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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Main, New Music, unsigned hype

Jae Mansa – “Blessings” Ft. Tee Grizzley

Today, Jae Mansa debuts a hypnotic trapped out jam called “Blessings” featuring “First Day Out” rapper Tee Grizzley and UK…

Today, Jae Mansa debuts a hypnotic trapped out jam called “Blessings” featuring “First Day Out” rapper Tee Grizzley and UK rapper SL on the hook. The song finds the group perfectly riding a celestial beat while they stay on their rap game hustle.

“We’re blessed to be in the position that we in today,” says Jae Mansa. “We could be doing worse. We switched up our lifestyle and grateful we’re able to do music. Touch the people. Everything is a blessing, people out here starving. We stay humble while we doing it. Everything we drop we just hope it do better than the last. We trying to grow.”

“Blessings,”follows the release of the duo’s latest album Yung Kingz available now via their distribution deal with Roc Nation. The album has gained over 6 Million plays on Spotify alone and features the singles “Fate” and “I Swear.”

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Main, New Music, unsigned hype

@camjamesraps – “Shoot”

Today rapper Cam James releases his new single “Shoot” which is an infectious Summer anthem pushing women to make the…

Today rapper Cam James releases his new single “Shoot” which is an infectious Summer anthem pushing women to make the first move and shoot their shot.

Rising from dorm rooms to major stages, culminating in selections for some of the largest national music festivals in the late 2010s (A3C ’16, SXSW ’17), Cam James has made great strides in a short period of time.

“It’s a story from beginning to end,” Cam James said. “We’re capturing listeners from the jump and giving them a ride through the song’s super-relatable party scenario.”

With a bouncy, soul-tinged backdrop produced by THAIBEATS and an accompanying self-directed music video inspired by the 2001 Black cinema classic Brown Sugar, this is a track that’ll get stuck in your head for weeks.

Influenced by Nas, OutKast and 90’s R&B and using that as a foundation to build his own sound 2011 at Georgia Tech, he started turning his spoken word pieces into raps. These rough and unpolished sessions became cohesive solo projects over the course of six years and five independent projects.

Following his first TV placement on BET’s Being Mary Jane in September 2017, he announced his independent sophomore album, leviTAPE.

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Vevo and YK Osiris Release Live Performance of “Worth It”

Vevo just released a live performance from their newly announced LIFT artist YK Osiris. The 2019 XXL Freshman from Jacksonville,…

Vevo just released a live performance from their newly announced LIFT artist YK Osiris. The 2019 XXL Freshman from Jacksonville, FL artist performs an intimate version of his Billboard Hot 100 hit “Worth It.”

The premiere of “Worth It” is the first of three pieces of content Vevo will release as part of YK Osiris’s LIFT campaign. Vevo’s LIFT initiative connects today’s up-and-coming artists to audiences around the globe through video content. Launched in 2011, Vevo’s artist development program shines a spotlight on the world’s freshest new talent. Vevo LIFT alumni include the likes of Sam Smith, Halsey, Khalid, Jorja Smith, SZA, Julia Michaels, Billie Eilish and CNCO.

Stream it, below.

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It’s Treezus Season: The DC Rapper Is On A Run

The summer season is in full swing, and Washington DC’s Treezus — part of the international arts collective Yellow Cloud…

The summer season is in full swing, and Washington DC’s Treezus — part of the international arts collective Yellow Cloud — has been making some season buzz with his pack of recent singles, “IB2” and “Brainfood, both of which have received dope (AnxiouStoner filmed) visual treatments.

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The Birdie Bands produced “IB2” has an insanely eclectic vibe; Treezus’ wildly unique cadence, with peppered pockets of rapid-fire delivery, body the beat. The visual, which was shot throughout Italy (Venice, Naples, a farm in Tuscany and Florence) offers breathtaking scenery, with a dizzying pace that rarely lets you break the engagement. The Hidden Oasis banger “Brain Food,” a smoking anthem (originally released on 4/20) was appropriately shot in Amsterdam. This record gives this strange Bone Thugs vibe as he goes in with his machine gun flow during the latter half of the verse. It’s actually captivating.

Relevant: Work Fi Mi: An Interview With Yellow Cloud

The visuals were directed and edited by Treezus himself; and both really take the songs to new heights, in my humble opinion. The music we’ve featured in the past definitely range in terms of the aesthetic, but real talk, Treezus is more than in his element — and the international story arc he’s on is making his brand sparkle.

Check out “IB2” and “Brain Food” below.

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