Press Shuffle: Songs To Freestyle To

This week our targets are the Urban Channels. We focus particularly on the rhythmic characteristics of these genres: anything from vocal metrical structure to thick, groovy bass lines to old-school drum samples. There’s so much more to rapping than what people usually find in mainstream radio or other means of mass media. Staying true to the spirit of Press Shuffle, we’re exploring the boundaries of music, of digging deep into the scenes and discovering the best the independent music world has to offer. Take this journey with us to explore what goes on behind the scenes in Hip Hop and Rap, and weigh in on the comments below!

Jae Apollo

Rule The World Freestyle” – Jae Apollo: This song is a great example of traditional rhyme schemes; working with the last word of a phrase, the vocalist adapts phonetics to fit his purpose. Proficiently executed, Jae Apollo’s track represents the path modern hip hop has been taking in the last couple years.

Inkredible Freestyle” – FreeVerse: With a more popular flow, FreeVerse sticks to the straight four accents on the beat at a slower tempo. This, with the descending vocal cadence at the end of a line, are both very representative of what usually seen in the Rhythmic Top 40 charts.

No Pen No Pad” – Lil Boy Fresh: He lays back on the beat so much it seems as if he’s eternally vying to catch up with it. The drag widens the pocket, giving the flow a lazed feel that has you hooked into listening what he’s going to say next, line to line.

Don’t Sweat” – K.i.T (eMCee): This track has all it needs to stand out. Flawless production, creative lyrics and hooks galore. The phrasing is interestingly spread between many lines, with the enunciation emphasizing sarcasm and breathing points strategically placed throughout verses.

Mathmatics” – Hollow: Here’s a  prime example of less being more. A simple, groovy synth beat and bass line just keep the time while the MC does his thing. Nothing is there to detract from the performance of the vocalist; it’s all open to him. And in a style of music that’s all about the lyrics, what else could you want?

Can’t Tell You Why” – Freeloadas: There’s something about the feel of R&B tracks of the ’70s and ’80s that sets the tone for hip hop just right. It’s so common to find samples or re-recordings of old grooves and beats because they consistently deliver.

Turn It Loose” – Kenton Dunson: This song popped at us as soon as it hit the 0:07 mark; the chopped up guitar lick is something else. The beat is comprised by nothing more than a kick drum and reverse snare hits, yet remains very effective. It’s remarkable how original something can sound with such simple features and a bit of creativity.

Have any tunes in particular that you care to share? Disagree with any of the picks? Want a theme in particular to be Shuffled? Let us know by dropping a comment!

Listen to previous Press Shuffle playlists over at