Hip-hop’s darkest hour struck when the UK alchemist of boom bap, _sicko delivered his PLAY MEEP on Halloween. After a chilling horror score of an intro track, which sets the tone for the rest of the EP, the standout single, A MODERN HORROR STORY, kicks right into macabre gear, following an anachronistic haunted music box prelude.
By painting himself as a twisted protagonist to portray the sickness that breeds online when the worst impulses of the human psyche are vindicated by nefarious echo chambers, _sicko (AKA Aaron Terror) provided a spine-chilling exposition on the proclivities of perversion that are worryingly prolific.
With a twisted lyrical style that isn’t out of the ordinary in death metal projected through a rap flow, which makes it all too easy to lock into the sickness within the horror imagery, A MODERN HORROR STORY is plagued with sickness that will make you stop, shiver, and think.
While some would undoubtedly rush to cancel _sicko, we can see the ingenuity within his creativity, which is on par with some of the greatest horror writers out there.
After a bell ring in the intro to pay a conceptual nod to the iconic conditioning experiment, Roman Gastelum moves straight in with an amalgam of funk grooves, jazzy timbres, and hip-hop beats in his standout single, Pavlov’s Dogs taken from his debut LP, EQlibrium.
With the single and LP title, we probably don’t need to tell you that the LA-based bassist, vocalist, lyricist, and composer is an intellectual cut above the rest. In fact, if there were any more genius touches to this release, Roman Gastelum’s door would be blown off its hinges after an army of sapiophiles came knocking. But it is far from just pretentious art over substance.
The sublime sonic atmosphere conjured around the bruisingly clever bars by the artist who received his Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from the Musicians Institute in LA ensured that even on the 100th listen, you’ll take something new from Pavlov’s Dogs. As the cherry on the urban alchemist cake, the spacey sci-fi surrealism towards the outro is a lesson in experimental scintillation.
Pavlov’s Dogs is now available to stream on Spotify with the rest of the EQlibrium LP which dropped on September 29.
For his latest genre-evading urban earworm, FEEL THE HEAT, the virally successful artist Tony Newbury fused the bass of Boom Bap beats with rap bars which run with strikingly sharp reminiscences of Eminem and lush layers of trappy RnB.
To accentuate the sticky-sweet melodic appeal to the nth degree, when Newbury wasn’t blazing through his high-fire rap bars, he was reeling you further into the polished and sun-soaked production with clever pop hooks.
It comes as no surprise that the New Jersey recording artist has made a name for himself in the local scene and beyond since making his debut. In addition to the clear crossover appeal in his sonic aesthetics, which vary from release to release, Newbury remains committed to helping his ever-growing army of fans understand the chaos of the ride we’re all on. Everything is relative, but as his lyrics prove, plenty is universal, including the ability to appreciate the artistry in his uninhibited expression.
FEEL THE HEAT was officially released on September 25; start your obsession with the seminal track by heading over to Spotify.
A blast of retro boom bap hit the airwaves when the latest satirically sharp rap track, RICH THOUGHTZ!, dropped as a courtesy of the ultimate urban antagonist, Jah-Sun Collier, who is also well-known as a popular YouTuber, actor, and video editor.
By futuristically reconfiguring the retro tones and adding a further lyrical trajectory to the evolution of hip-hop, the US rapper and record producer did far more than revisit vintage sounds with his tongue-in-cheek track that points out how contrived society has become through its obsession with capitalist gains.
He set the resilience to mercenary vanity bar transcendently high with the introspection-rich hit that proves that being rich in any real sense has no correlation to numbers on a screen, the brand names on your clothes or the car you drive.
RICH THOUGHTZ was officially released on September 1st. Stream it on YouTube.
Canada’s hottest RnB artist, Specyal T, brought enough heat in her LP, Foresight, to start an inferno. The standout single, Double Take, runs through with funk-laced retro synths to carve the grooves and boom-bap beats to deliver rhythms that will intoxicate your rhythmic pulses.
