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By Myself: Norwegian rapper Denim Blue wonders what happened to those rules on ‘Rodeo’

Inspired by Prince, Ice Cube, Kanye West and The Weeknd, Denim Blue lets the music speak for itself on his brand new single all about seeing something so bright stop shining rather quickly on ‘Rodeo‘.

Jens Bjarne aka Denim Blue, is an indie rapper, weeds explorer and singer-songwriter who is based in beautiful Norway.

I love mixing genres and I’ll never stop trying to show my art in creative ways.” ~ Denim Blue

This is the story about being with someone who you care about so much, who you saw with a halo on their head that has now been so tarnished. Your ex lover fell nose-first into the treacherous trenches of temptation and you won’t stand for it, as you wish that they could go back to who they were before the once-beautiful spark fizzled out.

I’ve been writing songs my entire life, rapping for most of my life, and singing in the last 5 years or so, but I didn’t start recording until 3 years ago.” ~ Denim Blue

Sung with a terrific vocal ability, honest lyrics and with a dazzling beat which has your imagination swirling so quickly – this is a real gem of an underground track from this youthful artist with morals – who refused to walk in the line that so many fall over just to get inside.

Rodeo‘ from the Norway-based indie hip-hop artist and songwriter Denim Blue, is a reminisce-filled track all about wondering what happened to that person you looked up to. They were a Queen in your eyes but that shimmering star has faded darkly into the night, as you now feel like you are much better alone.

An old school lover mentality is so hard to keep these days, but this is something that morally you can’t change in the fiber of your fabric.

Hear this new single on Spotify and see more via his fresh IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

No Kiss And Tell: Wavesy is numb to the current world on ‘Elevated’

As he avoids the current state of the world as he sees it unfolding before his very eyes, Wavesy is in the zone he wants to be in right now with his latest single named ‘Elevated‘.

Cameron Poe aka Wavesy, is an wildly creative singer, guitarist, bassist and pianist, who somehow fuses indie rock, RnB and rap together.

Wavesy is a personified dream that Cameron created to help convey the old school rock and roll sound with a modern, darker R&B/rap sound that he is producing and in every song you can hear the roots while he tries to blend new genres together acoustically.” ~ Wavesy

He possesses a quality about him that is so rare – from his memorable vocals to his deeply rooted lyrics – as we learn about an artist who is carefree and doing what he thinks is necessary, to survive this extremely odd planet we currently reside in. He will certainly not tell everyone exactly how he is doing things, but is confident that it will catch on if everyone opens up their eyes enough.

Elevated‘ from the indie rock/RnB and rap artist Wavesy, is a hauntingly immense track packed full of so much intrigue from a hugely talented soul who is floating calmly at the moment. He has made his own bubble during this horrible pandemic and is cruising around in it no matter what, as he waits for the world to return to a kind of normal again.

Made with a furiously bass-filled beat, this is a track that will have you feeling rather introspective about your current journey.

Hear this stunning new single on Spotify and see more via the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Showing Us The Way: Black Koncept drops deep six track EP ‘Mind Of Koncept’

With his Dad on the mind constantly and his deep thoughts recalling how the past almost destroyed him, Black Koncept inspires a whole generation to stay busy mentally and to never let the haunting demons take over on ‘Mind Of Koncept‘.

Black Koncept is a Detroit, Michigan-based indie hip-hop artist and basketball fan, who is massively into anime and comic books, as he smartly blends this true love into his vastly emotive music creations.

At 16 years old I began rapping due to a crippling depression from being neglected by my father , and constantly starving every day having to steal quarters to eat.” ~ Black Koncept

There are six quality tracks here and no fillers, with particular gems being the demon-filled lead single ‘Mind Of Koncept‘ and the use-the-pen anthem ‘Michael Myers‘.

With so much pain-filled lyrics at every emotional corner which leads you into those dark days he has unfortunately experienced that no one should, the constant theme of suicide is brought up multiple times on this EP. With a consistent flow attached and his savage lyrical skill on show – he shows much potential behind the mic – as he brings us into this movie-like world which was almost over before it began.

Luckily through music, he has been able to wisely distract himself from those ominous moments from before and shows us how quickly thoughts can build up and potentially destroy everything.

Mind Of Koncept‘ from the Detroit, Michigan-based indie rapper Black Koncept, brings us inside his deepest thoughts and is a warning sign for our youth to learn from. With so many people feeling like they just can’t continue – he has found that by using his daily energies creatively – this new mindset can bring you so much freedom to advance your life, into the happy medium universe you seek for that true self-love.

Only love and light shall and must succeed.

Stream this new single on Spotify and see more via the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Riding For The Team: Coventry hip-hop duo El Dorado bring us their scriptures with ‘New Religion Pack’

After keeping it straight-up real with ‘Honestly‘ from earlier on this year, El Dorado rise up with their world class bars on a story about grinding hard for the team and feeling like its time to move up a few notches on ‘New Religion Pack‘.

