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Vast Aire Of Cannibal Ox & Producer COSMIQ Prepare To Drop “AIREPLANE”

It’s been three years since the release of Blade Of Ronin and Vast and COSMIQ are on the verge of releasing a new collaborative effort.

Back in 2001, Vast Aire and Vordul Mega — collectively known as Cannibal Ox — released their debut album, The Cold Vein, which was (also) the first release from the legendary underground label Definitive Jux. Over production by label founder (and Company Flow off-shoot) El-P, the duo had incredible chemistry that propelled the album into Hip Hop reverence. In fact, it still finds itself on many lists of best post-millennium albums.

 

However, it wouldn’t be until 2015 — 14 years removed — that they returned with a fresh (yet familiar) sound, courtesy of new lead producer Bill Cosmiq. This was due to a rift between Vast and El-P, a rumored (and later debunked) break-up due to Mega’s alleged clinical depression, solo endeavors, and other factors, that kept them working on everything but a sophomore release.

As Vast explains to AAHH, Bill Cosmiq, now just going by COSMIQ, was close with one of his childhood friends. When they connected later in life, their creative connection was undeniable. The rest is, well, history.

It’s been three years since the release of Blade Of Ronin and Vast and COSMIQ are on the verge of releasing a new collaborative effort entitled AIREPLANE. As fans of the incredibly potent wordsmith have come to expect, it promises to be conceptual, cinematic, and a whole lot of other adjectives that all point to amazing.

“It has multiple layers to it,” Vast explains to AAHH. “The whole theme of this album is layers, levels, dimensions, plateaus, corridors, rooms, closets, drawers … this is the micro to the macro; this is going from a cell to a giant nebulous star.”

“We’re gonna start at the base chamber of the pyramid, and at the end of the album we’re gonna end up at the gold cap, and you’re gonna hear this sonically,” he says. “This is not just something we’re claiming. We’re designing the album to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It’s going to draw you towards an apex … a zenith, if you will.”

“I think the analogy of the airplane was the perfect way for us to describe that journey that we’re trying to take people through,” COSMIQ adds. “Every track is like we’re taking you to a different place; we want the listener to sit back and listen to the whole process in its entirety. It’s not just a series of singles.”

As Vast explains, the project does have singles, but they serve as mini-movie trailers. “In a trailer, you’ve got the middle, you’ve got the end, you’ve got the beginning. You don’t know what you’re looking at in a trailer. So by us showing you “Dark Metropolis,” which we released a few weeks back, and also our current world premiere of “Airebender,” it’s just a peek. It’s a nice, beautiful peek.”

This is some of the greatest music that I’ve ever made, and the reoccurring theme is the struggle for perfection.
—Vast Aire

“Digest the metaphor,” Vast continues. “Some people, their ears bother them on the airplane at different altitudes. Some people can’t hold they lunch. In the end, though, you’re gonna love your journey, you’re gonna love your destination, and when you land, everyone’s gonna be clapping.”

16 years after The Cold Vein, Vast notes that he stills feels pressure when putting together a project. “If we don’t have the pressure, then something’s wrong. We don’t love it anymore,” he explains. “We need the pressure. That’s how you know we care about what we do.”

Before AIREPLANE drops, Vast has an EP planned entitled AIREPORT. “The EP is on a similar wavelength, but it’s not all COSMIQ,” he says. “COSMIQ will be on it, and he’ll be helping to guide it, but it’s not gonna be all him. I’m gonna have guest producers, and there’s gonna be more interaction with different MCs.”

“I would look at it as AIREPORT is just a series of dope new records from IGC, and all the people connected to IGC,” COSMIQ adds. “Just giving fans a window into what we’ve been working on.”

Having entered the game back in the late 90s, Vast — and COSMIQ — are optimistic about how far we’ve come, unlike some of their contemporaries. “I think we’re in a great time,” says Vast. “I think hip-hop is beautiful, I think hip-hop is great, and I think hip-hop is finally figuring out how infinite it is.”

“We’re figuring it out right now, that you can’t limit us. We finally have fifty-year-old MCs. It took a while to get there,” he continues. “We have MCs that are about to knock on the door of 60. We have DJs that are 60. So pay attention. If Mick Jagger can run around the stage half naked at 70, we gotta allow KRS-One to do that.”

“You can find whatever it is that you enjoy,“ COSMIQ says. “Some people have been catapulted to the top of the game with the style that, back in the day, I don’t think the masses would’ve been ready for. Technology democratized the way we listen to music, and it isn’t just one DJ that’s telling you what you can listen to or only four [radio] stations.”

The million dollar question is, will there be another Cannibal Ox album? “Of course,” says Vast Aire. “We’re wrapped up in this project, but that’s definitively on the horizon.”

AIREPORT and AIREPLANE are both dropping soon.

We had Stevie Wonder, and we had Whitney Houston, Prince, Marvin Gaye, the list goes on. We had these people, so we’re trying to leave something for the next generation. — Vast Aire

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
interview, unsigned hype

Reily Marte Keeps it Authentic For His Fans

“Always keep it real … people [will] feel what you’re saying in your music.”

Brooklyn-born Florida resident Reily Marte is currently making noise with his new single “Nobody Else,” which is presently steaming on all important platforms. The song is the second drop from his upcoming album Patience, a title that is a subtle plea to his fanbase. “The album stands for being patient with the songs I’m creating,” he tells AAHH. “Be patient; I got vibes for you all to listen to coming soon.”

Reily was introduced to the music industry at the young age of 13 by his father. “Dad was more focused on the Spanish scene,” he notes, “but there’s still little tips I get from him and learn from him.” Fast forward, he’s now a multi-faceted creative and a one-man team. “[I] record, mix and master all [my] songs,” he states proudly.

The upcoming LP promises to deliver a plethora of vibes to attract a multitude of different listeners to his music. “My sound can go from a dark feel to an uptempo dancehall style to a soulful RnB type of sound,” he says, citing Eli Sostre, Drake, and a handful of regional artists as influences.

“My goal in the industry is to show the younger generation that you can create different types of sounds and still get support from fans,” he states confidently. “If you’re authentic with your music people will respect it.”

“Always keep it real … people [will] feel what you’re saying in your music.”

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#FireFriday, Editorial, interview

Famous Dex Talks New Album & Dual Identities In Exclusive Interview

“I didn’t [really] just discover them, it’s always been like that.”

Coated in Diamonds, with a Gucci bag draped at his hip, Chicago rapper Famous Dex took the stage in a black werewolf T-shirt at New York’s Gold Bar on March 27 to premiere his new album Dex Vs. Dexter, and to receive a gold certification plaque for his bouncy track “Pick It Up” with A$AP Rocky. The album, while still flux in braggadocio lyrics, demonstrates creative growth for the rapper. Released on April 6th, the date was personally chosen by Dex to coincide with the three year anniversary of his mother’s passing from breast cancer. “It’s influenced my hustle. Everything I do now has a greater purpose because of her,” Dex told Above Average Hip-Hop. “The decisions I make with my family and my career, I always consider what she would tell me.”

The project’s theme of separate entities, while not a foreign concept in Hip-Hop, paints the audacious artist as someone more than how he appears to fans. “I didn’t [really] just discover them, it’s always been like that,” the artist said of his two identities. “Dex is the romantic guy,” he said with a laugh, “Dex is single, well both Dex and Dexter are single, but Dex loves women, chilling, vibing, [and] not doing too much. Sometimes people see me on a video, and I’m really laid back, that’s Dex.” In contrast, ‘Dexter’ is the artist everyone is familiar with. “He’s a clown, wild, crazy with ad-libs and everything. Dexter is who most people know in my music.” The two characters are fully realized on the albums cover art, with “Dex” sprawled on a green leather couch with a girl on his lap, while “Dexter” zooms around the couch in an animated form.

 
In contrast to Dex’s previous work, the rapper’s official debut is heavy on pop influences. The hook on “Prove It,” is layered in a pop-rock guitar riff and steady 808 drums. “Take this ride with me, sip this Hennessy, I got bands on me…Ooh girl you so sweet,” Dex sings in the third verse. Another drastic musical departure for the mumble rapper comes in the form of “LIGHT,” a radio-ready single featuring pop-rock quartet Drax Project. “Aw man, Drax! I love those guys,” Dex said of working with the band. “It just happened, I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I’m not going to question God because it’s dope! I’ve never made a song like that before.” Dex sings on the track alongside the group, his gooey auto-tuned vocals harmonizing with Drax.

However, Dex still makes room on his debut to tackle familiar territory. “LIGHT” is followed by “Celine,” a barely-two-minute bouncy interlude that finds the rapper reassuring his fans not everything has changed. “My favorite track to get hype to is ‘Celine.’ That song is fire,” Dex said. “It’s so natural to me, and I love to perform it.” Other tracks like the lead single “Japan,” “Take Her” with Wiz Khalifa and the album’s intro “DMD” find Dex in his comfort zone as he tackles beats by Pi’erre Bourne and J Gramm, among others. “This whole album is a celebration,” Dex said. Even with a new album just released, Dex is already planning his next steps. “I’m already working on my next album, Rich Forever got something fire coming out soon, so be on the lookout for that.”

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“My Dear Melancholy” is Bone-Chillingly Beautiful

Judging from the dark subject matter that has typified Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye’s catalogue to date–which includes rampant drug abuse,…

Judging from the dark subject matter that has typified Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye’s catalogue to date–which includes rampant drug abuse, his struggles as a homeless young-adult, and suicidal thoughts–few could have guessed that it would be his short stint with a former Disney Channel star that would leave him at his lowest. The Starboy crooner leaves little to speculation on his latest commercial release, My Dear Melancholy, a succinct six-song EP inarguably based on the fallout after his recent fling with pop star Selena Gomez. 

While The Weeknd’s anguish seems genuine and makes you feel for the guy, it’s impossible to ignore the glaring irony in his recent complaints, one, given Gomez’ goody-two-shoes persona, and even more so given the overtly misogynistic lyrics that Tesfaye is so well known for. Here are a few in case you need a reminder (no pun intended):

From the track “Party Monster” off of Starboy: “Woke up by a girl I don’t even know her name.”

From the smash hit “The Hills” off of the 2015 release Beauty Behind the Madness: “I only call you when it’s half past five, the only time I’d ever call you mine.”

Later on the same track, “I just fucked two bitches ‘fore I saw you.” 

Lastly, on the track “Reminder,” also off of Starboy: “When I travel ’round the globe, make a couple mil’ a show, and I come back to my city, I fuck every girl I know.” 

With that being said, musically, My Dear Melancholy is bone-chillingly beautiful. The Weeknd returns to his dark and cavernous House of Balloons roots on the project while still maintaining his newfound pop sensibilities. Rattling bass, slow, driving percussion, and subtle, haunting synths and keys cproductions. The production on most of My Dear Melancholy leaves room for Tesfaye’s vocals to take the driver’s seat, unlike that of the brighter and grandiose Starboy. From a lyrical standpoint, the EP is peppered with moving, weighty bars:

Off of “Wasted Times:” “I don’t wanna wake up if you ain’t laying next to me.”

Off of “Call Out My Name,” the opener: “I almost cut a piece of myself for your life,” a reference to Gomez’ recent search for a kidney donor

Tesfaye saves the best for last, providing the most melodically beautiful and lyrically clever portion of the EP on the closing track “Privilege,” as he repeats in a despondent, Vocoder-enhanced tone: “I got two red pills, to take the blues away.”

It is hard to deny the allure of much of The Weeknd’s work, regardless of lyrical content, due to the singer’s angelic voice and cutting-edge production. On My Dear Melancholy, Tesfaye achieves success from both a melodic and lyrical standpoint, substituting (for the most part) tales of apathetic sexual encounters for raw, vulnerable descriptions of his recent struggle with heartbreak. The Weeknd has finally found the middle ground between his groundbreaking, alt-R&B House of Balloons project and the poppy, Funk-infused Starboy. Lastly, to those Weeknd Stans worried about the Toronto star returning to normalcy, the singer explains on “Privilege:” 

“And I’ma fuck the pain away, and I know I’ll be okay…But I’ma drink the pain away, I’ll be back to my old ways.” 

Not to worry people; the Abel we’ve come to know, and love isn’t going anywhere.

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Cardi B’s Debut Album “Invasion of Privacy” Is Out Now

It’s almost a week since Cardi B’s debut album, Invasion of Privacy dropped. Her fans, the Bardi Gang, are more than…

It’s almost a week since Cardi B’s debut album, Invasion of Privacy dropped. Her fans, the Bardi Gang, are more than pleased with the LP, which has aldo managed to make those who weren’t fans, into new ones..

“I like proving niggas wrong, I do what they say I can’t,” raps Cardi B on “I Like It”

I can’t think of an artist that has had as bomb a breakout year as Cardi B has. She gave us the summer 2017 hit, “Bodak Yellow,” and since then, she’s been on the Billboard charts back to back (to back). The last ten months have been especially great to her, let alone this week. After releasing Invasion of Privacy, Cardi revealed her pregnancy with rapper Offset on “Saturday Night Live”; also, she was the first person ever to co-host The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Invasion of Privacy is an upfront look into Cardi’s everyday life. She’s confident, vulnerable and full of witty remarks. Laced into 13 tracks, the newly minted Quality Control management signee made anthems for the rest of the year. “Get Up 10” sets the bar for what’s to come on the project. Inspired by Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares” intro, Cardi’s version is also broken into two parts about her ascension to the riches from the rags.

As well, the album includes “Bartier Cardi” with 21 savage, which recently earned platinum certification, and is still doing numbers.

 

Cardi B money moves on this album show her versatility. She dabbles into the trap sound with “Drip” featuring the Migos, shows her confidence and positive vibes on “Best Life” featuring Chance the Rapper, and gets very personal with “Be Careful,” a track addressing an unfaithful partner/boyfriend. Cardi is not the one to mess with!

Social media pundit-turned reality TV star-turned rapper is a way of saying that this girl from the Bronx, is made of grind and determination. You don’t have to like her music, the way she talks, or her persona, but you have to respect her hustle. She came from the bottom and executed her way to the top.

Listen to Cardi B’s debut album below.

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6 Times Hannibal Buress Blended Hip-Hop & Comedy

Hannibal Buress is planning on crossing over to music with a new album.

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