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Review: Washington DZ by FMB DZ

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Midway through the opening track “Hard To Kill” you’ll likely panic because it sounds like FMB DZ is out of breath. Are you about to hear him pass out on the track? Have no fear. This sense of morbid anticipation becomes a trademark of the listening experience of the album because DZ’s delivery reeks with excitement – he’s anxious to get his message out. Going into the album, if you don’t know much about the Detroit rapper, you’ll learn plenty enough to decide whether you like him or not. Judging by the project’s content, I’m pretty sure you will. By making use of some surprising instrumentation and keeping things short and sweet, DZ manages to gift a package that appetizes just enough to make the world eagerly anticipate another project.

DZ’s delivery could best be described as the perfect mix of guttural and smooth. It helps that he delivers at such a brisk pace because it covers up a lack of lyrical depth that other reviewers would knock off points for. I understand that not all rap music has to be an exercise in deciphering lyrics on Genius, so I find DZ’s content to be perfectly fine. He’s in the business of lifestyle and scenario raps, not verbal hieroglyphics. When he comes in at the beginning of any track, he comes prepared to kill: and that he does. His entrance on “Can’t Hang” plays off of the synths in the background nicely, almost as if he’s sneaking onto the microphone. The best comparison that can be derived would be Yung Gleesh, if Glessh put effort into his extremely casual raps. Of the two, DZ definitely has a leg up.

“Can’t Hang” is a noticeable stand out because of its relatively short length and complexity. Although the tracklist, in terms of song length, follows the pattern set on this song, the production quality varies. The simplistic production on “The Run” makes it sounds more like noise than the backhand support for DZ’s fierce, yet relaxed delivery. Elsewhere, on “Turn Around,” a similar production style is used – almost to the same, somewhat messy effect. But in both instances, DZ’s bars come through to save the day. On the latter track, DZ raps “I don’t give a fuck about your big homie/Big Bully on me, can’t no nigga out here pick on me” invoking the feelings of paranoia, acceptance, and bravado he projects onto listeners.

Aside from these two tracks, the production is surprisingly good. The prominent feature of snare drums on each track cuts across his vocals in a loud, brash statement that probably wouldn’t work for other rappers. Here, it acts as a metronome that DZ constantly refocuses and reshapes his verses around. Maybe the effect is unintentional, but it makes each listen very interesting because you can hear where he’s reformatting things. There’s also some serious piano play here, and a surprising saxophone appearance on “Voices” that sounds nothing short of beautiful. Producers on the project put in some serious work to lace DZ with their best work.

At 14 tracks, the project feels just right. DZ wrapped things up on a speedy note but left fans anticipating more. In an age where artists care more about streams – so they stuff releases with 20+ tracks – someone who realizes the value in creating a tightly put together package is very appreciated. Once the ending rolls around, you’ll be prepared to give it another spin – and you won’t feel exhausted.

By keeping it concise, DZ has created a project that’s both a joy to listen to and easily replayable. Questionable production on a couple of tracks isn’t enough to take away from interesting experimentation and DZ’s unique delivery. This should be the project that brings him to the forefront of both Detroit and mainstream rap success.

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@LanaLadonna’s ‘$B1glan’ is the perfect glimpse of her bold future

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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.

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.@MeechTheGoat’s ‘Before Chronicle’ is must-hear music

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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.

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Here’s The Verdict on Joey Purp’s ‘QUARTERTHING”

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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.

 

 

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