Pak-Man – How Many

If you’re talking consistency, then Pak-Man has to be amongst the conversation. Few can match the work-rate, let alone the ability, and after a solid 2017, with the release of his Still Legendary project, as well as visuals (including Active, and his Behind Barz), Big Pakachino is back again, with How Many..

Linking up with another underrated talent in 5ive Beatz, the producer whips up this upbeat lil’ number, with it’s sample serving as an instrument, holding the faint piano melody to that effective beat pattern, and with the ambience set, it allows Rose Gold Pak to do what he does.

“Rappers gassin’ ’bout they’re trappers in their 16’s, but their lies work..they just sold the kids dreams, never had no white birds like Mis-teeq..”

The braggadocios rhymes and assertive flow go well together, as he stands tall on the undeniable efforts, “I put in years..How Many, blood, sweat & tears..How Many”. Never short of quoteables and catchy lines, as many will chant along to, “getting money at a fast pace, I need a crib like Scarface”. His signature style of confidence and wit with lines like, “I got old money in my old safe, your bitch don’t look good..she look okay”, are more reason why he’s considered overlooked by so many, as few can command the presence on a track that Pak-Man does.

Always working, and no doubt planning a follow up to his successful tour last year, you can be sure that there’s more music and visuals on the way, who knows how many..


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Wholagun – Savage Sundays (Episode 2)

While Episode 1 saw him rapping over a classic rap instrumental, he’s back for Episode 2 to show you the versatility..

“Man wanna talk about beef..’til I make a n**ga see my cutter, man can’t talk about P’s if a n**ga don’t feed his mother..”

Spinning a more Grime-sounding production, the Croydon rapper showcases his ability to command on any tempo, sure many can attempt the same but few can do it as good as he does. Weaving quoteables with an onslaught of syllables up to par with the best of them, only two episodes in and this series is getting more exciting, with anticipation increasing for the third.


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Young Spray – Rat-At-At-At ft. Roadside Gs

If you know him, then you know he’s one of the realest, but Automatic Spray looks set to return to the frontline of Gangsta rap, and has shown no signs of slowing down, following up on Nowadays, as he links up with the Roadside Gs.

Rat-At-At-At is a mix of nostalgia, with the addition of Smiley & Phantom (of the Roadside G’s collective), and a more modern take on the aggressive sound that both could be considered pioneers in, which is obvious from how effortless they flow, not only in regards to production, but the content itself. combining the Rap & Grime styles. It’s gritty, greazy and far from weak, all the factors that have had Young Spray recognised as one of the hardest out, and the change of flows courtesy of Roadside G’s help switch things up. This track will really be appreciated more so in a live setting, with it’s charged-up feel..he could come through and make an impact for sure, and it seems he’s thinking as such, with the recent material, as he’s not far from his own headline show.


Also, if it’s your thing, check out his #JailRap series, while many can argue the nature of it, or the correlation between music and crime and all that shit that is for another conversation, he has been using his own platforms to showcase those unable to at the moment. Again, if you know Spray, then it makes sense, as it’s really him trying to give those in negative situations a positive difference. Here’s the latest of the series thus far..

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Wale – It’s Complicated EP

Wale has been victim to one of the biggest injustices in music last year, with the lack of support for what was one of the best albums released. Shine was almost completely overlooked, and though it did well, what appears to be a lack of support from the label meant there was some sort of disconnect and it did not receive the acknowledgement it deserved. Maybe that statement is a lil’ bit exaggerated, however, it was definitely one of the better projects released, and albeit tracks like Fashion Week (ft. G-Eazy) may have been ahead of their time, even the star-studded single featuring Major Lazer, WizKid & Dua Lipa, did not rule the summer as it should have. Since, after a short hiatus, the DC wordsmith has parted ways with Atlantic records, and a blessing in disguise as he shortly released this It’s Complicated EP

In an era where most projects tend to be over 15 tracks, Folarin proves his worth as an artist with substance, staying true to the EP format, with 4 tracks, and though the average listener may question that, it’s testament to the EP’s playback value. Starting with the title track, a classic Wale creation, fusing his signature spoken word, emphasising his poetic nature, as he opens up with a very realistic and current love story. “It’s complicated to find a lady in my generation…that’s not preoccupied with social clout, we almost fazing out from the high we get from love and conversation, to go on IG galavanting for likes and shit, Oh it’s complicated..”, he sets the tone from the get go, and as much as Wale may be praised for his dedications to women (such as Diary and Ice and Rain), the poetry of his lyricism is often overlooked, “Foundation on all my pillows, still your tender face is flawless when the sky kiss you..”, very few can paint these pictures and execute it with such coolness and machismo. The honesty in his music, much like his craft, is underrated, similar to how he is able to give you both sides, to where it’s not only relevant but relatable for so many in today’s times.