El Dorado is a Coventry, UK-based indie hip-hop/rap duo. They fuse that underground vibe to make it sound real live for modern day ears, who has been unfortunately swamped by so much of the putrid sludge that has been played to the youngsters of this new world.

This is the story about keeping that grind charging 24/7 so that the team may eat properly – in a harsh world that is full of fake sharks who pretend to be leaders but actually aren’t – as you look to be the next true role models who take the time educate others, on the proper way to do things.

Rapped with a real vigor and a hardcore element, there is so much smokey eloquence here that really has you feeling like there is something different on display here. The production is tight and full of that pure voltage that sparks up the energy, busting through the atmosphere and giving you something rather special to immerse inside for once.

New Religion Pack‘ from the Coventry, UK-based indie hip-hop/rap duo El Dorado, is a powerfully performed track that features a pulsating beat that smashes all the windows in the neighborhood. With gritty rhymes that seems to flow effortlessly onto the awaiting mic, it feels like you are listening to two artists from a different era who have come back to teach the youth. This is real hip-hop made with that excellent lyrically-advanced effort, this is up there with the best releases of 2021.

Stream this new single on Spotify and see more on the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Glitch Hop Meets Cloud Rap in Trukadi’s Latest Single, Pick and Choose

After his 2019 debut, the Californian alt-pop artist, Trukadi, hasn’t failed to make an impression with his antagonistic lyrics and experimental beats. His latest single, Pick and Choose, is a distortedly electrifying 1:43 minute hit of glitchy cloud rap with hints of Midwest Emo.

The explicit track carries the indie melodicism of a Post Malone single, but Trukadi made sure Pick and Choose hits like no other with instantly magnetic vocals and lo-fi guitars that bring plenty of warmth to the distinct production that marries glitch hop and emo. Love him or hate him, there will be no indifference when it comes to Trukadi’s sound, and there are few greater testaments of talent than that.

Pick and Choose is now available to stream via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Dj. K-Phi made Medusa his muse in his latest single featuring Waxtheproducer & Rocky Sandoval

Medusa has been the muse of countless creatives, but few have paid ode to her powerful mystique as aptly as Dj. K-Phil did with his latest RnB single, created in collaboration with Waxtheproducer & Rocky Sandoval.

The single is a soulfully-lavish mash of RnB, trap and moody alt-pop that goes further than keeping in line with contemporary trends. The old school sense of unbridled passion is perceptible in the lyrics and vocals; what sets the release leagues apart from the rest is the resonant sense of despondency and realism when it comes to modern affection. It is impossible not to get hooked on K-Phil’s sound; he could easily reach the same heights as Yungblud and Lil Nas X with their fusing of alt and urban textures. Save a spot on your radar.

Check out Medusa for yourselves by heading over to apple music.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

What is Hip Hop Music?

What defines hip hop music and what hip hop music has come to represent in culture are two very different phenomena. Hip hop can be instantly recognisable by the canter of rapid-fire vocals and familiar patterns of the 808s. However, hip hop transcends sonic style to embrace an artistic edge that is solely synonymous with the genre.

Since hip hop music was born in the Bronx in the 70s, it has become a way to celebrate, confront and narrate the highs and lows of existence.

Hip hop became a way of seeing the world that resonated in minds across the globe. The popularity of hip hop had plenty to do with how it exposed wealth equality and disparity in 1970s America and offered compassion to everyone that found themselves on the wrong side of the rich-poor divide. Perhaps most importantly, hip hop offered an alternative to apathy for marginalised groups in society, resistance.

The genre has a rich past, but the future looks even brighter. Hip hop surpassed rock as the most popular genre in 2017 for the first time. For many, the genre became a lifeline during 2020, with the ten most-viewed artists on YouTube in 2020 all being hip hop artists. Hip Hop and RnB artists accounted for over a third of all streams in the US last year, and the popularity trend is showing no signs of slowing down.

Lil Baby, Juice WRLD, Drake, Eminem and Kevin Gates are just a handful of the artists taking up their well-deserved space on the Billboard music charts in 2021. It is safe to say that the cultural influence that established in the 70s is just as essential now than it was back then. If you need any further convincing, look at the change-invoking art that transpired as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Hip hop became the soundtrack to the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 as the artists paid ode to a tradition much earlier than the invention of hip hop music itself. Fighting oppression was a major theme in the James Brown era of blues music, taking the Isley Brothers and their single, Fight the Power, as a perfect example, but no one fought the power with the same fire as the early hip hop pioneers such as Tupac, Run DMC, De La Soul & Rakim.

