It’s not always the main dish that makes a meal slap. Especially if you got your favorite sides hot off the stove. Some side dishes are so good that even when they’ve been sitting for a while they still slap. That’s exactly what happened when listening to “Mac’N With Mess & Mike”. A tape that to no one’s surprise is good even when you let it marinate.
Anyone that has heard You A Mess on the mic knows of his smooth player talk, but what makes him stand out the most is his “grind hard don’t stop” work ethic. "Mac’N With Mess & Mike" gives him the stage to do these two things well. The title track “Mac N’” shows a smooth singing Lawrence Leon and the mac You A Mess spitting bars.You A Mess has an unorthodox flow that is just offbeat enough to be on beat, which is what keeps your ears engaged and holding on to every line. By the time you get to the 2nd track “Ahh Shit (Sir Mike)”, you realize that this album isn’t just isn’t about You A Mess, it's the collaboration with DJ $ir Mike that makes the tape come together. Track 2 feels like a chant similar to how “Go DJ” was with Lil Wayne and Mannie Fresh. There is no mistake about the importance of his role in the album. DJ $ir Mike is the wild card of the album. His production on the album is flawless, and packed away on the 2nd verse of “Own” you even hear $ir Mike spit a few bars.
“Life is precious, but a lesson,
When it comes to features on the album the theme seemed to be “keep it in the family”. Most of the artists featured have collaborated with You A Mess before as well as hoped on a DJ $ir Mike beat. This is further proven by the fact most of the featured artists appear on the album multiple times. For instance Leon Lawrence, opens the album on “Mac N’” as well as “Crusin’” (which is my favorite of the songs he is featured on.) and “What It Do”. Clutch Barz is another artist who was featured multiple times on the album. Clutch Barz shines bright on this project, especially on “Get Down”, what I liked most was Clutch’s delivery and bravado, it makes this one of my favorite features on the album. Not every featured artist appears on multiple tracks. Soulstar is featured on “Cruisin’” where he shines and creates a vibe that’s so chill that you might just miss the smooth wordplay he spits. Another one of my favorite features on the album is Raccin JasOn. Even though he only appears on the last track of the album (“Bounce”), he delivers a fury of raps and a cadence that is similar to the Drill sound popularized in Chicago.I couldn’t have chosen better features for this album because every artist shined in their own right.
I was born in shoes to big for me to fit but I wore em’
This is one of my favorite bars off the album. The line is clever and so real. You can sum up the track with those 3 words. Clever and so real. The track has this flow of consciousness and deep thought that really makes the listener think about the words being said. Both artists You A Mess and DJ $ir Mike spit bars then break into a spoken word like delivery where they tell about the game and how to play it. Another favorite is “Bicycle Kick”. it’s just an unorthodox track that is filled with bars and a crazy production where the track switches up and You A Mess turns it up another level like he is going Super Saiyan. These two tracks are just a piece of the whole dish that is “Mac’N With Mess & Mike” and prove that this album is good.
Some dishes are best served cold. But the fire lyrics, the dope features and of course the production of DJ $ir Mike makes Mac’N With Mess & Mike an album that is as fresh out the oven as the day it was released. Checkout the album for yourself and see why these two artists are have fans lined up to get the dope tracks that are "Mac 'N With Mess & Mike".
Make sure you go listen to Mac 'N With Mess & Mike" now streaming everywhere!
"It may be unfair to dismiss Nas’ success as merely a piggyback ride on the back of L Boogie and her Refugee Camp, but I can come to no other conclusion for this year’s most surprising success story, as almost overnight, Nas-the-Martyr has become Nas-the-Superstar. Meanwhile, Jay-Z is somewhere lounging on a leather couch sipping an ice-cold bottle of Moet. Since he still runs his own operation and puts put his own shit, Jay-Z, when all is said, done, and divvied up, will probably make more money."
This quote is from the legendary Elliott Wilson who recently re-released an article called “Elliott's 1996 'Reasonable Doubt'. In the article Elliott Wilson compared and contrasted two hip-hop legends who both dropped critically acclaimed albums within a week of each other. Nas’s 'It Was Written' and Jay-Z’s ‘Reasonable Doubt’.
