Wholagun – Savage Sundays (Episode 4)

I don’t need to check the calendar of late to know it’s Sunday, thanks to another new Savage Sunday episode. It’s really like he’s linked you at the end of the week to light one and play you some new music..

The initial thought was Wholagun was attempting to re-establish himself, with the weekly consistency as he further develops his fanbase. Almost playing catch up, to make up for the lack of music over the years, but by this fourth episode, it’s less of amount and more the content itself. Gangsta rap, trap rap, whatever you want to label it as, it is thriving, there’s a demand for the sound and interest in the subject, and few can do it as good as Wholagun. It’s rare to get someone who can give you a first-hand take on the topic and be able to rap at such a high level, possibly why Wholagun has had it tougher than others. Like a well-scripted movie, the Croydon talent is able to deliver vivid insights into that world, where those who live that life can relate, and those who fantasise over it will enjoy. Complete with this assertive flow and confidence, it really helps emphasises the authenticity.

I’m not sure if it would have benefitted to put the audio on Soundcloud also, for those to listen on the move, but as a concept, the visual format does what it needs to. If you want to listen to more, check the album.wholagunss.png

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Dukus – Look Inside

After dropping the more laid-back statement Going Nowhere, Producer turned artist Dukus is already back with another, and wants you to take a Look Inside..

He raises the tempo and the motivation with this one, while Going Nowhere was more the intention, Look Inside is the steps he’s taking on the journey to his music being recognised further. His production is still a strong point, but with this track he’s finding his voice more with the melody.

“Gotta put the work in..ya never know, one day..make a million a show”

I like the content thus far, it’s honest, it’s him knowing he has to work hard and that’s been the subject of the music of late. It will definitely work a treat live, with it’s production and lighthearted feel, which we know makes for easy listening, plus it’s even catchier than his previous effort, meaning you can hear the improvement in his development further as an artist.

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Abby Jasmine – Who Told You + Dangerous

The young talent who is almost effortlessly transitioning into an artist had kicked the year off well with her rendition of Baka’s LUTMN, Long Live. Though majorly praised, there will be doubters, and maybe the song’s lightheartedness or her dope personality overshadowed the music, with these two new drops however, her ability as an artist is further justified and those doubters proved wrong.

“All of this shit is not new to me, it’s new to you..”

Who Told You has the beauty flow cold over the laid-back production, as she showcases more dimensions of her voice. The lines between singing and rapping are somewhat blurred, especially for those capable of doing both, and Abby clearly can. She’s definitely on course to carve her lane, building upon her online stature, there is no denying she has a look, charisma in abundance and most importantly the music. Cinematic have clearly seen the vision to have taken an interest in her, and this new music shares insight into that, this time next year she could be easily be an XXL Freshman candidate (or surpass it even). As if one song was not enough, she drops another, (a personal favourite) titled, Dangerous.

Dangerous, on a similar tempo, is more sultry sounding, with shades of her confidence and twinkles of vulnerability present within the vocals. Raising the bar, this side of her also broadens the appeal, and has to silence any doubt or negative notion of her ability and potential. As much as I can praise the musicality, the content and expression is important, and you can see these tracks being relatable for young girls, who will naturally gravitate towards her.

A project is definitely in the works, while tracks like these help further establish her sound and presence as one of the hottest artists on the come-up.

 

 

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Click artwork to listen on Spotify

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Click artwork to listen on Apple music

 

 

 

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2 Chainz – The Play Don’t Care Who Makes It EP

One of the most underrated artists of our generation, let alone Atlanta, Hip-Hop or music altogether. Though 2 Chainz has enjoyed mainstream success, it is to be noted that his catalogue and lyricism is highly overlooked. While the consensus holds the likes of Pusha T or Lupe Fiasco (to name a few) to high regard for their penmanship, there is a case of him being your, “favourite rapper’s favourite rapper”, even more so, if we’re all in agreement that Lil’ Wayne justified his, “best rapper alive”, statement, then 2 Chainz would be the, “best rappers, favourite rapper”, as the influence (or appreciation) cannot be denied. One of the modern day rap folklore was that Wayne (an established lyricist) wrote Chainz’s verse on the legendary Duffle Bag Boy single, an example of how well-received it was. There’s even some correlation between flows, like his first verse on Up In Smoke and Weezy’s verse for Mario – Crying Out For Me (Remix). Point is, he’s one of the greats, and though he’s playing with the current crop, he’s a seasoned veteran that still has a lot to prove. This is heard throughout the music, even in the braggadocios rhymes, it’s less showing off and more so an indication of accomplishment, a nod to his status in the game. I can continue on why he’s one of rap’s unsung heroes, but really this is reviewing his new EP, the appetiser to the main course of an album that’s on the way.

