#IndieSpotlight, unsigned hype

Donny DoomsDay Goes Against The Grain

Three listens had us open!

Going blind into an album is a liberating experience; with preconceived notions, it’s easier to take a raw listen at the actual material — without politics and BS. I had such an experience just this week with an artist name Donny DoomsDay. Everything about this guy is intriguing post-three listens. His latest LP, the hefty 17-song slice of hip-hop that is Reality Raps is loaded with positivism, a good amount of relatability, BARS, and unabashed nods to his Christianity.

To top it all off, he delivers a healthy tribute to the screwed up sound Texas is synonymous with.

What was most intriguing about the album was the layers I uncovered during my three top to bottom spins. Upon the first pass, I was taken in by the production. The project begins with “Moonlight,” which has an eerie/jazzy sound; “who’s the dealer and who’s the fiend,” he asks rhetorically. Elsewhere, I found myself running back “Fifth Wheel Motion,” his (sonic) salute to the style Texas became famous for, where you can almost imagine his dense wordplay getting a “chopped not slopped” treatment.

“Texas Made,” which walks you through life in the section was another one that got a few run backs, with it’s slick, atmospheric record pops.

Upon the second pass, I got deeper into his wordplay. He’s a Christian rapper, as I’ve come to know upon more research, but he doesn’t at all shove it down your throat; instead, he makes positive music. Not rainbows and shit, just … positive. Let me break that down.

 
“Graveyardz” follows him as he comes home from a literal graveyard shift at a plant, only to look at the face of his sleeping with and realizing his grinding is all worth it. “Selfish” is another example, where he raps about how he — despite circumstances — manages to stay out of jail, chases degrees rather than selling drug; he even raps about paying taxes on the second verse.

Keep in mind, the production on this LP is amazing, so he has these trap tinged, dark, southern tracks made for rolling around to in a candy painted Cadillac at midnight, but it is at points, (lyrically) swimming against the grain like a hip-hop salmon.

Then there are these really powerful records in the mix, like “Nothing To Something,” where he addresses the sameness of emcees in the game: “concepts are the same … the producers are the real artists, I’m a say it.” Another clear standout for me was “Villainy,” where he discusses the illusionary nature of the “things” that hip-hop culture consider important. This particular song is two-fold, also looking at the way he perceives himself as being viewed, despite being anything but a basic “rap guy.”

“You can run the trap; I’ll run to the bank with a business plan.”
–Donny DoomsDay

“Many Blessings” was probably the song with the most overt show of his faith, though he does instill it into bars throughout the album, and you can’t overlook “Been Praying,” either.. Tracks like “Coach Store” and “Give It and Go” do throw you off the trail though, without really listening to the bars, a light listen of this LP lets a lot of amazingness go over your head.

There is a ton to love and unpack on Reality Raps, but it’s worth getting lost in for a day — or two.

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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#IndieSpotlight: N’awlins Rapper A. Levy Is Proclaiming Positivity Through His Music

“It’s a great time…even better it’s the best time of my career thus far.”

New Orleans rapper A. Levy wears many hats: hip-hop artist, audio engineer, t-shirt brand owner, father, and husband. His music is a mixture of lyrical storytelling, and golden era aesthetics, and contemporary production. “I’m influenced by a lot of things and try to touch on subjects I feel are neglected,” he tells AAHH in an interview.

The celebrated emcee started off his career making parodies and remixes of radio songs. “I’m from New Orleans,” he says, “so Mac, Fiend, Mystikal, No Limit and the Cash Money camp influenced me,” he says, also naming Nas, Outkast, and Kendrick Lamar who give him inspiration from to pen songs.

His journey has been long, with many drops along the way. “To date, I’ve released too many projects to remember,” he says with a laugh. “I started off under the name Young Duece. After a conversation with a local radio personality, I changed it to the most natural thing I could think of … my name.” Some of his past projects include Commercial Break, Best You Never Heard Of, Crashed Harddrive, Super Ugly, Crescent City Classic, and a few others.

“Right now, I’m working on collecting original production with no samples,” he reveals. “My heart tells me to do samples, but financially that’s not the wisest move when it’s time for radio, tv, movie and video game placements.”

He’s received a ton of recognition thus far. “The Source has covered me, XXL, 2DopeBoyz, BBC, performed in Thailand, London, Aruba and successfully did three national tours all in the last three years.” That has all been independent, too. “I’ve [also] been nominated for and won a few NOLA music awards,” he says proudly.

“I record mix and master my music,” he adds. “I book my shows and do my PR, all while holding down a full-time job. My studio — The Hut Studios –has been a local staple for the last decade for some of the best indie artists in the area. In addition to all that I also throw monthly showcases and festivals in the states.”

He is quick to note his primary goal as amassing as much influence as possible. “I want to put my city in the best and most accurate light possible. We’re a city full of lyricists, pop artist, and street artist, but to date, only one part of our story has been told prominently. I want to be a part of spreading positivity.”

“I’m signed to myself. I don’t foresee myself signing any major label deals. I’ve personally had horror stories and heard twice as many from my peers,” he says. Next up is more touring. Bigger and better stages. Festivals, TV, and radio are all in play right now.”

“It’s a great time…even better it’s the best time of my career thus far.”

