[Hip-Hop] Frank Leone – Hometown Heroes (feat. FEMDOT)

FRANK LEONE
HOMETOWN HEROES (feat. FEMDOT)

The shit-stained footprint left by recent events has been looming heavy in the music world. Musicians, as they have been known to do, are using their unique medium to birth subversive, socially-charged anthems to reflect the times. However, just as with any music, certain songs resonate with each of us individually more than others. For example, “Drowning” by Mick Jenkins can bring me to tears but it may have a completely different perception in another’s eyes.

Earlier this week, I found what may be my favorite work in that vein–Frank Leone Femdots “Hometown Heroes.” Often times in rap collaboration, verses feel competitive but, in this case, the two Chicago emcees complement each other flawlessly: each telling a different story and the same one simultaneously. While the lyrics truly do express the burden of oppression, it is the recognition that it is a shared one that makes it so poignant.

As an Arab-American raised in a Muslim household, I was personally moved by FEMDOT’s verse, but Frank’s opening verse only crystallizes further in the context. The song’s ability to encompass women’s rights, LGBT rights, the abhorrent prison system and fear of immigrants presents a truly united front–showing that the youth really are aware and ready to act for change.

It’s a bit easier to show than tell in this case, so I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite bars below.

call another little boy a faggot, i’ma beat your mouth in – Frank Leone

I couldn’t love this more–the redirection of perceived anger and aggression within rap music subverts stereotypes without even trying. Straight from the heart. 

Shit, our president is orange…and I’ll be God damned if I’m registered for not being Christian -FEMDOT

Yet another defiant declaration against something that is inching, faster than I’d like, towards reality.

Check out what Frank had to say below and give it a spin above. If the song hits 10k plays, he’ll be putting out a free download so make sure to share if you’re digging it!

 The song is a left brain reaction to our country’s public change of face through both a rural white & black Islamic Chicago lens.-Frank Leone

 

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[R&B/Hip-Hop] Jaalid – Rogue (feat. Guepy Georges)

Jaalid
Rogue (feat. Guepy Georges)

Litt Music jumped behind a solid record from the Boston artist Jaalid. Together with Guepy Georges, “Rogue” was created. This R&B meets hip-hop jam is just what many listeners are looking for. With Drake changing the game, a ton of people are trying to flex this type of music, but not all can do it as well as Jaalid.

“Rogue” is one of those songs you put on repeat without thinking twice about it. By the second time through you already know the lyrics and are happy to sing along, even if your voice is less than satisfactory. Jaalid and Guepy Georges whisk you away on a smooth ride that never gets old. From the captivating instrumental to every syllable, “Rogue” has what it takes to make a big impact in hip-hop. Give it a chance, you won’t regret it. Head on over to iTunes for a copy as well!

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Hajj – Pay Homage (Prod. by Sam Paye) [TMN Premiere]

Hajj
Pay Homage (Prod. by Sam Paye)

Sometimes, like today, we get the opportunity to share with you music that isn’t out yet. With regard to “Pay Homage” by Seattle’s Hajj & Sam Paye, it doesn’t come out in full until Tuesday, but we wanted to give you all an early listen to this hip-hop homage.

Since rap was created, there have been countless names that have made their mark. With “Pays Homage,” Hajj dives into his list of influencers to pay his respect to those that came before him from Tupac, to Wu Tang Clan to the Bay Area legend Mac Dre. Sam Paye produced this edgy, vibrant record. There’s a lot of hip-hop at the forefront that doesn’t show love to the emcees of the past, so it’s nice to see that someone taking charge to do so with intelligence and fervor.

Not only does Hajj get into the past with hip-hop history, but he ties in his respect for leaders including Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X. With the current state of American politics, lines like “I know tomorrow ain’t promised” is representative of how many individuals feel. Only so much control is in one’s hands, so together Hajj and Sam Paye “Pay Homage” and let everyone else know (including contemporary rappers) that they aren’t afraid to come out swinging. Get your first listen today and ready yourself for the release on Tuesday through Bomb Recordings.

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[House] A Tribe Called Quest – Electric Relaxation (T4PES X Nick AM Edit)

ATCQ
Electric Relaxation (T4PES X Nick AM Edit)

Remixing A Tribe Called Quest is a tall order. You’ll need to bring your best, but as it turns out, Nick AM and T4PES did exactly that. These two managed to flip a hip-hop classic into a bounce-riddled house tune that would be difficult to distinguish from a KAYTRANADA edit. It feels like a completely natural progression, doesn’t overshadow the original, and maintains the funk that ATCQ has been priding themselves on for just about three decades now. Some may be hesitant about remixing staples such as this, but there’s no need to sweat because this duo simply smashed it. Enjoy a free download, get grooving immediately, and as always, RIP Phife.