Aside from the ten mixtapes and four albums under his belt, he’s also dropped three well crafted conceptual EP’s, and this latest one (making that four) is no exception. The Play Don’t Care Who Makes It fits within the realms of the forthcoming album entitled Rap or Go To The League, a play on the stereotype of routes most African-American (or most minorities across the globe) believe they have towards success and making it out of their circumstances. This is a clear example of the depth which 2 Chainz possesses, something that sounds cool, but really engulfs substance, much like his music.

The EP boasts four tracks, and in a climate where artists are flooding the streams with large bodies of work, the content here may be less in quantity but makes up in quality, with it’s strong playback value. From OK Bitch, a statement of cool from the start, “Used to make hard, make it look easy, take the top back and make it look Jeezy, Two double cups..make it look Weezy”, he glides over the beat, “Chronicles of chronic and the digi-scale, a stripper pussy on my motherfuckin’ fingernail”, using his flow as an instrument, he’s able to make major impact with minimal words, “Versace for the weekend, the devil wear Prada..I’m a demon”, the fashionista raps. It’s a nice start, and sets up nice for the follow up, one of the standouts, Proud featuring YG & Offset. An anthem for those that share such a relation with their mothers, and the video itself features their mothers who can rightfully claim their G, for raising the three legends in the making.

“I’m just tryna make my mama proud, I ain’t tryna let my mama down”

The song details the close-knit bond between mama Chainz and her only son, and though the subject is more potent than the content, it’s their styles that really raises the level of the song. How they come in on their verses reminds me of those classic collaborations where the artist is able to take you to their world, from YG’s, “My mama ain’t raise no hoe, ‘cos my mama ain’t no hoe..”, to how Offset skates into his. They each have different and distinct flows, and the combination makes for a great record, to where I just enjoy it in it’s entirety rather than dissect or critique.

Like the song, the visuals maintain that representation, even so amplify the feeling, with the individual’s mothers representing for the sons. I loved it, for many of us, our mothers are why we go so hard in whatever it is we do, so it adds a whole new element, you will watch it multiple times regardless. There’s a lot of people whose mothers aren’t even cool with the choice of career or lifestyles let alone representing us on camera. So, much love to the mothers, it’s great to see where the rappers get their star-power from, as they each bring their own signature style that their sons can be extremely proud of.

(Back to the EP). This is definitely one of those projects where one track might be your favourite, but then next week..it’s another. Land of The Freaks reminds me of a more refined Trap-A-Velli Tity, close to (his breakthrough single) No Lie, the way he dictates the tempo and direction amidst the present melody. Content wise, though it’ll appear that he’s bragging or boasting, I hear him emphasising his position as one of the elites. Also to be noted is the order of the tracklist, the greats put a lot of thought into the track placement, and 2 Chainz is no different, even with just four tracks, they balance out really well.

As we approach the final quarter of the game, similar to Pretty Girls Like Trap, the final track while closing the project, serves as an end with cinematic scale and the post-credit at the same time, providing somewhat of an insight into what to possibly expect in the near future. Picturesque, Lamborghini Truck (Atlanta Shit) showcases more of his ability, on the emphatic production, it’s sample like the breeze and each beat hitting like rain drops, with his voice like the sun through the storm possesses a warm tone, as he’s able to paint an abstract Atlanta portrait, with shades of his own experiences.

“Atlanta shit..I’m a fashion lover, Virgil Abloh did my first album cover”.

The first verse, a more vivid portrayal of things thus far, “Started from apartments…ended in a mansion, that’s the definition of growth and expansion, a slope and a ramp and an envelope full of hope..she gon’ lick the stamp and I’m the main attraction”, it’s however the second verse that holds weight, with his high ranking within the Atlanta scene, (and like a true leader) he pays homage to some of the fellow greats that help contribute to the ATL’s current prominence. “I’m like Dro when I’m rockin’ Polo Sport, I feel like Gucci when I’m walking out of court, Rest in Peace ‘Lo, Rest in Peace Bankroll, one time for Rocko, Tip and Rosco, one of the top flows, on the top flo’..”

His previous work to me has formed the sturdy foundation, upon which I feel this next album will prove pivotal in propelling him further in that deserved conversation of one of the best (and not just to me). The last track, asserting his place amongst the ATL greats helps shine some light, as he is an integral part in it’s surge, and as this EP will satisfy the cravings, as the following album will only add to the legacy, even if the play don’t care who makes it.

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Jordan Kyreem – Whoa

As his track Speeding continues to gain traction, New York’s Jordan Kyreem pays homage to Bad Boy and it’s Black Rob classic, with this new one..

Where you would expect him to sample the classic beat, I like the idea of spinning the infamous lyrics into the hook, and using it to his narrative. It’s definitely another element to him as a rapper, as he uses the opportunity to drop some bars. The video isn’t anything special, but like the song, it helps put a face to the voice. I do think that because Speeding is still going strong, Whoa falls somewhat in it’s shadow overall, none the less this will appeal to some more than that, so it’s good that he isn’t slacking on the work rate.

