DRAM – “Ill Nana” (Feat. Trippie Redd) Video

This post was originally published on this site

The raspy, euphoric Virginia singer DRAM has been awfully busy. Thus far in November, he’s already shared the Rick Rubin-produced “Check Ya Fabrics” and the Playboi Carti collab “Crumbs,” and he’s also shown up in an animated Sprite ad with LeBron James. We haven’t heard his Neil Young collab yet, … More »

DRAM – “Check Ya Fabrics” (Prod. Rick Rubin)

This post was originally published on this site

DRAM, who recently dropped the periods from his name in semi-comedic fashion, is back today with a new song produced by none other than Rick Rubin. “Check Ya Fabrics” is a loose, floaty, psychedelic R&B track with pitched-up vocals, like Kendrick Lamar spouting manipulated vocals over an outtake from Electric Ladyland but, like, … More »

Column: Favorite Rap Mixtapes of October 2017

This post was originally published on this site

With a cascade of releases spewing from the likes of DatPiff, LiveMixtapes, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud, it can be difficult to keep up with the overbearing yet increasingly vital mixtape game. In this column, we aim to immerse ourselves in this hyper-prolific world and share our favorite releases each month. The focus will primarily be on rap mixtapes — loosely defined here as free (or sometimes free-to-stream) digital releases — but we’ll keep things loose enough to branch out if/when we feel it necessary. (Check out last month’s installment here.)


Trippie Redd – A Love Letter To You 2

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

All those Lil Uzi Vert comparisons notwithstanding, Ohio’s Trippie Redd is doing a fine job carving out his own lane as hip-hop’s closest thing to an opera singer. I mean, sure, there’s crooning, but then there’s Trippie Redd’s emotive bellow that erupts like a bat out of hell on the pre-hook for In Too Deep (I see the future in my plans / I’m gonna be good, it’s in God’s hands). Redd’s consistently ariose flow is the major draw for me: he’s got an amazing ear for melody, particularly those that instill sadness. While not entirely morose, the tape does embody themes of loneliness, nostalgia, and heartbreak (Baby wish me well / You know that I live in hell / I’m hellboy, I live in hell). Using autotune and endlessly-alluring, eerie, and ambient instrumentals as his brush, Trippie paints a world of vivid, lush euphony. And he does it effortlessly, with genuine affect.


Antwon – Sunnyvale Gardens

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

There’s a lot of talk about potential in the rap game these days. With infinite, uh, clout at stake for those early champions of the next to claim their fifteen minutes, rap nerdery can feel more than a little obsessed with the obscure. But what exactly are we hoping that these teenagers might turn into? With Sunnyvale Gardens, underground veteran Antwon provides one possible answer, summarizing the year in Soundcloud while retaining the form of an actual, polished album. It’s a reassuring step forward, a promise that the genre’s core tenets – unabashed emo influence, guitar front and center, gargled autotune melody – can carry weight even in the absence of minute-and-a-half runtimes and blown out mastering. In spanning seemingly the entire history of rap since 2010, Sunnyvale Gardens can certainly feel a bit uneven; more often than not, however, it’s worth your while – Antwon is the ideal auteur for the goofy sincerity of rap’s current moment.


Grandmilly & Shozae – Motel Six

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

The desk clerk hardly takes her eyes off the TV, absolutely never shoots you a straight glance, but make no mistake, she’ll scan her peripherals enough times to piece together a mental image. So it pays for you to look around too, giving her as little as possible without making it obvious. The game plays out perpetually. That’s what passes for hospitality here — that and musty carpets and buckled wallboards and busted heat pumps and penitentiary-level shower pressure and springy mattresses and HBO — because they know you’re only here on business. Bring your own amenities.


Evil Haze x CowboyKiller – Western Haze EP

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

Cowpokin’ ain’t a far cry from trappin’. Texan/Pennsylvanian tag-team Evil Haze and CowboyKiller ride foreign horses and tote big irons, shooting hissed bars from the hip atop oppressively crusty bass lines. Their first three-track collab, Western Haze is a desert heat wave, warping its cracking samples on the scorched horizon: it stifles in the biblical sense, drying my throat like baked clay as my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. Lay me in the dust of death and ride off, pistols blazing. I hear the whine of slide guitar against the lens flare in the pale blue sky. “I’m causing damage while you on the internet spamming,” CowboyKiller whispers from a distance so great that I’m unnerved to hear him at all. It cuts deep.


