On his newest single “Freedom,” Atlanta rapper Se’von capitalizes on a majestic gospel choir sample taken from Donald Lawrence & the Tri-City Singers’ “Matthew 28.” The original performance ebbs and flows, but on “Freedom,” Se’von keeps the energy pinned throughout, as he preaches his own gospel of personal perseverance.
Boston-based artist Kyle Bent has a new single and video for “Position,” a self-reflexive ode to how far he’s come, creatively and commercially. He investigates what that signifies for the person he was and hopes to become, looking at the idea of success as defined by his community and peers, as he stands ready for the mainstream, having mastered his craft, or at least come very damn near it. Bent is clearly a gifted lyricist, but he takes pains to express the extent of the work he had to do to see that gift fully realized: “Thinking it was easy for me – instant like Alakazam / Initially people were never listening / Women would always snicker and critics were steady dissing me / But somewhere ‘long the lines between writing rhymes and discipline / I realized Bent could be bending-ish with his penmanship.”
Every month, the OurStage community (that’s you) listens and ranks the songs competing on OurStage.com. Once those songs get to the Finals stage, five grand prize winners are selected. Those winners get featured on the ‘OurStage on Amazing Radio’ show, broadcast to hundreds of thousands of music fans around the world. Last month’s show is streaming now. Below are the top five that you’ll hear on this month’s show, along with other favorites from the charts.
Boston-based hip-hop artist Kyle Bent has dropped the video for his single “Gods & Goddesses,” from the new EP I Am Possibility. Bent released the surprise EP on his birthday − astoundingly, only his 21st. The video is a cleverly edited DIY affair, keeping the focus on the music. The track slowly adds layers, both on the thumping verse, and the chanting, rolling hook, with its increasing counter melodies, eventually churning into a wave that finally dissolves and recedes. This musical dynamic serves a raw and introspective lyric, which describes a process evaluating the rapper’s life and the major players in it, trying to sort the gods and goddesses from the monsters. It’s just real.
Boston-based rapper JugState, formerly one half of Tru Indeed, is back with a heavy jam called “Don’t Shoot.” One of Jug’s secret weapons is a rich singing voice, employed here in a sharp hook that repeatedly pulls the track into focus after the escalating verses. It’s a great groove, too, decorated with mellow electric piano tones and some sparse and well-placed synth lines. Listen below and follow @RealJugState on Twitter.
At long last, the newest LP from YONAS, About Time. We recently previewed the first single, “All Rise,” and the rest of the album (14 tracks, including a couple of short musical interludes) is similarly intense, in contrast with some of the Bronx MC’s lighter remixes and one-off singles. On About Time, Yonas returns to the darker vibe that marked his 2013 album The Transition, supremely confident, but starkly honest, with unvarnished thoughts on the ups and downs of success, mortality, fatherhood, and building a legacy, no matter what else the work yields. Toward the end of About Time, the inclusion of some of those previous singles (“You F#cked Up,” “King of the Summer,” “Wait a Minute”) lightens the load a bit with some universal pop appeal. As usual, the production is stellar and the album just sounds great. Listen to a few tracks below, and click here for the full length.