Recent Jams: Lor Choc, RiFF RAFF, Chief Keef, 12 Gage, Skooly, Trapperman Dale, Gu Mitch, and more…

Another few weeks have passed, and I’m still listening to music. Here’s a rundown of everything that’s been on repeat since you last heard from me:

  • My last post featured one major oversight – I neglected to include anything from Baltimore native Lor Choc’s fantastic new tape “Love is Love” (though I did tweet about it). I’ve listened to this project front to back at least 25 times since it was released, so do yourself a favour and check it out ASAP
  • I haven’t listened to anything from RiFF RAFF in a number of years, but “Cuz My Gear”, his 2012 collaboration with Chief Keef, will always hold a special place in my heart. Needless to say, seeing “Tip Toe 3” pop up on Audiomack was a welcome surprise, and it did not disappoint. The haunting, fantasy-esque instrumental combined with RiFF’s whispering delivery is oddly captivating, and Keef serves as the perfect compliment
  • “Spy Kid”, Keef’s new collab with Zaytoven, simply slaps
  • I really enjoyed the delivery from 12 Gage on “Nothing to Me”
  • “Keep the Pole”, a new track from Patterson NJ rapper Gu Mitch, really caught me off guard. The E-40 style “eugh” at the beginning was enough to get my attention, but the muddy mixing, thundering but sparse instrumental, and Mitch’s relentless delivery kept me listening. I listened to a few more Gu Mitch tracks and I can’t tell if he pitched his voice down on “Keep the Pole” or if he’s moving Danny Brown style and has a few different rap voices
  • Trapperman Dale goes super hard on “Run Me Hot”
  • Skooly is possibly my favourite hook artist, and “Lil Boy Shit” only serves to validate my opinion, he just has that special sauce
  • Can’t wait to hear “Hilltop Gyalis” on full blast in a sweaty basement
  • BONUS: Really enjoyed Omar’s edit of Brandy’s “Wanna Be Down”
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Recent Jams: Mostack, WhyG, Shordie Shordie, DaBaby and more…

Here’s a fairly extensive list of what I’ve had on repeat the last couple weeks:

  • I’m really enjoying the new Giggs project and had a hard time narrowing it down to just one song, so be sure to give that a spin
  • I was happy to see a video for released for “Myself”, one of the standout tracks from Toronto rapper and Pressa associate Houdini’s new album “HOU I AM”
  • MoStack makes a welcome return. Free J Hus free J Hus Free J Hus
  • Shordie Shordie’s radio freestyles are better than they should be
  • Upset at myself for sleeping on DaBaby

Recent Jams: Unknown T – Throwback

Even if you’re not from the UK I’m certain you can find something relatable on Unknown T’s “Throwback”: from riding the bus with your pals, setting off questionably obtained fireworks, or grabbing a bite at your local junk-food purveyor, T touches on some universally nostalgic themes.

“Throwback” is a significant departure from “Homerton B“, his breakout track from this past summer, and reveals a versatility which I didn’t necessarily expect. “Homerton B” exists somewhere between UK Drill and Dancehall, while “Throwback” demonstrates an obvious pop sensibility, which together make for a compelling future for the East London rapper.

Top Not Quite 10: January 2018

Damn January was a crazy month for me, I’ve been super busy and honestly not feeling blogging too much, but I’d be mad at myself if I just quit. Here’s my top tracks from last month.

PoloGang Kentae ft Nick Kane – BackStreet Baby

This is a little older but hot damn this is a jam. You hear a lot of people online talk about the health of America’s regional rap scenes, but never Toledo. This is a great mix of that midwest kinda-southern-kinda-not accent  that confuses me anytime I find myself in Michigan or Ohio, with a splash of Atlanta inspired swagger (which in 2018 is almost redundant to even mention but whatever).

Drakeo the Ruler ft 03 Greedo

Try not to shoulder roll when this song comes on, its harder than it sounds. Drakeo has a menacing, almost breathy at times voice that reminds me an awful lot of FMB DZ, and its great.

YPN Merc – 2 Phones

I saw this on a blog, and I apologize to the blogger but I can’t for the life of me remember which one. I thought I wrote it down but I guess not, I’ll update if I figure it out. Anyways, this is sort of a “remix” of Childish Gambino’s “Redbone”, itself built off a sample of Isaac Hayes’ “The Look of Love”.

