Reviews, unsigned hype

Chughey’s LP “Lost In My Mind” Is An Emotional Rollercoaster

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’ve been quite vocal in the past about the importance of album sequencing — especially when it comes to the…

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’ve been quite vocal in the past about the importance of album sequencing — especially when it comes to the narrative arc of a project’s storyline (no matter How loose). This is something that came into play when I was checking out this fascinating gem from Gladstone, Michigan, MC Chughey. Lost In My Mind is unique in that out of context, some of the project’s lighter fare, such as the age-old money chase of ”Casino, ” create a fresh, grind-savvy impression of Chughey. However, a top to bottom listen to his LP is, to say the least, a journey through the mind of a man dealing with more than he’s able to handle himself.

 

Starting off as a testament to the hustle he’s diligently dedicated himself to, “Maneuver” and “Nothing New” absolutely sparkle. Self-produced, the project has pretty tight production, and Chughey’s cadence really pulls things together nicely.

It’s when we hit “Feels Right” that things start to take a turn for the dark. What plays out as a complicated relationship that he’s unable to have fully reciprocated — despite deep emotional investment — plays into the next track “Deepest,” which sees him seemingly professing the stranglehold that love has over him, and how his aforementioned emotional investment simultaneously makes his object of affection a remedy and a weapon. “Off Of You,” is an uncomfortable confession that his demons destroyed the relationship he was in, and he is now struggling to exist without her engulfing his thoughts.

What stands out is “Fine,” which is a quintessential theme song for checking in on your friends. The song is a heart-wrenching confession that though he — though his exterior is hardened — is experiencing a crisis on the inside. We also learn as this portion of the tracklist progresses that he was numbing much of his emotions with alcohol; he later finds his way, and songs like the sunny “Wasted Days” feels like sunshine cutting through the haze that we’ve been taken through.

 

What happens when the plans change, and we get into a dark place? Many people go through it, and for Chughey, sharing his experience — whether or not it’s genuinely autobiographical — is brave and necessary in a landscape where mental health has proven to be one our generation’s greatest threats. While it definitely escalated quickly and probably isn’t a casual listen as a whole, it’s a worthwhile slice of honest, self-produced artwork.

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns
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New Music, unsigned hype

@CJFlemings – ‘Mascara Tears’

Recently Canadian R&B/Rap sensation CJ Flemings delivered his newest project, Mascara Tears.  Delving deep beyond the superficial appearance of the album title, CJ Flemings spent years developing his…

Recently Canadian R&B/Rap sensation CJ Flemings delivered his newest project, Mascara Tears.  Delving deep beyond the superficial appearance of the album title, CJ Flemings spent years developing his breakthrough project that has once again shines a light on the Canadian R&B/Hip-Hop music scene. While some fans pressing play on Mascara Tears might be unfamiliar with CJ’s sound, CJ Flemings pulls on the heartstrings of his listeners while also providing music that Hip-Hop fans can ride to, a duality rarely seen in today’s artists.

Known by his fans as the “Soft Spoken Prince,” this cold weather crooner has been making music since he was 12, developing himself and his sound for almost a decade. Drawing inspiration early on from some of the greatest rappers of all time like Lil Wayne and Kanye, CJ Flemings’ sound eventually evolved in to an R&B sound with all the nuances from Hip-Hop that he grew up admiring.

Executive produced by his close collaborator Michael Lantz, Mascara Tears carries a theme that took CJ nearly 5 years to bring to perfection. Since then the album has earned thousands of streams online and he’s been featured on numerous Canadian radio shows that have highlighted his undeniable ability to reach listeners with both Hip-Hop and R&B flavored music.

Mascara Tears is a project that I had to put out. It was produced by Michael Lantz who was my executive producer for the project, but Lance and I sat down and he worked with me for the whole project.  I decided to call it Mascara Tears, which is a title I had for about four or five years.  For a while I was kind of sitting on the title and trying to figure out what the message and theme were going to be, revolving around it,”CJ Flemings explained.  “I feel like it’s the perfect title because it’s not what the title would seem. My story is authentic and that what I think people look for in relationships.  For example you may have situations going on where women tend to use mascara to cover up their flaws. If you just keep in authentic you might not run into those issues and it might not have been as much of a disaster as if they had stayed true to themselves and kept it real. There’s no need to cover up your flaws, you just have to keep it real.”

