Introducing: Arielle

No lie, I just came across her on LinkedIn, and something told me to search for the music, and here I am now, writing this.

The scene has been doing well of late, it’s looking healthier for our rappers, we even have a strong run of representatives for the women too. Unfortunately, whilst it’s allowing the veterans or the underrated to reemerge, it’s still quiet for the soul side, with it strangely being tougher (at times) for our R&B acts to breakthrough.

If we’re talking potential, then we might just have a woman break that barrier, as Arielle steps forward with that new wave. Her tone is unique, her style is current, blended with that sexy ol’ skool vibe, she’s able to deliver something refreshing. Introducing, Arielle:

There is definitely room for growth, but that just makes this an even more exciting prospect. The visuals may not entirely justify the track, but you get to see her beauty and presence, whilst I enjoy seeing a group of strong women doing their own thing, in comparison to the average objectified video-girl. Having heard some of her earlier material, the potential was evident with All For You standing out. There is a lot of versatility for her vocals, not just R&B, and we certainly have few producers who could really help take her artistry further. Definitely keeping an ear out for more of this wave, with her next visuals for Sauce on the way.

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“Actions is what’s going to change the world, not words..” – Mr Oshodi

After previous insightful interviews, featuring the likes of Morgan Keyz, Kayo and Euro Veezy return with another quality podcast, featuring the wise words of Mr Oshodi.

One of the most positive and influential people our culture has to offer, Mr Oshodi, has made the transition and currently serves as one of our top entrepreneurs. What makes him more than just any businessman, is his spirit, his desire and purpose, as he shares all his lessons, setting up motivational events amongst other things, to help pass the knowledge and encourage whilst he still is on his journey.

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“I’m afraid of myself more than anyone else, I’m still lookin’ in the mirror when in need of some help” – Rockie Fresh

One of Rick Ross’ later signings, he (and the likes of Tracy T) may have found themselves in the shadow of the MMG starting line-up, however, for those paying attention, they would come across versatile bodies of work. One thing that has stood out, is his consistency. He has delivered a variety of new age classics, leading up to his most recent project, a clever concept, The Night I Went To, which was a combination of his trilogy of the same name, with the three editions being, Los Angeles, New York, and his hometown Chicago. Complete with quality visuals, he shows no signs of stopping, as he drops this introspective cut.

Pray 4 Me, is a good example of how Rockie can take his inner thoughts and emotion and effortlessly express them with essences of poetry. Production by one of the most talented up and coming producers, Bizness Boi, providing Rockie Fresh with the soulful canvas to lyrically paint pictures. He begins with a very sincere and personal note, “I’m afraid of myself more than anyone else, I’m still lookin’ in the mirror when in need of some help”, something not everyone shares so boldly. Beautiful music, the song has an uplifting tone to it, as he touches on different topics, even something everyone can relate with, “Lookin’ at these n**gaz like why we can’t stay friends, I pray Meek Mill and Drake work again..Amen”, referencing to their previous hit, Amen.

Despite his success thus far, he is still having to try harder, and that’s evident in his music, and is proving to assist him in creating even better music, and visuals to match. Whilst many may be sleeping on him, he most certainly has a core support in his corner championing him, as he progresses on his path for greatness. He is working on the follow up project, the sequel to his popular Electric Highway. As one of the most underrated rappers, I’m intrigued to hear the direction of Rockie Fresh’s sound, as he continues to elevate.

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“Tell ’em I’m back, and proactive, I need no practice, I know I can hack this..” – Klashnekoff

Before I start, just want to say I’m saddened to hear of Klash’s loss, and rest in peace to his mother. My prayers go out to you.


One of the leading pioneer figures, he emerged vividly painting pictures of the realer, more grittier parts of the country, captivating those that could relate and those fascinated by the authenticity. Honest and uncensored, Many have likened him to Nas, and he is most certainly one of our legendary rappers. Returning with this video, Klashnekoff keeps it sincere as ever, opening up about the loss of his mother, but emphasising more on his strength to continue, and such a common feeling for many, it serves as motivation.

