this Cole speaking from the perspective of another rapper? It’s impossible to tell. All of this is rapped in Cole’s normal voice, implying that it’s not coming from kiLL edward’s perspective.

Only a few bars later, Cole spits a line that is again inarguably personal: “Platinum disc and I own masters, bitch, pay me.” If Cole wanted to make a themed album, he should have either rapped any lyrics that didn’t apply to himself using edward’s distorted voice, or, he could have simply listed edward as a feature on any track that contains lines from Cole’s alter-ego perspective and let the fans decipher which lines apply to whom. Cole reached in his attempt to make a themed album and convoluted an otherwise great body of work. Based on the twelve tracks that make up this project, he should have given the album a more general title and a piece of artwork.

Album theme aside, KOD is a moving and highly educational body of work. To piggyback off of Charlemagne Tha God’s joke, The ROC should be changed to the T.E.D. because the amount of knowledge Jay-Z and Cole consistently give to the people is astounding. On the closer, “1985,” Cole responds to criticism he’s received from Lil Pump with some informatory, simultaneously scorching, bars:

One day, them kids that’s listening gon’ grow up
And get too old for that shit that made you blow up/Now your show’s lookin’ light cause they don’t show up/Which unfortunately means the money slow up/Now you scramblin’ and hopin’ to get hot again/But you forgot you only popped ’cause you was ridin’ trends/Now you old news and you goin’ through regrets/‘Cause you never bought that house, but you got a Benz.

Like “1985,” the album is full of must-listens. On the “Once an Addict” interlude, Cole describes the anguish and guilt he felt as a teen watching his mother struggle with substance abuse. On “The Cut Off,” he explores toxic, one-way relationships that he’s been forced to end. On “Friends,” he pleads with other companions of his struggling with addiction, promising that there are healthier ways to overcome systematic-oppression-induced anxiety and depression. The stories and messages on KOD are far more important than its production, which is percussion heavy and melodically muted – this is in stark contrast to some of Cole’s older, glossier, sample-laden projects such as The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights.

 
Cole did what he does best on KOD, summing up complex and poignant topics with conciseness and clarity. While some argue that his work is overly simplistic, it’s important to keep in mind when listening to a Cole album that it’s just that, an album, and not a graduate school thesis. To convey his thoughts in such an articulate manner over just 42 minutes, as he does on KOD, highlights his underrated talent as a wordsmith. More importantly, Cole again achieved his primary goal: to educate, inspire, and lead as many people as possible through his selfless works of art. It’s officially a Cole spring, and the official closing track title, “1985 (Intro to The Fall Off”),” hints that it may indeed be a Cole summer too.

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Producer & DJ Diablo Is Surfing The New Wave On A Gucci Surfboard

Currently on tour with “Gucci Gang” rapper Lil Pump, he’s on a come up!

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