The third instalment to the visual magazine. Featuring new music, artists to watch out for and more..
“Straight from the Woolwich republic”, Smiler follows up the re-introductory Gangsta, with one of the best songs to recently come out of the country, or at least one of his best, with the introspective Too Much To Ask..
Where many artists face a struggle in crafting a meaningful track, full of expression that is able to motivate the listener, Smiler has found the balance and then some. Too Much To Ask is a great indication to the direction he’s taking with his music, it’s art. It has a similar tempo and feel to his breakout single Enza, with a more current feel, and the honest portrayal he provides displays the growth with the content itself mirroring the man he is today.
“If it’s love, let it be real, is that too much to ask?..”
While he may have been quiet musically, working behind the scenes with his imprint and the acts signed, he appears not to have missed a step, if anything there’s improvement as he’s flawlessly delivers an abundance of quality lyricism. What I enjoyed most is the way the song only strengthens in substance as it continues, beyond the catchiness of the record, amongst the flexes, there is a lot of meaning. “This verse is for Cyntoia Brown, the likes of Tamir Rice, lost in the fight for freedom while they held him for dear life, theres a catalyst for every drama, also consequence and heavy karma, I take a breath for Eric Garner, feel me or deal with me, they won’t kill me or Emmett Till me..”, such revolutionism flows naturally, as he passionately rhymes from his heart and soul, more reason as to why Smiler is a true artist, capturing emotion and relevancy, executed with finesse.
Whilst the track has been doing well, it is disappointing that this track will be overlooked in comparison to many others, especially with it being so relatable and inspiring altogether. Smiler has certainly found his rhythm and with more music and projects to come, it’s certainly musically exciting times ahead.
“Through the pain and hardships I look above and laugh, ‘cos you give your toughest soldiers the biggest tasks..”
Mr RTM, follows up the classic series, with the fourth instalment.
A compilation of some of the recently released material, kicking things off with DPMO, what can best be described as Rider music, with it’s synth heavy production, it most definitely sets the tone. Compiled with tracks like Nowadays, Be Cautious and Rat-At-At-At, show Spray in his element, and provide the project with a foundation in regards to sound and style. While his album Invisible Tears was a mix of aggressive but more polished tone, this is it’s rawest form.
I wasn’t a fan of the Rita Ora initially, but after a couple listens, I like the steel drum sounds, and it’s contrast, not just with his vocals but the tape overall. Back to the greaze with Savages, a lowkey underground banger, setting up for More Champagne, which rightfully sits in the middle, and is a great idea of where Young Spray is with his music, while it’s predominantly gangsta music, there’s a lot of emotion being expressed. With it’s common theme, tracks like Asbestos stand out so much more, lead with a strong hook courtesy of the feature Frass, it’s definitely one of the highlights and reminiscent of his album material as well as his ability to craft a more club-centric record, but just as you’re in that zone, it switches to Eye For An Eye, with him resuming back to regular transmission.
There is a common theme with RTM Vol.4, a blend of straight punch in the face music, to sit down and open up vibes, with the likes of Most High, followed by Badder Than Bad, before another standout, Do Your Ting. Another example of the versatility within such genre, it’s more expressive, a mix of retrospect and heartfelt from the most authentic of places.
While the majority of the project is more mixtape, rugged, street-themed gangsta rap, it’s these couple tracks that stand out, and end up holding the project together, as we come to the end, one of the more emphatic tracks serves as the outro, the heartfelt, Mummy Won’t Cry. He’s been vocal about the loss of his mother, and you could be the hardest, the coldest, but losing a parent, especially a mother, is a pain like no other. As someone who fears losing his mother, this track has Spray open up and portray his true strength as he poetically reminisces.
It’s not his best material overall, but has some of his better tracks of recent, and more importantly is an indication into the work ethic as he continues to craft audios and visuals, and no doubt there is more on the way. Personally I hope we get more retrospective Spray, as there’s a lot of lessons to be learnt, a lot of wisdom to be shared, that the younger generations can definitely benefit from. Stay tuned, and follow him on the socials, for more to come.
If you’ve been following up on the posts for the past couple weeks, then you’ll no doubt be aware of Dukus, who has been dropping weekly, and with the previous couple tracks serving as the foundations, he lets loose a cut from his forthcoming album ’88 Keys’, titled Dolly Parton
You can instantly hear the difference in quality, and as one of the more underrated mixers in the game, it only makes sense. The song itself, it’s choice of sounds dictate the tempo, from the kicks in the drums to the well-aligned bass, with his melody steering the direction. It’s a blend of little pieces, from the flow pattern, to the lyrics itself, “she listens to Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus, she callin’ me Randy..such a Savage”, catchy to say the least, it really gives a modern blend of soul with the trap-sound, a more conceptual feel. One thing that stood out was the way that it hits hard, and has a heavy sound yet it’s easy listening, which gives it that playback value. Furthermore, it gives some insight into what you can expect sonically from the album overall, and though I’m sure there’s an array of tempos and melodies, you can be certain that it maintains this level of quality.
