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“Flower Boy” Should Have Won Best Rap Album

Allow me to begin with the obvious: I have nothing but love for K. Dot and I cannot think of…

Allow me to begin with the obvious: I have nothing but love for K. Dot and I cannot think of anyone in mainstream hip-hop who deserves more respect than he does. Overly Dedicated and Section.80 are criminally underrated projects. good kid, M.A.A.D. city is a triumphant work of conceptual art. I do not think it is out of line to declare To Pimp A Butterfly one of the top 20 albums of the last decade. Most recently, DAMN. earned Kendrick Grammy nods for, among other categories, Best Rap Album and Album of the Year. He won the former and, in a sad yet unsurprising turn of events, Bruno Mars took home the latter.

Now, to be clear, I love DAMN. I think it includes some of Kendrick’s most brilliant material to date: “DNA.,” “ELEMENT.,” “FEEL.,” “FEAR.,” “DUCKWORTH.,” and the first two and a half minutes of “XXX.” (I hit skip as soon as I hear Bono’s voice). Unfortunately, I think it also includes some of Kendrick’s weakest material to date, namely “LOYALTY.” featuring Rihanna and “LOVE.” featuring Zacari. Alternatively, the album that I think should have earned the honor of Best Rap Album, Tyler, the Creator’s Flower Boy, is just about flawless.

The hype for the Odd Future founder’s fifth full-length project began when he dropped arguably his two best singles to date: “Who Dat Boy” featuring A$AP Rocky and “911/Mr. Lonely” featuring Frank Ocean and Steve Lacy. The former is an outlandish banger anchored by a cinematic string section and Tyler’s incredible charisma. The second track rides a funky, soulful instrumental and showcases a vulnerable Tyler as he addresses the extreme loneliness with which he has struggled since achieving superstar fame. From an instrumental perspective, the third Flower Boy single, “Boredom,” is Tyler’s masterpiece. The chugging drums, melancholy keys, and blissful violins that conclude the track put Tyler’s genius on full display. The fourth and final hype track, “I Ain’t Got Time,” is a hand-clapped, throttling solo effort which reminds the listener that Tyler truly operates in his own lane.

 

As much as I love these four singles, the remainder of Flower Boy is far from filler. The opening track, “Foreword,” sets the tone for the album with some of the strongest bars Tyler has dropped in his career: “How many cars can I buy until I run out of drive? / How much drive can I have until I run out of road? / How much road can they pave until I run out of land? / How much land can it be until I run in the ocean?” With guest vocals from Kali Uchis, “See You Again” is a masterfully layered track which features gorgeous harmonies and one of the best rap flows in Tyler’s catalogue. Perhaps the most discussed song in the tracklist, “Garden Shed” is a delicate, confessional ballad on which Tyler solemnly addresses his deepest insecurities.

I could go on and on about all fourteen tracks on Flower Boy, but I think you get the point. It is a revealing and sonically diverse exploration of fame, depression, and identity that demonstrates Tyler, the Creator’s immense talents as a rapper, songwriter, and producer. It is a landmark in both a career and a life, and it is better than DAMN.

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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Did Denzel Curry’s Ta13oo live up to its hype? (mostly)

During the week of July 23rd, Denzel Curry (aka Ultimate Denzel Curry aka Zeltron aka Aquarius Killer aka Denny Cascade…

During the week of July 23rd, Denzel Curry (aka Ultimate Denzel Curry aka Zeltron aka Aquarius Killer aka Denny Cascade aka the Black Metal Terrorist) dropped his long-awaited album, Ta13oo.

According to Curry’s Twitter, he waited 13 months to drop the project that had been ready for the shelves since 2017, building up hype and making multiple public statements on the state of Hip Hop culture during the interim. Ta13oo serves as a follow up to the well-received album Imperial which was first released as a free album on Soundcloud and then tweaked for major distribution in 2016.

When news came that Curry’s album was going to drop the Carol City emcee claimed that it would be a game-changing album designed to shake up the rap world. To further differentiate himself from other artists he dropped the album in three parts (or acts) on three different days. Each act was labeled Light, Gray, and Dark respectively. And as if this wasn’t enough of a statement in itself, Curry further promoted his album by dropping the highly sophisticated single and video “CLOUT COBAIN | CLOUT CO13AIN” a week prior; a song that is designed to be an introspective and critical examination of dangerous trends in Hip Hop and the commoditization of the modern artist.

Upon my first listen I was surprised to hear how different this album was compared to Curry’s previous work. Act One: Light, packs in his smoothest and most positive songs at the head of the album; leaving the listener unprepared for the dark turn it quickly makes. And while the title track that opens act one is a sad love song that drones about a girl who has suffered abuse and touches on the idea of our society’s taboos, it hails in darkness compared to supercharged songs like “BLACK METAL TERRORIST” that finish out the album. Act Two holds some very impressive bangers reminiscent of Imperial’s first version, including my favorite track “MAD I GOT IT,” which describes envy from different perspectives while stomping over a bass heavy, head pounding instrumental produced by pop outlet Hippie Sabotage and Finatik N Zak.

Unfortunately, at this point in the project, a lot of songs sounded very familiar. If you were on the edge of your seat waiting on this project to drop like I was, you know that most songs were released as singles even before acts One Two and Three came out. In fact, six of the project’s 13 songs were dropped beforehand which made the scattered album drop feel awkward and spread out; especially since each four-song act dropped separately in the midst of all these singles. On Friday the 27th every single and act were reverted back to one album on all major streaming platforms and remain that way now.

 
Despite its awkward and fragmented release, Ta13oo is a much better listen when similar to grayscale with Denzel’s anger and social commentary growing more and more intense as it progresses; eventually combining to become a dark, dark album. Zeltron fans probably expected this after his EP, 13, dropped last summer, giving us six tracks of absolute insanity. The EP was hyper-aggressive in production as well as lyricism with songs like “Hate Government” and “Heartless,” that foreshadowed Ta13oo’s approach and sound.

The project does shift gears away from Denzel’s older music, especially my favorite Curry project to date: Planet Shrooms. Planet Shrooms was a bold and experimental project that used unconventional beats and vocal distortion to display its psychedelic themes and imagery. It sounds like a rap album from the future- with imagery describing drive by’s on hoverboards, green colored guns, and an obsession with the year 2077. This EP was also stacked with features from some of Curry’s go-to guys like JK the Reaper and Nell who added some of the project’s most memorable bars and supported Denzel’s phonkiest, most out there tracks. Much of the production also included live instrumentation which really made it stand out and feel extremely advanced for a free project released on Soundcloud- where it remains exclusively today.

The HiphopDX community rated Ta13oo a bit above 4.5/5, and overall the project has been very well received by fans and reviewers. I think this album did live up to its hype and will age better than 2018’s other notable releases because of its lyrical complexity and flawless production. Stream the album today and check out the provocative video for “Clout Cobain” if you haven’t already.

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L’S810 Releases New Visual & Chats About His Career

Hailing from Flint, Michigan — and currently residing in Kansas City — multi-versed creative L’S810 is on a mission to…

Hailing from Flint, Michigan — and currently residing in Kansas City — multi-versed creative L’S810 is on a mission to make history “I love Hip Hop and meeting/touching people through music,” he tells AAHH while chatting about his latest visual release, “Gucci Bando,” an undeniable bop we’ve been playing on repeat.

The record is a great contrast to some
Of his past few releases. One of the cool things about his is his ability to traverse different sounds and vibes without sounding forced or off-base.

 

I put in a lot of work this year and wanna see it pay off.

When asked, the rapper notes that his sound is epic. “I like doing what I feel; how ever the music moves me — I react,” he explains. “I don’t judge the outcome. If I could define my style, I would say it’s rap realist music.”

His first taste of music was back in college, trying to write and record for his cousin. “I bought an 8-track recorder and laid my first full verse,” he recalls fondly. After that, “ I was hooked.” Fast forward, and L’S810 is 14 projects deep. I’ve been grinding for a minute,” he says with a laugh.

“Right Now I’m just recording and writing … got a few singles under my sleeve,” he states. However, he isn’t committing to anything just yet. “Going with the flow for now and creating.

“Really proud of the content we have produced these [past few] years; I would say the biggest accomplishment was raising the level of content — now we just need more eyes on it,” he adds with a smirk.

“I wanna become super successful and touch millions and help more individuals become the greatest them,” he says of his ultimate career goals. “I want hella platinum hits and a collection of classic albums under my belt … I want to be great.

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Long Island Songstress Alexza Should Be On Your Radar

Long Island, New York, singer Alexza is a creative soul down to the bone. So much so, that she couldn’t…

Long Island, New York, singer Alexza is a creative soul down to the bone. So much so, that she couldn’t picture herself doing anything else. “I can’t see myself devoting my time, energy and heart elsewhere,” she tells AAHH. “It’s truly my passion, and I love what I do.”

Her music itself is quite eclectic, refusing to subscribe to one vibe. “I wouldn’t describe the sound at all … I’m not drawn to one genre. I naturally enjoy creating RnB, pop, hip-hop, rock, urban pop and experimental music,” she explains. “It’s more of a feeling to me that I can’t put into words. If anything I’d say deep, heartfelt, realistic yet experimental.”

She got involved in music through her parents and uncle; he mother is a power vocalist, and her father played bass guitar in their band. “That’s how they met and introduced music to my siblings and me at a very young age,” she tells us of the endearing love story. “My uncle was the first person to put me in the booth and record my first cover song which was ‘Emotions’ — the version done by Destiny Child.”

As a testament to her talent, she’s had the privilege to work with storied producer and executive Irv Gotti of Murder Inc — the man responsible for superstars like Ja Rule and Ashanti (among others). “He put out an album soundtrack to his hit TV Series on BET called Tales, and I wrote and recorded music for the show,” she explains. “I’m also featured on a record called ‘Got To Be Real’ with Jim Jones produced by DJ Relly Rell … It’s off his new album Wasted Talent which is currently available on all streaming platforms.”

 

 
With the good looks piling up, she is currently working on her debut album The Hybrid, as well as a project with DJ Relly Rell. “In between working on those projects I’ll be releasing a few singles and putting out visuals to my #CouleChronicles material that I post every week on my IG @ListenToAlexza,” she says.

“I’ve gotten so much done working with the legendary Irv Gotti who believes in me so much,” she says of her experience working with the mogul. “I got to learn all about being in control of my music, and I’m genuinely grateful for his support and mentorial guidance.

“My goal is first to be successful. Everything else will follow afterward,” she says confidently. “I want to become the kind of artist that the people can trust and support … I want to bring my fans music that they can relate to and fall in love with.”

Ultimately, she aims to make timeless music. “I’m going to be making [timeless records] and the records that are just for fun and for the moment, so I can be so well rounded and balanced that I become a household brand that’s necessary for the culture.”

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XleoniduZ Paints A Gritty Picture Of The 267 On His New LP “Sin Paradise”

“[Sin Paradise] is about me explaining what Miami does to somebody who lives here.”

XleoniduZ is an artist that has been featured by me numerous times over the past few years; there is something oddly endearing about the vibe that is hard to put your finger on for sure. The Miami rapper — unleashing his long-awaited full-length Sin Paradise — has chosen to tell a more honest portrayal of the environment that birthed and shaped him as a man. This isn’t the flashy Miami Beach you see in overbudget music videos; this is the realness.

“Every time I have faith I lose my sight,” he laments on “Da Sinners Anthem.” It’s honestly one of the album’s most telling bar — with respects to pulling it all together. Across the 11-song effort, XleoniduZ paints the picture of everyday life from the bottom of Dade County. As the protagonist of the relatably gritty first-person accounts, we’re presented with this juxtaposed sense of subtly downplayed religious purpose, which is continuously challenged and at times overshadowed by the environment around him.

 
“Self God” is an interesting track that speaks to something XleoniduZ told AAHH; “Lupe said in his second album ‘I love the lord, but sometimes I love me more,’ [and] that shit stuck with me forever. The allure of the finer things, takes hold but doesn’t always satisfy, as he raps “why do I have these things and still feel incomplete.” It’s this sentiment, a sense of searching and longing for a shadowy something, that he revisits a few times, just as on “Take My Pain Away,” where he attempts to fill a painful void with misguided love.

“Blasphemy” is another standout, as a detailed breakdown of the BS being shoved down the throats of many new school rap fans. “I rather give you life, they rather sell you lies,” he raps on the chorus. The crown jewel of this LP, though — aside from “What Dey Do” which is a flame emoji and a half — is the ode to his hometown, “267,” which not only stands as the most personal track on an already deeply “heart on sleeve” collection of music, the outro serves as a fantastic explainer of the project.

 
“[Sin Paradise] is about me explaining what Miami does to somebody who lives here,” he says on the “267” outro. The project is a remarkably cohesive and well-produced body of work; by the end of the tracklist, you’re left to realize that some of the purpose and reason for being that the young emcee is chasing is, in fact, the music you’ve been bumping. This is art.

Early.

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Sonny Digital Drops Off Two New Tracks: “Keep It Real” and “Love My Plug”

Sonny drops “Keep It Real” and “Love My Plug” featuring recurrent collaborator Black Boe.

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