The Hip Hop Drip remembers Mac Miller

The Hip Hop Drip is K-UTE Radio’s show for hip hop lovers, and as huge fans of Mac Miller, we were shocked and saddened to hear about his recent passing. The hip hop community lost yet another young legend, as the 26 year old Pittsburgh-native rapper/producer lost his battle with substance abuse and addiction.

This loss of life is yet another blow to the hip hop landscape after losing Lil Peep, Fredo Santana, XXXTENTACION, Jimmy Wopo, and countless others in the span of a year.  

In the days after, it’s only right for us to celebrate Mac’s accomplishments and thank him for the impact that he had in each of our lives.

A true artist

Mac Miller’s artistic abilities were noticed at an early age. Described as a “self-taught musician”, he was able to play the drums, guitar, bass, and piano. Playing these instruments started him down the road of making music and dropping mixtapes in high school. At fourteen years old, Mac released his first mixtape entitled But My Mackin’ Ain’t Easy under the name EZ Mac. After releasing numerous well-received projects, Mac signed with the independent Pittsburgh-based record label Rostrum Records.

His clout skyrocketed from there as he often collaborated with other artists signed to Rostrum Records including fellow Pittsburg natives Wiz Khalifa and ID Labs. It wasn’t long after that he announced his first studio album Blue Slide Park, which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and was the first independently distributed album to take a number one spot on the Billboard albums chart since 1995.

Fans watched Mac’s art evolve and grow, as he began producing beats under the name Larry Fisherman and going on to release numerous critically-acclaimed projects including Macadelic, Faces, and GO:OD AM. Mac released his last album Swimming on August 3rd, 2018, one month before he would be found unresponsive in his Studio City flat in Los Angeles, California.

Tyki’s take on Mac Miller

I was relaxing with my girlfriend on a Friday afternoon when the news about Mac Miller broke out. This one hit hard because he’s one of the few artists that we generally agree about, so we loved playing his music together. For me, Mac has always had a genuine likability about him. He is among the few artists that can hit almost any vibe with his music, while still standing out as one of the prominent backpack artists of my generation.

In addition, I know many of us felt as if we grew up with Mac Miller. I look back on lighthearted memories of being in my best friend’s backyard throwing down back flips on a trampoline while blasting “The Spins”. Mac took us along a journey throughout his career. As we watched him from his earliest days as the corny kid on the lacrosse team who would say anything for the rhyme, to being the multi-talented and deep artist we knew him as today. Mac was loved for his juxtapositions of wildly differing themes like motivation and depression. It was no surprise that he stood out as an inspiring voice in a generation full of lost kids.

As of now any possible motives or theories pertaining to his death are purely speculation, and in my opinion, of no real value in Mac’s case anyways. However, it was abundantly evident in the events leading up to his death that his mental health was not a high enough priority. I loved Mac, and I think I speak for all of us when I say that I was really rooting for him. As his life appeared to crumble in a matter of months, he hit us with some of his most inspiring work, which is why I think his death came as such a shock to many fans.

While his fans and family were hopeful for Mac, it’s clear that nobody knew the whole story. Sadly, history’s most talented and moving artists often turn out to be very self-destructive. Unlike other young artists to pass before their time, Mac left us with a prolific body of work that his admirers will be able to cherish forever.

Kyle’s take on Mac Miller

When I heard about Mac’s passing, I was at work just scrolling through /r/hiphopheads on Reddit during some downtime. I refreshed the page and at the top was a TMZ article saying that he was dead at age 26. Immediately after googling it, I found many more articles saying the same thing. It felt like someone kicked me right in the gut. I couldn’t believe this had actually happened.

Something about Mac’s passing feels different to me. The first song I ever heard from him was  “Nikes On My Feet” from his mixtape KIDS. I heard this song back in 2011 during my freshman year of high school. The song was dope and I proceeded to check out more of his music. I enjoyed the fresh sound that he brought to hip hop. It was so fun and playful and it kept me listening for a while.

I eventually drifted away from his music later on in high school because I thought his music was for kids. Later on I realized that this was a stupid reason to not listen to someone’s music.

When I picked his music back up again, it was right around the time that he released his sophomore album Watching Movies with the Sound Off. This album has a lot of sentimental value to me because I listened to it during a tough time. The song “REMember” has a very special place in my heart and I’ll always love it. It isn’t easy to cope with traumatic things in life, but this song helped me and I’ll always be grateful.

