Listen: M.I.A.—”Come Walk With Me”

There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding M.I.A.’s newest album, Matangi, such as threats from the artist herself to leak the album and changes to the release date. Not really sure what it’s all about, but amidst it all comes a preview, that is a minute-and-a-half long, of a song titled “Come Walk With Me.” It should get a lot of plays on the radio considering how catchy the tune is, but it’ll still be nice to know what the song, in its entirety, sounds like. Preview M.I.A.’s “Come Walk With Me” below.

UPDATE: Below is the full-length version of the song, which was released on September 2, and it’s safe to say that it shattered the expectations of anyone who heard the preview. Although this version may not be the same as the album version, it has been dubbed the official single version and is available for purchase on iTunes. Listen to “Come Walk With Me” in its entirety below.  Continue reading

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Watch: Big Sean—”10 2 10″

Big Sean goes all out in his latest music video “10 2 10.” Directed by Mike Carson and Mike Waxx, the visuals take an original and artistic approach to one of Big Sean’s more daring works. The beauty that one would expect from surroundings such as those in the video, which look like an isolated coast in Brazil, are transformed into something menacing with the transposing of lush green into magenta hues. The theme is further reinforced with ominous storm clouds that loom overhead at dusk. It all lends credence to Big Sean’s growing fears of failure that he expresses in the chorus as “nightmares of losing everything boost my adrenaline.” These dark thoughts are offset, however, by comical lines such as “I woke up working like I’m Mexican” and more common Big Sean metaphors such as “My homeboy still gon’ pull up on them rims big as a Ferris wheel/ So many rides up on the curb my lil cuz thought the fair was here.” Despite its highlights, “10 2 10” seems like a rather short and unfulfilling song to invest so much money into. Not sure if that translates into the album as a whole, but you can be judge of that. “10 2 10” is from Big Sean’s latest album Hall Of Fame which is out now. Check out the video below. Continue reading

Download: GoldLink—”On & On” (Prod. Kaytranada)

One thing that you can’t hold against Virginia rapper Goldlink is that he doesn’t have great production behind him. With songs featuring stellar producers such as Ta-ku, Sango, and in the case of this song “On & On,” Kaytranada.  This particular beat is so good, in fact, that it doesn’t necessarily need a rapper to accompany it which is probably why GoldLink doesn’t show up for about a minute after it begins. It even features its own beautiful vocals by Snakehips who sings the moving chorus “Oh my love, just set me free, take away the leash that ties me on to you./
Oh my love, why won’t you leave? Take away your hand so I can leave untouched from you.” Clearly, the beat wasn’t produced exclusively for GoldLink, but instead was just appropriated by him—still, it’s worth commenting on and listening to if not for anything else. However, GoldLink is worth mentioning as well. Although his voice and lyrics may be a little jarring initially—they seem to strongly juxtapose the warm beat by Kaytranada—they have a way of growing on you and eventually fusing really well with the music. GoldLink may sound a little like Chingy (if you can remember that far back into the annals of Hip-Hip) but his content and beat selection provide a great alternative to that of his contemporaries. Listen to and download “On & On” below. Continue reading

Listen: JMSN—”Love & Pain” EP

The lead-single for JMSN’s album Priscilla, which was later accompanied by visuals, is getting the red-carpet treatment with the release of an EP which features nine tracks, each of which is a remix to the original “Love & Pain” song. It’s truly a star-studded event with remixes by big names such as Ta-ku, Kaytranada, Sango, and Dpat, just to mention a few. And you know they’re doing something right when you can listen to the album the whole way through without feeling like you heard the same song twice. Each one of the producers takes a unique approach in the dismantling and reconstruction of the emotionally charged single by JMSN. Check out all the different remixes on the Love & Pain EP below. My favorite—in case you were interested—is the remix by Ta-ku.  Continue reading

Download: JMSN x Ab-Soul—”You’re Gone” (IAMNOBODI Remix)

