Main, rileysbest

Indie AF: Rapper Hi-Rez Grinds His Way Into iTunes Charts

Every once in a while, we get a reminder that music AND organic level fan base can truly be the…

Every once in a while, we get a reminder that music AND organic level fan base can truly be the most valuable assets an artist can have. Not gimmicks, as often thought to be the case by ‘industry’ bankers. Case and point: underground [ish] rapper Hi-Rez dropped a brand new album this week, Missing Pieces, which made an impressive impact on the iTunes charts, coming in at #13 on the US Hip-Hop/Rap category. As I’m writing this, it’s currently #17 in Canada, nestled between Drake and Eminem, and one of only two relatively unknown acts in the Top 20. The coolest part, though, is that he did so without any co-signs, major label, commercial radio, or—for that matter—any credible press push. Just old fashioned grind and manual relationship building with fans.

As a whole the project keeps a very cohesive tone, sticking to the elements of a common narrative. ‘College drop-out, dedicated himself to music, struggled through the bad times, finally got on; now that he’s there, he’s noticing it’s harder to sift through his circle in search of genuine friendship as opposed to hands in his pockets.’ Much like Kanye’s debut album, College Dropout, this project uses that story line as the underlying basis for all the records—with great results.

There’s a light but dope supporting cast; he’s joined by Billboard charting Dizzy Wright on the “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”-esque “Preach,” one of the project’s strongest records. Also making appearances are underrated New York spitter Emilio Rojas (“Get Out And Get It”), Rapper/Singer Devvon Terrell (“I’m Up”) and BRBN on the ‘let’s all be cool with each other’ anthem “It’s All Love.” The rest of the records are held down by Rez, with a versatile, rapid fire, multi-syllable flow.

This project isn’t his first, as he clearly articulates on the project more than once; his recent success has been the result of hard work and dedication. He’s been ripping stages pretty much everywhere, and his iTunes catalog is packed with music. It’s just now reached the right temperature to boil and bubble over. One of the most profound takeaways from the album comes in the form of a sound clip around two-minutes into the second song, “Other Side.” “It’s all about building that foundation; it’s about building that fucking house before you get there,” he says with a hint of aggression. “A lot of these clowns race right to the top…when that wave is out nobody gives a fuck. You may have money, but you’re not going to die a legend.”

An excellent cover to cover listen; no filler, no bullshit. Give it a spin, and if you’re into it, you can catch him on tour.

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
Related Articles
#IndieSpotlight, interview, Interviews, Main

#IndieSpotlight: Reíne Imoan Sets The Tone With Her Soulful Debut “Soul Sista”

Long Island, New York, singer Reíne Imoan is about to make a splash in 2019 with her debut VWR. Her…

Long Island, New York, singer Reíne Imoan is about to make a splash in 2019 with her debut VWR. Her first official single “Soul Sista” produced by Shepard X is out now — and as Imoan recounts to AAHH, the track was fun to create. “It was made off of groove and straight vibes … brings me back to the late 90’s early 2000’s, which was one of my fave eras of music.

“I remember Shepard X introducing the beat to me with the concept and instantly I started bopping and knew I had to have it,” she continues.

She has always been involved in music — and it all started with her father, who used to play his vast music collection constantly. “From Roots Reggae to R&B soul every Sunday dinner,” she recalls with a smile.

“I remember singing the first verse I ever wrote to my friends and they hyped me so much,” she says. That push made me want to keep going and see what else I can do. I searched on youtube for beats and just kept writing. I felt it in my heart that this is what I’d be doing for sure.”

All roads have led to her upcoming project, but she’s not rushing anything. “I want to take my time with this one and give people something they can relate and bump to,” she says adding that the collaborations lined up are worth waiting for. I used to rush things because I saw other people putting stuff out … I was just so eager to get out there. But I had to center myself and say Fuck that, take your time and don’t let others make you feel like you have to rush anything. Quality over quantity, always.”

Ultimately, she’s crafting a first impression that she hopes will be great. “I’m working every day and practicing my craft to be one of the best entertainers in the industry. I plan on writing songs for other singers and artist in the industry, along with working with them on projects,” she says, describing her long-term objectives.

“After I drop my EP, I’m going to keep creating and see where the universe lands me. I plan on doing lots of performances this year and putting myself out there. Later in my career, I plan on dabbling into acting — another art that I’ve always enjoyed. When God gives you a talent, I believe you have to share it with the world.”

Check out her debut single, “Soul Sista,” below.

Continue Reading
Featured, Main

Last ‘On The Cusp’ Playlist Of 2018

On The Cusp is a living playlist dedicated to showcasing the buzzing new music on our radar — as curated…

On The Cusp is a living playlist dedicated to showcasing the buzzing new music on our radar — as curated by our writer Riley Wallace. For all inquiries and submissions, hit up the playlist’s official Twitter feed.

