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The Cut: Chelsea Pastel just made Cleveland's hustler anthem

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With the recent news that people who are fully vaccinated can basically live life like 2020 never happened, Cleveland needs a hustler's anthem/party bop. Luckily, we didn't need to look long or hard for someone to step and give us one. Chelsea Pastel recently released her single "Stop Asking," and honestly it's the song we need right now. What I like about Pastel is her ear for beats, they sound like The Neptunes had a love child with DJ Paul. Lyrically, Pastel's approach is nuanced - she raps about getting money and being a boss but through a realistic lense.  In "Stop Asking," she talks about counting dollar bills and then sanitizing her hands after, in other songs she talks about how she's been low like a worm in dirt (shovel it, shovel it). Its things like this that show Pastel can take larger than life raps you'd expect from an artist and put a fresh perspective on it.  Right now, she only has a few singles out. Here most recent project

Gems Select: Kipp Stone continues run of solid projects with "Faygo Baby"

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  I think that, next to the Browns, Kipp Stone is the most exciting thing coming out of Cleveland right now. He released my favorite project from a Cleveland artist last year, Ebro Darden is playing him and he's rapping over beats by hip-hop legend Statik Selektah.  Stone's momentum is undeniable and it's evident in his latest EP "Faygo Baby," a seven track offering released by the Cleveland artist on May 11. Featuring production by Stone, 6th Sense and Statik Selektah, Stone gives us more of what made his last album so special: a blend of dark conscious rap, sharp rhymes and crisp delivery that make you pause the song and say "Dude." I seriously had a J. Cole fan moments with my partner trying to explain the double meanings to his words. Surprisingly unlike everyone else on Twitter who hates snobby J. Cole fans, she didn't leave me for being annoying. What I really like about this project is that it peels back another layer of the Kipp Stone mystiqu

THE CUT: Dende makes a strong case this summer won't suck

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  Photo courtesy Shoutout HTX I think no one in their right mind can argue that last summer was a bust. I personally suffered one of the worst cases of burnout I've ever had and damn near got nothing done. Given the the crapshoot summer (and year), I've been eager to find new artists to listen to while I'm out enjoying the summer and Dende is the perfect first step to enjoying what I lost last year. Hailing from Houston, Dende recently released "A Happy Man," a ten track offering filled with soul, lyricism and self reflection. Sonically, the artist blends west coast sounds with chopped-and-screwed inspired beats, creating a warm, vibrant soundtrack for the summer. It'd almost be criminal not to play this if you're trying to hangout with friends or relax by the pool. While the sounds are warm and vibrant, Dende's got the lyrical talent to match his production. Love, self worth and community are some of the topics he covers in his verses. His delivery, w

Rico Blu debuts first music video for "What a Feeling"

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  I'm back baby. Cleveland's Chosen Nerd, Jake Gyllenhaal on cheeseburgers, Mr. Can't Balance a Checkbook has finally returned. What better way to celebrate my return than to celebrate the debut music video for Rico Blu's "What a Feeling." Directed by Jake Harness, the short music video perfectly encapsulates the lyrics of the song. I absolutely love the fact that the video is actually funny/fun to watch. The man's spitting bars and he's eating blurred out cereal in a giraffe costume. For some reason, it's rare to get an artist that can lay something heavy down but maintain a light feel visually. I have a feeling that The Man on the Sun is going to get more airplay the more he releases music. He's partnered with some pretty promising artists right now like Will Cherry. Be on the look out for this man and his music. I know I will be. Let me know what you think, LUX

Ripp Flamez releases new project "Everybody hates Ripp"

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Ripp Flamez has been a staple in the Cleveland rap scene since 2016 with his first project WaveForever. Taking the soundcloud trap style that was hot then and making it his own, he's since been releasing a study flow of projects almost every year. My favorite being his Project Melodies series.  However, since 2019, Ripp seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. That is until recently with the release of "Everybody Hates Ripp," which was released today on streaming services. Despite the comedic reference, this album isn't a lighthearted listen. With 13 songs and no features, Ripp explores themes like grief, loneliness and betrayal. Sonically, Ripp is still one of the most dynamic artists to date with a rich blend of trap/R&B style beats. This project is best played late at night while your driving or in bed....alone with your thoughts. This project reminds us that Ripp still has plenty to talk about and can find new ways to do it. It's not an upbeat list

The best rap albums from Ohio artists in 2020

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  It's been one week into 2021 and I am already exhausted. I meant to have this list in then but with everything going on in the capitol right now, it seemed secondary. Now after a few weeks off, here is my final best of list for 2020 chalk full of my favorite projects from artists from and around Cleveland. These artists are on the come up, don't be surprised if you see them start to make waves in mainstream music industry soon. That last sentence is always a "hopeless romantic" saying, but I honestly do think Cleveland is beginning to carve out a sound for itself. It may not be in the next few months, even the next few years but there are plenty of artists ready to make the leap to a wider audience. For these artists, all it takes is that Tik Tok, Ebro picking your shit up, or a break out hit so undeniably classic that anyone can pick it up. Some of these artists are already there, some of these artists will soon be there. Here is my list of the best albums from Ohi

The most underrated albums of 2020

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  Here are my tp ten most underrated albums of 2020: Ho, Why is you here? - Flo Milli Okay, this album has made it to a few best of lists. I still think this project is under rated though. In a year dominated by Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B, Millie carved her own lane in the same style of music and made it completely her own. Her style, while simple is insanely quotable and catchy. None of the song on this project sound the same, making it one of the best albums to blast and piss your neighbors off with. Modus Vivendi - 070Shake I completely wrote of 070 Shake when her career started, I will be the first to admit that. I didn't like what she was doing with the culture vulture queen herself YesJulz. Now, it looks like she's gone her own way and has created an entire cerebral experience for her fans. Filled with vintage samples, violins, synths and stripped back drums, 070 Shake makes you feel like your falling down a cybernetic rabbit hole. It makes me feel like I'