Already through one song, we’re given different dimensions, but it does not stop there, with the conceptual Black Bonnie, another ode to the yearning of a ride or die, the need of loyalty and compromise. Through my own understanding, the black woman has been one of the most oppressed, and what should not be ignored is Wale’s constant support of our queens (throughout his career), and this song effortlessly strengthens such notion, through the Bonnie & Clyde metaphor, he places her Godly intuition rightfully high, it’s a beautiful sentiment and something that he deserves more recognition for. Along with the addition of Jacquees’ (underrated) vocals, it truly amplifies the feeling and helps transcend the idea that is Black Bonnie. Now whether this EP is a translation of real life regarding someone in particular, or something he quests for, like his music..he is in search of substance, with the stronger essences of maturity and growth evident thus far. Some of the best artists are those who are transparent within their music, from the likes of Kanye West to Future, and Wale sits in the middle, as with (my initial favourite) Effortless, while the song itself is catchy and cool (with it’s Mary Jane Girls – All Night Long sample), it’s fairly truthful to where he’s at in life, as he quietly rebuilds, he touches on that, “I’ve been here..but I’ve been low key, can’t nobody say they’ve seen me around..”, distant from social media of late, it’s allowed him to live a bit more it seems, and he’s able to blend that into his music, even it’s laid-back feel really accentuates the content, and you just have to pay attention to garner glimpses of vulnerability as he drops his guard with this one, “I know I’m petty and immature..and I know, I’ve been hurt before..shouldn’t be the source of my cold heart, maybe shawty could be the show me how to love on a level where effort isn’t work”. The way Effortless is catchy in sound, the final track of the EP has one of the catchier flows. A more retrospective offering, Let It Go really helps put into perspective not just himself but the journey of the project, from establishing, trying, maintaing to ending, characteristics and reactions of how he as a human with his strengths & flaws, handles such situations and what they come with. What at first was a dope four track EP, it’s really more of a creative insight and further justifies my previous point of transparency, “I’m heavily flawed, God designed me a little different, always at odds with my mind and heart”. Also, prior to that bar he states, “I’m ’bout to get signed the fourth time in a row”, which is interesting, as up and until him signing with Atlantic via MMG, that was considered his third, so possibly he is gearing up to take his EMB imprint to a new home or acquire distribution (said to be Empire records), which means more music for sure. Wether that may be the case or not, it’s evident with this EP that while love may be complicated, he is in full control and on course to gain the adoration that his artistry deserves.


Click artwork to listen on Apple music


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Wholagun – Savage Sundays (Episode 1)

The underrated Wholagun follows up last year’s Solution To The Problem (album) with a new series, titled Savage Sundays..

“How they ballin’ but they tickin’ their grub, I just went out on a I’m missin’ the plug”

For Episode 1, he tackles the Classic Bravehearts – Oochie Wally instrumental, and while the lyrics at times can be similar (with it’s heavy trap content), he’s one of the few who can switch the flow up with the tempo, and it’s just that with this one.

“Like, why you waste my time? I won’t even touch him, I just take my line, take the sim and say goodbye..”

In a time where many trying to cement themselves in this game are doing more than just the music, it’s great to see a talent stick to the craft, executed in a different style. I’m definitely intrigued to hear what beat he’s flowing on next week.


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Jordan Kyreem – Speeding

New York has recently been gaining some more traction (though not entirely for the right reasons), and while the negatives may overshadow the music itself, the positive is that there is an abundance of music flowing, bringing us to one of the up and comers, Jordan Kyreem. The young rapper has been experimenting through previous releases (such as Out The Gate), and it appears that he’s getting closer with this new offering, Speeding.

