Natalie Jean and Levi Moore: “The Letting Go” speaks the language of the ordinary person

A good duet, in our modern age, is a rare thing. There are plenty of features, guest verses and co-writes, and the cameo drop-in is a dime a dozen. The number of genuine duets, where vocalists share verses and tell a story together in the space of a song, is very small. If your optimism fails you, as you wonder whether there are enough great acts to keep hit radio stocked with worthy pop music duets, it’s reassuring to find that Natalie Jean and Levi Moore have a first-rate single to carry us through the next few months, all by itself. The

MAKI: ‘Waking Up With The World On Fire’ – truly majestic — grandiose, slowly unfolding, and extremely cinematic

The world is a fragmented place, with fear and hate giving rise to isolationist movements around the globe and huge portions of the population turning inward rather than outward towards each other. As such waves of bigotry spread like wildfire, the music scene becomes extremely important, not just because it means more great music, but because it connects us all together on a wavelength that hits the human heart, soul and mind even harder, faster and deeper than anger can. A creative constant in the field of communicative contemporary Instrumental music, is MAKI who focuses his ample talents on a

3 Phase – ready for genre domination!

The names Chirag Shah, Prasham Deliwala and Melvin Saldana may in themselves not ring a familiar bell in your ear right now. Probably, neither will the moniker ‘3 Phase’, nor their 6 track self-titled EP. It’s logical, it’s the law of the industry’s hype machine – cast a light on the big label clones, and leave the independent creatives in the shadows. Luckily the internet has a different set of rules.  On hearing the 3 Phase EP, the lofty ambition, the focus and dedication of this creative collective of producers, songwriters and vocal talent, makes sense – its six tracks

Sy: “Get Out Of My Dreams” – grab this R&B and Soul extravaganza

The singer, songwriter and author, Sy, releases a brand new single produced by Rueben Wood. The track “Get Out Of My Dreams” is the first single release written by the artist in 2018, since writing two self-help books, “A Swan Among Ducks” and “Saying Yes to (No): Learning the Power of (No) before the end of 2017. This track soulfully captures the spirit and feel of the emotional journey of grown womanhood. It is juicy, dynamic, soulful, gorgeous, and it is nourishment for the soul…and mind, as it examines the intricacies of a relationship built on want and lust. As

IJK: “Johnny & June” – sounds invigorated!

Alternative rock artist Imad Jack Karam, known by his initials and stage name IJK, is a Dubai-based, Lebanese singer-songwriter, who has released critically acclaimed songs and recorded with internationally known music producers in prestigious London studios. Both his singles “Space Odyssey” and “Dancing Shadows” garnered a positive reception from fans and critics alike. IJK has a style that can move between edgy modern-day alt-rock and sixties rock n’ roll crooning.  He recently published his latest single and supporting, fully animated video, for the song “Johnny & June”. So, how does this new offering cope? Very well, in truth. “Johnny &

TRVP HIPPI3Z: “On Lock” – no lack of muscular skill-flexing!

TRVP HIPPI3Z is a Canadian rap duo who just dropped their latest single entitled, “On Lock”.  Listeners beware. This product has been known to blow up and cause fires in a variety of stereo systems, due to the super-hot fire provided by this crew. TRVP HIPPI3Z is a team-up that has risen as great exemplars of righteous chaos. Their supersonic sound and hard-nosed imagery gives them a mysterious sheen, but the duo have grounded themselves via booming production, and a sonorous verbal presence, coupled with their willingness to fuck you up. Their chest-beating bravado is explosive on “IDGAF (Prod. THZ)”,

Eddy Mann: “Simple Things” will leave you breathless and in a state of euphoria

At first as a musician, I created music, then as an A&R executive I challenged it, now as a music reviewer, I explore it.  Of the three, the latter is the most difficult. Criticizing or appraising somebody else’s creation is no easy task. Enjoying it is one thing, understanding it another, and translating it is even more arduous. The funny thing is, I’ve always hated describing music. It’s such a volatile and subjective art, that nobody should really have the authority or the presumptuous audacity to judge the level of enjoyment or emotion any one piece of music is capable

Kitson Lau: “Be By Your Side” – an expressive paean to love’s transformative powers

