Hip-Hop

Artist: 
Esham
Label: 
Reel Life Productions

After what can only called "minimal research" on who Esham is and what he's about, I can say with confidence that he is definitely on that grind. Esham has consistently dropped at least 1 album a year for the last 20, and he's gotten a pretty decent fan following. This year, in lieu of his upcoming album "Scribble", Esham dropped the first single off of it called "Trust No One".

Sounds Like: 
Bernie Mac
Sounds Like: 
Shaggy
Name: 
Jacob Sky Bruse
Date Reviewed: 
03/08/2017
Artist: 
DJ Khaled ft. Beyoncé & Jay Z
Label: 
Epic

Appropriately released following the 2017 Grammy Awards, DJ Khaled surprised fans with a brand new track off his upcoming album...with fucking Beyoncé AND Jay Z. Despite speculation of a split between the couple and the fact that they haven't collaborated together since 2013, Khaled managed to get Bey and Jay to snatch us all with "Shining", a track about winning and prospering. 

Sounds Like: 
DJ Khaled
Sounds Like: 
Beyoncé
Sounds Like: 
Jay Z
Name: 
Roy Santa Cruz
Date Reviewed: 
03/08/2017
Artist: 
BJ the Chicago Kid
Label: 
Motown

Bryan Sledge, professionally known as BJ the Chicago Kid, is honestly a very underrated artist. Although most people have probaby heard him on other artists' songs (Studio by ScHoolboy Q and F.U.B.U. by Solange are examples that come to mind), his own music deserves more recognition. A good mixture of soul and modern hip-hop beats, BJ the Chicago Kid has released a new single called "Roses", a little over a year after the release of his second album In My Mind.

Sounds Like: 
Miguel
Sounds Like: 
The-Dream
Sounds Like: 
Kehlani
Name: 
Roy Santa Cruz
Date Reviewed: 
03/08/2017
Artist: 
Murs
Label: 
Strange Music Inc.

The biggest peeve I have with rap music is when I can't understand the lyrics, or when there isn't a lot of "music" in the song...

But this song has nothing peevish about it! I was already hooked when I heard the first few seconds of the song--it has a similar sound to Wiz Khalifa and 2 Chainz "We Own It"-- a little piano intro with a boom-boom- pow beat.

Sounds Like: 
Lupe Fiasco
Sounds Like: 
Macklemore
Sounds Like: 
Aesop Rock
Name: 
Hibah Ilyas
Date Reviewed: 
03/07/2017
Artist: 
Calvin Harris ft. Frank Ocean & Migos
Label: 
Slide

New music from Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean, and Migos has everyone in a frenzy. While Calvin Harris puts out new music quite often this song is one of the more catchy and pop-y songs I've heard in awhile. I love this song for Frank Ocean, and its great to hear new music from him before a 6 year hiatus. If Ocean keeps this up all his fans will be very happy because Calvin Harris and Frank Ocean work very well together. Now, I have never heard Migos (I know, that's a problem - I'll fix it) before this but I really enjoyed their contribution to this song.

Sounds Like: 
Frank Ocean & Migos
Name: 
Alexis Walker
Date Reviewed: 
03/06/2017
Artist: 
Jalen Santoy
Label: 
2016 Ventwood Entertainment / EMPIRE

Jalen Santoy’s debut album, Charlie Eastern includes 7 tracks that show us who he really is. The album features his hit track, “Foreplay” which samples the great oldie track, “Sunny” by Stanley Turrentine. This track struck me because I am a lover of oldies and he sampled the track in the most dope, jazzy way. This is also the only clean track off the album. Santoy does not feature any other vocals on the album except his own, but received help from various artists to create the beats and album.

Sounds Like: 
J. Cole
Name: 
Alessandra Posada
Date Reviewed: 
02/28/2017
Artist: 
Mila J
Label: 
Self-released

        "MILAULONGTIME" is Mila J's 7-track Valentines Day mixtape. Although it's a Valentines drop, the songs are pretty diverse in moods. The opening track MOVE is a trap banger with that 'fuck the haters' type of vibe. FUCKBOY is a funky r&b song, probably holds the record for r&b song with the most f-bombs. YESTERDAY is a trap ballad featuring I.Rich.

Sounds Like: 
Kehlani
Sounds Like: 
Jhene Aiko
Name: 
Brieana Sealy
Date Reviewed: 
02/22/2017
Artist: 
Young Dolph
Label: 
Paper Route Empire

Adolph "Young Dolph" Thorton released his new mixtape "Gelato" the day after releasing Play Wit Yo Bitch, a Yo Gotti diss track. The 11-track mixtape begins with title track Gelato and ends with the You Gotti diss track. The features on this record blend well with Young Dolph's trap style. Wiz Khalifa is featured on On the River.

Sounds Like: 
Migos
Sounds Like: 
Yo Gotti
Name: 
Brieana Sealy
Date Reviewed: 
02/22/2017
Artist: 
Sampha
Label: 
Young Turks

You have may have heard him on his collaborations with Drake's Nothing Was the Same, or on the last track "Saint Pablo" off of Kanye West's excellent The Life of Pablo, or even more recently on "Don't Touch My Hair" by Solange. Sampha Sisay's (simply known as Sampha) has been widely recognized by an array up popular artists, and has been floating around the R&B spectrum of music since 2010, releasing two excellent EP's and a few promotional singles within that period of time.

Sounds Like: 
FKA twigs
Sounds Like: 
James Blake
Sounds Like: 
Solange
Name: 
Roy Santa Cruz
Date Reviewed: 
02/22/2017
Artist: 
Komplex Kai
Label: 
KK Entertainment LLC

Komplex Kai's "Do Right" is an album that goes harder than I expected. If you dig classic hype jams like DMX and hooks that you can chant along to, then this album is the right fit for you. "On The Map" really emphasizes how he's from the Northwest. While the song is repetitive and doesn't really have any shifts, the hook of the song is pretty good and it's easy to get the words right. However, the constant beep led to my boyfriend and I joking about how it sounded like a microwave that wouldn't stop going off.

Sounds Like: 
Knowmads - Similar rap style as Wilson