Browsing Tag

Texas Hip Hop

I AM Cricchi shared how he became a conduit of hope through his eclectically authentic discography in an exclusive interview with A&R Factory

Born in southern Maryland and now based in Texas, Tyler Cricchi, known as I AM Cricchi, presents a compelling narrative in the music world. His journey, transitioning from a typical suburban childhood to grappling with substance abuse in his teenage years, underscores the stark realities that shape his music.

With his vast, eclectic and always raw discography, Cricchi has independently charted multiple times, showcasing his ability to blend genres from hip-hop to country. His music is characterised by its authentic lyrics and versatile delivery, resonating with a wide audience.  In this interview with A&R Factory, we delve into the world of I AM Cricchi, exploring his journey from personal struggles to musical achievements.

I AM Cricchi, welcome to A&R Factory! We’d love to know a little more about your most recent release, Weighted To Breathe featuring Caskey. What’s the story behind the single?

“Weighted To Breathe was written at a time when I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing chasing my dream in music, most regular people usually call it or consider a dream as such, ‘crazy’. The purpose behind this record was to remind myself and anyone else in a similar spot that if we waited or chose to give up, we’d be right back where we were, at a place where most wouldn’t want to be. Some might say at rock bottom. It quickly became one of the biggest solo songs of my career and shortly after I was blessed with the opportunity of having Caskey feature on it. That really proved my point and made everything come full circle because an artist with a much bigger influence and resume thought it was as dope as I did! NEVER GIVE UP!!”

Your upcoming project, The Road Back, talks about overcoming addiction; can you tell us more about the project and the inspiration behind the release?

“Addiction is a topic I hold close to my heart. I personally have been through the depths of hell while abusing drugs and running through the streets. This was my first project with The Lotto Tribe, and I wanted to make sure it was very special because I recognized that they believed in me, similar to the way I believe in myself. I reached out to a hometown producer Tilli Mack and told him I needed something to spill my pain on and thus this record was birthed. The writing aspect of it for me was just a matter of putting myself in the mindset of not ever wanting to go back to my old life. That’s why I’m so inspired after breaking away from it because I never want to go back to that life I used to be, stuck, in. In other words, I wanted it to be the music I wished I had when I was broken and hopeless

More than anything I wanted to create something that could save someone’s life or make a change for someone in a dark time and for me that’s what all this is about. The road back is never easy, but I hope this record gives someone, anyone, hope. It releases on May 3rd, 2024, worldwide, on the first Friday of National Mental Health Awareness month and is supported by the organization, To Write Love On Her Arms which supports mental health.”

How do your most recent releases compare to your past projects like; No Time, Runnin A Lot, I Gotta Grow, and Say Less Do More?

“I definitely don’t fit in any box. I make a variety of genres and I’m always exploring new sounds. The music I write is always dependent on the moment I’m in. Sometimes I’m happy and sometimes I’m not but that’s life and that’s what I put in my music. I don’t over-exaggerate or attempt to portray anything, I’m just me. If there is one thing that ties every song to the next it’s the authenticity of my story. Every song and every word was lived, meant and felt by me. In the end though, all my music is for everyone and anyone. I just want to bring awareness to my story, and my life and give others hope.”

How did you get into music, and where has your creative journey taken you?

“I got into music before I can even remember. My father is what I would call a “beast” on the guitar and loves to play. My dad worked a 9 to 5 for more years than I had been alive, and I never saw the same happiness he had when he was holding that guitar. That put a spark in me. It made me feel that maybe music was where he belonged, but he never tried or never could take the chance to be truly one with.

The ability to write started with my love for poetry in 2nd grade and continued through middle school. It wasn’t until I was in a juvenile youth center that I started to experiment with trying to rap on beats or write with a specific sound in mind. After that, writing music kept me alive through years and years of addiction and depression, almost daily wondering if I should live. It wasn’t until 5 years ago when I got sober that I started to clearly see the vision. Since then, I have hit the iTunes Charts twice independently. I’ve accumulated over a quarter million streams in 2023. I’ve done songs with legends such as Blind Fury, Caskey, Merkules, and many other amazing artists. Most of all I’ve been finding myself along the way and that’s something special to my heart.”

What role has the indie label The Lotto Tribe played in your career?

“That’s a chapter of my life that is just getting started, but something I’m really looking forward to. So far, it’s been nothing but love and solid continuous guidance from them. They continue to bring me confidence and opportunity. They have helped me align contracts with many industry partners and continue to put my name in the right places for growth. I genuinely appreciate them for their work so far and again, I’m very excited to see what the future holds with The Lotto Tribe!”

Which artists inspire you the most, and is there anything else that inspires you to create?