YoungBoy Never Broke Again – Ain’t Too Long

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

Ain’t Too Long, the latest chapter in Baton Rouge rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s rapid ascent to hip-hop’s front page, arrived early October in peculiar form: a playlist of 8 YouTube videos on YoungBoy’s official page, not accessible via the usual mixtape sites nor the main-channel streaming services. This very unceremoniousness is exactly what makes the 18 year-old rapper so refreshing: his melodic, repetitive storytelling bears equal imprints of gen Z stylistic cues and Kevin Gates-esque confessionalism, and this latest tape finds him pensive and morose even in the face of great success. “Pour One” and “Better Man” start at the origin of his struggle and tell a story elliptically, looking back on betrayal and past selves with equal parts disbelief and gratitude. The circular melancholy in YoungBoy’s grates on the listener, at times unrelentingly sad even as the beat continues to bounce and fade out. What else are you looking for?


Gunplay – Haram

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

There’s not good reason that Gunplay isn’t one of the biggest rappers in the world. He has more than enough intensity, talent, grind, uniqueness and hit-making ability to get over. Crossover appeal? C Monster and I saw him rock a noise showcase during Red Bull music week a couple years ago! Plus, Gucci Mane and DMX sustained careers through worse recidivism. Regardless, a couple years removed from a debut album that was understandably underwhelming (in that it was so needlessly belated and highly anticipated), Gunplay has sounded reinvigorated throughout 2017, powdery explosiveness complemented by a sensibility that was at the heart of his finest early works and now feels more attuned. Gunplay with precision and consistency.


Injury Reserve – Drive It Like It’s Stolen

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

God, these three will never get the credit they deserve. Drive It Like It’s Stolen is everything Injury Reserve fans have come to expect: beat-heavy, lyrically conscious songs drizzled with some of the silkiest flow in the game. The 23-minute mixtape showcases the dichotomy of the trio in a short amount of time. “See You Sweet” and “Boom (X3)” are tough enough to “have the landlord knocking like a burglary,” while “North Pole” and “Colors” sway slow enough to swing a room into a smoke-sesh. Jokes aside, Drive it Like It’s Stolen has moved Injury Reserve to a more permanent position in rap and lets the world know that the trio has finished flossing and is ready to eat again.


araabMUZIK – One of One

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

In 2010, Dipset Trance Party was, as far as I was concerned, one of the coolest and most confounding things in music. Hosted by someone calling themselves “Your Boy SK,” the series of beat tapes, somehow inspired simultaneously by vocal trance and by the rhythm-focused, high-fidelity Dipset production aesthetic, introduced the world to araabMUZIK. Since the release of his debut album Electronic Dream one year later, in what was surely the biggest Dipset Trance Party success story, we haven’t heard very much from the producer, known for feverishly punching out drum sequences on his MPC as if it were a live percussion instrument. At six tracks, One of One feels like the perfect serving of his simple yet intoxicating blend of beats and emotional dance music. Nevelle Viracocha’s vocals on “Lock and Load” and “Wanted,” seated in the middle of the mix and shrouded in delay, take me back to the bygone Trance Party even more effectively than araabMUZIK’s studio efforts, while the drums hit with the swinging, hand-plucked weight I’ve come to expect from him. One of One is a nifty, powerful little collection of beats, as ready for SoundCloud freestyling as for home listening.


Future & Young Thug – Super Slimey

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

According to the October 2017 edition of Physics Today:

Allison Sweeney and her colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania now report that they may have a solution to the long-standing puzzle of how the squid lens establishes its protein-density gradient in a way that maintains uniform transparency. They found that cells at different radial positions within the lens produce different ratios of some 40 subtly different variants of S-crystallin. All the mixtures form gels — or at least a volume-spanning protein network — but at varying densities. The gelation prevents the proteins from aggregating into opaque clumps and damps local density fluctuations that could distort vision.


