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Showing posts from October, 2020

Gems Select: The best rap albums of October

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  As spooky season comes to a close, so does another round of music releases. It was a whirlwind too, half the time, I almost drowned with how many new albums came out. This included projects from Trippier Redd, Snot, YG and The Alchemist. It was the whole gamut of style and as one blogger - it's hard to cover sometimes. Anyways, here are my picks for the best project this month. BURGUNDY - Will Cherry Elyria native Will Cherry spent four years working on this album. That alone is impressive (I can barely keep up with the video games I'm playing), but what's more impressive is the final product. Focusing on grief and how it sticks with us if it's not properly handled, Cherry expertly explores loss and change. What I like most about this album is how it's a chameleon in ways, I can't think of a bad time to play this album - driving? dope. Happy? say no more. Alone with your thoughts? Go ahead. Cherry was also spotlighted on Pitchfork (we did it first, NBD), which

Mai Moxi releases new video for "Bad"

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  For all the hustlers looking for a pick me up right now, look no further. Singer song writer Mai Moxi has released the music video for her song Bad Ft. Charles Hamilton. Featuring eye catching visuals involving a poker game, the New York skyline and eye catching wardrobe, it's motivation to keep going to catch your ambitions. If you like what you hear, check her new album out below: https://music.apple.com/us/album/nymphaea/1535379661 Let me know what you think, Lux P.S. Charles, where did you find that Baker Mayfield jersey?? Asking for a friend.

The Cut: Jmo Let Em Know is leading the new wave of stoner rap

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  It's been a minute since there's been a good stoner rapper to talk about. Sure, we still have legends like Smoke DZA, Currency and Wiz Khalifa. But in rap years, they're all like a thousand years old. We needed some new blood and I think Jmo Let Em Know is the person we've been waiting for. With razor sharp lyricism and beats that sound like Necro produced them, Jmo artfully crafts a sound that makes you feel caught in a smokey haze. Hopefully, that haze has something in it because your neck is going to hurt from bobbing to his music. It's lavish, straight up. It's no surprise though, the Canton native has been rapping for 10 years and got his start as a battle rapper. Not to mention that at just 22 years old, he already has a top billed feature with Smoke DZA and he out rhymes him? I'm not saying it's the stoner version of Renegade but - is it? Yesterday, he released a new project titled "Sweet Chin Music," that's worth checking out too.

The Best Horror-Core rap albums for Halloween

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  It's spooky season y'all. I say this as I drink my pumpkin spice latte, curl my toes in fury uggs and snuggles in my cable knit sweater. One of my favorite traditions I've started was watching horror movies every Sunday and reading a Stephen King book in honor of the holiday - it's common place for me now. Something that's not as common during spooky season, which is a travesty, is horror core rap. Where's the love gone? I mean, legends like Three6Mafia and Eminem got their starts as horror core rappers. Since Halloween is this weekend, I figured it was high time someone highlight some of the best new horror core albums that have been released in the last few years.  CAGE- Death Miracles You may have first heard this rapper tasing bars with Kid Cudi on Man on the Moon II like me. I actually think his verse is the best on that whole project but that's a hot take I'm not ready to debate. The hill I will die on is that this artist is one of the best under

Kid Cudi announces "Man on the Moon 3," and I can't stop from fan girling

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  BATTEN THE HATCHES. LOCK THE DOORS.  SOMEONE CALL NARDUAR.  KID CUDI IS RELEASING MAN ON THE MOON III. In an announcement made via his twitter Oct. 26, Cudi released a small video announcing the Moon Man's return. While there is no release date, instead the video promises that the album - or music from it- is coming soon. I'm willing to wager this means December but we'll see. We are finally getting the third installment of the critically acclaimed Man on the Moon series. This album has been in the works since he initially announced it like five years ago(?) but subsequently scrapped it for a slew of other albums. I won't get into why the album was never released then. I'm chalking it up to Cudi was not in a good headspace to make it and his fans (me included) were snobs and only wanted MOTM3. Cudi has been through a lot and if he feels now is the time to release this, then I am absolutely not complaining. Here's the announcement below: Let's be real, Kid

