Well, well, well… After pleading my case to Drake for him to release his highly anticipated “playlist” More Life, The Boy finally delivered. As odd as it may sound, More Life sounds just like it was advertised to be, a playlist. In a weird way, all 22 tracks sound like Drake is the featured artist and not the other way around. At times, it really does feel like he compiled 22 like-minded tracks and made a playlist to jug too. On top of that, Drizzy really hit the nail on the head in terms of how his lyrical content sums up the post 1995 generation, especially when it comes to relationships. If you can’t relate to lyrics like, “I wanna know why we can’t slash and stay friends,” or “My side girl got a 5s with the screen cracked/ still hit me back right away,” then you my good friend, need to experience more life…. No pun intended. But seriously, this might be Drake’s best album and it doesn’t really feel like it’s his album, and the irony in that is magnificent, almost as magnificent as Quavo crooning, “Never let a ni**a ride your wave” on a song with Travis Scott & Drake, the two artists sitting shotgun on the Quavo Lennon wave ride. With all of that happening, as well as SXSW going on – did you guys hear Lil’ Yachty is the Soundcloud Suge Knight – it’s understandable how you might’ve slept on these five tracks that are heating up the internet. Hell, with More Life dominating my speakers since Saturday, the sheer fact that I’m able to keep these songs in my rotation should speak volumes… Either about the music or about me. Check out these five songs that are sure to be invading your headphones soon, featuring Half-A-Mil, 24Hrs, JSMN and more. & Oh yeah, wish me an early Happy Birthday, I turn 22 tomorrow. *Taylor Swift voice*
JSMN – “Coogi Sweater”
Checking in first on the list is St. Louis femcee JSMN and her infectious track, “Coogie Sweater”. What starts off a bit slow as JSMN builds up anticipation with monotone bars, quickly transitions into a smooth, two-minute journey into the mind of JSMN once the chorus drops. Produced by Namesake, the track comes off her recently released EP, A Very Sad Happy Birthday, an ode to trying to kick depression on your special day, something I’ll be doing tomorrow. But “Coogi Sweater” stands out as the happy song off of the project. Banging this song out makes miss the days of “bubble gum in my popsicles” coming from the ice cream man. Check out the track below and be sure to keep an ear on JSMN, who’s project has been tearing up the web.
24Hrs – “VSVSVS (Remix) Feat. Rick Ross”
Look, I’m going to be honest. Before this track, I had no idea what the hell VS diamonds were, and I still really don’t. As a soon to be 22-year-old, who talks about music for a living, I don’t really think that’s my lane…. is what a buzz-kill would say. I on the other hand, am not that and despite my ignorance to the game Ben Baller calls home, this song goes f**king stupid. Atlanta native 24Hrs, formerly known as Royce Rizzy – I know it tripped me out when I found out as well — delivers one of my favorite tracks of 2017 so far in, “VSVSVS”. Meshing tropical, island production vibes with relatable librettos such as, “I pop molly and party, I duck off with my shawty/ if I don’t call you don’t call me, that’s how it supposed to be,” 24 complete switches up from the trap brand that Rizzy had built. Though I was a fan of his music under the Rizzy moniker, 24Hrs is the long lost auto-tuned son of T-Pain that we’ve all been wishing for, and I am all the way here for it. After gaining steam as a solo song, 24 decided to add Miami bossman Rick Ross to the track and added a whole new element. Though his flow is a bit lazy, he makes up for it with mafioso gems like, “I don’t gossip, I’m a boss/ I don’t care about your friends.” Check out the track below, which is off of 24’s recently released Not Open Late, and be sure to hop on the 24Hr bandwagon before it’s too late. Also, read our recently released interview with 24, here.
CJay – “Jazzy”
Look, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: South Florida runs the underground at the moment. After producing polarizing figures such as XXXTENTACION and Kodak Black – as well as underground icons like Pouya, Fat Nick & Denzel Curry – South Florida has been on an unprecedented run of producing dope artists. It’s not just that though, they all have their own style. X is known for his trappy shout raps — *cough cough* Drake – while Kodak is known for his more pain driven tales of prospering enough to escape poverty. One thing they haven’t had, at least nationally, is a pure spitter. Somebody who could get busy in any lyrical arena around the country. Well the wait is over, enter in Broward County native CJay and his phonically dense track, “Jazzy”. Rhyming over 90s era sounding production, CJay makes his case as a force to be reckoned with, unleashing fierce bars like, “I’m Hip-Hop’s foster father, putting rappers in time-out,” and “You’ve never heard a rapper this honest before, honorable, honor the code, rappers getting outta control.” Sheeeeeesh! Say that back to yourself out a few times, then holla back at me. Peep, “Jazzy” below and be sure to keep the Florida native on your radar.
SAINt JHN – “3 Below”
Coming in next on the list is Brooklyn boy SAINt JHN. After amassing a fan base and gaining notoriety due to his singles like, “Reflex” and “1999”; JHN returns with “3 Below”. Produced by f a l l e n, “3 Below” sounds like the perfect record to spin at 1 AM in the club before last call. I can already see myself belching out, “I ain’t tryna be nobody’s hero ya know?/ My heart is 3 below zero” to the top of my lungs with a Henny and Coke in my hand. JHN utilizes his unorthodox vocal range to capture notes and sounds like reverb junkies could only dream of. The NYC native has picked up quite a buzz as well, commanding coverage from publications like Pigeons & Planes, XXL and of course yours truly. In a way, JHN seems to be in the same position that 6LACK and Khalid were in this time last year, which in hindsight seems like a huge blessing. Check out, “3 Below” after the jump and be sure to keep an eye out for SAINt JHN’s debut, Collection 1, slated to be released soon.
Half-A-Mil – “Tupac”
Let me take you back to 2011 for a second. Barack Obama was president, LeBron James was on the Heat, and life was just more simple then. This was also around the same time that California natives Dom Kennedy and Hit-Boy were separately leaving their marks on the game. Hit-Boy was coming off of celebrating the biggest hit in his career with The Throne’s, “Ni**as in Paris”, while Dom was being labeled as Cali’s savior off the strength of his previous projects, The Original Dom Kennedy and From The West Side With Love, both CERTIFIED classics. Now let’s fast forward to 2017, and things are a bit different. While Hit-Boy and Dom are nowhere near irrelevant, both have received their fair share of criticism and isolation throughout the past couple of years. That’s why when I heard the two would be teaming up to form the duo Half-A-Mil, complete with a two-part project, I was elated to say the least. Sure, this would’ve been 1000000x more exciting in 2011 but better late than never, and on top of that, it’s the most comfortable I’ve heard BOTH of them sound in years. One example of that is the track, “Tupac” off of their recently released Half-A-Mil 2. While Hit-Boy uses the time to address some issues – “Internet ni**as like where he been?” & “Managing myself for the last three years”—Dom utilizes the sunny sounding Hit-Boy production to provide sporadic jewels that only Dom could pull off like, “Ima do it like O-Dog and keep busting, I gotta go home and see my son, no question” & “Told her come throw that sh*t in my direction, fresh orange juice & veggie omelet for breakfast.” Dom rhyming “direction” with “breakfast” – and sounding smooth while doing it – makes me yearn for the Yellow Album days. I’ve always hated the “old Kanye” type criticism that evolving artists have unfortunately been victims of, but I can’t help it. No matter how fire this track is – and it’s fuego – I just can’t help it. I miss the old Dom K, straight from Leimert, Dom K. Check out the track below.
There you have it! Let us know how we did, did we get it right? Are we still sleeping on your favorite local artist? Let us know in the comment section below!