Hand on Heart is exactly what the title says, the production is comfortable territory for Klash to flow, and there’s an eagerness in his voice, as he cements his intentions of his return. The visuals help establish the sentiment, as he looks through old family pictures, and press cuttings, with the added elements of nostalgia transitioning into the present helping portray how far he has come and reinstating his presence today, overall supporting the song.

We have not had a full release from Klashnekoff since 2012 with his Fu*k The Long Talk mixtape, and prior was the underrated Back To The Sagas album (2010), so it is definitely welcomed and I look forward to it.

 

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“I’ve been boxing with my demons, ’til my knuckles turn purple..” – Gunplay

Don Logan returns with the sequal to his introspective classic Bible On The Dash

Part 2 might not be as impactful as the original, but it definitely has the same feel and authenticity, as the underrated wordsmith vents out with a slight growl, painting a picture with a similar emphasis to DMX. (If they ever do a Hip-Hop Honours for X, they gotta have Gunplay perform Slippin’).

It frustrates me as a fan, that Gunplay has not been able to deliver with the same consistency, and cement his presence. This track really provides some hope though, as the multilayered rapper reintroduces himself to audiences who might not have been paying attention as much. With this track, he (open as always) pours on his battle with mental health, friends locked up and substance abuse, but it’s not a lost fight, as he speaks, “I need some Percocets, no I need some self-control”. As outcasted as he seems to become, he sits in a unique space between the likes of Gucci Mane and Joe Budden. Despite his versatility, the dark music definitely helps shed light on the realities, and thus make him an important part of the spectrum.

With a new appreciation for lyricism in motion, it’s a good time for Jupiter Jack to return, either way I’m certainly hoping for a follow up to Living Legend.

 

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Scorcher – Paranoid

One of the best things about our scene taking back the power, is the re-emergence of the rightful. For those that may not be aware, Scorcher is in, “your favourite rapper’s favourite rapper” category, one of the veterans who many believed from early was destined for great things with his evident potential. It did feel like at some point that it was because of that very notion, people bitterly didn’t want to see him win. You can’t stop the Winner Flow in motion though, and so after dropping one of the best songs two years ago with No One Else, he followed up his Top Boy stint, with an entertaining performance in the movie The Intent, a project with Splurgeboys, Scorcher now returns with the anthem, Paranoid.

Produced by Donae’o, the track sits somewhere between Grime and Trap, with his signature flavour, fusing it’s choice of sounds and pattern. It’s enough for Scorcher to have some fun and vent that aspect of his armour. I do believe that this is light-work for Scorch, but regardless, that merely highlights his vast ability. The two trailers for this prior, do set it up to be a more cinematic affair, with possible narrative, and that can taint things, however, the quality of this balances that. Appreciative of detail, and this video did capture well with the shots and edit, down to the tones, to really compliment and most of all showcase Scorcher in adequate visual that stands out.

“Fuck my ex..I got new tings, Fuck my next..I got two tings, I’m up again, like fuck a friend…They weren’t ‘ere where I was going through tings..” – Scorcher

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“If you’re a fuck nigga, a backstabber, you disloyal, I pray death upon you” – 21 Savage

21 Savage has been enjoying quite the success, obtaining x2 Platinum certifications with X and No Heart, and the project Savage Mode, which has maintained it’s relevance since it’s release last summer. Amidst the obvious face tatt and the savagery, he can be considered a “real rapper”, and I agree, however not for the same reasons.

In his most composed interview thus far, he showed something that the fake ones don’t, vulnerability. Especially when speaking on why he doesn’t like to fly commercial. It’s not a weakness whatsoever, as he speaks sincerely, and honestly. He is not afraid to speak from the heart, and that’s what prompted me to post this. A product of his environment, he appears positively evolved from our first introduction. When mentioning Chicago as one of the cities he likes, he refers not to the obvious violence, but rather the architecture and structure. He speaks on wanting to work with legendary R&B group Jagged Edge, and wanting to win a Grammy, which are some encouraging aspirations.