The Cut: Angry Blackmen is rap's next political voice

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It's should be no secret that I really love genre bending music.  Rap duo Angry Blackmen pretty much sums up everything I love about this kind of music. It's potent, its raw, and well...it's angry. They recently released a project titled HEADSHOTS! and I'm pretty sure it gave me a black eye - it's a punch to the face in a good way. The group has been around for two years and donned their name to fight the stigma of being angry and black in America - a racist trope given to African Americans fed up with how they've been treated. A portion of the group's biography on bandcamp reads: "Not merely a statement of being, these words lay on the table, bare bones, exactly what white America says Blacks should not be; the fake sin that racists constantly accuse Blacks of committing. Yet these words are not phrased as a threat nor with any cursing. Anger is a natural human emotion and this name just states that gently and straightforwardly. The sad irony is, any

347aidan releases gem."Dancing in My Room"

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Monday's suck.  Monday is the Brietbart of days. Monday is crust end of a loaf of bread. It sucks even more now because we have to wake up and work from home (am I the only one that hates working from home?) Luckily, this Monday sucks less because Canadian rapper 347aidan released a fresh gem last night to start your week off.  Titled "Dancing in My Room," the song gushes with optimism despite our current circumstances. 347 croons about how an unnamed lover is brightening his day, despite his demons. Which, at this point, I think we all can relate to. What I love the most about this song is the simple piano/drum combo that compliment's 347's lyrics. And yes, I did dance in my room and swaying my feet to this song. It's Monday, lay off me. Let me know what you think, Lux  

UNCUT: Will Cherry opens up about his new album "Burgundy"

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  Will Cherry was the first rapper I ever featured in my The Cut series. The third day running the blog, I posted a call out for artists because I was semi-new to the scene and wanted to connect. Cherry was the first to comment and the next day I wrote the first installment of my artist spotlight series about him.  The hardest part about discovering a new artist is that you always want more music to consume and while Cherry had music out, I was really excited for what came next. Luckily, I didn't have to wait long because last night he released his debut album "Burgundy." The Elyria native started working on this album in 2016 and tackles themes like grief, love and mental conflict. The project features 10 tracks and includes guest verses from other Cleveland artists like Tae Mills and Young Baby Tate ad Lorine Chia.  Below we talk about his process making the album, what "Burgundy," means to him and his love of film. Check it out. You named your album Burgundy,

The Cut: PESO is packing trippy rap with potent lyricism

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Genre bending has become common place for rap music today. Now almost every rapper can sing or play guitar or do something other than rap in their music. There are however, artists that can take this to different levels and elevate it into an art form. Take PESO for example, on the surface he makes trippy, genre-bending rap music. Listen closer and you realize that he has something to say. It's an unexpected one/two punch that caught me so off guard I really struggled to write this blog because I couldn't define him. (which is a good thing right?) For example, on his latest track "As Far As I See," he  spends nearly half of it making you think it's an R&B song by singing. The second half  kicks up and he begins skillfully weaving around the beat with fast lyricism not common for psych or emo rap today. https://music.apple.com/us/album/as-far-as-i-see-single/1531996899 It boils down to this: I don't how to describe what it is I like about him - his witty ly

Ty Dolla $ign drops with new album "Featuring Ty Dolla $ign"

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  Phew, given last night's debate I was beginning to think bad vibes were going to catch up to me. Luckily Ty Dolla $ign released his new project, "Featuring Ty Dolla $ign" last night to kick off the weekend. This project does not disappoint either and it's almost guaranteed to have something you'll like. This is because the album features a whopping 23 songs and includes but a kitchen sink's worth of other rappers. This includes Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Skrillex, Gunna, Post Malone and Nicki Minaj (this album has a shitload of features). Normally I would be against a project with this many features, I'd also be against an album with this many songs. However, because of how much content there is and the quality of the content, it works perfect. It's been three years since $ign's last solo project and with that comes the concern that some of the talent has worn off. That's not the case here and the singer/rapper proves that good things come with ti

