#IndieSpotlight, Main, Reviews

#IndieSpotlight: Snypes Releases Debut Mixtape

Today an impressive album came across my desk, courtesy of Snypes. Coming out of South Florida, his first official release…

Today an impressive album came across my desk, courtesy of Snypes. Coming out of South Florida, his first official release Rookie Debut is a collection of songs with a ton of personality; there’s a little of everything here, which creates a healthy balanced listen and builds a solid first impression.

Over the ten tracks, which includes an unnecessary “Panda” remix, traverses topics that range from working hard to achieve his dreams, traversing the dangers of his environment, dealing with a bunky—seemingly overbearing—relationship. Most notably he faces down the important topic of police violence in the first single off of the project, “Terrance Tamir Bland.” On the aforementioned record, he takes two perspectives, a witness speaking from a place of outrage and a victim speaking directly to the shooter.

Other standout records are “Melisa,” a record that takes a hindsight perspective on a lost relationship, and the piano-driven “Don’t Play” that has a ton of potential. The super smooth “Elevator Music” is a crown jewel, though. The syrupy-southern sound bed gives a perfect lens to use his ultra-descriptive style to drop a stack of introspective bars like, “you don’t make it where I’m from with bad intentions.”

Snypes had a rough upbringing, and the music was his coping mechanism; this project is a fantastic introduction to what he’s all about. He’s being slept on—if you’re reading this, wake up!

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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#WeeklyPlaylist: Week Of Feb.20

A$AP Rocky, Gucci Mane, and 21 Savage – Cocky The lead hype song for Uncle Drew the movie, this is…

A$AP Rocky, Gucci Mane, and 21 Savage – Cocky

The lead hype song for Uncle Drew the movie, this is a fun, albeit forgettable, posse track. Unfortunately, London on da Track, of whom I am typically a fan, comes through with a static and wholly uninteresting instrumental. The hook, which feels like a lukewarm attempt to replicate the success of “Fuckin Problems,” is a bit lazy but instantaneously sticky. Although Rocky and Gucci fail to drop noteworthy verses, I appreciate that 21 Savage brings a more animated flow than usual.

 
Ugly God feat. PNB Rock – Imma Dog

Criminally underwritten, dying for a second verse, but pretty dope nonetheless. I love the crisp trap beat and the flavor added by the cold, hypnotic melodies swirling on top. The hook is the most strongly written aspect of the track, and PNB Rock does well with the forlorn, Travis Scott inspired autotune. Ugly God draws pretty heavily on Drake for the sole verse, but it goes over well enough. A welcome change of pace after the monotony of The Booty Tape.

 
YG – Suu Whoop

YG sounds as hungry and as charismatic as ever on this anthemic trap banger, which would have fit in nicely on Maxo Kream’s Punken. The instrumental, courtesy of J. Holt and DJ Mustard, definitely slaps, but it leaves more than enough room for the Compton rapper to carry the three minute run time. Although YG raps with enough personality to keep any track interesting, I love the colorful echo vocals added throughout the song.

 
Diplo and DRAM – Look Back

This is the best new track I heard this past week. With a vocal performance as commanding as it is diverse, DRAM showcases the immense range that makes him such a compelling entertainer. Between the signature falsettos on the verses and the potently emotional hook, DRAM leaves it all out on the court. Diplo keeps it skeletal on the verses, letting sluggish drums and low organs drive underneath DRAM. On the dramatic chorus, the drums kick in, and Diplo adds some layers of guitar and backing vocals.

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MoneyBagg Yo ”2Heartless” Review

The rapper’s latest project, fittingly titled 2Heartless, is clearly directed at those that want to see Moneybagg fall.

In a radio interview with The Breakfast Club last Monday, the menacing baritone Trap rapper Moneybagg Yo —whose garnered a national following since his Federal 3x mixtape debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200– told host Angela Yee, “when I was broke…it might sound crazy…but I kinda liked it better.” The Memphis-native is currently embroiled in disputes with rappers Ralo and YoungBoy Never Broke Again.

“Moneybagg Yo tried to pay a [club promoter] $7,500 to not let me [perform],” Ralo said in an interview with Vlad TV. “what kinda s*** is that?” The rapper recently released a diss track aimed towards Moneybagg titled “Trending.” While once on good terms, YoungBoy Never Broke Again also dismissed the rapper and claimed on Instagram that payment was never settled regarding a collaborative project released this past November. ”[Moneybagg Yo] was my brother now f*** ‘em,” YoungBoy said.

“When I was first coming up, I didn’t feel no love in the streets,” Moneybagg Yo told The Breakfast Club. “I’ve seen the game for how it really was, and how fake it is, and now…I’m just…I’m too heartless.”

The rapper’s latest project, fittingly titled 2Heartless, is clearly directed at those that want to see Moneybagg fall. “They try their best to provoke me, the killer want to be relevant,” Moneybagg growls on the opening bars of “Black Heart,” a minute-long opener that addresses the attempt on his life at a New Jersey rest stop this past August. The following track, “Bigg Stacks,” demonstrates a fluid Moneybagg in his element regardless of all that’s transpired against him this past year. While the theme of the track centers around the rappers lavishes, Moneybagg still sprinkles in verses aimed at his haters in New Jersey, “They want my spot and don’t deserve it, can’t forget that. Who you hittin’ at? How you miss that?”

