Gorgeous Children have been on our radar since releasing their debut mixtape about a year ago. Even though that tape was extremely good, we haven’t heard much from them until now. ICE is the Seattle duo’s second full project and shows further progression into their dark and dismal take on rap. Over the course of the past year both members of the act have improved excessively in their crafts. Gila Monsta’s beats are cleaner than ever, contorting obscure samples into bubblingly bleak soundscapes and Face Vega tears through them with catchy hooks and ferocious verses. The highlight of the tape for me would probably be “Daiyamondo” on which Gila Monsta creates a beat stuck somewhere between grime and Mystic Stylez and Face Vega rips it apart, sounding like he’s almost barreling out of control with aggression by the end of his verses. Stream “Daiyamondo” below and the whole tape after the jump.
ewonee’s music has always sounded nice but something about this new EP just sounds super nice on headphones. More so than his previous tranquil EP, UN▲TY manages to pack warm, hip-hoppy, jazzy, liquidy audio goodness into bite-sized packaging that defines a sonic palette uniquely ewonee’s. ewonee seems fascinated in jazz for it’s warm textures and dynamism just as much as he is in it’s rhythms and flows. Just listen.
It’s been quite a while since we’ve caught up with Cleveland rapper NicX and it appears he’s only been maturing and getting better since we last checked in. 3rdPxwer is his crew and they’ve provided NicX the perfect platform to explore his lyrically adept flow. NicX has always had the ability to rap at rapid fire speeds but now he’s not wasting a word. The only time he really seems interested in slowing down his speed is to lay down his pop ready hooks. ”Motives” is one of the most well polished tracks NicX has penned his name to yet. Over an atmospheric trap-infused beat, NicX and Michael Artt provide a highly lyrical alternative to the current Midwestern offerings. ”Bitch I’m grown”. NicX has the charisma to become a star now he just needs an audience.
Considering his more experimental turn in music making recently, I was unsure of whether Hanz would return to making the amazing hip-hop beats that Chris Villa struts over so well. It’s been a while, but the pope and Hanz are back working together and the result is the mature and fine tuned “Deaf Check 3″. While “Deaf Check 3″ is easily one of the most precisely orchestrated hip-hop beats Hanz has put together, it is anything but restrained. Instead, we find a calm, cool and collected Chris Villa threatening cops and riding through his city with the kind of laid back perspective of an elder statesman of hip-hop. It’s amazing hearing Chris Villa sound so confident and comfortable over the abstract beat and it only has me more excited than ever for the return of Hanz and Chris Villa working together.
A lot of genres have been doing a good job of feeling pretty stale to me lately, but fortunately, rap is not one of them. In the past few months there has been no shortage of awesome rappers bringing in fresh and fearless new sounds to the genre. Black Kray is the newest one of them. I’ve been listening through Kray’s soundcloud and youtube pages for a few days now and still can’t really pin him down to one sound at all. He’ll pop up on a feature on some other song and I won’t even realize its him at first. Even though this might sound like some sideways criticism, its not at all. With way too much music for me to handle being pushed into my face via the internet every day, everything kind of just pales into a bland mush of gray and 808′s, but Kray stands right in front making me guess what new thing I’m going to hear from him every time. Above almost mumbles through an entire track and it works perfectly, while in “30 Round Clip Kreayshawn” (video after the jump), he walks through some clichè rap scenery while laying down a slew of memorable lines over a simple beat. It’s hard to be enthusiastic about that many new artists these days, so I’m thankful for Black Kray doing whatever the fuck he wants. Listen/watch more after the jump.
DooF and KVZE have always sounded great together but they have never sounded this effortlessly brilliant. ”kwazars” isn’t so much a track that is meant to show off DooF’s rhymes or even KVZE’s impressive production style as much as it proves how well these two artists work together in creating a great sound. DooF could easily draw comparisons to MF DOOM or Earl on this track but he is content to me much less commanding then either of those two MCs. DooF allows his words to become submerged in the gorgeous synth-laden beat despite never wasting a bar. It invites you to listen again and again and maybe a bunch of times.
The last EP we heard from UK rapper Tay Devenny was his collaboration with producer Spacedtime and his newest release has him teaming up ฬเןl. Considering the decently short length of the entire affair it’s surprising how substantial the entire listen sounds. There isn’t a wasted second as most songs flow naturally into eachother with hardly any breaks between Tay’s chilled-out verses. When Tay isn’t talking ฬเןl usually fills the negative space with samples from sources I have no idea about the origin of. The samples give the entire listen a sense of cohesion which is further amplified by ฬเןl’s consistently airy beats that launch Tay to the clouds featured on the artwork. What keeps many of these tracks from falling into colorless, cloud-rap monotony is how willing the artists are to jump into the next track without a moments notice. Although Tay has demonstrated an ability to construct great hooks in the past, arc is all about his astral ponderings and day dreaming verses. Besides early single “orange”, these tracks aren’t nearly as strong alone as they are bundled together and considering that this release is free there is no reason why you shouldn’t check it out. Stream some of my favorite tracks below and listen to the rest after the jump.