Happy Monday everyone! Today’s a special day because, while it’s the anniversary of my mother’s passing, it’s also a day that I’m reclaiming. She wouldn’t want me to be overly sad today. That said, I’m going to dedicate this edition of Quickies to anyone who’s lost a parent or someone important in their lives. This is the Rodney Harrison edition (#37) of Quickies, so we’ll hit hard and we’ll be fly with it. As always, support dope music in all its forms.
Speed on the Beat – “Baka Ga Kirai 2”
I can’t really start this special volume of Quickies without patting myself on the back (for the first time in Quickies). Today, I dropped the first single from my upcoming collaborative album with producer Benji Armstrong. I Guess I Lied, slated for an August 2022 release, is the spiritual successor to No Pain No Gain and Caviar Dreams. Because of that, I wanted to hit people with a booming track. Benji sent beats. I wrote. That’s how we got “BGK2.” I wanted to do a sequel to one of my favorite Caviar Dreams tracks (one that made it known I can’t rock with idiocy of any variety). However, I wanted to update it for 2022 versus just keeping with the same energies from 2020. If you want to hear lyrical raps from your favorite writer/artist over a hard-hitting beat, check this one out and be on the lookout for more I Guess I Lied information on this site in the coming months.
Cullen James – “Pieces of a Kid”
Now that my self-indulgence is out the way, let’s get into some non-SOTB tracks. Cullen James’ “Pieces of a Kid” is a lo-fi masterpiece. Over a minimalistic beat, James discusses the plight of an indie artist. He also deals with some of the mental health concerns indie artists deal with, such as imposter syndrome and mania because of the way certain tracks rise like yeast and others don’t. I loved the honesty on this song, because you don’t often get artists who are so sure of themselves while still dealing with self-consciousness.
Elaquent and Mileena – “Fairy Tales”
Producer Elaquent’s gearing up for his Long Drives to Nowhere project, which is due out mid-June 2022. This is the first single from the project and came together because Elaquent wanted to collaborate with Mileena for a long time. It reminds me of my track with Carter Marie in that regard (because I’d wanted to work with Carter for years after discovering she could sing). I love the neo-soul elements of “Fairy Tales” as they help hammer the lyrics and the vocals home. Life can be sweet, sometimes.
Thomas Tempest and Press1 – “Desire”
London producer Thomas Tempest’s first solo release seems to set the tone for his upcoming album. Featuring fellow UK artist Press1, “Desire” is boombap at its finest. From the cuts to the jazzy beat to the lyricism to the Alan Watts commentary, we get a lot to digest here. We’re mainly given information to break free from what’s holding us back to start living our best lives. The fact that the track is so dense lyrically is the reason why I’m writing about it. It’s a definite headbobber of a track, so you’ll be bobbing along with it like I was if you’re able to open your mind.
Davesocozy and LivTheSpy – “Lush”
“Lush” is another pro-self-improvement sort of track. It focuses on the lush power we all have inside and wants it to come out. I wish this one had another verse, but it serves its purpose to motivate and uplift. If I had to pick a “this sounds like XYZ” sort of comparison, I’d say it sounds like a mix of Willow and Mac Miller, down to the positive energies “Lush” gives out.
DJ Five Venoms, Doobie and Nems – “Coldest”
You want to hear some gritty East Coast rap? DJ Five Venoms’ latest production does this and does it well. Featuring Doobie and Nems, “Coldest” feels like a mix between D Block and Griselda. In other words, the track is lyrically rough and gruff, but still smooth to the point it’ll have you bobbing along to it. Yeah, this is the one you’ll put on when you’re about to get into something grimy and gritty. I love the production and the flows on here take me back to my youth. In short, it’s one helluva track.
Snotty Nose Rez Kids – “Red Sky At Night”
Indigenous rap artists Snotty Nose Rez Kids hit my line with this remix to their “Red Sky at Night” track and…it’s solid AF. It’s more than solid, in fact. That’s because the bars are dope while the beat combines trap, electronica and gritty hip-hop drums. I’d not heard as much from SNRK before this one. However, after hearing this one, I’m intrigued and will definitely be checking out their Life After album, which recently dropped.
Matt Nye – “Alan Arkin”
“Arkin” finds Matt Nye discussing his upbringing and why he’s more of a gangsta like his grandfather than he is like his father. The rapper flows effortlessly over a boombap-inspired beat to talk about his growth as a person because of his family–while still just giving us dope quoteables. Sometimes, you’ve got to stand up and fight for what you believe in.
Louie Blue – “Call U Up”
A smooth alt-R&B song that has a slightly darker hidden meaning, “Call U Up” finds Louie singing about a special someone he wants to keep coming around him. It’s got a distinct 2000s R&B feel to it with some pop elements as well. The visuals add to the somewhat darker meaning of the words. He seems a bit out of place, but he doesn’t care because he’ll do anything to keep in the eyesight of his special someone.
Meggy Katigbak – “Today”
Meggy Katigbak’s “Today” has some Vanessa Carlton elements. No, it’s not just because this song and “A Thousand Miles” are driven by a piano-heavy melody. Instead, it’s a bittersweet song about wanting and needing to move on from a situation and put yourself first. I empathize with this sentiment, more than you may know, so this one hits home. It doesn’t heart that Katigbak’s vocals are crisp and refreshing as well.
Monteazy – “What If?”
I’ve found myself softening my stance against posting autotuned rap. That is, if it’s emotionally-potent enough, I’ll give it a fair shake. Monteazy’s “What If?” is one that does. It talks about the realities of the life he lives while also just hoping for a better day. The autotuned vocals here add to that emotion, kind of like Roddy Ricch or Rod Wave. This one isn’t like your typical street anthem, instead opting for the more emotional side of things.
Anto The Wayward – “I-5”
The I-5 connects the entire West Coast. Naming a song after such a highway automatically makes your track stand out, at least to me. However, the song is more about the journey that comes with self-discovery and growth than a trip up the I-5. We don’t automatically wake up and say “we’re going to live our best lives.” Instead, we go through trials and tribulations and grow because of them. We become our best selves through practice and trial and error. “I-5” has a mellow vibe, one that’s perfect for just cruising around the city. I feel that helps the message hit that much closer to home as well.
Trav B Ryan – “Through the Darkness”
As I started this Quickies volume off by saying “I’m reclaiming March 28th in spite of my mother’s death,” I feel that it’s appropriate to close it out with a song that talks about losing a loved one. Trav lost his father recently due to complications from COVID-19 and his lyrics here? They’re heavy, but light. They’re inspirational and all about overcoming the darkness that comes with losing someone–and becoming that light for others. I love the instrumentation here but also just love the overall message of the track. If you’ve lost someone, give this one a listen and vibe with his growth.
Hope you enjoy listening to these tracks as much as I loved writing about them. Support dope music in all its forms and check these out.