The mathematician Andy Hildebrand might have made his name designing an algorithm to help Exxon find oil drilling sites, but his greatest gift to the twenty-first century has to be Antares and the delivery of Auto Tune. Sure, it might have originally been designed as an aid to correcting ‘bad pitch’ and make vocals more expressive, but – like most music and production technology – artists soon realised the potential for its use as an artistic effect in its own right; through Lil Wayne and Kanye West to the master exponent extraordinaire – the ‘T-Pain effect’ – Auto Tune is to hip hop what the overdriven Marshall is to rock n’ roll.
Here, on ‘I Feel Like The Man’, Ligor Stepanov – a.k.a. 4N – takes that sound – added to a dash of beautifully applied slapback vocal echo – to a slamming, trappy hip hop statement of intent. Thunderous gated bass, cracky, snappy hi hats, snare rimshots, and handclaps sit in a deep, driving backing track behind Ligor’s freestyled rhymes, alternately poetic and melodic and rapidfire and fractious.
“The whole world’s gonna hear my sound” snaps 4N on ‘I Feel Like The Man’; on the basis of this, he’s probably absolutely right.
Who doesn’t love a good, gritty ode to dreaming and aspiration and a message to a lost heart? All of us, surely, if only so we can feel better about ourselves for a few minutes? With Ki$ama’s ‘Foreign Cars’, we get the story of deceit and devotion, a modern freestyling hip hop tale of betrayal and requital over a trappy, chiming beats background.
From Ki$ama’s ‘Passages For The Broken’ album, ‘Foreign Cars’ has a dark, dirty vocal, all damage and desire and a yearning to prove oneself after duplicity and abandonment. It’s doomy and menacing in places, a clear shout of self-betterment in the ‘So many times you broke my heart/ One day I’ll be in foreign cars’ lyric which forms the chorus hook. It’s kind of rancorous without crossing the line into hateful, and there’s a clear hopefulness in the appetite for amelioration and progress pasted throughout the lyrics.
With dark and bouncy light textures all interweaving in the colossal new drop ‘Due Time’ from Rap legend Threeseven, you’ll be immersed from the first verse.
From there on out, you’ll be locked into the masterful grind which follows a mesmeric pace, making it impossible not to get locked into the introspective-deep lyrics. If you want to hear what raw convictive resilience sounds like, hit play and find out.
Without any hint of self-aggrandized ego, Threeseven serves pure determination through the lyrics in Due Time. It really is only a matter of time before big things start to happen for them and their evocatively compelling sound.
You can check out Due Time for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud.
‘Ysl’ is the second release to drop from trailblazing Rap artist B.A. Talks, with elements of Grime in the EDM Hip Hop production, the beats are just as domineering as B.A. Talks’ feverishly multilingual vocals.
Not only is the monocultural mould shattered with Ysl, but the artist also melds a myriad of stylic elements from across the urban aural spectrum to ensure that nothing about it feels assimilative. From Drill to Grime to Trap, it’s all there in a stylistic rhythmic storm. Additionally, you’d be hard-pressed to find an artist projecting just as much passion into their music. He’s definitely one to watch.
Ysl is available to stream via all major platforms via this link.
Indie Hip Hop artist Mikey dropped their soul-searching single “Sacrifices” earlier this year. With plenty of humbling and inspiring Hip Hop in the pipeline, there has never been a better time to jump on their sound.
With the repetition of the question “why me?” Mikey hammers home the injustice in the disparity of fairness. But within the verses of the cutting Indie Hip Hop single you’ll find positivity which allows the listener to realise that despite how unfair the hand you’ve been dealt or what struggles are put in front of you, you have the power to overcome them.
With old school bluesy tantalising guitar tones finding synergy with the concise Trap beats, the instrumentals offer plenty of depth, but that aural alchemy is nothing in comparison to the powerful lyricism which is forceful enough to seismically shift your mindset.
You can check out the official video to Sacrifices by heading over to YouTube.
Manchester rapper Ice D spits real street stories on ‘Felony‘. This is a raw track that has a freestyle type vibe to it and this hits home real hard.
With an original style and plenty and trap-filled busty beats that bounce around like the real word on the streets. Life comes real fast and you need to know the time to survive. This young rapper has a rap delivery that seems to improve as the track going on, a true sign of things that are to come.
Life can get real so quickly and with stories of what goes down in the dark alleys, portrays a musician who knows who he is and this isn’t some lame fake track unlike a lot of the new Hip Hop out there. Expect big things if he can maintain focus and not get wrapped up and gassed with all the easy temptations of the music game that can be so harsh for the naive. Ice D is only getting started on ‘Felony‘.
What do you do when you’re 19, going through a breakup, and quarantined at your grandparent’s house with no microphone? Well, you call up your friend and get him to ‘Voice Memo’ you vocals to your new track, of course. Never let circumstances get in the way of creativity.
And with that, evan. wrote and produced ‘Do It All Again’, his debut single, with vocals added by Xodrew – a plaintive, trappy hip hop epic, all deep beats and synth tags, Xodrew’s rapped delivery pushed high, front and centre. Sitting at a slightly-hotter-than-dubstep 150 BPM, ‘Do It All Again’ falls just in the perfect groove between dubstep and drum & bass, but with a melancholic piano hook and a deep, reverby feel that perfectly matches the lyrical subject matter. ‘Do It All Again’ is a mature, intelligent debut from a songwriter who’s clearly got significant potential.
Up and coming Hip Hop artist 2ODIAC dropped one of the hottest tracks of 2020 with TUT, if you missed it, it is our pleasure to introduce you to the fierce instrumental flow and Rap verses which may as well have been spat by a viper.
TUT runs through as a visceral offering of Old School Hip Hop and New Wave Trap, with plenty of theatrical touches to the mix, 2ODIAC brings the vitality which the airwaves have been crying out for.
If the future of Hip Hop was placed in his hands, it would be more than safe. His tracks evoke emotion and arrest rhythmic pulses simultaneously. What more could you possibly ask for?
You can check out the official video to TUT for yourselves by heading over to YouTube.
From Tachini’s fresh EP ‘Broken’, ‘Danii’ is a chilled, space-filled ode to vulnerability and a lover lost to suicide. Heartfelt, beautiful, and tragic all at once, ‘Danii’ pays tribute through Tachini’s honest, reflective rap style, consoling and celebrating whilst never feeling self-conscious or forced. Tachini is open about his own battles with depression and anxiety, and that frailty comes through in the track’s sparse arrangement and instrumentation.
Invoking comparisons in such a personal and intimate piece of music is always hard, but the influences of artists such as Lil Peep and XXX Tentacion are undeniable here. ‘Danii’ is an open, sincere and profound track, almost conversational in its delivery. Candid and affectionate and yet immediately edifying and accessible, ‘Danii’ is both a fitting tribute and a gentle, delicate single in its own right.
You can see Sergio’s video for ‘Danii’ on YouTube.
“College” is the second single to drop from 18degreeznorth’s upcoming EP “Sinless Mixtape” which relays hard-hitting resonant rap bars in the up and coming artist’s hypnotically distinctive style.
The artist’s Caribbean verses run through as smooth as butter while the bass-riding beats bring a strong rhythmic pulse to the release which drips with Hip Hop nostalgia, all the while offering a fresh contemporary Trap sound which you would be hard-pressed to find to find elsewhere.
College definitely isn’t lacking in conviction. Yet, the most striking component to the mix is the soul offered by the accessibly magnetic artist who we hope to hear much more from in 2020 and beyond.
You can check out the official animated music video to 18degreeznorth’s single College which premiered on Oct 28th via YouTube.