Artist Spotlight: Kossisko

Over the course of the last decade and a half or so, hip hop music and video games have become curiously aligned. One of the most interesting things about this development is that companies don’t always choose popular artists music to feature in their games, they often choose the music of smaller artists that aren’t as well known. A great recent example of this is Berkeley, California singer Kossisko.

Rise in popularity  

Kossisko, then known as 100s, had his music featured in Rockstar Games smash hit Grand Theft Auto V. The song that made 100s well known is “Life of A Mack”, which is featured on in-game radio station Radio Los Santos. The game released in 2013 and brought a lot of attention to 100s career, leading fans to check out his debut mixtape Ice Cold Perm which was released in 2012. Following Ice Cold Perm, 100s released his EP Ivry in 2014 which incorporated heavy disco and g-funk sounds.

At the start of 2015, the 100s name was retired and he began to perform and release new music under the name Kossisko. The name change may not have elevated his career yet, but the music he has put out has become even more polished and quality.      

Why you should give him a chance

As I’ve began listening to Kossisko’s music again lately, I realized that there’s really no one else like him today in the mixed genre music scene. His old music as 100s is a nod to 90s-era gangsta rap and g-funk among other influences, and it is amazing in its own way. The new music he makes as Kossisko is certainly different, but not in a bad way at all.

His latest album Low, released in November 2018, is a fusion of funk, disco, pop, hip hop, and many other genres. According to Kossisko himself from a November 2018 interview with Hypebeast, the new project is “me as a person, with all my influences and everything. Now, I’m at the point where I’m like, “this is exactly what the f*ck I wanted to do.’”. It is truly a project that you need to give a listen if you want to hear something you aren’t likely to hear from many other artists. Each song is so different from the others, and it’s sure to keep you interested across the 34 minute run-time.

Notable songs

As I mentioned above, most of Kossisko’s music can’t be labeled as a specific genre. To present him fairly, I’ll be including different sounding tracks so that you can get a feel for what he brings to the table as an artist. Here are some of Kossisko’s standout tracks that you should definitely check out.

“Across The Room” – Kossisko

This track was the first one that I personally heard that was released under the Kossisko name. It sounds like it’s straight out of the 80’s, and that makes it so much better. If you think this song shows you everything you’ll hear from Kossisko, you’re wrong.

“SUPERFICIAL” – Kossisko

Up next is “SUPERFICIAL” from the album Low. This is one of Kossisko’s highest energy bangers and it’s certainly an ear worm. It contains pop and hip hop elements, along with some crazy vocals and rapping. It hasn’t left my regular rotation since I discovered it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same happened to you.

“SIDEWAYS” – Kossisko

This song contains a bit of R&B, which we haven’t received much of from Kossisko thus far. It’s more of a slow track at the beginning and picks up the tempo in the middle. It also contains beautiful sonic elements reminiscent once again of classic 80’s tracks.

“CARDIO” – Kossisko

We’ve finally reached “CARDIO”, my personal favorite Kossisko track. What makes this one so special is that it’s pretty much a three-for-one song. You get R&B, rap, and electronic influences all in one song. It’s super catchy and I wish I had discovered it earlier so as to put others onto it. It is also Kossisko’s most popular track yet under that name, reaching 1 million views on YouTube.

What’s next?

After listening to all of 100s/Kossisko’s music again, I’m not sure what direction he will go in on his next release. But whatever direction he goes in, my biggest hope for him is that the general public wakes up on his music and realizes what is right in front of them. This man is truly talented and needs the love and appreciation that he deserves because his music is stellar. He makes music for everyone and there is something for all types of music fans to enjoy.   

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any of the images in this piece.

Remembering Nipsey Hussle

I can’t believe that I’m actually writing this right now. The hip hop world has just lost another amazing young voice in Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle. On March 31st, Hussle was shot outside of his Marathon Clothing store, the store he created to give back to his community. He was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. This is yet another huge loss that we’ve seen in the span of the last 2 years alone.

Making it out

Nipsey Hussle first jumped onto the scene in 2005 with and had become a mainstay since then. He was chosen as an XXL Magazine Freshman for their 2010 issue, which helped him become a bit more well-known. In 2010 he left his previous record label and began his own called All Money In.

2013 was a big year for Nip with the release of his critically acclaimed mixtape Crenshaw. The tape was hosted by DJ Drama and skyrocketed his career to a new level soon after it was released. Once he dropped that mixtape, he announced his debut album Victory Lap.