Lil Durk – Signed to the Streets 2.5

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

I guess Lil Durk and Dej Loaf aren’t together anymore. I hope they’re ok! Really. Though never short on flexes, Lil Durk’s music has always had a believable earnestness far beyond that of his peers, neither cartoonishly immersed in his feelings nor insistent that they don’t exist. Despite never quite breaking out beyond Chicago, Durk has enjoyed massive sustained popularity there since well before drill entered (and subsequently exited) the national stage. There was a brief period this summer when it seemed like Distance was going to break through, and practically every track on Signed to the Streets 2.5 is similarly easy to imagine as a hit. Then again, that’s been the case for most of his career.

Trippie Redd shares new mixtape A Love Letter to You 2, preemptively rendering all Sweetest Day gifts ineffectual

This post was originally published on this site

❣️

A post shared by 1400 <:3:3:3 (@trippieredd) on

BLAM.

What? You’re BURNING UP!?

OH. That’s cuz Up-and-coming Ohio rapper Trippie Redd just UP and CAME — and that kinda shit ALWAYS creates a fuck ton of friction.

Sizzzzle.

You still not getting it, are you?

A Love Letter to You 2 — the hotter, newer, NOWer follow-up to this spring’s hot, new, NOW A Love Letter to You — is burning down this dumb-fuck Friday afternoon here.

And here.

And right down here:

(You really should be there.)


A Love Letter to You 2 tracklisting:

01. Bust Down
02. Feel So Good Feat. Khalil & Sydnee With a C
03. “In Too Deep
04. Deadman’s Wonderland Feat. FOREVERANTiPoP
05. Woah Woah Woah Feat. Bali Baby
06. Back of My Mind Feat. Cydnee With a C & Chris King
07. Today Feat. Uno The Activist
08. Hellboy
09. Back Back Back
10. Dangerous Feat. Rocket Da Goon & Chris King
11. Overweight
12. Overdose on Life
13. I Know How to Self Destruct
14. Let Me Down

♫ Listen: Trippie Redd – “Bust Down”

This post was originally published on this site

I’m coolin’ it right now at a café mid-afternoon, sipping an overpriced espresso, the kind that comes with a tiny spoon (what’s that for?) and a chilled glass of sparkling water served on a wooden tablet. Kinda feels like the coffeeshop equivalent of flexing with a bottle of Moët. Especially since I’m wearing a breezy linen button down. I feel elegant. A good thing, too, since “elegant” is an apt descriptor for this new Trippie Redd track (“I just bought a new Porsche…”). What can I say, I’m a sucker for low-bpms, rumbling subs, piano loops, poppin’ tom hits, and fluttering hi-hats (shouts out to the godfather of said production). I’m an even bigger sucker for rappers who can flow over the aforementioned beats effortlessly (shouts out to THAT godfather). And whattaya know! I’m posting about a song that has both of those qualities! But hey, I could sit here all day making oblique references to other rappers, different styles, and my current surroundings, but at the end of the day, you just gotta listen to this. There’s no getting around it: it’s catchy af. My favorite part, for what it’s worth, is how Trippie harmonizes his ad-libs. What’s yours???

Stream below via YouTube.

Column: Favorite Rap Mixtapes of May 2017

This post was originally published on this site

With a daunting cascade of releases spewing from the likes of DatPiff, LiveMixtapes, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud, it can be difficult to keep up with the overbearing yet increasingly vital mixtape game. In this column, we aim to immerse ourselves in this hyper-prolific world and share our favorite releases each month. The focus will primarily be on rap mixtapes — loosely defined here as free (or sometimes free-to-stream) digital releases — but we’ll keep things loose enough to branch out if/when we feel it necessary. (Check out last month’s installment here.)


Trippie Redd – A Love Letter to You

[stream/download]

If the the glam-rock throes of autotune that fortify Lil Uzi Vert’s “Xo Tour Lif3” have left you starving for follow-up material, Trippie Redd’s latest mixtape effort just might prove to be the angst-addled trap nourishment you’ve craved all along. Trimmed with gothic chimes and choked woodwinds, A Love Letter to You spills over with desperation. Redd furnishes his bleak production with throaty screams that feel as indebted to Robert Smith as they do to Young Thug; among the slew of likeminded SoundCloud emcees that claim “rockstar” status, he’s the only one who fully embodies a stadium-core ethos. Though the tape is best at its most melodramatic on cuts like “Love Scars 1&2” and “Blade of Woe,” closer “Can You Rap Like Me?” shows off Redd’s innovative side, posing its titular challenge to his sonic counterparts while lacing a boom-bap rhythm with hiccuped heat.


