Posts by jeffwbaird
Posted by jeffwbaird on April 29, 2013
Last week one of my favorite bands, Phoenix, dropped their long-anticipated new album, Bankrupt! — their most recent project in almost four years. Needless to say, anything they release has been very meticulously crafted and revised, and unlike most artists’ work that I get sent these days, there weren’t any songs which I imagined could be improved or made better than they already were. Thus, when One Love sent me his remix to a favorite of the album that we shared, “Trying To Be Cool”, I was skeptical. Not only am I not generally a huge fan of remixes, but this was Phoenix. The changes here are relatively subtle, but One Love has a tremendous ear for melody, and manages to really enliven the track’s feel into more of a dance hit without losing its foundational strengths. For those looking for some higher quality music for their parties, this edit is a wonderful link between Phoenix’s terrific sound and One Love’s energetic production. Enjoy!
Posted by jeffwbaird on April 6, 2013
For a genre in which so much music is produced daily, there are far, far too few innovators involved. Far too few artists who still use it as a means of expressing genuine emotion and ideas, like the way it was conceived. As Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine once put it (I know, odd reference), “there’s a corner of the human experience neglected in pop music,” and I see this becoming more consistently true as hip-hop and pop integrate. I first was introduced to Terence Ryan’s music through his last EP, Skeleton, which drew my attention primarily because of the absorbing, downtempo production, but also because there was something so authentic and distinctive about his rapping on songs like “Alan’s Right” that I was immediately hooked. It’s almost unfair to his talent, though, to just list him here as just a rapper. On this new record he produces every track (which encapsulates his ability to play the drums, piano, and guitar), sings, raps, and even serves as the engineer. What I find most captivating about listening to the project, though, is hearing the array of moods and styles that all contribute to his polished sound. He’s extremely well versed in different genres, which allows him to simply set out to make songs, and the influences arise organically. This is one of my favorite releases of the year thus far, and even though it’s only 8 songs, they are each so powerful and unique that it bears the weight and depth of an album. Take a listen below and get lost in his sound like I have been for the past few days. “Disappearing” is one of the best songs I’ve heard from any unsigned artist in recent memory.
Posted by jeffwbaird on March 28, 2013
I’ve been aware of Hi-Rez’s growing stardom for awhile now, but it wasn’t until I really delved into his work that I realized how deserving he is. Rez is a talented rapper in his own right, who cares about the kind of hip-hop he represents, and thus works diligently on his lyricism. Joining him on this gripping, melodic Cherne beat is Kinetics, an absolute lyrical warrior, who is becoming one of the blog-world’s most consistent songwriters and emcees. Neither disappoints here, and Kinetics’ enthralling hook is what gives it its true lasting appeal. Be sure to stay updated on these two as their popularity continues to grow — we can only imagine that they are destined for long careers given their talent.
Posted by jeffwbaird on March 10, 2013
It’s a rare moment these days when I come across a new emcee whose sound truly transfixes me. Rapping has become such a major fad in our college culture, and as more nontraditional hip-hop acts gain prestige in this community, it continues to saturate this work and turn a genre that once exclusively documented the struggles of urban life into one accessible to all. I’m very proud of the progression of hip-hop and I believe that it’s an adaptive genre by nature, but simultaneously—as an advocate of hip-hop’s finesse and literary qualities—it has made me loathe checking my inbox and staying on top of the trends. There’s a definite lack of awareness and a presence of ignorance in those who self-identify as artists of hip-hop that I can tell upon first listen. These are artists who’ve been drawn to hip-hop because of the perceived ease of constructing a strong where no message or originality is necessary. Tracks have become defined by punchlines and producer’s remakes of industry singles, rarely detailed and rarely bearing any sign of lyrical prowess. I digress, but this morning a Seattle artist named Mike Champoux was brought to my attention, and has provided me with a temporary sense of trust. He’s a multitalented producer and rapper, and is a few weeks away from releasing his first full-length, L.I.F.E., which highlights the introspective qualities of his work. “One” is a beautiful homage and response to a friend of Champoux’s who took his own life, with a melodic and gripping instrumental that has that characteristic Seattle sound that Ryan Lewis has brought to global attention. Enjoy.
Posted by jeffwbaird on March 4, 2013
It’s no surprise that the majority of present-day emcees have begun veering towards the strategy of “quantity” as a means of getting noticed. They release new projects at an expeditious rate, more concerned with their name remaining in the headlines then they are with producing work of the highest quality. Rarely do I find an artist who is able to effectively bridge this as well as Yonkers-based emcee Maxxx Flair. Though he creates at a brisk pace, the sound is never compromised. Cue his new project, Wake Up, due this spring, and a new single that he’s sent our way, entitled “New York City Raised Me.” Back with frequent collaborator Snake-Eyes, a Brooklyn-based producer and engineer, we can expect the same level of prowess and lyrical ability on this new tape as we’ve become accustomed to from Maxxx, as is well evidenced by this old-school-style record. Check it out and get ready for Wake Up.
Hip-Hop, Videos | Kyle Lucas & Captain Midnite — I’m Only A Little Crazy, Baby (Haunting Me) [Music Video]
Posted by jeffwbaird on March 4, 2013
Here is the latest video from one of my favorite emcee/producer duos, Kyle Lucas and Captain Midnite. Just off the heels of the Seattle producer’s most recent EP, All This Will Fade, Midnite connects with the Marietta rapper over this fiery track, complete with some visuals that definitely live up to the track’s name (hint: there’s murder, straight jackets, and an insane asylum, among other things). Check the video out below, and if you haven’t gotten their most recent collaborations, you’re going to want to get on that now.
Posted by jeffwbaird on February 28, 2013
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I love introspective hip-hop—and man does this new Accent track take the cake. Amidst a genre primarily concerned with braggadocio and glorified false personas, Accent utilizes his singing skills to evoke this powerful jam about “accepting the imperfections that define us, and being proud of them.” The Kid Vision-produced single from his Sight & Sound EP features a verse from frequent collaborator Kinetics—whose internal rhyme-schemes become more impressive by the song—and impressive visuals courtesy of Hickory that highlight the song’s meaning and personal nature, which Accent eloquently described for us:
“The song recognizes that every human has their own unique qualities, yet it acknowledges that those differences between us are what make all of us the same; everyone struggles with their own experiences and identities. The sources of my own pain are very literally expressed here and every word is carefully recited making for a clear projection of the message. I reference my own issues regarding bi-raciality, growing up without a father and being almost obsessed with what I loved about my childhood but I also touch on my capacity for love and the purpose I have for existing. While “Everybody’s Crazy” comes from a sad place in my heart it encourages people to transform the negativity in their histories into a beautiful representation of the strength they have developed from it.”