San Antonio hip-hop has always been dope, and one of the dopest representing the city is the formidable MC known as MAD1ONE. After a busy 2020, it’s no surprise that MAD1ONE would be right back at it first of the year with new material, but unlike the majority of his recent releases, Dark Side of Jupiter finds MAD1ONE exploring different energy in much more contemplative, introspective rhyming without the usual intense presence backing up the words, and all over lush production from Blazy Green. It seems like spreading wisdom and reinforcing personal affirmations is more important this go-round than self-gratifying talk (not that MAD1ONE has ever dropped self-gratifying rhymes solely for the purpose of personal enjoyment). If you’re looking for hip-hop that will positively shift energy, then take a moment for Dark Side of Jupiter, support it by copping it if you can, and spread it around for as many people as possible to hear.
Despite the lasting effects of COVID-19 and its crippling impact on the live music industry, there are a handful of artists who have continued to persevere in spite of, and Chris Conde is a shining example of this steadfast dedication. Over the majority of 2020, Conde found ways to stay in the public eye, be it video releases, live stream performances or acoustic performances. As 2020 transitioned into 2021, Conde made the announcement that an album was coming on Fake Four, Inc. in the spring, and if the Lazerbeak-produced Mariposa is any indication of what’s to come, then hip-hop heads should prepare themselves for more of Conde‘s signature honesty and insight over some high energy production. Definitely check out the video, run up the numbers and engagement stats, and support your local creatives.
When it comes to the brave new musical frontier that is Nerdcore, the range of diverse artists can be breathtaking. One of my favorite outfits of all, however, is the power-packed trio of Bitforce, a heavy-metal band with a penchant for beefing up the chip-tunes we’ve all come to know and love from our gaming experiences. With their latest album, the self-titled Bitforce, set for release in December, the band has started releasing singles, and the first is the triumphant sounding Wildfire Fox. I’m always down for the way that Bitforce is able to reshape and beef up songs I’ve come to know and love from countless hours of gaming, so I’m definitely excited about their upcoming release. Check out the new track, pre-order the full length if the single moves you, and always support your local creatives!
Even as the world makes small steps towards opening itself in some sort of normal sense after the waves of COVID-19 we face, musicians are exploring old and new alternatives to keep their fanbases satisfied. The San Antonio-based live outfit Stereofiend recently decided to go the route of an old industry standby by dropping a live album, but with most venues closed during the period of time they decided to do so, they opted for the next best thing : live from the studio. The result, in this case, is an intimate view of Stereofiend in the moment and in the pocket with one another, minus the distractions that come with a live audience, resulting in what feels like a jam session put together especially for the listener. The songs we all know and love are there, we get a small view into the inter-band banter that those familiar with Stereofiend are used to, and until we’re allowed to enjoy one another’s company again, this will be the closest we get to a live show for a while. Definitely check it out, support if you can, and share it around for all to enjoy.
As a 1980’s baby, the true-school era of 1990’s hip-hop will always hold a special place in my heart. It is this very respect and nostalgia that makes MAD1ONE one of my favorite Texas MCs, point blank period. Dude sounds like he was plucked directly from that era, and it doesn’t hurt that his go-to producer Ruler Why has a production style that echoes the very same era. For his latest project, King Leo Green, MAD1ONE employed Ruler Why and Kizer, along with a closing track by Furthermore, for production purposes, and guest verses by Jamar Equality, Blazy Green and Kizer help expand on the topics of royalty, power and earned respect. If you like quality hip-hop, you’re probably already aware of MAD1ONE, but if not, get hip, support the new project, and spread it around for the masses to do the same.
With the world in such emotional taxing, tumultuous times, it’s sometimes hard to focus on, or even think about, music. One thing that I love about hip-hop, however, is its ability to rationalize madness, remind us of the wins and losses of our past, and most important of all, inspire change and evolution (if not revolution). Luckily, the San Antonio-based powerhouse that is Third Root is fully aware of their ability to make those specific impacts, and with they culled an all-star lineup to put together Passion of the Poets : Adrian Quesada, El Dusty and Illfudge all get producer credits, while guest features include Black Pumas, Mad1ne, Grupo Fantasma, Kam Franklin and Bavu Blakes. If you’re simply curious about listening, you can find this one any and everywhere you stream or buy music online, but if you’re looking to support deeper, visit the Bandcamp page for exclusive merchandise. Most importantly, spread the Third Root word if you’re feeling what they’re dealing.
It’s funny how ahead of the curve some MCs can be. Chris Conde released Conde Digital as a part of Fake Four Records FreeCember promotion, and nearly six months later, his second single Earth is so pertinent that it could have been written yesterday. Over an ominous, ambient, grimey track courtesy of Moodie Black‘s KDeath, Conde goes in with some extremely urgent and direct pleas to reason as he breaks down just how interconnected we are with the Earth against how neglectful we tend to be. Thanks to collaborator Wayne Fau, the message is delivered without Conde‘s signature visual flashes, instead opting for minimal effects and portrait-style presentations of Conde‘s vital message. Dig the video, leave a like and a comment if you’re feeling it, and share it around for all to experience.
After releasing the aptly named Impressive Hate Poems, Mad1ne has enlisted the help of Sol Cinematics to drop the first music video for the project, Dusty. This one is reminiscent of the 1990s hip-hop music videos that made me love the culture, where a black and white filter and grounded, gritty locations allow those with flow to address viewers directly and do what they do best. A couple of cameo appearances can be found in the run of the video as well. Mad1ne has always held it down for that era, and over the years, his work just keeps getting stronger and stronger, and this video continues the trajectory in the right direction. Check this one out, leave a like and a comment, and share it around so those numbers can rise!
As 2020 continues to truck along, (iN)Sect Records moves right along with it in terms of releasing top quality music. Recently, San Antonio-based glitch synthpop mastermind Brainwavve rolled out his latest release, FUTURESOON, a collection of colorful sounds and textures with a driving force behind it. The mostly instrumental collection gives plenty of emotional shades, and the three unique features from Bragglights, Black Davinciii and Honey Son only add to the range of experience. As far as the electronic soundscape of Texas, it looks like Brainwavve is firmly set as a key member of the scene, and FUTURESOON is a strong statement of that fact. Check it out, share it around for others, and if you’ve got the funds, jump over to his Bandcamp and donate a few bucks.
The homie MAD1ONE has been on an impressive creative streak over the past couple of years. It seems like inspiration hits him in waves, and the projects that result from them are well thought out presentations of lyrical worlds he creates. For Impressive Hate Poems, MAD1ONE hit up producers Kizer and Ruler Why for a concept album that plays out like a poetry slam. To help round out the perspectives provided, MCs such as Nick Cruz, RoyalKingMinus, Stress, and Blazy bring guest verses to the proceedings. The tracks are all bangers, the bars come in rapid fire, and the overall listening experience is engaging enough to keep you locked in from beginning to end. Check out the project, donate a few bucks if you can, and share it around so others can check it out.