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Reuben X Sets The Tone With Debut LP

Reuben X does a great job of framing himself on Got Next, placing himself on the right path to potentially live up to the title.

Chicago rapper Reuben X has been on our radar for a while now; from overcoming homelessness, to coping with serious injury, he’s been through it—and it’s something that’s come across in his music. After a mixtape release followed by some (impressive) loosies, he finally dropped off his debut LP, Got Next.

The 13-song project traverses a few different sounds and vibes, which displays Reuben’s versatility, while also making it a diverse listen—this is a pro and con, though not a huge fault. The switching vibes makes it a slightly inconsistent listen from top to bottom, but really, it’s not a big issue. The LP bangs; let’s break it down.

 
An immediate standout was the single “Big Dream,” which we’d already heard. Produced by Menace (better known as the producer of Desiigner’s breakout hit “Panda”), the song is probably best encapsulates the overall message of believing and achieving that drew us to Reuben in the first place. The album seems to have two distinct parts, the second of which seems to begin with the bouncy “Potential,” carrying over into “Watch You Work,” and the heartfelt “Best Worst Thing,” which both sport a ‘song for a girl vibe’ and Organized Noize-esque southern funk.

Though never fully committing to a real street aesthetic, he does dabble in a more trappish vibe on songs like the opener, “Refuse 2 Lose” and “Free The Guyz,” which follows Reuben as he attempts to raise the capital to bail a friend out of jail.

“Expected” was a pleasant surprise with its cool flip of Mark The 45 King’s classic 900 Number loop—and its super catchy chorus, with the chant “we gettin’ to this money, we expect you to hate.” Another excellent track that has a different sound from the others is “Better Man.” On the head-nodding drum loop, he rhymes “no food on the shelf, but never felt starving, promised I’d make it even if you put me in a coffin,” as he describes the many sacrifices he’s made to put himself in a position to win.

 
A debut LP is—in many ways—your first formal impression of an artist. Reuben X does a great job of framing himself on Got Next, placing himself on the right path to potentially live up to the title.

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Maui Rapper Mr2theP Drops “SANDCASTLES” Single Produced by Dj1mor

As he feverishly plugs away at the tweaks on his brand new LP produced entirely by longtime friend, L.A. based…

As he feverishly plugs away at the tweaks on his brand new LP produced entirely by longtime friend, L.A. based producer and DJ 1mor — host of CashOnly Radio, which airs Thursdays from 8-9 pm on Dash Radio — Mr2TheP drops a brand new single “SANDCASTLES,” complete with an introduction to his latest hat, videography.

RELATED PAST CONTENT: #IndieSpotlight: Mr2theP Emerges With Two New Singles

The Orange County-born Maui rapper tells AAHH that the album — tentatively titled LSP — was mostly recorded in a short period. “[The album was] produced while 1mor was staying with me at the compound in Maui,” he says — recalling the sessions at his Maui studio, which he christened last year with his deeply personal musical-journey (album) Island Fever. He relocated to the Central Pacific island in 2017 and beginning building the creative hub after the loss of his daughter

“You was hoping that I’d stop and fumble, what … because I’m middle-aged dope and don’t f*cking mumble?” — Mr2theP, “SANDCASTLES”

The visual for the super cool single was shot via iPhone X with anamorphic lens and edited by P himself, is — according to him — beyond a display of his creativity, a taste of what’s to come. “I recently took up video directing, and I’m looking to expand on my visuals this year, crafting videos to some of the significant features I’m sitting on,” he says.

He’s mum about the features themselves, preferring to show and prove, allowing the product to speak for itself; however, based on his track record, which includes a discography packed with quality releases (and collaborations with Daylyt among others), we’re in for something special.

Check out the video, above.

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Major D-Star Drops “Trap Star” Mixtape

Florida MC Major D-Star is someone who we’ve been covering on the site since late 2017, and we’re excited about…

Florida MC Major D-Star is someone who we’ve been covering on the site since late 2017, and we’re excited about what he’s up to for 2019. He and his team released “Rappin & Trappin” as part of his MAJOR Monday’s campaign late last year, which was meant to hype us up for his upcoming mixtape, Trap Star — which he’d been prophesizing for a little while at that point. Well, he’s blessed fans with the goods, and we aren’t one bit disappointed.


