Albums, Featured, Hip-Hop | Logic – Under Pressure [Album Reflections]

Posted by on October 21, 2014

Where do I begin?

Exactly 1,163 days I received an email.  That email just so happened to be my first official introduction to Maryland hip-hop artist, Logic.  Described as a young, talented MC known for his lyrical prowess – I couldn’t have said it better myself - and fortunately for us, that’s still the same Logic we’re looking at today.  Since that introduction, Logic has been my favorite artist, period.  To call out a few – he’s genuine, personable, tenacious, confident, well spoken, and last but certainly not least, one BEAST of a rapper.  Preaching “peace, love & positivity” since the very start, he’s one artist who has stayed true to his message, through and through.  His story has undoubtably changed hundreds if not thousands of people’s lives for the better.  The craziest part is, Under Pressure is still just the beginning.

When asked what “Under Pressure” means to him, Logic responded,

“For me, it’s the duality of who I am. Being Bobby and being Logic, being under pressure personally in all the things that I go through in my life. Just as a regular dude, ’cause outside of music, there’s people who look at me like I’m not shit. I’m just little Bobby, dealing with the pressures from my family, where I come from. All that. Also, being in the rap game and just being under pressure to sell whatever you gotta sell.” [via XXL]

He’s right though – he’s the debonair “Young Sinatra” on the street, then he steps into the booth and all previous conceptions vanish. He embodies some form of legendary lyrical machine.  That to me is what separates Logic from much of his competition.

It’s clearly been a long time coming to deliver the album and as you’ll hear on “Growing Pains III”, he has recorded over 1,700 songs in the past 10 years, only 150+ of which have been released to date.  Under Pressure is far from a grab bag of records.  Carefully crafted, Logic and team have put countless hours into this album and I hope that after listening, you’ll recognize that.  The 12 tracks (15 on the Deluxe version) collectively paint a bigger picture.  As expected, the album is a very raw, personal look into Logic’s life, and more specifically his upbringing.  From family struggles to personal and musical accomplishments, you’ll truly understand the person behind the mic after listening to this album.

As if I haven’t already giving you enough of a reason to go buy the album, legendary producer No I.D. blessed it with his executive production.  I don’t mean to jump the gun, but typically anything he touches turns gold.  Then platinum.

“Conversations with No I.D
Who made hits with Ye, got hits with Jay
Now he wanna fuck around and make hits with me
If it’s meant to be, then it’s meant to be
Can’t express what that meant for me, what it mean to me
Man, I swear the shit like a dream to me, what it seemed to be” – Till The End [Track 12]

Last but not least, I want to once again give a shout out to the whole team at Visionary Music Group.  Logic’s in house producer, 6ix stepped up and destroyed the production on half of the album.  The rest of the team is too humble to take credit, but I thank you all for the work you’ve put in.  VMG is a blueprint for organic growth, keep at it boys (& girls?).

Without further adieu I suggest you GO GRAB BOTH DIGITAL VERSIONS on iTUNES and take a trip to your local record shop (or Best Buy, Walmart, Target, etc.) and clear out the shelves (if you can beat Henry to it)!!!  100k the first week!

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Hip-Hop, Rap | Logic – Under Pressure

Posted by on September 15, 2014

LOGIC Under Pressure Album Cover 500x500 Logic   Under Pressure

I’m lost for words.  I’ve been playing this moment out in my head for years, forecasting scenarios and making predictions on Logic’s debut.  “Is Logic ever going to let me buy a song? What will the first single sound like?  Who’s going to produce it?  What will it be called?  When will the album drop?” …I could go on and on but I’ll spare you.  I’ll continue to play out new scenarios in my head, but what is boils down to is this. LOGIC IS OFFICIALLY ON ITUNES AND HIS DEBUT ALBUM, UNDER PRESSURE, WILL HIT BOX STORE SHELVES & DIGITAL STORES ON 10/21!!  Not only is his debut self titled single crack, but he produced it himself.  Put your seat belts on kids, the ride has officially begun.  #UnderPressure

Purchase on iTunes: Logic – Under Pressure [Prod. by Logic]

Indie, Pop, Videos | Jon Bellion – Carry Your Throne

Posted by on September 11, 2014

Wait, this is all for a free album?  F-R-E-E.  Seriously though, Jon Bellion is making lazy artists on major labels look SILLY.  He’s single handedly carving his niche in this industry and independently putting more work into one video than a lot of artists put into an entire project.  Thought, creativity, collaboration, talent, a tenacious hunger to innovate, and an immaculate focus contribute to the art which was gifted to us today.

