“Role Model” excels at creating an environment for the listener to stew in. Broughton raps with intention over lightly pressed keys and gently plucked strings. There’s no sense of urgency in his flow, only the inevitability of his words hanging on wax
Why We Like It
Otis Mensah returns with another eviscerating poem, this time spit over the guitar laden “No Record Store Day.” He directs the anxieties of his larger isolation at the cancelation Record Store Day, a day that usually holds a lot of happiness and excitement for Mensah.
The trope of “too many cooks in the kitchen” just doesn’t apply to Phantom Phunk. Through the eccentric instrumentation and mastery of electronic sounds, “A Week Ago” becomes a refreshing funk hit, as unique as the components of the band.
On his new single, “Free,” Dayon Greene raps about the internal freedom of expression that he feels within, while recognizing all of the ways that he sees freedom around him that he wants to gain. The upbeat instrumentation is inspiring and energetic.
The combined power of the soul sample and gently unraveling poetic yarn of “Reasons” makes it a stand out single. Animist, Jedos and Horus Ra Mindset meld their energies beautifully to drop clever and dynamic verses that float over the production. Poetry in motion.
The underdog story is a relatable one, but stories are often too easily romanticized. In glorifying the struggle for justice we can overlook the battle scars of the soldier. On “UNDERDOG” Dirtsa raps about the inner turmoil of fighting black oppression around the word.
We often do whatever we can to escape sadness. No one truly wants to sit in it. With her new single “Blue (For Now)” Erez Zobary explores the healing qualities of letting yourself feel blue co-aligned with an understanding that sinking into that emotion will allow for catharsis on the other side.
Pursuing a goal you’ve set your mind on requires some sacrifice. Khamari might be “Jealous” of the time his friends spend going out but, as he sings: “Mama said shut your eyes enjoy the ride, cuz nothing good ever happens overnight.”
We often think of poetry as written works with elegance and grace, but every so often a song comes around that reminds us how closely poetry and hip-hop are intwined. Otis Mensah returns with “Internet Cafe,” a jazzy lo-fi record with the elegance of poetry and the gritty soul of hip-hop.
“Infinity” is the castle on a hill of unconventional production. SadoSan and Sentry Sinvil spend the minute-and-a-half runtime rapping over a beat that sounds like a mic dropping down a rabbit hole of lo-fi instrumentation. Their rhymes are tight and their flow manages to snag a tough pocket in the best way.