"Bust a left, a right, I'm outta sight I'm throwed". Everybody remembers Yungstar's iconic line in the song "Wanna Be a Baller". The line has become bigger than the actual artist who rapped it. But this one line perfectly describes Houston car culture, better known as "swangin". For those who don't know swangin just put on Trae's song "Swang" ft. Big Hawk, Pimp C & Fat Pat. Just 500 miles away an artist by the name of Keezy Kuts would pay homage to this iconic line in his song "LnR".
LnR is the latest single from Keezy Kuts who has had a relatively quiet year musically. He's taken most of the year to focus on becoming his own boss by opening his own barbershop suite, he's also been building his Pre-Rolled empire. "You know I'm Pre-Rolled". It’s only fitting that this be the first bar that speaks to the effort he’s put into his brand which he showcases in the video by wearing a Carolina blue Pre-Rolled hoodie, which has become a fan favorite. But also anyone who knows Keezy Kuts knows that he supports local brands such as the Northside sweater by Boss P, and the Black Wall Street t-shirt by Black Wall Street T-Shirts & Souvenirs that he also rocks in the video.
And I'm goin up,
This track has a fun bounce to it, it's a feel-good track that Keezy Kuts slides on. And yet it's all freestyling. Like the famous words of Lil Wayne where he stated that he doesn’t write his lyrics, neither does Keezy Kuts, but you can still hear the metaphors and double entendre's in his lyrics. I'm not much for comparison but Keezy Kuts's ability resembles Lil Wayne's. His unscripted improvised raps, sounds like a lyricist who has meticulously written out bars that are laced with clever lines and hidden messages. Yet Keezy Kuts does it so effortlessly. Or as he says it “Ima freestyle liaison”.
LNR is a dope track that you can tell that Keezy Kuts had fun with. He definitely shines on the track, literally, peep the gold grill and gold watch in the video. So checkout the video below and let us know what you think,
Checkout Keezy Kuts new video "LnR" below:
Rapped by real name,
I never fronted.
By the first bar, it's not even a question. It’s Chris “The God MC” Cain. A name that carries so much weight and has been pivotal in the growth of Oklahoma Hip Hop. I say Hip Hop because he’s apart of the culture and is quick to remind you of the distinction between Hip Hop the “culture” and Rap the “genre”. Which he’s always been an advocate for the culture and is etched in his rhymes. Words that depict his life and most importantly the name that he stands behind. A bold statement, but for anyone that knows his music knows that bold is the only way he knows.
But for the past year people have been wondering "Where's Cain?" His last studio album release "Now Showing", played like a movie that brought back the nostalgia of growing up in the 90s while also giving it's listeners a front seat view of the Eastside of OKC. But what has he been up to since? He's released two EPs ("Lucky to Be a Legend" & "My Ghetto Gospel Wherever It May Be"), he’s released multiple featured verses (most notably "The Fire in Little Africa Project"), and also has been about his family. With all these accomplishments still, people were missing the presence of the rapper that has always been present on every bar. It was not until his unique black and white cinematic rollout for "Arrived" that we knew something special was on the way. When “The God MC” would let the world know that he had "Arrived".
Arrived is the name of the title track off the album that comes near the midpoint of the album. The track starts off with a female storyteller who speaks of being inspired by his music and the rap scene in OKC that he helped create. What’s always been a strength of his is how technical of a lyricist he is. His bars are so deep that even the subtlest bar is like a puzzle that crime detectives could put on a wall and piece together the connections between each bar. For example the bar. “2Pacalypse Now, Apocalypse Now, Just Smile”. One by one these breakdown into pieces that string together to lead to the next clue. Anyone can make words rhyme but only a truly skilled lyricist can make not only the words rhyme but also make the listener think. Only a lyricist can make the listener research what the artist meant when they wrote a particular bar. But then again this is “The God MC”
"Day one's since little niggas, couldn't play on the court." This one line again shows his gift to paint pictures with his words. Better yet movies, Because this line is something that we’ve all lived. As kids playing basketball waiting for the older kids who were playing full court to momentarily move to the other basket so that you could quickly take a shot before they come back. That’s the scene that’s replayed in every hood. Which makes this track so nostalgic and at the same time sort of a blueprint to how young boys grow up on the Eastside.