This one paragraph can also sum up two artists from Tulsa. Gang51E June and Steph Simon. From the outside June has been a commercial success. But when you peel back the layers you see just how much of a success and a boss that Step Simon is. The DIY artist that Steph Simon has been his whole career has always been the HOV way. From selling physical copies before putting his album on streaming, to creating a festival that booked June, (remember Jay-Z was the head of Def Jam and had Nas on the artist roster.) June may have the streams, but Steph Simon is getting the front and backdoor money. Also when it comes to throwing a show in Tulsa it’s Steph Simon that people call to curate the acts that should perform together. And may we not forget Fire in Little Africa. A commemorative project that was executive produced by Steph Simon that included over 70 artists. More than 70 were invited, some of which didn’t think the stage would be big enough. But as we see, the city is “Shining" because of it. With a city that’s in the world spotlight, no other artist has thrown as many ooops as Steph Simon. So it’s only right that when he dropped his new album “Diamonds From The Tisdale” that he get his stats and not pass on the time that he's been grinding for. This new album leaves beyond a Reasonable Doubt.
When it comes to making an album the most important parts are the 1st track and the last track of an album. Anyone that has heard a Steph Simon album knows that he has always delivered both. The first track “2020 Vision” sounds like the manifestation of his title track “Visions” off his 2017 release ‘Visions From the Tisdale’. “Visions” is Steph’s foresight into what he believes his city can become, and it concludes with speaker Buddy Rodrigrez who delivers a narration on both tracks. On “2020 Vision” Steph Simon knows himself and knows the power of speaking things into existence. This is exactly what he’s done his whole career. Spoke it and then manifested. The goals of “Visions” were spoken into existence, now the same manifestation will help him speak into existence the goals he raps about on “Visions 2020. ”I can see them vultures comin, gonna make sure we eatin first." This statement is undeniable with just how many artists from Oklahoma that he put on the “Fire In Little Africa” project.” And how many artists he’s booked for shows throughout the years.
“Poppin’ shit sober minded, I don’t even like Advil but I don’t need Molly”
For years Steph Simon has been a humble rapper. And for years fans have been wanting him to flex on tracks just to let the haters know that it ain’t safe, and at any time he can push the button. Well “Hoop Shorts” is that track. His delivery on the track is like someone who says, “Yea I said it, and I meant it”. And if his words aren’t enough, he shot the video in New York to let the world know that it’s Steph ‘Diamond's’ time. The whole song is a big flex, especially at the end when he spits the line to tell people he doesn’t need the drugs to be cool and is already comfortable as himself.
“Baby I kept it Jim from the jump, before that Obama and Trump, had Player’s Choice in that trunk, and I wasn’t takin’ no shit from no punk”.
‘Jim’ has been a word of brotherhood, it’s in you and not on you. But on “Jim For Life”, Jim is almost being protected as if there’s a lot of people that have been using the word without being one. And not everyone gets a Jim pass. One of the Forefathers and protectors of ‘Jim’ Keeng Cut shows us just what it means to be a “Jim”. As he delivers a Khampa Trillman like verse just to let people know this ain’t just a word, but most importantly it’s for life.
When it comes to collaborations the track that sticks out Jim For Life is definitely one, but that standouts the most on the album has to be on the song “Bars for the BBQ”. Long time Jim's Steph Simon and 1st Verse go bar-for-bar like teammates at a dominoes game. Both artists are the upper echelon when it comes to being a lyricist. But this collab leaves both artist shining, each setting up the other to score, and at the end they both yell DOMINO!. “Momentum swingin’ with the metaphysic leverages, Tone remind me that what we doin ain’t regular shit, Out here tryna set it like the price and the precedent, put fire on the food and ice on the beverages."
With the tracks “No Chaperone” and “Skate Town'' Steph Simon proves that he knows how to make a love song. “No Chaperone” is for anyone that remembers the lock-ins at the Mabee Center, and the other recreational events that were supposed to keep young people out of trouble but was the perfect space for getting into some trouble over. Steph raps over a sample of H-Town’s hit single “They Like It Slow”. "Skate Town" is the telling of a love story of Steph Simon’s parents meeting at Skate Town that was located on 36th and and North Peoria. A soulful Billy Bruner sings over a bounce disco-filled track that sets the tone and the groove you needed to have fun at Skate Town. The breakdown at the end of the track is so smooth, like that last chance you have to get to the number from the girl you’ve been eyeing all night. Check out the video below:
With such a personal album as Visions From The Tisadale, songs like “Detours” and “Dreamland” carry on that same personal feel to "Diamonds From The Tisdale". “Detours” features artists Branjae and Sterling Mathews “10,000 hours, I put that in a long time ago”. The song is Steph Simon realizing that the path to success wasn’t a straight line and that the shortcuts aren’t promised to get you where you need to be. “Crucify” is like the pressure to stay the same but knowing that you have to grow to get where you need to be. Real ones know, fake ones say you changed. Personal can also mean feel good, BBQ songs like “Zaggin Interlude” or “Sunday Diner” these two tracks remind you of the same feelings that Steph created on “Chillin on It (Just Vibin)” or “Sunny On the N.S.” two tracks that took you through his personal experiences and most importantly his neighborhood. You’re riding down TIsdale Expressway on this new album.