A Short History of Hip Hop Music

DJ Kool Herc made history happen in August 1973 when he filled a dancefloor by isolating and extending percussion breaks while spinning the same dance record on twin turntables. The other big-name DJs in the Bronx were paying close attention and found inspiration in Herc’s experimental ethos that was later defined by two principles:

  1. Utilising talent and available resources to create something new.
  2. Emulating others but finding your own voice and groove.

The founding principles of hip hop music go a long way in explaining how the genre evolved so rapidly through the past few decades; it spoke to a growing movement of urban philosophers, poets and visual artists who all wanted to make their impact. Simply put, hip hop became a platform like no other.

The middle-classes did their best to ignore the hip hop revolution, but the pioneers persevered and kept pushing their messages that threatened to shake them out of complacency. Hip hop music attacked everything from urban poverty to racism to economic abandonment. The gangster rap group, N.W.A. shook the world with their iconic track, Fuck Tha Police, in 1988 before the Sugar Hill Gang proved that there was plenty more to hip hop than just aggressive narratives.

Over the years, many things became synonymous with hip hop, from the spoken-word style to the self-awareness of the artists keen to share their social and moral principles with the world. Today, hip hop encompasses a multitude of sub-genres, including, but not limited to, drill, grime, cloud rap, trap, jazz hip hop, boom bap, lo-fi hip hop, hardcore hip hop, mumble rap, nerdcore, breakbeat, ghetto house and emo rap. With artists such as Yungblud, Kae Tempest and Niki Minaj on the airwaves, we probably don’t need to point out that hip hop culture is more diverse than ever.

Submit Hip Hop Music

A&R Factory has been championing hip hop artists since 2012. Since then, we have become lauded and recognised as one of the best hip hop blogs to submit music to for artists looking to expand their reach to an international audience.

We especially want to hear from artists covering experimental ground with their sound, artists paying ode to the old school with their own lyrical flair and those looking to shift perceptions with their introspection. Submit hip hop music to our award-winning blog here.

Paranoid I Might Die: Wildly creative New Zealand/South African rapper HAZLE feels that heavy head brewing on ‘warped walls’

Inspired greatly by Tyler The Creator and Kanye West, HAZLE brings that money and greens vibes with a little taste of that classic Oros Orange Squash too on ‘warped walls‘.

Jordan aka HAZLE is a New Zealand-born, South Africa-raised indie hip-hop artist. He is a youthful artist with big dreams, and raps with an abundance of enthusiasm that has you listening so closely to his authentic vibe.

Growing up my ears were open to all genres of music, I just never realized until last year that music was my calling.” ~ HAZLE

His quick on the mic style is so extremely likable, he flows like a man possessed to find the true path that he seeks without fuss. The genuine rap style is rather breathless at times, his lyrics are supremely intricate and made with so much excellent creativity. This is a man on a mission to reach the top as he climbs up the music mountain without any clips attached, his mind is alert and ready for anything presented for him to conquer.

warped walls‘ from the highly motivated New Zealand-born rapper HAZLE, is a unique track featuring his distinctive South African accent at times – as he tells us the story of feeling so paranoid at the moment – in this rather weird world that doesn’t feel real. The walls are closing in and he doesn’t know what the future holds, but is going to smoke up and let life guide him through the blade-filled clouds, to find that true self-enlightenment.

Hear this new single on Spotify and see more news via the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Yungsta Guap plays the antagonist in Why They Mad, featuring Duke Deuce.

The antagonist energy in Yungsta Guap’s standout single, Why They Mad, featuring Duke Deuce, is instantly infectious. Right from the first verse, Yungsta Guap proves why his sound has been amassing hype since making his debut in 2019. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better balance of wit and grit. He finds clever ways to remind the listener that you can either lie down and accept adversity and persecuting judgement or you can play up to the ideas that others project on us and succeed in spite of it.

Along with creating viral-worthy tracks, the Atlanta-based independent rap artist and songwriter is also the founder of Grind Right 4Ever Entertainment. If any breaking artist has what it takes to stake a serious claim on the hip hop scene, our money is on Yungsta Guap.

The official music video for Why They Mad is available via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Tahj McQueen brings the catharsis in his spacey lo-fi hip hop single, Healing.

Healing is the third single released by the breaking artist Tahj McQueen, which extends his legacy of lacing the airwaves with meaningful introspection that explores the darkest parts of our 21st-century psyches.

The trippy lo-fi beats are as spacey as Brian Eno’s cathartic tracks; paired with McQueen’s soft delivery of the hard-hitting lyrics, you’ll want to prime your vibe out playlists for this soulfully provoking track that runs you through a timeline of trauma. The timeline may be personal, but the problems unravelled resonate as universal. It is singles such as healing that remind you that trauma doesn’t separate us. It unifies us.

Healing was released on August 27th; you can check it out for yourselves via apple music.

Review by Amelia Vandergast