IAMNOBODI brings together JMSN’s lofty sounds with Ab-Soul’s corporal lyrics to produce a solid remix for “You’re Gone”. For those who may be unfamiliar with these artists, JMSN is a highly respected producer and singer who recently released an album titled Priscilla and has previously worked with artists such as Kendrick Lamar on his good kid, m.A.A.d. city album. Ab-soul is a rapper from Los Angeles, who’s also a member of Black Hippy—a collective of artists from L.A. including Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, and Jay Rock. “You’re Gone” was just released about an hour ago and appears to be part of a project that has yet to receive much attention, but is sure to be amazing. The album will be a collaboration between JMSN and Ab-Soul and is titled Unit 6, which can be seen in the artwork for this single. A release date for Unit 6 has yet to be made public. Listen to and download the remix to “You’re Gone” by IAMNOBODI below.  Continue reading

Listen: MØ—”XXX 88″ (Prod. Diplo)

As if Diplo’s résumé wasn’t already impressive enough, the L.A.-based producer has now teamed up with Danish singer/songwriter MØ to add yet another hit-record under his belt. The new track, which is titled “XXX 88” highlights MØ’s mesmerizing voice with Diplo’s insanely awesome beat. The synths and bass jump out at the listener in perfect harmony with MØ’s deep-resonating vocals. There’s a graceful build in the track to the three-minute mark when everything gets really intense, but the subtle yet gripping opening lyrics are what really grab your attention. You can expect to hear more from MØ in the coming weeks as she prepares for the release of her EP on October 20, which will include “XXX 88.” Until then, remain content with the fact that this song (below) is enjoyable to listen to over and over again.  Continue reading

Download: Drake ft. Sampha—”The Motion” (Sango Remix)

Someone should have seen this coming from a mile away. Sango’s sultry beats are a perfect match for Drake’s heart-felt lyrics. So much so, in fact, that I could virtually hear Drake singing over the majority of Sango’s album North, which was recently released on July 23. On this track—”The Motion” which will be featured on Drake’s upcoming album Nothing Was The Same—Sango perfectly reconfigures the beat by adding a bass and drum-kick that were desperately lacking from the original as well as inserting a hi-hat and clap that help give the beat more structure and the illusion of a faster tempo. We don’t really hear much from Drake, or Sampha for that matter, except for a distant repetition of the chorus, which is fine by me since the beat is more than satisfying on its own. Sango is a producer that you definitely want to be on the lookout for in the future. Listen to and download his remix to “The Motion” below. Continue reading

Watch: Jay Z ft. Justin Timberlake—”Holy Grail”

Jay Z presents the world with visuals for his song “Holy Grail” from his album Magna Carta Holy Grail, which features Justin Timberlake. Don’t be alarmed when you start to notice shifts in tempo and glitch-like effects all throughout the video—the track has been significantly altered in parts to adapt itself to the screen and to reinforce a powerfully dark theme. In it, we see a beautiful representation of what’s at the core of Jay Z’s lyrics: the magnification of hardship and failure on a grander scale and the emptiness that it accompanies despite the wealth. This manifests itself in a mansion, which is at the height of luxury and grandeur, that is quickly deteriorating and collecting puddles. Inside, there are expensive adornments such as gold—embroidered, baroque-style painting-frames, a pyramid of champagne glasses, sculptures, and large stacks of cash, but that’s it—everything else is vacant. This is contrasted by masked-men dressed in suits carrying and shooting off guns and the look of constant and profound consternation by both Jay Z and Justin Timberlake. It’s a very moving and attention-grabbing video that does well to hold up to the standards set by Jay Z’s music. Check out the visuals for “Holy Grail” featuring Justin Timberlake below.  Continue reading

Listen: Lucki Eck$ ft. Monster Mike—”Whole Stain”