Led by the singles, “Don’t Know You,” “Acquainted,” and “Judgement,” this project shows  CJ Fleming’s versatility and ability to make upbeat R&B music that connects with a Hip-Hop base.

“You hear it in the album from beginning to end. I did the best I could to deliver the message of being yourself and not switching and just keeping it solid personally. With everything gong on I wanted this album to touch everybody in a way so that they could use this album to not feel like they are doing something wrong. Sometimes relationships are tough and this album kind of is a guide for your emotions. I feel like I had to put myself in a very vulnerable position to make this album so I hope that this is relatable and whatever the case may be I hope people can connect.

Backed by a host of appearances on radio including his Live Nation performance in support of his project Mascara Tears, CJ has connected with fans more than ever on this project.

“In November I started doing a whole bunch of press and we had three shows where I did eventually opened up for Jack Harlow’s show. Jack and I were able to connect like it was nothing. The Lil TJay show as sold out and I did a set there and the crowd went crazy. During that time it was kind of wild experiencing all that press in one week and I was really conscious of my performance and being on time,” CJ explained.

To date CJ Flemings has blessed the airwaves of The Beat 92.5 with Jeremy White, CBC Montreal Radio with Sabrina and Duke, CKUT 90.3 FM – All The Way Live, CINQ 102.3 FM, Global NewsToronto: Live Nation’s One To Watch @ the Lounge by Live Nation, Virgin Radio 95.9 Recap Rap with Adam Greenberg and many others.

“These songs that are buzzing are all songs that I have grown and developed based on organic reaches. For every song that’s out I feel that I grow beyond the song once its out, but I love all the songs and can’t wait for the fans to connect.”

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New Music, unsigned hype

Devious (@Deviousontwitt) – ‘Devious & Friends: For the Culture Vol. 1’

Recently New Orleans artist, producer and writer Devious releases his new compilation project, Devious & Friends. Promoting the importance of…

Recently New Orleans artist, producer and writer Devious releases his new compilation project, Devious & Friends. Promoting the importance of the famed “Bounce” music genre that was derived from the clubs of New Orleans, Devious’ new compilation project that will showcase New Orleans music at its core.

To date Devious has been sampled by Nelly, Beyonce, Rihanna, Travis Porter, Kid Cudi, Lupe Fiasco, Cardi B, City Girls, Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Duval, Project Pat and the Ying-Yang Twins to name a few.

After allowing a host of artists to sample his music and grab pieces of the culture Devious has decided to work on a compilation album with staple Hip-Hop and R&B acts from his city called Devious & Friends.

“My City doesn’t really understand how deals are made and how they are put together with some of these big artists that I have worked with like Beyoncé and Rihanna. They tend to think the artists or labels in New York and California are stealing our music. They don’t actually know there are deals being made with people like Cardi B and the City Girls. So I wanted to put a face to the music of our city, because pretty much all the guys I produce with are getting opportunities too and they deserve some attention. That’s what made me start Bounce Factory and make Devious & Friends,” Devious explained.

Prompted by the singles, “Lift Ya Rump” featuring 5th Ward Weebie and “Really Got It Going On” Ft. Rooftop Rafe (Prod by BlaqNMild), Devious and Friends is jam-packed with artists and sounds that people have been taking from for years. Also featured on Volume 1 of this compilation are Iris P, Lenny Green, Paije Rush, Niyo and more.

“We started with the R&B for the project because they are pretty much locked in and have positive energy. The next project will be back to the bars. This is more of the eclectic project,” said Devious. “For The Culture represents New Orleans. We plan on releasing For The Culture Vol. 2 or a deluxe edition which will feature some of New Orleans dopest emcees. There’s so much talent in New Orleans and as a songwriter I try to collaborate with as many eclectic creatives as I can. We definitely have the gumbo flavor in our music.”

