Author Archives: Ash El Gamal

[NEW] MNEK – The Rythm

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MNEK
The Rhythm

UK vocalist, songwriter and producer, MNEK, has quickly established himself as a hit-maker with “Ready for Your Love,” his infectious collab with Gorgon City, “Wrote a Song About You,” his breakout solo single and a load of high-caliber production credits. His soulful vocals have a way of meshing with electronic production impeccably making for a sound both danceable and relaxing–a prevalent quality with a number of our favorite up ‘n comers. His latest offering, “Rythm,” is no different continuing to demonstrate this equilibrium. MNEK’s vocals shine as the backdrop builds until the 1:15 mark when a minimalistic groovy bassline is introduced accompanying a looped vocal sample. “Rythm” makes for the perfect first cut to kick off your Friday evening. Give it a spin above.

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[TMN Exclusive Interview] Chaz French talks Honesty in Hip-Hop, Inspiration and Overcoming Adversity

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Chaz French
Intro (prod. by Super Miles)

Authenticity has always played a particularly important role in hip-hop music for a variety of reasons. As an art form, rapping allows for condensed, concise and detailed lyrical expression often times putting artists in a position to reveal the depths of their personality or, in some cases, fabricate one altogether. The former approach lends itself to longevity and, maybe equally importantly, to differentiation because at the end of the day if an artist is truly being them self, no one can replicate the life experiences expressed through the music–offering a genuine connection with and impact on the fans.

Early last month, we came across Happy Belated, the debut EP from DMV emcee Chaz French. From start to finish, it may be one of the most honest records we’ve ever heard and, for Chaz, has really proven the perfect way to connect with, and continue to expand, his rapidly growing fan base. At only 23, he has already gone through a plethora of relatable life experiences from spending time homeless to having his first child to grappling with his inner demons and every last ounce of it is poured out in his music. Through its broad range of emotions and a pronounced duality, Happy Belated is not only meaningful but also powerful in its ability to inspire listeners to stay true to themselves, embrace their flaws and fuel success through adversity.

We had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Chaz French in-depth about a variety of topics ranging from his relationship with fellow rising star GoldLink to inspirations to religion and, just as we expected, he kept it 100% real. Read this deeply personal conversation and grab a free download of Happy Belated below.

Download: Chaz French – Happy Belated

TMN: You just came off tour with GoldLink in his supporting role for SBTRKT. How quickly did that all come together?

Chaz French: Me and GoldLink are like brothers. So, a lot of the tour shit that happened with us was organic. He’s always trying to set me up. We’ve got another record that we did on his now project that I don’t think I can speak on but we performed that record in his set. And it just escalated from there so once the SBTRKT tour happened, it was like, “Come on brother.” I did a couple dates. It was fun.

TMN: I know that you grew up on Gospel music around the house. When did you first get introduced to hip-hop?

Chaz: I always looked at music videos and stuff but really was just listening to hip-hop because that’s what everyone else was doing.

One day, I was watching MTV or BET and I saw the Kanye “All Falls Down” video and I was like “Woah, who is that?” I knew Kanye West, but that song did a lot for me. It was just so honest. That was the first artist that really got to me. Then, when I first heard Kid Cudi, I was like “Oh my god, this is so next level.” Not even the fact that you don’t know if he’s a rapper or a singer, or even just his all aesthetic. But I’m just really into honesty and it was the whole honest music thing. Those two really did it.
And of course, old Lil Wayne like Da Drought 3. Then, when I moved to Texas, I gravitated to the whole down south, chopped & screwed movement. It was just so dope to see as far as unity and their whole movement.

TMN: When did you first start writing raps?

Chaz: I was real young. I started writing raps just as a release. It started out as boredom. I was alway on punishment, I was always in trouble as a younger Chaz French. So, I would just be bored and always in my room. I did a talent show in 9th grade and the reaction was great. I was like, “I could take this, foreal.” Then, I started going through actual things—life hit me. I wasn’t always this honest rapper, this open guy. When life finally hit me, which was around 17 or 18, I feel like that’s when I grew more as a person, but I became a better artist as well. And I didn’t even know it. The bullshit I went through when I was 17,18,19, I didn’t know it was bettering me for now. Continue reading

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[TMN Exclusive Interview] Giraffage on his New EP, Musical Inspirations and The Based God

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San Francisco producer Charlie Yin, aka Giraffagepaints a radiant, colorful picture through his music. As a true student of R&B (seriously, he remixed The-Dream‘s Love/Hate album in its entirety), he has crafted an experimental electronic sound with the perfect sensibility towards the hits of the 2000s. His latest EP, No Reason, has a notable depth and cohesion that feels playful and supremely soothing, yet fully dance-floor ready. With its lush melodies and sonic plot twists, the project awakens an encompassing range of emotions and senses making for more than just an auditory experience. In a way, the music feels like a physical place with its ability to transport the listener to a whole new dimension–something we all need some times.