ICYTWAT – MILK

[stream/download]

ICYTWAT took the hard route to recognizability, achieving the admirable feat of a signature sound absent a producer tag. It’s rare that a producer is able to be so prolific within such tight stylistic bounds without repeating themselves, but the hallmarks of his style — cowbells and claves verging on kitsch, Odd Future-indebted synth pads, that fucking distorted kick — are strong enough to allow seemingly infinite permutations without growing stale. Although perhaps moreso with rappers than producers, the album format continues to be a difficult hurdle for the SoundCloud set, a proving ground that often exposes the flaws of increasingly singles-oriented careers. In this regard, ICYTWAT’s MILK doesn’t curdle, providing not just a survey of the producer’s work to date, but a fully-realized landmark in his growing catalog.


Dope KNife – FUCK.

[stream/download]

Savannah, GA is one of my favorite cities, if only for its squares. The metropolis’s grid is dotted with a series of 22 mostly parallel green spaces, all of which are mere blocks from one another and most of which have their own character. In the daytime, their overhanging trees and wooden benches provide quiet respites from the oppressive heat, like inverted urban oases. At night, they feel haunted by the surrounding architecture, like those same trees are holding history’s white-washers at bay; or maybe it’s the opposite. Unbeknownst to me until recently, Savannah is also home to a multi-faceted — some might even say burgeoning — hip-hop scene; and on my last trip down there, I learned about a crew called Dope Sandwich that is very much at the center of it. Later, while back in NY, I heard about a ferocious Savannah-based MC named Dope KNife who earlier this year put out an album called NineteenEightyFour on Strange Famous. It bangs. Most recently, I learned that Dope KNife is actually one of the co-founders of Dope Sandwich and as such has been a central figure in the aforementioned scene for much longer than I’ve known about it. All of which is to say Fuck.


Various Artists – Long Island Rap Comp Volume 3

[download]

Decades after the brief, “golden” period in rap history shaped in large part by artists from Long Island, little is known or heard about contemporary Long Island rap outside of Nassau and Suffolk counties. Since 2014, Samuel Diamond’s Long Island Rap Blog has been working to change that. The blog’s third compilation of curated and submitted tracks is a wry and spontaneous assemblage, held together by few continuities aside from the wordy inventiveness of the MCs and a rough, often maximalist style of trap- and golden age-inspired production. When the vocals sit just low enough in the mix on tracks like Mido’s excellent “Melancholy High,” I’m reminded of SpaceGhostPurrp’s Blackland Radio 66.6. When known cuts by legends like Mobb Deep’s Prodigy and Eric B. & Rakim appear, it clearly isn’t for any want of innovation. Rather, when Prodigy’s “Don’t Be A Follower” passes into the punchy aggression of Kasper Dangers’ “Hell’s Winter” and the warped soul of Theravada’s “Bombs in Manhattan,” it sounds obvious that a new generation of Long Island rap artists has taken the title of that Prodigy joint to heart. My personal favorite tracks are “Vitality Stone,” for Oscar O’Malley’s dizzyingly unique delivery, and June’s “2k17/What’s Good” for its lo-fi bluntness; but the whole thing comes recommended alongside the blog’s previous compilations.


The Diabolical Dr Strange and Friends – Doctor Strange and Friends

[stream]

As far as we know, The Diabolical Doctor Strange is a rapper of unknown origins and member of the Guerilla Godz collective, which has worked with London-based producer Solomon Caine. On Doctor Strange and Friends the MF DOOM influence is shamelessly obvious, which is jarring at first but quickly zones into thematic production. Strange focuses on immediate horn loops with slick transitions that complement the flow rather than deflect, clouded in endless billows of SP-404 samples. “Return to Forever” veers more on The Beatnuts sampling than DOOM, but it’s bookended by superhero dialogue that overlaps severe fandom with skilled precision. The mixtape is short, but it’ll definitely meet your summer jam needs. It’s the Saturday morning cartoon missing in your morning-after campfire.


