There’s a lot happening in hip hop nowadays. Perhaps because we’re exposed to it more. I suppose it’s because that hip hop generally have popular artists that are very young today. Young rappers are ridiculously active on social media such as Twitter and Instagram and the hip hop magazines are just having a field days with all the shit that’s going down on these channels.
What’s good about it is that we’re getting more behind the scenes imagery because of this. And because they’re young and hip hop is such a pride / respect based cultural movement, they’re really serious about their image: for good and bad. Let’s compare it to football, where the widely popular players has near 20 million followers, although only posts selfies or professional photos from photoshoots and the generic comment on Twitter like “Winning the game is what’s important.” compared to young rappers today where we get the full scope of what’s happening in the studio, at parties, beefs, etc. There’s no filter there — they’re really just posting everything.
And I believe it’s fantastic.
Having the genre fully transparent makes the craft behind each bar and track get more substance. And I respect the grinding more: all the work, the shit that’s going on because they’re artists – only because they’re fully transparent about it; because I can view it first-hand.
Thanks for this time, til’ the next one.
Now that he’s out of jail, I thought it would be nice to promote a classic Kevin Gates album as well. Nothing new, but has grown with age and still delivers something epic every listen.
Kevin Gates has made headlines throughout his career because of his problems with the law. He’s also one of the best selling artists in the whole genre (yes, up there with J. Cole and Kanye West). He’s aiming his lyrics and tempo in his tracks to a listener group that loves motivational rap and hard hitting beats. (Kind of the same target audience as Meek Mill who also moves massive numbers in terms of sales).
Out of 16 tracks, I have saved 11 to my music library, which is quite something. Don’t Know, Can’t Make This Up, Arm and Hammer, Posed To Be in Love, I mean the list can go on with tracks that serve as the perfect gym music. Gates has been shaping the motivational rap sub genre throughout his whole career, and this album is no different. With hip hop having a massive amount of sub genres, Kevin Gates might sit on the throne for this one.
Listen to By Any Means.
Speaking of fully transparent: I followed AJ Tracey for social media for a couple of years. He snapchats 24/7 (or did at least). You’d follow him from his breakfast, to his FIFA games with his friends in his mothers house, to the studio and to the pre-show, the after-show, the taxi back home, etc.
I’d say that’s fully transparent. A dedication to the modern aristery where it’s almost expected to broadcast your entire life to gain as much influence and followers as possible. It feels like the footpath for a new artist to be able to grow, and the decay of the individual that is behind the artist, losing the integrity of the personal space.
It’s for good and bad. It’s good for the artist who gains followers and “air-time”. But it feels bad for the individual behind the artist, the brand, who’ll lose the personal life.
Anyhow, enough rambling. This track is a perfect example of why AJ Tracey has made it in music on another note than social media. He’s extremely talented at being able to write and rap on top of whatever beat that he might be introduced to. I love his house, tropicana, grime, trap influences and I love this as well.
Listen to the track.
I want to start off this newsletter with something that’s not new, but could get a second round of investigating. And that’s Vince Staples first hit EP, Hell Can Wait. It was released back in 2014 and took Vince in the limelight. There’s a couple of notes that can be made of this album. First, the EP is 24 minutes long and 7 tracks long. Creating albums that is only 7 tracks has been a major movement in 2018; Kanye West’s album ye, Kid Cudi & Kanye’s album Kids See Ghosts, Nas most recent album, Chance the Rappers upcoming album, Teyana Taylors album, etc.
Moreover, the beats are something completely different compared to what flourished in 2014: they’re electrical, they got some guitars in them, they’re minimalistic compared to the soul era that prevailed in 2014.
As a sidenote, this was Vince Staples major breakthrough as an artist that would lead him to work with some of the greats later on; Kanye West, No I.D. Schoolboy Q, Statik Selektah, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd.
Listen to Hell Can Wait.
6LACK rode to the top when he released his EP “FREE 6LACK” in 2016. It’s a fantastic introduction to a new artist that delivered a super high-quality EP as a first major production. There’s almost only terrific tracks on that EP. 6LACK released his new album the other day, East Atlanta Love Letter, to keep up his momentum.
On the album, we see features from heavy hitters like Future, J. Cole, Offset and Khalid. The album will take 6LACK on a new journey with all the wonders and problems that involves.
I look forward to what’s next, and with this album it’s a good epilogue to his first EP. I do feel he could’ve switched from his monotone voice on one or two tracks more and rapped a bit more. It’s a bit too R&B for me, but what say do I really have…
Listen to Loaded Gun here.