Watch: Friendzone— “Poly”

Friendzone is a producer duo from the bay-area who have produced for the likes of A$AP Rocky. However, don’t expect any hip-hop beats with their new album DX—they’re on more of an electronic tip. Check out their visuals for their new single Poly above and stream the album below via Bandcamp. Continue reading

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Watch: FKA Twigs—”Papi Pacify”

Check out FKA Twigs get her kinky on in her latest music video “Papi Pacify.” Co-produced by Arca, both the vocals and the beat are highly hypnotic and sensual and fit right in line with her previous release “Water Me.” Her album EP2 will be released on September 17 via Young Turks and if it plans to have more production by Arca, who played an important role on Yeezus, not only should we have an idea of what it’s going to sound like, it should also be a reason to get really excited about it. Watch FKA Twigs’ video “Papi Pacify” below.

[via Pitchfork]

Watch: Dom Kennedy—”South Central Love”

In anticipation of his new album Get Home Safely, which is set to be released on October 1, Dom Kennedy drops visuals for his latest single, “South Central Love.” Just as with most of Dom Kennedy’s work, both the music and the video embody everything that the world has come to imagine when they think about laid-back, west coast hip-hop: the cars, the girls, and that cool, California beat. Although already largely recognized within California and among music aficionados elsewhere, it’s only a matter of time before Dom Kennedy becomes a household name across the nation. He has a flow that’s so smooth it’s deceivingly wholesome. Take this song for example, it’s a love song that talks about finding a real and long-lasting relationship, but tucked within all the lofty romanticism are quick references to drugs and murder and not necessarily as an observer, but rather with Dom Kennedy as the protagonist. However, this in no way takes away from the quality of his music. If anything, it makes it that much better by allowing him to appeal to both conservative and liberal listeners alike. Watch “South Central Love” above—it’s the perfect song for a Sunday afternoon.  Continue reading

Watch: YC the Cynic—”The Heaviest Cross”

New York has steadily been regaining its prominence in hip-hop with the emergence of a slew of artists and groups that having been working with and feeding off each other. Groups like A$AP Mob, The Underachievers, and Flatbush Zombies as well as individual artists such as Joey Bada$$ and Action Bronson all know of each other and have either collaborated together at some point or at least made reference to one another in some form or fashion. You also have newcomers like Black Dave and Bryant Dope who have been taking a more minimalist, nostalgic, and boom-bap approach to their music. Then you have YC the Cynic. Everything from his flow, and its content, to his beats and even his sense of fashion distinctly mark him as belonging to a league of his own. He recently dropped a cleverly titled single, “Negus,” where he touched upon socio-political topics that ranged as far back as ancient Egypt. However, in his video “The Heaviest Cross” he drops the political dynamic to delve deeper into the personal and social issues that afflict him. The visuals demonstrate that he seeks to set himself apart as a lyrically driven emcee by refusing to bolster mainstream tropes such as money and fashion. Interestingly, he possesses a level of weird that is reminiscent of Odd Future, but in a good way. In fact, YC the Cynic almost comes off as a New York Tyler the Creator, but perhaps less extreme. Nevertheless, he has a unique and solid flow that shows a lot of promise for the future. Also, he has some serious production behind him provided by Frank Drake. Watch “The Heaviest Cross” above and if you like what you hear, grab a hold of the Bronx rapper’s newest album, GNKContinue reading

Watch: Lil Debbie—”Bake A Cake”

Sometimes the absurd is just as entertaining as the non-absurd. Or at least that’s the angle that Lil’ Debbie—and the entire White Girl Mob, for that matter—has been taking throughout her musical career. The release of her latest music video “Bake a Cake” does little to dissuade public opinion. In it, you can see the bay area rapper, who is coincidentally the sister of Kreayshawn, embody the height and excess of wealth with references to France’s Palace of Versailles and Marie Antoinette. I guess she deserves some credit, though, for being able to draw parallels between the 18th century and the 21st and for investing what looks to be a lot of time and money into the video’s production. Not to mention that the beat, which is produced by Nik Nikateen, is a monster of beat that allows anything that Lil Debbie says sound good. Still, the young artist does a good job of complementing the musical production, even if that means saying less. Check out the video above and judge for yourself. Continue reading

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

Watch: Big Boi ft. Killer Mike & Little Dragon—”Thom Pettie”

It might sound surreal, but it’s reality—Big Boi recruits Little Dragon and Killer Mike to provide you with that unconventional hip-hop that he does oh so well. For those who are familiar with Big Boi’s album Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, which dropped last year, you’ve probably been knowing about this collaboration, but for those who haven’t, here are the latest visuals to accompany the track. It’s comprised of tour footage and reflects how fun it is to attend a Big Boi concert. Unfortunately, Little Dragon doesn’t make an appearance in the video, but her sensual vocals on the hook are good enough. Killer Mike has been making a splash in the hip-hop scene as of late, especially after his recent joint project with El-P titled Run The Jewels. Being that he’s also from Atlanta and good friends with Big Boi, it’s not surprising to see him play a prominent role in this video. Watch “Thom Pettie” above and grab a hold of Big Boi’s latest album if you haven’t already done so.  Continue reading

