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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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#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.

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Video Spotlight: Mean Joe Scheme & Optiks

In this video spotlight, Joe and Optiks discuss the new project, the state of east coast hip-hop, and what to expect from BEAMS. Be sure to check out both singles below, and follow @meanjoescheme and @thisisoptiks on your socials.

NYC artists Mean Joe Scheme and Optiks are putting the finishing touches on BEAMS, their new collaborative project. If “Cannonball” and “Hands Down” are any indication, we’re in for a viscous slice of hybrid hip-hop- a fusion of beats, rhymes, and anxious 2018 energy.

In this video spotlight, Joe and Optiks discuss the new project, the state of east coast hip-hop, and what to expect from BEAMS. Be sure to check out both singles below, and follow @meanjoescheme and @thisisoptiks on your socials.

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Eminem: Kamikaze- A Relapse of Epic Proportion

Poor Eminem. He’s damned if he do and damned if he don’t. His last album, 2017’s pop-heavy Revival, flopped by…

Poor Eminem. He’s damned if he do and damned if he don’t. His last album, 2017’s pop-heavy Revival, flopped by way of social media yet wasn’t a total disaster. It moved units and afforded him headlining spots on the summer festival circuit- but it didn’t give the fans what they needed. Or did it?

This conundrum surrounds Eminem’s career. When he’s on there’s only a handful of rappers alive who can compete with his pen and his fury. But when he bogs down projects with introspection- giving us a break from his hyper-aggro screaming at the mic- it feels like we’ve been cheated. Stans can’t deal with the sappy pop-crossovers, and today’s charts simply do not have space for good old-fashioned rap acrobatics. So what’s an aging top-five-dead-or-alive rapper to do?

Marshall Mathers unleashed Kamikaze as his response to the Twitter army (and critics) who condemned him- an unexpected and venomous (although carefully measured) surprise album packed with more syllables than a semester’s worth of English-as-a-second language classes. As we all secretly hoped for, rappers ain’t safe from Em’s verbal barrage of double and triple time bars on Kamikaze, and if you have time to unpack these 13 tracks you’ll find some genuine heat.

Unfortunately, if you really unpack these ferocious bars you’ll find a grumpy old man rapping for the simple sake of reminding us how technically skilled he truly is. The problem is we’ve known that for ages. Reverting back to early 2000’s Eminem complete with the use of “faggot”- his favorite homophobic slur on the otherwise bulletproof “Fall”- does little to contribute to his relevance in 2018.

There are a few maniac standouts on Kamikaze, songs that young rappers should study for the intricate art of word play and cadence (check “The Ringer”, and “Not Alike” featuring Royce Da 5’9). Yet, those lessons are harder to learn when it’s impossible for the listener to catch their breath. For most of the record, Em is in such rapid-fire mode that you absolutely have to run back verses and entire songs to truly digest his messages. Rap nerds and old heads will revel in the task, but is that what the game needs these days? I’d argue no

Kamikaze is a rare full-on barrage of supernatural MC’ing; but it comes and goes without much meaning when the target becomes Machine Gun Kelly-who tweeted about Eminem’s attractive daughter back in 2012. Is there really a hip-hop fan alive willing to side with MGK on this one? And if you’re looking for the most lukewarm, mediocre diss track (possibly ever recorded) check out MGK’s response, “Rap Devil”, a headscratcher that splits its time attempting to discredit Em while simultaneously praising his longevity and abilities. You either want the smoke or you don’t? Like it or not, the whole thing feels like a charade.

Eminem has always carried a chip on his shoulder. When the critics go low, he goes lower. While Kamikaze is far from a low point in what will be viewed someday as a catalog of studio hits and misses, it’s far from the return to form that it was intended to be. He might not be afraid to take a stand, but it’s become tiring trying to figure out exactly who Eminem is standing against.

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Soo Casa Drops His Self-Titled Debut Project

Hailing from — of all places, Burlington (Ontario) — rapper Soo Casa, so has appeared on the site in the…

Hailing from — of all places, Burlington (Ontario) — rapper Soo Casa, so has appeared on the site in the past, has finally gifted his growing fan base with a self-titled body of work. At a hefty 15 songs, which includes a few songs weève already worn out (but are revisiting), he manages to craft a complete picture of his artistic vision that loosies hinted at, but failed to encapsulate fully.

“Cldhnky,” a stylized form for cold honky, “Top Ramen,” and “Ksubi Slushie” had already been floating around and found their way into our listening sessions — as early as late last year. What we found interesting was how versatile of a picture it painted of the MC. While the latter two songs have these interwoven melodies and auto-tuned vocals, “Cldhnky” had this early 2000s vibe to it, that above everything, illustrate his ability to drop rhyme patterns.

“One Take” is another spot that sees him dropping fire rapid-fire flows without missing any pockets. There is also a whole ounce of self-aware humor injected, with over-the-top bars like: “I also rock Balenciagas, put my dick in your girl’s mouth and make her Lady Gaga.”

Songs like “Perc” and “Iactuallylikelilpump” are sonically sound, and reflective of his cohort, but do little to further his artistic vision. To be candid, we’re not 100% sure what his grand idea is, and the breadth of the songs are more or less focused regarding thematic direction, but it’s song structure and delivery that helps draw out his most potent moments.

“Guacamole” comes across as one the standouts on the tracklist, with a flame emoji instrumental and that Soo rides like a dirtbike down a Philly block. “Twice That” with Kid Frankie was another moment that suited him, with this bouncy West Coast vibe that needed to be MUCH longer than a minute and forty seconds. As well, “juicehouse” produced by Platinum producer CashMoneyAP (Migos, Young Boy Never Broke Again, SahBabii, etc.) is another moment worth a few spins.

 

It was also refreshing to see him step out of the lane a few times and try new things. “$wang” with its heavy R&B hook, and bouncy “grinding a shorty at a summer bashment” aura was a pleasant surprise. Would also be remiss not to bring up that sample flip on “Tokyo Plugin,” which was another example of his readjusting his style slightly with pleasant results.

 

Overall, the Slushie God managed to give a little more definition to his range and potential. With summer coming to a close, and as the fall sets in, it’ll be interesting to see what his next moves are and if he chooses to fully marry one of the many faces he’s shown on this LP.

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