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Twondon Drops Anticipated EP ‘Paradise Isn’t Free’

“TwonDon continues to show and prove that he refuses to die a “nobody.” He plans to work hard until reaching…

“TwonDon continues to show and prove that he refuses to die a “nobody.” He plans to work hard until reaching a point (paradise) where he can reap the fruits of his labor. Unfortunately, Paradise Isn’t Free.”

Baby Twon floating in a sea full of big bucks, expensive car keys, a rollie, a girl’s number, and note that reads “R.I.P Kenny,” are all ingredients that create this eye-catching cover-art to Paradise Isn’t Free by New Jersey rapper TwonDon (artwork by @KoyoDesigns). This symbolic cover art also gives clues to what this EP might entail right away.  This EP tells a story from beginning to end–taking you through the motions of feeling dispirited, zealous, grievous, motivated, proud, and whatever other emotions that triggers within you. Coincidently, I found myself listening to this EP on a Thursday evening after a discouraging day of work, and after hearing the last track ‘Successful” I was fueled with confidence for the rest of the night. With no TV or phone distracting me (besides a few tweets sharing how fire some tracks were), TwonDon and I vibed out song for song via SoundCloud.

As soon as I heard the intro begin with a reversed melody looping in the background, I grabbed my pen and paper and began breaking down this EP. With the excitement and anticipation revolving around this project, it was only right that the writer within me shared this EP through my own interpretations. With the masterminds of John Sparkz and Frankie Metalz, it is clear that this EP was well thought-out and created. Take a listen to each song as I break down the latest EP, Paradise Isn’t Free from well endowed rapper, TwonDon.

Track 1– Paradise Ave

Begins with high-energy, reversed-powerful vocals played in the background–it sounds like struggle mended into a beautiful melody. I called this song the breaking free song because TwonDon speaks on “birthing a new nation”–shaping a new idea of what it means to reach paradise. Twon mentions heavy lines like, “Holy water, I bathed in it” and “40 acres and my reparations, because my n*ggas slaving. TwonDon is demanding his respect and calling for his hardwork to finally pay off. Twon in some ways, paints images through his lyrics, of what his paradise should be like.

Track 2– My City (201)

This track embodies the idea of putting on for where you come from. TwonDon drops the line, “I can make a mil without a scholarship..” and hailing from the urban parts of the east coast (Jersey), it isn’t hard to understand what Twon means by that line. Being a part of an urban environment, you are forced to work harder than most to reach “paradise.” TwonDon even name-drops Max B and Pimp C, (two well-respected rappers), who have concretized their environments, and what it means to be hood-rich and stunt. TwonDon repeats, “Everything I do be for my city” and it is clear that he understands the necessity to pay homage to the place that made you.

Track 3 Jennifer’s Song

The recognizable melody “Do you mind if I stroke you down, I don’t mind” by classic R&B group Changing Faces, over a more up-tempo beat, sets a totally different tone for Paradise Isn’t Free. With TwonDon coming in with his most salacious sound yet, he serenades the beat with quotable lines like, “Promise you’ll get it as long as I get it, get it in all through the night.” Twon definitely shows his grown and sexy side by portraying his ability to wear his heart on his sleeve, and pursue a woman. ‘Jennifer’s Song’ makes me believe there is some connection to the phone number written on a note, on the cover art of this EP. Maybe Twon can’t envision his paradise without a lovely lady by his side?

Track 4– Black Bar Mitzvah featuring Dessy Hinds (Pro Era)

We already cracked the inside scoop on this phenomenal track weeks ago. Click here to find out what we thought about ‘Black Bar Mitzvah

Track 5 – Lately

In 2017 it isn’t common to call out “fake love” when you see it (thanks to Drake). Twon is unapologetically claiming his spot in this one with hard-hitting lines like “Fake love is all they show” and “Marshall Law, bring it to n*ggas door.” TwonDon lets it be known that he will not be slept on, and will work hard to claim a spot in “paradise,” (even with it’s price). Mentioning Marshall Law is a heavy metaphor–Twon isn’t playing with letting the world know who he is, even if that means taking over the game with a new order. Lines like “Sat with God, wrote my fate” solidifies that Twon believes that through faith and himself, his destiny is ineveitable.

Track 6Supreme featuring JAG

Now this here is the IDGAF track. Twon’s energy is high and consistent throughout his entire verse. This track is up-tempo and raw to the point where you need to let that bitch breathe. Twon comes in crazy with lines like “Told me to pick Malcolm or Martin, I’ll pick the balcony later”–showing that he’s not here to play nice when it comes to leaving his footprints in the game. TwonDon is gifted in showing the rawness and versatility of his lyricism and content–he has great control over his energy and tonality. The beat slightly changes and becomes more gory as JAG comes in throwing crazy metaphors that may go over your head at first, but makes you chuckle as well. JAG’s style of rap is distinctly different from Twon’s, but they both portray confidence over cockiness, in their own right.

Track 7– Successful

Connecting to the style of the first track ‘Paradise Ave,’– ‘Succesful’ comes in with a mellow-subtle voice singing in the background, reversed. This time sounding more euphoric and relieved in a way, this song gives the listener an immediate feeling of  resilience. The title ‘Successful’ couldn’t speak more clearly to what the track is about. Every lined rapped makes you feel that you still have a chance at success no matter where you come from, or what you are going through. “The journey to your dreams can have you feeling stressful, but we just dying to be successful.” Twon mentions the obstacles he overcame, as well as close friends, and how he kept believing in himself, and instilling drive in others. After listening to ‘Successful’ it is likely to feel inspired and determined to beat the odds. Twon makes it clear that his success will be a “paradise” that is created especially for him. He may have to pay the price of being judged, losing friendships, being hated on, and staying true to himself when others make him feel other wise, but in all, it may be a price that has to be paid.

TwonDon continues to show and prove that he refuses to die a “nobody.” He plans to work hard until reaching a point (paradise) where he can reap the fruits of his labor. Unfortunately, Paradise Isn’t Free.

Paradise Isn’t Free available now on Soundcloud, iTunes, and Spotify!

Follow TwonDon on Social Media @TWONDONUC

Listening party for Paradise Isn’t Free EP is set to take place June 3rd, 2017, in Newark, NJ at secret location via @WolfJuiceShop. Hit up Wolf to RSVP!

Amber Corrine or call me AC, (its fine) lol. YouTube personality| videographer-singer-writer-photographer. I like to dabble in all kinds of media. I am a two-time college grad and I run my own beauty&lifestyle website www.ambercorrine.com
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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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