Bruh.. Kane Grocerys

Kane Grocerys has hit us with two tapes this month. The Goth Money rapper released his tape ‘Gothlantistan’ not even a week ago and surprised us again with another in ‘SHYNEBOYZ2K16’ only a couple days later.  This guy wasn’t exactly on my radar prior to these releases, but I was familiar. I’ve been a fan of his collaboration EP with evil, trap rapper AGoff, aptly titled ‘GothMoney SGOD Goons‘, along with multiple loosies littered on his soundcloud. Having released three projects prior and two new EPs back to back, he has solidified himself as a rapper who doesn’t belong in the background.

‘Gothlantistan’ showcases the rapper stomping over heavy production from multiple sources. The tape starts with Grocerys stumbling over a beat that could knock your teeth out that is ‘Hang’ and afterward, we quickly find Grocerys experimenting with his flow. Using a somewhat monotonous flow and inflection , you wonder how far he can carry a tape. He bounces off hard hitting production and even some sticky keys and you see how well the formula can come together on tracks like ‘Wazzam’ and ‘Wana Do’–assisted by OTWG Beats and Oogie Mane. This tape seems crowded and noisy while Kane sounds calm as ever, but I like to think that’s image of ‘Gothlantistan’ that he is trying to portray.

On ‘SHYNEBOYZ2K16’ we find Grocerys glowing a bit brighter with more braggadocios content and the same hard-hitting production. He makes quick work on the 8 track mixtape and begins it over some production that is reminiscent of old New Orleans, Cash Money Era bounce music. The confidence from ‘We Get Paper’ oozes into other verses on tracks “You A Dub” and the more minimalist song ‘F*ck Ya Lifestyle’ featuring another Goth Money associate in Luckaleannn. As Grocerys becomes more conscious of his own success and clout, we find him asking his audience questions like “Who You Tryna Fool” and to point out the haters who are ‘Talkin Down’. Piggybacking on some excellent production, this tape ends almost too soon making the part release an easy and essential listen for any fans of Goth Money, trap rap.

What I loved about 2016 (and hate about the cold)

Winter is my least favorite time of year. I despise the air being cold, the wind stinging my face, the trees without their color, and the fact it gets dark even before 6 pm. Even snow, what used to be associated with glee in hopes I would miss a day of school, now just seems inconvenient. I hold a new appreciation for warmth, comfortability, and the $20 Egyptian cotton towel I purchased last night. With that said, it’s the time of the year where friends and families are brought together and music publications tell us which albums were the best of the year. Well, I’m not here to sing songs about Santa or to rank art with arbitrary numbers, but I do have a list. This list doesn’t compile albums from weakest to strongest or try to summarize the year in music, this is a list of albums that I found especially unique, catchy, entertaining, or comforting throughout my 2016. I wrote this in an attempt to avoid albums I’ve previously discussed and try to highlight ones you may have missed. These aren’t ranked in any way. I just wanted to share some excellent albums that you probably won’t find on other year-end lists.

Levi Carter – Presence of a Lord

In a world filled with Lil’s and Young’s, a name like Levi Carter doesn’t exactly stand out but then you find out he’s signed to Roc Nation at 22 years old after releasing only two projects. He approaches the slow, twinkly production on tracks like “Paid in Full” and “Girl Next Door” with such a relaxed flow it’s like his statements are just floating through the space between your ears. It’s on “Clearview” where he changes pace and shows that under the sparkly synths is a man much darker. The following track “Glass Mirrors” carries some morose lyrics on Carter’s perspective of death and having to play your part as a man. This project doesn’t feature any other artists and displays the ability Carter has to carry songs with catchy hooks, fluid flows, and an excellent ear for production. Surely an artist who will stand out in 2017.

Payroll Giovanni – Big Bossin Vol. 1

Outside of being the smooth operator of Doughboyz Cashout and once being signed to Young Jeezy’s CTE label, he’s dropped two outstanding albums this year. I had a bit more time to chew on this one and found the chemistry between Payroll and Cardo unmatched this year– besides maybe the Knx/Paak collab. Cardo’s smooth, sunny-day production like on “Sell Something” and “Sucka Free” is the perfect contrast to Payroll’s rugged, Detroit-cold flow. Payroll shares stories about the lifestyle of being a hustler in the 313 and the soundscapes behind him make this the perfect audiobook to cruise too, in the sun or snow. Hoping to see a Vol. 2 in 2017.

Kadjha Bonet – The Visitor

I can chuck a whole list of adjectives at you in an attempt to describe how The Visitor sounds, but let’s start with it being an angelic experience. When you think it’s going one direction, the young songstress Kadjha Bonet flips the script adds spice where you least expect it. This album is filled with luscious production all arranged Bonet, herself. “Honeycomb” being the stand out with a voice that sounds like silk over subtle drums and flutes. With all the instrumentation, the album never feels bloated and she never sounds out of place. It ranges from jazz to folk to soul to psychedelia blended with Bonet’s chilling, pure vocals this makes for a comfy, winter album.  

Travis Scott – Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight

I don’t want to say this was rap album of the year, but if I had to pick an album that exceeded all expectations and exemplified everything I liked in the genre, it’d be this one. This album showcases the king of voice modulation doing backstrokes through beautiful, muddy, bionic production to the point you start to wonder if humans were involved at all. What Travis lacks in lyricism and storytelling, he excels in molding into every beat effortlessly, chanting catchy choruses, and orchestrating his features perfectly. I don’t think there was a feature on this project I disliked and this is all coming from someone who was not completely sold on Rodeo.

Westside Gunn – Hitler Wears Hermes 4

I think this album wraps the whole “new york rapper” aesthetic in the coldest, grittiest package. Westside Gunn has been on an impressive streak of releases dropping four studio projects this year. This one is featuring spine shivering keys on tracks like “Nasty” and “5x a Day”, a Combat Jack interlude, and Gunn delivering some heavy bars on weaponry with compelling storytelling. This isn’t music for outsiders; the production focuses more on keys and samples than drums allowing Gunn to flow in an unorthodox manner where on tracks like “The Almighty” it sounds like he could be holding a conversation between just him and I. Gunn’s message is made clear on this album and reveals the icy arsenal behind one of New York’s coldest rappers.

Nao – For All We Know

This was an album that stood out to me immediately upon first listen. The British songwriter’s nasally delivery over the bubbly, synth-dominant production was the combination I never knew I needed. It combines aspects of R&B, funk, and pop to create some groovy soundscapes for Nao to soar above. On this album, we find her expressing her ideas of love on “Happy and “Adore You” and also on unsuccessful relationships like “In the Morning”. This album comes in at a jarring 18 track length, but Nao leaves plenty to be discovered. Pulling in influence from artists like Prince and D’Angelo, this was an electronic album I couldn’t look past.

The Caretaker – Everywhere at the end of time

Leyland James Kirby is an artist with a plethora of side projects and aliases, but I haven’t come across one quite as beautiful as this. As The Caretaker, he uses this project in an exploration of memory loss after 20 years of orchestration under the moniker. This album is only the beginning, stage one, of a six series project. Kirby explains that each album will explore “the progression, loss, and disintegration” of memory loss through music. The music itself is slow, crackly ambient tracks sprinkled with jazz-like instrumentation. It’s been described as “haunted ballroom” music and is perfect music to have you dozing off–if you don’t prefer J. Cole. This was one of the most interesting releases of 2016 and I’m anxiously anticipating the next five installments.

 ⇒ Frank Ocean – Blond

Oh yes, by far, the biggest album/release of 2016. This album knocked everyone on their asses. Frank Ocean flipped his own script and stepped away from the natural, more acoustic sound we saw on “Channel Orange” and stepped into the silent cyberspace we all patiently held him in. With the teaser that was “Endless”, nobody was sure if these were b-sides or a completely different experiment on its own. With “Nikes” being released as a single, the mystery became less shrouded, but people still didn’t know what to expect with the newly experimentation in voice modulation over more atmospheric production, but in the context of the album, it took my breath away to hear his croon after 4 years and a long 3 minutes into the first track. This album enters a realm of psychedelia that was foreign to Frank fans on his first few projects–on tracks like “Solo” he vividly describes events during an acid trip like seeing a bull duel a matador in the clouds. We still get beautiful, acoustic moments like on track “Self Control” where he sings to a lost loved one and features a cute, high-pitched chorus that eventually breaks down into an angelic chant towards the end of the song. It never ceases to amaze me how the music of a homosexual, misunderstood, black male can relate so much to me and kids across all over the internet, but the lyrics “shut the f*ck up, I don’t want your conversation / rolling marijuana, that’s a cheap vacation” from “Nights” will stand out to me forever. This album exposes Frank at his most honest and personal. The world thanks you for this album Frank.

5f06f7f6


In addition to this list, I’ve added a chart that details the most played albums in my iTunes library. This isn’t an accurate representation of all albums played over the course of the year, but it’s another visual that gives you a glimpse into some of the major releases I was into this year

2016-music-collage

#WormWednesday: BASEDGOD EDITION 🌌

Sup worm lovers? I am back with another something for the readers. Please excuse the lack of content on the site, but I have some cool plans coming up in association with this website that should be fun and help keep content churning. So be expecting some interesting stuff in 2017. Anyway, this has been a pretty uninspired week concerning music for me. I didn’t do a whole lot of digging and the major releases we saw weren’t too impressive. It’s weeks like this I find myself listening to the originator of all things swag and music today: Lil’ B the BasedGod.

Let me begin this by saying I cannot fathom the enigma that is Lil’ B, but his influence in this new wave of rappers is evident to anyone keeping up with the genre. I’m sure there have been plenty of think pieces on this guy and if not, then there needs to be more. I’ll try not to delve too much into his appeal, but he’s extremely charismatic and his music sounds unlike anything in the genre. He’s capable of making hilarious, albeit ignorant and slightly obnoxious #bangers that he considers “cooking” music. He can also be a decent spitter and opens up deeply about his thoughts and emotions in a stream of conscious type freestyle we know as “based” freestyles. It’s easy to pull up one of his viral videos on Youtube and think that it’s a proper example of his discography, but that is false. Of course his catalog is littered with some tracks you could consider unlistenable, but if you give his actual releases proper attention, you’d realize he has a lot more to offer. His music is timeless and he was one of the first hip-hop artists to throw out all the rules of rap music and build his own realm that is #BasedWorld.

⇒ Lil’ B – Pink Flame

OKAAY?! The intro starts off with Lil’ B explicitly explaining that if you are not a fan of his music, to just turn the tape off now. And I will admit, this wouldn’t be the best tape to begin with in the labyrinth that is his discography, but it is essential listening for any fan. Some of the production can be very soothing and this tape displays a lot of the appeal of Lil’ B’s aesthetic. With the somewhat groovy, R&B sampled production on this tape, he also has some hilarious ‘cooking’ tracks like “Eat” and “Squirt”. Lil’ B has the capability to spit and he displays that skill often, on tracks “Hood Stories” and “I’m the Bada$$”–where he disses Joey Bada$$. The tape does have its inconsistencies with some pretty awfully repeated hooks, but it’s still more entertaining than most hip-hop releases today, and for the most part, is a pretty solid release in his Flame series of tapes and might even be one of my favorites. My stand out tracks would be Go Under (Remix), Hood Stories, Texas Thug, Takeover, etc.

⇒ Lil’ B – White Flame

Another under-recognized installment of the Flame series, which has to be the most legendary mixtape series of all time and will probably be used as a blueprint for rappers in the foreseeable future. Honestly, the more tapes I listen to, it becomes easier to understand that those who pass Lil’ B off just simply don’t know where to look or start. Lil’ B follows a formula with these two tapes on how he structures his tracklisting–he starts these tapes with the cooking tracks and lets it dissolve into somber, heart felt tracks with some spice sprinkled throughout. This tape displays the pros of both sides; the more braggadocious songs don’t sound as loud and blown out while keeping the slower tracks focused and constructed. He even raps over Prince and The Black-Eyed Peas’ tracks. OUTSTANDING! The stand out tracks for me are Neva Switch, Tank of Propaine, BasedGod’s My Name, Les Miserabel, etc.

Link to his entire discography here thanks to Datpizz.