With the fiery old school rap bars in the verses and lashings of luxe soul in the harmonised vocal lines, Specyal T ensured their seminal hit was dripping in dynamism to accentuate the pioneered and manicured nostalgia.
The Caribbean-Canadian artist splits her talents between her vocations as a pro musician, actor and executive; her multi-award-winning tracks have featured on several popular TV channels, and her hits have been heard on commercial radio stations across Europe and North America. After working its way into her boundary-pushing LP, Double Take will also feature in the soundtrack to the 2023 film Alarmed.
Stream the Album Version of Double Take for yourselves by heading over to Soundcloud.
After sensing the contemporary inclination towards retro aesthetics and sonics, Tampa, Florida’s hottest hip-pop nostalgist Class Vee doused the airwaves in 80s and 90s hip-pop nostalgia with her latest single, House Party.
While the music video pays an ode to the 1990 film of the same title staring Kid N Play, the single brings a solid slice of 90s boom bap flavour for the ultimate aural escapism from the 21st century. The bass-drenched beats and earwormy grooves beneath Class Vee’s glassy-with-soul vocal lines creates the ultimate feel-good anthem, which reminds the listener that life is for living and parties are for attending.
Following the release of House Party, the singer-songwriter will release her Arianna Grande-inspired single, Wierdos, on the 30th of July and perform at New York Fashion Week in September 2023.
Class Vee said:
“With my latest single, I wanted to create nostalgia; a lot of people miss the 80s and 90s; House Party is high vibe hip-pop invitation back there.”
American Rapper Dicey Ray delivered a fiery slice of boom bap with his latest single, Brown Boy, which acts as a window into his world as a rap artist, basketball player, entrepreneur, and cannabis connoisseur from Baltimore.
With a little bit of Eastern flavour over the booming bass drums and sharp snares, Dicey Ray effortlessly scribed his urban sonic signature in this cheeky exposition on his world that revolves around a heavy grind, independent resilience and succeeding in spite of expectation.
Brown Boy isn’t your archetypal motivational hustler hip hop track, but by the time the dynamically energetic hit has concluded, you might just find that you’re sharing his sunny side up determined personality.
Baltimore rapper, B.A.G Freaky, is fresh from the release of his cinematic bass-drenched rap track, SEGREGATION; the massive production would barely register on the extreme end of the Richter scale.
Between the cheeky hustler wordplay in the lyrics, the energetic delivery and the boom-bap rooted beats, SEGREGATION is undoubtedly one of the most visceral independent hip hop releases to hit the airwaves this year. It scarcely comes as a surprise that B.A.G Freaky is making a steady ascent up from the underground with his loyal fans that are eating up his fiery approach to hip hop.
SEGREGATION is now available to stream on Spotify.
Taken from his debut album, So Sincere, the up-and-coming RnB artist Ta’Sj Pure’s single, Lies, is one of the best introductions to his melodically soulful sonic signature.
After a wavey intro, the New Jersey native goes in heavy with the lyrical evocative weight in his effect-laden Trap-style harmonised vocal timbre while the single progresses into experimentalism scarcely seen in the RnB scene. His tendency to play with melody and swathes of off-kilter bass transforms Lies into a completely unique RnB aesthetic that any innovation seekers will easily be sated by.
Check out Ta’Sj Pure’s debut album, So Sincere, on Spotify.
Leaning on his early days as a slam poet, the Harlem, New York-born and raised songwriter and rapper Sharif Hassan wore his authentic heart on his sleeve in his standout 2022 single, Youtruth.
The intuitive percussion constructs fluid rhythm around the contemporary beats that solidify the sonic platform Hassan’s sweetly harmonic bars fall into.
Even though it only runs through for 1:48, the urban poet doesn’t fail to wrap you up in his infectious vibe, which balances optimism with realism. For those chilled summer nights, you couldn’t ask for a better hip hop earworm. If his vocals don’t make you recognise your soul as much as his, you can probably consider it defunct.