A word of caution: if I’m drinking rum around you, and you give a damn about me, check on me. I’m probably not okay if I’m drinking rum (or vodka, truthfully). Tequila, yeah, I’m fine. That just makes demon time come about. But eff it, we ball. So because of that, all I can do is keep pushing and present volume 53 of Quickies.
Louie Tha Profit – “Back to the Streets”
I like that this one’s a throwback sort of sound, kind of like a mix between Kanye’s lyrics and 50’s beat selection and street sensibilities. In other words, it sounds like those mid-2000s loverman raps that were popular before Drake came up and made everything sadboi love songs.
EUCYX and Renzo – “Brat”
I like women with a bit of a bratty side to them, honestly. Why? Well, brats are real and blunt with what they want and know how to get it. I respect that, in some people. Others, who I’ve had weird relationships with, can get the eff on. But if I love you and you have some bratty tendencies, we can gel together. “Brat” is a sexy song about, well, that sort of relationship. A little toxic, a tad spicy and a healthy dose of brattiness never hurt anyone…I think.
Morgana – “Knots”
Another song about toxicity (except not in a playful way), “Knots” is one of those songs that makes you feel all of the emotions. You’re hopeful Morgana breaks free from the negativity, you’re pensive hearing her describe how the love’s gone from her relationship and you’re sad because the story is one that could easily be any one of our own.
Prime Panda – “Almost”
A song about realizing one’s self-worth, “Almost” hits a bit closer to home for me today. Not because of any romantic relationships, but because I’ve struggled with knowing my worth in some avenues. Sure, it’s not the same outright, but there is still that :love you give” that isn’t given back in some of these situations. It makes things hard, for you and for people who know you and how you operate. Eventually, you’ve got to push free and say “no more.”
The Neverending Mixtape –Amor Fati
Taken influence from the Latin phrase meaning that everything is necessary in one’s life, even pain and suffering, The Neverending Mixtape’s album incorporates that feeling into a wide variety of songs, featuring an eclectic mix of artists. From Quelle Chris and !kylkenny! on “Fame God,” a song about how fame can “take a toll on someone’s soul” (and the guilt associated with death by overdose, especially when it’s a friend) to the song “Point Blank” to their collaboration with Mr. Motherfuckin’ eXquire, the album is a dope listen and tells a story of how we sometimes sacrifice so much for a fleeting sense of a win–and questions if it’s all worth it without giving a definitive concrete answer. Instead, we’re left to wonder how all the elements discussed on the project have played into making the group successful and whether they can truly be happy with said wins.
Trece Vee and Jesse Rack$on – “Jodeci”
I’m choosing to highlight this song because it’s got a sort of Griselda-meets-D-Block feel to it. That’s to say, it’s that gruff street ish but smooth AF on the production. Sonically, this one also reminds me of Blu and Exile in the sense that the production seems custom-made for the bars and subject matter, down to the chops utilized on the sample.
iamjakebars – “Pressure”
I like this song because, like a diamond in the rough, it puts pressure on itself and ends up being one helluva song. Plus, I’m always fans of underdogs making it by any means–as long as the music’s solid and I can relate to it in some way, shape or form. jake’s bars (pun unintended) here are solid and uplifting, just like you’d expect them to be. They’re also detailing in their discussions on depression and self-doubt, so you know I’m here for that!
Marlon McClain – “It’s a Gift”
After the week I’ve had, I needed this song in my playlist because, truth be told, I thought some dark thoughts over this past weekend. However, I just kept thinking about my friends, my kids and those whom I consider family and I kept pushing. That’s the vibe that Marlon McClain’s “It’s a Gift” is on: life is a gift, even when it sometimes goes left. I truly needed to hear that this weekend. I love McClain’s vocals, but also love the instrumentation on this one; it reminds me of some neo-soul mixed with ’70s retro-soul. It’s a beautiful track that confirms what many of us know but still need to hear: life’s worth living, even when it looks crazy from the outside.
Raw Soul – “Shine”
A sound that sounds a bit like 90s hip-hop, Raw Soul’s “Shine” is a loosie that should find its way onto an album. It’s a track which finds the Vancouver rhymesayer masterfully spitting out his soul and just getting across the simple fact that he’s here for a long time. Sonically, it kind of reminds me of a Nas track in terms of the storytelling and the way he throws in punchlines.
Past Casual – “Breathe”
For a first-released song, “Breathe” has the confidence, swagger and sound of a group that’s been around for a while. The Lincoln, Nebraska group’s sound is like “if Amy Winehouse had the backing of The Roots.” At least, that’s the vibe that I personally get from “Breathe,” down to the lead singer’s vocals. If you want your neo-soul with a jam-band-friendly twist, I think that you’ll love “Breathe.” It’s the perfect mix of sweet, tangy and soulful.
Sabor Gandaya – “Tarde”
I tend to decline songs that are mostly in other languages. It’s not because I’m ignorant, it’s just that I know that a good majority of my readership is predominately English-speaking. That said, I had to post about “Tarde,” if only because the story is engaging. While my days of being a fluent Spanish speaker are (unfortunately) behind me, the story of “Tarde” (a track about a boy who’s dealing with a single parent household) is one that I empathize with. Plus, sonically, the song makes you pay attention. Sometimes, you don’t need everything spelled out for you–especially if it’s a song like this.
Rico James, M-Dot, Double AB and Copywrite – “Gold Medal Sh*t”
“This is gold medal shit, it’s an honor when I put it on ya,” the chorus to this one goes. And truthfully? It’s like one of those late-2010s gritty rap tracks with a menacing beat to match. So, the chorus doesn’t lie. The verses are also pretty solid from a lyrics standpoint, a lot of punchlines but also a lot of different rhyme schemes within the track. I love the gruffness of the flows here; nothing’s pretty or tied up in a nice little bow. Instead, we’re given hard-ass lyrics that set up Rico James’ Language of Spirits project that’s due out June 24.
Ceyeo – “Summer Love”
What do you get when you mix 1920s blues, 2010s hip-hop and a bunch of other influences? I didn’t know either until I heard the Ma Rainey-sampling “Summer Love” from Ceyeo. You can tell that, not only did this young artist have fun on this one, they also know their music history. Ceyeo wanted to create something that was contemporary but still had a vintage feel to it. I think he accomplished that and then some on “Summer Love.” It reminds me of summers in Baltimore: hot and sticky, but still fun and airy.
Juste the DJ and A–hole in Gold – “Comfort”
I never thought I’d be a fan of someone named “Asshole in Gold.” Then again, I did use to run a series on SOTB called “Profound Assholes,” so I’m not that surprised. With that aside, Salisbury-to-Minneapolis artist Juste the DJ’s self-produced sultry R&B song “Comfort” is one of those songs where seeing is believing. Asshole in Gold reminds me a bit of Andre 3000 and Juste reminds me of Khalid and Giveon with a bit of Tank. The production reminds me of a mix between Dilla’s trippy boombap and London on da Track’s mainstream sensibilities. In other words, it’s a helluva trip.
Be sure to support these artists and support dope music in all its forms.