While those sifting through the 18-track project for Trap anthems will find plenty of offerings —most notably “Black Feet,” a BlocBoy JB assisted track that finds both artists in top form— Moneybagg’s heavy heart consumes the majority of the project.

On “Fed Babies,” a track assumed to be aimed at YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Moneybagg raps: “How you cross me? We come out the mud…can’t believe it came to this here. I really thought s*** was sincere.” While the dark maroon middle fingers that pop from the album cover paint him as emotionally detached from the feuds that have consumed his career, he presents a deep vulnerability that Yo Gotti — another Memphis-born Trap rapper who signed him to his CMB label this past October — would be proud of.

“Lift me up and hold me down more, if love ain’t here then what you around for?” Moneybagg sings to a fleeting lover on “Ion Get You.” On “Scars” the rapper sings, “If you take away all this fame, all this status, all my name…Strip the diamonds out these chains, I wonder who gon’ remain.” Moneybagg Yo is a rapper that wears his heart on his sleeve, and his latest project exudes the anxiety that consumes Moneybagg as he comes to term with mortality. Tracks like “Secrets” and “Walker Holmes” paint a portrait of a man consumed by regret. “They said it was love, I couldn’t see it. I was too blinded by the hatred,” Moneybagg sings on the later regarding a falling out with a friend.

He preaches about his need for partnership so often throughout the project that when he dismisses love and affection— such as on the cringe-worthy “Perfect Bitch,” where the star raps about his desire for polygamous relationships— it comes off as disingenuine, as if he’s trying to fit an archetype rather than be himself. Artists before Moneybagg have discussed the troubles with being famous, but 2Heartless, which was released on Valentine’s Day, seems like a melodramatic call for help more than the definitive statement Moneybagg intended it be.

“Kevin Gates told me to stay focused, don’t get out your element,” the star raps on “Black Heart.” At 26, Moneybagg Yo is overwhelmed by all that fame has brought, and his need for self-growth echo a relatable conflict. How do I grow as a person when every action is under a microscope, and how do I not end up alone?

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Is No Jumper Good for the Culture?

The problem with No Jumper is that it introduces its guests based on character instead of music.

During 2016-2017, the podcast No Jumper became the definitive source for finding up-and-coming rappers on the internet. The podcast, filmed to be YouTube friendly, began creeping into the suggestions of every hip-hop head searching for music videos and interviews on the platform. No Jumper’s claim to fame was catching hip-hop artists right before they blew up by purposely hunting for “SoundCloud rappers” who showed potential, but the podcast quickly turned the tables and became the most sought out platform for establishing a career in the hip-hop industry.

Thus, No Jumper’s creator and owner of Los Angeles BMX shop & brand ONSOMESHIT, Adam22, solidified himself as one of the major gatekeepers of new rap.

His most notable guest from early on in the podcast was XXXTentacion; a social media phenomenon turned rapper who got his name from bloated SoundCloud plays, beef with Drake, and a series of violent criminal accusations. Adam got XXXTentacion on No Jumper at the exact second he blew up, which in turn blew up the podcast. It was after this interview that artists began flocking to the ONSOMESHIT store and the No Jumper YouTube page—but like XXX, No Jumper’s rise to fame was born out of controversy.

 
The first controversial video clip featuring Adam22 was in the LA news, where the BMX mogul defended his crew for using homeless people as props for bike tricks on Skid Row. Adam posted this news clip to his BMX Youtube channel in 2014. Since then, he has fully embraced his controversial character. Vlogs of him using drugs, shooting porn, and doing “hood stuff,” are some of the many activities featured on No Jumper’s Youtube page, and virtually every woman interviewed on the podcast is a pornstar.

Adam sometimes vlogs during the functions he attends, where he scouts out people to have sex with him and his girlfriend—basically, acting as a talent scout for amateur porn. The host can be seen asking any decently attractive girl if they are of age, and continually jokes that No Jumper is “out here respecting these women.” But aside from his raunchy, and sexist vlogs, Adam is a pretty decent interviewer, stretching his questions into casual conversation and making his guests feel comfortable in the back of his bike shop where the interviews take place. Guests can smoke, drink, and pretty much do whatever during the 45 minute to sometimes 2 hour long conversations.

While the opinions of commentators fluctuate on all of No Jumper’s videos, Adam got the most shit early on from hanging out with Floridian trap prodigy Lil Pump. Lil Pump Jet Ski was 16 when he started seeing significant success in the rap industry, which typically goes hand in hand with drugs, sex, and partying. Adam was hanging out with Lil Pump and even put him on the debut “No Jumper Tour” super early on in the rapper’s career. He admits to inadvertently condoning the 16-year-olds use of Xanax, Lean, and mountainous piles of weed, but for No Jumper’s advanced level of apathy, this is nothing. Pump would obviously be doing all of this without Adam22 present (I mean come on it’s Pump) but his being there didn’t help the podcast’s image, mainly because the host loves to joke about hip-hop’s infatuation with these drugs.