Former XXL alum Jon Connor releases album unnoticed

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Every once in a while - mostly around spring - I would sit and ask myself: "What the hell happened to Jon Connor?" We're talking about a rapper that had one of the best mixtape runs ever. This guy rapped over beats by JayZ, Eminem, The Notorious B.I.G. and Kanye West and outshined all of them? He was doing something that other rappers weren't at the time. The hype was around Macklemore, Kendrick and Chance so rappers were trying to emulate that style.  Her was different. Gritty. Real. After his freshman cover with Chance and Vic Mensa, signing to Dr. Dre's label and releasing one of the absolute best freestyles I've ever heard - he vanished. It was an absolute mystery, I would google him until my knuckles were sore and I needed a potty break. I would hit blogs and try to follow a digital paper trail that was never there. I felt like Charlie trying to figure out who Pepe Silvia was. A few weeks ago, I was gearing up to go conspiracy theorist again to find Jon.

Kota The Friend reflects on his work in "DraGON"

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  New vibes from a personal favorite of mine, Kota the Friend. He's the kind of rapper that you listen to once and want to download all of his songs.  This song is no exception. Featuring a reflective Kota rapping about how his work has gotten in the way of his personal happiness. It hits especially close to home since I spend my days working as a journalist and most of my nights writing/researching for the blog. Sometimes I just want to go to bed with my significant other but I keep pushing to build the blog. Anyway, here's my favorite line from the song: "Lost myself to a part I play, now I'm just sad and my head hurt." Don't get me wrong, this song is not depressing. In fact I think it's kind of hopeful because while he talks about his regrets, he also raps over an upbeat guitar riff and gives parting advice about not wasting your time while you're here. Let me know what you think, Lux

The Cut: Mai Moxi is bringing back classic R&B on her terms

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  NOTE: This is a mix of an album review and an artist spotlight because not only did I just discover this artist, she also just released an album. At the start of the week, I began making an extra effort to look for more talented female artists to write about on the blog- found one. Cleveland's Mai Moxi released her new album "Nymphaea," today and I have to say, this album is STACKED. The 14 track album falls just under and hour and includes guest features from the likes of Walker OG, Young Paris and Charles Hamilton and Lil B - two rap blog legends - no big deal. Moxi's music is something I would listen to on a long drive at night. It's got smooth vibes that harken back to 90's R&B. What's different about her though is that she focuses heavily on lyricism. Her lyrics are so grounded and smart that it's not what you expect when you think about R&B right now. She covers topics ranging from knowing a woman's worth, Cleveland odes and depress

Fabolous goes sneaker shopping with Complex again

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  Without a doubt, Fabolous has been one of the hardest working rappers in the game for years. So anytime I get the chance to hear a snippet of his upbringing and what fashion means to him, I have to jump on the chance to listen.  Luckily, the rapper was featured on a brand new episode of Complex's Sneaker Shopping, which released yesterday. In the nine minute episode Fab talks about his first pair of sneakers and when he discovered a good pair of shoes can really set you apart from the game. Being an old sneaker head too, he also talks about how hunting for the freshest kicks was part of the sneaker shopping experience. If you're on your lunch break, check it out. Try not to go sneaker shopping yourself afterward. Lux.

First Listen: Cleveland's Kipp Stone drops new album "Homme"

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  Compton has Kendrick Lamar, Cleveland has Kipp Stone. I know that sounds like a crazy ass comparison but on my first play through of Stone's new album "Homme," that's the only thought that comes to mind. Featuring 12 songs with guest verses from artists including Mick Jenkins, Torre Lott and Nuke Franklin (one of the first friends to the blog). Honestly though, is it really a stretch to compare this album to "Good Kid Maad City" or "Damn"? Listen to the album and tell me I'm wrong, sure Kendrick is Kendrick but actually listen to this album and think about what made people like those albums and apply that to this one. Every track is texturally different, with slow drums and samples circling Kipp's lyrics about abuse and trauma. Of course there are straight forward songs with a classic boom bap rhythm, but where the beat eases up, Kipp's lyrics and impeccable flow pick the slack up as he twists/flips his flow. I think what's striki

