Editorial, Reviews

Your Old Droog – The Nicest EP

Your Old Droog represents a very active undercurrent of indie Hip-Hop artists who absorbed the best of what the 90s…

Your Old Droog represents a very active undercurrent of indie Hip-Hop artists who absorbed the best of what the 90s was offering: originality, concept, creative sampling, storytelling; and produced one the most compelling EPs of 2014: the self-referencing “Your Old Droog” EP. The EO drew comparisons to NaS, and all kinds of outrageous theories about the man’s identity. I was also a victim of this very organic of hybebeasts: the songs alone had me captivated and wondering, “could this be Nas writing for Game over Salaam Remi beats”? But, I, and the rest of the world, could not be more wrong. Droog, as it turns out, is a Russian-born Brooklynite with clear-cut influences from NYC’s 90s heyday, but he just absorbed all the best elements of it.

Fast forward to now, after the impact of “Your Old Droog” settled in and his subsequent release, “Kinison” further cementing his particular tastes in rocking out with his team of bold producers, Droog continues down a path of quality, sincerity, and creativity in his latest EP release, “The Nicest.” Leading off with the not-so-conspicuous “We Don’t Know You”, the mellow piano melody and brick-hard drums accentuate Droog’s very direct observations of the changing world and about his current ascension. Droog always displays a certainty and stoicism about his views on life, art, and conflict. These themes expand greatly on “Through The Nose ” and “Wave Rider”, both excellent songs the dial up the chill factor, but Droog manages to keep a simmering menace to the truths he faithfully expresses on these songs.

Droog closes out the EP with sarcastic wit and inventive bars on “Word”, “Listen”, and “Have A Nice Day”; all songs displaying different moods from the MC, while keeping his opinions plain, hilarious, and poignant. Droog’s penchant for pop culture references and eclectic production have carved out a career based on quality, substantive music people probably didn’t know they wanted until they heard “Bad to the Bone” from YoD. Getting to a point where his confidence and self-awareness are complete is most apparent aspect of “The Nicest”; a sense of completion that is well-deserved, but only a greater indication of the music to come.

My friends and family call me Phil and I have been an entertainment writer since the early 90s. I have a deep passion for Hip-Hop culture, music, and the arts overall with tastes rooted in the past, but always with an eye, and ear, towards the future. Aside from writing, I’m a proud husband, uncle, son, and BLERD (black nerd)! From comics to cartoons, I love it all, if the story is awesome! And, yeah, I make a few beats, too. I am a creative who tries hard to maintain focus on a bigger picture for all of our sakes, because we are, too often, distracted by shiny things. I like to quote Jay Electronica when it comes down to what I want to give out to the world: "Ladies and gentlemen...LOVE is the only thing that will save us all."
Related Articles
Main, Reviews

D-Brown & 30 Boy Will Ooze Chemistry On “Full Court Pressure”

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]-Brown and 30 Boy Will — two artists on my radar — have absolutely found a way to make an…

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]-Brown and 30 Boy Will — two artists on my radar — have absolutely found a way to make an overcrowded lane feel like an empty highway. Their latest collaborative effort Full Court Pressure landed across my desk this week, and I’ve been cranking it ever since.

The vibe is very familiar sonically. Hard beats that remain extremely cohesive, keeping the project fairly levelled — making for a skip-free top to bottom experience, without having to readjust yourself. The sub category the duo fall into often have a tendency to keep the thematic elements of their projects quite predictable. While these two do pick the low hanging fruit at a few points (for lack of a better analogy) there is this undeniable rawness in their bars … an almost explosion of authenticity that trumps much of the fabricated storytelling new jacks have made trendy.

It’s an aura reminiscent of Jeezy in his heyday.

At a solid seven songs (with very little fat to trim) the project is an easy listen — but offers a hearty meal for those craving some substance to go along with their playlist-ready bassy beats.

There are plenty of gems here. The aptly titled “Official” was one that I immediately found myself running back a few times — as I did with the look-at-me-now vibe of “Bag Today.” The obligatory but tastefully flipped song about the females, “Preferences,” sees the two professing their taste for women with money and things of their own (among other assets).

One of the shiniest moments on the project is the infectious “Memphis,” which sports a chorus from the LP’s sole feature — the older brother of Juicy J and the co-founder of Three 6 Mafia, Project Pat — helping segue the two incredible verses by D and 30.

The track has been my most played this week (it wasn’t even close).

Their chemistry is undeniable and their ear for the perfect production to complement their tales of perseverance, street life and subdued (but still prominent) themes of opulence are on full display. While the two can really rap, it doesn’t feel like past tense, but rather present tense play by plays.

“Money doesn’t make you real,” D laments in the intro of “Official.” It’s this mantra of keeping it 100 and letting it speak for itself that drives Full Court Pressure. Cue it up, press play and enjoy.

Continue Reading
Reviews, unsigned hype

Chughey’s LP “Lost In My Mind” Is An Emotional Rollercoaster

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’ve been quite vocal in the past about the importance of album sequencing — especially when it comes to the…

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’ve been quite vocal in the past about the importance of album sequencing — especially when it comes to the narrative arc of a project’s storyline (no matter How loose). This is something that came into play when I was checking out this fascinating gem from Gladstone, Michigan, MC Chughey. Lost In My Mind is unique in that out of context, some of the project’s lighter fare, such as the age-old money chase of ”Casino, ” create a fresh, grind-savvy impression of Chughey. However, a top to bottom listen to his LP is, to say the least, a journey through the mind of a man dealing with more than he’s able to handle himself.