The singer/songwriter has been building up quite the reputation (amongst those in the know) as one of the more underrated talents, with her versatile sound and strong writing abilities. Possessing an abstract yet distinct style, Folly Rae has recently been enjoying a good streak with the success of her previous tracks, U, and i need u here (cortado), both songs though different, have a quality of captivating the listener like a structured chart-hit, whilst being as raw and refreshing as an underground anthem.
It’s made for a great foundation upon which she will continue to elevate, being one of the premier artists on label Portfolio Music, and recently being picked up by the forward-thinking music imprint that is Black Butter records. Much like the current heatwave in England, her talents look set to grace the country and beyond, especially with the potential summer hit, Sniper.
Just like her previous tracks, this has those very qualities, delivered with more definition and further showcasing her subtly impactful vocals. Beyond the catchy nature of the record itself, her voice emphasises the empowerment that this song represents, and she proves her worth as an artist because those soulful essences of hers are what really help execute the track so well. It’s one of those songs that should be heard everywhere (’til you’re almost sick of it), from constant radio play to commercials, with it’s heavy feel-good factor, it most definitely adds to the blue skies and sun’s rays.
The official video follows that mentioned feel-good factor and is able to match the abstract with the western aesthetics, presented in a more comical narrative. First couple watches, personally I’m not too sure if the video does the song justice, but the colour-scheme is appreciated and as you watch more, you get to appreciate Folly further, as she not only looks good but theres glimpses of her personality that come through, especially with the more dominant shots, from the stage performance, her strutting out onto the court (in the air forces), and with the horse. Complete with it’s range of colours and shots, it’s an entertaining backdrop for the song itself, and like the artist, it’s far from regular or what’s expected.
As Sniper continues to grow, it only increases the anticipation for a full-length project from Folly Rae, as she looks to establish herself as one of the more heralded talents to emerge from the country.
As LA thrives with an authentic array of artists and producers, it’s sound is evolving, from being rap-centric, (and while that is currently thriving) there is a strong emergence of a more soulful sound, lead by the likes of Ty Dolla $ign, with TeeFli and newer acts such as 24hrs and Bino Rideaux amongst the ranks, another one to watch for is Ye Ali.
A blend of both rap and R&B, he’s found himself as one of the more overlooked talents, rising to acclaim in 2016 with his Traphouse Jodeci project..
A showcase of his style and sound, drawing from influences and delivering a complete body of work through as concept that proved consistent from the first track down to the last. He expanded on that with Private Suite..
..allowing him to merge more of his R&B influences with his current feel, featuring the fan-favourite Ring x4. Both projects helped sustain a fanbase, which the next year were gifted with Passion & Patience.
A more refined version of the previous offerings, like an album, and while it overall was well received, it’s also boasted the big record Talk Less..
(Initially I was reviewing this track and video, however, as I saw it continue to fly under the radar, I felt that Ye Ali overall deserved mention for his work thus far.) Featuring the classic Ashanti sample, he’s able to comfortably croon and more so make his presence felt without being overshadowed by the sample itself. Talk Less has slowly gained traction, finding itself to the ears of influencers and helped spur Ye Ali even further, and as much as it’s last year’s lowkey anthem, I would not be surprised if it found itself circulating through this summer, as it has still not fulfilled it’s potential. The track also helped highlight the quality that comes from him working with producer Bizness Boi, who together had created a vast amount of his work thus far, and as both continue to excel in their own lanes, it only means for more good music and success to come.
One thing is for sure that Ye Ali has been ahead of his time, with his previous finding itself inspiring some of today’s tracks, for the likes of Chris Brown and more.
If you like what you have heard thus far, then be sure to stay tuned, as he continues to develop on his craft and provide the vibes, much like his recent two collaborations..
You can expect to hear a more developed sound as he is no doubt working on a new project, one that I am sure will help raise the profile of himself, his artistry and penmanship.
As the lines of rap blur, Boston has a contender for the new era, with the abstract Pistola
There’s no need to dissect or overly analyse, just hit play and vibe. Still quite the up and comer, he’s shown signs of improvement through his previous releases, crafting a varying sound, he garnered some attention from his fan-favourite Swang, which went on to get a remix with DRAM. That track helped shine light on his stance as a performer, with Fiji being a testament to that, and in due time will prove itself in a live setting. Other than that, the few that know me, know Fiji is one of my preferred choices of water, so I (and everyone else that feels the same) now have somewhat of an anthem for it.
If you fuck with what you’ve heard thus far from the young Boston rep, then stay tuned as he looks to drop more, with a project in the works.