T-Pain & Lil Wayne – T-Wayne

[stream/download]

I’ve never been much of a Weezy fan, but I’ve fucked with T-Pain since Rappa Ternt Sanga. It helps its case then (for me at least) that T-Pain is holding Wayne down on this rap shit on their long-awaited, stupidly clever T-Wayne collaboration. But then, on opener “He Rap He Sang,” Wayne creeps up like some spiral-eyed, de-lisped, pitch-fucked serpent out of a shelved Disney movie from 2005 and it’s everything I never knew I was missing. Bumping this thing’s eight tracks, which vacillate between Wonka-bangers (“Listen to Me”), hypnotic auto-ballads (“Snap Ya Fangas”), and low-riding bass joints (“Heavy Chevy”), reminds me of queuing up Freaknik videos on my first iPod. It was a pimplier time, when I only repped rap that was cosigned by Adult Swim. Now, I rep T-Wayne because it’s hard as a fucking turtle shell, and it hasn’t cracked yet. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in my Focus with a baseball bat and my windows down if you need me.


Wintertime – Wintertime

[stream/download]

More sleeptalker than mumble rapper, Wintertime drools reverby phrases into polychrome synthscapes, effortlessly forming moments of hypnagogic bliss. On highlight “Top Notch,” the Floridian pens a lullabied answer to Chance the Rapper’s “No Problem,” rattling off a string of based self-comparisons to Sarah Silverman, the Silver Surfer, and a stopwatch. “Cold at Night” reveals Wintertime’s beat-making proficiency, enveloping his vocals in a tunnel of menacing chords and twists of squeaky synth. Wallowing in “less-is-more” sentiment, this self-titled tape is a sequence of lovely nothings ― synthesized bubble bath.


Lucki – Watch My Back

[stream/download]

To say that Lucki’s soporific flows and affinity for overcast beats are Xanax-inflected undersells the point somewhat; in both form and function, they are the precise expressions thereof. Few songs on Watch My Back exceed the two-minute mark, hardly enough time to build in hooks or even verses that would make individual tracks memorable. Yet it works; independent of the precepts of album structure, the tape is, in the parlance of the times, a “vibe.” Even at 18 tracks, it’s never tedious; in the best way, it takes no more than three or four songs to forget if you’ve been listening for minutes or hours. Psychedelic effects aside, there are few descriptors less appropriate than “blissed-out” for the narcotic hellscape Lucki presents. Watch My Back adopts the “show me” approach to [insert popular and vocally addiction-addled rapper]’s “tell me,” foregoing the smoother pop production that could elevate these tracks from alarming diary entries to the mainstream eye.


Paris Michael – And Then We Grew Up

[stream]

The best and worst of everyone lives on the internet, where all our collective insecurities and imperfections enjoy a forum for their discontent. As a result, we can all simultaneously stay young longer and grow up faster. If war is pre-human, then art is post-human, and we’re just now starting to catch up to it. Which is not to take away anything from the talents of a Paris Michael. The self-proclaimed Southside Super Saiyan may sound nothing like fellow Chicagoan DBZ enthusiasts Sicko Mobb, but don’t let that discourage you; he’s the ambition to give his second mixtape a three-act structure and the chops to pull it off. Hell, within a year, the kid will probably be ghost-writing for Drake. And then when it comes out that he is, you’ll be all like, “Word, that’s cool, Doves Don’t Cry Anymore was my jam.” And in place of blood, there will be tumblr.

Column: Favorite Rap Mixtapes of May 2017

This post was originally published on this site

With a daunting cascade of releases spewing from the likes of DatPiff, LiveMixtapes, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud, it can be difficult to keep up with the overbearing yet increasingly vital mixtape game. In this column, we aim to immerse ourselves in this hyper-prolific world and share our favorite releases each month. The focus will primarily be on rap mixtapes — loosely defined here as free (or sometimes free-to-stream) digital releases — but we’ll keep things loose enough to branch out if/when we feel it necessary. (Check out last month’s installment here.)