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unsigned hype

PH4DE Collaborates With Lil Wayne & Trae The Truth On New Singles

25-year-old Romani rapper PH4DE is on a mission to make timeless art and encourage others to BE and LOVE themselves…

25-year-old Romani rapper PH4DE is on a mission to make timeless art and encourage others to BE and LOVE themselves while paying respects to his heritage along the way. The Texas-raised emcee has been making music since the young age of 13, and now is finally breaking out into the mainstream with an impressive collection of music with some incredible, head-turning features.

 
His latest, “No Mercy,” features arguably one of the best rappers of this generation, Lil Wayne, who spits nitro. “One for the hurt, one for the heal, but one from the hammer will get a nigga killed,” he raps on the super hype instrumental. Ph4de himself drops some intricate wordplay: “Water whippin’ in dishes set from the last supper, bought the kitchen, now religion’s in the crack muscle.”

He also has a new record with Trae The Truth that definitely worth giving a spin.

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unsigned hype

Cleveland’s Nija Gal Represents a Nation with Bars

They gone be looking for you one day they gone see 🙏🏾 drop 🔥🔥🔥 if you mess with the vibe…

With Hip-Hop at the height of its popularity internationally, the success opens the door for the future to be welcomed with open arms from all across the world like the new Nigerian-descent recording artist, Nija Gal. Born Nnena Aidgwe, thanks to her impactful and pride-centric content, the Cleveland, Ohio indie act has quickly become a new found sensation in music that the world is quickly paying close attention too.

A triple-threat at heart (actress/recording artist/writer), Nija Gal got into music through her inability to purchase song licensing for her filmmaking endeavors. Unable to get the perfect sound, Nija began recording her music to input her features. Realizing she had some slick wordplay, Nija took her act to social media and started recording and posting freestyles. Nija quickly accumulated thousands of views along with positive responses to her empowering rhymes over Instagram and began producing more clips showcasing her must-see potential.

 
Nija Gal’s style is blended with thought-provoking, brazen lyricism that allows her Nigerian roots to speak volumes. She gained the moniker of The Nigerian Nightmare from her impressive viral foundation. Music isn’t shy of Nigerian success; a previous artist of Nigerian-descent to shine bright is Warner Music signee Wale. Nija is quick to follow in the same successful steps with her unique presence.

As Nnena Adigwe (22) is a very proud Nigerian and a female of many avenues as she is a Comedian, Basketball player, and Director. Nnena is the screenwriter for her upcoming original series, titled, Damn Nnena: The Hurt Bitch Chronicles, the same project that kickstarted her musical career.

In 2018 thus far, Nija has released two buzzworthy songs “Me & You” and the new lover’s scorned anthem, “Not the Thumb.” On the track, Nija crafts an in your face tell-all official universal response for any woman who has endured an unappreciated relationship. The infectious track is raw and uncut, the perfect depiction of what goes through a woman’s head when dealing with a good for nothing man. Interesting enough, “Not the Thumb,” is a self-reflection and self-healing body of work that will quickly become a fan favorite from the up-and-coming artist’s catalog for years to come.

As the year continues, Nija Gal promises plenty more freestyles and release of original music for her consistently growing fanbase. With Cleveland a current music melting pot for hit new artists, it’s only a matter of time that Nija Gal will carry the indie label before being a top prospect for the majors.

https://soundcloud.com/nija_gal/me-you

Enjoy Nija Gal? Follow The Nigerian Nightmare on Instagram for up-to-the-minute info on everything Nija Gal.

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A Conversation With Florida’s Own Larry Kush

Florida rapper Larry Kush, made his debut this year scoring a feature with childhood friend Kewl CutLis on the major…

Florida rapper Larry Kush, made his debut this year scoring a feature with childhood friend Kewl CutLis on the major hit, “Bussin That Pack Down.” With the summer season in full swing, Kush is working on his debut mixtape J Co.’s Most Wanted, as well the highly anticipated Band Tawk 2. The KILO Brands discovered talent recently took some time to chat with Above Average Hip Hop, and walk us through his career thus far.

“My love for music started at an early age,” he tells AAHH. I was two or three years of age when my parents bought me an acoustic guitar for Christmas … I played it for a day until I turned Rockstar and smashed it, while entertaining company.

He began writing music around the age of seven. “I always wanted to make hip-hop,” he confesses. “Every chance I got to kick a freestyle or be apart of something to entertain I was there.” He recorded his first record with partner Kewl CutLis (forming New Nu Music Group) and never looked back. Three years of building their sound led to their 2014 debut mixtape, Band Tawk. “[Band Tawk] got a lot of attention, and folks quickly started to notice us for the music,” he notes.

Unfortunately for the pair, they were hindered by legal roubles the following year that resulted in lengthy jail time and probation. Upon being released, they got back to business. “I took a year off to get back to the money, and in 2017 we started back with records like “Running off,” “Solid,” and “Tom Brady” which are all available on SoundCloud (Kewl Cutlis).

The duo spent 2017 looking for a way to market their unique brand of music, spending countless hours in the studio and with TRU Digital — their in-house graphic designer.

By the time 2018 rolled around, they were locked in. “Kewl started going to record in Atlanta at Loud House, and when he came back from the first trip he came with some of the best quality music I had heard,” he admits. “I knew that was going to be our new recording spot. Thanks to After-hours who is one of the principal engineers at Loud House, we got invited back to the studio in Buckhead where we made new hit singles that we have yet to
release.

“Stay tuned in to Larry Kush and Kewl Cutlis; we are The New Nu Music Group.”

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