Mac was a very versatile artist and had something for every type of hip hop fan. He had bangers, heartfelt love songs, emotional songs, and drugged-out anthems. This is why Mac was such a unique artist; everything he did stood out in its own way compared to the rest of his discography.  He showed so much artistic growth and it was a pleasure to witness.

It still doesn’t feel real that Mac Miller is actually gone. It feels like I lost a big brother, and I’ll always miss him. He will be sorely missed in the hip hop community and in the lives of his many dedicated fans.

Thank you for everything you did for us and hip hop as a whole, Mac. You will never be forgotten and your legacy will live on in the hearts of all who loved you.

  

Highlighted tracks

“2009”

“Buttons”

“Fight the Feeling”

“The Best Day Ever”

“Birthday” (as Larry Fisherman)

J. Cole – Concert Review

On September 8th, Salt Lake City was blessed by the presence of one of the biggest hip hop artists out right now. Yes, the great J. Cole performed here for the first time in three years on his KOD Tour, and it was quite the show to behold.

Opening acts

The show started at about 8pm, with EarthGang coming out to perform first. They kicked the show off with a mix of  popular songs including “Missed Calls” and “Can’t Call It”. They brought good vibes to the crowd and it’s safe to say that they’ve earned some new fans.

After EarthGang finished up their set, it was Jaden Smith’s time to shine. Smith’s set was when the crowd really started to get into the concert mood and turn up. He performed songs such as “Batman”, “Icon”, and “George Jeff”, to the delight of many of those in attendance. To finish off his set, Smith performed “Icon” once again as he raced through the entire lower bowl. The crowd loved this and it got them into the performance even more. Jaden Smith put on a great show and he was a quality opener, as evident by the amount of hype he generated for the main act.

Young Thug was supposed to perform after Jaden Smith, but he didn’t show up for an unknown reason. With no third opening act, the crowd was left with a DJ playing music from J. Cole’s Dreamville label while they waited for Cole to come out. The anticipation was at an all-time high and the crowd could hardly contain it. More and more people started filing in from the concourse. And as the clock struck 9:15pm, the show kicked off.

Cole World

This is the moment that everyone had been waiting the whole night for. The openers were cool, but it was finally time for J. Cole to come out.

Suddenly the whole arena went black. The huge video monitor on the stage lit up and showed images of an infant right after it was born, with “KOD Intro” playing in the background. Once the intro ended, J. Cole appeared and we faintly heard the beginning of “Window Pain (Outro)”. Cole perfectly captured the emotions in this song with his performance, and it was a very harrowing moment. The crowd was in awe seeing one of the greatest artists of their generation performing it.

Next, Cole threw it back to 2014 Forest Hills Drive and played crowd favorites “A Tale of 2 Citiez” and “Fire Squad”. After these tracks, he brought it back to KOD and played the majority of the album.   

Cole didn’t just stick to these two albums however. To the delight of many fans, he played a few tracks from his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story, as well as a couple from 2016’s 4 Your Eyez Only.

After throwing it back a bit to his previous work, Cole took a moment to address the crowd about very serious issues that are currently facing our society. With emotion in his voice, he talked about the mental health crisis that he addresses quite frequently on KOD. This was the most emotional and heartfelt that I’ve ever heard J. Cole, and it was my personal favorite moment of the entire show. He urged the crowd to love their life and seek help when they need it, and then he played two of his more personal tracks, “Love Yourz” and “Apparently”.

Following the sentimental moment, Cole played more tracks from 2014 Forest Hills Drive and then finished the show with the last two tracks from KOD. The album’s title track, “KOD”, was another highlight of the show, purely because you could tell that the entire crowd was waiting for it the whole night.

Cole then thanked the crowd for showing up to the show and then walked off the stage. They chanted “one more song” until he finally came back out and performed perhaps his most recognizable track, “No Role Modelz”. He definitely closed out the show with a bang.

Final Thoughts

This was absolutely a night to remember. J. Cole put on an amazing show that was well worth the money that those in attendance spent. He performed songs from every era of his music and truly encompassed his entire artistic direction. It was especially cool hearing him perform his older tracks and being able to compare them to his latest. It really shows the growth that he has had and makes me  appreciate him that much more.

