It’s Monday, you know what that means. After dealing with a lot on a personal level, I’m here with a clearer head and some new Quickies. Sometimes, you need to go through hell to achieve a slice of heaven, I’ve learned.
Kimmer Horsen – “Dreamcatcher”
The first thing that grabbed my attention on this song is that Horsen gives Sade vibes in her vocals and the instrumentation as well. The lyrics also remind me pleasantly of something I’d hear from Sade. Those are all pluses to me, because Sade’s in my top five of artists of all-time. Horsen’s lyrics deal with an ancestral force presenting themselves in her dreams. I love this one because it gives me a look into other practices and beliefs, as Horsen’s an indigenous Native American artist (one of the first I’ve had the pleasure to cover on SOTB). The Hawaii-residing artist’s command of her lyrics and her vocals take ahold of you as her smooth and powerful voice washes over you, presenting a bit of a respite from what we typically deal with–musically and otherwise. If you need beautiful R&B with a message, this one’s for you and your ears.
Criss Jrumz and Fred The Godson – “So Much on My Mind”
When Fred The Godson passed in 2020, I was hit by his death more than you’d expect, considering we never met each other. That was mainly because he was one of the first people who hit me up on (Rap)Genius. In fact, that’s where I found the New York artist. His feature on Criss Jrumz’ “So Much on My Mind” is typical Fred lyricism. There’s also a sort of “as long as people don’t forget me, I’ll live forever” vibe within this one, as it’s a timeless sort of song. Plus, the song slaps, beat-wise and lyrically. On top of that, the video has that distinct “real NYC” feel to it. This was slated to appear on Jrumz’ next project, so I’m glad it finally saw the light of day. The song is awesome, gritty and hard-hitting, albeit a bit bittersweet.
Sorce Manifesto – “Audio Alchemy”
Taking influence from Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist book, Canadian rapper Sorce Manifesto’s “Audio Alchemy” takes the idea of alchemy and puts it to wax. The beauty of this one is that the track was recorded live in one take. In other words, it really comes off like a freestyle. Lyrically, Sorce’s bars are top-tier, effortlessly throwing out multis over the jazzy beat. The visuals are just as laidback-but-hard-hitting, as they find him creating the song in his home studio. Individuality and defining one’s self-worth seem to also be important parts of this song and its visuals, as they both focus more on Sorce’s creation process.
THT Cyrus – “Finally Free”
Over a gospel-esque sample, THT Cyrus’s “Finally Free” is an introspective track about those coming home from prison. We have a focus on how their lives have changed between the time they went in and came out. Lyrically, Cyrus reminds me of a mix between Nip and Cole. That’s because he’s got that street storytelling thing going for him, His lyrics are impressive, but also vivid enough to the point you can visualize everything he’s putting down. We don’t often get as many songs about the other side of prison life (the years after one’s released), so I appreciate this one that much more because of its approach.
Tommy Danger – “Goals”
Over an old-school-esque beat, Tommy Danger raps about goal-setting versus getting rich quick, stating that building towards the future is better than getting a few bucks in the present. That’s especially if those few bucks come at the cost of your freedom or sanity. The Harlem native’s flow has an elder statesman sort of feel to it as well. That helps the bars hit harder because he doesn’t sound like he’s just saying things just because they sound nice on wax. I do wish that this one had another few bars to it, to round out the idea. However, the beat’s smooth and jazzy enough that you’re okay with letting it ride for a few seconds more.
BusyBars and The Supervisor – “Straight to the Gut”
Boston rapper BusyBars and his feature, The Supervisor, take us back to the gritty boombap days on this one. However, the lyricism and subject matter is evergreen. I’m a huge fan of the visuals, as they feature some vivid imagery, most of which tied to hip-hop and the message of the song (that we can’t just accept the BS we’re given and have to revolt against it every chance we get). The song’s booming and the beat’s also hard-hitting. Overall, this one is what I needed in my earholes today like everything else I’ve featured in this volume of Quickies.