Shout out to B Dot & Elliott Wilson, because they made the effort to although touch on the obvious questions, but to get a further insight to the man behind the music.

I always knew of his influence, however, after this interview, there’s no doubt that he could (in future) go on to create even more open and introspective music (potentially even politically charged and conscious), as a real voice for the generation.

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Big Sean – Halfway Off The Balcony

With Sean’s fourth studio-album ‘I Decided’ on the way, the latest offering shows more insight into what we can expect on the 3rd of February.

Initially, the hook is catchy, and we’re well aware of Big Sean’s capabilities with words, however, to be able to pen such a record, where he is ultimately venting yet the narrative of the song is nothing short of motivational, is no easy feat. Often an artist’s success and the change of lifestyle naturally pouring into their music, can distance them from the listener, yet with Halfway Off The Balcony, he manages to contain the authenticity and is able to stunt, whilst maintaining the balance with the overall emotive. Emphasising his hunger, drive, vulnerability and morals, producer Amaire Johnson and the Sean Don are able to really play upon the concept of the album.

If this track is anything to go by, and hoping the project stays true to the concept, then Big Sean has a very solid project that obviously will be well-received, but truly embraced, further establishing him amongst Rap’s elite.

 

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Polyester The Saint – Grey Filas

If you thought LA’s current run was slowing, guess again. Ladies & Gentlemen, introducing, Polyester The Saint.

Now, this is by no way, his actual introduction, I’ve heard him prior, courtesy of collaborations with some of my favourite artists (Dom Kennedy, Freddie Gibbs), and (like his name) his verses stood out, leading on to hearing some of his own material, and initially it was evident potential, until last year, when I came across the wavy project, entitled ‘Pop, an acronym for “Passion • Obsession • Profession”. It featured this song, which was an instant hit as I had a pair, so it became a sort of anthem, Pop also featured another personal favourite 5-hunnid Benz. Throughout the project, he tackled the production with such originality whilst paying homage to the classic West Coast theme, I was impressed with the structure, and the overall wave.

Fast forward to now, I’m about to step outside, slipped my grey Fila ’96s on, happen to peer online and saw this new video, leading to me rinsing the internet on my phone, watching the video at every opportunity (Thus this review being written now, as I’ve just got back in, Filas still on). Directed by Andre 4k, he gives us a good balance with the artist being the focal point, whilst keeping the theme and vibe of the record accentuated.

“I’m yellin’ Thug Life..”

The record itself has such a southern flavour to it, Pimp C would be proud, with Pac feeling as satisfied with the West Coast soul that flows through. As usual, I have a remix in mind, I think musically it would work, if it were to feature Chase N Cashe, and the reasoning behind it, isn’t just that he’s also a dope musician on the rise, but because he too reps Fila, it would be a good look for the brand, for sure. There are a lot of people standing with their surfboards, hoping to catch onto a wave, then you have a player like Poleyster The Saint, who happens to have his own. If you like this, then definitely check out ‘Pop’, and be ready for the new project, due soon.

“Squares can’t keep up, I’m in the grey Filas..”

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Chase N Cashe – Prozac

With production on Troy Ave – Your Style, Mr Cha-Ching himself, Chase N Cash has the summer (as they say), but showing no signs of slowing down, we get this ode to Detroit, in the form of visuals for the motivational Prozac.

Even in those ’94 Nike Zoom Turfs, you could not mirror his steps, as the young producer, transitioned into an artist & movement, with Crown Bearer records rightfully represented. I like the D town love, many relate to the struggle, and in such a city, there is still so much beauty and spirit, nicely displayed. The beat is catchy, with the choice of sounds used, especially with the drums, they’re soft yet impactful, it’s well composed. The flow is wavy, this track is quality, cool personified, and there is a sense of proudness as I watch the video, knowing how far Chase has come.

Prozac is one scale of the spectrum for the Surf Club alumni, when it comes to his versatility and ability even, until his next project however, you can check out his previous mixtape, HeirWaves.

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