 
The 12-song project is hosted by the acclaimed DJ WildChild, who is affiliated with Wakka Flocka Flame’s Brick Squad Monopoly. With intricate production and bars (and bars) dripping with replay value, honesty, and everything we’ve come to expect from him over the past few releases.

Led by the infectious piano-driven bop of “Rappin’ & Trappin’,” the project is a hearty body of work, full of celebration, reassertion, and straight up Hip Hop. There are a breadth of vibes — all in a cohesive sonic pocket — that see him take a few different turns, before the last track, “It’s All Hype,” which in many ways feels like the highlight.

A good portion of the album sets out a lot of the success he’s seen thus far — such as “Stack Pray & Stay Out The Way” where he describes his immense focus on his current hustle of choice, music. But there is this looming sense that he feels the need to remind everyone that he isn’t where he is because of music solely. Still, he’s chosen his path and is seeing the fruit of his labor. “Nothin’ To Do With That” is a great example, as he notes that he has “nothing to do” with the same old shit, nor does he condone lying in his raps.

This idea of authenticity reiteration makes songs like “War Time” and “Tax” feel more potent on second listens. Still, with rap being his bread and butter, we can circle down to “It’s All Hype,” a declaration of realness, drive, and subtle — but heavy-handed — dedication to the new school acts who thrive off of social media. “What comes easy don’t last,” he laments as the song comes to an end.

It’s a sentiment that couldn’t be more telling of the blood sweat and tears he’s put into his craft and discography thus far.

Check out Major D-Star‘s Trap Star, above.

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AjGod Puts Knowledge Over Everything On ”E.S.O.Teric”

Bars packed with meaning.

We had a really unique project drop across the desk this week all the way from Oakland, California. We get a lot of submissions [editors note: this is an understatement] but not many from an artist who describes their production as syncopated, a great word — yes — but also an intriguing approach to consciously adopt.

Rapper AjGod describes having a bevy of Influences that range from Cole to Marley, all of which help him to create this very engaging, clear commentary on the struggles of his hometown, and being black in America while remaining palatable enough to ever push listeners away.

What is oddly alluring about the eight-song effort E.S.O.Teric — for and foremost — is the production; over breezy bops dripping in this unmistakable Bay Area funk, with a vintage gloss, Aj drops this really interesting blend of bars packed with intellectualism.

It’s clear that Oakland runs deep in his veins, molded by the same environment as iconic voices Tupac and (more contemporary) Kendrick Lamar, but he has this added layer of knowledge, almost KRS ONE-esque, injected with a sense of black power. On “Black Boy No,” for example, he confronts the concept that African-Americans are held below a systematic ceiling, by empowering and shattering his way through with powerful bars like “When you tell that black boy no just know he hear the opposite,” and later in the track “woke got vision like I’m sleep,” noting he was born in a cage but he’s a locksmith.

“Know Your Self” is another example of self-betterment; he’s speaking on the true motivations that many have for getting their hands dirty in the streets. “Are you getting big just to get a pound,” he asks rhetorically, challenging listeners to consider who they truly are when the crew isn’t around. Also, the consistent references to the Pan-African flag, while noting he’s not your enemy appears to be a clear delineation to black on black crime — which is something that has plagued our communities for decades.

With the latter four records being solely instrumentation, we’re given these boisterous beats, either meant to be a gift to MCs or simply an atmospheric demonstration — nay reminder — that this is a top to bottom self-produced affair.

With a sound that seems to swim against the grain of mainstream waves, E.S.O.Teric is a project hellbent on giving listeners a bigger picture, with a purpose beyond entertaining with the more mindless fare. His cadence clear, and his bars approachable complex, the project is a noble pile of gems worth exploring.

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AUS10 Drop His “10PM” Mixtape

Straight out of Los Angeles, California, rapper AUS10 is starting off his 2019 strong; his latest mixtape 10PM is the…

Straight out of Los Angeles, California, rapper AUS10 is starting off his 2019 strong; his latest mixtape 10PM is the result of months worth of blood, sweat, tears. A mix of everything under the sun, with a gloss of contemporary flair, he’s managed to create an honest, original body of work, brimming with emotion and carefully curated bops.

 
The first few singles include “Away,” which has a late-night drive vibe, over which he flexes his R&B chops layered on a smooth soundscape, and “Who Really,” which he blessed with a visual treatment. Both are worth a spot in your playlist this week. The full 12-song project is available via Soundcloud.

Check out AUS10’s 10PM, below.

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