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Loick Essien – I Told You

Another one of our underrated talents, Loick Essien has been getting closer to his style and sound over the past couple years, with his return in 2015 with Too Grown and Glory, last year he gave more diverse sounds with My Way and the C-Biz featured Zeros. Without any real push, the music has done well, with his videos averaging over 100,000 views, it’s just that case of people not really checking for what’s good but rather what’s hot. Either way, talent cannot be denied, and he returns with a new track, I Told You..

“Feel my history is damaging, old thoughts I been battling..”

Produced by Crumz, an up and coming producer to definitely check for, as he samples fellow vocalist J Warner for the ambience of the track, with the clean cut and slapping beat, laced with a well-placed bassline and additional background sounds that cement the overall production. If that was not enough, Loick himself, who has quite the ear for production, effortlessly surfs over the wavy production, with a flow that (is still singing but) proves he raps better than most of the rappers. Though from his days with the braids, I’ve always highlighted his vocals as one of the best, another reason why I hold him to such high regard is his songwriting abilities, with these new tracks sonically modern, the content itself is heavy in substance. I Told You follows up on the struggle of his career thus far, the mental battles that surfaces within as he continues to carve his lane and place amongst the elite, “Don’t say I never told you so, ‘cos I ain’t had no help when I was sleeping on the floor, I was in the trenches..n**ga you would never no, once I get a hold..I ain’t letting go”.

Loick was one of the victims during the industry’s transitional period, a lot of the artists signed during that point suffered due to changes within the labels, plus a lack of understanding of the landscape itself meant a lot of the artists were forced to be put on hold, the creativity was compromised, while people’s insecurities still thrived off an artist’s potential success. It affected the singers especially, with Loick being at the forefront. Therefore with I Told You, the passion in his delivery is justified as he mentions going through a change of management, the lack of support and the distancing of people around him. All this on top of the issues we all face in life, as he speaks on his brother being incarcerated. The song is clearly therapeutic as he vents, and as a firm believer in a higher power, I feel that these situations help develop character and place us in the right positions, and with no doubt in his talent, the level of music he is crafting proves just as so, as he embarks on this new chapter.

“Now I see it..it’s just jealousy, painting pictures..they remember me, no love for my enemies, they be feedin’ off the energy, old friends are just memories, I’m just tryna leave a legacy..”

For the past three years, Loick Essien has made no mistake with the music, it’s true to self and the quality cannot be argued, if anything, the fact that he has the potential to be a bigger success globally can play a part in why not everyone champions him as much as he deserves. Stay tuned for more, as a project is on the way, and if it’s anything like the material released thus far (and the underrated Terminal 5), it’s for sure set to be one of the best projects out.

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Click artwork to listen on Spotify

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Killa Ki – History of Peckham

With the scene today in such a healthy space, a lot of the substance is fabricated or at least exaggerated. It was a different story some time back, when the authentic nature of what was being said was too real for authorities to glance over. Today we can say it’s just music, but the foundations upon which these tales even exist have been cast aside and more so embedded within the street stories. Peckham in South London had been one of those areas that had garnered a reputation for itself. The first time it really transitioned through music to a high level was with the emergence of Giggs, the content and then the police interference really cemented it, and in regards to music, helped create that moment and will be a part of it’s history. Amongst those transitioning into music, with not only a unique style, but a first hand perspective, was Killa Ki. The sound was Drill before Drill, from the intense production, the flow patterns and the content itself. After a 7 year hiatus he returned last year with Bishop Wid Da Juice, an underrated effort and one of his best, since however, he’s on social media and having observed the state of the scene, finds his place to re-establish himself as one of the originators with his new track, History of Peckham.

The track itself is an adequate reintroduction to Killa Ki aka Yung Hef. Those aware of his music previously will be familiar and those new to him can get a glimpse into who he is, Pecknarm and some of it’s history. As if his words were not certi’ enough, the inclusion of voice clips featuring some of the more influential names from the ‘narm streets, really adds a more official tone. The song overall and Killa Ki’s return brings a new layer to the music, and it’ll be interesting to hear more of the project that’s on the way. You can definitely expect more raw and authentic street raps thats for sure.

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Wholagun – Savage Sundays (Episode 3)

It’s that time again. The Croydon ambassador charging up your sundays with the latest edition of the Savage Sundays series..

“How they talkin’ ’bout banging and never seen shells?, I’m the one that they call upon when they need help..”

Already racking up a couple thousand views in a couple hours, he’s managed to maintain a core fanbase amidst the previous inconsistency, and along with new listeners..they’re enjoying the series so far. For Episode 3, we get Wholagun more in his rap lane, and once again, a fitting flow for this mid-tempo number. The content is what’s to be expected, but note that it’s not so easy to express it in so many ways, as he seems to do so effortlessly. Initially I was thinking that with the visuals, the series could be interpreted as repetitive, but it’s like being in the car with him on a Sunday to hear a new rap, it’s that very authenticity which helps justify the series and him as an artist.

“Tryna do it for my city..I’m holding the key, solution to the problem..they know that its me.”

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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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