The album Arrived still has so much to unpack that it would be an injustice to just review it after one day. So until then here's the review of the track "Arrived" by Chris "The God MC" Cain. A track that is a holistic approach to looking at the different moments of time. From driving down the same roads, to seeing the gentrification happening all around him. This track is almost a celebration of his timing. Or better yet to announce that he’s “Arrived”.
Checkout the track "Arrived" by Chris "The God MC" Cain below:
These opening bars are from Jay-Z's self-criticizing song "Kill Jay Z" that described the killing of his ego. Which was a very strong bold statement. To fall on the knife and be reincarnated as a new you. So when artist Dialtone decided that he himself needed to kill the name Dialtone, it was a shock to everyone. Just coming off an amazing year that had seemed to be capped by amazing music and the vision of No Parking Studios coming into fruition, So hearing this track was very surprising, yet not totally. For anyone who has followed his career has seen this gradual transition in the works for the last few years. His music had a more focused sound that he delivered on each time. Dialtone of the past had always rapped about Tulsa and having things, but now his words seemed more intentional. His verses seemed more quotable. He had even taken up art. This is where the lines started to blur, Can Dialtone, the Hartford legend, be an artist? Would his old neighborhood friends what he was creating? The box of Dialtone would be troubled with these questions. But the artist Tone's Beach would already have his place and a clear vision of how to get there.
Many think the album titled Tone's Beach is when this name first appeared, which may be somewhat true, but anyone who's followed his discography knows that there was an earlier variation of this name that was used on the track "Tones Island" that featured Steph Simon and Grand National. This was the last track on his Magnum album that alluded to the idea of Tones Beach. The idea was still being defined. but the ingredients were all there. On the track, you could hear the prominent bass guitar that brought that West Coast funk, it was the funk sound that became the key element in his progression. Dialtone was finding his sound. It was as if he spotted the island that wasn't quite on the map. A place that wasn't inhabited, but was somewhere he could claim as his own.
"They can pay you 12 dollars an hour but can't tell you what you worth"
The quote above comes from the title track off the album Tone's Beach. Lines like these showed a sort of a shift in Dialtone's raps. His raps seemed to have evolved to a clearer understanding of his worth and the true value of things as seen on songs like "Mr. Robot", Droit Moral Cryptocurrency Casinos and Resorts, and of course, then there's "No Parking Studios". The song was the perfect introduction to what is becoming a living representation of his vision of having his own and building it something that he can pass on to his kids. This was his legacy. This was also around the time that he changed his Instagram to the album's title @tonesbeach. But back to the music. The musicality of the album was totally different than anything we ever heard from him. Many people might think that this is a foreign sound to Tulsa because it's mostly attached to the West Coast music that was made popular by Dr. Dre, but for the Tulsa native, Dialtone knew that this was the sound that originated in Tulsa. This was his people's sound that others had taken and introduced to the West Coast. But most importantly this was the sound that was Tone's Beach!
The next album released from Dialtone was Oasis, which sounds just like it means. Tones Beach finally finding his oasis. Though at this point he still has yet to use Tone’s Beach as a credited name on the album, this album sounds like he's in a totally different space. Like he's finally settled down and got the beach comfortable for him, and is now hosting friends, which are the featured artists on the album. The featured artist list includes long-time collaborations such as Steph Simon and Grand National, but it also featured new ones, most noticeably the artist "Jay Worthy". Which was a strategic win for Dialtone because the cross-pollination of both artist's audiences has helped Dialtone come up in the related artists’ algorithms. This has introduced him to a totally new fan base. And it's all organic!
"All the styles we got em,
This brings us to Intellectual Property, the most recent release in Dialtone's discography. What's most interesting about this album was that it came at a musical gap in Dialtone's career. This is something even he spoke on in the song 20 Below. This line spoke about how he had shelved rap and focused on building his No Parking Studios empire. Many people thought that he had lost sight of rapping, some even counting him out. The wolves were coming for the throne. This caused Dialtone to release Intellectual Property which when you listen to it you quickly realize that Dialtone's pen is sharper than ever. He's so in his bag in this album and so in tune with his vision. Which has always been family, loyalty, friends, Tulsa, and legacy. His raps reflects this, the town that he's from and the real value he sees in things. The goals that he set in Tone's Beach have clearly evolved to bigger ones. To an island so big I don't even think he could've imagined. But the hard work he put in made it the one he deserved.
So this brings us to the last track on Intellectual Property called "RIP Dialtone". Right when you feel like he had found his way. Why would he decide to kill him off? This is the time to vast in the fruits of your labor. He's built this beach. Why not just retire on it? But just stopping has never been his style. It's when you step back and look at his discography as a whole that you start to put the puzzle back together and something new takes shape. So clear is it now that it was so easy to get lost in the big picture. Much like his paintings, the clues have always been there. You just had to stop and pay attention. He was Tone's Beach!
Thanks for reading! Make sure you go stream Dialtone's new album "Intellectual Property". Also watch his latest video below "94 Super Tight" ft. Steph Simon and Keeng Cut:
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!
Make sure you follow Yung Qwan on social media:
Spotify: Yung Qwan
What an event! I'm talking about the Listening Party for 2Peece's EP "Sometime in June". The event was held on September 29th at The Black Wall Street Gallery. The host, 2Peece was dressed sharp to the letter T. Smiling as always, he was noticeably excited about letting everyone to hear about this amazing journey he's been on. So let's get into the event and the project called "Sometime in June".
This episode of Tulsa Lines Podcast we were at 2Peece's Listening Party for the "Sometime In June" EP.
We were able to interview a few artists: @the2peece) and host Duke Durant (@therealdukedurant)
One of the special gifts of the night from 2Peece was a customized bag of chips with the "Sometime in June" cover art. When you turn the bag around you notice that the ingredients of the chips are the actual names of the songs featured on the project. Also featured on the packaging is a picture of 2Peece as well as a QR Code that allows for you to go straight to the album for purchase. This was truly out of this world packaging.
Hope you enjoy!
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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.
A popular quote by Bernard Clive goes, "The loudest voice in a room is sometimes the quietest." No artists expresses this more than the Tulsa artist named Shyheim. His quiet and reserved nature masks his ability to slaughter his competition. His tracks often show just how surgical his pen is, as there is no waisted energy in his lyrical attacks. His alter ego "Shy Guy" is fitting for an artist who can both be the hero, but isn't also afraid to be the villian. Let's get to know Shyheim:
"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".
In 2020 there has not been much to celebrate. That would be a lie. You alive. It's not quite YOLO. But it is live life to the fullest. One of the best things that has come out of 2020 was my interview with The Juice Radio Show. It's a local radio show in Tulsa that is apart of the Bobby Eaton radio broadcast. What's so great about it is that it's totally grassroots. OR out the mud. No waiting for major sponsors. No waiting for big radio studios. Just the DIY spirit and the support of the TOWN. That's what makes it so special. So when I got the call about Tulsa Lines doing an interview. I jumped at the opportunity to be apart of the show and see it's greatness up close and in person.
In Hip-Hop the main topic that comes up is haters. Rappers glorify the hate. Because if you don't have haters, then you aren't successful. Look at artists like 50 Cent and Tekashi 6ix9ine who built whole careers off hate and trolling. You gotta admit that hate sells. Ask 50 Cent who again profited off hate by selling "G-U-Not" shirts because he saw an opportunity to capitalize off hate. But when did I become a hater? I would say the exact moment is when I saw a post on the ï»¿@Fireinlittleafricaï»¿ page.