In 2018 after nearly 5 years of delays, Victory Lap was finally released. The project was a culmination of everything that Nip had achieved until that point in his career. It was his victory lap around all the haters that said he wouldn’t make it by doing it his way. Victory Lap is one of the best hip hop albums of 2018. It exemplifies what it means to make it out of the streets and put yourself into a better position while also giving back to your community in a major way.

Thoughts on Nipsey

I really cannot believe that this has happened yet again. Another young man has been killed by unknown assailants for an unknown reason. I don’t think that they understand how many lives they are touching by taking this man from us.

I discovered Nipsey Hussle when I was first getting into hip hop music about 8 years ago. My first exposure to him was his Crenshaw mixtape on DatPiff.com. I was instantly a fan due to the confidence he spit through the mic. He dropped Mailbox Money on New Year’s Eve 2014 and I listened to it right when it came out. It cemented Nipsey as one of my favorite west coast rappers.

When he announced that Victory Lap would actually be dropping for real this time in early 2018, I could hardly contain my excitement. The debut album that he’d been billing up as a classic was about to be released. It was finally time.

I can confidently say that Nipsey Hussle delivered on every promise he made about Victory Lap. It has all of the elements of his music that make him likeable in the first place, along with new stuff that made it even better. The project was so good that it even got a nomination for Best Rap Album at the 2019 Grammy Awards.

Losing Nipsey Hussle really is an incredibly terrible blow to the hip-hop community. He was a man that exemplified everything about actually living what he rapped about and making the boss moves to back it up. He did so much charitable work. He gave back to his community that it is sure to be felt for many years to come. I will never understand what motivates people to senselessly kill others, especially those that actively try to do good.

I’m sorry that this happened to you Nipsey. You didn’t deserve it. I hope that your family can find peace in the future after this crushing blow. Thank you for everything that you did for hip hop, I will always be a Nipsey Hussle fan. Your music will live on forever.   

Favorite songs

“Killer” – Nipsey Hussle ft. Drake

“Between Us” – Nipsey Hussle ft. K Camp

“Victory Lap” – Nipsey Hussle ft. Stacy Barthe

“Dedication” – Nipsey Hussle ft. Kendrick Lamar

“Real Big” – Nipsey Hussle ft. Marsha Ambrosius

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any of these images.

NAV releases new album, but something familiar is missing

After previously announcing his “retirement” from the rap game, Toronto artist Nav is back with his brand new album Bad Habits. The project comes on the heels of Nav’s 2018 release Reckless, which was received with mixed reviews from many critics and hip hop fans.

Album release

The rollout for this album has been quite different than his past projects, especially because of the rumblings of his “retirement” and the ongoing drama between Nav’s close friend Lil Uzi Vert and his label Atlantic Records. For those unaware, Lil Uzi Vert has been trying to release his long-anticipated new album Eternal Atake for almost a year now. Uzi has spoken of the behind-the-scenes trouble that he deals with in regards to his label, but now it seems to have gotten worse than it has been thus far.

The most confusing part about Lil Uzi Vert’s situation with his label is that they’ve actually begun to block him from appearing on other artist’s albums. This is exactly what has happened with the release of Nav’s new project. A collaboration between the two rappers called “Habits” was supposed to appear on the album, but didn’t because Uzi’s label bosses DJ Drama and Don Cannon wouldn’t clear Uzi’s verse.

Petty Instagram taunting

During the lead up to the album’s release, DJ Drama and Don Cannon even went as far to seemingly taunt both Nav and Lil Uzi Vert on Nav’s Instagram post detailing the situation.

In his response to the announcement of Nav’s album and Uzi’s feature not being included, DJ Drama seems to be ignoring the fact that he is one of the reasons that the track is being left off the project. You can see DJ Drama’s comment on the post below.

What’s the hold up?

Many fans have been very confused as to why Drama and Cannon won’t let their most popular and successful artist be featured on another artist’s song, especially because the feature could boost anticipation for Uzi’s new album to new heights. One theory that was created by fans is that Drama and Cannon are trying to spite Uzi after he dissed them on Twitter multiple times.

Past Nav and Lil Uzi Vert collaborations

Another reason that this situation is so discouraging is because whenever Nav and Uzi are on the same track, it is always a hit. Here are some of the past collabs from the two artists.

“Wanted You” – Nav ft. Lil Uzi Vert

“ASAP Ferg” – Nav & Metro Boomin’ ft. Lil Uzi Vert

“NAVUZIMETRO#PT2 – Nav & Metro Boomin’ ft. Lil Uzi Vert

What’s next?

Whatever the hold up is, I think hope that Drama and Cannon can stop being petty towards Uzi and allow him to feature on other artist’s tracks and drop his highly anticipated new album.     

