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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.

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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Future Honors His Grandmother At FreeWishes Golden Wishes Gala

Over the weekend, multi-platinum recording artist and Atlanta-native Future paid respect to a very important piece of life, Family. At…

Over the weekend, multi-platinum recording artist and Atlanta-native Future paid respect to a very important piece of life, Family. At his FreeWishes Foundation hosted 8th annual Golden Wishes Gala honoring Metro Atlanta Seniors. More than 750 seniors dressed in their finest attire attended the annual Gala.

Seniors danced the night away to live jazz music provided by the Douglas Whatley Jr. Band and hits spun by DJ Bluue. The seniors enjoyed a luscious Thanksgiving styled dinner in the spectacular setting of the Ocean’s Ballroom. Seniors learned about Future’s FreeWishes foundation, their ongoing community events, and ways to be involved.

Guest speaker, Fulton County Commissioner Natalie Hall, spoke about the “future” she envisioned for Atlanta seniors. Future and his mother, FreeWishes Foundation co-founder, Stephanie Jester, presented a surprise community service award to Emma Jean Boyd, Future’s grandmother.

A final performance by the legendary Jazz and R&B vocalist, Jean Carne, wrapped up the warm and positive evening. Along with Freebandz, the event was sponsored by Jet One Charter, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Luxury Connections, Zaxby’s, Chick-Fil-A, JenCare and InTouch Properties.

Watch the recap now on YouTube.

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Track Seven Band Makes A Strong Reintroduction With “Memory Loss” Single

Today’s game is truly a never-ending cycle of here today and gone tomorrow. For Track Seven Band, haven’t released a…

Today’s game is truly a never-ending cycle of here today and gone tomorrow. For Track Seven Band, haven’t released a project since 2016’s The Try And The Fail, the uphill battle it seems is reigniting the flame within casual fans who may have moved on to the next one. It’s this overarching idea that guides Cost’s pen for their brand new single “Memory Loss.”

RELATED: #IndieSpotlight: Track Seven Band – The Try And The Fail

There is a lot to unpack with this single. Top-level, there is this flagrant (metaphorical) slap across the head — as though he’s screaming, “I’m still here, stupid.” Below the surface, Cost takes the opportunity to reiterate his position, introduces rumor inducing storylines, and takes a look back at his past.

In the first verse, he drops mention of having traveled around the world on the dime of a figure whom he chooses to keep anonymous; as he explains, this person gave him the motivation he needed to jumpstart his career, but has since “turned faces.” It’s in this act — he further notes that haters induce the same phenomenon — that he seems to have found the strength to thrive.

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The second verse begins by reiterating where he’s come from — noting that section 8 and financial aid were his life preservers in his darkest moments. He also notes that he’s still in debt (half of which he paid off with the money he made selling weed). All this isn’t done to glorify anything, but rather serve as motivation. It also hammers home the fact that he has been there and done that, too.

Perhaps in a way, he’s exuding the same motivation that he felt traveling the world.

Playing chess as opposed to checkers is a line that poignantly pops out. “Memory Loss” is a strong (re)introduction or merely business as usual — depending on your knowledge of the band. Either way, it’s drenched in that endearing sense of honesty and realness that made them a group I’ve returned to numerous times since first being introduced to their music.

It’s all about the long game, and — in the end — good music. Cost notes that he’s motivated by things that money can’t buy. That, quite often, is code for having something to lose on a deeper level. It’s in seeing an artist stick to their figurative guns without bending their ethics that true inspiration can be felt.

If you haven’t explored the past releases, do so … immediately.

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Akhil Sesh – “Amazing”

Akhil Sesh is back to debut a brand-new visual in the form of “Amazing.” It’s a slick record on which…

Akhil Sesh is back to debut a brand-new visual in the form of “Amazing.” It’s a slick record on which Akhil glides across the uptempo, percussion-driven production, displaying his knack for melodies and songwriting, as his lyrics come to life across the rooftops of the city, all adding up to one “Amazing” song and video.

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Jazz Regal – “Lifetime”

Jazz Regal is likely a new name to your radar, but he’ll surely catch your attention with his newest effort…

Jazz Regal - "Lifetime"

Jazz Regal is likely a new name to your radar, but he’ll surely catch your attention with his newest effort Lifetime. It’s a short but sweet project on which Jazz’s gritty tone and vocals lead the way for his hard-hitting, reflective rhymes, adding up for a well-crafted listen from start to finish. Give it a spin here, and look out for more from him soon!

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#Interview: RoQy TyRaiD in ‘PLYNwcha’

RoQy TyRaiD drops a brand-new single “PLYNwcha” produced by NYC's Motif Alumni with a psychedelic backbeat over hypnotic chants that...

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