Kitson Lau wears many hats – a musician, songwriter, singer and graphic designer, he is also a medical graduate. Initially without any musical background, Kitson became inspired by Norwegian record producer and DJ, Alan Walker. This passion drove him to learn music and song production. And soon, with dedication and focus Kitson Lau hit the top of the China Kanjian ING 10 Charts with his Mandopop albums. Since signing to Sony Music Entertainment Malaysia, Kitson has been encouraged to record English songs, so now he is making his official debut via Sony, with the song “Be By Your Side”, which

Earpiphany: “Ultraviolet Dreams and Other Songs” – multi-faceted emotions

Dan G.Hagerman aka Earpiphany is a songwriter, arranger, composer who writes many genres, including his latest pop-rock offering, “Ultraviolet Dreams”, done with Aubrey Whitfield, a talented female music producer from the U.K. who also does the vocals. The track is taken from the “Ultraviolet Dreams and Other Songs” EP. Dan lives near Los Angeles with his lovely Japanese wife of thirty-five years, Reiko, and his daughter, Holly. “We love Japan, sushi and Huskies!” affirms Hagerman. In any potential mythology built up around the music of Earpiphany on “Ultraviolet Dreams”, Whitfield may represent an irrepressibly sanguine voice and Hagerman the barbed

Emmanuel Dalmas – a natural ear for a good melody!

Emmanuel Dalmas is a multi-genre music composer from the South West of France. A company founder and high level executive in the scientific industry he started composing in late November 2016 as a weekend hobby, and continued feeling an intense growing pleasure in learning more and progressing in music composition. Dalmas has since been consolidating both his craft and catalog, with a series of single releases that move between Pop, Easy Listening, EDM, as well songs in his native French tongue. From his home studio Emmanuel produces instrumental and vocal tracks, engaging talented male and female voices to complete his

King Draper: “1992” – simplistic in its premise but unquestionably real in its execution

You can’t write about underground or independent hip-hop and not write about King Draper. Or at least I seemingly can’t. For the past couple years the man’s been a nearly constant presence in my journalistic exploits. And now, I’m sitting down again to review his latest 11 track project, “1992”.  The King hits me with dope music and I write about it, and I’m more than happy with the arrangement. If you’ve peeped any of King Draper’s projects before, what you get from this project won’t surprise you. Draper with his soulful, jazzy, production and his smart anecdotes detailing tales of life, love and from around the block. All while still reminding you that he’s better than your favorite rapper. King Draper continues his legacy of making consistently dope hip-hop music.

King Draper has always had a talent in storytelling, with his ability to build a plot and give soul to the characters, and these tracks are no different. He is often capable of conveying the seriousness of daily struggles but tells the story in a way the listener understands and still enjoys the track.

Of course it goes without saying that the production soundscapes set the tone perfectly for King Draper to go in. “1992” is quintessential hip hop from its sound to its sentiment and it’s not trying to add anything new or unique to the genre, rather, it’s trying to bring back the shine this genre once had. “1992” reminds one of exactly why hip-hop was so vital in the first place.

From the opening track, “Money Talks” (prod. by KR Beats), the Birmingham, AL rapper lays his skills on the table. It is simplistic in its premise but unquestionably real in its execution, and from there on out King Draper delivers a set of eclectic modern day tracks, which stay steadfast in their ode to the old school ways.

The instrumentals all feature beats that are littered with a slew of soulful sounds that aid King Draper in conveying a range of varying tones and subjects as we jump from track to track. And it doesn’t groovier or smoother than “Charlie Blue” (ft. Vick Jones) (prod. by Omari MC) and “Energy” (ft. Cutt Dogg) (prod. by Black Diamond Music).

King Draper has always had an absolute gift for painting pictures and it makes me so happy to know that he still has the ability to blow my mind with some fresh shit, like “Street Corners” (ft. Pollo Creed and Poet) (prod. by Yondo) and “Lost In Translation” (ft. Judah Morrison) (prod. by Origami).

In-between he still has the time to be fully melodic, as on “Politics” (prod. by Hoodzone), or totally confrontational, as on “Dead Homies” (ft. Damia West) (prod. by Origami). Another one of my favorite things about this acclaimed underground emcee is that all of his stories are so much more relatable than those of his numerous contemporaries and current colleagues. Something he showcases on the easygoing “Long Enough” (prod. by King Draper).

“1992” contains fascinating tales with an ample smattering of character building, setup, and dramatic plot points that will have you hanging on every word. This is exactly what I love to hear from a confident rapper and it offers a timely reminder of just how powerful the art of storytelling in hip hop can be when it’s crafted by a
true artist.

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