“Dreamland”! Dreamland! We gotta discuss the last track of this album. Like we said before, Steph Simon knows how to make an outro track. And "Dreamland" shows you just what we mean. The track is Steph’s dream realized. But also it’s him realizing that he’s not through dreaming. The “Dreamland” track is filled with a plethora of bars and quotables that’s like his version of “Feelin’ It”. Checkout the video to see just how big that dream has become!
"Diamonds From The Tisdale" is an album that came at the right grimming (grinding + timing). Some might even call this his Victory Lap album because he took the formula of what worked and what the fans liked from “Visions from the Tisdale” and enhanced it even more. Unlike Jay-Z this isn’t Steph Simon’s 1st studio album. But like Jay-Z, this album won’t get the commercial success it deserves but it is undeniably a classic. To the critics Diamonds from the Tisdale is the Reasonable Doubt that Steph Simon is one of the greatest artists of our time. And even more Steph Simon is moving into a bosses role more and more like the one they call Hov.
Make sure you checkout Steph Simon's new album "Diamonds From The Tisdale" now streaming everywhere!
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When it comes to dedication the word can be defined as; the quality of being dedicated or committed to a task or purpose." This is a word that is thrown around as loosely as the word “love”. But when I came across an album titled “Deadicated”, this brought a new perspective on how committed to being successful that a person could be and reminded me of the title to 50 Cent’s first album, "Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. So for an artist to name their album Deadicated meant that there could be no story untold, and no story too personal. For this album to live up to it’s name Winny Flows would have to be in his truest form. And he would have to leave everything on wax as if this would be his ONLY album. Without further ado, here is the story of an artist who looking to show the world that he is DEADICATED!
The opening track “WYA” is a high energy intro to an 8-track album. His fast pace delivery cuts through the mellow piano centered production. Switching flows throughout the track, his vocal inflections sit on top of the layered vocals surrounded by sounds that seem to jump out at the listener.
"Like Aladin, Floatin’ through Manhattan,
If I had to pick a standout track on the album it would have to be “Lucy Lane”. Winny Flows delivery and flow are on point. The way the chorus is incorporated in the track shows his song-writing ability which is not an easy feat to accomplish in these days of throwaway tracks. He knows how to write a hit. And by judging by the fact that he also released this track as as single, he knows he has a hit on his hands as well.
Groove is where the album seems to turn around from turning up to spiraling within. Winny Flows gets more personal with songs like 2020 where Winny Flows shows that he is also a vocalist as he sings the chorus on the opening bars of the track, “I’m certain my serotonin is lower than ever before , if the ocean was dopamine through me overboard". The track seems to end with a lyrical assault of pent up emotions that spill on to each bar so as to not get it confused. He can rap.
Wordplay is one of the most noticeable things about this album from, track-to-track and from bar-to-bar this talent is showcased especially on the track “Know Me”. The complex way he puts together syllables takes his listener on a tongue twisting lyrical ride as he asks “You know me?”. Its clear that with this track that the album is turning back to a more up tempo feel. Spinning is another example of his dope wordplay. He switches his flow throughout this track while also smoothly transitioning into serenading chorus. It has a house party vibe to it, it will be interesting to see if this is one of the most streamed songs on the album.
“Deadicated til the day I die, that’s why it’s in the title".
The last 2 tracks of the album seem to be the signature moments of the album. In The Moment is like a reflection point where Winny Flows learns to get out of his head about worrying to much about others opinions and pressures to focus on him. This could easily be a track made for movies where the hero finally gets his moment. A moment that leads up to Deadicated. The title track on the album. The track has a bounce and even a little Texas Screw influence that helps end the album nicely.