Watch: Hodgy Beats ft. Left Brain—”Karateman”

Odd Future’s Hodgy Beats adds visuals to his track “Karateman” from his EP Untitled 2. The song features a spaced-out, bass-heavy beat that’s more than pleasant to listen to. It also features fellow MellowHype member Left Brain who delivers a cool verse in the middle of the track. The video was directed by Rob Haffey & Etienne Maurice and involves Hodgy Beats and Left Brain doing the kinds of things you would expect from Odd Future affiliates at a classic Los Angeles kick-back. Why the track is called “Karateman” is unclear considering that neither the video nor the lyrics refer to anything involving karate, but I guess it shouldn’t be surprising either. Watch the video below and stream the EP via the SoundCloud player that follows. Continue reading

Watch: HBK Gang—”Go Crazy”

Check out Richmond native Iamsu! go crazy with his bay area crew HBK Gang in their music video “Go Crazy.” The track is a single from their album Gang Forever which was released on August 12. Practically all production is in house including some beats by Iamsu! himself. This particular beat was produced by Jay Ant Of The Invasion and the video was directed by Daghe. In it, you can see the entire HBK Gang, and then some, doing the Bernie dance at various locations across the bay area including BART’s Fruitvale station. It’s a fun and energetic song with a funky bass and easy going lyrics. Watch “Go Crazy” below and stream or download Gang Forever by clicking on the following link.  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

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

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

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

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

Robin Thicke ft. Kendrick Lamar & 2 Chainz—Give It 2 You (Remix)

Would you like to see Kendrick Lamar rapping while riding backseat in a tiny monster truck? Would you be interested in knowing what Robin Thicke looks like in a tailored referee-suit? Would you like to hear 2 Chainz refer to himself as the “black Michael Jackson” while dressed in the most ridiculous outfit known to man? If you answered yes to any of the above, check out the latest concoction by Robin Thicke and “Blurred Lines” director Diane Martel above. In it, you’ll not only see everything mentioned, but also the Alabama State University’s dance team (The Stingettes), a women dressed in cotton-candy from head to toe, and a giant ass-float. Although perhaps expected and accepted by Robin Thicke fans far and wide, one can’t help but notice the in-your-face objectification of women in this video as well as the celebration of excess that the western world has so often come under scrutiny for. Whereas singers have often been able to convert sex into art through sexual innuendos, Robin Thicke is so direct about it with lines like “[I have] a big dick for you” that it leaves little to the imagination. Clearly, Thicke is not the first nor will he be the last to propagate such crude material, but it does take away a little from his character and his music. With that being said, and potentially ignored, the song does have a vibrant beat that makes you want to dance and with appearances by 2 Chainz, who is always amusing to watch for his sheer ridiculous factor, and Kendrick Lamar, who has become the most polemical figure in hip-hop, it’s hard to say “no” to a song like this. It’s good music—that’s hard to deny—but should every aspect of it be lauded? That’s for the listener to decide. Check out Robin Thicke in the remix to “Give It 2 You” featuring Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz above. And if the link above doesn’t work (it might not be available until 7:50pm EST today), check it out right Continue reading

Black Dave—Take It Back

Check out Black Dave “Take It Back” in the South Bronx with subtle visual allusions to the cult-classic movie Kids. “Take It Back” is the first video single to be released from Black Dave’s upcoming mixtape Black Bart, set to be released on September 17. The track was produced by Shy Beats and the video was directed by Jason Ano and co-directed by Black Dave.  Continue reading

G-Eazy—Been On

Gerald Earl Gillum a.k.a. G-Eazy has garnered over 2 million Youtube views for his rendition of Dion Dimucci’s “Runaround Sue” and is looking to do the same with his latest visuals for “Been On.” The beat, which was produced by Christoph Andersson, is something that you can relax and vibe to all on its own, but together with G-Eazy’s polished flow makes it something altogether enjoyable. The video, which was directed by Bobby Bruderle, does a great job of capturing the spirit of the track by filming it entirely in black and white and setting it in slow motion. In the video, G-Eazy sports slicked-back hair, dons a black leather jacket, and smokes on what appears to be a cigarillo, all of which make him easily mistaken for Jimmy Darmody, the notorious Boardwalk Empire character. Listen to “Been On” above and look out for Continue reading

Stalley ft. Schoolboy Q—NineteenEighty7

After releasing his mixtape, Honest Cowboy, Cleveland’s Stalley drops the visuals for “NineteenEighty7” where he raps about life in the drug trade and makes constant references to Los Angeles. His affiliation to the west coast is reinforced by Black Hippy’s Schoolboy Q—who lays down the chorus for the track—and by the posse that follows Stalley throughout the entire video dressed in black “Compton” hats and t-shirts. Continue reading

E-40 ft. Danny Brown & Schoolboy Q—All My Niggas

While working on his new album Oxymoron—for which the visuals to “Collard Greens” featuring Kendrick Lamar was recently released—Schoolboy Q took a break to collaborate with the ambassador of the bay area, E-40, and Detroit rapper Danny Brown. Continue reading