Lucki Eck$ isn’t your traditional type of rapper and the production backing him aren’t your typical kinds of beats. It makes sense considering the title of his last mixtape Alternative Trap which was released July 25. Although other fellow and newly emerging Chicago emcees such as Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa don’t neatly fit within the parameters of what we’ve come to expect from rappers, Lucki Eck$ is still more subversive. He has a very slow flow that gives the listener the impression that he’s perpetually high off promethazine, yet the fact that he never talks about it leaves you looking elsewhere for answers. Whatever the reason may be for his slow motion raps, if given the opportunity, Lucki Eck$’ unique style has a way of growing on the listener in a lulling and hypnotic manner. His latest track “Whole Stain” featuring Monster Mike isn’t any different. The beat, which was produced by Plu2o Nash—who played a principal role in production on Alternative Trap—does an especially good job of complementing Lucki Eck$’ style with a minimal, bass-heavy beat that can be likened to trap, but really isn’t. Listen to “Whole Stain” below. Also, take a look at his visuals for “Everything Out$ide” which belongs to Alternative Trap and if you like it, download his album here.   Continue reading

Watch: Shigeto—”Detroit Part 1″

Critically acclaimed Michigan producer Shigeto releases his third full-length album called No Better Time Than Now. In celebration and promotion for the new work, he teamed up with director Rafe Scobeythal to provide his fans with visuals to his single “Detroit Part 1” which is as much a masterpiece as the beat. In it, we see Shigeto entering and exiting both the real-world and the dream-world and wandering about everywhere in-between. Nothing else about the video—whose well-developed visuals should qualify it to be treated as a short film—is very clear, but it’s all very stunning and helps the listener to better understand what it is that Shigeto is attempting to get at with his music. “Detroit Part 1” is a beat-laden track with ethereal soundscapes that produce a rich yet dark musical atmosphere that is absolutely enthralling. Each measure of the beat draws the listener deeper into rumination until found occupying some of the most profound reservoirs of one’s thoughts. It should go without saying (after listening) that his music has a little of that Flying Lotus vibe to it, which is not surprising considering that they both have backgrounds in jazz. No Better Time Than Now was released via Ghostly and can purchased at Insound Vinyl or Amazon. Although there’s no risk-factor involved in doing so, it never hurts to listen to another track of his beforehand. After checking out “Detroit Part 1” above, listen to “Perfect Crime” below. Continue reading

Watch: Danny Brown—”ODB” (Prod. Paul White)

The chorus for Danny Brown’s latest single “ODB” is slightly too raunchy to transcribe here, and perhaps the other three-quarters of the song as well, but that, by no means, should act as a deterrent to your watching/listening to it above. Produced by a Rhizome favorite, Paul White, who is from the U.K. and has been previously mentioned by Danny Brown as one of his favorite producers, “ODB” takes you on a trippy adventure through sight and sound—kind of like the Twilight Zone, but less mind-bending and more disorienting. The beat features wild and spacey synths with heavy, pitch-bending wobble-effects that’s oddly reminiscent of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters. The far-out music is only surpassed by the psychedelic and lo-fi visuals provided by RUFFMERCY. Every element of “ODB” works in unison to startle your senses and to provide you with, yet again, a wholly original Danny Brown song.  “ODB” comes from Danny Brown’s album OLD which is expected to be released on September 30.  Continue reading

Watch: Bryant Dope ft. ANTHM—”NNY”