If you missed this show, I urge you to go see J. Cole when he comes to Salt Lake City again. Even if you aren’t his biggest fan, you will get your money’s worth.

Truly an Endless Summer

Summer is all about letting loose and having fun. This year G-EazyLil Uzi Vert, Ty Dolla $ign, Murda Beatz, YBN Nahmir, and P-Lo joined up for the Endless Summer Tour. Named after G-Eazy’s mixtape Endless Summer (2011), the concert took place at USANA Amphitheatre on July 26th, 2018. Having this many performers created the perfect summer concert. Each performer had their part in making the endless summer tour come to life. 

A Dance To Start The Show

http://www.audibletreats.com/gallery/p-lo/

http://www.audibletreats.com/gallery/p-lo/

The Endless Summer Tour kicked off with P-Lo. I hadn’t really heard of him, until that day. I only knew a few of his songs like “Feel Good” ft. G-Eazy, so I wasn’t too hyped on his performance. Still, he did a good job of getting people ready for the show. He had some pretty sick dance moves and everyone kept yelling “Go P-Lo Go Go P-Lo Go…” as he danced.

Shaggy-Haired Skater Turned Big-Time Producer 

Following P-Lo was Murda Beatz. Mostly famous for producing songs by Drake, Migos, Travis Scott, and many other, his part of the concert was showing off the hits. Everyone turned up for “Nice For What” which was produced chilling in Drake’s apartment one night.

The one thing that shocked me about Murda was how he looked. He didn’t look like a big-time music producer. His shaggy hair and normal appearance didn’t flaunt his fame. He kinda just blended in. Little did we know he has been behind the scenes for many songs. 

YBN Nahmir

YBN Nahmir definitely got my interest. I hardly knew about him prior to the show, but he really knew how to get the crowd going. He is a younger artist but showed off his true summer vibe. A few popular songs are “Rubbin Off The Paint” and “Bounce Out With That”. He is also featured on G-Eazy’s “1942”.

https://www.livenation.co.uk/artist/ty-dolla-ign-tickets

Ty Dolla $ign

Ty Dolla $ign drew in the ladies of the crowd. He knew how to sing and rap and boy did that get the ladies in their summer vibe. The crowd loosened up, getting a little wild and free in prep for the rest of the concert.

He played a lot of music but the ones that stuck out to me were “Or Nah”, “Sucker for Pain”, and “Love U Better”.

Lil Uzi Vert

The hype god, Lil Uzi Vert, was up next. There were skulls, upside-down crosses, and coffins on top of all the speakers. This goes along with his whole lucifer persona. Lil Uzi started the show with a bang and got the crowd on their feet.

Lil Uzi crowd surfed which got everyone to turn up even more. During “XO TOUR Llif3”, the audience started going crazy. Lil Uzi Vert had the place hyped up, as everyone was dancing and singing.  He looked insane, but in a fitting manner that worked for this .

Endless Eazy

Saving the best for last: G-Eazy. He has had my heart for a long time with his classy vibe that you will never miss. G-Eazy is known for taking samples from old 50’s songs as you can hear in his mixtape Endless Summer.

Eazy performed a ton of songs my favorites being “Say Less” and “1942” ft. YBN Nahmir. He had a nice flow of songs during his performance and brought a Mustang up on stage which added to the classy feel.

G-Eazy gave me a concert of a lifetime that I will never forget it. I believe that’s the impact he wanted his tour to have. To create an endless summer. At least the memory of one.

Album Review – Astroworld

After a ridiculously long 3 year waiting period, Travis Scott has finally released his new album Astroworld. This project is named after Six Flags’ Astroworld, an amusement park that used to be a Houston landmark. The park was regularly attended by Scott as a child until it was closed and demolished in 2005. Scott has mentioned that he wants this new album to sound like “taking an amusement park away from kids”. He then went on to say “We want it back… That’s why I’m doing it. It took the fun out of the city”.

Travis Scott has been a figure in the hip hop scene for about 6 years now, gaining prominence and notoriety from everything to the vibes and atmosphere he brings on his tracks, to the wild live performances that he is quite proud of. He is known mainly for his popular tracks including “Antidote”, “Butterfly Effect”, and “Goosebumps”.

