Category Archives: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Album reviews.

Loco Motion :: Notes Floats Keeps It Going With ‘FULL STEAM AHEAD’

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With two-plus decades in the rap game, it’s nuts how consistently fresh that Notes Floats is able to continue to be with each new release.  His latest project, FULL STEAM AHEAD, has all the earmarks that we’ve come to know and love from a Notes Floats project : funk-laden production with a quirky edge, humorous and witty lines with an acute sharpness to them, a focus that is not lost in the humor, and quality guest verses, this time from the likes of Gorilla Monk, and Devo.  This album also has a running theme of trains throughout, including a free-form sonic, poetic exploration to close out the proceedings.  If you dug the Triple Dang Snap single, then buckle up for a memorable ride.

-chief

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Public Service :: MC Homeless & Swordplay Release Video For ‘Cracked Screens’

It’s amazing how the information age has seemingly done nothing but dumb us down in the grand scheme of things.  The smartphone is a powerful tool, but in the hands of the unimaginative or apathetic, it can be a crutch at best, and a hindrance at worst.  MC Homeless and Swordplay clearly understand what I’m talking about, and address the sentiment head on in their collaborative single for Cracked Screens.  The information they spread is on point, but the real parallels to the peril we face are drawn in the video, which is full of real life clips where humans show our less than stellar side, alongside clips of the manufacturing and selling of cellular phones.  For good measure, or maybe just for my amusement, there’s even a dose of Quantum Leap thrown into the mix, to show the hopes we once had for technology and humanity working in harmony with one another.  This is definitely a video worth sharing around, so spread it far and wide… and don’t get lost on the irony of folks watching it on the very device that dooms them.

-chief

Classic Tactics :: SWAB X EVOLVE Combine Forces For ‘OUT FOR SELF’

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After the release of the initial Masta Ace featuring single FAR BEHIND, I knew that SWAB X EVOLVE had something special queued up.  OUT FOR SELF did one better, however, and exceeded expectations by leaps and bounds.  I’ve always been a fan of EVOLVE‘s approach to wordplay, lyricism and performance, but something about SWAB‘s production does nothing but showcase the best aspects of these individual focuses, meaning that the bar is set high early and met throughout the project’s run time.  There are some high level features on this album, but even if SWAB X EVOLVE were the only artists whose presence were felt on this project, that would more than serve to make this an early contender for 2019 Top Ten lists.  Remember this one when the year-end comes around, and don’t sleep on it now.

-chief

Looking Back :: Sill Makes Powerfully Moving Video For ‘Ego Death’

After dropping the over the top video for Crazy 88, you’d imagine that most artists would double down on the initial style and aesthetic laid out.  Sill, however, has decided to do his College of Hip-Hop Knowledge brethren proud by following up with a powerful, thought-provoking music video for his second single, Ego Death.  With the help of Nvision FilmsSill takes the concepts of self-reflection and self-sabotage he explores lyrically to a different level with the cinematic narrative presented.  The video starts off normal enough, subtly introduces what seems like innocent visual trickery, only to turn that trickery on its head in the most compelling way possible.  This is a serious candidate for video of the year, and I hope that all involved consider presenting it to the Austin Music Video Festival in December.  Check out the video yourself, leave a like and a comment, and share it around for others to do the same.

-chief

Waking Life :: SHOUTOUTSAK! Drops Video For ‘LONGNIGHT’

With so much new music coming out on nearly a daily basis, it gets really easy to find a particular collective of artists that you focus on and stick with them solely in terms of exposure.  In an effort to expand my research and find artists I am unfamiliar with, I hit a first swing homerun after discovering SHOUTOUTSAK!‘s latest music video release, LONGNIGHT.  The Austin-based rapper uses a dense, lush synth and drum based track as a bed (no pun intended) for his song-like style that properly lays out the typical day that most artistic types experience : vivid days experiencing, long nights reflecting, and lost days recovering.  The video offers up several slices of life takes featuring SHOUTOUTSAK!, but filters them through a skewed perspective of trippiness and camera movement that pulls you in as the seconds tick.  Definitely worth your likes, comments and shares, so hit it up!

-chief

Double Singles :: R.E.L. And Bryan Hamilton Release Lead Singles For ‘SUMMER HEAT’

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These days, the members of Chisme may not be in the same location, but that’s not stopping they’re individual creative drives.  R.E.L., for example, is still keeping his verbal blades sharp, and some production assistance from Bryan Hamilton has led to the impending release of SUMMER HEAT.  In order to prepare us for the new project, the duo has released a pair of lead singles… the mellow banger PURGATORY, and the slightly off-kilter funk of It’s Fresh Outside (featuring guest bars from Apaso).  If these two songs are any indication of the quality of SUMMER HEAT, I think we’re all in for something special… check out these singles where you download or stream music, and keep an ear open for the full project!

-chief

Kindred Spirits :: Click-Clack And Swish Fifty Drop ‘Negars’ EP

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Click-Clack and Swish Fifty have been building a strong working relationship over the past couple of years via a few Click-Clack releases and their affiliation with Ballteam, but Negars marks what (I believe) is their first consistent collaboration as a duo.  With Swish handling production duties and both members on lyrical duty, this self-titled EP comes out in attack mode and doesn’t let up for its 5 track duration.  The beats all hit hard, the braggadocios, humorous lyrical wordplay is present from both sides, and the cover art is instantly classic.  In a summer full of dopeness, this already sits near the top of the list.  Check it out and spread it around!

-chief