Listening to Cuban Doll’s “Made It Now” created one of the most interesting reviewing experiences I’ve had in my life. Over the course of repeated listens, I’ve changed my opinion about the song three times now – make that four. It’s an intriguing listen that isn’t immediately digestible, but through examination of what it entails, and the characterization of Cuban Doll, it turns into a solid listen that hints at growth for the future.
You know Cuban Doll – we all do. She’s the rapper/model with that femme fatale smile and street gravitas to match,. She’s also a rapper’s rapper, whatever that means. We coined the term out of sheer emotion. She can rap her ass of without any stylistic gimmicks or claims to fame. People like to knock female rappers for being only good as other female rappers but that’s not true in the slightest. Cuban Doll, in particular, can go bar for bar with some of Detroit’s best. With the proper time and training, she’ll improve and could perhaps compete for Nicki Minaj’s spot. But right now, she’s working hard and enjoying her newfound success, evident in “Made It Now.”
The track itself, after repeated listens, sounds to be very polarizing. On one hand, it’s a fast-paced entry of Narcissistic notation that borders on annoying, while on the other, it’s a song that oozes rightfully-earned self-confidence amidst a frantic backdrop of hectic production. On the first couple of listens, the former opinion was one that I held. After having time to sit with the track, I believe I now fall in the secondary category.
For starters, the subject matter isn’t anything new to rap music – it’s about her self-confidence in the rap game now that she’s “made it” – but here it comes across as initially arrogant. She says everything matter-of-factly and to the untrained ear it can be annoying. But when taking into account how old she is, the success she’s seen, and the work that she’s put in, the raps sound better and are more digestible. It also makes the character that she portrays on the song, one that’s started trends that these rappers are following, easier to understand and root for.
Production on the track is also on the lackluster side, being pretty bare bones but serviceable. Cuban Doll brings some of her best bars to date on this track. But as usual with her, it’s not so much what she says, but how she says it. Her killer delivery sells the raps at a level that may not have worked if someone with lesser talent attempted the same thing.
In the end…it works. It takes some time to get acclimated to Doll’s character and stylistic choices but once that’s finished the track takes on a new light. While it’s not the best track to come out this year, it’s still a solid listen that deserves a chance to be heard. See what Cuban Doll has to say about the new things in her life and the trends she started.
Check out “Made It Now” below.
@LanaLadonna’s ‘$B1glan’ is the perfect glimpse of her bold future
There’s something of a renaissance in women’s rap. Acts like Cardi B, the City Girls, and Rico Nasty have made bold steps in reclaiming a certain vigor that past acts of the 90s made into a genre-leading niche. It’s amazing to see because we’re getting to a point where women in rap are as vast and varied as ever before and, every day, we see more exciting acts come to light.
The latest is Lana LaDonna, a Detroit-based lyricist whose bold and empowering bars remind you a bit of Cardi B, but crossed with the flair of Rico Nasty. Her latest project is $B1GLAN, a quick and dirty helping of her tremendous personality. Over quick and bombastic production, she dazzles with flurries of bars that get you familiar with who she is. And once she does, you’ll love her for it.
She has multiple voices on display, just listen to “Ykwtfgo” where she angrily prances on the beat while rapping on it. And that’s just the beginning. From there, she grows more excited. Tracks like “I’on Gaf” are spectacular party bangers where her eager screed makes you want to stop what you’re doing and turn up. And then on slightly sinister cuts like “Kill Me” she threatens with a twinkler in her eye. She varies her styles and constantly keeps you engaged.
There’s a lot to love about $B1glan, with the only seeable criticism being that it’s too short. As soon as the energy kicks up to high gear, it’s over in a flash, leaving you to wonder how the rest of this marvelous, high octane night went. That doubles as a strength though, powered by the project’s consistency that keeps you excited. So, I guess in the end, maybe that’s also a strength.
$B1glan is everything that you could want out of a project and more. Lana LaDonna creates her own style that contains bits of others, molded into something that’s every bit as energetic, braggadocious, and inspiring as her peers — but also boldly original. Her rhymes are going to be inspiring the world someday soon. For now, $B1glan‘s going to have to do.
Listen to $B1glan below.
.@MeechTheGoat’s ‘Before Chronicle’ is must-hear music
There aren’t too many celebrities out of Kansas City, save for Ellie Kemper of The Office fandom. There definitely aren’t any rappers. TXYLOR is looking to change that though and his new release, Before Chronicle, shows that he definitely has the chance. With vast and varied production, the rising rapper shows that with a little tempering, he’ll take over before you know it.
TXYLOR comes from the school of conscious, authentic raps that artists like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar have cultivated over the course of their careers. Songs like “24 Trillion Miles” paint a picture of the path he’s taken, with great care to contextualize his pain and struggles through hefty bars that deliver a punch. Another track like “Move Around” is more sinister and bleak so his delivery reflects this, with emotional bars that ask for space. Its anxious mood is drastically different from the first. You pick up on the diversity and are sucked in. This is someone who understands poise and the importance of presence.
But everything isn’t a tale of the two extremes. TXYLOR’s strengths come from how he can make relatable raps in all forms. “Go” is a trap-adjacent jam that talks about the authenticity of the people around him. He keeps it real as he lists off the different kinds of fake. He gets introspective on “No Cure For A Cold Heart” when he talks to the people in his life – both here and departed – as he lets them know how it is. By covering multiple bases like this, his versatility becomes the star of the project and leaves him ringing in your ears way after it cuts off.
Before Chronicle is supposedly a preview before he releases an album called Chronicle. With this kind of wide-ranging effort on just a preview, we can imagine what’s going to be on the first. It makes you want to figure out more about this mysterious artist and see what he has going on. Before Chronicle is definitely what you need to learn more about TXYLOR.
Stream Before Chronicle up above.
Here’s The Verdict on Joey Purp’s ‘QUARTERTHING”
Joey Purp’s a member of the SaveMoney crew – a Chicago based collective featuring the likes of Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa amongst other eclectic musicians – and brings a striking new element to Chicago’s music scene. When he released iiiDrops in 2016, although his sophomore project, the world was given a proper introduction into his world of street adjacent raps. He showed his ability to be introspective over a wide selection and variety of ethereal beats. His new project QUARTERTHING continues this creative selectiveness with a newfound commitment to innovation.
Over the course of its runtime, the unique cadence and flow he utilizes to channel excitement constantly grows and evolves. On tracks like “Elastic” and “Godbody Pt. 2,” Purp’s tenacity shines through the refracted lens of eclectic beat selection. Confidence is the main currency being traded on QUARTERTHING. “2012,” the album’s most nostalgic cut, even retains some of this aesthetic that helps to build immersion.
Although much of it the project is powerful, there’s a glaring misstep. “Bag Talk” has a yelling problem; one that the album tries its best to mask throughout with loud beats. But “Bag Talk” peels the veil back to showcase just how empty it sounds without the extra bells and whistles.
Nevertheless, QUARTERTHING is a powerful project that continues to showcase some serious growth for Purp. He’s proving himself to not only be one of SaveMoney’s best, but Chicago’s as well.