Adam joked about Fredo Santana’s “lean gut” before the 27-year-old rapper tragically passed away this January, presumably from complications brought about by a history of abusing the drug. Of course, the No Jumper host could have never known the rapper would meet this fate, but it’s a perfect example of No Jumper’s general immaturity and lack of professionalism. Ironically, this is probably what most of his fans crave.

No Jumper is rooted in edginess, which attracts a plethora of artists who feel they can be themselves in the relaxed, non-judgmental environment of ONSOMESHIT’s storage space. But now it’s become more than an underground YouTube channel. Big names like Hopsin, Tech N9ne, and Action Bronson have begun appearing on the show. Adam was even featured in a Rolling Stone article, citing him as “hip-hop’s underground tastemaker.”

This is where shit gets sticky. Is this really what the culture wants?

If you enjoy hearing about what rappers have to say you’ve probably been watching/listening to Sway, Hot97, and the Breakfast Club for years. It was perhaps time for a fresh voice to enter the scene and break down hip-hop’s evolution to SoundCloud rap, mumble rap, cloud rap and the overall weirdness that’s flooding into the mainstream. No Jumper is perfect for this. Adam has put so many young rappers on who would have otherwise been overlooked in the sea of people creating and releasing music. In fact, I’ve found some of my favorite new rappers through the podcast. And who else would interview 12-year-old rapper Matt Ox with no questions asked?

 
The problem with No Jumper is that it introduces its guests based on character instead of music.

Adam even said in his questionnaire with Rolling Stone, “Rap is really about character-building more than anything. I always compare it to wrestling – that’s cliché, but it’s true. You see people all the time who get way more popular because they go to jail. They get way more popular ’cause they beat somebody’s ass or kill somebody – or people think they might have killed somebody.” While this may be the unfortunate truth of the artists behind modern rap music, it says nothing about the music, and it indeed seems as if the music is secondary on No Jumper.

Adam is too infatuated with the “lifestyle” of hip-hop, which perpetuates the stereotypes that rappers do drugs and love violence while distracting from the music that these people put their heart and souls into producing. Even if a song includes lyrics about killing people, that’s not the point; the point is that it’s a song. No matter how ‘lyrical’ a rapper is, once the character becomes more important than music, the songs are going to be trash. Not once has Adam22 asked a guest to rap on his show, or even played snippets of their music as a means of introducing them. This is perhaps a contributor to hip hop’s devolution, and also why XXL Magazine let us all down with their mostly subpar 2017 freshman class.

So when Rolling Stone calls Adam22 hip hop’s newest “tastemaker,” I would take that with a grain of salt. Adam22 cares about hip-hop like Lil Pump cares about throwing ones in the strip club; it’s all about what it looks like on camera. But, if you haven’t already go out and watch some No Jumper interviews. Just make sure you listen to the rappers that it’s promoting because while it’s interesting to learn more about the people behind the music, quality hip hop will always put the music first.

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#Premiere: Brooklyn’s Own Corey St. Rose Drops “No Time” & Announces Documentary

We can expect new music and visuals from Corey this year, as well as an EP in 2019.

Yes, it’s Valentines Day–but, not everyone is wrapped up with celebrating a day of romance. For those who are in their bag all 2018, Brooklyn’s own Corey St. Rose drops a new single entitled “No Time.”

“I ain’t got no time for love,” the rapper tells AAHH. Fresh off his latest project, Vibes, Corey is focused on staying persistent this year with releasing new music. The 20-year old started rapping in his mid-teen years with six of his friends in his basement. After telling his dad that music is something he wants to pursue, they’d rebuilt the basement into a studio.

“I started making beats first, then rapping,” he says. “We all started from the basement.” Being trapped in the studio, he embedded his focus on rap. Corey didn’t realize until going to college that rapping was more than just a hobby.

“College develops you. Honestly, college developed me to be like ‘nah, life is not a game,’” says Corey. He took breaks during semesters to focus on music, which was when he released Vibes, but decided to go back to get his degree in marketing while chasing his dream.

His energy and personality matches the music perfectly. I can tell you guys that Corey St. Rose is here to stay and plans on leaving a mark in the rap game. Corey explains his versatility: “I like to rap about things people can relate to. I don’t go to the studio and be like – ‘let me just [rap] about designer shit all day.’ I could do that, but most of the time I try to hit home with some real stuff. I think I make music that hits different emotions. I can make you think; I can make you turn up or feel sad.”

We can expect new music and visuals from Corey this year, as well as an EP in 2019. He also announces a documentary in the works entitled No Time, which is based on the single and about his upbringing in East New York.

But for now listen to his new single and let us know what you think!Stream “No Time,” below.

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Making Hip-Hop Great Again: Just Blaze And Swizz Beats Gave The Culture Something Special

"the culture needed this...We probably inspired a hundred thousand producers tonight."--Swizz Beats Hip-hop has always been marked by 'special moments'...

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