Now that he is finally in the mainstream eye, it is time for Travis Scott to deliver another progressive new album that sees him discussing new topics and continuing his experimental style. Let’s dig in and see what he has given us this time around.

First impressions

  • The Good: During my first listen through this album, I was absolutely amazed at how well-produced and well-thought-out each song was. The production was absolutely beautiful and contained quite a bit of variety, and each track flowed together really well. Travis fit very well over every beat on this project. The features were perfect as well and didn’t outshine Travis, they only added value to each song.
  • The Bad: Even though every song is very good and fun to listen to, the project isn’t perfect. I don’t see too much of a theme so far, even though this project is billed up to be “a look at what goes on inside Travis’ mind”. Maybe this will change with more listens, but right now I don’t see the concept very clearly.

Lyrics/Flow

  • The Good: If you’ve listened to or even heard of Travis Scott before, it is quite obvious that he isn’t exactly known for being the best lyrical rapper. But on this album, we hear him use different flows from his usual couple that we’ve heard quite often. We also hear him discuss new topics that we’ve never heard him speak on before. Topics such as his love life, his daughter, and things that he has experienced in his life are high points of this project. Some of these introspective and deep tracks on this project that bring out Travis’ best side are “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD”, “COFFEE BEAN”, and “ASTROTHUNDER”.
  • The Bad: Even with the new topics and flows that we hear from La Flame on this project, I didn’t expect him to completely stray away from what he’s been doing for quite some time. He stays heavy on the ad libs throughout the project, as well as similar flows and lyrics on some of the songs. Examples of the not-exactly-experimental songs on this album include “5% TINT”, “NC-17”, and “BUTTERFLY EFFECT”.Score: 8.5/10

Beats

  • The Good: In case you didn’t realize this at any point over the past 6 years of Travis releasing music, he is an amazing producer himself and also works with amazing producers. The beats on this album are where it shines the most, and that is no insult to Travis’ or any of the featured artists’ lyrics. The beats are seriously that good. There are so many layers to all of them, along with a crazy amount of beat switches on different tracks. This project will keep you on the edge of your seat while listening, purely by the anticipation of what the next track will sound like. Some of the producers that contributed to this project include Travis himself, Hit-Boy, 30 Roc, CuBeatz, Sonny Digital, Tay Keith, Mike Dean, and WondaGurl.
  • The Bad: Once again, I didn’t expect every single track on this album to be a brand new style of production that we’ve never heard Cactus Jack over before. There are a few tracks that aren’t as experimental or out there as others. Some of these similar tracks include “HOUSTONFORNICATION”, “NO BYSTANDERS”, and “CAN’T SAY”.Score: 9.3/10

Replayability

  • The Good: As I mentioned before, this is an album that contains a lot of sound variety. There is something for every mood and setting; from partying, chilling, raging, etc. It’s the full package in that regard. There are things that we have never heard from Travis before and we hear him being experimental and being true to himself. This album is definitely one you’ll want to listen through in its entirety more than once.
  • The Bad: In my past reviews, I often knock artists for having too many tracks on their albums and Travis is no exception to that, unfortunately. If I had to cut this album down to about 14 tracks, I would probably remove “5% TINT”, “BUTTERFLY EFFECT”, and “CAN’T SAY”. These tracks aren’t necessarily bad, but they are definitely the weakest tracks on the album in terms of the concept that Travis was going for. I’d still recommend listening to the full album more than once, but it is understandable if it is a bit long for your taste.Score: 7.7/10

Standouts

  • This is always the hardest part of a review, especially when you have such an amazing album like this one. If I had to choose the tracks that stand out from the rest, they would have to be “SICKO MODE”, STOP TRYING TO BE GOD”, “ASTROTHUNDER”, and “R.I.P. SCREW”. We see Travis at his most ambitious on these tracks; switching beats, covering new topics, and dropping new flows.

Final thoughts

I’m going to say this right now, Astroworld is not perfect. But I’d be lying if I say that it isn’t 100% what I wanted to hear from Travis Scott after his lackluster 2016 sophomore album Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight.
On this new project, we hear him at his most experimental since his mixtape days. He stays true to himself in every way and shows growth and maturity by talking about his personal life and struggles that he has had, all while making it sound incredible. This growth and maturity is always important for any genre of artist, but it seems especially important for hip hop artists.