Produced by Dutch talent, UNRTHDX, the ambient sounds with that intense synth occasionally striking through like lightning, provides more than just a base, allowing Jordan to switch between a mellow and hype rap in his verses, plus the melodic chorus, really combines to create an overall good track, with his vocals matching (and enhancing) the feel of the production. Whilst I might be bias with the Akira-inspired artwork, this is my favourite track from him thus far, and I would encourage a project around it, especially as there is clearly a dope chemistry between Unrthdx and himself.



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Prime Boys – Tinted

For some years now, I’ve been singing the praises of Jimmy Prime, Donnie and Jay Whiss, the trio collectively known as Prime Boys. With every review, I find myself referring to them as, “the 6’s best kept secret”, due to the fact that they have consistently put out some of the highest quality of music and visuals, yet tend to be overlooked. Despite their lack of commercial success, talent can only be denied for so long and as they steadily rise up the underground, they return with Tinted.

Tinted sees the trio link up with longtime collaborator Murda Beatz, as they bring you into their lives, as they do it big, living life in the fast lane on that money chase and avoiding the hate that comes with it. The hustle-centric anthem kicks off with Jimmy at his braggadocios best, dominating from the get go with his varying and catchy flow, he sets the tempo with lines like, “Saks Fifth…run it up for practice, Cos’ I can’t bring this money to the casket..”. Donnie steps up for the second verse, with that aggressive drawl, as he skates on the beat, and might have one of my favourite verses (if not lines) with, “They trying their hardest to find me, trying their hardest to line me, Prime Boys like the Isleys, all of this moneys contagious, we doing shit for the ages.. “. I’ve previously described abstract rapper Donnie as Canada’s Quavo, with his unique sound and versatile style as influential on verses as it is with the hooks, and as much as I don’t want to do the comparisons, together, the Prime Boys could be seen as the Migos, more so for their chemistry, the unity between them, their flare for fashion and individual abilities, which combined make for great music. One of the more traditional rappers of the group, Jay Whiss adds to his dope hook with yet another strong verse, from the flexing, “moved to the burbs…I see horses out my window, like the time my wrist glow..”, to the darker, “Man I lost so many people…I stopped keeping count, luckily these pills help me even out, Whiss is getting money..guess the secrets out, and I got a couple shooters that I keep around”. 

One of the reasons I rate them highly is their production value, matching the levels of quality of the songs, Tinted, rather than the regular videos we’re often used to, continues along the cinematic lines which I’m accustomed to from them, as these (literally) icy visuals have them whizzing their quad bikes through the ice, balanced with the separate black and white backdrops (sporting their Prime merch), down to the escalade blown up at the end. Where many may have appeared bitter or even given up, with the help of the team (the members behind the scenes) altogether, Prime Boys continue to make waves and grow on their own terms, establishing themselves not just as some of the best talent in Canada, but globally.

Click the artwork below to view their official site, a hub for not just Prime but a curation of all things cool.



Click artwork to visit official site

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Nipsey Hussle – Victory Lap

It has been a long-time coming for the new age pioneer to release his debut album, after a turbulent entry into the game with 2005’s Slauson Boy and the Bullets Ain’t Got No Name trilogy, the West Coast talent reconnected with audiences with his (now influential) The Marathon, released in 2010, it is highly regarded as a rebirth for the rapper but more so by fans who it inspired, followed the next year with The Marathon Continues, which not only established Nip with a solid core fanbase but lined up perfectly for the release of Victory Lap. As a creative, I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been to hold onto to certain songs, awaiting the right time, because for us fans, he dropped the X-tra Laps and the quality lil’ releases on soundcloud, and then in 2013, the next pivotal moment (in music period), with (the now classic) Crenshaw. While he justified his last name with the promotion, independently doing what major labels were struggling with, the music itself justified any price point placed. With fans appreciative of the quality, it only enhanced his movement further. He proved his authenticity with Mailbox Money, a soundtrack to his success, which helped cement his All Money In imprint and Marathon brand, simultaneously raising the bar once again for the music and marketing, whilst increasing the demand to hear him cross that finish line.

[We even got a sequel to Slauson Boy (which people will champion in years to come), and the underrated No Pressure with Bino Rideaux, before the announcement of a partnership with Atlantic records, the first single and the release date of this album.]