“Artist-wise, I’d say Caskey, Jelly Roll and LaRussell give me the most inspiration currently. The hustle and the constant innovation are something I respect and appreciate from all of them.

I’m inspired by different people at different times, but I often pull my inspiration from my own life. Whatever I’m feeling or whatever I’m dealing with at that moment is what I write about. Music is a way to cope and a safe space for me, so emotions often drive it. I’ll often base the lyrics, beat cadence and melodies off of just how I feel in the moment. Music is something that makes me feel alive and through it, I’ll continue to try my best to be my best.”

Can you tell us a little about your global distribution deal with Memphis’ Select-O-Hits? and being attached to The Orchard?

“This is another chapter of my journey that’s just getting started! Johnny Phillips has been extremely helpful in getting me set up over there at Select-O-Hits and I genuinely look forward to our future years together. They’re very well known from the days of his father Tom and uncle, Sam who founded Sun Records. They’ve also been influential in distributing Memphis hip-hop legends Three 6 Mafia and Lil Wyte. Even Jellyroll had projects through them in his early career. I’m just happy to be here in the now and be a part of something with such a history!”

What else is in the pipeline for you?

“This year will be my greatest yet. My biggest news so far this year will be the full rollout release for the single project with The Lotto Tribe, “The Road Back”. It’s one of my most meaningful pieces to date and I can’t wait to share it with the world. We also have shows lined up across the country including a SXSW visit here in Austin, Texas. I plan on dropping multiple singles and a possible full album once the vibe and timing feels right! There will also be more collaborations, big features and visuals but you’ll just have to follow me and wait to see what things I have in store! This is just the start for me.”

Stream I AM Cricchi on Spotify and discover more about the artist here.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

JAIZE became the voice of reason and rebellion in his standout rap track, FIRE.wav, ft Kwillo

JAIZE, hailing from ATX and one-half of the hip-hop duo Global Octopus, has delivered a potent and thought-provoking track with FIRE.wav from his eponymous EP. Featuring Kwillo, this single is a wavy meditation on the tumultuous times we find ourselves in, a reflection of the chaos and the quest for solace amidst it.

The track stands out for its unflinching stance on the humanitarian crisis in Palestine, a topic many artists shy away from. JAIZE, with his glitchy yet luxurious production, creates a soundscape that visualises the struggle to achieve mental equilibrium in times which normalise humanitarian crimes. His rap bars, delivered with a flawless and steady urgency, do more than just provoke thought; they ignite a fire within, challenging listeners to question and dismantle the oppressive constructs around us.

FIRE.wav is reminiscent of Kanye and Jay Z, yet JAIZE brings fresh conviction to the table while allowing his music to unravel as an authentic expression of himself.  This track is a bold statement, a testament to JAIZE’s ability to blend personal introspection with broader social commentary.

With his self-titled EP, JAIZE has not only created a compelling piece of music but has also positioned himself as a voice of reason and rebellion in an era saturated by superficial sonic themes. His hands-on approach to the EP, handling all the mixing and mastering for the first two tracks, and collaborating with Kwillo for the last three, showcases his dedication to his craft. He’s only going to get bigger from here.

Stream the JAIZE EP which dropped on December 15 on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

DOM – SDA ft Erica Banks: Female Empowerment Has Never Been Fiercer.

Collaborating with her fellow Texas flow queen, Erica Banks, the Houston hip-hop heavyweight, DOM, rolled with all the party-rocking punches in her latest single, SDA.

The Missy Elliot-esque energy as the collaborating artists rap their unfuckwithable-with-attitude and empowering bars ensured that the vox are just as big as the beats in this exemplification of the heights hip-hop acts should strive for in 2023.

Aggression may be the overarching emotion in SDA, but written within the infectious energy is an affirmation that no one will hand you the power and bodily autonomy; you’ve got to take it for yourselves and own it as well as DOM and Erica Banks did in SDA.

As a singer, producer, rapper, and co-owner of VgnBae Music Group and Studios, DOM has exactly what it takes to hold dominion over the Houston hip-hop scene.

Watch the official music video for SDA via YouTube or stream it on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Chizabam cranked up the heat in Dallas with his head spin of a hip-hop anthem, Shame

Dallas rapper, lyricist, poet, producer, and sound engineer Chizabam cranked up the energy to the nth degree in his almost nuclear hip-hop hit, Shame. With the grit of hustler hip-hop, the blazing beats of a body-rocking hip-hop anthem and enough vocal twists to get your head in a spin, Shame is a track you will need to be concussed to forget.

The luminary artist stepped to the mic with a tragically rare sense of authenticity and fiery motivation to verse vindication to his fanbase that is rapidly expanding across the globe in reaction to his juggernautical ability to charge right through his bars like a one-man sonic stampede.