The album does suffer a little bit from the use of similar concepts, song structures, and beats reminiscent of his last few releases, but this isn’t nearly a big enough problem to warrant a bad final score. Just by listening to this project, you can tell that La Flame really pushed the artistic envelope and truly gave it his all, while also creating tracks that fans of his old work will love too.

I won’t say that Astroworld is an instant classic, but I do believe that it is on the same level as his stellar debut album Rodeo, if not slightly better. Rodeo has stood the test of time and still sounds as quality as the day it released, and I believe that the same will be true for Astroworld. This is an absolutely amazing project and definitely one of the top 3 hip hop releases of 2018.

Final Score: 8.8/10

Image property of Travis Scott/David LaChapelle/Epic Records

The Magic Of Music: Sam Lachow

Sam Lachow is a producer, songwriter, rapper, videographer, director, and editor of video and music.

Raised in both Seattle and New York City he’s been making videos since elementary school, and as a seventh-grader began a group called Shankbone. Sam began directing and producing music videos with Shankbone and went on to create videos for various other artists.

 

Then in 2011, Sam released his debut project as a solo artist, “Brand New Bike”. Produced entirely by Sam, the album utilized many live instruments from musicians based in Seattle and New York. The next year Sam released 2 EP’s and produced/directed dozens of music videos from the projects on his YouTube channel, which now has over 7 million views.

I had an amazing chance to attend his show with Rittz when they rolled through the Complex on November 9th to talk about his successes within his music. Check out the interview below!

First off, how are you doing? 

I’m doing so good, man! We just had a really great show at the Complex. The crowd was amazing – it was fun!

Glad to hear that! Do you like Salt Lake City?

I actually really do! I don’t like the weird laws, but it’s a beautiful place. The crowd’s always turnt up.

What inspired you to get into the rap game?

It started out as a complete hobby! In 6th grade, I started a band called Shankbone – it was me and two other Jewish kids because a shank bone is a Jewish dish! Then people started really liking it and that’s when I realized I was good at it. So I just kept doing it and then I went to college in New York, and at the same time, I knew I wanted to make music for a living.

When you got into rapping, were there any musical instruments that inspired you to do what you do now? 

I’m a drummer! I love live music so in my beats, I try to incorporate live music. But I’m not really good at any instrument, so I hire people that are really good at them and I tell them what I want. I was lucky to go to a high school where there was a great jazz band, so I know a bunch of incredible musicians.

Growing up, which artists did you look up to? 

For rappers, I’m a big flow man – lyrics are great, of course, but I’m into the flow. For example, you can’t write a good drum solo. I would say I look up to Notorious B.I.G. and Andre 3000! I also love Devin the Dude, who’s not as known, but his beats inspire me a lot.

Touring with Rittz, how does it feel? How did you gain the opportunity to join this tour? 

It’s not the most entertaining story, but we found out Rittz was going on tour and he doesn’t have a big following up in the Pacific Northwest, but my following up there is big. So we struck a deal with him that if I went on the tour, we would bring a shit ton of people out to the Pacific Northwest shows. Meanwhile, he has a huge following down here, and we had never met, we just talked online! But we decided to do it! He’s a cool dude though! He’s been in the game for a long time and he’s got amazing stories. I’ve been learning a lot from this tour!

Out of all the songs you produced, which one would you say is your favorite and why?

I go by what I still tolerate and listen to because I’ve heard my songs so many times. I love “Dreams of Gold” though because it’s just really good! I remember making it by a collaborative effort and it was a good time in my life!

If you were to give an aspiring rapper a piece of advice, what would you say to them? 

Make sure that it’s a complete passion! It can’t be something you’re doing because you want to become a famous rapper because that’s one in a billion. You have to do it because you love doing it. I would do it even if I wasn’t making a living for it. It would be something I would do all the time. Don’t think about making a bunch of money because fans can tell if you are making real music or if you’re just trying to be a “rapper”.

What was the most recent TV show that you binge-watched?

Curb Your Enthusiasm! It’s my favorite show! People compare me to Larry David a lot because random shit will annoy me. My dad reminds me of, Larry David!

Give Sam Lachow some love and follow him on all his social outlets!

