#IndieSpotlight, Main

IllHD Drops A Triple Shot Of Soulful Fire With “Focus”

Rapper and filmmaker IllHD has a unique view of the world. Currently based in the cultural hub that is Atlanta,…

Rapper and filmmaker IllHD has a unique view of the world. Currently based in the cultural hub that is Atlanta, the creative force never genuinely working on new material; “I’m a filmmaker that raps about what I film, even if I’m filming another artist it’s like I am filming the soundtrack to what I see … then I rap about it,” he says.

His latest — Focus — is a three-song shot of dopeness. His bars are super poignant, relevant, and packed with reality. The title track, with its deep undertones, horns and spacey sounds, “Danger” with its Dipset-era-esque sample, and the low-key vibe of “Make It Out,” are great intros to Ill, if it’s your first impression.

Stream it now, via Spotify.

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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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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#IndieSpotlight, unsigned hype

Mr. P Chill Returns With “Funky Uncle Chill” — A Crate Digger’s Dream

Mr. P Chill is no stranger around these parts; he’s remained one of those fixtures who stays true to the…

Mr. P Chill is no stranger around these parts; he’s remained one of those fixtures who stays true to the grind/hustle without wavering. Flying under the radar, he’s continued on the road, bringing positive energy and a love of Hip Hop across the nation. His 13th solo album, Funky Uncle Chill, is a testament to his non-stop journey, a realization and acceptance of his OG status, and a simultaneous nod to loop diggers everywhere.

You can almost picture P in his studio surrounded by stacks of dusty vinyl while putting together this tracklist. From the onset of the super laid back breakbeat of “The Rhyme,” he laments that 25 years later in his career he’s far from finished. He also fondly reminisces about the early days (golden era) of the culture which birthed him.

The theme of keeping it moving is present in a few spots. He revisits it most notably on “More Time,” where he asks for “a little more time” to reach his dreams. “I Don’t Care,” dripping with a funky almost vintage Too $hort vibe he raps “till the day of my death and my very last breath, spread knowledge on tracks trying to do my best.” He does this of course, as the chorus suggests, whether you’re feeling him or not.

Some shining moments on the project see P take slightly different approaches to the album’s big-picture arc of riding out an innate need to reach goals within our lifetime. “Summertime” is a laid-back ride through Sacramento; top down, blunt rolled, sunshine beaming.

The production is noteworthy as hell. Handled by OmegaZ, Elephant Gerald, Joe Doose, and P himself, it has a meticulous aura about it; tracks like “4 AM,” the super poignant message to gun-happy police officers “Don’t Give Up The Fight,” and even the title track (which is an instrumental) are laden with funky samples worthy of a standalone Tidal playlist.

Overall, P stays true to himself. It’s something he contextualizes best on the last track “Reach You,” where P accepts that he continues down the same path with a throwback sound that may be hit or miss; however, he continues to craft songs packed with honesty, relatable truth, and an endearing dedication to the culture. All — as he notes — to reach you.

Give Funky Uncle Chill a spin!

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#IndieSpotlight, unsigned hype

#IndieSpotlight: ATL’s Primo Jab Keeps It Extra Grimey On ‘ The Book Of Jab’

There is a certain sonic element that we quite naturally — and unjustly — attribute to Atlanta artists, quite honestly….

There is a certain sonic element that we quite naturally — and unjustly — attribute to Atlanta artists, quite honestly. With a particular wave bubbling out of the cultural epicenter of the south, rapper Primo Jab is swimming against the current, delivering healthy doses of that Hip Hop that I try (and sometimes fail) to not hold unsigned rhymers up to. The man can spit, and his latest effort, the ten-song effort The Book Of Jab is an unexpectedly grimy 90s vibe with a timeless gloss. Plus, Ras Kass … so auto cop.

The project is his second of 2018, as he released a collaborative EP with Ice Lord earlier this year titled Pot Work. Officially his 5th solo-LP, TBOJ is a reaffirming slice of raw uncut that would be at home on the tape deck of any fans of shit that falls in the vein of 90s era underground college radio gems.

 
Stitched together with movie clips and production that keeps the vibe strictly backpacking through the metropolis with your polo on, it sometimes borders on dark. Not horrorcore dark, but like RA The Rugged Man dark … if that makes sense. Kicking off with the almost Wu Tang-ish vibe of “Natural Selection,” the project is all protein no filler.

The whole shit is a flame emoji, but I found myself revisiting the three-song run of “Hard to Kill” featuring El Camino and Flee Lord — with its drumline pattern — the wordplay of the a.flip and Blacksmith featured “Facts,” and the masterpiece that is “Pokey” featuring iconic west coast wordsmith Ras Kass. “Disrespectful, thinking they special being successful,” he spits on the track, holding his own alongside the well-respected MC.

In fact, none of the features overtake him; instead, they all serve to compliment the overall vibe of the project, which is wildly cohesive. His longtime producer godBLESSbeatz is the glue that sonically gives the project an incredible top-to-bottom playability.

His past release gave me immense Griselda Records vibe, and this project didn’t fail to live up to the hype that he’s set for himself. It feels like people are sleeping on the kid, but hopefully, you all start smelling the Folgers!

Early.

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Rowzen Stays Reppin’ For The Garden State

Rapper Rowzen — hailing from the Garden State — attributes his view of the game (and the world) to troubled…

Rapper Rowzen — hailing from the Garden State — attributes his view of the game (and the world) to troubled adolescent years. Having persevered developed and with a unique blend of sounds influenced by classic and alternative rock from the suburbs of NJ juxtaposed against the underground hip-hop culture of Staten Island, NY, he is overcoming and leaving his stamp on the game.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bj8GayGhMQy/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

The ideology of rebelling against authority and determination to not conform to a society set up for many — especially in the black community — to fail, is something that is omnipresent in the core values of his music. Being the only black child in his class exposed him to racism at an early age — some that’s stuck with him.

Laden with jewels, his music is worth a few spins.

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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.

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