In the Adrian Beltre volume of Quickies, we’ve got some (as usual) great tracks. Like Beltre, they’re powerful but also svelte with their approaches to the topics they’re handling. If you’re here for bombastic tracks that still manage to delicately handle subject matter, check these out below and support dope music in all its forms.
Rokko Ca$h – “Water Feels Fine”
On “Water Feels Fine,” Rokko Ca$h channels a mix between Anderson.Paak with his melodic raps and Gorillaz with the genre-blending and genre-bending. The song itself is aesthetically pleasing and sounds a bit otherworldly in its smoothness. This is all while the track spends ample time discussing some real-life issues and a bit of darkness at the same time. I like the jazzy instrumentation here, as it allows Rokko to sing-rap quite well.
Vocab Slick – “Right Now”
Slick calls this one an “anthem for motivation [and] a call to look for and accept opportunity when it presents itself.” That’s definitely there in spades. There’s something else there as well: a hip-hop-based roadmap for prospering in life. Over a organ-heavy beat, Slick raps realness and opens up on his own path to prosperity. Check it out. “Right Now” appears on Vocab’s LANGUAGE project, which I had the chance to check out after “Right Now.” The album continues some of the vibes here, but also tries to showcase who Vocab is as an artist and who he wants to be.
Deleteeglitch x Lungs – “Big Ole Burt”
Tampa’s Deleteeglitch has bars, that much is for sure. On “Big Ole Burt,” the young rhymesayer proceeds to rip this beat apart while also showing who he is and what he needs to make it in this world. Seemingly, all he needs is, like Vocab Slick, an opportunity and a pen and he’ll make the best out of any situation. “BOB” appears on Deleteeglitch’s Whispers from the Wayside LP (linked below). If you’re in the mood for wonderama shit with a young man without a conglomerate, this project is for you.
Dre A.M. – “Not a Hobby”
As a person who makes a bit of my revenue from music (and writing about music), I feel this one in the very pit of my soul. Dre A.M.’s “Not a Hobby” is one of those tracks that says forget your expectations, I’m here to make noise. Dre’s also got bars for days on this song, a “defiant response” to those who say music is just a hobby or a side gig. If it was, a lot of the artists I featured wouldn’t be that well off. Instead, we’re all out here doing it for the love of music, not just the love of money.
Caid Jones – “For the Game”
Caid Jones is a lyrically-sound rapper who’s also a First Nations artist who keeps his lyrics relatively clean. I like “For the Game” because it’s rough and tough in its production, smooth in its flow (Jones sounds a bit like Cole) and lyrical to the point where you’re given a song that presents Caid’s lyrics as gritty but also realistic AF. It’s also a song that brings old-school vibes and new-school lyricism to show why Jones is an artist you should keep your eyes and ears tuned in on.
Will Mallard x Matty Owens – “flowers”
Want some boombap that sounds a bit like Dilla and ATCQ mixed with The Cool Kids? Yeah, this one’s for you. “flowers” is one of Mallard’s tracks from his Duck’d Tape project. If it sounds anything like this, I’m here for it because the beat’s fire and the bars are just as flame emojis. I only wish that we got one more verse from Matty on this one because as soon as it hit its stride, it was over. Then again, it’s better to have a taste of good vibes versus not having any at all.
Tone D x Bolder Biggs – “Therapy”
We’ve all seen or been around toxic relationships, even if we’ve never been in them personally. “Therapy” is one of those songs that details toxicity that keeps the artists coming back–even though they need therapy to deal with the craziness of the whole shebang. Over a smooth 2000s-era R&B/rap beat, the duo discuss what they want to do in terms of ending the relationship–and what they’re actually doing because of the toxicity. “Therapy” should be appearing on DSPs shortly, but I’ve got the preview of the song below.
Lu Bennett x Carl C Beats – “Kindred”
Blood is thicker than water–except when that water helps you stay afloat. The idea that our family isn’t always of the biological variety permeates through Lu Bennett’s latest. Bennett states that we should treat everyone as family and we’ll be better for it. He’s also preaching his own philosophies as he seems to present the idea that Heaven on Earth is a feasible thing, one that God designed us to be able to replicate on our own.
Darien Christopher x PAP! – “Restown Freestyle”
DMV producer PAP! recruits Darien Christopher for a soulful trip through Christopher’s hometown. The song is perfect for discussing the trials and tribulations Christopher’s been through while also being a track that lets him rap and just let his soul be bare here while stating he’s one of the best out of the region, even if some haven’t heard of him as much. I love the production here from the DMV-residing, Cali-born producer because it’s chill but boombappy enough that Christopher can just rip it easily. It reminds me of a Dilla beat in the best way possible.
Slitty – “Art1st”
Slitty’s “Art1st” (or “art first”) is a song dedicated to people who do this music thing full-time (and the ones who make a few dollars out of it because they’re in love with the art of it all). The trap-esque beat allows Slitty to just coast on it while also dropping knowledge about the life and times of an indie artist. It reminds me a bit of a Joyner Lucas beat in a good way. “Through pain and sacrifice,” Slitty states, the indie artist who really puts art first is able to make it out of the negatives, make it out of the struggle.
LaRue – “Grey Skies”
Over a jazz-rap beat, Seattle-based LaRue channels Mac Miller and a bit of Tribe. What we get is a track that’s about keeping sanity while also expressing oneself as an artist. I’m here for this, specifically because of the way LaRue floats on the beat, as it reminds me of a young Mac (think KIDS-era Mac where he would hop on boombappy-like beats and just coast, finding his groove as soon as the first kick hit). LaRue also reminds me a bit of C.Shreve in his approach, since they both love the art behind hip-hop, not just what it could give them.