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Album Review – “Revenge” by XXXtentacion

Travis Scott, Lil Pump, Smokepurrp, Robb Banks, Ugly God. Among others, they are driving a new wave of hip-hop which is characterized by lo-fi bass with aggressive lyrics and vocals. One of the leading names in this sub-genre of lo-fi is rapper XXXTENTACION.

Hailing from Broward County, Florida, he shook the game with his hit single “Look at Me.” For that song, many tried to pigeonhole XXX into being nothing but a lo-fi bass artist. His new release, Revenge, demonstrates otherwise. Revenge features many tracks that were previously released through his SoundCloud, but are now compiled into a commercial release. Songs such as “King” and “Looking for a Star” show quite a contrast to the style we’ve come to expect. Yet, “YuNg BrAtZ” and “RIP Roach” still show that xxx isn’t afraid to go hard.

XXXTENTACION opens Revenge with “Look at Me”, which, to fans, is to be expected. It’s his leading single and works well as an attention-grabber, but also serves as a way to show contrast to the following tracks. The first of which, entitled “I Don’t Wanna Do This Anymore,” immediately shows this opposing sound. It’s still lo-fi, but the autotune shows XXX’s softer side presented in the form of a hybrid garage-style produced 808’s & Heartbreak and cloud rap.

Continuing to throw the listener through hoops, “Looking for a Star” features a distinctly dark yet tropical back beat produced by none other than EDM megastar, Diplo. Auto-tuned as well, but not over the top and cheesy, his vocals fit well with the song and its Jamaican-ish vibes. 

Moving on, we continue with this leaned out, almost lethargic feeling with “Valentine.” XXX almost seems to be taking notes from early Travis Scott or Yung Lean as he channels his inner sadboy and questions whether or not to continue down his current path, or stop everything and become a better person. The answer presents itself quite clearly on “King,” which starts out very similar to the previous track, dark and airy. This, however, does not last. In almost a hat tip towards his punk rock and heavy metal roots, distorted guitars and thundering drums accompany his screams of “HEY! YOU!” coming seemingly out of nowhere and marks a change in tone for the rest of the album.

However, the next track “Slipknot” continues the running theme of XXX wanting to show his audience that he isn’t a one-trick pony when it comes to rapping. Undoubtedly the most lyrical track on the album, it’s definitely his best attempt towards creating an old school hip-hop sound with piano runs and hooks similar to that of UGK and Outkast. XXX is out to prove that he can not only sing and scream, but also spit bars. It’s also the first track on the album to feature other artists, Kin$oul (who’s featured on the track) and Killstation (who sings the end hook).

Revenge returns to the sound of “Look at Me” with “YuNg BrAtZ,” and marks the return of the XXX we’ve come to know and love; Loud, aggressive, and ignorant toward the feelings of others to ultimately bring the album full circle. Not much can be said other than it’s definitely a crowd pleaser meant to whip the audience into a blood-thirsty frenzy.

The last track, “R.I.P Roach,” features fellow Members Only founder $ki Mask, The Slump God who more or less raps over the beat, as opposed to XXXTENTACION‘s hype shouts. Like “Look at Me” and the previous track, it carries XXX’s signature sound of distorted bass and screamed vocals. It also holds our objectively favorite line on the album with XXX essentially calling his haters “rice krispies.”

From top to bottom, Revenge proves that XXXTENTACION is not a one trick pony. As his first major commercial project, the album sets out to demonstrate his versatility and diversity. Only time will tell which direction he will continue, but as far as our opinion goes, we see X continuing his reign of bending genres, generating insane amounts of hype, and blowing out subwoofers worldwide.

SLUG Localized featuring: DJ SkratchMo, Show Me Island, and Rhyme Time

High energy, colorful decorations, and humor follow Rhyme Time wherever he goes. After knowing Rhyme Time personally, and witnessing performances dating back to 2013, I truly see him as a Salt Lake City hip-hop OG. With that said, he is also a very unusual rapper. He’s a middle-aged man with a large afro, extra pounds around the waist, and a most notable appreciation of the unorthodox. This is evident from his 80’s jumpsuit that he wears from time to time, his songs dedicated to a space penguin, and his everlasting love for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

If you aren’t familiar with Rhyme Time, you may remember him from his previous moniker, “Atheist.” Which, if you know anything about Utah, is clearly a bold move. Before you judge his views on religion, I want it known that he has collaborated with fellow rapper, JamesTheMormon, so there is proof that he’s not exclusionary in his music, regardless of his difference in religious opinion. I attended this show to witness Rhyme Time’s latest music, but I enjoyed the two other acts, DJ SkratchMo and Show Me Island, as complementary acts.

