#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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#IndieSpotlight: MusicbyKO “Life In Element” Is The Soundtrack For Pre-Fall Blues

A new LP floated across my desk by an Oakland, California, singer/rapper named MusicbyKO. A warm blend of jazzy 90s…

A new LP floated across my desk by an Oakland, California, singer/rapper named MusicbyKO. A warm blend of jazzy 90s Hip Hop and a cadence reminiscent of acts like Isaiah Rashad. Having shared stages with names like J.I.D. and Earthgang, he appears focused and composed — as evidenced by Life In Element, his new LP.


 
With a very consistent sound, KO slowly unravels a series of tracks that let you into his world just enough — without blatant TMI, or inducing a “yeah right” effect. What listeners get are the tales of a low-level drug dealer (this is both referenced and downplayed at different points), who is taking a chance on a dream, as he slowly but surely uncovers that everything the glimmers isn’t gold, and just because someone calls you brother, it doesn’t mean they have your back — or at the very least even your best interests at heart.

It’s an almost paranoid sense that snakes are roaming the grass that is revisited numerous times throughout the project, like on the song “La La Land,” “Empathy,” and “Let Me Talk With Ya/While I’m Here,” where he notes “I Know niggas right now that want to see me fall.”

He also paints a picture of himself as someone who overextends himself — such as on “Too Much Falls Short,” where he preaches that failing to leave your comfort zone is a fail before even leaving the running block.

That’s just the first few layers of this project; touching on socio-economic issues facing the black community nationwide, and even relationships (see the super dope “Spirit Rise”), he creates a lot of depth. Though the vibe is consistent — almost bordering on redundant — it manages to remain engaging. Also, that instrumental on “A Devil’s Advocate Corner” is a bucket of flame emojis doused in gasoline.

 
Like a bride on her wedding day, Life In Element is something old and something new; all that Hip Hop is dead shit goes out teh window when you hear younger cats with cohesive projects like this. With enough amazing quotables to create a success Instagram daily quote account (“I couldn’t heal in eth place I got sicker”) and an admirable ear for production, MusicbyKO NEEDS to be on your radar. It’s just good for the soul.

Early.

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unsigned hype

Gage Keeps It A Buck On His ‘With Love’ EP

When it comes to marking out your legacy in the music industry, almost a third of the total recipe is…

When it comes to marking out your legacy in the music industry, almost a third of the total recipe is determination; with determination for success comes plenty of byproducts, mainly sacrifice. With his latest EP With Love, Massachusetts-native rapper Gage Tielr has put these elements of his journey into a concise and impactful package worth a few spins.

Off the rip, the projects positions itself worthy of placement with any major mainstream market. Sure shot single like the intro, “F.W.Y.S.” — an acronym for Fuck What You Sayin’ — the dream big single “Emblem” (which received a visual treatment), and “Speedin'” featuring the silky vocals of Pyro Da God, establish Gage as ready.

 

It’s the insanely humanizing and — if your an artist — relatable tone he takes throughout the project that makes it connect. The lamenting of a fed up partner tiring of sticking it out for her rapper boyfriend’s dream of making bags is universal. The love letter to the one that got away, “Written Down,” and the closer “Talk About” with themes that touch on mental health, see some of the project’s most profound depth.

There’s this unspoken cohesiveness to the setlist that positions Gage in the fast lane; he has an excellent ear for instrumentals and careful curation of his work that make the EP come across as polished — right down to the artwork.

From what is gleaned from the literature attached with the release, it’s the result of two years of working to develop his sound. While the project fails to sonically breakthrough into any new artistic territory, his personality, cadence, and sheer honesty shine through and create a great impression — especially if it’s the first.

A lot of rappers like to take the fake it until you make it approach; Gage keeps it a buck, painting the everyday roller coaster of the road to riches with vivid color. With Love is worth a spot on your playlist this week, hands down.

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Hefe Heetroc’s Box Set Is As Ambitious As It Is Experimental

Hefe Heetroc is not a new artist to us here at AAHH; though we’re familiar with him, it’s always been…

Hefe Heetroc is not a new artist to us here at AAHH; though we’re familiar with him, it’s always been in smaller, manageable doses of artistic output. Alienz & Conspiracies box set is his ambitious new release that — if we’re honest — we were slower to jump on. Not for lack of interest, but rather out of intimidation of its length (it’s 33 songs).

“My dream was always to have a box set,” Hefe admits to AAHH. “I thought a theme compilation boxset consisting of a hybrid of an experimental trap, emo, with ‘3rd eye woke’ lyrics could work.” The elephant in the room — which he points out to us — is that box sets generally aren’t themed experiences, but rather compilations or anthologies of music.