Trippie Redd – A Love Letter to You

[stream/download]

If the the glam-rock throes of autotune that fortify Lil Uzi Vert’s “Xo Tour Lif3” have left you starving for follow-up material, Trippie Redd’s latest mixtape effort just might prove to be the angst-addled trap nourishment you’ve craved all along. Trimmed with gothic chimes and choked woodwinds, A Love Letter to You spills over with desperation. Redd furnishes his bleak production with throaty screams that feel as indebted to Robert Smith as they do to Young Thug; among the slew of likeminded SoundCloud emcees that claim “rockstar” status, he’s the only one who fully embodies a stadium-core ethos. Though the tape is best at its most melodramatic on cuts like “Love Scars 1&2” and “Blade of Woe,” closer “Can You Rap Like Me?” shows off Redd’s innovative side, posing its titular challenge to his sonic counterparts while lacing a boom-bap rhythm with hiccuped heat.


ICYTWAT – MILK

[stream/download]

ICYTWAT took the hard route to recognizability, achieving the admirable feat of a signature sound absent a producer tag. It’s rare that a producer is able to be so prolific within such tight stylistic bounds without repeating themselves, but the hallmarks of his style — cowbells and claves verging on kitsch, Odd Future-indebted synth pads, that fucking distorted kick — are strong enough to allow seemingly infinite permutations without growing stale. Although perhaps moreso with rappers than producers, the album format continues to be a difficult hurdle for the SoundCloud set, a proving ground that often exposes the flaws of increasingly singles-oriented careers. In this regard, ICYTWAT’s MILK doesn’t curdle, providing not just a survey of the producer’s work to date, but a fully-realized landmark in his growing catalog.


Dope KNife – FUCK.

[stream/download]

Savannah, GA is one of my favorite cities, if only for its squares. The metropolis’s grid is dotted with a series of 22 mostly parallel green spaces, all of which are mere blocks from one another and most of which have their own character. In the daytime, their overhanging trees and wooden benches provide quiet respites from the oppressive heat, like inverted urban oases. At night, they feel haunted by the surrounding architecture, like those same trees are holding history’s white-washers at bay; or maybe it’s the opposite. Unbeknownst to me until recently, Savannah is also home to a multi-faceted — some might even say burgeoning — hip-hop scene; and on my last trip down there, I learned about a crew called Dope Sandwich that is very much at the center of it. Later, while back in NY, I heard about a ferocious Savannah-based MC named Dope KNife who earlier this year put out an album called NineteenEightyFour on Strange Famous. It bangs. Most recently, I learned that Dope KNife is actually one of the co-founders of Dope Sandwich and as such has been a central figure in the aforementioned scene for much longer than I’ve known about it. All of which is to say Fuck.


Various Artists – Long Island Rap Comp Volume 3

[download]

Decades after the brief, “golden” period in rap history shaped in large part by artists from Long Island, little is known or heard about contemporary Long Island rap outside of Nassau and Suffolk counties. Since 2014, Samuel Diamond’s Long Island Rap Blog has been working to change that. The blog’s third compilation of curated and submitted tracks is a wry and spontaneous assemblage, held together by few continuities aside from the wordy inventiveness of the MCs and a rough, often maximalist style of trap- and golden age-inspired production. When the vocals sit just low enough in the mix on tracks like Mido’s excellent “Melancholy High,” I’m reminded of SpaceGhostPurrp’s Blackland Radio 66.6. When known cuts by legends like Mobb Deep’s Prodigy and Eric B. & Rakim appear, it clearly isn’t for any want of innovation. Rather, when Prodigy’s “Don’t Be A Follower” passes into the punchy aggression of Kasper Dangers’ “Hell’s Winter” and the warped soul of Theravada’s “Bombs in Manhattan,” it sounds obvious that a new generation of Long Island rap artists has taken the title of that Prodigy joint to heart. My personal favorite tracks are “Vitality Stone,” for Oscar O’Malley’s dizzyingly unique delivery, and June’s “2k17/What’s Good” for its lo-fi bluntness; but the whole thing comes recommended alongside the blog’s previous compilations.


