Whether or not you like him, Spooky Black is primed to blow up (at least on the same level as Yung Lean) and he deserves it. ”Without You” is one of the most interesting pop tracks to drop this year and it sounds even better with Supa Bwe and Sidewalk Kal over it. The boys mostly leave the original intact, only adding their own original verses seamlessly in between Spooky Black’s. Sidewalk Kal is unsurprisingly amazing with a fast paced verse over the slowed beat and Supa Bwe adds some much needed texture to Spooky Black’s singing. The original may be a singular work but it’s hard to deny how much Kal and Supa Bwe add.
Ever since dropping his epically lengthed “Vancouver/palm” and his equally impressive LP Shrine, Tay Devenny has been on a mission to progress his sound beyond the limitations of what is classically considered to be hip-hop. His newest collaboration with producer Iglooghost, “✿︵✿ (vat﹏of°fudge) ❀︵❀” (which we’ll just call “vat of fudge” for convenience), continues his experimentation with hip-hop proper. There are only about 30 seconds of actually rapping on the track but it is 30 seconds of Devenny’s most potent and ear grabbing performances yet. His bars move unhinged by any conventional beat, starting at a breakneck pace and eventually slowing down as the song disintegrates into its dreamier second half. Devenny is prepping a new release soon and this track couldn’t raise the hype levels any higher.
I’m on the verge of sleep right now and this is basically exactly what I want to be listening to. ”Softmoon verse” is a dreamy, jazzy piece of r&b infused hip-hop (or hip-hop infused r&b… it’s really getting hard to tell sometimes these days) that will happily soundtrack your mid-afternoon daydreams. I don’t know that much about any of the artists featured to be completely honest but on “Softmoon verse” they all come together in a whirling, gorgeous piece of music that definitely makes me want to go learn more about them.
Are you hyped for Shrine yet? If you answered “no” I’m gonna go ahead and guess that you only said that because you have yet to read out interview with Tay Devenny and you have yet to heard the first single for Shrine “arabian seas (ft. Danny Watts)”. Let’s all fix that. While it definitely is hip-hop, “arabian seas” lives up to Tay’s goal creating “hip-hop in different shades of sounds and feels”. I’ve probably said it before but “arabian seas” is just further proof that Tay is one of the only rappers right now who can actually pull off singing on his own hook. Closing the track, Danny Watts offers ups a wide-eyed hook that fits perfectly into the world Tay has constructed. Shrine drops in two days and after listening through I can promise it’s not something that should be overlooked.
Yeah, Deity Gang isn’t all dudes. I didn’t actually know that until I had the pleasure of meeting Keiya at the Deity Gang Paxico Take-over a few weeks back. Keiya is not only the sole member of Deity Gang who sings but she’s a fine singer on her own right as well. ”Due Time” isn’t in your face and probably isn’t the kind of song that would have Keiya winning American Idol but I’m cool with that and I don’t think Keiya has any desire to be on American Idol anyway. Instead, “Due Time” is a bite-sized and highly intimate taste of the kind of atmosphere Keiya can conjure with nothing more than her voice and a jazzy beat from the man Jay Curry. Try not to fall in love.
“Then I & Eye Set” is just one of those tracks that hits instantly. There is no excess, just a blissfully hypnotic beat looped behind Sol Galeano’s mature and dense word flow. ”Then I & Eye Set” is a collage and Galeano’s words initially act as unintrusive parts of the greater vibe. Effortlessly, Galeano struts between demanding rapspeak to melodic crooning without ever stumbling or over extending. When the beat cuts away at the end of the track, however, it becomes clearer that Galeano is content with allowing her words to fade to the background. She has a lot to say and “Then I & Eye Set” sounds like she’s really starting to tell us what’s on her mind.
Of all the words we use to describe music on The Up-Turn one I don’t know if I’ve honestly ever used is ambitious. I usually assume ambition in songwriting is for rappers who have already proven themselves to the wider world and no longer need to have the ambition to make it. So while I expect Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar to be ambitious I don’t expect that from up and comers like Sidewalk Kal, Chef the Chef and Tay Devenny (just to be clear though “Paranoia” is one of my favorite songs of the year and I’m incredibly psyched for the music Chef has coming in 2014). Despite my predispositions, “vancouver/Palme” is an incredibly ambitious track. Unfolding over a gorgeous and sprawling beat provided by Lux Natura, Tay Devenny’s vision reaches nearly 12 minutes in length making it the second longest rap song I’m pretty sure I’ve ever listened to. But like the longest rap song, “vancouver/Palme” pushes and blurs the boundaries between R&B and hip-hop with Lux Natura’s beat slow burning like a wood stocked fire place. It’s the perfect backdrop for Tay Devenny to postulate, question, coo and do everything else that makes him one of the most exciting rappers recording right now. When I first wrote about him I claimed that Tay Devenny validated a place in hip-hop for an emotionally in tune rapper and more recently I described him as one of the most softly poetic rappers I knew. After “vancouver/Palme”, Devenny is clearly becoming the rapper he’s always known he could be.