Show Me Island is a groovy reggae/ska band with trumpets, drums, guitars, and a powerful female vocalist. I was pleasantly surprised by the funkiness of their sound, as I went into this show with no prior knowledge of their music. Watching them perform alongside Rhyme Time and his House of Lewis crew was a much appreciated 180 from the predictable and expected boombap beats and electronic synthesizers that dominate hip hop. They were an enjoyable band that I would listen to again, but my music tastes don’t align with adding them to my playlists. However, if you are really into ska, I would highly suggest checking them out!

DJ SkratchMo started the show with cutting and spinning records of various genres. In hindsight, I don’t remember any noteworthy jams making me excited for him to be on the decks, but he didn’t make me want to leave, so there’s that. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay as much attention to his time on stage, but I have seen him multiple times and his broad taste in music is extremely valuable for a DJ.

Overall, these SLUG Localized shows are excellent events for music discovery and provide a great way to network within the Salt Lake City music scene. I came for Rhyme Time, and was very happy with the additional performances, even if I wasn’t able to pay the most attention to them. I would highly recommend anyone over 21 to check these shows out for a good time, while still supporting your local music scene!

 

If you’d like to check out Show Me Island you can find them at: showmeisland.com
Both DJ SkratchMo & Rhyme TIme can be found at their collective’s website: http://www.thehouseoflewis.com/the-music/

Blackbear – digital druglord

Let me start by saying that I have never listened to Blackbear before his new album digital druglord released on April 21st. The only reason I even bothered downloading it while I was scrolling through my Spotify’s New Releases section was because I’ve seen him pop up on my Twitter feed a few times because one of our old hosts (shoutout the Based Captin) is pretty into him and retweets him every so often. I can usually trust my fellow Drip hosts tastes in music so I gave him a shot, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

Before we dive into the actual tunes, I need to mention a few things. I love Blackbear’s aesthetic. I don’t usually like it when artists try to be different with their grammar, but the lack of capitalization and the replacing you with the Myspace style ‘u’ works for this. It makes it feel like there’s something missing, like he rushed through it, but his music is also frantic and desperate, so it fits. I’m also a big fan of artists that can tie everything together. One look at his album art and you know what you’re getting yourself into: drugs and sex. He knows who he is and he doesn’t try to hide it, in fact, he almost makes it beautiful. Plus, if you look at the middle pill bottle on the album art, you can see the Utah Healthcare logo, so shoutout Blackbear for representing the best school this side of the Mississippi.

This is an album about addiction and emotion. It’s a roller coaster ride where you experience his ups and downs. He goes from hating his girl and thinking she’s ungrateful to hating himself and believing she’s too good for him. He brags about the drugs he does, then croons about the dangers of his habits. I love that he’s not afraid to show his emotions, his fear, and his straight savagery. He is all over the place. One hook goes, “I would wish you the best, but you already had it,” while on another he sings, “I know you don’t wanna be that girl that’s f*****g what’s his face.” Blackbear also pulls in some key features. Juicy J’s predictable flow completes the song ‘juicy sweatsuits,’ and the songs with 24hrs and Stalking Gia are two of the best on the album. If you’re looking for an R&B style voice similar to Ty Dolla $ign or PARTYNEXTDOOR but with a better flow and darker and deeper content, Blackbear is your guy.

The production on this record also takes some interesting turns. The album begins with a mellow piano beat that quickly transitions to your classic bass and snare heavy hip hop beat on the second track. There are some songs with a more EDM focused beats and others tapping into Drake’s pop style. The majority of the beats are slow and mellow, as his delivery, perfect for cruisin’ in the car or vibing by yourself.

This is a good album, but it’s not without its’ negatives: namely its’ length. At barely 30 minutes long, I don’t really feel like it’s completed. My other major gripe is that at times it starts to sound like a dirtier version of some of The Chainsmokers anthems. Those things aside, it’s definitely worth a listen, especially if you’re trying to get in your feelings.

Blackbear will be in Salt Lake City on June 3rd at The Complex.