Events | CONTEST: Kinetics & One Love/Hi-Rez/Dylan Owen/Beau Young Prince in NYC! [Presented by FNT]

Posted by on December 4, 2012

This Sunday, FNT is proud to sponsor an undeniably exciting concert — one featuring a bevy of the most compelling unsigned talent in the country. The Studio at Webster Hall is hosting this must-see event, where for one night you can get lost in Kinetics’ lyrical acrobatics, Hi-Rez’s passion, Dylan Owen’s honesty and lyrical force, and Beau Young Prince’s smooth, groovy sound.

Because we care about good music as much as you do, we’re willing to give away a few free tickets to onelucky fan. All you have to do is tag Fresh New Tracks in a Facebook post stating something like this: “Post this status for a chance to win two free tickets to see Kinetics & One Love, Hi-Rez, Dylan Owen & Beau Young Prince at Webster Hall!”

We’ll announce the winner by Friday, so the rest of you who are slightly less lucky will still have a chance to get your tickets here. Either way, we’ll see you there. I’ll be the one in the Fresh New Tracks tank.


Hip-Hop | Dylan Owen Interview & Freestyle [FNT Exclusive]

Posted by on October 17, 2012

The first time I heard Dylan Owen was just about a year ago. He had just submitted “All I Do” to our “Sheeps, Jeeps, and Beats” contest with Jon Kilmer (which he eventually won), and I was completely infatuated by his expeditious delivery and sharp wit. Who knew at that point that we were playing a role in unleashing a star. That a project as honest, introspective, and imaginative as Keep Your Friends Close was in the making. Months after that release, Dylan has become one of the most compelling and promising artists of the year, showcasing an amount of creativity and lyrical depth that few emcees can compete with—record deal or not. As I strive to bring more lyrically-focused hip-hop artists to the FNT limelight, Dylan is a perfect place to start. That said, we are proud to bring you an FNT exclusive: a freestyle and interview that highlights Dylan’s pure lyrical power, wit, charm, and heart—those qualities that make him the special musician that he is. Check the video below, and if you have managed to miss it thus far, here is his most recent EP, the phenomenal Keep Your Friends Close EP.

Hip-Hop | In the Rubble of Hip-Hop…

Posted by on September 23, 2012

In 2006 when Nas claimed, quite controversially, that “hip-hop is dead,” he was on to something. One of hip-hop’s purest lyricists, Nas grew to fame in the early ‘90s through his poetic rapping and political subject matter—qualities that had become largely extinct from popularized hip-hop in the early 2000s. Hip-hop grew to prominence as the voice of disadvantaged America, but had become dominated by label executives; tastemakers prioritizing simplistic lyricism and rhyme schemes (along with incorporating the catchy choruses of pop music), and simultaneously degrading the quality of an art form.

Over the past decade, I have watched hip-hop become increasingly saturated, as pop culture continues to endorse formulaic hip-hop, typically including repetitious and easily accessible hooks, and raps using simple A-B rhyme schemes that delve lightly into a number of prescribed topics, such as the desire for fame, women, braggadocio, and partying. This sub-genre of “party rap” became widely popular in college environments, and seemed to promise any student with an aptitude for parties and a junior-high vocabulary the opportunity to earn a remunerative career as a rapper.

Through the surplus of undergraduates-turned-rappers, a new sub-genre, often coined “college rap,” began inundating blogs and steadily saturating the industry. These upstarts idolized the popular artists of the time, basing their craft off the lackluster wordplay and superficiality that dominated college radio playlists. When Asher Roth’s single “I Love College” rose to prominence in 2009, this movement hit the limelight, and suddenly students stopped studying law and medicine to follow their newfound dreams of being the next Mac Miller or Sammy Adams.

What is highly underestimated, however, is the amount of skill required to be an emcee of Nas’ caliber. If you take the time to listen to his first album Illmatic, Eminem’s Infinite, The Roots’ Phrenology, or any number of ‘90s or early 2000s records, the sophistication of the lyricism, content, and rhyme schemes is staggering. Becoming a prominent emcee used to require being sufficiently educated on the English language, as rappers constructed multisyllabic rhymes infused with alliteration, internal rhyme, and other complex literary elements. Just listen to Kinetics in his recently featured song, “Chris Nolan,” where he raps, “I spit sinister symbolism that’s killing all these silly simile single syllable singing simpletons.” Eminem has said in interviews that he used to study the dictionary as a child. If you listen to “Lose Yourself” closely, you can note that there is not a single word in the song that doesn’t rhyme with another. The reason it’s problematic to equate him to Asher Roth (besides the fact that it’s just rooted in race), is because Em rose to fame because of his pure lyrical power, and Asher made it off of artificiality.

The “change in leadership” that Nas referred to in interviews surrounding “Hip-Hop is Dead” highlighted that as the preferences of record companies have shifted, the music has changed with it. Political, socially conscious hip-hop is no longer seen as profitable, and thus labels won’t promote it. The biggest controversy surrounding this power battle occurred in 2008, when Atlantic Records shelved Lupe Fiasco’s third album for almost a year because of his defiance when asked to make a “radio-ready” single. Unfortunately, our Lupes are few and far between, and the majority of my favorite emcees are a far cry now from the substance-driven music they initially created. It doesn’t take long in the industry to understand what type of music is advantageous for one’s career, and it seems all but a few choose money over message. In this sense, rapping has become quite like corporate law; individuals work exceptionally hard to excel at a practice they believe in only to abandon their values in pursuit of a more lucrative opportunity.

I have always loved hip-hop, and that passion will always persist. But I want to live in a world where I don’t have to search for underground rappers to convince a friend that all hip-hop isn’t violent, misogynistic, and devoid of content. The reason that it became such a red flag for white, suburban kids to listen to hip-hop is that our mainstream culture assumed we were only listening to the 2 Chainz and Chief Keef’s of the world. No wonder they didn’t understand. Most critics of hip-hop have never heard It Was Written, Midnight Marauders, or Like Water for Chocolate. They haven’t paid attention to Macklemore on the new XXL Freshman List. Instead, they have seen Machine Gun Kelly and Roscoe Dash.

I’m not asking for you to agree, or to all of a sudden change your preference, but I’m asking us to be conscious of what we consume and what type of hip-hop we’re promoting when we share it. Our choices ultimately get reflected in who’s in the magazines, who’s on the radio, and even who’s getting a record deal. I’m always careful to promote new artists who have something special to share (see Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore, Blue Scholars, Logic, Kinetics, Dylan Owen, Accent—just to name a few), and I’ll continue to do so. But many of hip-hop’s forefathers are on their way out, and it’s up to us to make sure the right artists of this new generation end up on top.


Albums | FNT Concert Giveaway — Accent/Dylan Owen/One Love Live in NYC!

Posted by on August 29, 2012

NYC! Do you want to see Accent, Dylan Owen, and One Love tomorrow night? We have tickets to their show at DROM in the Lower East Side. To enter the contest, you must do the following:

1. “Like” all three artists at their Facebook pages: Accent, Dylan Owen, Kinetics & One Love, as well as Fresh New Tracks.

2. Share either Accent’s “The One I Need” or Kinetics & One Love’s “Still Dreamin'”  on Facebook, tagging Fresh New Tracks and including the line, “Share this video to win free tickets to see Accent, Dylan Owen & One Love Live!” with a link to this post.

3. Two winners will be picked by 4pm tomorrow. Doors open at 8. You can find more info here.

Happy posting!


Hip-Hop | Kia Albertson – Rogers feat. Dylan Owen – It Bes Like That (Prod. DJ Grumble)

Posted by on July 14, 2012

Just came across this track via Dylan’s page, and was immediately hooked by the laid-back beat and lively, lyrical verses. DJ Grumble, who has previously done some great work with Dylan and KAM Royal, laced the summer-style instrumental, and Dylan and newcomer Kia Albertson-Rogers trade intricate and punchline-heavy verses. This is the first song I’ve heard from Kia, but it makes a great first impression, and Dylan’s flow and punchlines here are as on-point as ever (“’cause recycling your verses isn’t fucking ecofriendly”). Do yourself a favor and give the track a listen, and check out Kia’s page for the rest of his debut mixtape, Yesterday, Tomorrow.

DOWNLOAD: Kia Albertson – Rogers feat. Dylan Owen – It Bes Like That (Prod. DJ Grumble)

Hip-Hop | Dylan Owen feat. Kinetics – In The Corner (Video)

Posted by on May 13, 2012

“I stayed up all night every night this summer, cause’ I only got one love like Tim Sommers.”

A new star has been born in the blogosphere, his name is Dylan Owen, and he’s systematically putting the village of Goshen, New York on the map. Following the release of his critically acclaimed, “Keep Your Friends Close EP,” his new single “In The Corner” featuring Grammy nominated Kinetics is as palpable as it is impressive, displaying a lyrical prowess that is seldom seen in the blogosphere. Directed by the infamous Jon Kilmer, the visuals invoke feelings of deep brooding catharsis as Dylan and Kinetics rapidly exchange cerebral verses on hallowed grounds. As the video comes to a close, Dylan stands in solidarity with an array of supporters and fans from all walks of life, suggesting the power of Dylan’s music to transcend creed, color, and background.


Hip-Hop | PJ Simas x Dylan Owen, Hi-Rez, Huey Mack

Posted by on February 2, 2012

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PJ Simas kicked off 2012 with a new weekly series he coined as “Simas Sunday”.  Artists that have successfully done this (Timeflies, e-dubble), have had an enormous boost in fan activity, keeping their content fresh and interesting.  Although we’ve missed the first couple weeks of Simas Sunday, we haven’t been completely ignoring the music.  PJ has sampled & twisted Drake’s “The Motto” as well as J. Cole’s “Work Out”, released an all original track, and most recently collaborated with Dylan Owen.  In addition to these releases, Sactown’s finest will be dropping another all original album this spring.

DOWNLOAD: PJ Simas – Growin ft. Dylan Owen

DOWNLOAD: PJ Simas – Everyday (The Motto Sample) [Watch Video]

DOWNLOAD: PJ Simas – Ambivalence (Workout Sample) [Watch Video]

DOWNLOAD: PJ Simas – That’s Enough [Watch Video]

Hi-Rez recently released a new track, “X-Problems” featuring QuEST, sharing some clever relationship rhymes.  In other news, Hi-Rez will be performing this year at Bamboozle in NJ.

DOWNLOAD: Hi-Rez – X-Problems ft. QuEST (Prod. by Joel Johnston)

Jon Kilmer’s highly sought after beat tape, Sheeps, Jeeps, & Beats, which he released back on Christmas Day, has had several up and coming artists testing their flow.  Huey Mack is far from a new face on the scene and has established himself as an artist.  This doesn’t mean he can’t hop on this Blink 182 & Warren G infusion.

DOWNLOAD: Huey Mack – I Want It All (Prod. by Jon Kilmer)