2016 Wrap Up, Editorial, Main, rileysbest

Leaders Of The New School: Six Emcees You Need To Be Up On

2016 has been a pretty good year for music; particularly, for unsigned acts. We received an overwhelming amount of submissions…

2016 has been a pretty good year for music; particularly, for unsigned acts. We received an overwhelming amount of submissions here, and there was a handful that resonated incredibly well with me—for a multitude of reasons. I’ve taken the liberty of breaking them down below. If you’re not up on them yet—now’s a good time to add them to your playlists.

Don’t sleep!


Aaron Cohen

He has been bubbling in circles for a minute, but the Seattle-native popped onto my radar with his 2015 release Homeless. His latest release, Off The Ground has been his biggest to date, premiering on XXL and spawning overseas tour dates. After hearing what he has in the stash via a Facebook Live session, and with a Paris festival already booked for 2017, the New Year is about to be kind to him!

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Intelligenz

Smart, pretty, articulate, and blessed with the soul of a real emcee, Intelligenz has had a great year. I had a great interview—which was more of a casual hip-hop convo—earlier this summer. She rounded off a year of buzz-worthy stage shows with a European tour supporting Slick Rick The Ruler, even premiering her latest single in France, where she opened for Red, Meth, and De La Soul. Oh, and she’s signed to HipNott [Kevin Nottingham’s label]; no big deal.

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Matt Citron

I get an intimidating amount of artist submissions, but something about Matt Citron resonated with me. Maybe it was the legendary DJ Greg Street calling him the next hottest thing out of Atlanta. Maybe it was the overall dopeness of his single “404” that features Cyhi The Prince. Perhaps it’s his undeniable industry buzz and his as if yet unreleased work with D.I.T.C’s Buckwild; whatever it is, this kid is going to pop, and the excitement radiating from his circle is infectious.

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NXUS

22-year-old NXUS, who is one-third of the trio known as Dead Reputation (with Delirious Beats [producer/engineer] and Rake [writer/videographer/film editor/photographer]), continues to impress me. I was a huge fan of their last collective release, “Rake Cat,” and his latest record “Holy wATEr” is just crack. I get the vibe from NXUS; he has something about him–you can just feel that he’s headed along the right incline. A hidden gem, for sure.

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Track Seven Band

Back in 2011, Bronx rapper, Cost, was looking for a band to back him for live performances. What he found is what we now, five years later, know as the Track Seven Band. Their EP, The Try And The Fail, was one of the better projects I reviewed this year. It’s as hip-hop as you can get, and at points deeply personal, but packaged with an unmistakable crossover appeal. You could easily listen to this whole project without listening to the depth of the content, and just enjoy it for what it is. The mark of excellence.

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Sir B

Sir B is an artist who started getting some industry buzz back in 2013, both for playing Quentin Miller for a multitude of ATL rappers and dropping his debut mixtape, SIR’tified. His mixtape, Letters From Rehab, was a fantastic find that I feared might slide under the radar. Sir B himself is incredibly charismatic — he has that inexplicable “thing” that most big artists tend to have in common. An artist that deserves a solid spot on your 2017 watch list!

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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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Heavy Hitters’ DJ Flee is About to Takeover

28-year-old DJ Flee, also known as Bodega Flee, is one of the hottest new tastemakers in Hip Hop. The Uptown…

28-year-old DJ Flee, also known as Bodega Flee, is one of the hottest new tastemakers in Hip Hop. The Uptown New York Dominican is a lustrious member of the legendary Hip Hop faction, The Heavy Hitters (DJ Enuff, Tony Tone). The former Basketball player made a name for himself in the city with his signature Uptown sound and irreparable tricks on the turntables.

Discovered by the same legends responsible for presenting the world to today’s legends from across the U.S. like DJ Felli Fel, Bootleg Kev, and Peter Parker. Flee has quickly become one of the most notable faces of the brand with his fast-growing fanbase and credible ear for breaking the undeniable next superstars to the East Coast.

Through his journey in radio, Flee has had the opportunity to discover plenty of new genres of Hip Hop that would help transform his style. Experimenting with trendy genres like Dirty South and Gangsta bouncing West Coast with a blend of his Dominican roots.

In Boston, Miami, Orlando, and New York, Flee is the most sought-after radio DJ in the ever-changing broadcast market. Keeling the prestigious pride and name of the Heavy Hitters brightly lit outside of the East Coast. Artists like Zoey Dollaz can credible a large amount of their popularity to DJ Flee’s exposure.

Hard work, dedication, experience has earned DJ Flee the tastemaking position he firmly sits in within today’s Hip Hop. Ready to transition himself into superstar status, the promising DJ continues to develop a signature style that infusion the old school traditions and new school evolution to the East Coast. Heatseeking, DJ Flee is easily becoming one of the biggest DJs in Hip Hop today, honestly, it’s only a matter of time before he is the biggest DJ in today’s Hip Hop. So stay tuned.

DJ Flee’s journey continues on, follow the Heavy Hitter sound today via Instagram and Twitter.

