unsigned hype

L.S.D – Off The Grid

Hip-hop truly is world-wide. I’ll preface this by admitting that my knowledge of the hip-hop scene down-under is less than…

Hip-hop truly is world-wide. I’ll preface this by admitting that my knowledge of the hip-hop scene down-under is less than expansive, so if I sound off base at all, that’s why. I recently came across an Aussie (Perth to be exact) artist that I’m really digging. He goes by the name of L.S.D, and (to me anyways) he’s an Australian answer to Rob Kelly [who by the way is a must listen]. Four years after his last release, a Lighter Shade of Darkness, and a brief retirement/hiatus, he’s returning to the scene with an album entitled Off The Grid – and he reached out to AAHIPHOP to spread some of his vibes. I saw the obvious fit, because we’re big fans of Blackalicious over here (peep our Gift of Gab interview), and he very much fits into that pocket. In fact, he worked with him on his first album.

His album is a wonderful mix of old school charm, High and Mighty-esque sonic beds and turntablism (orchestrated by Rob Shaker). To top it off, L.S.D has bars –like REALLY dope bars. It’s a great listen. After the first track, I didn’t even notice he had an accent at all, and the fact that he’s from Australia isn’t used as any sort of gimmick or on-running pun. From the jump, with the high-energy title track, Off The Grid, L.S.D sets the tone, and carries the pace throughout with few missteps. He tackles a range of topics from the staple “overcoming in the face of adversity” on the uptempo (very fun) GO, to soaking in the experience and perspective from a conversation with a 75 year-old on the song Story To Tell. Standouts for me were the joints Alive Again, where he discusses universal true-school hip-hop relevancy struggles, the infidelity shaming Cheaters and the uptempo (sexy) sax laced Rio.

The album’s overall strength lies in its intricacy. The micro details (like the cuts) and the general quality – sonically and creatively – are top-notch. It’s a very solid effort, and with exception of a few references I just didn’t understand, it was quite universal, while remaining true to what I perceive the Perth scene to be. It’s full of real-world stories, hardship and most of all, substance. The fact that I’m limited by North American references to give this man context is a testament to my narrow-minded my view of the culture. I’m going to work on that.

Recommend Piff for your work week!

G’day!


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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Marcoof500 – “Marco The Merchant” #Review

From the onset of his debut project, 2018’s The Travels Of Marco, Marcoof500 — an entrepreneur in every sense of the…

From the onset of his debut project, 2018’s The Travels Of Marco, Marcoof500 — an entrepreneur in every sense of the word — the Virginia upstart has been feeding his extremely loyal cult following with a steady slew of releases. Since that initial warning shot, he dropped the 4-song Kitchen Chronicles EP, which featured (among other things) the song “10 O’Glock” — a record he’s chosen to make the cut for his latest LP, Marco The Merchant.

The nine-song affair is an exciting blend of stylistic elements with varying degrees of commercial viability and earworm appeal. “10 O’Glock” for example has this vintage No Limit appeal to it sonically, that grow on you with Marco’s bars and loud, but noteworthy adlibs like “fuck Trippie Redd,” or the “Left-right uppercut that ends the song off.”3

While he uses a familiar formula on a number of the songs — that still manage to work — like the piano-driven “500k,” it’s when he puts his marketability on display that you get a full spectrum of his vision. “Pesos” is a definite standout, with an instrumental that sounds ripe for a YG feature. It’s one of the sole records that you could easily hear at the club, or within a mix show format, with its repetitive chorus that you’ll find yourself singing throughout your daily moves.

Another surprisingly flame emoji record is “Designer,” which we found ourselves returning to throughout the past week. Over the blown out bass of the lo-fi banger, he finds his footing and keeps the flow steady, with a razor-sharp barrage of bars that is perfectly encased by the soundscape.

With his label 500entertainmentllc and a track record of having toured as far as Japan, he’s clearly defined his lane and is keeping his overall aesthetic on the right track. Even when his material works harder to merely fit in with the wave, it manages to swim with the best of them — but when he’s hot, he’s hot. His journey is exciting to witness, and by intertwining it into his music, he’s giving his music not just a personal touch, but an inspirational gloss for a generation of new listeners and artists looking to see who ultimately floats to the top.

Whether it’s on some smooth Valee-esque vibes, or if it’s on some darker street fare like “Will They?” there’s a sense of authenticity that shines through. Marcoof500 is that dude!

Take Marco The Merchant for a spin, below.

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unsigned hype

Katiah One – “A Whole Lotta Water Works” EP

Upper West Side (New York City) rapper Katiah One is still reveling in his debut EP A Whole Lotta Water…

Upper West Side (New York City) rapper Katiah One is still reveling in his debut EP A Whole Lotta Water Works, which dropped November 2018. On a mission of changing the common perception of the average rapper, he draws inspiration from R&B and Rock–and artists like Freddy Mercury, Sam Cooke, and Issac Brock–all of which is evident when dissecting this eclectic body of work.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqaotcwFzOP/

Including “Tail Spin,” a single we featured in early December, the four-song project is a statement. Katiah’s goal with his music is to be a positive influence on the world and make people smile. Currently affiliated with FiveSe7enCollective, founded by producer and artist J57, he’s well on his way to making his mark in the game.

Check out Katiah One’s debut EP A Whole Lotta Water Works, below.

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unsigned hype

J.R.Clark Enlists Smoke DZA & Stalley For “Sunset Symphony” EP

From the home of acts like Missy and Clipse — Virginia Beach — J.R.Clark is making his presence felt with his brand…

From the home of acts like Missy and Clipse — Virginia Beach — J.R.Clark is making his presence felt with his brand new EP Sunset Symphony. With nine songs packed with boom-bap slaps and airy smoked out vibes, the third full-length addition to his catalog sparkles; impressive features bring it all together, from the likes of Kush God himself Smoke DZA, former MMG rapper Stalley, and more.

 
Starting his career behind the boards as a studio engineer, J.R.started releasing his own music in 2014 and built a following in the underground hip-hop scene. Inspired by acts like Curren$y, Stalley, Big K.R.I.T, J.Cole, Rick Ross, Schoolboy Q, and Chance the Rapper, his sound is unmistakably smooth with a vintage Hip Hop gloss. Look out for his upcoming project Antique Summer, which features appearances from Fendi P (Jetlife Records) and more.

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Jonah Melvon’s “Rain Water Project” Is A Soulful Treat

Jonah Melvon celebrated MLK Day with the release of two singles from his brand new LP, Rain Water Project. The…

Jonah Melvon celebrated MLK Day with the release of two singles from his brand new LP, Rain Water Project. The standouts from the soulful 11-song project display some variation from the exciting Bay Area native.

“What’s Good For You,” the song that happens to kick off the LP is a slice of poetic neo-soul, that really highlights his vocal dexterity as a rapper. “1099 (Mom and Pops)” is an ode to the brick and mortar, regional retailers — which are important to the fabric of the hyper-localized music scene on the West Coast.

One thing immediately clear from a top to bottom lists of his incredibly soulful album is — aside from of love making music that ‘feels’ sonically warm and comfortable — is his love for his city. A singer, rapper, mentor, business owner, entrepreneur, activist and connector, Melvon lives and breathes The Bay.

Get up on his vibe; listen to Jonah Melvon’s Rain Water Project, below.

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Unsigned Hype: Playing 8 Questions with Early Reed

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