Has anyone called Big K.R.I.T. glam-trap yet? If it’s alright with everyone, that’s what I’m going to do. Displaying incredible technical prowess and a strong ear for a hook, “Cadillactica” finds K.R.I.T. comfortable in his niche. Lyrically, the song isn’t his best, essentially deriving inspiration from sexual brags and success brags. His delivery fits snugly inside a high-hat and spacey synthesizer driven beat. It’s very catchy, great weed music, and easy to listen to, but feels safe for an artist who in the not too distant past was one of the most exciting newcomers to the scene. The synthesizers on “Cadillactica,” specifically near the closing of the song, may evidence an eventual foray into cloud rap territory. Now, trap mixed with cloud beats may not seem like the most original or necessary experiment for any rapper to make at this point, but let’s not forget that not long ago K.R.I.T. was took part in revitalizing a tired southern trap scene. Who knows what he could do if he becomes willing to find inspiration elsewhere?
And by the way, if you want to watch a song about Cadillacs that can’t show a Cadillac logo, check the video above.
- Garrett Cottingham
It’s official: A$AP Ferg has gone insane. The New York rapper and A$AP Mob member has been dropping singles relentlessly since last week, but the output has been relatively underwhelming thus far. However, “Doe-Active” seems to break that boring streak.
This track looks like it’ll be dropping on Ferg’s forthcoming mixtape, and it features an electro-trap instrumental with a hard-hitting finish. As far as Ferg’s rapping goes, these are some of the oddest flows I’ve ever heard him deliver. His wild inflections and screams put him just shy of the energy level on a track like “I Can’t Wait.” There’s even some unexpected Adam Levine name-drops in the 2nd half.
The only thing that separates him from ODB–or maybe even Lil Wayne at this point–on this track is Ferg seems to be conscious of how little sense he’s making. While I love the explosive character of the track, there isn’t much in terms of a song at the core of this thing. I can’t see myself returning to it anytime soon. Maybe it’ll sound better in the context of this forthcoming tape. I can only hope and assume that the Trap Lord works in mysterious ways.
A week ago, Canadian underground veteran emcee Eternia dropped a new track. The single, “Scraps,” is thick with an impending sense of boom bap-influenced hip hop that forces its listener to contemplate their place in the world. According to Eternia in a quote for HipHopDX, she heard the beat playing while in the middle of prayer at City Lights in Toronto, wrote the song the same night, then recorded it the next day. Eerily reminiscent both melodically and production-wise to “The Answer” by The Foreign Exchange, Eternia uses her crafty lyrical prowess to build a foundation of aggressive bars about life lessons learned and hard knowledge earned. It’s proof of why Eternia has been able to stick around the hip hop game for a decade and still seems hungry for more ears to listen intently.
- Ron Grant
Under the handle Hail Mary Mallon, infamous wordsmith Aesop Rock teamed up with the up-and-coming Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz for a rather muddled debut album in 2011, but the trio is back with a vengeance for its bassy, creative and crazy sophomore effort. Apart from the comedic theme of a fundraiser concert for a bowling alley tied into the more abstract tracks, the album doesn’t have much else in terms of a concept. But constant record scratching, throbbing bass lines and some of the rap duo’s illest flows of their respective careers make this album memorable and a great gateway to some of the world’s weirder progressive hip hop developments.
“Jonathan” and “Krill” introduce the album in a heavy, raw, baptism of fire, whereas “Hang Ten” and the satirical “Whales” provide necessary contrast – the former boasting a quirky Middle-Eastern melody. I expected Aesop and Sonic to deliver some slick lines, so it was mostly down to DJ Big Wiz to deliver the beats, and while there might be a slight predictability when it comes to his bass-heavy and peculiar approach to boom bap, each song has its own unique print that makes every track inspiring. The future for this project looks bright.
- Fin Worrall
One thing you can’t deny about Ghostface: as an artist, he’s never lacked for soulfulness in his music. “Love Don’t Live Here No More” keeps that trend going over an altered soul music sample coupled with the velvety smooth vocals of Kandace Springs. Keeping it simple and straight to the point in the lyrics and story, Ghost spins a web about a lovelorn ex-con just released from lock up after 9 years, eager to see his one and only woman. Problem is, he soon discovers she’s moved on even though he hasn’t. The combination of Ghost’s classic raspy, high-pitched delivery, Springs’ unforgiving wailing on the chorus and a throbbing, bass-filled sample reminiscent of songs from 70′s flicks like “Let’s Do It Again” and “Claudine” make for prime lesson in grown folks hip hop heartbreak.
“Love Don’t Live Here No More” is taken from Ghost’s upcoming album 36 Seasons, due out December 9 via Warner Bros.
- Ron Grant
New York rapper-singer Azealia Banks’ repeatedly postponed album finally drops.
Sadly, many folks that claim to be fans of southern hip hop, especially the deep, dark, sinister music from Three Six Mafia, tend to forget just how much Gangsta Boo helped to contribute to that signature sound. But they’ll promptly remember upon hearing the recent single from the Houston-by-way-of-Memphis vet, “Mashing”. Along with a ridiculously simple but catchy hook with Beatking and a pounding, heavy and beastly beat courtesy of Brodinski, Boo sounds fresh and new, but confident and experienced. “Mashing” is a trap record on steroids: the sound is larger than life and enormous, distinctly complemented by Boo’s cocky southern drawl-fueled bars. In an age when more and more hip hop is influenced by signature southern elements and sounds painfully redundant, Gangsta Boo, Beatking and Brodinski come through with a song that truly shows imitators how its done.
“Mashing” appears on Gangsta Boo and Beatking’s new collaborative mixtape Underground Cassette Tape Music, which you can grab here.
We’re usually used to hearing Action Bronson as boisterous, uproarious and sometimes even ridiculous. But these are the things that have made us love the music and lyricism of the underground Queens mixtape champion for the last few years. But almost the exact opposite is what we get on the new collaboration by Bronson, Black Atlass and producer duo Party Supplies. “The Light in the Addict” is a deep, melancholy, dreary, self-destructively bluesy piece of piano-tinkered madness. All three musical collaborators paint a bleak picture of a man at the end of his rope, as Bronson revels in his own self-loathing paranoia. It’s a grand departure from some of what we’re accustomed to from a team up between Bronson and Party Supplies, but the results are, if nothing else, powerfully interesting and worth more than a few listens, even if it brings you down in the process.