Q Da Fool – Hit or Miss

This is some wild mix of off kilter Chief Keef and screaming yet reflective Meek Mill. Give Q’s new tape a listen, there are some gems for sure.

Kami – Payload

Maybe this song is popular elsewhere, but I think it’s great and I haven’t seen anything about it. I assume Kami is affiliated with Vic Mensa and the rest of the Save Money crew, but I haven’t actually investigated.

Rod Wave – Jumanji

I love EVERYTHING about this song. It’s perfect. What a unique voice for modern Florida rap, who else is doing the falsetto?

Lil Berete – Southside

I have high hopes for Berete. He really reminds me of NBA YoungBoy’s earlier songs, so hungry and raw. Right now Berete is 3/3, so we will see if he can keep it up.

Pistola – P.I.S.T.O.L.A

This song is just fun. Reminds me of Gleesh. That’s it.

Canadian Content: Lil Berete – Southside

Lil Berete – Southside | From YouTube; 2017

It’s 2018 (if you didn’t know) and I’m back. Quick post here as I’ll do a longer write up when this inevitably makes my monthly top 10. It is really refreshing to hear a Toronto rapper have a little originality when it comes to flow, and honestly this guy’s growth over the last few months is pretty remarkable. I’m excited to see where Berete takes things, and what a song like this and the potential influence it has may mean for the Toronto as a whole.

Underrated: Rod Wave – Rookie of the Year Mixtape

I recently came across Rod Wave’s music on Twitter via SayCheeseMedia, and it really caught me off guard. I was expecting run of the mill Florida rap (which, especially lately, is generally very good anyways) but instead I got this crazy mix of Kevin Gates, Roy Woods, Ball Greezy, Kodak Black, and southern soul. Do yourself a favor and listen to this mixtape, you won’t regret it.

Top 10: December 2017

 

This December has came and went faster than maybe any in my entire life, and the year has similarly sped by. I’ve opted to not write a top songs list for 2017, because I don’t think I have enough of a record of what I’ve listened to and want to avoid bias towards songs I’ve posted on this blog. That being said, I think it was a really interesting year for hip-hop and a lot of newer artists really solidified themselves as legitimate forces to be reckoned with, such as SOBxRBE, OMB Peezy, and Kodak Black (not really new but put out a lot of his best music this year), to name just a few. From a local perspective, the Toronto scene reached a new peak in terms of sheer numbers of artists releasing quality music, despite no stars emerging from that group (yet).

For a few good lists, check out (and read the comments) of Noz and The Martorialist’s, in my eyes two essential hip hop writers. For a slightly different take, check out Pink Chardonnay, whose list included a number of tracks that made no appearances on any of the top 10s/50s/100s I’ve seen this year.

I’m not one to plug social media, but check out my twitter (link at the top of the page) if you’re interested in more frequent new music and opinions, as I often head there first if I don’t have the time to write something.

Anyways, enough rambling. Here are my top 10 tracks for December 2017:

WSTRN – Ben Ova’ | Single; 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

London trio WSTRN return as a duo, following the incarceration of member Akelle for a recent home invasion. I caught this one in my YouTube recommendations, and I’ve been playing this song non stop all month. Haile’s patois laced hook is infectious and I really like the two narrative concept – simultaneously flirting with a gyal who say she half chinee’ while eyeing enemies in the club. I’m a big fan of the way the instrumental is mixed too, this may all be pseudo music theory but here we go: Haile and Louis Rei have really different voices – high vs deep – but they both sit nicely on top of the beat, they have a lot of room to breathe.

Willie Joe et al – Cruisin’ | From YouTube; 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the title, Cruisin’ by Willie Joe sounds like a weak country song, but this is neither weak nor country. The Drip Squad boys from Vallejo (I think) recruit James Online and SOB x RBE’s Lul G for this Bay Area interpolation of Earth Wind and Fire’s Let’s Groove. JamesOnline’s hook is the standout on this track, despite his endearingly awkward appearances in the music video.