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@KorleonKOJ – “Motion”

Today RichBoy Ent. CEO and founder Korleon aka “The King of Jackson (K.O.J).” releases his new song, “Motion,” debuting the new track with a music video on YouTube.  Released just…

Today RichBoy Ent. CEO and founder Korleon aka “The King of Jackson (K.O.J).” releases his new song, “Motion,” debuting the new track with a music video on YouTube.  Released just in time for Memorial Day, the highly anticipated music video for “Motion” precludes a host of releases by the ATL veteran by way of Jackson, Mississippi. Hoping to continue the momentum, Korleon will drop his mixtape The Four in the coming weeks, which will be followed up by Strictly 4 My Sippers this Summer.

Basically I’m just tappin in with the ladies. They rock with me and I rock with them equally so I felt I needed to satisfy my female fan base and cater to them. I wanted to create something that they could vibe to and something where I remained true to myself,” Korleon K.O.J. explained. “I feel like it’s a way better look for me to be with 7 different women in all shades and colors around the city, rather than me rolling around with 20 of my ni**as.”

Within the last two years Korleon launched a new studio in Atlanta called Walker St. 2.0 where his RichBoy Ent. team has been building a movement. To date Korleon and his team have recorded a host of artists including multi-platinum artist Slim Jxmmi of Rae Sremmurd, Mase, Jose Guapo, Big Bank Black and of course D4L’s Fabo.

“We opened back up the studio in March of 2017, we’ve had a lot of indies, superstars and its just been a blessing, I’m just glad that we have been able to make it happen. Its been a whole host of people to record there over the past few years,” Korleon said of his studio. “Of course me and Fabo been working on music together and I got The Four project that will preclude the Strictly 4 My Sippers project. I got the visual coming for Colorado soon and I got some stuff coming up with DJ Twin in the immediate future sometime in July.”

K.O.J. is often seen touring alongside and has frequently collaborated with on tracks with Fabo, who he says is his brother and day 1.

“Fabo my brother, Giksquad! Those my brothers. We been down since day one and we gonna be down forever, that’s my brother. He stays booked out and if you go through the archives, I’m at most shows, so it’s really just mores what’s continuing to go on. We were at Rolling Loud and everything, he stays booked.”

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#IndieSpotlight: Major D-Star Drops Off “Stack Pray & Stay Out The Way” Visual

Gotta love when an artist you like drop a project you’re feeling, and proceeds to give a visual identity to…

Gotta love when an artist you like drop a project you’re feeling, and proceeds to give a visual identity to the records you were feeling the most. That’s the case for AAHH mainstay Major D-Star; after releasing his long-awaited Trap Star  mixtape back in February, he is dropping off “Stack Pray & Stay Out The Way,” a song I personally described as an illustration of his immense focus on his “current hustle of choice, music.”

RECENT: Major D-Star Drops “Trap Star” Mixtape

The video, like his others, delivers on quality. Directed by Wally Woo, with a multitude of scenery interspersed around a loose storyline of himself working as a mechanic — which he playfully describes as his way of “stacking and staying out the way” in the into — it gives ample life to one of his project’s most infectious earworms. If you have yet to bump his full mixtape, go ahead and click here; either way, press play on this catchy little banger, below.

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#IndieSpotlight: Silas Luster’s “W.A.V.” Is A Slice Of Subversive Goodness

Provincetown, Massachusetts, MC Silas Luster released a brand new EP W.A.V. on March 29th that I’ve meant to share my…

Provincetown, Massachusetts, MC Silas Luster released a brand new EP W.A.V. on March 29th that I’ve meant to share my thoughts on, but to be honest, it was a dense listen. Not in an unapproachable way, mind you. Instead, it’s like an onion made of many, discussion worthy layers, painted atop lush soundscapes that are (at points) reminiscent of OG EL-P production from the early Def Juxx days.

RELEVANT: Getting To Know Provincetown Artist Silas Luster

 
The EP kicks off with “Sion,” which starts with his wordy flow over a head-nodding instrumental that switches up halfway through, into this bongo drum pattern over which he drops the strongest verse easily on the project; I’d love to see it live. “Diewittit” is another song that I found myself revisiting over and over. His cadence and rhyme schemes at times have this loose appeal that reminds me of the Freestyle Fellowship-esque aura that dominated college radio in the 90s.

 
He speaks a lot about his journey, and also a lot of spiritual topics — from the universe to putting meditation over medicine. It’s a lot to unpack, in a good way. You can hear the spoken word elements that seem to be the backbone of his bars — check the acapella interlude “What’s Love?” as a great example of what I mean.

The almost haunting chorus on “O.S.H.N” wasn’t necessarily jarring but did set the song apart as a black sheep of the EP. Not that it’s a bad song — it’s one of the strongest tracks — but, it’s just a different vibe that stuck out to me.

Overall, I dig this EP a lot. If you find yourself a little inundated with the sea of Lil rappers, and the endless sea of meh that often dominates the mainstream consciousness, Silas offers up a slice of subversive Hip Hop. It’s music crafted to both cathartically get things off of his chest and also get your thinking — depending on your aptitude on some of his topics, maybe even get you googling and reading shit.

He is currently touring throughout New England and the Tri-State. Check the schedule.

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Charles Hamilton’s Debut Is A Glorious Comeback

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