“The record was produced and recorded in an actual castle cathedral in France. Live orchestration and all,” Bellion tells Complex. “Me and award-winning country producer Chris DeStefano looked at each other after the final playback and just hysterically laughed for about an hour. We knew how progressive and incredible this shit was.” [via Complex]

If you thought “Simple and Sweet” was cinematic, you might lose your pants when you watch this.  Sonically, I’m not sure there is any other artist in the business consistently delivering music of this caliber – mainstream or indie.  Channeling a combination of his inner Wolverine and Kanye West, Bellion rocks his heart out for the girl of his dreams.  No, I don’t think you understand, he’s going to war for this girl.  The creative direction, the lighting, the angles, the scenery, the tone, the wolves – everything was on point.  This marks the last release before Jon’s FREE album, The Definition, which drops on 9/23.  I’m hoping all of you will accept my recommendation to add it to your library when it comes time.

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Albums, Hip-Hop, Mixtapes | QuESt – Searching Sylvan

Posted by on September 2, 2014

There are mixtapes and there are albums.  Although Searching Sylvan is available as a free download, I hesitate in calling it a mixtape.  It’s too complete, too cohesive, too deep, too polished, & too original to be called anything but an album.  This, my friends, is a comprehensive work of art.  Miami native, QuESt, has supplied the magnifying glass and opened his front door.  Encouraging us not to download the project, but to listen to his story, Q’s genuine appreciation for his fans and his music is a true sign of his character.

You hear it often, but this is honestly one of those records that you have to listen to from start to finish – at least the first few times through.  There are tracks for every occasion, but to fully understand QuESt’s story, as a fan, I ask you press play and don’t next until the conclusion of “May 10, 2012″.  Then you should press play, again.

There are countless quotable’s throughout this project, but the second half of “Automatic” exemplifies to me what this story is all about.  The below is just a bite and even that doesn’t fully grasp the message he’s putting forward.

“Aspirations, responsibilities, caught between them I’m torn
Tug of war with both of my arms
Strategize the cards that I’ve drawn”

There are life lessons, struggles, successes, high highs and low lows, and most importantly an endless hunger heard through and through.  It’s still too early for me to pick favorites but the few that stuck out during my first listen through; “Biscayne Blvd”, “Make It Out Alive” (…YesQuEStCanSing), “Automatic”, “Erase Me”, “Hunger”, “Struggle Rapper”, “Jon Bellions One Way To San Diego (Outro)”, & “May 10, 2012″.  Shit, well that really narrows it down doesn’t it?  Rather than listening to me, head over to SearchingSylvan.com for a track-by-track breakdown by Sylvan himself!  There is no weak link in this 17-song masterpiece.

Production credits belong to the entire VMG roster along with Q’s in house producers, The Marvels, the homie OB, as well as other very talented beat scientists.  First and foremost, 6ix, who is said to be one of QuESt’s biggest fans, is as committed to succeeding with QuESt as anyone else out there.  They continue to grow and together create beautiful music.  We’ve heard what Logic and 6ix can cook up together, now is our chance to hear what 6ix can do with QuESt.  Feed them hot sauce with their Chipotle and hell, you’ve got bangers like “Hunger” and “Automatic” – two of my favorite songs of the year.  Next is Q’s in house producers, The Marvels, who clearly know him as an artist and can craft their work to his liking.  From start to finish, these guys put it on.  Another one that may have caught some of you by surprise is Visionary’s own, Logic.  For the avid listener, we know Logic can produce and can produce well.  He’s working hard at improving this aspect of his game and his work on “Biscayne Blvd” and “No Love In The City” attribute directly to that.  And don’t let me forget OB, a resident VMG contributor.

Without further adieu, I present to you QuESt’s “Searching Sylvan”.  One of the best collections of music you’ll hear this year.

Extra credit reading: “5 Things to Know About Searching Sylvan” by the good people over at The Redefined.

Free Download: QuESt – Searching Sylvan [Mixtape/Free Album]

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Hip-Hop, Pop, Videos | It’s a #VMGSummer and There’s Nothing You Can Do About It.

Posted by on August 13, 2014

Follow VMG: QuESt | Jon Bellion | 6ix | Logic | Team Visionary

The artists over at Visionary Music Group have been delivering consistent heat this summer – to the point where the Grubeats of old would even have trouble keeping up with blog posts.  QuESt, Jon Bellion, & producer 6ix have been carrying the load thus far while Logic puts the finishing touches on his debut album – release date and title TBD.    Fortunately for Logic, Mr. QuESt and Mr. Bellion have diverted the spotlight from the young hip-hop don by dropping highlight reel material of their own.

The video above is the latest release from the VMG squad; a cinematic performance by Jon Bellion himself titled “Simple and Sweet”.  You might see the parallels between the song title and the structure of the record.  It’s very, well, ‘Bellion-ny’.  The lyrics say it all – “You won’t need no big production, the synth and just my voice is fine”…then all of a sudden Jon channels his inner Kanye and breaks out with a tremendous production.   Like that time Kanye broke out with his live rendition of “Runaway” at the 2010 VMA’s – that kind of g.o.o.d..  Anyway, prior to this single, Jon dropped “Munny Right” in which he illustrates past vs. present emotions.  I highly suggest watching the behind the scenes making of video.  Bellion’s junior album, The Definition, will be available for free on 9.23.14.

On to QuESt.  The honest, riveting rhyme-sayer unavailing his story one track at a time.  Deep into the promotion of his new free album, Searching Sylvan, we as fans stay on our toes eager to hear the next chapter in Q’s journey.  It’s real, it’s dark, it’s bright, it’s raw, it’s numbing, it’s inspiring, it’s just the beginning.  Four singles in and many of you are finally taking an ear to the Miami native.  He’s battled adversity but he’s visibly hungry and determined which is why he will be successful.  He’s passionate and we hear something new in every single.  Did I mention that snake 6ix has produced or co-produced every new song thus far?  Listen through the singles below and prepare for his VMG debut project being released on 9.2.14.

Hip-Hop | Spencer Joles – Long Nights

Posted by on April 17, 2014

 Spencer Joles   Long Nights

I’ve got this sort of, hip-hop-fairy-godfather type of best friend that drops in every now and then to enlighten me with only the best underground hip hop on the rise. For the past few years, he’s been the one to introduce me to everyone from Afu-Ra to G-Eazy, Blue Scholars to Logic, Black Element to even Aloe Blacc. Need I continue? So recently when he told me one of his own cousin’s picked up producing, I knew it had to be good. Everyone, meet Milwaukee’s own, Spencer Joles. “Long Nights” is a v trill track to get lost in, with mellow vibes and steady rhymes throughout. I’ve also included his newest release, “Cosmic Dialect,” which demonstrates this guy’s commitment to steady releases as well as testing out all different production styles. This young rapper already has a pretty stacked selection of * free * original work and covers on his Soundcloud so take a minute to dive in and check it out.

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Electro | Logic feat. Jhene Aiko – Break It Down (Louis Futon Remix)

Posted by on April 16, 2014

 Logic feat. Jhene Aiko   Break It Down (Louis Futon Remix)

Philly duo Louis Futon may be still be arguably “new” to the scene, but their discography and social media following proves these boys mean business. They’ve got heaps of original releases in addition to a handful of remixes, each one varying a little bit in genre from the next. This delightful remix of Logic and Jhene Aiko’s “Break It Down” is, as the say, perfect for those summertime vibes. I hate to spoil this track by pointing out its similarities to Kaytranada’s style, so just think of it as Louis Futon’s own spin on that groovy feel.

On that note, you may have heard Louis Futon on Ta-Ku’s latest “Drive Slow, Homie, Part III,” in which case you should make note that track will be featured on their upcoming EP, still TBA. In the mean time, snatch this free download and toss it on your poolside playlist stat.

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