There are a number of things occurring in New York hip-hop right now and unless you’re paying close attention it’s easy to lose sight of some of it. One of those things is the Harlem Renaissance scene involving, most notably, the A$AP Mob, but more specifically, A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg. Lesser known, but equally part of this scene are Vinny Cha$e and Kid Art and their whole Cheers Club camp. Then you have their offshoots or contemporaries such as The Underachievers and Flatbush Zombies in Flatbush, Joey Bada$$ in Brooklyn, and then Action Bronson in Queens. But there appears to be a new movement emerging out of the Big Apple that happens to be lurking deeper within the shadows of the city’s skyscrapers despite its more buoyant and straight-forward approach. One member of this new wave is Black Dave who recently dropped his single “Taking It Back” for his mixtape Black Bart being released September 17. Another member—and who this post is dedicated to in weird and indirect sort of way—is Bryant Dope who released his appropriately titled mixtape New New York in May. Today, Bryant Dope dropped the visuals for his latest single “NNY” which features fellow New Yorker ANTHM. The beat for NNY was produced by Hannibal King and the video directed by both Bryant Dope and Max Goodrich. In it, Dope and ANTHM can be seen New Yorkin’ it up on rooftops and neglected neighborhoods with cool and charismatic flows that we have all come to love and expect from rappers from where the art-form originated. Bryant Dope even has another level of New York-ness to him(as if the Queen’s native needs any more), that is, his voice (or maybe just rhythm), which can be likened to that of AZ. Also, Bryant Dope may be sporting the same red bucket hat that Black Dave wore in “Taking It Back” but sources have yet to confirm this. All-in-all, “NNY” has that jazzy New York hip-hop beat and flow that makes you want to throw it on in the morning and get your day started on a good note. Check out the visuals above and download his album New New York below. Continue reading

Listen: Bambu—”Son Of A Gun”

What is Los Angeles hip-hop? Before engaging in this discussion, it’s important to draw a distinction between L.A. hip-hop and L.A. rap. L.A. rap most often falls within the category of gangster rap, of which Los Angeles has a long history beginning with Eazy-E and N.W.A and stretching all the way to The Game (this lineage, of course, includes Snoop Dogg & The Dogg Pound, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Tupac). Kendrick Lamar and Black Hippy may be the latest contenders for the title, but that’s debatable considering their personas and deviation from traditional gangster-rap tropes, however slight it may be. Then you have artists like OFWGKTA, which includes Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt. It’s safe to say that despite their aggressive nature and rough edges, Odd Future rappers and affiliates are not gangster rap, however, their rejection of widely-accepted mediums of hip-hop also excludes them from being categorized as traditional L.A. hip-hop. Tyler the Creator and other artists of that ilk occupy more of a grey-zone than anything, which brings us to the other end of the spectrum. Continue reading

Listen: Natasha Kmeto—”Dirty Mind Melt” (Sweatson Klank Remix)

Leave it to Alpha Pup affiliate Sweatson Klank (shown below), formerly known as Take, to take a track such as “Dirty Mind Melt” by Natasha Kmeto (shown above), who is from Portland, Oregon, and transform it into the lovely beat-oriented remix that it is. There’s something about the lofty synths and romantic vocals that bring to mind smooth jazz and 80’s R&B, but with a Hip-Hop twist, which of course should be expected from the Los Angeles beatsmith. The intro to this song, with its profoundly evocative piano keys, is exceptionally mesmerizing and immediately draws the listener in. Also, Sweatson Klank’s drum selection and pattern couldn’t be any better—it’s a subtle yet much appreciated dimension for beat lovers. Without anything negative to say about Natasha Kmeto’s remix and without anymore accolades left to give to Sweatson Klank, there’s nothing else left to do but listen to “Dirty Mind Melt” below. Enjoy.   Continue reading

Listen: A$AP Rocky—”(Untitled)”

A$AP Rocky goes two minutes without a hook on his latest track which got leaked from the forthcoming GTA V soundtrack. In it, he addresses just about everything one would find appropriate for the highly anticipated video game: guns, drugs, and flashy cars. He starts off the verse by saying “Niggas pistol poppin’ like it’s 1999” which should give you pretty a good idea about how the rest ensues. Considering that the theme for GTA V basically parallels, if not embodies, the life that rappers have made standard in their lyrics, this untitled song from A$AP Rocky should fit in pretty well with the rest of the tracklist for the soundtrack, which has also been leaked and can be seen in the link below. This is the second leaked song from the album—the first being Tyler the Creator’s “Garbage.” It would be nice to know who produced the synthy, looped beat, but we’ll probably have to wait until the official soundtrack for GTA V is released to figure that out. Until then, satisfy your A$AP Rocky needs below. Continue reading

