New York underground rap/production is getting very heavy and Yung Gutted is leading the way with a torch in his hand. The release of the 3rd installment of his Internet Graveyard collection continues to punish your speakers and push the boundaries of bass heavy beats. Gutted holds nothing back this time enlisting Topprraaa and CZARQUAN of Jaguar Pyramids, Wiki of Ratking and Carlos Hernandez of Ava Luna to add vocal textures over his production while showcasing he truly knows how to stay dirty. I highly encourage you to go out and purchase a subwoofer at a store near you for yourself but also to capture the raw power of his ear because Hernandez will not be slowing down anytime soon. The web is full of tombstones and Gutted is responsible for a vast majority of them.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Soil & the Sun there’s a lot of emotions that will be invoked as you digest their discography. Hailing from Grand Rapids these art-rockers embrace the aural pallet with a snug conviction to guide you through a warm journey that is pressed with intention and humility. Starting off as an 8 piece, they’ve slowly worked their way down to 4 members but have only grown in sound. Their newest release “Actual Replica Vol. 1” is a two track EP filled with more production than their previous three releases, but still has the grace that gives the Soil & the Sun to continue growing.
The Lord has returned in the form of James Blake’s newest track “Timeless” which premiered on BBC 1 Radio. Whenever Blake releases new music it’s going to be a good week so thank you James for the sonic embrace.
WholeTeam is a production collective native to Chicago which consists of young producers Mojek, Billa, A Billion Young, Timmy V, Zookeepa, Morimoto, and about 7 other up and coming artists who have all been woking overtime on new music! This year already we’ve gotten a release from Mojek with his “World of Mojek” EP and are looking forward to a Zookeepa release in mid May! Late last year, Morimoto and Billa both dropped projects that are growing in listens daily on soundcloud and today, the Team is giving us their freshest project which is a compilation of tracks featuring a little more than half of the collective. Though WholeTeam stays diverse in their exploration of responsive sounds, one thing that continually stays consistent is their love for dance. On their newest compilation “WholeTeam 3” the boys give us a little juke, a little house and move through more elusive rhythms that fluctuate through each artist’s interpretation of groove. It’s really amazing watching so much talent grow right before our eyes and as these Chicago artists continue to grow and hone their craft, we’re going to see yet another explosion and hopefully expansion into the beauty which is collaboration.
Contra Chicago affiliate DOUGGY released his best song to date in my opinion leading up to his release of his newest mixtape. The title track “Master” is a closer look into what we can expect from Master and if this track is in line with the rest of the project I’m really excited to see what he brings us! There is talent in and all around the city and DOUGGY is one of the rising artists with a lot of potential.
Chicago’s son Mick Jenkins regularly delivers us from a wave of mediocrity with releases that distance him from about 98% of music makers today. He seems to be so profoundly in tune with the blend of his voice, message, and production that you could put all of his tracks into a novel and it would read as an unwavering anthem for the betterment of your mind, spirit, and health. With the help of Montreal’s Kaytranada and Chicago’s THEMpeople, whom Mick Jenkins regularly collaborates with, we are lead through a masterful presentation of sound and rhythm that is full of life. Jenkins also nods at Kanye West with lines like “Mercy, Mercy me that Murcielago” and “I’m really just a southside nigga with a Nas flow” paying tribute to one of the greatest to come from this city. Mick Jenkins rarely upsets and with the help of Kaytranada and THEMpeople, he shows us once more why Chicago’s rap scene is nothing to take lightly.
Rich Jones is an artist that continues to grow and deliver songs that are as deep and heart-felt as they are intelligently designed. As a listener you can never get bored of his production and lyrical choices because you can hear the time and precision Rich has put into crafting each song separately but also as a full project. Pink Slips was released February 16th with an array of young Chicago talent from The O’My’s to LOWTONE to IceFace and also Na$im Williams. The list of Chicago artists is strong on Pink Slips as Rich has been putting out music and playing shows for years and is a known face to just about everyone in our city. Be on the lookout for Rich breaking into another echelon this year as he dials in the sounds that fit his voice perfectly and continues to create music that does nothing but make you smile.
Owen Jones (aka Owen Bones) is one of the most enticing artists residing in the city of Chicago. With not only a unique taste in production, his attachment to rap shines through on his forthcoming project entitled Surrender. Owen maneuvers through multiple styles of production really showcasing the versatility he brings to the table while also presenting a refreshing signature sound. With his first single “Grapefruit” Jones calls on fellow producer and guitarist Myrone to create a medium-tempo track that to me is the perfect song to walk to. It somehow encapsulates the pace one has while walking down Milwaukee Avenue in early afternoon with headphones on. “Grapefruit” is layered with heavy electric guitar riffs and a couple of sounds and rhythms that are reminiscent of Jamie xx which is a combination any music lover will be into on first listen.
While getting to know Owen I’ve realized how much patience and time he’s put into his upcoming project and how Surrender is a product of much contemplation, tweaking and precision. Owen is the next star roaming the streets of Chicago and with this EP he definitely shows why he is a master of his craft and an artist to fully put your support behind in 2016.
Surrender will be out February 22nd so in the meantime learn more about Owen here.
This production is absolutely insane. Hopefully the Chicago based Harris Cole and Australian based herzeloyde team up a lot more to produce because the intricacies and the attention to detail on this beat are like fluid. This song is labeled #trap but the sounds they deliver go way beyond any element of “trap” I’ve encountered. Definitely download this song and play it at parties.
I’m pretty excited about the scene brewing from our brothers in Milwaukee. With so much promising talent I hope these kids stay focused and strong enough to elevate to the next level without over-inflating egos which Chicago’s underground seems to love to do so much. IshDARR is one of those rising stars and consistently puts out single after single that could be heard on the radio while keeping a flow that is interesting the entire way through. I’m sure you can figure out pretty quickly what “Time Shawty” is all about and though a lot of rappers tend to stay way to busy to give a girl any of their time, IshDARR can make a concept truly worked through, re-listenable. Milwaukee seems to be the next city on the rise and their definitely proving their voices are worth our time.
Freddie Gibbs is one of the greatest rappers of all time and is the face of Gangster Rap in this new era of rap. Coming from Gary, IN which is one of the most desolate cities in America and the little brother of Chicago, Freddie Gibbs brings all the strife from a city riddled with drug use and gun violence and articulately delivers story after story. His phrasing is versatile, his word play is expressive and tactical while still talking about cooking cocaine and running up in houses with guns. He’s a voice that really showcases the greatness of a intellectual rapper and is currently at the top of the rap food chain. In “Cocaine Parties In LA” Gibbs raps over the Kanye/Kendrick track produced by Madlib masterfully and in true Gibbs fashion, maneuvers through a cocaine story with precision. This is gangster rap at it’s finest.
Freddie took the link down on Soundcloud but you can download it from his website here