EP: Mansa Obi – What Matters

New Orleans native Mansa Obi is back with more music on his “What Matters” EP.

As a rapper-singer combo, Mansa Obi, finds himself crooning on all four songs on this project.

Obi’s smooth vocals move over live instrumentation and drums reminiscent of an early 90s Hitmen-style R&B vibe.

The EP is an intriguing listen as most of the songs feature the same lyrics performed in different ways and vocal inflections.

On “Cinderella,” Obi sings “Cinderella, she was late to the party,” in relation to a love interest, bringing the age-old Cinderella story to relevance in a current climate.

The song features piano as well as woodwind instrumentation, and at one point Obi breaks out into a singing interpolation of Cash Money’s “Project Chick.”

“Lust” is dance floor music with a groovy, head bopping mix of vocals, instruments and drums.

This EP was released shortly after the release of the previous album “Mansa”which is well-worth the listen and shows off more of Obi’s rapping abilities.

Check out the “What Matters” EP below.

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Single: Trice Da Artist – Heroin

Singer Trice Da Artist’s song “Heroin” was released little over a month ago via SoundCloud and continues to resonate in the minds of listeners.

The song serves as a piece about relationships and uses personification to compare a person’s addictive behavior to a lover to that of a drug addiction, specifically Heroin.

The lyrics paint the picture of a woman who is in love with a man, and throughout whatever pain or joy that man brings to her, she continues to come back because of the pull and control he has over her.

The song, lasting just over three minutes, presents great imagery of how love can be as dangerous as a drug addiction the longer they continue and the deeper a person gets into them.

“My heart’s on the corner of your love avenue, waiting in the bitter cold for my dealer,” Trice sings.

For many, this mental struggle exists in their relationships.

The song’s instrumental, produced by Beat Factory, uses a classic sample from James Brown’s “King Heroin” released in 1972. On the song, Brown recites a poem from the drug’s  point of view, explaining its affects on users and addicts.

This was specifically a profound record during the heroin epidemic of the 1970s.

“Heroin” works as a balance of soulful instrumentation and meaningful lyrics, creating a song worth several spins.

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Culture Love: UCB – Sexy Lady

A staple of the music scene in Washington, DC and the outskirts of the city is GoGo Music. The genre is described as a subgenre of funk music and very percussion-heavy as the instruments drive the music.

The late great Chuck Brown is often credited with the early stages of the genre and often referred to as the Godfather of GoGo. His band Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers is part of other legendary GoGo bands that contributed to the early evolution of the music including Black Heat and the Young Senators.

Other popular classic GoGo bands include Junk Yard Band, Rare Essence, Backyard Band, Mambo Sauce, TCB and UCB.

GoGo was introduced in mainstream hip hop through rapper Wale, who brought attention to the genre by using rap beats heavily influenced in the GoGo sound. He even had TCB and UCB featured on a few of his own songs.

In the modern era of GoGo, UCB in particular had a song titled “Sexy Lady” that was extremely popular in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area and closely surrounding parts. The song is driven by the GoGo instrumentation and a smooth chorus as singer Tre croons “Seeexxxxyyy Laaaadddyyyyy I wanna rockkk your worrrrrld.”

All parts of GoGo Music may not be represented by this article but I had to show some love to a style of music that deserves it.

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Mixtape: Domino Cash – To Whom It May Concern

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Earlier this year Domino Cash released the project “To Whom It May Concern.” So, far the project has garnered more than 1,000 plays and attention from communities such as HipHopAmino.

Along with the project, Domino Cash also released a interview to follow it up. That interview you can watch below.

As for the project itself, it is very layered.

Cash takes the listener through a journey of self-awareness, mental illness and understanding of God.

Throughout the album Cash touches on subjects like self-actualization and self-esteem.

But beyond that Cash shows an outer appreciation for those in the world dealing with self-doubt in themselves. From young black men to black women, cash offers encouragement.