Listen: Sol ft. Shayhan—”Tomorrow”

I’m chillin’ on the rooftop/I came a long way from the boondocks/and I grew up on that Tupac/so I rock “California Love” in my boombox” is how Sol starts off his new single “Tomorrow” and it only gets better from there. Featuring Shayhan on the hook “Tomorrow,” is an easy-going and inspirational song that places emphasis on one’s goals as opposed to his or her current plight. As always, the Portland, Seattle, rapper uses his skills to tell a story about hardship and success without ever missing a beat. This song is a great contrast to his lead single, “Jump In,” which was released earlier this year and is more fast-paced and light-hearted. Both “Jump In” and “Tomorrow” will be featured on Sol’s upcoming album Eyes Open which will be released on September 10. The beat for “Tomorrow” is also something to take note of, which was produced by Elan Wright. Take a listen to Sol’s latest creation below. Continue reading

Listen: YC The Cynic—”Negus”

Holding true to his name, YC The Cynic takes shots at the society that surrounds him and coming from the Bronx gives him plenty of ammo to work with. Produced by Frank Drake, “Negus” has a smooth and evocative beat that YC The Cynic matches perfectly by painting pictures of ancient Egypt and modern times. An especially powerful verse comes after the first chorus when he says, “Picture langston flipping language dipped in Royal garbs./Marcus Garvey did The Garden in embroidered scarves./Politicians tried to hop the fence and fought the gods./Tossed from Zion all we sighted was a fallen star.” The figures that YC mentions in just these four bars should give you an idea of what kind of cynic he is and the tradition that he follows in. There’s also the title of the track, “Negus,” which has its own implications, but for more on that you should read Dharmic X’s article in the link below. Listen to YC The Cynic’s “Negus” from his upcoming album GNK. Continue reading

Listen: Eminem—”Berzerk”

Ever since the release of “Survival” by Eminem a couple weeks back, fans have been curious to know what the legendary Detroit rapper has in-store for the future. Apparently, it’s the follow-up to his Marshall Mathers LP which is titled, you guessed it, Marshall Mathers LP 2 or MMLP2. “Berzerk” is the first single from the upcoming album, which, interestingly enough, may provide some insight into the way Eminem fans are going to react to it once they hear it—and not necessarily in a good way. Although the new project is to be executive produced by Dr. Dre and the all-too-popular Rick Rubin, its sounds more as if the Beastie Boys sans MCA were behind the mixing boards. The beat has a clear rock sound to it and although Eminem can’t be faulted for his raps which he carries fairly well, as always, it’s difficult to decipher exactly who he’s trying to appeal to or what statement he’s trying to make. Perhaps he’s consciously trying to pay respect to the first white rappers who opened the doors for aspiring artists such as Eminem or maybe it’s something else altogether. Whatever it may be, below is “Berzerk” for your listening pleasure.

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Watch: Daft Punk ft. Pharrell & Nile Rodgers—”Lose Yourself To Dance” (Teaser)

Just as the hypnotic, head-bobbing spell cast upon the world this summer by Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” was beginning to wear off, the team of robot, quasi-music-gods from France thrust themselves upon the eyes and ears of ever-eager listeners with a snippet to their visuals for “Lose Yourself To Dance” at the MTV Video Music Awards yesterday. The song, which features the familiar sounds and faces of Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers, is not only the follow-up single to “Get Lucky,” it’s practically it’s sequel considering its identical lineup and similar tune. However, that’s not enough to deter Daft Punk aficionados and music-lovers alike from getting down to “Lose Yourself To Dance.” It is important to note, however, that despite its similar genetic make-up, the latest single from the international duo is a little slower and calmer than its predecessor. Still, the visuals for “Lose Yourself To Dance” embody all of the feel-good, dance-music energy that fans have come to love from Daft Punk. Furthermore, the quartet is draped up in sparkly, silver-sequenced suits while the extras—who dance in pyramid formation with Pharrell, Nile Rodgers, and the rest as the capstone—look as if straight out of the Soul Train, and appropriately so. What is there not to love? Get your groove on with Daft Punk et al below. Continue reading