The Cut: Teezo Touchdown is raps next viral sensation

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  After everything that's happened in 2020, I was starting to think the internet wouldn't have a viral sensation in rap this year. Thank god I was wrong about that and we got Teezo Touchdown whose been releasing a slew of solid songs since the summer. Sonically, I would describe him as Gym Class Heroes meets Trinidad James. He's a genre bender in that one song he can have punk music playing while rapping and the next he'll be letting off some serious old school west coast rap. He hasn't hit it big just yet, but slowly he's been gaining a following and starting to get peeped at by other media outlets. Not mention, I've been seeing a lot of people talking about him on Twitter, so I had to see for myself - I was not disappointed.  Give it a month or two, Youtube/TikTok's algorithm is going to pick him up and then it's donzo. I'm talking remixes to his songs, live performances and probably opening up for like - I don't know - Lady GaGa or Fallout

Will Cherry announces virtual listening party for album "Burgundy"

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  The hype for Will Cherry's debut album is real y'all. Yesterday, the Elyria artist that to go with the release of his album on Oct. 23 he will also be holding a virtual listening party. If interested, email Cherry at mgmt@willcherry.us for more information. Hopefully there's a Q&A afterward so y'all can pick his brain and hear his story because it's a good one. In other news, he got COSIGNED by actress Tracie Thoms who played Kim in Death Proof, which inspired his single of the same name. As a music fan, I'm elated for him, as a film fan I am just green with jealous rage right now. Why can't Rosario Dawson or Kurt Russell hit the line and tell me they love me? We may never know, Lux

Shawn K releases more heat this week with "FLOJO"

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  This week Shawn K decided he wanted to turn the heat up to 200 with new music. Check out another new song with Wowgr8, where he once again shows the world that Cleveland artists have something to say. Technically speaking he is just a feature on this song, but with his verse being first and his biting lyrics - he once again steals the show. Check it out and let me know what you think: https://soundcloud.com/wow-factur/flojo-feat-s-k-a-d Check outa previous collaboration between Wowgr8 and Shawn K that was released this week also: https://soundcloud.com/wow-factur/up-in-flames-final-rgh Lux P.S. if any of y'all know how to embed tracks online, feel free to slide in the DMS and shoot your shot.

Benny the Butcher releases new album, "Burden of Proof"

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  The Griselda hits keep coming. This time in the form of a Benny the Butcher album, "Burden of Proof." The 12 track album come complete with guest verses from Lil Wayne, Freddie Gibbs and Rick Ross and of course Griselda mates Conway the Machine and Westside Gunn. This album is PACKED with classic boom bap songs produced by Hit-Boy. Fave Tracks:Sly Green, Burden of Proof, Legend and One Way Flight Ft. Freddie Gibbs. I think my only issue is that I can't decide who my favorite rapper from Griselda is. All of them have absolutely dominated this year. Until I can figure that out, check out the song, "Burden of Proof," below and then stream the album: Link to album: https://music.apple.com/us/album/burden-of-proof/1535561612 Lux

Check out Omar Apollo's new album "Apolonio" out now

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  ARREST THIS MAN - THIS ISN'T RAP Hell no it's not, but it's a vibe in a half and I wanted to share it with y'all. Besides, I'm sure you're going to hear this dude sing a TON of rapper's tracks soon enough (I'm pulling for ASAP Rocky and Tyler). With just nine songs, this album provides a chill mood that can help you take the edge off of whatever hellscape you're dealing with in 2020. My personal favorite track is Kamikaze but any song you choose is going to have a dope bass, relaxed drums and a unique guitar riff. On the real he reminds me of some The Internet meets Miguel type vibes. Check it below: https://music.apple.com/us/album/apolonio/1533873317 Let me know what you think, Lux