Winny Flows put together a project that shows a depth in it’s topics, it also shows his abilities as both a rapper and a song-writer. Finally, and most importantly the album shows his hunger for success, or as he so puts it DEADICATED. And if there’s any confusion or doubt about his seriousness, then the last word on the album is to is a fuck you to the doubters... DEADICATE.
When it comes to respect. Your name means everything. So for an artist to drop a self-titled album means that not only is this their introduction, but it's also a statement that they want the respect that comes with being the best, to stand out from the crowd of OKs, and to have your name mentioned with the greats. Yung Qwan is an artist from Tulsa, Oklahoma who has recently released his self-titled album "IAMYUNGQWAN". And just like the artist that have come before him, he's looking to introduce himself to the world, and get the respect he deserves.
The 6 track album is reminiscent of the G.O.O.D. Music releases in 2018 that were short yet jam-packed with content. What catches your eye when going through the album on a surface layer is that IAMYUNGQWAN is less than 15 minutes long! Also, there are no features on this album. This sets expectations high since it is such a limited sample size, also knowing that features have traditionally taken the pressure off the artist to deliver on each track. But there's a reason for everything. So let's dive into the album and see who is Yung Qwan.
To start off the album Yung Qwan shows off his more melodic side with "Grew Up". This track showcases his songwriting ability. The song also shows that he has the ability to story tell and a comfort that comes from knowing his sound and knowing what his fans want to hear. Grew Up is a short track that is straight to the point but leaves enough mystery for the listener to fill in the rest of the story. This is how you start off an album!
The lead track off the album is "Ma$e" which is the 2nd track on the album. It's here that you realize that Yung Qwan has a signature ad-lib when he says "Bom Bom Bom". It has an island, almost reggaeton feel to it, the Marley music he grew up listening to is probably the main contributor to this. Ma$e is the first time we hear Yung Qwan rap and you realize just how versatile he is from just the few bars he spits. It's impressive how he incorporates different ad-libs that imitates guns and bullets whizzing through the air, and it all still rhymes. As you can see there's a lot going on even though the song is only 1 minute and 34 seconds, which seems like a breeze. But by the time the chorus circles back around the 2nd time, the listener has been hooked, and it's really just Yung Qwan reassuring that the job has been done. The video shot by 1$hot brings this song to life as Yung Qwan and friends represent frontline.
The next track off the album is "3 A.M.", which is for the ladies. The slow nostalgic sample "Lady" by D'Angelo sets the mode. But this song is more of a curve-ball to the classic love ballad. This is because of the lyrics that Yung Qwan uses to explain to his lady that he's ignoring even though he knows that she's jaded from being hurt before. The song seems to say, don't call because you know at 3 A.M. ain't nuthin' up but legs and eggs. And most likely he's up to no good. But who is up to good at 3 AM? What makes this track so unique is that Yung Qwan is able to switch up his flow without hesitation which keeps the listener engaged with his wordplay.
By the time you get to track 4 called "Teddy Bruckshot", you don't even realize that you're already halfway through the album. Yet already you've been taken on this ride of different emotions. The first few lines come across as Yung Qwan speaking in 3rd person similar to a Kodak Black chanting on the song "Like Dat". This seems to be his alter ego, one that has nothing to lose and is more instinctive. This is more of a street track. The words just hit harder. This is also seen by how the melody stops more abruptly as compared to "3 A.M." where his melodic voice seemed to carry into the next bar. The most clever bar that stands out on this album is from this track. It's subtle yet it says a lot.
Made that niggas dreads shake, look like a shoe hit him.
If I had to guess the next single for the album it would have to be track 5 "No Mo". It has all the makings of a hit. It's upbeat. It has a very catchy hook that lends itself perfectly for call and response during performances. The verses don't do too much and perfectly transition back into the chorus. The bounce of this track makes you want to move. It's all the ingredients you need for a hit. It's a fun track that people can enjoy and not have to worry about breaking down complex metaphors and quadruple entendres. Which is not a takeaway from his lyrical ability. All artists need this kind of track in their arsenal but few have the ability to make it. In 2020 we've abandoned the 5-minute track, 3 verse, 3 chorus song structure. This track is a perfect example of that. The fact that it's so short is actually a positive trait because it leaves the listener wanting to hear more. This is that hit.