A recap of K-UTE Radio’s Hip Hop Drip local talent showcase.

Hip Hop Drip: Voice of Salt Lake

Utah may have some unique cultural factors, but despite these the state still has a very strong, dedicated, and promising Hip Hop culture. During my time spent as a DJ and host at K-ute radio I have had the pleasure of interviewing and getting to know much of the local Hip Hop scene here in Utah on our rap segment, the Hip Hop Drip, that airs weekdays from 4-7 on Kuteradio.org.

Here at K-ute radio, it is our mission to give those that want a first shot at exposure and recognition the platform they need to have their music heard! This gives Artists the opportunity to promote themselves with an interview, play their music on air, and grow their following from our loyal listening base. In addition to this, we have begun holding regular K-UTE Radio presents shows, to showcase the talent that has come through our doors and to show them the love and respect they deserve!

K-Ute Presents

We held our second K-UTE Radio and The Hip Hop Drip Presents show at Kilby Court earlier this year and fans came out from every corner of Utah, in freezing temperatures, to turn up with us! We had an incredibly talented lineup of performers, most of which having dropped new projects within the last 6 months.

Getting Things Started

Our opener for the night, Undecided Music, gave us a taste of what is to come from them in the future. As one of the younger and less experienced acts of the night, they absolutely killed their set and were hopefully given the confidence they needed to keep making dope music!

This is when the 44 clique began showing up in droves to see their boy Koba perform songs off his latest project Dreams. This project is available for stream on SoundCloud under the FourFathers music page. Dee came out with some fresh out of the oven features which was a sweet surprise for the fans. Moving on in the night, big homie Pur2x showed up and showed out, performing tracks off of his debut EP Village Boy also available for stream on SoundCloud.

The Night Continues

The last three Artists to perform were the ones I was particularly excited for. I have personally interviewed them multiple times and I’m a big fan of their previous work. In addition to that, Lisa Frank, vinniecassius, and Adam Banx have been performing together at shows for sometime now. They’ve become the go to openers for big hip hop acts in the valley having worked with Kaskey, Rob Bank$, and Wifisfuneral in just the past few months.

Lisa Frank, took the stage by storm, opting out of an intermission, handing me a confetti canon instead to get his set popping off. He kept the crowd alive with the relentless energy of his music and interaction with the crowd. Keeping the vibe set by Lisa, vinniecassius performed his project Revenge Until Death that dropped only weeks before the event. Chockfull of high BPM bangers and trancelike melodies this project is certainly something you want to experience live someday.

Finally, a long time homie of mine and veteran of the Salt Lake City Hip Hop scene, Adam Banx took the stage as our headlining act. Arguably one of the most musically gifted artists in the scene right now, Adam writes all of his own music, composes a lot of his own beats, and engineers all of his projects for himself. He stays true to his unique style and doesn’t box himself into any specific genre. If you are into something a little more melodic, Adam Banx has definitely got what you want and plenty of it. He already has two complete projects, Illmedicine and Caution: Lanes Merge available on all major platforms, but also has the most amount of unreleased content and new material of any artist I have seen come through the station so far.

Whats next?

The night wrapped up around 10 o’clock and was a huge success for everyone including the station, myself, and the artists involved. By holding shows like this 2-3 times a year, K-ute Radio and the Hip Hop Drip hope to become a staple in the local music scene. As a go to source for promotions and opportunities we invite any artists looking to be heard to reach out to us and get an interview set up. Here at K-Ute Radio, the only thing we love more than music, are people who have a passion for music. We want to hear your story and help make your dreams a reality. Keep your eyes peeled for more live events and tune into Kuteradio.org for all of your favorite music and info regarding upcoming events and ticket giveaways.

I want to take this time to shout out all the performers and fans that came out and put shit down for local Hip Hop!

Show Review: Brasstracks, “The Vibrant Tour”

On March 7, 2019, I had the pleasure of seeing Brasstracks (@brasstracks) live at Metro Music Hall in Salt Lake City. Ivan Jackson and Conor Rayne, the primary duo, brought the artists Pell (@PELLYEAH) and Kemba (@Kembaland) along for the ride. The show was a fantasic and intimate display of instrumentals. It drew in the audience to create an experience that only a live show could.

The first thing to notice on stage was the setup. Conor and Ivan were on opposite sides of the stage, while their backup instruments were centered. Most notably, Ivan’s keys and Conors drums were facing each other, engaging the audience in their interaction. This setup allowed Brasstracks to bring you in, making you feel like a part of the performance. Ivan, on trumpet as well as keys that night, was very mobile onstage. He used his talents to make music while getting the crowd involved in hand waving and jumping.

