For well over a decade, Rivers Cuomo has been trying to turn Weezer into a pop band. Weezer have always played a kind of pop music, of course; their 1994 debut (“The Blue Album“) overflowed with weapons-grade catchy rock songs you can dance to, and even its aggressively blown-out follow-up Pinkerton followed suit. More »
Hip-hop-turned-electronic producer JUDGE has released his first EP titled X, despite still being a lead producer in upcoming tracks with Marshmello, Migos, and Young Thug, among others. The EP features collaborations with industry mainstays Wax Motif and Graves, and the five-track compilation bridges the gap between urban/trap production and the current sounds in the electronic space. The Kansas City-born producer spoke with us about his venture into the electronic music scene.
“A lot of people know me from my background in hip-hop, which is my first passion, and where I started producing, but I have loved dance music since I first heard “Cross” by Justice. I love the range to experiment as a producer and the ability of producers to shine as real artists. After moving to LA and seeing so many of my insanely talented friends all carving out their own lanes in the world of dance music, I knew I wanted to do the same.”
X has a variety of sounds and tempos, coming together to create an intriguing and complementary collection of tracks.
“Bark” has a dirty trap drop with monster-like synths resonating throughout and transporting the listener to another dimension. JUDGE and Dylan Brady weave the song in and out of intense drops and builds — keeping the listener longing for the next chord.
“Blades” is an elaborate production in collaboration with X&G. The track has a slower BPM and a darker sound.
The following track, “Bright,” sounds anything but its title. Again, there are many dark elements to this production with the addition of ancient Egyptian vibes interlaced with hip-hop and trap synths.
JUDGE infuses his hip-hop roots with his Wax Motif collaboration featuring Malcolm Anthony and Lil West, titled “Lessons.” The track opens to rap and a steady beat, but then falls into a groovy electronic drop.
For the last track on the EP, “X” JUDGE teams up with Graves for a low-BPM track with an elaborate combination of synths, sounds, and instruments.
JUDGE speaks about his goals in releasing the EP.
“I am so happy to have X come together as a project and be able to share it with people. I feel like I’ve become friends with some of the most talented producers in the world, and I wanted to make this project with some of them – Wax Motif, X&G, Graves, Alexander Lewis and Dylan Brady – to show what we’re capable of with the future of production. No genre ever – no boxes – just the love and passion for creating. And hopefully it’ll make you dance.”
JUDGE will be on tour with Ekali this fall for those looking to hear X live.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Halloween cometh and to celebrate, we at Scaryogum have been sharing some spooktastic articles with you, our loyal ghouls. Kelly Conaboy ranked budget musician Halloween costumes, Lindsey Rhoades had an in-depth conversation with gothic avant-gardist Diamanda Galás, and our very own Tom Breihan profiled Julien Baker, who is not scary, but she … More »
Taylor Swift’s “…Ready For It?” is a pretty bad video, and it’s not even bad in the ways that you would expect a Taylor Swift video to be bad. It’s expensive and meaningless and even maybe slightly pretentious? But at least it’s not boring? I have no idea what’s happening with it, and I … More »
The old rules of the music industry are disregarded more and more with each day. The modern model of streaming has made the old, methodical rollout of album releases essentially obsolete. It should be no surprise then, that the powerhouse duo of Future and Young Thug chose to surprise fans with the unannounced release of a new mixtape, Super Slimey.
As two of the most well-known and influential rappers in today’s era of hip hop, Future and Young Thug have certainly made some shockwaves with this massive release. The mixtape consists of collaborative 13 tracks, with both Future and Young Thug adding a solo effort. The mixtape also features a number of collaborations with other up-and-coming rappers and producers.
For me, the weirdest thing about Young Thug doing a full album with Future is that Young Thug has already done a whole album with a fake Future — and the album he made with the fake Future happens to be the best thing he’s ever done. In fairness, it’s probably reductive to call Rich … More »
Fifth Harmony expat Camila Cabello has been realizing her considerable promise this year with a string of singles intended for her upcoming debut album The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving. One of them, the salsa-inflected Young Thug collaboration “Havana,” is up to #20 on the new Billboard Hot 100 and has climbed all the … More »
“There were no rumblings, internet chatter, or hype. They don’t need it. Instead, two of Atlanta’s most influential and prolific titans holed up in the studio for a handful of days and turned up with the 13 tracks comprising SUPER SLIMEY.”
– press release
From the press release:
Future & Young Thug hold down nine of these anthems together with unbelievable interplay in addition to each contributing two solo tracks. Among those collaborations, they enlist fellow Atlanta maverick Offset for “Patek Water” produced by Southside, DY, and Rex Kudo, while Mike WiLL Made-It blesses them with the beat for the flossy, fiery, and furry “Mink Flow.” They also link up with London On Da Track for the ominous “Killed Before.”
According to the press release, “SUPER SLIMEY unites two of music’s most creative forces on one undeniable, unforgettable, and unpredictable masterpiece. It’s the hip-hop event of the fall…”
Super Slimey tracklist:
01. Future & Young Thug – “No Cap” [Prod. Southside]
02. Future & Young Thug – “Three” [Prod. Southside & DY]
03. Future & Young Thug – “All da Smoke” [Prod. Richie Souf]
04. Future & Young Thug – “200” [Prod. Tre pounds & Wheezy]
05. Young Thug – “Cruise Ship” [Prod. BI$$D & Chef]
06. Future & Young Thug – “Patek Water” (Feat. Offset) [Prod. Southside, DY, & Rex Kudo]
07. Future – “Feed Me Dope” [Prod. Willa Fool]
08. Future & Young Thug – “Drip On Me” [Prod. Wheezy]
09. Future & Young Thug – “Real Love” [Prod. Fuse]
10. Future – “4 da Gang” [Prod. Fuse]
11. Young Thug – “Killed Before” [Prod. London On Da Track]
12. Future & Young Thug – “Mink Flow” [Prod. Mike WiLL Made-It]
13. Future & Young Thug – “Group Home” [Prod. Fuse & TM88]