Ken Griffey, Jr. was one of my all-time favorite baseball players. In this volume of Quickies, we’ve got some hard-hitting tracks but also some smoothness–just like The Kid. It’s crazy to think that we’ve made it through 30 Quickies to this point. That’s a healthy helping of dope music that you can support in all its forms.
Matt Bird – “It’s Possible”
Featuring Jameel Na’im X and Dot Demo, Matt Bird’s SOTBMusic debut reminds me of something you’d get from Curren$y in production and features. The New York-by-way-of-Miami-and-Baltimore producer’s The Scenic Route EP features a lot of different vibes. Now, “It’s Possible” feels smooth and smoker-friendly while still providing a great deal of lyricism from Jameel Na’im X and Dot Demo. You can check out the parent project below, which features artists such as Skyzoo and Rapper Big Pooh as well.
Lincoln – “Yours Truly”
A mix between Marvin Gaye and Miguel, Lincoln’s “Yours Truly” is equal parts a love letter and a letter to a to-come love. I love the production on “Truly,” because it brings to mind soul ballads of days past, classic film scores and neo-soul at once. Plus, the singing? Man oh man, the singing is beautiful and melancholy with a smidge of mournful as well.
KyEhLay – “arrangements vol. 1”
KyEhLay came across my desk the first time with his Baldwin-sampling “arrangements” last month. He’s back with the full-length projetc, arrangements vol. 1. The album itself is splendid (a word I haven’t used often enough), as it walks the line between teacher and student. KyEhLay offers as many lessons as he does questions and we’re all better for hearing his thoughts. Two tracks that stood out to me were “disappear home” and “pedaled rose.”
“disappear home” speaks on what home means to the artist (and what it can mean for anyone). Home is presented as a method of escape to the past and a place of growth and a method of moving on from that same past. The storytelling ability KyEhLay presents here is nothing short of beautiful, reminiscent of Nas and Blu. “pedaled rose” is more along the lines of a “Beautiful Souls” sort of track, in that it gives roses to his deceased family, even if they can’t physically smell them. It also discusses his cousin who, according to the artist, introduced him to hip-hop. Without that cousin, we may not have gotten such an introspective and educational project from the artist. I love the bluesy production and the hook on “rose,” as it reminds me of a mix between Blu, Cole and Pac.
This is one helluva project, one you should definitely check out. I mean, check all the Quickies out but be sure to peep this one if you’re in the mood for a project that dissects what it’s like to be an artist and a Black man in the 2020s.
Ras Rebel – “Cali Love”
Switching gears a bit, Ras Rebel’s “Cali Love” is an homage to the Dre and Pac song and a love letter in its own right to the Golden State. I like the vibes Rebel gives on this one, because it blends reggae and old-school hip-hop into this mix that’s authentic and unique. This may be one of my favorite interpolations of that classic Pac track because it’s also clean to the point you could also play it around the kids and not worry about them picking up profanities. As a parent, I’m here for that. I mean, sometimes, you want to vibe and don’t want to worry about skipping a song because of its lyrical content.
just_omalley – “Complicated”
This one was submitted to me with an email that said “this is what Drake’d sound like on an MGK album.” Now, I’m not the biggest MGK fan, like at all. No one would ever confuse me as one. That said, if MGK had music like “Complicated,” I’d probably give him a listen here and there. It’s melodic and blends pop-punk and hip-hop in a way that still feels authentic unlike some others in this sub-subgenre. I like omalley’s honesty on this song, as it’s equal parts a song that’s pining for someone and says “maybe I don’t need this person in my life.”
James Bailey – “Airplane Mode”
A smooth West Coast-esque track featuring Trizz, “Airplane Mode” is one of those songs that states that “all that glitters ain’t gold.” It’s also one of those songs that implores its listeners to disconnect from their phones a bit and just reconnect with reality. I’m here for that sort of message. That’s because, believe it or not, I like to disconnect from what it means to be Speed on the Beat more often than not. I usually do that on the weekends and avoid checking my emails, socials, etc. I’ve never gone as far as to put my phone in airplane mode–but I may have to try it one day.
Eva Sita – “Joon”
Eva Sita’s “Joon” reminds me of a mix between “Dance Monkey” from Tones and I and Amy Winehouse. That is, if that combination also made it a point to channel a bit of Rihanna in its mix. In other words, expect a danceable song with a big dose of lyrical deepness. If that sounds like something you need in your life (trust me: it is), check this one out and play it as loud as you can.
Michael Fiya – “HeartBreak Pack”
I first heard of Fiya from his tracks “Coffee in the Morning” and “Slip Away” from the aforementioned HeartBreak Pack. HBP is a five-track EP that deals with–what else–heartbreak and dealing with it in many ways. Between dark reminiscing over the past and moving on from the past at once, the EP features the NYC rapper just speaking his peace. He reminds me of a mix of GKMC Kendrick with a bit of Lupe if that duo rapped about the same things Drake used to. In other words, emotionally-invested breakup-tinged hip-hop with substance. If you’re missing someone, you can either try to get them back or move on and realize that you’re better without them–even if it hurts. The soulfulness in these five songs surpasses some full-length albums.
Lasko and Kestler – “Falling In”
Falling in love can be scary, if we’re being honest. Giving yourself to someone and hoping they feel the same way? Shoot, if I hadn’t experienced it before (or had a severe distrust of people), I’d be afraid of it completely. The duo of Lasko and Kestler discusses that feeling of falling too deep in love with someone a bit too quickly, while things are still being worked out. Sonically, the song isn’t exactly hip-hop but isn’t poppy and sunny either. It resides in a space that reminds me of a darker Twenty One Pilots. It’s an interesting song, for sure.
Ty Robinson – “Sneaky Link”
Now, I’ll be real with you. I hate the idea of sneaky links. I’d prefer to be out in the open with the person I’m being freaky with. I’m old-school like that but I get the concept and why someone may want to sneak around. Life isn’t black and white, especially when it comes to the people you vibe with physically or romantically. That’s what we get here on “Sneaky Link.” The neo-soul vibes of Ty Robinson’s track remind me of a mix between SZA and Chris Brown, in that they’re smooth and poppy with just the right amount of edge. It’s the perfect anthem for those relationships you can’t be open about–even if you’d like to.
If any of the tracks here seem up your alley or what-have-you, check them out and support dope music in all its forms.