Brasstracks’ focus on instruments lends itself well to live performance. Frequently, all instruments on stage would improvise solo performances that reminded me of jazz improvisation. With their hip-hop influence, the improv morphed into a lovely medley that gave new flavor to songs they covered, such as Drake’s “In My Feelings”, or the live-exclusive cover of Ghost Town DJs’ “My Boo”.

Of course, the original music was even more wonderful. The song “I’ll Sing About You” felt particularly emotional. Ivan shared how his inspiration came from dedicated fans and even sat down to play the opening minutes of the track. The sitting was so simple, yet made the music feel intensely personal and emotional. Ivan gave a peak into his heart with that song. “Vibrant”, with Pell on vocals, suited as the tour’s title track. Lighting on stage shifted to fit the shifts in the music perfectly. It was a treat for the eyes and ears, and I’m sad I’ll never see it quite the same way again.

Any member of the audience that night could tell you Brasstracks was having fun performing. Sure, they told you, but it was how they performed with animation and attacked every beat and note that constantly fed you the idea they were having fun. The small encouraged the connection between artist and audience. They traded energy with the audience. Brasstracks took everyone’s enjoyment and elevated it to elate and excite on new levels, making every motion of the lights, drums, keys and trumpets forever memorable.

Album wishlist: ScHoolboy Q

If you are at all familiar with hip hop label Top Dawg Entertainment, you’re most likely aware that they have one of the most coveted artist rosters out there. Their most popular artist is the amazing Kendrick Lamar, but you’ve probably heard of some of their other artists including Hoover Street’s own ScHoolboy Q.

Q was one of the biggest stars in hip hop just a few years ago when he dropped his 2016 album Blank Face LP. The album spawned hits including “THat Part” ft. Kanye West and “By Any Means”, along with many more great tracks. But now it’s 2019 and aside from a few features here and there and appearances on the TDE-produced Black Panther Soundtrack, Q has been super quiet.

On March 14th, Q finally released a new solo track after almost three years. The new track is called “Numb Numb Juice” and it is assumed to be included on his yet-to-be-titled fifth studio album, which is expected to drop soon. As always when artists are about to release a new project, it is fun to speculate what kinds of tracks and themes will be on it and what we would like to be on it. Here are some of the things I think that Q should/will include on his new studio album.

Length

Generally the sweet spot in regards to number of tracks for albums is anywhere between 10-17 tracks. Luckily Q has been quite good at staying within this guideline, seeing that 2014’s Oxymoron and 2016’s Blank Face LP were 12 and 17 tracks respectively. As with many projects I’ve reviewed in the past, I usually knock them if they are too long simply because that means there are at least a few filler songs that don’t need to be included.

To avoid having any filler, my preferred length for Q’s latest album would be around 12-14 tracks, so as to keep a collective theme and tell a more cohesive story. This isn’t a strict suggestion simply because we’ve seen albums in the past go over this amount of tracks and still be perfectly fine, but I think it would benefit the album’s possible award consideration if it is more cohesive and slightly shorter.  

Subject matter

In the past Q’s subject matter has been one of the best things about his music. Many of his album cuts are so deeply personally and still hold up today after many listens. With that being said, this is the category thatScHoolboy Q can truly shine in on his upcoming release. In the time period between the release of Blank Face LP and now, so much has happened in Q’s life publically and I’m sure privately.

One of the biggest things that I’m looking for Q to talk about on his new album is the tragic death of one of his closest friends Mac Miller. If you were unaware, Q and Mac had one of the best feel-good bromances in hip hop while also creating amazing music together (this video is a classic and is very representative of the type of close friendship that they had). Miller’s death was another reason that this album was pushed back according to Q and his label.

More things that we could hear ScHoolboy Q talk about on this project include his daughter growing up, his family life, his homies, his street experiences, and much more. His third album Oxymoron was the closest thing that Q has delivered to us in regards to a concept album, so I think it would be good for him to go somewhat in that direction on this release.

Beats

On every release so far, it seems like the quality of the beats Q has rapped over has increased exponentially. That may or may not be due to his major label backing, but regardless I’m looking for another increase in beat quality.

In the past Q has proven that he can ride almost any type of beat, so I’d like to hear some variety on this new project. I’d like to hear him over some soulful Madlib type production with a lot of samples. That could potentially be an amazing standout track.

Another thing that ScHoolboy Q does amazingly well is choose great beats to tell a story over. His track “Blessed” (which is in my top 5 Q tracks) is a perfect example of this. The beat has a haunting vocal sample in the background as well as some stellar verses from Q and Kendrick Lamar. This is the type of music that we need more of from Q and I’m confident that he can deliver it, without a doubt.

