Boston hip-hop artist Kyle Bent this week dropped the official video for the single he released earlier this summer, “Just A Little Bit.” Directed by Christian O’Keefe, the clip is visually impressive, but matches the track’s chilled-out vibe. Check it out below, and follow @iamkylebent.
We already got into the great single and video for “You F#cked Up,” the first in the #SummerMonDaze series of single releases by the one and only Yonas. Since then, the New York artist has released two more, “Wait A Minute,” and most recently, “King Of The Summer.” They’re both killer tracks, unique in their own ways, but “King Of The Summer” is simply a masterful pop gem, a classic longing love song with a perfect hook. We’ll update this post as more tracks come.
Rapper and producer Chris Fields has released his brand new full-length, Dreams Are Forever, a 12-track tour-de-force that follows a series of singles released over the last year or so. While those singles were initially expected to be part of the final album, Fields output since he started recording near the end of 2014 has been such that Dreams Are Forever is primarily fresh material. “Crown,” which we wrote about when it dropped back in September 2015, is the familiar track, and still dominates with its confidence and snaking melodies. Fields contrasts a track like that one, which he characterizes as full of bravado, with others that allow more vulnerability, like “Visionary,” “Therapy,” and the title track. He sees this as part of the natural progression into adulthood, and as an artist, he says, “I’m just really letting people into my mind – what I think of and go through as a man.” Dreams Are Forever is a record of that progression.
No tour dates have been announced yet, but you can listen to the full album below. Follow @.
It’s been about a year and a half since we heard new music from Jae Apollo, but he’s finally back with a new single. It’s a tour-de-force, eight and a half minute track called “Last Run,” and the Brooklyn rapper is calling it his most personal work to date, helping to explain his recent absence from the scene. There’s a lot to unpack here, but it sounds like some different matters all caught up with him at once, and a bit of pain held him back for a while. The loss of a friend, of a relationship, the struggles of an artist, and clearly conflicting emotions about it are opened up here. The run is the metaphor, and having been dragged down, he’s giving it everything for what feels like it could be a last chance to break free: “I’ll run until my last breath or feel my ankles breaking…somehow I just won’t quit, I been through too much shit.” Follow @JaeApollo on Twitter.
Check out the new single and video from Georga MC Se’von. It’s got an ornate, piano-pounding beat, creating a lush soundscape for Se’von’s thoughtful lyric. Enhanced by a beautifully shot video, “Can’t Live My Life” is a momentous piece of work by an artist reaching his full potential. Keep up with him on Twitter @.
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No Pain, No Fame
We last heard music from Joel. (aka MaG) on his 2013 release (via RCRDLBL) Freedom, a soulful slice of American hip-hop. He didn’t go silent between then and now – those who follow him on Twitter know that Joel is a poet and a non-stop thinker, with an eye toward social progress and absolutely no patience for bullshit.
It’s no surprise to find that same spirit in the music he’s been working on. songs for charles is an independent release dropped just last month, and it kicks off with a short audio clip from Jay Z in the studio, taken from the film Fade To Black. This track, titled “what Hov said…(intro),” captures Jay discussing young rappers coming up; artists who believe they have to write about things they don’t feel and don’t know. He tells the cameraman to put the lens on him before saying, “See what y’all did to rappers? They scared to be theyself.”
Being true to himself, then, serves as Joel.’s mission here. “I can’t speak for no one else / but I’m gonna keep on being myself,” goes one of the refrains on the first song, “creston and 188th.” What follows is a personal catharsis. The next eight songs are all at least rooted in the past, even while facing the present. He looks back on his upbringing, his family, lessons learned and carried forward. “We was young / we was reckless,” he says, in the frank and unsentimental “hash browns.” The chilled out, hypnotic loop of the song keeps the mood static and, as much as the lyric, creates a vivid atmosphere, if not an especially warm one. It actually feels like a carefully constructed sound collage, pieced together from ‘70s-‘80s AM radio dials, video games, cassettes rewinding…the sounds of a childhood, running in the background.
“new, new york” brings us into the present, or at least the very recent past. But each track here, just like real life, builds on what came before. That’s why, even though this is an eight-song collection (nine tracks), I take songs for charles as a real album. It’s not a mixtape, nor a collection of singles. It’s a thematic, narrative flow. And, like a lot of Joel.’s work, it’s densely filled with imagery and wordplay, and almost has the feel of a stage play. With only a few listens so far, I have not absorbed every nuance, but I look forward to trying.
“better late than never (intermission)” is a dreamy flight, with a backing that sounds like recent Radiohead; droning chords bracing syncopated, jazz drums. The lyric is equal parts past, present, and future, and how they are helplessly intertwined, with a hook that declares, “I’d rather die than let go of one of my dreams / one foot forward, all I gotta do is proceed…It’s never too late to dream.” Hope continues to be a central theme here – aspirations for a better life, one that’s more fulfilling, one that is free from the troubled past, and one where glory is attained on no one else’s terms but your own.
Certainly Joel. knows there’s no complete escape from what came before. But songs for charles is at least an attempt at exorcism. Facing pain in stark terms, he describes a present in which personal reconciliation is already under way, and this music – in all its expressive, subtle complexity – is the conduit.