It is only a matter of time before the world recognises Chizabam for the hip-hop heavyweight he is. He’s not an icon in the making; he’s already the complete dynamic package.

Watch the official music video for Shame on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Jaytovxn is on the prowl in his dynamic rap track, Pink Panther

Using the Pink Panther theme tune in his hot summer hip hop drop was a bold move for the 18-year-old Southern rapper, Jaytovxn, but given that the official music video racked up over 40k streams before it fell into our ears, it more than paid off.

His track, Pink Panther, with Ja Morant is a fiery, polished new wave production that lures you in with its convictive charisma, collaborative chemistry and the concise delivery of the bars that snap as hard as the beats.

If you loved the creativity within Pink Panther that uses conceptual twists and turns to keep you immersed in the artistry, you’ll be a sucker for Jaytovxn’s recently released EP, Eclipse. It stands as a testament to the luminary’s ability to meld genres to create his blazing signature that others will undoubtedly be keen to forge and assimilate.

Watch the official music video on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Texas trap crooner, brody, is back in motion with his latest single, RIDE WITH ME

Trap trailblazer brody is back in motion with his latest 2022 single, RIDE WITH ME. The vibe-driven track proves that soulful crooning hooks more than have a place within the genre, especially when they grind along to dance-worthy colourful melodies that will get serotonin spilling to their flow.

The Independent Fort Worth, Texas hailing artist has been turning up the heat even more in the South since his debut single, Roses, dropped in 2020. In addition to cooking up his own energetic hooks, he is the founder and owner of Good Intentions Entertainment, which is set to change the shape of hip hop in the South for the better.

RIDE WITH ME is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Decoy Duns sharpened his razor-sharp flow in his latest rap track, WINDCHIMES

Decoy Duns first hit the Houston hip hop scene in 1998; after a series of successful releases between 2001 and 2010, he took a 10-year hiatus before making a triumphant return in 2020. His latest single, WINDCHIMES, stands as a testament to just how refined his choppy fast bars have become and how much he has sharpened his lyrical wit to complement the flair in his canter.

Yet, it’s the honesty within WINDCHIMES that sets Decoy Duns apart from the rest. It’s rare to get a sense that every bar came straight from the soul, but evidently, he made no bones about exposing impassioned emotion through WINDCHIMES. Production-wise, WINDCHIMES throws ambient elements into the vivacity of the alt-hip-hop instrumentals that are sure to get the dopamine flowing.

Hear the Radio Edit of WINDCHIMES on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Droopy M explains why time isn’t relative in his latest hip hop video, Lost in Time

‘Lost in Time’ is the latest expression-focused Latin-infused rap track from the Texas-based gangster hip hop hustler, Droopy M. Atop the minimalist kicks and 808s, the raw and relatable lyricist finds plenty of room to flex his flair with the written word. In a subtly genius way, Droopy M alludes to the fact that time isn’t universal; it’s individualised by our experiences and senses of entrapment.

It’s safe to say it would take a serious concussion for me to forget the lyric “If your life is on the line then you’re lost in time, hearing voices in your head saying commit the crime”.

The official music video for Lost in Time officially premiered on May 15th. You can check it out via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

themoonmustset made new wave rap wavier in his latest release, Make It Home

From 80s goth to new wave rap, few sounds evade the fusionist style of the up and coming Dallas, TX-native, themoonmustset. His latest single, Make It Home, is a trippy-to-the-point-of-being-ethereal release that uses glitchy distorted beats under his urgent and visceral rap bars.

I’m fairly sure you would have heard the phrase “it’s a vibe” before; this track becomes the epitome of it with its spacey, wavey progressions and the full-frontal human element pouring into the mix through the tuned and effect-laden vocals.

The 22-year-old artist produces, records, mixes and masters every release put out under his name. We can only hope that there are more locked, loaded and ready to drop releases from themoonmustset.

Make It Home is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Baby Tregz delivers emotionally vulnerable aggression in his standout single, The A.

‘The A’ is the standout new wave trap track from the up and coming Lewisville, Texas-residing rapper Baby Tregz’s debut mixtape, PAIN B4 Love. His volatile rap bars mixed with the trippy electronica beats and ethereal female vocal samples pull together to offer an arresting amount of artistic distinction.

In a world full of assimilators, Baby Tregz was bold enough to establish himself as an urban alchemist straight off the bat. The A gives you plenty of layers to get lost in as the fiery yet emotionally vulnerable hit unfolds. We can’t wait to hear what he has in the pipeline after this unforgettable release.

The A was officially released on September 7th; you can check it out for yourselves by heading over to YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast