Umbra Hits a Triple Play

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One of the hardest working producers in Tulsa’s local music scene just shared two, new tracks after just recently releasing a collaborative instrumental with Yung Welch in “Out the Way”. The first track is another collaboration with the young prodigy Yung Welch, but “Penthouse” features CountryBoyJuug on vocals sounding catchy as ever over a palette suited perfectly for his brush. The track then takes a quick turn through a codeine waterfall and becomes slow & sparse while CountryBoy continues to rhyme about designer denim and Bentley dreams. These artists are really starting to come into their own style and it’s fascinating to see what these collaborations can bring.

Only shortly after uploading “Penthouse”, Umbra decides to release another track in honor of the passing of the extraordinary Amy Winehouse. “Understand” is a rework of Winehouse’s track “I Heard Love Is Blind” and features a cozy drum pattern and chops of acoustic guitars behind a silky voice and provides a lovely contrast to the many styles and influences behind the motivated producer. I am a huge fan of both tracks and would encourage anyone to listen to them both.



Nolanberollin (AKA “Yung Life Alert” of GAPAHOLICS) is from Virginia, and is more commonly referred to as the “Pharmacist”. By solidifying his image as an anime-loving, car enthusiast, glock carrying, bean supplying –  he has internally connected himself with culture-identifying fans. Through a movement I will now refer to as the “Beanman Complex”, Nolan has shifted expectations of rap music, through self-directing his own media presence and creating a rap genre unlike any other, incorporating his deep toned, nasally voice with self made beats that are eerie and resonate within like no lex luger beat you’ve ever heard.

Aquarium, I got fishscale

I’ma send a letter, blackmail (I’m a nigga!)

All white bricks, my crib’s a igloo

Call me library, cause’ your shit’s overdue


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What’s up, guys? Sorry for the lack of hip-hop content on the site, I think I’ve mentioned this before but I’m working on making my own videos for this as opposed to continuing writing articles. In the meantime, check out my twitter where I’ve been much more active along with the podcast I co-host where we just wrapped up our eighth episode on exotic beer from Belgium and Quebec and Dalton attempts to slide into DM’s.

Shoutout to CRUWELF for the dope t-shirt, as well

I love rap music.

I do, I really do. There are some days where I need a taste of something different and there are others where it seems like there is too much hip-hop to listen to. There have already been plenty of good releases this year: Roc Marciano released my favorite rap album so far, the Future albums weren’t his best cup of tea, but I am team #hndrxx and Syd and Kehlani have also dropped some damn near impeccable albums. But the reason for my resurgence in rap music lately must be owed to SOB x RBE and OMB Peezy.

SOB x RBE is a group from Sacramento consisting of Yhung T.O, Lul G, Da Boi, and Slimmy B. These guys are making some extremely catchy rap music that doesn’t compromise any part of their lifestyle or authenticity. Yhung T.O is the stand out artist because he is the only one who sings and he sings WELL. Every time he graces a track, his croons are my favorite part. The rapping from the rest of them is incredibly solid and they fit every type production they’re on. They just released a full-length album after many of their singles have BLOWN UP on Youtube, check some of them out below.

Another guy who is on the verge to blow is OMB Peezy. This guy is from Alabama and is currently making some of the grimiest rap out there. Often compared to Boosie for his voice and flow, with less shriek. Even like a Kodak Black with a more traditional flow who can carry a cadence through each song. His Louisiana influence over Bay Area production meshes perfectly and it’s amazing how well he’s able to hold an entire song. He’s much more of a lyricist and depicts the harsh reality around him and his “Lay Down” reminds me a little of 3 Problems’ track “Lay Low” if you haven’t heard that either. The second verse on “Lay Down” is absolutely outstanding when his flow kicks in. It shouldn’t be too long until everyone is on to these guys.

Forging Albums and Mixtapes?


It’s pretty easy to open up soundcloud, scroll through your feed consisting of low key super stars and maybe somewhat questionable rap experiments. But what is never easy is waiting and anticipating your favorite artist to release a project of quality tunes. Especially if the anticipation is more exciting than the end product. So despite having to wait for the artists’, I decided to compile their singles, loosies, etc. that have already been uploaded into makeshift projects.The artists mentioned have nothing to do with these projects and a downside of using soundcloud to do this is that the tracks could be removed at anytime as I have no ownership of the songs used or the accounts they are sourced from. This really isnt anything new or mind blowing, but it’s fun and an it’s opportunity to write and show you guys some new music. Below I’ve listed some of the ones I’ve already made containing some incredible hip-hop acts I’ve been following.


Stacy Money has been one of my favorites rappers for a MINUTE. The first post on this site was about this guy and he hasn’t lost consistency, yet. I’ve told many friends and peers that he has the most beautiful harmonies in rap music, today. While sounding so elegant on muddy tracks, his lyrics and content stay somewhat gully. As his name implies, he mostly is all about money and the extravagant possessions it brings. Listen to some of the prettiest rap music below:

Lil Xan & Lil Tweak – Check My Pulse

As much as I bag on white rappers, it’s nice to find some guys still trying to carry the torch. Ever since Eminem’s candle has diminished, rap fans are looking for someone to reignite the fire. In no way can these guys run that race. BUT, they do both make catchy music. Lil Xan almost sounds like a derivative of Lucki, but with better croons, relies more on flow, and utilizes voice modulation. Lil Tweak however brings an energy and presence to the mic while chanting behind auto tuned hooks and verses. Both these guys have a heavy drug influence and it bleeds into their music.

Warhol.SS – Gold Medal

Another one of my favorite guys doing it. Warhol.SS has quickly become of the more threatening forces on the web. He attacks and bounces off tracks whether they have sparkly production or face-slamming bass. With a somewhat monotonous flow, you can hear the authority in his lyrics and in his voice behind them. These songs sound like they’re coming from a young man who has already experienced a lot and  is fed up. His music is unapologetic and seem to act as themes for the life he’s been living. I fully expect this guy to blow up and you should find out why.

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.


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


Holy Smoke – Holy Smoke

These guys – Jeremiah Jae & zeroh – have made one of the best experimental hip-hop albums of 2016 and maybe to this date. The aesthetic that this album gives off sounds like the tracks were fumigated with smoke in a dungeon that hadn’t seen light until our third-eye spitters entered.  The music starts straight-forward; the production on “Turning” has me reminiscing over old Exile beats from Below the Heavens and then we run into something a little more western and tribal on the next track “Pitchforks”. It seems like the audio is disintegrating as the albums continues and we’re quickly met with noisy vocals and bizarre soundscapes. When zeroh isn’t reading parables from stone or Jae isn’t spitting as if he’s in his hardest b-boy stance, the production is flooding the gaps in between their disquisitions, whether it literally be sounds of water on tracks like “Lazy Day” or the jingle bells on “Soy Cheese”. Zeroh and Jae are not rookies to the game and have been making interesting rap music for quite some time now. Both are incredible producers that run in the same vein as Flying Lotus/Captain Murphy and the context of their lyrics is just as, if not more intriguing.  Stream the album below and I apologize for not getting this out sooner so you could get your hands on the smokey 10″.

EDIT: Zeroh also recently released his long-awaited solo LP under Hit+Run Records. You should check that out here.