Listen: Wiz Khalifa—”Look What I Got On”

Listen to Wiz Khalifa get serious about his swag on this new track titled “Look What I Got On.” It’s an interesting combination between somber beats and raps and a highly energetic chorus and braggadocio lyrical content. While it might be difficult to categorize such an amalgamation of contrasting sentiments,  it’s fairly easy to say that “Look What I Got On” is a track worthy of Wiz Khalifa’s stature. In it, the Pittsburgh rapper does some interesting things with the meter and rhyme of his raps, which is not unlike a typical Wiz Khalifa verse, yet somehow stands out above the rest. He rides the beat exceptionally well, almost in perfect syncopation, and does a great job of flipping his rap when the chorus hits. The release of “Look What I Got On” comes conveniently after the release Wiz Khalifa’s personal line of Converse today and just a week after his latest single “Look Into My Eyes.” Whether or not this single will be included in Blacc Hollywood along with “Look Into My Eyes” is yet to be determined. Listen to the newest track by the Taylor Gang frontman below. Continue reading

Meyhem Lauren ft. AG Da Coroner & Action Bronson—Drug Lords (Prod. Harry Fraud)

Sometimes a few action figures, a master puppeteer, and a well-developed storyline make for a more enjoyable video than all the special effects and scantily dressed women combined. Well, at least that seems to be the case with the release of the latest visuals from Mayhem Lauren’s “Drug Lords” which showcases a raw drum-and-piano beat by Harry Fraud and features tough bars by AG Da Coroner and Action Bronson. With a title like “Drug Lords” it’s not hard to surmise the nature of the lyrics, but the visuals, in addition to the back-and-forth rap choreography (as opposed to the traditional 16 bars) give Mayhem Lauren, and his two New York acolytes, the edge they need make this song stand out. You can find “Drug Lords” on Harry Fraud’s free mixtape Respect The Fly Shit. Watch Action Bronson in action as an action figure above. Continue reading

Fat Joe ft. Action Bronson—Your Honor (Prod. DJ Premier)

A new song produced by DJ Premier shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. He’s been active lately infusing young blood into his work with artists such as Joey Bada$$. But a new song by the Gang Star producer on Fat Joe’s mixtape The Darkside 3 is a little puzzling. Over the stretch of their lengthy careers and residencies in New York, when was the last time, if ever, that Fat Joe and DJ Premier have come together to make a track? Perhaps they were awaiting some strange and inexplicable force to come along and combine their fates. If so, that force has come along in the unlikely form of Queen’s Action Bronson—and thankfully so. Although constructed upon a sample many are familiar with, the beat for “Your Honor” is as good as any, if not better, that DJ Premier has procured in his career. And to the satisfaction of his die-hard fans, Fat Joe and Action Bronson do him justice with two hard-hitting and authentic New York verses—they have a modern flow with an old-school charm. Despite the vast differences in trajectories between Fat Joe and DJ Premier, it’s nice to see them come together and make some real hip-hop together with Action Bronson. Listen to and download “Your Honor” below. Continue reading

Tyler the Creator—Garbage

Tyler the Creator drops his newest joint “Garbage” which will be featured on the soundtrack for Grand Theft Auto V. The chorus, which is a sample, goes “got some dope in the back if you’re tryina’ get high/dope in the back, pretty bitch on my side” and the rest of the song follows suit. Tyler the Creator’s unequivocal voice maps on well to the dark, contemplative beat which sounds like it has the “beep” of a heart monitor weaved into it. It’s an enjoyable and original track by the Odd Future front-man which foreshadows a worthwhile soundtrack from the highly anticipated GTA V. Listen to Tyler the Creator’s “Garbage” below. Continue reading