 

Starting off as a testament to the hustle he’s diligently dedicated himself to, “Maneuver” and “Nothing New” absolutely sparkle. Self-produced, the project has pretty tight production, and Chughey’s cadence really pulls things together nicely.

It’s when we hit “Feels Right” that things start to take a turn for the dark. What plays out as a complicated relationship that he’s unable to have fully reciprocated — despite deep emotional investment — plays into the next track “Deepest,” which sees him seemingly professing the stranglehold that love has over him, and how his aforementioned emotional investment simultaneously makes his object of affection a remedy and a weapon. “Off Of You,” is an uncomfortable confession that his demons destroyed the relationship he was in, and he is now struggling to exist without her engulfing his thoughts.

What stands out is “Fine,” which is a quintessential theme song for checking in on your friends. The song is a heart-wrenching confession that though he — though his exterior is hardened — is experiencing a crisis on the inside. We also learn as this portion of the tracklist progresses that he was numbing much of his emotions with alcohol; he later finds his way, and songs like the sunny “Wasted Days” feels like sunshine cutting through the haze that we’ve been taken through.

 

What happens when the plans change, and we get into a dark place? Many people go through it, and for Chughey, sharing his experience — whether or not it’s genuinely autobiographical — is brave and necessary in a landscape where mental health has proven to be one our generation’s greatest threats. While it definitely escalated quickly and probably isn’t a casual listen as a whole, it’s a worthwhile slice of honest, self-produced artwork.

Continue Reading
Editorial, Featured, Features

Heavy Hitters’ DJ Flee is About to Takeover

28-year-old DJ Flee, also known as Bodega Flee, is one of the hottest new tastemakers in Hip Hop. The Uptown…

28-year-old DJ Flee, also known as Bodega Flee, is one of the hottest new tastemakers in Hip Hop. The Uptown New York Dominican is a lustrious member of the legendary Hip Hop faction, The Heavy Hitters (DJ Enuff, Tony Tone). The former Basketball player made a name for himself in the city with his signature Uptown sound and irreparable tricks on the turntables.

Discovered by the same legends responsible for presenting the world to today’s legends from across the U.S. like DJ Felli Fel, Bootleg Kev, and Peter Parker. Flee has quickly become one of the most notable faces of the brand with his fast-growing fanbase and credible ear for breaking the undeniable next superstars to the East Coast.

Through his journey in radio, Flee has had the opportunity to discover plenty of new genres of Hip Hop that would help transform his style. Experimenting with trendy genres like Dirty South and Gangsta bouncing West Coast with a blend of his Dominican roots.

In Boston, Miami, Orlando, and New York, Flee is the most sought-after radio DJ in the ever-changing broadcast market. Keeling the prestigious pride and name of the Heavy Hitters brightly lit outside of the East Coast. Artists like Zoey Dollaz can credible a large amount of their popularity to DJ Flee’s exposure.

Hard work, dedication, experience has earned DJ Flee the tastemaking position he firmly sits in within today’s Hip Hop. Ready to transition himself into superstar status, the promising DJ continues to develop a signature style that infusion the old school traditions and new school evolution to the East Coast. Heatseeking, DJ Flee is easily becoming one of the biggest DJs in Hip Hop today, honestly, it’s only a matter of time before he is the biggest DJ in today’s Hip Hop. So stay tuned.

DJ Flee’s journey continues on, follow the Heavy Hitter sound today via Instagram and Twitter.

Continue Reading
Reviews, unsigned hype

Marcoof500 – “Marco The Merchant” #Review

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]rom the onset of his debut project, 2018’s The Travels Of Marco, Marcoof500 — an entrepreneur in every sense of the…

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]rom the onset of his debut project, 2018’s The Travels Of Marco, Marcoof500 — an entrepreneur in every sense of the word — the Virginia upstart has been feeding his extremely loyal cult following with a steady slew of releases. Since that initial warning shot, he dropped the 4-song Kitchen Chronicles EP, which featured (among other things) the song “10 O’Glock” — a record he’s chosen to make the cut for his latest LP, Marco The Merchant.

The nine-song affair is an exciting blend of stylistic elements with varying degrees of commercial viability and earworm appeal. “10 O’Glock” for example has this vintage No Limit appeal to it sonically, that grow on you with Marco’s bars and loud, but noteworthy adlibs like “fuck Trippie Redd,” or the “Left-right uppercut that ends the song off.”3

While he uses a familiar formula on a number of the songs — that still manage to work — like the piano-driven “500k,” it’s when he puts his marketability on display that you get a full spectrum of his vision. “Pesos” is a definite standout, with an instrumental that sounds ripe for a YG feature. It’s one of the sole records that you could easily hear at the club, or within a mix show format, with its repetitive chorus that you’ll find yourself singing throughout your daily moves.

Another surprisingly flame emoji record is “Designer,” which we found ourselves returning to throughout the past week. Over the blown out bass of the lo-fi banger, he finds his footing and keeps the flow steady, with a razor-sharp barrage of bars that is perfectly encased by the soundscape.

With his label 500entertainmentllc and a track record of having toured as far as Japan, he’s clearly defined his lane and is keeping his overall aesthetic on the right track. Even when his material works harder to merely fit in with the wave, it manages to swim with the best of them — but when he’s hot, he’s hot. His journey is exciting to witness, and by intertwining it into his music, he’s giving his music not just a personal touch, but an inspirational gloss for a generation of new listeners and artists looking to see who ultimately floats to the top.

Whether it’s on some smooth Valee-esque vibes, or if it’s on some darker street fare like “Will They?” there’s a sense of authenticity that shines through. Marcoof500 is that dude!

Take Marco The Merchant for a spin, below.

Continue Reading