Watch: Will Brennan ft. Jenny Reynolds—”RNR 2.0″ (Prod. EthniKids)

Perfectly melding together the worlds of hip-hop and electronica, Will Brennan releases the visuals for his song “RNR 2.0.” The “2.0” comes from the fact that this is a reproduction of the original which was released over a year ago. The genius behind this track is Will Brennan’s outstanding ability to rap like one of the best in the industry, but with a sharp sensibility and attention to the soulful, electronic beat produced by EthniKids. It also doesn’t hurt that Jenny Reynolds, who sings the hook, is a very attractive young woman with a lovely voice. Will Brennan is a rare breed on his record label Dim Mak which is owned by Steve Aoki and primarily promotes electronic music, but he seems to use it to his advantage by appropriating the genre into his own work. Check out the Florida rapper flex his lyrical muscle alongside Jenny Reynolds in the video above and, should you feel so inclined, download the more electronic version below. Continue reading

Download: Cage—”This Place”

I can’t begin to express the amount of respect that I continue to grow for New York rapper Cage and his forthcoming album Kill The Architect. He’s only put out two singles so far and I’m already hooked. His first single “The Hunt” is a raw and haunting track with graphic lyrics such as “I cut my heart open for you so I can feel it bleed/ fuck who you like I’m the only rapper that you really need.” His second single, “This Place,” builds upon the dark and introspective theme created by the first with a chorus that begins “every day people die in this place/ maybe it was you who should’ve died in this place.” It appears as if Cage is exploring an ugly side to himself that he has yet to reveal to the public which results in something deeply personal and strangely beautiful. As inspiring as the lyrics may be, however, a lot of the credit must also go to Mighty Mi and his contribution to the hard-hitting beats on the last two singles. On “The Hunt” he provides a slow and eerie beat that meshes really well with Cage’s vocals. On “This Place,” which was co-produced by Slugworth, the two come up with a drum-break beat that contains a chorus that is paradoxically noble yet tragic sounding, if that makes any sense. This version of “This Place” appears to be an alternate version of what will be on the album, which means that the album version has to be like ten times better, right? The two singles that Cage has released so far provide strong insight into what the new album as a whole is going to sound like: It’s going to be rugged, it’s going be deep, but above all, it’s going to be really dope. Kill The Architect is not set to release until October 22 so let’s hope that he keeps the singles coming in the meantime. Listen to and download the single via the SoundCloud player below.

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Download: Knifefight—”Knifefight”

New York rapper Beans a.k.a. Knifefight teams up with Ghostly producer Mux Mool and Los Angeles based record label Anticon to release Knifefight, the EP. Although it’s a certified art-rap album that lives up to the alternative standards of its record label, Knifefight also has a crossover appeal that speaks to listeners that may not be familiar with the history and repertoire of Anticon. Beans is by no means a newcomer to the rap game which shows in his capacity to deliver sharp and synchronized lyrics effortlessly. However, he also flaunts his mastery over verse by including off-rhyme lyrics that value message over sound. Mux Mool holds his own with beats that are original and just plain dope. It comes as no surprise that such talent is signed to Ghostly International, but it’s also nice to know that he has the chops to produce beats that make for good rap albums. All his beats are up-tempo and as colorful as Beans’ lyrics. The album features guest artists such as Cities Aviv, Kool AD, and Sub Con. Listen to Knifefight below and go to the Bandcamp page to download the “name-your-price” album. Also, look out for a future project by Beans under the Anticon label titled Wolves of the World. Continue reading

Download: J’Von & Ackryte—”Aqua”

If J’Von and Ackryte’s album Aqua doesn’t already belong to your music library, it should, not only because it’s free (link below), but also because it’s that soulful hip-hop that you have to throw on every once in a while after you get off work/school and need something to relax to. The jazz-like atmosphere of the album is created in part by Ackryte, an up-and-coming producer out of Minneapolis. His solo album, Overly was released via HW&W Recordings and is a testament to both Ackryte’s interest in music production and his abilities in making funky electronic music. His beats possess a highly-refined sensitivity to drums and melodies that’s comparable to producers such as Ta-ku or Sango.

J’Von is the lyrical equivalent to Ackryte which is why the two come together so harmoniously in Aqua. He’s based out of Seattle and displays an intelligence in his raps that others should be envious of. J’Von also has a natural and comfortable approach behind the mic and apparently in front of the camera as well—as evidenced by the visuals for “Go.” For what looks to be his first full-length album, he does well to provide diverse and high-quality lyrics. One thing to note about J’Von’s raps are his ad-libs which, at times, come off sounding like something from a Quasimoto album. Not sure if this is intentional or purely coincidental, but as a Madlib fan, I’m perfectly okay with it especially since he does it rather well.

Below is the video for “Go” which was released last week and is from Aqua. It features professional quality visuals, a well-developed storyline, and even an impressive fight scene. After watching the video, take a listen to the album via the Bandcamp music player below. If you like what you hear, click on the respective link below to download Aqua for free.  Continue reading

Download: Oisima ft. Annabel Weston—”Everything About Her” (Ta-ku Remix)

Ta-ku takes apart, re-arranges, then puts back together Oisima’s track “Everything About Her” in a way that only he knows how to do so well. “Everything About Her” is the lead-single for Oisima’s album “Nicaragua Nights LP” which features Annabel Weston and is set to drop at an unknown time later this year. Although the original version of the song is more than enjoyable, Ta-ku gives it the drums and melody it needs to stand alone as a beat. A highlight in the track comes about 90 seconds in when the beat shifts dramatically and a funky violin sample begins to play. Listen to Ta-ku’s remix of “Everything About Her” below and download it for free (or for however much you’re willing to give) via the Bancamp page.  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

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

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