Other key people who worked on the album are DJ Slab 1 & DJ Ro from Q93 FM, Lenny Green, and S – 8ighty who also took the time to comment about their input on the project:

DJ Ro – Q93 FM

“The role I play in Devious’ movement is to break his singles in his city and the surrounding areas. Devious started out as the freestyle king and he played a part in many of our New Orleans hit bounce music recordings as well as creating the hooks for many of our homegrown artists. It means a lot to be a witness to Devious’ success! I’m just a vessel for artists to get their musical message out. With the influence of Devious’ vocals and his savvy business ways, we now have major artists from around the globe wanting a piece of the bounce sound that was born in New Orleans.”

Lenny Green

“To be a part of The Bounce Factory project is a privilege and honor. I believe the new song “Never Let Geaux” by Devious produced by S- 8ighty is innovative in nature because it’s a true bounce ballad! To be able to work with such great artists is refreshing and in my opinion this project can open doors to mass appeal and will spark major label interest.”

S-8ighty

“Devious came to me and wanted production work and feature work. He came with the ideas that he wanted. Whenever he wants something, it’s in a particular way. Usually when he asks for something, I give it to him. It’s always a fun and great time working with him.”

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New Music, unsigned hype

MJ Grizz – “Outside Looking In”

Coming straight outta the Chi, comes a MJ Grizz, who carries a smooth flow and demeanor with the lyricism to…

Coming straight outta the Chi, comes a MJ Grizz, who carries a smooth flow and demeanor with the lyricism to match.

Mj Grizz just released an introspective and reflective track, “Outside Lookin In” produced by A DOT that touches on working towards your dreams even when it’s tough remembering why you started on your journey.

Combining forces with management phenom Smit of BDM Management, Mj Grizz has a new direction and movement as Smit brings a wealth of knowledge and connections in the industry from radio to the blogs.

“The track samples Erykah Badu’s Bag Lady.” Mj said, “This song is one of those records that means a lot to me. It helps me get through the moments when I’m going through some shit. It reminds me to trust the process and never give up.”

Growing up, Mj often felt like others doubted him and downplayed his dreams. He wanted to take that negative energy he was harboring and turn it into a positive for his fans to relate.

“Yeah, this song is for the underdog and the outcast. The ones who can’t speak up for themselves. The ones who have big dreams and visions that no can see yet but know they’re coming,”Mj also stated.

Mj always had a love and passion for music at an early age. He grew up in Bolingbrook, a small suburb outside of Chicago and began his journey into Hip-Hop at the age of 20. Since then, he has become a prominent name in the local scene.

“The local scene is great. A lot of dope artists are coming up from the city. It’s not like Atlanta where everyone support each other but it’s also very much competitive and it seems like most people have that every man for himself mentality,” said.

Mj Grizz is currently working on more music and content to be released in 2020. His message to his day 1 fans and supporters is, “I just appreciate everyone who’s been with me on this journey and I got a lot more music for you in the future. I appreciate every fan and person who shared my music, who follows me and plays my music when they have the aux cord. Thank you all. I got a long way to go but It’s going to be one hell of a ride.”

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New Music, unsigned hype

Dwayne M – “Like That”

Queens’ own, Dwayne M is ready to step into the spotlight as the self-proclaimed “King of Romance Rap.” Setting the tone for the…

Queens’ own, Dwayne M is ready to step into the spotlight as the self-proclaimed “King of Romance Rap.” Setting the tone for the upcoming new year, Dwayne unveils his debut single, “Like That” with steamy visuals. With the artistic direction of Rhademes Julian, Dwayne M and his leading lady get up close and personal for the camera – leaving enough room for imagination. 

Inspired by the likes of LL Cool J, and Biggie – and mentored by Mr. Cheeks and Buddy Wike of Intro, Dwayne brings a New York swagger in his seductive interpretation of Hip Hop meets R&B.” 

 

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