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Premier: Independent Hip-Hop Artist and Label Owner ‘Cheekz’ Plans to Release Newest Single ‘BANGA’

A stone throw away from international prominence, Cheekz, an up-coming American hip-hop artists from Springfield, Massachusetts has announced the release of his newest track ‘Banga’, and it is an exciting sound to add to the top of your playlist for 2017.

Like many of his inspirations that include Tupac and Wu Tang Clan, Cheekz patently combines a passion for material truths in conjunction with carefully strung hip-hop music. Cheekz describes what has inspired him to his own personal experiences, “As once a victim of being bullied and seeing others be bullied I tried to reach out listeners in a vocal and visual way to help stop the violence and put more focus on positive ways to occupy the youths time and educate them on retaliation”. After selling over 20,000 copies of his last independent project ‘Mass Destruction’, Cheekz already has a strong presence in the hip-hop community, mostly well known for defining a personal depth behind his lyrics and addressing crucial issues involved across society.

Cheekz efficaciously highlights the problem of how youngsters easily turn to gun crime so easily in a conscious effort to combat bullying. Taking a step away from the traditional lyrical tropes of hip-hop artists focusing on the themes of money, crime and sex, Cheekz merely transforms this type of culture into a learning curve for his young fans. By introducing a social educational comprehension on the matter, Cheekz’ message engages right and wrong with rap as a contrivance.

The track is set to be released through his own label Massworkz Inc on the 9th June 2017 and will be available via all major media providers. More information about Cheekz can be found on his social media pages and official website.

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Words: Aly McHugh

A&R Factory Present: O.G. Blake Owens

O.G Blake Owens introduces a new age contemporary sound to hip hop music, whilst preserving traditional elements of old-school rap, Owens merges a unique quality into hip hop culture. A gifted musician from New Orleans, Owens reinforces an American style of music into his brand new 10 track mix tape ‘The Balcony Music Project’.  Owens embraces both old to new school hip hop, rap and electro-pop/rnb, which have similar style from the likes of Erykah Badu, Kenrick Lamar, FKA Twigs and Jhene Aiko, as well as a dash of Owens’ own personal originality.

Owens starts off the mix tape with ‘Where I’m Coming From’, a funk and jazz backdrop whilst his effortless rapping glides into the track, and this completely dominates the mix tape. You’ll find the smooth vocals of Owens reiterate a silk like sound throughout the mix tape. When combined with the recurring R&B adaption, it is proven that Owens’ sound produces a different stance in hip hop. There is a bustling atmosphere amongst the variety of divergent attributes going on in the track. This however, works surprisingly well where they complement each other nicely.

Throughout the mix tape Owens lifts the mood to new heights, where his rapping is a natural process; the striking edition of dreamy female vocalists enforces an amiable balance. ‘Unfold’ follows the sunny set up of the mix tape, where Owens’ pensive rapping glides naturally with the chilled melody.  Whilst ‘Nobody Different’ shares a parallel composition of a radiant tempo, there is also a faint resonance behind the rhythm. The whole track is meticulously gripping, and whilst Owens’ MCing intensifies the moment, he delves deep into the social issues of youth culture.

Considerably, Owens touches base with the truth of relationships, which ultimately sways the mix tape towards a struggle of romance. Although ‘Playing Games’ leads the mix tape with a seductive stance, Owens sheds light on the lies, emotions and manipulation of a relationship. Proving his lyrical talent through rhythm and wordplay, he portrays this ideal coherently. Owens’ soft and swift rapping flows with the suave background tune, and whilst the female vocals provide the track with a feminine attraction, which inevitably lures the listener into the music.

As the mix tape progresses, Owens remains carefree and cool. ‘Gotta Keep Going’ and ‘Down For You’ retain a positive energy, and whilst the R&B and electronic instrumental produce an elusive character to the mix tape, the depth behind the lyrics is what makes the mix tape truly magical. ‘Gotta Keep Going’ is a clear expression of the hopes and dreams we feel when we’re young. Owens’ rapid rapping combined with GG Pender’s harmonious touch conveys a track of optimism. “This song is pure motivation/Use it accordingly when life takes you bad places.”

Yet, Owens continues to surprise his listeners with ‘Down For You’, which conjures a vivacious ambience with the lustrous tone between both Owens and GG Pender. GG Pender’s spectral voice is what makes the track so enchanting, and the untroubling lyrics smoothly reiterated from Owens on the compelling connection between the two is what makes the track so powerful.

O.G. Blake Owens predominantly is ahead of the game with his new age take on hip hop music. Whilst he dabbles in old school hip hop, he combines electronic-r&b and funk to produce the ultimate summer sound for 2017. ‘The Balcony Music Project’ is a complete session of feel good vibes, youthful ideals and captivation.