We were lucky enough to pick Charlie’s brain with a few questions about his new project, musical inspirations and dream collaborations among other topics. Enjoy this fun conversation and stream his phenomenal EP below. No Reason is out now via the always on-point Fool’s Gold Records and is available for purchase via iTunes. Giraffage is also in the midst of an international tour–check his upcoming dates here

Giraffage
Hello

TMN: When did you first start making music? And was there a particular album, song or artist who really inspired you at that time? 

Giraffage: I started making music near the beginning of high school. At the time, I was really into pop-punk and technical math rock stuff.

TMN: One of your original monikers was Robot Science. Do you see that as an alter-ego (like Caribou v. Daphni) or was that just the original iteration of Giraffage? 

Giraffage: I saw that as a learning experience more than an alter-ego, a lot of songs were just so unpolished and poorly mixed. However it did help me learn the ins and outs of releasing songs to an audience. Robot Science still has a special place in my heart.
Giraffage
Tell Me

TMN: The prevalence of soul & 90s-early 2000s R&B in the current electronic music landscape across sub-genres is hard to ignore. Both more broadly and for yourself, what is it about those eras of music that you think has brought them back to the forefront?

Giraffage: I think a lot of big producers nowadays were growing up listening to that era of 2000s r&b. As a result, the influence definitely carried through. For me personally, even though I love pop music nowadays, I think pop music back then had a lot more catchy hooks and overall more clever songwriting and technicality to it. People are starting to appreciate musicianship and that kind of stuff more than ever these days.
Continue reading
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[TMN Exclusive Interview] Talking G-House, Touring and Dirtybird with Shiba San

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The Key Ft Kelis (Shiba San Remix)

House music, which far outdates EDM as a genre, has a pretty fascinating history continuing to redefine and segment itself with each new generation of music. Withstanding the test of time effortlessly, House music today maintains relevancy by sticking to its core vision–keeping a dance floor steady grooving all night. Few artists represent that spirit better than Parisian DJ/producer, Shiba San, an emerging force partially responsible for the prevalence of the hip-hop influenced subgenre, G-House. Building each song around an enormous bassline, Shiba truly engineers for the club making his live sets infectiously danceable, often outperforming headliners at major festivals. Casual fans may know him best for his addicting hit single, “Okay,” which found its way into the sets of DJs literally in every corner of the world, but Shiba has also built a dedicated following on his Soundcloud almost purely through the posting of his flawless sets, which include endless unreleased originals and remixes. As of late, though, he’s been unleashing full versions of these potent tracks as he prepare to release an EP next year.

We had a chance to catch up with Lord Shiba, as we like to call him, about his inspirations, favorite places to perform and his future plans with newly joined label Dirtybird Records. Check out the interview below and enjoy some of Shiba’s gems, including his most recent remix above, through out the article. If you have a chance to catch him live (upcoming dates here), we’d highly recommend copping a ticket and bringing all the turn-up available.

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 I Remember (Shiba San remix)

TMN: First of all, thanks so much for taking to time to answer some questions! How’s the road life treating you?

Shiba San: Tough!!!!! It’s obviously nice to travel all over the world, meet new people and discover new music but I’m not getting a lot of sleep!

TMN: What is your first musical memory?

SS: Classical Piano.

TMN: You started DJing at a pretty young age in Paris. At that time, what kind of music were you spinning and how did coming up in that unique scene shape your sound?

SS: I started with Chicago House, then got into Hip Hop. I was nuts about scratching.

TMN: Artists such as yourself, Amine Edge & Dance are really bringing G-House to the masses. For those not as familiar, how would you describe the sound you guys are developing? And what is your relationship like with the Cuff artists?

SS: Amine Edge & Dance invented G-House. I was interested because the mix of hip hop with Chicago house sounds was getting me back to my roots/first love. I don’t really know the other artists from Cuff, I only released one EP on Cuff. Amine Edge & Dance are great people, they are friends, I love what they do and the way they are.

Shiba San
West Side Connexion (2014 Remake)

TMN: As a fan of both genres, I always love to see the ways hip-hop production styles trickle into electronic music whether it be in dubstep, trap or, in your case, G-House. Who are some hip-hop producers and artists, past and present, that have been particularly influential in your sound?

SS: I’m not sure they influenced me but DJ Premier and Pete Rock are my all time favorites. But I would say that DJ Mustard is the closest to the G-House sound.

TMN: On a similar note, if you had an opportunity to do a full project with a contemporary emcee or hip-hop producer, who would it be?

SS: Drake, Jay Z or Rick Ross.