Throughout the project there is an infighting theme with Cash, searching for a purpose and struggle with depression that comes to full fruition on The Edge, They Forgot, and Purgatory.

The project comes to a close with an enlightened man who understands himself and what he is capable of.

While going through phases of uncertainty, the tape carries on with a sense of emotion and genuine concern that captures the listener.

Listen and Download the project here. 

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Music Video: Janelle Monáe – I Like That

A beautiful video for a beautiful, talented woman.

Janelle is back with the visuals for her new song “I Like That” days before the release of her new album. “Dirty Computer.”

The album is described as an emotion picture, which is given the definition of “a narrative film and accompanying musical album.”

The album drops Friday April 27 and the dates for her upcoming tour are below.

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D-Tay – Sky’s The Limit Mixtape Review

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This project starts off really special; The way the beat comes in explains the title perfectly. You actually feel like you’re about to be taken on a path to the sky from how it starts. Then you hear “The Sky’s the limit, you want it, go get it.” If that’s not a motivating way to start a mixtape I don’t know what is. D-Tay’s newest offering, “Sky’s The Limit” is filled with motivating lyrics, slick metaphors, fun moments, and true passion.

As serious as that intro was, the next song starts off with “Girl gone twerk for a trill n*gga” I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or not. On one hand it makes listeners feel comfortable to know that every song will not just be super serious. On the other hand it’s a drastic change from the intro.. I like it regardless though.

D-Tay does a pretty good job of mixing it up on this mixtape. Nothing seems overwhelming, and everything seems to flow pretty smoothly from track 3 on down. One thing that impresses me about D-Tay is his songwriting skills. His pen game is very nice and you can tell that he doesn’t just say the first thing that comes to mind. His words and structure are both very intricate.

This mixtape is definitely an upgrade from his “Determination” project. He is much more polished and sounds comfortable on the songs now. His beat selection is better and his writing is still very sharp. Another thing I like about this mixtape is that the features are carefully selected and each guest appearance makes sense.

His subject matter is very much spread out on this mixtape. D-Tay shows his ability to rap about a variety of different topics, and his does so in an effective manner.

“Sky’s The Limit” is enjoyable and deserves a listen from all hip hop fans. Due to the wide variety of songs, you may come across a track or 2 that you may not like, but this is a complete project in the most literal sense of the word. D-Tay has a bright future ahead of him in the rap world due to his writing talent and pure love for hip hop.

Favorite Tracks: “Piece Of My Mind”, “The Come Up”, “Better”

 

 

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Fr33 – Inn3rturmoil Mixtape Review

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The guys at R4/LOM are at it once again. This time donning a new rap style and a new lifestyle, FR33 brings us into the Epik Lyfestyle, with “Inn3rturmoil.”

FR33 has shown an immense amount of improvement from his Teen Titan series. He still has that raw unpolished delivery but he has managed to learn how to blend his style in with the beats. His content and subject matter is still there like it has always been. With so much negativity going on in the city of Montgomery, Alabama, he has plenty of serious issues to rap about. He takes advantage of his voice and freedom of speech to the fullest extent. But it is not overkill, as he has no problem expressing his love for hip hop and his love for the cannabis plant as well.

One thing that stands out about this mixtape is Fr33’s beat selection. Simply put, it’s great. Not only are the beats dope but they are versatile and Fr33 shows that he can bend his unorthodox flow to match any beat that he chooses.

Fr33 throws little clever lines throughout the mixtape here and there. He also lets listeners closer to him through personal and emotion-filled lyrics. Overall Inn3rturmoil plays out as a very solid and listenable album. The Lil Wayne soundbite on the intro was a very nice touch to start the project with and “Walk With Me” was the true definition of an Outro song.

This project seems to be the first step in the direction of a strong-willed young rapper on a mission to make his voice heard. Shoutout to the whole R4/LOM camp and Epik Lyfestyle.

Favorite Tracks: “Walk With Me”, “Hello”, “Epik Lyfe”, “Flavors”

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