A&R Factory Present: Crooked Coast

Crooked Coast was formed in the summer of 2012 by Cape Cod natives Luke Vose, John McNamara, Ben Elder and Charles Walton. They distilled their hometown’s celebratory summers and harsh winters into the 2013 album Thanks for the Memories with infectious hooks, sweaty dance floor rhythms, big guitars and wordplay both outlandish and everday.

For two years they toured the East Coast playing festivals, clubs, bars and colleges. They conceptualized and self produced music videos. Elder and Vose took their passion for art and design and turned the band’s merchandise into a budding clothing line.

In 2015 they released Wildlife. described it as, “an album that pops with wild swagger.” Wildlife is the sound of a band that has grown together. The production is polished but the songs are brash. Driven by Walton and Elder’s thunderous rhythm section McNamara’s full throated rock ’n roll howl and Vose’s raw nerve, heart on the sleeve rap/singing volley back and forth over blistering guitar hooks. The album has shades of the Strokes on the doomed love song Domino, Social Distortion on the country punk number Martyr and Sublime on the sun bleached World Spins where Luke remembers, “I was sixteen in a Honda hatchback/ Doing one-sixteen down route six and back.”

The lead single “Go Back” is tipsy trip through the memories a small town. Charles Walton’s DJ Premier inspired drums drive the story about being pushed into a cold world. John McNamara sings, “I remember all the times before/ Well that won’t happen anymore/ All the times that I regret/ I’m all set/ You can’t go back again,” before the song breaks into gang chorus of brothers in arms.

Pixy 103 radio DJ Lori Lori quickly picked up the song saying, “I had to play them. It’s has a very catchy melody that will keep you singing long after you hear it. The music, the voices and the energy make this album one to own for sure.” 95.5 WBRU put the song into rotation as well saying, “The mix between indie rock and hip-hop is not too common, yet Crooked Coast manages to add a unique twist on both genres.”

They filmed a music video for “Go Back” with director Nicholas Santos on location in NYC and Cape Cod capturing the energy of a band on the verge.

The recent music video for No Caroline No is a sun soaked island party with boats, floats and skateboards.

During the winter of 2016 Crooked Coast toured California playing House of Blues, beach bars and LA rock clubs as well as recording at BNV Studios Hollywood. The band made a splash turning on a whole other side of the country onto Wildlife. The tour inspired the band, hitting them with a lightning bolt of energy and possibility.

Crooked Coast continues to pave their own road to success with bold music, visual art and explosive live shows touring the east and west coast.


A&R Factory Present: SiDizen King

Check out this track ‘One Day’ by SiDizen King

SiDizen King is a new artist based out of LA that flows primarily over electronic and indie rock production. For just over a year he has taken a more serious approach to the music industry.  In that time span he has received just under 400,000 plays in that time span. His songs have been posted on a number of Hype Machine-indexed blogs and have made the top ten on their “Most Popular on Twitter” chart twice.

The track has a summery, chill/tropical feel. Sidizen King says “I wrote it when I decided to move to LA to pursue music seriously; it’s about keeping hope in the face of adversity and not losing faith in your dreams.”


A&R Factory Present: Rockie Fresh

If you haven’t heard the buzz yet, let it be known that Chicago native Rockie Fresh is quickly becoming your next favorite rapper. Only starting his music career a few years ago, this young up-and-comer is already one of the hottest independent artists in hip-hop.
After releasing 4 “The Night I Went To…” projects this year, Rockie Fresh is back as he delivers us his first official single on MMG.  Produced by Mike Daley and featuring Chris Brown, Call Me When It’s Over is a big summer anthem that we’ve all been waiting to hear from the Chicago native.
Call Me When It’s Over available on iTunes, Apple Music, and Spotify now!

A&R Factory Present: Paul Rey

Paul Rey is a 23 year-old Swedish singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who knew he wanted to be a performer at the age of 11, when his father took him to Sweden’s largest music festival in Malmö. Ever since, Paul was inspired to write in English from listening to 2Pac, Dr. Dre and Eminem and began collecting his stories and telling them through rap, establishing himself as a seasoned rap battler in the process. He has opened for Big Sean and Raekwon (Wu-Tang Clan) and released his debut album in 2012, which led to nominations for Best Solo Artist of the Year and Best Newcomer of the Year at Sweden’s Kingsize Gala, which celebrates hip-hop, soul and R&B music.

A year later, Paul began to move away from his rap roots and explore singing for the first time as he evolved his sound as an artist. Now fully committed to singing, Paul is excited for people to hear his latest creation California Dreamin.

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