HS of DAR Elite – “Hands Up High”
I’m a bit late on this one, considering that it’s from the team. However, I’ve been playing “Hands Up High” since it dropped. It’s one of those “forget politics and stressful BS and just enjoy life for a bit” sort of tracks. It’s a bit different than what we typically get from rapping True, as it’s a bit less-concerned with the sociopolitical landscape of the country and just wants you to feel good and enjoy the fact that you’re alive now. I love when DAR strays from the typical path(s); heck, it’s how we got a few albums’ worth of sexy slow jams.. Sonically, it’s got that gritty-but-classy feel that DAR Elite has come to be known for, while True and Apollo rap some of the most-fire bars I’ve heard from them (this year). I wish there was a third verse, but the beat is one of those ones that’ll keep you bobbing your head hard.
Aquakultre – “I Doubt It (Tape Notes Remix)”
I like this one, plain and simple. The reasoning why I like this one is also plain and simple. It sounds like something you’d hear from Silk Sonic, but also like a mix between James Brown and Anderson.Paak. It’s got some pretty deep double entendres and the production is funky and jazzy, like the song itself was originally part of a 1960s/1970s project. I like this version when compared to the slightly-more-subdued original version because it adds that extra oomph. That’s saying a lot because the original is also a pretty solid track as well, featuring on Aquakultre’s Legacy album.
Tony Loud Woodz – WTHIT
This is kind of a Quickies cheat code, so be forewarned.
Tony Loud Woodz hit my line about two weeks ago with his song “Paradise.” While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the song, I thought the video was trippy and engaging enough that I wanted to hear more from him. His latest project, WTHIT (or What the Hell is This?), is like a mix between Chance the Rapper’s greatest hits, Meek Mill’s attacking of the beat and ODB’s in-your-face flow–and subject matter.
Overall, it’s one of those projects that’s trippy and all-over-the-damn-place…but that’s what kept me intrigued with the project proper. From the punny-and-funny “Barista” to the it’s-grown-on-me “Paradise” to the somewhat abstract “Swerving,” TLW knows how to make engaging music. It’s kind of unlike most of what I’ve heard from Philly rap, mainly because of the energy and damn-near insanity Tony gives us on the flow. However, it reminds me that Philly is diverse as hell because the man can spit his butt off while also giving us mainstream-friendly bars that still sound unique.
I think my favorite song on this one is “Swerving” because it’s abrasive AF while also having some rapid-fire bars and funny punchlines. This brother, to me, has a bright future ahead of him. That’s because he gives zero effs who he irks and knows what he wants to accomplish from music and the like. One last thing about this album is that it’s long (track-wise) but short (length-wise) as it clocks in at under an hour for its 20 tracks.
Zoser – “It Is What It Is”
Who’s been in this situation: choosing between that last something-or-other or trying to get those extra dollars in your pocket? The pop-R&B-meets-alt-rap track reminds me a bit of something you’d hear from Mac. I love the introspection he gives us here, opting to discuss ways to keep the money versus turning it into a bunch of purchases. This is the B-side of his first release of 2022 (the A-Side is the equally-impressive “Ain’t Basic”) and feels like it’s setting Zoser up for a beautifully-blunt 2022 full of (hopefully) nothing but blazing highs.
Da Capo and Mikyla Cara – “How Many Times”
Mikyla Cara’s vocals are a mix between, for me, Carter Marie and Alessia Cara (though I’m pretty sure there’s no relation). She’s got a soulfulness to her voice that seems wiser than her years. She also kind of reminds me a bit of NAO with her delivery. The song is about dealing with slipups in life and asks a simple but poignant question: how many times will things go left before they go right? We’ve all been in that situation, wondering where the light at the end of the tunnel is. Mikyla’s vocals put it just within reach–as long as we don’t go back down the same path we went down so many times before.
Burrowthemage – “SKRRRTT”
This one combines JPEGMAFIA’s alt-rap approach with production that’d feel at home on an early OF album. Lyrically, the brother’s rapping is butt off as well as being abstract. In other words, it’s hip-hop that’s right up my alley. The song itself feels like acid rap along the lines of, well, Acid Rap. It’s trippy, abstract, sublime and lyrically sound. You want some fire alternative vibes for your week? I think this one works pretty well. I like the production on this as well, as it seems to mark the first time Burrow has linked with indie producer Hidden Dragon. Hopefully, this isn’t the last time we hear from this duo because their chemistry here is undeniable.
Check these songs out and support dope music in all its forms. I’ll be back tomorrow with more SOTBMusic–and Friday for another Quickies volume.