[Hip-Hop] Lucki Eck$ – Finesse (Prod. Skywlkr)

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Lucki Eck$
Finesse (prod. SKYWLKR)

Last summer, Chi-town emcee Lucki Eck$ dropped his debut mixtape, Alternative Trap, a hazy, collection of songs that caught the attention of the hip-hop blogosphere and earned him a dedicated following. Although his brand of rhymes is not particularly original in subject matter, generally covering drug consumption/distribution and women, Lucki’s approach provides new layers of depth far more focused on his psyche than the boastful repetition that has become the rap industry standard.

Gearing up for his sophomore project, Body High, the young artist took to Twitter to release an early glimpse into the project. The appropriately titled “Finesse” features ethereal production from regular Danny Brown collaborator, Skywlkr, over which Eck$ spits his signature subtle, druggy delivery. Zone out to this one above and keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming mixtape due out on July 18th–you won’t want to sleep on Lucki.

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The Evolution of Asher Roth [TMN Exclusive Interview]

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Asher Paul Roth
Tangerine Girl (prod. Blended Babies)

For about as long as the arts have existed, creative individuals have been forced to toe the line between commercial success and unrestricted artistic freedom. In contemporary music, going too far in one direction leads to the label of “sell out,” while the other end of the spectrum is categorized as “too experimental”–it is a nearly impossible balance to achieve.

In 2009, a 24-year old Asher Roth released a song titled “I Love College” that catapulted him into the mainstream placing him squarely at this intersection. With a record deal in place, everything was set for Roth to reach material success as long as he was willing to concede that releases like his first big hit were definitive of him as a musician. Five years later, Asher independently released his first studio album since 2009, RetroHash, and it is truly a reflection of the creative, liberating journey he has taken since his initial success. The genre-encompassing project, filled with positive summer vibes, captures the incredible energy of a spirit freed. We were lucky enough to chat with Asher Roth, someone who has decided to pave his own path, about his truly fascinating evolution, both as a person and an artist. Grab a copy of RetroHash on iTunes and check out Asher’s upcoming tour dates on his website.

TMN: First of all, thanks so much for taking the time to chat today. I’m really looking forward to this conversation because, to be honest, I listened to RetroHash when it first dropped and it kind of blew me away in terms what you did with it and how you’ve grown as an artist.

Asher Roth: Very cool, man. Thank you.

TMN: So, let’s rewind a few years back because you’ve had such a unique career trajectory—I hear you describe it as a ’Benjamin Button experience.’ Take us back to when you first linked up with Scooter [Braun] and just how fast everything happened leading up to the release of Asleep in the Bread Aisle?

Asher: I just remember when Scooter called [Tom] Boyd, who’s a close friend, and we had a Facebook fan page with like 40 people on there and Boyd had his number on there. [Scooter] called him saying, “This is the most important phone call your boy’s every going to get.” You know Boyd runs over and we started talking. Anybody that knows Scooter knows he’s a talker—he’s a charming young man. So, next thing you know, we had moved ourselves down to Atlanta. And that’s literally what it felt like, you know. After that conversation, Boyder, myself and Brain [Bangley] moved ourselves down to Atlanta to be in it and amongst it. Because as fun and loving as Westchester is, and Pennsylvania in general, to really kind of do it you have to immerse yourself in it. So we moved ourselves down to Atlanta, put together The GreenHouse Effect mixtape, and kind of on the tail of that mixtape, ‘I Love College’ was written and put out on MySpace.

No album was in the works—it wasn’t like we had a whole album together and ‘I Love College’ was going to be the first single. With that record we were like, “yeah, it’s cute. This is fun and all, but this song sucks. you know what I mean?” [Laughs] It just blew up and that’s when I ended up linking with my buddy Orin (of Blended Babies]. And just trying to make sense of ‘I Love College’ and build an album around it which ultimately became Asleep in the Bread Aisle. And, you know, as that happened, I dealt with some politics through the Universal system with that album. I felt like I made a “responsible record.” We did the best we could do with the hand we were dealt. Just a lot of the promises and expectations, from a structure standpoint, didn’t get met. And that was my first red flag of, “this is an interesting business.”

So, my next step after that was Seared Foie Gras with Quince & Cranberry because I was starting to see the perspective that people didn’t really know me.

I was polarized because of one record and people were like, “that’s who Asher is.” And I hadn’t actually had a proper introduction. First impressions are everything, and for me, it has been quite the journey of properly introducing myself rather than, you know, one side of me. I don’t know many people that don’t like to have a drink, and dance, and be around females, and have a good time. But to say that’s all somebody is—for someone who wants to be here, and isn’t necessarily trying to cash out on the music business, but more so be appreciative of the opportunity to make music—it stung a little bit. So, ever since then, I’ve wanted to step back from the business side of things and make music that felt right.