$not gearing up to release new project Oct. 30

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  Did I miss something?  Like, I just noticed this album was set to release in two weeks and the only thing I could find news wise on it was a Genius article that has it slated for next year. We're talking about $not, a contender for the XXL top ten freshmen list quality rapper and no one is writing about it? In any case, I first wrote about this artist way back - back in the dark web prototype version of this blog. Actually, I made fun of him for his name and said I hope he made the cover of XXL cause it would be hilarious. See my mistake was back then - look I'm not going to sugar coat it - I was a shit blogger. Fast forward months later, I actually listen to his music and kicking myself for writing him off because his name isn't the greatest (I can't sugarcoat that either). Who cares though? His music is good and I was wrong to try and clown him. So far, there are two songs from the album that can be listened to which includes "REVENGE," and "Mean"

Cleveland's Shawn K cuts it hard with Earthgang's WowGr8 on new song

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  Cleveland rappers remain a secret weapon for artists in Atlanta. Take for example, Cleveland's Shawn K whose been rapping and slowly making a name for himself since 2009 (correct me if I'm wrong). Shawn has been a staple feature for a plethora of artists and on "Cut the Breaks," by WOWGR8, I think it's safe to say he steals the show. "I'm Hans Zimmer on acid, Dahmer without the tragic, full spazzin," My one critique is that this 5 minute song is 3 minutes too long - after Shawn murders the track there's nothing but beat (it's a dope beat don't get me wrong). However, if you're going to come in with the heat I want more! Give the rest of the time to Shawn K cause he clearly has more to say.  Stay tuned to the blog to see what's next for him. To show more love, here's the soundcloud link below: https://soundcloud.com/wow-factur/wowgr8-x-shawn-k-cut-the-breaks Lux

Comedian Druski goes sneaker shopping, calls out Drake

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  Call it talent or call it luck, comedian Druski has had a massive come up. The comedian known for making fun of (extremely accurately portraying) white frat dudes on social media finally has what every sneaker head dreams of- a chat with Joe La Puma and a sneaker shopping spree.  The video, which was published yesterday, delves into what kind of shoes Druski wore growing up from AF1's to my go to shoes - the boat shoes (aka The Chad 1s). My favorite part however, is when he talks about being on the Nike campus in Portland to film Drake's "Laugh Now Cry Later." During the discussion, he reveals that Drake didn't give I'm mercy he was promised - oh yeah, ignore the Drake merch on Druski's head also. This is probably one of the funnier sneaker shopping videos Complex has done and I think they need to keep them coming. Let's do Bill Burr sneaker shopping next, he just pulled off one of the best monologues in SNL history to a crowd of like 15 people. Here

The Cut: Porsh Bet$ is the next hip-hop heart throb

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  Summer 2020 may be slipping away from us but that doesn't matter, not when there's someone like Porsh Bet$ giving us heat like his new single Handle. With guitar chords, a fast. passed beat and Bet$ soft voice, this song will make you want to drive with your windows down like it's not 50 degrees out. The Massachusetts native only has two songs out and a small following but if he keeps making music like this, I bet that he is here to stay. I'm also going to go ahead and make a precaution now that in a few years y'all are going to include him with Bryson Tiller, August Alsina and Ty Dolla $ign. Check it below: Here's his first single: Lux

CALLING ALL FEMALE ARTISTS, LET ME HEAR YOU

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I'll be the first to admit it - this blog is kind of a sausage party. I want to plead ignorance for this because in my limited time writing about the Cleveland/Underground scene, I've only had the fortune of meeting male artists. Despite this, I KNOW there are amazing female singers and rappers repping in Cleveland and I want to spotlight them also. If you or any of your friends are dope artists send some shit my way so I can listen to it and write about you. Nothing is off limits, but I want to start doing a better job covering women because it's not just men that are leading Cleveland's rap scene. So this is the official call: Women if you have the chops and want someone to write about your story and showcase your music, I'm your guy. Contact me at rapgemsuncut@gmail.com and let's work together. Lux

ICYMI: Yelawolf releases music video for "Lightning"

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  Am I the only one that still fucks with Yelawolf? I feel like ever since his first album, he's been written off. Honestly though, he's been making some of the best music of his career the last few years. In the last two years alone he released Trunk Muzik 3 and Ghetto Cowboy which are both extremely solid projects. Anyway, on Friday he released the music video for his song "Lightning," off of Ghetto Cowboy. The video tells the story of Yelawolf's struggle growing up in the south and wanting to make something of himself despite all of his obstacles. Let me know what you think, Lux

