Main

Producer & DJ Diablo Is Surfing The New Wave On A Gucci Surfboard

Currently on tour with “Gucci Gang” rapper Lil Pump, he’s on a come up!

Photo credit: @karlyshoots


Whether or not you agree or even fuck with this new wave of artists flooding the industry, they’re here to stay — and they’re doing numbers. The ascent has been pretty steady, which I think many may not realize. Thriving in a generation that started sharing the dankest of the dank memes by the time they were in high school, they’ve turned consistent grind and work ethic via services like SoundCloud into vehicles to propel themselves to Billboard fame, selling out shows and making racks (and racks).

In the thick of it all is Ecuadorian DJ and producer Diablo, a 21-year-old LA-based Florida transplant. His close friendships with some acts like Lil Pump and Wifisfuneral has afforded him an impressive catalog of production credits and, well, a pretty awesome life.

Currently, he’s been seen rocking across the country with Pump, whose “Gucci Gang” has spent 17 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100, peaking #3.

“I started seriously getting into [music] production around 15,” he tells me, “but, I always had a passion for music.”

His first notable placement was with his good friend Wifisfuneral, a south Florida rapper who (first) gained widespread critical acclaim with the release of “Light-Skinned Trick Daddy” back in 2014, and (just last year) at SXSW, signed a major label deal with Interscope/Alamo Records. “[I] Love that guy,” Diablo says. “He’s gonna blow up … feels insane to see that hard work pays off.”

“What’s crazy is most of these artists are good friends of mine, so when I see my brothers succeed it brings me happiness,” he continues. “I’m just happy that I get a chance to work with such diverse musicians.”

To date, Diablo’s biggest song out is his collaboration with Lil Pump, “Boss,” which went Gold, and is about to certify Platinum.

“I was already traveling back and forth so much I said ‘fuck it imma move here,’” he tells me about his recent (quasi-permanent) move to LA from Florida. “Not to mention, it’s a dope environment, and it keeps me creative and motivated.”

“[The scene] is bigger, and it’s getting more attention, which is dope,” he notes. But, he seems most grateful for the opportunity to be in the epicenter of the game’s current wave. “I’m glad I get to be apart of such fascinating time in music and hip-hop history,” he says proudly.

He’s been touring with Pump et al., for the last little while, but 2018, he’s planning on taking things to the next level. “I’m going to release an album with insane production and features,” he tells me. “I’ll also be playing more live shows this year — and festivals. A lot more collaborations, and consistent music.”

“This year is all about working with as many artists as I can and expanding as an artist,” he says at the conclusion of our chat. “Shout out to all my brothas Pump, Craig Xen, Smokepurpp, Wifi, Trunks, and Ski Mask … everyone has such a bright future to come.”

With this much under their belts — and all under 25 — it’s hard not to see Diablo’s vision. I mean, according to this Twitter post, he co-produced a song with Diplo called “Illuminati” for Ski Mask featuring Lil Yachty. 2018 is off to a great start!

 

https://twitter.com/diablosucks/status/941450816665374721

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
Related Articles
#IndieSpotlight, Main

#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.

Continue Reading
Main

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.

Continue Reading
Main, Reviews

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.

Continue Reading
#IndieSpotlight, Main

#IndieSpotlight: Noah Wright Is Back With His Latest Visual “Cameras”

Noah Wright is on a run with his latest visual, “Cameras,” and we’re here for it!

27-year-old American Cedar Rapids MC Noah Wright is back with another super dope video treatment. First popping onto our radar back in March with his short film “Valley of the Sun” — and with his super dope LP Love, Noah. From opening for Rakim, Rick Ross, Futuristic and working with Young Money’s very own Cory Gunz, he’s definitely on a run, and we’re here for it.

Relevant: Check out our March 2018 Noah Wright feature

His latest video for his sure-shot single “Cameras” is next level creative. It begins with a plot reminiscent of the iconic episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air when Will and Buddy were trying to be in the BBD video being shot while Phil and Viv were away. In this video, the cleaner keeps trying to be in the shot, interrupting the shoot to the point that Noah storms off. That’s the opening skit, though. As the actual video kicks off, we’re introduced to gorgeous models, a luxury car, and that same interrupting cleaner is playing out a virtual reality plotline that eventually intertwines with his performance shots.

It’s the type of creativity we’ve come to expect from Noah who’s been dropping some fire lately. The short and sweet “El Chapo,” which he dropped back in June, and the intensely powerful visual for “No Room” have been building his profile — his quality is next level.

Check out “Cameras” above, and be sure to follow Noah via Twitter.

Continue Reading
More in Main
South African Rhymer Shane Eagle Is Bridging The Gap

“I want to bring Africa to the world in a way that hasn't happened yet.”

Close