The Diabolical Dr Strange and Friends – Doctor Strange and Friends

[stream]

As far as we know, The Diabolical Doctor Strange is a rapper of unknown origins and member of the Guerilla Godz collective, which has worked with London-based producer Solomon Caine. On Doctor Strange and Friends the MF DOOM influence is shamelessly obvious, which is jarring at first but quickly zones into thematic production. Strange focuses on immediate horn loops with slick transitions that complement the flow rather than deflect, clouded in endless billows of SP-404 samples. “Return to Forever” veers more on The Beatnuts sampling than DOOM, but it’s bookended by superhero dialogue that overlaps severe fandom with skilled precision. The mixtape is short, but it’ll definitely meet your summer jam needs. It’s the Saturday morning cartoon missing in your morning-after campfire.


T-Pain & Lil Wayne – T-Wayne

[stream/download]

I’ve never been much of a Weezy fan, but I’ve fucked with T-Pain since Rappa Ternt Sanga. It helps its case then (for me at least) that T-Pain is holding Wayne down on this rap shit on their long-awaited, stupidly clever T-Wayne collaboration. But then, on opener “He Rap He Sang,” Wayne creeps up like some spiral-eyed, de-lisped, pitch-fucked serpent out of a shelved Disney movie from 2005 and it’s everything I never knew I was missing. Bumping this thing’s eight tracks, which vacillate between Wonka-bangers (“Listen to Me”), hypnotic auto-ballads (“Snap Ya Fangas”), and low-riding bass joints (“Heavy Chevy”), reminds me of queuing up Freaknik videos on my first iPod. It was a pimplier time, when I only repped rap that was cosigned by Adult Swim. Now, I rep T-Wayne because it’s hard as a fucking turtle shell, and it hasn’t cracked yet. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in my Focus with a baseball bat and my windows down if you need me.


Wintertime – Wintertime

[stream/download]

More sleeptalker than mumble rapper, Wintertime drools reverby phrases into polychrome synthscapes, effortlessly forming moments of hypnagogic bliss. On highlight “Top Notch,” the Floridian pens a lullabied answer to Chance the Rapper’s “No Problem,” rattling off a string of based self-comparisons to Sarah Silverman, the Silver Surfer, and a stopwatch. “Cold at Night” reveals Wintertime’s beat-making proficiency, enveloping his vocals in a tunnel of menacing chords and twists of squeaky synth. Wallowing in “less-is-more” sentiment, this self-titled tape is a sequence of lovely nothings ― synthesized bubble bath.


Lucki – Watch My Back

[stream/download]

To say that Lucki’s soporific flows and affinity for overcast beats are Xanax-inflected undersells the point somewhat; in both form and function, they are the precise expressions thereof. Few songs on Watch My Back exceed the two-minute mark, hardly enough time to build in hooks or even verses that would make individual tracks memorable. Yet it works; independent of the precepts of album structure, the tape is, in the parlance of the times, a “vibe.” Even at 18 tracks, it’s never tedious; in the best way, it takes no more than three or four songs to forget if you’ve been listening for minutes or hours. Psychedelic effects aside, there are few descriptors less appropriate than “blissed-out” for the narcotic hellscape Lucki presents. Watch My Back adopts the “show me” approach to [insert popular and vocally addiction-addled rapper]’s “tell me,” foregoing the smoother pop production that could elevate these tracks from alarming diary entries to the mainstream eye.


Paris Michael – And Then We Grew Up

[stream]

The best and worst of everyone lives on the internet, where all our collective insecurities and imperfections enjoy a forum for their discontent. As a result, we can all simultaneously stay young longer and grow up faster. If war is pre-human, then art is post-human, and we’re just now starting to catch up to it. Which is not to take away anything from the talents of a Paris Michael. The self-proclaimed Southside Super Saiyan may sound nothing like fellow Chicagoan DBZ enthusiasts Sicko Mobb, but don’t let that discourage you; he’s the ambition to give his second mixtape a three-act structure and the chops to pull it off. Hell, within a year, the kid will probably be ghost-writing for Drake. And then when it comes out that he is, you’ll be all like, “Word, that’s cool, Doves Don’t Cry Anymore was my jam.” And in place of blood, there will be tumblr.