Don Deon releases music video for "Mama Don't Cry"

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  Yesterday, Cleveland artist Don Deon released the music video for his single "Mama Don't Cry." The video was directed by another local artist Lovision, which I suspect you're going to see a ton of his work on the blog soon. The single is part of his recent project "For Motivational Use Only," which released last month and is available for streaming. Laced with a sample by Queen and lyrics about grinding, Deon provides  a  hustler's anthem and rap nerd's (like me) a great excuse to talk about Cleveland's rap scene. My favorite part of the song is when he somehow manages to incorporate The Office and it works? I mean come on, a song that references Michael Scott and Dunder Mifflin and it isn't lame? Check out his album here: https://music.apple.com/us/album/for-motivational-use-only/1532168479 Let me know what you think, Lux

Check out Nicx's knew song "Red Pill"

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  It's a damn good time to be a Cleveland rapper. Yesterday, artist Nicx released a new single titled "Red Pill," on all streaming services. All I can really say is this song slaps, but it's really no surprise for a rapper that's been featured on 2DopeBoys and XXL. Nicx effortlessly raps on the beat laced with guitars and a subtle trap beat. Let me know what you think, Lux

Uncut: An interview with Russ Hall, Cleveland's next poet

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  Today, Cleveland rapper Russ Hall released his fifth album, “Beautiful,” to the masses. After listening to it for a few hours, I have to say this album is sharp. The project features eight songs with guest verses from other local artists like Tell a Tale Vell, Jah Rashid and Sumrr. It was produced by  Epik The Dawn, Ismael Jam, Lebanon Don Beats, BEATSINMYBACKPACK, Juno, Blutop and YSP. With a rich boom bap style and a unique flow that can change at the drop of a dime, I think Hall can be the next big thing out of Cleveland.  With that said, I had to known what it was like making this project so below is a short Q&A I did with the upcoming star from Cleveland. How long have you been working on this album and what was your process making it? 1. I started working on Beautiful at the beginning of May 2020. With everything going on in the world I just wanted to collect my thoughts and put a project together. The process was very simple, I used everything life had thrown my way whethe

TDE rookie Reason drops debut album, poised for rap greatness

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  TDE is back and so is lyricism babaaaaaay. Today, artist Reason released his debut album "New Beginnings," and I gotta tell you. There hasn't been this strong of a debut album since Kendrick's Section .80 or Schoolboy's Oxymoron.  The 14 track album comes complete with features from Schoolboy Q, JID, Vince Staples and Rapsody. Each song, the rapper weaves in potent lyrics about life growing up in Carson, California with punchy rhymes. The album is produced by the likes of Illmind, Tae Beast and S1. Fave songs: Extinct FT: Isaiah Rashad and JID, Stories I forgot, GOSSIP and Pop Shit FT. Schoolboy Q. I really don't think there's a boring song on this album and - stop me if I'm reaching - this album poises the artist as your next rapper to make into the Top 5 best rappers of all time debate. Again, stop me if I'm wrong. Listen for yourself below: https://music.apple.com/us/album/new-beginnings/1533867305 Lux

The Cut: Canadian rappers are invading our country and TOBi is leading the charge

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  This is the second Canadian I've featured on the blog, I'm sensing a trend. If I could best describe the type of music that will more than likely make it on to the blog, I can break it down into one word - Unique. If you looked that word up, a picture of Nigerian-Canadian rapper TOBi would be right next to the word and I think I'm underselling this dude's music. One song we get trumpets, an old school sample and west coast rhymes, the next we get stripped back drums with slick versatile lyrics. Favorite lyrics: Above - "You're well spoken for a black man, that's how you serve a compliment with your back hand." Below- "Proud boys make noise, lions roar to a cats meow, pound for pound in the ring I'm Pacquiao." Maybe I'm late on this one, I don't care he needs to be talked about more. His next album comes out Oct. 21 if you fuck with the music.  Let me know what y'all think. Lux