Shiba San
Okay (Preview)

TMN: I’m sure you get a question about “Okay” in just about every interview, but it really does a great job of capturing your sound with its fat bass line and minimalistic big-house sound. What is your approach when you sit down to create a track?

SS: I don’t have a particular approach. I basically turn on the computer and play what goes through my mind. Sometimes it’s cool, sometimes it’s not. I make it rest for 2 days, if I find it interesting I keep it, if not I throw it away.

TMN: “Okay” dropped as part of the Dirtybird BBQ compilation tape. What’s your relationship like with the Dirtybird team and how did it come about?

SS: I met Claude (Von Stroke) in Paris when “OKAY” was already #1, it consolidated our relationship (laughs). I met the other artists from Dirtybird at the Hard Day 0f the Dead Festival. It was great, I’m a fan of most of them. Justin Martin is an influence for me. He came to the party in SF when I was playing, it was really special. I love this label and the artists from the label. I’m very proud to be part of it.
Continue reading

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[Future] Mura Masa – Soundtrack To A Death (Album Review)

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... Girl
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Hell
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Bae

Back in April of 2013, we premiered  “Birdcage Chain,” a nuanced trap masterpiece that introduced us to then 16-year-old beatsmith, Mura Masa. Since the release of his impressive self-titled EP last year, the young UK producer has been evolving and expanding his style to encompass an unmatched repertoire of sounds and influences. After providing a few promising glimpses into his debut album recently, the now 18-year-old musician released his debut album yesterday.

Soundtrack To A Death serves as a fitting title for the project with each song representing a lifetime of its own only to be reincarnated with the next in a refreshing, yet unified manner. While the trap percussion undertones remain prevalent, their booming qualities are contrasted with a mix of gorgeous pianos and synths, unique eastern sounds, engineered electronic instrumentation and flawlessly placed vocal samples. It’s difficult to establish favorites on a project as complete as this one, but we’ve shared a few above that portray its diversity. “…Girl” may best capture Mura Masa’s musical genius as he takes a simple piano melody and builds a masterfully arranged tune that is versatile and endlessly addicting.

In listening to this album, you get the sense that Mura Masa creates meticulously, with attention to every detail and subtlety, resulting in a mind-altering, deeply emotional listening experience, which brings to mind artists like Flying Lotus and XXYYXX. Although “Future” has always seemed like a strange genre classification, Mura Masa truly pushes musical boundaries on this project taking the current direction of electronic music to a whole new level and, at only 18, he is quite literally the future. Soundtrack To A Death can be streamed in its entirety and purchased over at Bandcamp; and is also available on iTunes.

P.S. Hit the jump to see the epic video for “…Girl” and listen to Mura Masa’s remix of Aryay‘s “The Lawnmower,” which just won the official remix contest.

Continue reading

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[NEW] Pusha T – Lunch Money (prod. Kanye West)

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Pusha T
Lunch Money (Prod. Kanye West)

Pusha T has had one of the most interesting career trajectories in hip-hop–from legitimate dope dealer to half of one of the greatest hip-hop duos ever to a potent solo artist and Kanye West‘s go-to feature emcee. His debut solo album, My Name is My Name, cemented his relevancy in the current rap landscape with its ferocious lyricism, versatile storytelling and general crazy-eyed energy. Naturally, his work with his G.O.O.D. Music label-boss, Kanye West, has marked some of his most groundbreaking recent work (see: “Numbers on the Board”) and today we get another collaboration with the first single from his upcoming 2015 sophomore album, King Push, which is due out early next year.

“Lunch Money” sees West once again crafting an unorthodox, minimalistic instrumental for Push with a bubbling, looped pad and a stuttering sample reminiscent of some of the Neptunes productions from the Clipse days. As always, King Push brings the heat with lines like, “Shout out my Mac-11 mobsta/Grew up on Nintendo playing contra/and though that n***a only 5’9″/100 bodies on his timeline.” Eghk

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[House] Destructo – Dare You 2 Move (feat. Problem) (Shiba San Remix)

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Destructo feat Problem
Dare You 2 Move (Shiba San Remix)

Less than a week after unleashing the full version of  his epic “I Remember” re-work, Parisian G-House master, Shiba San, brings us yet another club-ready remix this time reimagining Destructo and Problem‘s already explosive “Dare You 2 Move.” In signature Shiba fashion, the rapidly rising producer strips the original down drawing attention to an enormous bass line while sprinkling Problem’s strategically through out. This cut exemplifies what makes Shiba San such a potent, high-energy performer. Turn your speakers all the way up and see for yourself above.

“Dare You 2 Move” is the most recent single off Destructo’s upcoming West Coast EP, which is due out on November 24th and can be pre-ordered here. Shiba San’s remix will be featured on the official remix EP for that project, out on December 9th.

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