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[Hip-Hop] Kaiydo – Jumpin (Prod. By Josh December)

Kaiydo
Jumpin (Prod By Josh December)

After dropping a song that even Kate Hudson was bumping, Kaiydo is setting himself up for a massive 2017. You may know him from “Fruit Punch”, but his new tune flips the script yet again for the versatile young artist into a slight throwback sound that’s once again orchestrated by his partner-in-crime, Josh December. It comes as no surprise that he’s already playing festivals like Governors Ball, and this kid has nowhere to go but up from here. Throwing on “Jumpin'” at your next party is a guaranteed win, and if you missed out on his Colors & Sounds project, you’ll want to catch up immediately. Keep your week moving in the right direction with new Kaiydo and be ready for his debut mixtape Kartoons on the way!

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[Hip-Hop] Charles Jane LaFlare – 50 Shades of Jane

Charles Jane LaFlare
Fifty Shades Of Jane (prod. Johnytiger)

There’s a new wave moving through Miami, a one-of-a-kind cut “50 Shades of Jane” courtesy of a first-class future music odd couple – the braggadocious R&B singer/songwriter Charles Jane LaFlare and the grungy, admittedly anti-social beat architect Johnytiger.

Though their collision on this track is potent, these Magic City natives appear to come from disparate backgrounds. Johnytiger gets out there on production, filtering wrecking guitar chords, 808 drums, and wide, low synthesizers through a grunge aesthetic. In fact, Johnytiger plays guitar with the durable hardcore band I Set My Friends On Fire. We were delightfully surprised to hear him cook up a saucy wave beat for LaFlare, an up-and-coming glamorous R&B cat who can really turn a phrase.

“You know I’m a savage / Why you flexing on me like you think you have it?” asks LaFlare. We’re not, you have it, guy. The back end of the tune gets dirty, with the white noise dropping off and LaFlare rhyming assertively over pure bass and drums, with a sardonic sampled vocal leading the track to its conclusion. I can’t remember hearing high-pitched, higher energy, innuendo-laced R&B rhymes over an electronically constructed quasi-rock song before, but I’m damn glad I heard it today.

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[Album Review] Kiante Robinson – Love For Rap, Rap For Love

Kiante Robinson is up next from New York with his first mixtape Love For Rap, Rap For Love. With authenticity and lyrical precision, the young Bronxite presents vivid tales and relatable tribulations from his life, along with a few ill boasts and party jams. In the new horizontal musical culture, it’s becoming slightly easier for a kid with skill and drive to get recognized in the rap game without the patronage of a major music label. Mr. Robinson, whose tape is out thanks to Gold Expectations, shows ample amounts of both.

Right off the rip, Robinson demonstrates his poetic prowess while offering advice only a fellow NYC youth could understand.

This that mood music / when you gettin’ pushed, homie, this that pull through it / I made this for that kid sittin in the school clueless / you ain’t gotta know what they know, that’s from a true truant

This tune, “Intro”, sets the tone for the tape – complex rhymes that ultimately relate simple truths. Kiante encourages his listeners to follows their dreams, use their minds, and rap for love, not for attention. He’s rapping about what he knows, not what’s popular or cool, and that’s what makes this tape so cool. The kid radiates realness. In a rap game where hot new artists spend so much time talking about and cultivating their image but can barely freestyle, “Love For Rap” is as refreshing as a bottle of beer from a bodega on a summer day.

The beats, more lo-fi boom-bap than 808 trap and covered in stylish samples, give the tape a vintage vibe. He pays respect to the greats, memorializing Phife Dawg at the beginning of “Move Along”, and naming a tune after Lauryn Hill. The final track, “#Win”, makes use of a classic soul sample “You Can’t Blame Me” by Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum & Burr, again paying homage to the past. “I wanna see my community win … if you fall, pursue it again.”

The tape’s first single, “Greatest of My Time” is rare braggadocio from someone who “don’t like to brag a lot”. That single has racked up over 2.5 million plays on Soundcloud. With Kiante’s words flowing like water over a true head-bopping beat, it’s easy to hear why this cut is finding favor. With little marketing or promo, no major record deal or co-sign, Kiante is simply showing and proving. A quick lyric from “Move Along” helps to illustrate the community Kiante comes from.

Always close to the cliff, but no big step off / it’s hard growing up watching all the rich get more / takin’ his and yours to make the kids less poor / bad parents but we ain’t jealous of the kids next door

The triplet rhymes run throughout the album. His syntax spills out so quickly sometimes that one needs two or three plays to get the full spectrum of what he’s saying.

The sheer density of his lyrics stands out in a hip-hop scene which has been putting greater and greater emphasis on intricate production and catchy hooks. Passing on these trends, he reminds us of Dave East, another true MC with lighting quick lyricism out of New York City.

“There’s something deeper in the music / but you gotta listen to find it,” Kiante says on “Level Headed”. That’s just how we like it, Mr. Robinson, and we’ll be listening for a long time to come. Grab your free download of this fantastic hip-hop music here.

’Intro’
’Soon As We Enter’
’Kiante Robinson – Poetry (Featuring Taina Rain)’
’You, You & You’
’Dreams’
’Intermission’
’Kiante Robinson – Greatest Of My Time’
’Move Along’
’Level Headed’
’Kiante Robinson – Lauryn Hill’
’Kiante Robinson – #Win’
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