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Four February Projects That You Need To Listen To

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February has been a month of surprise releases, anticipated albums, and amazing music. We’ve been watching, collecting, and digesting every release that’s come out so far. As the month winds down, it’s time to sit back and reflect on what have been the biggest releases so far and which that you should check out on the off chance that you missed them. From Detroit to the Bay Area, here’s what you should check out immediately.

Gangin by SOBXRBE

This Bay Area group received the ultimate cosign from Kendrick Lamar when they appeared on his movie curated Black Panther: The Album. Regularly referred to as one of Bay Area’s hottest collectives, their new album Gangin is finally out. It features more of the frantic, nonsensical style of rap that the group pushes, and a chaotic aesthetic that has made them near household names. With the album largely devoid of features, it looks like this one is a show of confidence for the group.

Listen to the album on Spotify.

Eastside by Philthy Rich and Eastside Peezy

Bring together one of rap’s hardest veteran rhymers and one of Detroit’s most consistent heatmakers and what do you get? A project full of certified slaps. Both artists have worked on this heavily anticipated project for awhile, so when it finally arrived, fans were blown away by the sheer quality of music on display. If you’re into Bay Area bounce or Detroit slick, you’re in for the treat of your life.

Listen to the album on iTunes.

Organized Crime by AllStar JR

AllStar JR’s moment is now. Well, it has been for the better of the last year and a half. He’s everywhere, working with everyone, constantly growing in the process. His new album Organized Crime is finally here, and, spoiler alert, it’s fire. You’ll want to check this out when you get a chance. You won’t regret it.

Listen to the album on iTunes.

Black Panther: The Album by Kendrick Lamar and Various Artists

As legend tells it, the studios requested a song from Kendrick for the Black Panther soundtrack and, in return, the wordsmith sent back an album. It’s been critically acclaimed and is a showcasing of the global African experience, also spotlighting the rising talent located in the Bay Area. While it doesn’t feature the typically upbeat bounce of Bay Area music, it’s much more lush, worldly, and, generally more expensive-sounding. You’ll find some of the names that we regularly report on our website as well.

Listen to the album on iTunes.

Editorials

Asian Doll and Nicki Minaj have finally connected with each other

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Asian Doll has made it clear since she’s come out that Nicki Minaj has been a huge influence on her style. Both channel a chaotic element to their fashion choices and general aesthetic that utilizes sharp sexuality to be abrasive. They’re both two sides of the same coin, sexual, yet innocent (Nicki) while Asian is much more hardcore.

It’s been a long journey for Asian Doll, coming up and giving powerhouse performances at every turn. In a recently released picture, it looks like her journey has culminated in something amazing: the two forces have finally come together. Will this lead to the release of music together or was this just a friendly passer-by flick?

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Editorials

Does @allstarjr2724 have the best video of the year with “So Lit?”

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Allstar Jr is known for his smooth, sensual hits that double as trap bangers thanks to a smart selection of beats and smooth samples. His latest hit “So Lit” is no different, being an ode to a beautiful woman who holds him down, as well as having amazing sexual abilities. His videos often feature him rapping while partaking in various activities, from shopping to hanging with the boys, to trapping. They seldom could be deemed controversial, and that works out for him and his image in the long run.

That’s changed with the video for “So Lit” that goes the extra mile. After hanging out with B. Ryan and doling out a few verses, AllStar JR links up with the mystery woman who’s at the center of the song’s message. Clad in a white robe, she slowly sheds her clothing until she’s in some lace lingerie that leaves little to the imagination. When she gets naked, things get steamy. We lose track of her head and see Allstar in what looks like sheer enjoyment. Then, that’s when the fun really starts.

Some creative camera placement shows Allstar having, what appears to be, sex with her. The bounce of her cheeks doesn’t look like something that could be simulated if they were faking; anyone who’s ever administered backshots to a well endowed woman knows that bounce. Another shot shows that he, too, is naked as well. So the question stands, were they getting it in?

The more important question is, is this the year’s best video? In terms of sheer adventurousness, yes it is. No one typically has the cahones to attempt something like this, let alone place it on YouTube. The fact that it’s shot in such a creative manner where he could deny that it was actually happening is a testament to the director’s creativity in filming the scene. There’s also technically not any body parts shown, so it probably isn’t violating YouTube’s guidelines. All in all, a gutsy move by JR.

The question stands, is this the year’s best video? I would say so. We’ve seen a surplus of posse visuals that feature collectives rapping in unison. This visual sticks out like a sore thumb because of its’ willingness to showcase sex as an artistic activity, shot in such a way that it creates a unique aesthetic. Maybe more videos should try something like this out. Or then again, maybe not. Some lackluster copycats would take away from the uniqueness of the original. Let’s leave it the way that it is.

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Editorials

After a month, here’s how @FenkellPayroll and @CardoGotWings ‘s Big Bossin Vol. 2 holds up

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The ever-looming call of summer grows closer. We will soon enter the time period of fewer clothes and more skin exposed. It’s a beautiful time of the year where frozen drinks are widely consumed, beach trips are spontaneous, and smooth, soulful music is blasted through car stereos. Payroll Giovanni and Cardo came together at the end of January for Big Bossin Vol. 2, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed Big Bossin Vol. 1, that is tailor-made for summer’s weather. Whereas the first one was a brief dip into the laid-back lifestyle of the OG, the second is a full-blown vacation. It takes the concepts explored in its predecessor and repackages them, reselling a similar product back to us, the consumers.

Now that the dust has settled and the project is more readily understood, is it still as good as it was when it came out?

In short, yes it is. A project is made up of the sum of its parts. The subject matter is admittedly the biggest aspect that goes into digesting music, but, here, the delivery shines in a way that helps it to transcend time. The message’s packaging is so authentic and precise that the quality of good music shines through clearly. Cardo’s soulful, sincere, and chilling productions bring out a new side of Payroll, one that magnifies the best of his abilities and shrinks the worst of them.

It helps that the weather gets warmer and that this album is meant for hotter temperatures so that its meaning can evaporate into thin air, inspiring new understanding when this happens. The juxtaposition of smooth tracks like “Stack It, Stash It,” and “Mail Long” showcase the project’s versatility and the willingness of both artists to explore more than just one sound. “Dopeman Dreams” and “Turn Ya Phone Off” make use of magnetic refrains that add to the prestige of the album and will help it to transcend time in a way that it’s already doing but at a much larger scale.

But, perhaps the cover art sells it best. The two purveyors of rap’s new go-to sound ride in a convertible car, the blue sky and sun shining brightly behind them. This is the warm weather that we’ve been asking for; it’s only right that we have the accompanying music to go with it. Thanks to the staying power of the album, it looks like it’ll continue to pair perfectly for years to come.

 

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