What do you want from Q’s next album?

It would honestly be foolish if I expected Q to incorporate everything I suggested into his album, but I think the things I discussed have the makings of a great album. Now that you’ve heard my ideas for his next album, I want to hear from you and see what you’d like to see from Q. Hit me up on Instagram @youngthuggamanekyle with your thoughts or leave a comment below!

Once ScHoolboy Q actually drops the album, be sure to check back here for my album review on it!

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any of the images found in this piece.  

Artist Spotlight: Juice WRLD

Something that I’ve always found quite interesting about the rap game is the speed at which some artists blow up and how they get huge so quickly. A recent, and probably one of the best, examples of this phenomena is Chicago rapper Juice WRLD. His rise to nearly the top of the rap game has been astounding, especially because it has taken place over roughly one year.

Rise in popularity  

As with many new school hip hop artists, Juice WRLD started taking music seriously during his high school years. Before changing his name to Juice WRLD, he went by JuicetheKidd. That name was derived from the movie Juice, which starred the great Tupac Shakur. He eventually changed it to Juice WRLD to represent “taking over the world”, according to his Wikipedia page.

2017 is the year that it all started to pay off for Juice WRLD. He released numerous projects and songs that would eventually get him into the ears of famed artists including Waka Flocka, Southside, Lil Bibby, and more.

He capitalized on this early success, signing a $3 million dollar deal with Interscope Records. His songs “Lucid Dreams” and “All Girls Are The Same” were released as official singles and rose up the Billboard Hot 100 quickly, launching him headfirst into the spotlight.        

Why you should give him a chance

While I wouldn’t consider myself one of the earlier listeners of Juice WRLD, I will say that once I checked out his music once it stuck with me. He brings so much to hip hop with his subject matter and different deliveries and it just keeps bringing me back in for more.

In my opinion, Juice WRLD is one of the best new artists out right now. This is true because the music that he makes is very relatable to many of the young people that are just like him. He talks about things that everyone deals with and isn’t afraid of getting judged for it. His songs expose who he really is and convey a level of raw emotion that isn’t as present with some of the other newer artists.  

Notable songs

Even though Juice WRLD has really only been on the scene for about a year, he has some very good tracks that are essential listens if you are trying to get into his music. He has several different styles of music and I will be sure to include tracks from each kind to give you a better idea of the versatility that he brings to the game. Here are some of the standout tracks from Juice WRLD’s young career thus far.

“Lucid Dreams” – Juice WRLD

You didn’t think I would just mention this track and then not include it here, did you? That’s just silly. “Lucid Dreams” is the track that sent Juice straight into the spotlight. On the track, Juice details how it feels to go through a breakup and how to deal with one. The track is a surefire earworm and was one of the biggest songs of 2018, and for good reason. While this is Juice WRLD’s most famous song yet, it isn’t necessarily indicative of all that he brings to hip hop.

“Legends” – Juice WRLD

This track is another great example of Juice conveying a lot of emotion with a unique vocal delivery. The track is dedicated to the late rappers Lil Peep and XXXTENTACION and was made in less than a day. Juice discusses the tragic passings of both artists and how he doesn’t want to end up in the same situation as them and be referred to as a young legend that passed away.

“Nuketown” – Ski Mask The Slump God ft. Juice WRLD

While this isn’t Juice’s track, his feature on it is great. It showcases his rapping ability rather than the melodic flows that we hear in many of his other songs. The song consists of a lot of the shouting-style rap that Ski Mask is known for. Both artists utilize this flow a lot on the song and it is a great indicator of what we can expect from more rap Juice WRLD tracks in the future.

“Yacht Club” – Lil Yachty ft. Juice WRLD

This is another song that Juice WRLD is featured on that showcases his natural rapping ability. On the track we hear Lil Boat and Juice trade bars and brag out getting kicked out of a yacht club for being rowdy. The reason I love this track is simply because both artists flow so well off each other and make it an enjoyable listen.  

What’s next?

Seeing as his latest album A Death Race for Love released recently (March 8th), we’ll be seeing Juice WRLD’s name pop up for quite a while longer. The album is full of even more hits and I’d definitely recommend checking it out. It is more of what you heard in the above section along with some new sounds here and there.

I’m not sure what direction he goes in for the future, but whatever it is I think he’ll have plenty more success and become even bigger than he is right now.

Hit me up in the comments or on Instagram @youngthuggamanekyle and let me know if you’re feeling Juice WRLD’s music or not.

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any of the images used in this piece.