“A friend observed that my older music was all aliens and my newer stuff was all conspiracy theories, a lightbulb popped into my head of not only the title but the theme.”

Though the lengthy affair does have some overlap, such a clips of his songs being played/broke on WRIU FM, and what feels like reworkings throughout the tracklist, there are some gems. Staying heavily thematic throughout, the project is a really complex blend of styles and intriguing writing elements. The delivery, however, is eclectic in nature ranging from easy to follow, to what borders on slam poetry, to distorted and obscured to the point that dissecting becomes a bit labored of an experience.

 
The songs that are more straightforward — concerning its approach and flow — like all three parts of “Do U,” “Shroomz,” and “Global Economics” all (tbh) show Hefe at his best. Even if you disagree, you can’t argue it’s his most approachable. His wordplay and content are all fascinating stuff; peep the bars on “Global Economics,” and even the really dope “Lemon Yellow Sun.” It has this KRS-esque level of actual knowledge injected. We’re talking like keep Wikipedia open and get lost in research type bars. “Truth 2 Be” is another excellent example.

 
“Bravo Tango” is a big record we found ourselves revisiting a few times; what stands out is his cadence, which seems like a warm blend of Madchild and Vinnie Paz, that hugs beats and ride them like Cadillac with the top down on a warm LA night.

He takes on this alternate persona throughout the collection of music of 27 Savage, which he unleashes on songs like “Rap-tilian,” “The Awakening.” While ok in doses, the raspy almost whispery flow does make the potency of some of his bars harder to follow. The same issue presents itself when his instrumental choices become more abstract on songs like “Alien Sky,” with it’s glitchy slightly off/beat delivery that is still contextually strong, but a more frustrating listen.

“On all the conspiracy theory tracks my goal was to try a new poetic device, metaphors, allegories, iambic pentåmeter, and golden and silver lines,” he tells us. “I wanted to try a new poetic device out of my comfort zone.”

As he explains, he used the William S Burroughs cut n paste technique on all his songs that deal with conspiracy theories. It’s this deep level of thought that went into the project that definitely necessitates the need for some context to accompany it, as the behind the scenes details often get lost during musical experiments. Much in the same way, it may be hard for a consumer to wrap their minds around the cost associated with wallpaper that is hand printed, as it closely resembles manufactured work for a fraction of the cost.

That though should never be a deterrent for a true artist, and this collection has this niche feeling to it — Hefe’s artistic merit shines through, like that of an MF DOOM offshoot project like Viktor Vaughn.

Overall though, the project is an obvious labor of love and an example of calculated experimentation. Songs like “Talk 2 Loud” where the premise is that he’s being followed/tapped by the Illuminati as he attempts to pull listeners out of the matrix lyrically are among the various examples of his willingness to commit — reminiscent of a late 90s Kool Keith.

 
Though the message may get a little muddied at times as he leads listeners on a sonically diverse experience, which could best be described as a rabbit hole—hearing some of his more approachable material having bomb sound effects dropped on them during radio sets shows that he is in fact on a sustainable path, should he choose to lather a little more mainstream gloss on his material.

It’s the age-old concept of the iceberg, which we only asses based on the tip that pops of out the water. This box set is the same thing — but instead of an iceberg, it’s an underground bunker built by a man willing to take you on a journey should you take the right pill.

It’s worth tackling.

http://reverbnation.com/weznilez http://twitter.com/HEFE_H33TROC
http://hefe-h33troc.bandcamp.com http://instagram.com/hefe_h33troc http://soundcloud.com/weznilez

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Muzik Genesis’s ‘Sequoia’ Is A Call To Action To Discover Our Relationship To Nature

Santa Cruz, California, producer Muzik Genesis drops off his latest (instrumental) LP, Sequoia — the official follow up to his…

Santa Cruz, California, producer Muzik Genesis drops off his latest (instrumental) LP, Sequoia — the official follow up to his debut LP, Retrospection. “I’ve always expressed myself through music ever since I was really little,” the producer explains via press release. “I’ve always also had an affinity for the natural world.

Sequoia is that precise connection between ourselves as human beings and the natural world – we are one with nature.”

Comprised of lo-fi, ambient, hip-hop-trap sound beds — which does feature vocals from MC Khan (“Bliss of Inspiration”) and childhood friend Amir on “Livin’ Life” — the project is a pleasant journey that we’ve been playing out here at HQ for the last few days while we work.

 
His first LP, Retrospection, reached listeners in Europe and Latin America — and the self-titled single’s music video received national attention stateside, airing on cable television in cities nationwide. It was a vastly different sound, much more rooted in Hip-Rock mashups. Overall the diversity is real.

Give it a spin.

Pre-order, here.

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