With expectations so high, the title track serves as the curtain opening with it’s cinematic feel, the addition of Stacey Barthe’s vocals providing an extra height of emotion upon which Nip’s verse is elevated, “I’m prolific, so gifted, I’m the type that’s gon’ go get it, no kidding..”, he starts off, with a lyrical tapestry of struggle, fighting demons, to adversity and success, as he slaloms between the streets and the music business. Engulfed in the effects of the emphatic intro, the movie begins with Rap Niggas, a track that he had in the holster for a couple years now, the addition of Diddy as Executive producer only enhances the sounds of DJ Khalil and Mike & Keys, contributing to that theatrical production, heard throughout the album. The song itself is a valid statement from Nipsey Hussle, casting himself aside from the majority of (if not all) rappers today, with his credibility as certified within the streets as it is in the boardrooms. The next record is none other than the YG (fo’huniiiid) collab, Last Time That I Checc’d, it’s a feel-good track with the chemistry of the two leading the forefront of gang culture’s positive evolution. Having previously heard them as singles, it was the following that were most intriguing, starting with Young Nigga, sampling one of my favourites in PartyNextDoor’s West District, heavily amped with the iconic Puff Daddy adlibs, it’s classic Nipsey, as he paints the picture of desire and sacrifice, with his own stories of turning his back on the lifestyle in commitment to his career, “out the gate, lost count…many days in the studio we slaved, but this shit we gotta save..”, as well as the more notable story of his brother digging up money he buried, only to find half of it damaged from mould. These nuances of coming from such hardships to his status now is very much the premise of the project.

Thus far, you have probably heard good things about the album, and truthfully, with each only gets better. From the musicality (with the dope outros) to the content itself, (beyond my bias as a fan) it has really delivered. You have the Kendrick Lamar featured Dedication, which is actually one of the more catchier tracks, and fitting to the overall concept, before the sequel to a fan favourite from the Marathon tape, Blue Laces 2, with his signature flow, over the reworked production, he poetically details how far he has come, “Mogul and they know that, logo on my floormat..”, with his forward-thinking mindset and reminiscent flashbacks, he captivates the listener, with the story-telling on the last verse up there with the greats. More prominent is the assertiveness in his execution, the tone in his voice, if the first part was him chasing his dream, this is certainly him in the back of the Maybach reminiscing. The placement of each song is also to be applauded, Hussle & Motivate not only is descriptive of it’s title, but over the Jay-Z – Hard Knock Life sample, has Nip leading by example, “Lead to the lake..if they wanna fish, Make sure them niggas around you stick to the script, This should be written in stone, You should come visit my zone, Don’t take my word…double check all of my flows”. Sat in the middle of the album, it certainly important to the backbone. Status Symbol 3 might not be the best out of the trilogy, but like the two before, it stands on it’s own, “Wanna change the game…never chase a message, Never stop grindin’…cherish no possessions”, forever dropping gems, the latter part of the second verse really touched, as he raps of the dissatisfaction of harming another and the struggles to remain on course, “Started movin’ at a different frequency and it got me livin’ lavish, All my partners steady passin’…tryna wiggle through this madness, Tryna fight this gravity at time and I swear i could feel it pull me backwards”.

The album, like the artist, maintains a strong element of a West coast aesthetic, Succa Proof is one of the more diverse sounds, with the feature of Konshens and J. Black, the more aggressive of records, in comparison to Keyz 2 The City 2, another sequel to a fan-favourite, and again, very different to the original, but that’s the expression of growth, as you have to pay attention to the content, with the inclusion of another LA talent in TeeFLii. It for sure has one of the best outros you ever heard, as the production and his flow switches, and I’m sure many share my sentiments of wishing it was a whole track in itself. Grinding All My Life, another ode to the sacrifice and integrity, “Got married to this game…that’s who I made my wife, said I’d die alone…I told that bitch she probably right”, while the album would not be hindered if this did not make the final cut, the loyalty is always appreciated, as he pays homage with mention of the incident in Vegas, where a hater got stomped out, highlighting their unity. Thus far, the album has been an affirmation of defying the odds, jewels upon jewels of motivation, wisdom and real raps, cultivated together, strengthening the foundations upon which he stands, whilst echoing those principles towards new listeners. The last three songs, much like the individual outros, offer more insight to his musicality, and like the replays of the win with applauds in abundance, really depicts the end of the lap itself, from Million While You Young, an elaboration of the ‘no excuses’ mindset, featuring the recognisable vocals and presence of The Dream, it’s a hard-work pays off story, encouraging you stay true to yourself, “See you gon’ probably fail tryna play us, streets ain’t for everybody..get your grades up”. CeeLo Green has been on some classic tracks and he adds to that list with Loaded Bases, much like the previous, it’s a ‘pressure makes diamonds’ record, much like The Dream, CeeLo’s vocals help contrast against Nipsey’s tone, combined with the music, it makes for a fitting track, down to the inclusion of the crowd cheers towards the end, which start off the final track. Real Big truly captures the feeling that one can only imagine as you conclude the lap, basking in the glory of the accomplishments, soaking in the adoration, and as personal as the victory may be for Nip, the song itself is open for those to aspire towards such moments and share the success. Floetry’s Marsha Ambrosius is heavily respected within the rap world, and has played her part in accentuating the essences in songs for some of the most strong personalities, and it’s just that, with her angelic harmony, floating you to the top of the podium, with the change in music that can be described as feeling your feet firm as you raise up with the medal around your neck.