When you have a self-titled album the most important parts are the first track which gives the audience a feel for how the album is going to go. The second most important part is the last song because it not only finishes the album's theme but it often is an introduction to what listeners can expect next. Maintain is that statement and the last track for IAMYUNGQWAN. It's probably also one of the reasons why it's the longest track on the album. It's Yung Qwan reflecting on the interactions and relationships he's had. The idea of maintaining, that you can't let them see a weakness in you because you know that it can potentially be used against you. The feeling of having to keep that pain and that weight on your shoulders. You can feel that on this track. You can feel that inner strength and pain in his voice. In the end he's just tryna maintain, which in 2020 that's what we're all tryna do.
IAMYUNGQWAN is the introduction to an artist who deserves his respect. Even though again the album is only 15 minutes long, it was a journey. In a way it's sort of a resume that showcases his skills. These skills would include; songwriting, storytelling, lyrical skill, vocal skills, presence on a track, and so many others. But mostly this album made a statement. So when going back to the fact that there are no features on this album, it's a positive. There's no one else's reputation or feelings about another artist that would make this album succeed or fail. Yung Qwan had to stand on his own for this album. And he stands tall as he tells the world.
I AM YUNG QWAN!
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In this day and age the next album is only one post away. That's because music is released by the push of a button. Almost simultaneously all your music can be available to the masses. Gone are the early childhood memories of waiting until Tuesday for an album to drop and wanting to be the first one of your friends to bump it in your speakers. An album drop was an event. Numerous times I cleared my whole day and shut door, hidden in my room I would engulf myself in the world that the album created through it's musical production and it's vivid lyrics. These times are long gone. Except for when you talk about the album VSXO. 1st Verse who released the project late last year went against the norm and only released physical copies of the album (granted he would send you the files), but this was a bold statement, a $30 physical CD in this new world of free music. Post Napster. An artist would never be successful using this model. That's when you realize that 1st Verse isn't your everyday artist.
"I'm the kind of man who likes to know who's loopin, these beats, Bambi." This is exactly what listeners want to know. Just who is making these crazy beats? The culprit would be DJ Noname.. Who in only a short time has become one of my favorite producers and has been on a crazy run dropping EPs with the top tier artists in the town. He's become what some would call an album crate archeologists how he is able to dig through samples uncovering masterpieces that are so soulful and so filling .He made 'Snackin With Flavor' that proved his culinary skills to whip up one of the best projects of the year. I say one of the best because his EPs appear multiple times for this category of musical bliss. This time is no different, as he drops an EP with Bambi titled "Your Money's No Good Here".
Le Cordon Bleu (translated as "The Blue Ribbon) is one of the best culinary schools in Paris. Chefs from all around the world travel for the chance to be apart of the tutelage and prestige from a school that has been known to produce some of the best chefs in the nation. But do you have to go to such a prestigious institution to be considered a world-renowned chef? Not for Keeng Cut! His recent project "Snackin' with Flavor" showcases his ability to put together some amazing dishes that can only be described a divine experience that few are worthy of. Let's take a seat and order from "Snackin' with Flavor".
How do you define a time? Music. It’s the power of music that transports you to a time of memories experienced. And if not experienced you still don't have to go to far to see just how unique these experiences are. DJ Noname is an artist who is taking his unique experiences and blending them with fellow producer DJ $ir Mike to transport listeners to what can only be called “Sir Noname.”.
The World's Most Interesting Man. Some would say they miss the old guy that was always dressed in suits and told tall tales. But to those that know Keeng Cut know that he we wasn't even close. Keeng Cut, artist, entrepreneur, and also most would say trend-setter. But even that would be an understatement to his influence and cultural impact. Nearly a year ago he introduced the world to Flavio Cûtore, a smooth, fly, and debonair who is polar opposite to the rapping Keeng Cut. But now with the release of Keeng Cut's latest release "Stay Flavored My Friend", Keeng Cut learned that both could co-exist on the same project and if anything else it would be fully flavor!
2018 was a crazy year! So much music was dropped. I bet you don't remember that Drake's "God's Plan" was released this year. Or that J. Cole dropped KOD. Nas even dropped an album this year using Kanye's 7-song album format. Newcomers like Lil Baby dropped their first album. While artists like Lil Yachty set out to prove that there's no such think as a Sophore slump. Migos setout to prove that they can still make hits. We remembered Mac Miller and XXXtentacion who both dropped projects that are helping to keep their memories alive. What a year for music!