This week’s cover artist is EverythigOShaun.

Continue Reading
#IndieSpotlight, Main

#IndieSpotlight: Dylan 333 Is Breaking The Mold

Some follow the obvious that optically appears to be the most comfortable; North Carolina native Dylan 333 is breaking the…

Some follow the obvious that optically appears to be the most comfortable; North Carolina native Dylan 333 is breaking the mould. With only a month having elapsed since he first decided to try his hand at a career in music, he managed to amass some admirable number and gain the attention of one of the SoundCloud generation’s most notorious influencers, Adam22.

“The first week of my second song release — ‘Drum Talk’ — I caught the attention of Adam22 [nojumper] and was posted on his live stream,” he tells AAHH. “He reposted my song on Soundcloud and that instantly gave me the boost I needed.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BryY1HZDPqc/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

The attention earned him an invite to freestyle on the famed Most Wanted Radio on North Carolina’s 72.9. “[That appearance] gave me a local/regional platform in my city to build on,” he says. His first 30 days in the game saw him earn 50,000+ (organic) plays, 5,000+ likes and features on Funkmaster Flex’s Facebook and Tokyo Tonis Instagram — and even a like by JuiceWrld which is akin to proof of attention.

“I also have struck a distribution deal with AWAL where I can get my music out to performance centers and all major platforms,” he adds proudly. All quite impressive for a young upstart with four songs to his credit — all of which he produced and recorded independently in his bedroom. There is also a lot of foresight on his part, as he’s launched his own imprint, 333 Records, which is the primary owner/publisher of his music.

Born on the island of Jamaica, and later relocating to North Carolina, Dylan describes his sound as a mixture of dancehall and American rap. “[That blend] makes me sound extremely different from other artists,” he says proudly. “I started off as a producer so when it came to the point of me creating (my own) music I could produce myself without any help.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrqkiZbjP0H/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

 

With the recent success energizing his grind, he reveals to AAHH that he is currently working on his debut album, which he plans to release in 2019 — though he has no set date.

“My goal is to come into the game and actually change it,” he says humbly. “I want to inspire people to try out different things instead of investing all their money into education.”

Continue Reading
#IndieSpotlight, Main

#IndieSpotlight: Dylan 333 Is Breaking The Mold

Some follow the obvious that optically appears to be the most comfortable; North Carolina native Dylan 333 is breaking the…

Some follow the obvious that optically appears to be the most comfortable; North Carolina native Dylan 333 is breaking the mould. With only a month having elapsed since he first decided to try his hand at a career in music, he managed to amass some admirable number and gain the attention of one of the SoundCloud generation’s most notorious influencers, Adam22.

“The first week of my second song release — ‘Drum Talk’ — I caught the attention of Adam22 [nojumper] and was posted on his live stream,” he tells AAHH. “He reposted my song on Soundcloud and that instantly gave me the boost I needed.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BryY1HZDPqc/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

The attention earned him an invite to freestyle on the famed Most Wanted Radio on North Carolina’s 72.9. “[That appearance] gave me a local/regional platform in my city to build on,” he says. His first 30 days in the game saw him earn 50,000+ (organic) plays, 5,000+ likes and features on Funkmaster Flex’s Facebook and Tokyo Tonis Instagram — and even a like by JuiceWrld which is akin to proof of attention.

“I also have struck a distribution deal with AWAL where I can get my music out to performance centers and all major platforms,” he adds proudly. All quite impressive for a young upstart with four songs to his credit — all of which he produced and recorded independently in his bedroom. There is also a lot of foresight on his part, as he’s launched his own imprint, 333 Records, which is the primary owner/publisher of his music.

Born on the island of Jamaica, and later relocating to North Carolina, Dylan describes his sound as a mixture of dancehall and American rap. “[That blend] makes me sound extremely different from other artists,” he says proudly. “I started off as a producer so when it came to the point of me creating (my own) music I could produce myself without any help.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrqkiZbjP0H/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

 

With the recent success energizing his grind, he reveals to AAHH that he is currently working on his debut album, which he plans to release in 2019 — though he has no set date.

“My goal is to come into the game and actually change it,” he says humbly. “I want to inspire people to try out different things instead of investing all their money into education.”

Continue Reading
More in Main, rileysbest
Juels Pierrot Tells Us Why Jersey Is Thirsty For ‘Juice: The Hip Hop Exhibition’

Curator of Moxie1973 and Juice: The HipHop Exhibition, Juels Pierrot (@JulesPierrot), sits down with Amber Corrine (@IwantAC) from Above Average...

Close