As if this journey of an album was not enough, the two bonus tracks, which are not only like the post-race interview as this chapter comes to a close, but like an end scene credit, line us up for what’s to come. Double Up sees Nip link up with two underrated talents in Belly and (another future LA legend) Dom Kennedy, with the latter undoubtedly pleasing for fans. The laid-back track is so good that it makes sense why it had to be included in this format, with the catchy chorus and overall cool feel, it could have easily been part of the main body of work. The bonus tracks actually prove just how good Nipsey Hussle is, with Double Up and Right Hand 2 God (sounding like a Championship celebration), being better than many singles of today, strong in substance and instrumentation, strengthening Nipsey Hussle’s artistry beyond just a gangsta rapper.

There really aren’t any criticisms, maybe the LA-theme could have done with a Terrence Martin feature, or how with each project released, there’s a groundbreaking execution, this however has somewhat of the regular model (in regards to the album bundle), and maybe it’s Atlantic handling that, though I can equally argue that it could have overshadowed the music, as it has done in many cases, rarely in interviews, have I heard someone speak on the content of Crenshaw, just the price point and how many copies Jay Z purchased, so this could have been a strategic move in itself.

It’s been a long road to this point, and he did not disappoint, creating a lasting soundtrack of integrity and success, and the motivation like the music transcends to new listeners too, as the increase in production quality helped establish this monumental occasion across not only new fans but genres also. A proud moment for any fan, as we salute the Crenshaw king along this Victory Lap.

I also want to offer my condolences, and pay my respects to Stephen “Fatts” Donelson, a staple in the ‘All $ In’ imprint, a major contributor to the overall operation and success of Nipsey Hussle, who before a business partner, was a friend. While nothing can make up for the losses, no doubt this victory in his honour and long may the legacy continue.


Click artwork to purchase physical


Dukus – Going Nowhere

“Telling me how I should do shit, when they can’t do their own shit..”

Following up from his previous project Alpha, Dukus continues to blend the flavours, dropping his new track, letting you know he isn’t Going Nowhere..


An incredibly talented producer, Dukus has supplied the vibes for top tracks within the country, and in the past couple years looked to establish himself as an artist in his own right. After the moderate success, both in front and especially behind the boards, he has been steadily working away, and since releases Going Nowhere, an inspiring, mid-tempo statement of a track, combining his abilities as a producer and vocalist, asserting not only his mindset but intentions as he looks to continue the hard work and further develop as a staple in music today.


Click artwork to listen on Spotify

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RIP Stormin

Not the news I wanted to wake up to, but found out that Stormin had passed away.

For some time now he had been battling with Cancer, through his own social media he had expressed his pain, suffering and determination to defeat it, and at times it would seem like he was on the path to recovery and then there would be another setback, however he remained strong in the face of adversity. Today, we learn that he is at peace though no longer with us.

I have only met him in passing, but well aware that he is a pioneer, not just for our scene, but for British music in general. I remember a recent facebook post where his pain was evident, the sadness in his voice was clear, and it got to me. It was difficult to see, let alone experience, and like so many, prayed for his health, but whilst it was tough to witness, his constant fight was nothing short of inspirational. I think even this post is less about his past but more so to honour the soldier and legend that he is.

As I continue to pray for his soul, my condolences to his family and friends, though no words of mine can make a difference, may they further be a testament of not only his importance to us but his influence.




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