Krept and Konan ft J Hus – Get a Stack | From “7 Days” (Mixtape) 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t really listen to Krept and Konan that much (I like them they’re just not a go to), but I love J Hus (Common Sense is one of my top albums this year), so I came across this track when the video was released earlier this month. To be honest, nothing on here is a standout, but I enjoy the hook and get really fired up whenever I hear “Husalah Baby” during Krept’s verse. The only thing I’m left wondering regarding this song is the end of Konan’s verse, does he actually say “left with a brown ting, looking all Chris”?

Pimptobi – Boss Up | From YouTube; 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not really much to say about this one, just a slick bay area joint. I like the Backwoods hoodie, I think those would be pretty cool if they were stitched rather than screen-printed

NorthSide Benji – Confessions | From YouTube; 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northside Benji is one of my favourite rappers coming out of the Toronto scene (though he is from Brampton). Apparently, Benji will be making an appearance on Charlie Sloth’s Fire in the Booth, which is a big look for an artist who really hasn’t got much media attention. This song at hand is fantastic, Bemji has a real knack for taking self reflective themes and producing extremely catchy music.

Z-Money ft. Valee – Two 16’s | From YouTube; 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alleged GOOD Music signee Valee hops on fellow Chicago native Z-Money’s new track “Two-16’s”, and it’s something else. These guys are both offbeat to say the least, and I love it. Z-Money starts off with a spacey post-Lil B verse, and Valee follows it up with a dizzying, pause free 16 bars. I assume he punched in to record this verse, but the end product is pretty sweet. Valee is one of my favourite bubbling rappers, so keep an eye on what he does over the course of 2018.

Jayy Brown ft LB – Its Okay | From YouTube; 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a catchy track from some young Toronto artists. LB has got a lot of attention locally lately, so do a YouTube search and see what catches your eye, I think he has a ton of talent and charisma.

FMB DZ – Reality | From “The Gift” (Mixtape) 2017

 

 

 

 

I had a really hard time picking a song to profile from DZ’s new tape “The Gift”, but I found myself playing “Reality” a lot. The beat was a slight departure from traditionally fast paced Detroit instrumentals and I thought DZ just flowed extremely well. Check out this whole tape, DZ has been getting a ton of blog exposure lately and its well deserved, and this project is an excellent example of why.

Pressa – Authentic | From “Press A Brick” (Mixtape) 2017

 

 

 

I was disappointed overall by the new Pressa tape, however there are flashes of brilliance throughout. “Authentic” itself isn’t the most amazing song, a lot of it deals with pretty contrived themes – buying expensive things, gang activities – but lyrics like “Remember, they say we members, they raided us in June and December” hit really hard and show a bit of vulnerability that in my opinion would produce some really strong music if explored further.

Casper TNG – In My Blunt | From YouTube; 2017

 

I posted about this song earlier in the month, so check that out for my opinions

 

Canadian Content: Casper – In My Blunt

Casper TNG – In My Blunt | From YouTube; 2017

Over the past year or so Casper has become one of my favourite rappers coming out of Toronto. His whole wave is really impressive, constantly putting out new videos, promoting himself on social media, and touring all over the country (you can catch Casper in Ottawa on the 29th).

A lot of Casper’s music is reminiscent of classic Chicago drill – slow instrumentals and violent, nihilistic lyrics – but he often takes it in a more melodic direction, drawing a bit on the moody R&B sound that other Toronto artists have become none for, but never actually venturing into sing rap.

Casper’s new track “In My Blunt” is easily one of his best yet, and a song that in my opinion really cements him as one of the city’s premier underground artists. The instrumental is hard, and there’s a few flow and beat switches (particularly from the hook to the first verse, and again in the middle of the first verse) that hit perfectly and dramatically shift the song’s energy.

“I’m the type to shoot until his face is gone, I’mma cut the grass until the snakes are gone, police watch me like they Oakland and the raid is on”

“I come from the hottest block in my area, where the cops drive by stop and stare at ya, or pattin’ down your waist to see if you a carrier, my lil’ n*gga seen a hommie he like ‘it’s hilarious’”

I’ve written a little bit about Casper in the past, so check out some of those older posts if you’re interested in his other work, and make sure to give “Before the Storm Hits”, his pre-album EP that came out a month or two ago.