TMN: Back to the present, RetroHash is your first studio album since Asleep in the Bread Aisle, and the career moves in that time have been insane. You signed with David Sitek’s Federal Prism

Asher: You know, that actually didn’t it happen—it got falsely reported. Dave Sitek is the homie, I love that dude. We did ‘Apples and Bananas’ together, and we released that as a single. For some reason, it got reported that we were putting out a whole album together. Dave Sitek is a close homie, we definitely make music together, but RetroHash was self-released.

TMN: Ah, I did not know that. I’m glad you clarified, because the internet is completely misinformed on that one (Roth was listed on Federal Prism’s roster on their website). Everywhere I looked, it said that was the label.

Asher: Yeah, it’s a trip that you can go on someone’s Wikipedia and it can be actually wrong! [Laughs]

TMN: As far as releasing an album independently, what was it like in terms of the creative control you got as compared with when you working on Asleep in the Bread Aisle? Like you said, it was kind of a safer record. How did that impact the sound of your music and the comfortability in the studio?

 Asher: Ah dude, it was awesome. And its not like we ever felt like we were making an album, you know what I mean? It’s not like we were like, “what’s the single going to be,” or “let’s write a song for the girls.” That never happened. We were just making music, we had pillars and were like, “this is cool, that’s cool. Let’s keep going.” Next thing we knew, we had a batch of songs and we just wanted to put them out. People have kind of been like, “where’ve you been for the last five years?” And, truth be told, I’ve been untangling myself from this web. Instead of digging ourselves in deeper and trying to fulfill contracts, I’ve kind of been patient, asked nicely, been very respectful. I didn’t shit on anybody on the way up and I didn’t shit on anybody on the way down. When it got down to the point when it was like, “Asher do you know what you want to do,” I said, “Yes, I’d just like to leave my contract and wipe the slate clean.” And I feel like musically as well, RetroHash has let me do that.
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Kawehi – Anthem [TMN PREMIERE]

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Kawehi
ANTHEM

Photo Credit: Michael Lerner

If you want something done right, do it yourself. No one knows the truth of that statement more than Hawaiian solo artist, Kawehi.

Coming off of the blazing hot coattails of her viral video cover of “Heart Shaped Box,” originally crafted by the legendary Seattle grunge rock outfit, Nirvana, this young lady is ready to make an even bigger splash in the music industry with the release of some original materials. Backed by a solid Kickstarter fund (created after the enormous wake of her viral video stardom), Kawehi has been quietly working on a brand new EP, “Robot Heart,” which has it’s debut single premiering here on TMN.

Armed with only the gifts that god gave her (and a few musical inventions that help her do this on her own) she creates everything in her music. Beatboxing to create a percussion, laying down ethereal vocals, playing guitar, playing keyboards…all of these are done entirely by her, and we couldn’t be more excited that she chose that route.

When we asked her about this song, and especially about her seemingly spiritualistic lyrical representaition, she had this to say:

I realized after writing the songs for Robot Heart, they were all about ripping out people’s hearts! So I wrote ‘Anthem’ as a positive end to the EP – as a reminder that yeah, we can be assholes at times – but as a race, we are in charge of our own lives – and ultimately we can make a difference in the lives of others through generosity and compassion.

I believe in you – you are the answer, you are the truth – so whatcha gonna do?

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[NEW] Jeezy & Jay Z – Seen It All (Prod. Cardo)

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Jeezy & Jay-Z
Seen It All

When you’ve been in the game as long as Jeezy and Jay Z have, chances are you’ve already “Seen It All.” Despite their differing styles, Jeezy and Hov have always shared an undeniable chemistry together, and throughout the years have often challenged each other to stay on their toes as they rip through each record. This song is no different, finding the talented emcees in peak form as they trade eloquent bars about their street upbringing over some banging Cardo production. Originally recorded during the sessions for Magna Carta Holy Grail, the single finds a new home as the title track off of Jeezy’s upcoming fifth studio album, set to drop on September 2nd.

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[Event Preview] Take 2 Entertainment Presents: Boatylicious

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Grab the sun tan lotion and throw on your bathing suits everyone, because Boatylicious is back again this year and hotter than ever! Brought to you by Take 2 Entertainment, Boatylicious is set to depart from the docks of Long Beach, CA on July 5th at 6 PM. Celebrating its 1 year anniversary on 4th of July weekend, Boatylicious is bound to make us all wanna go bump in the night. This year’s line-up is stacked with some of the spiciest talent out there, such as: Yolanda Be Cool, Moon Boots, Sam Hiller, Kid B, Ruby SparksaRod, and The Interns. The triple-decker boat will have both an indoor and outdoor stage, which should create a more intimate vibe that’s strong enough to get everyone out on the dance floor and ready to groove the night away. If this doesn’t sound like the perfect way to celebrate your 4th of July weekend, then we might ask you to re-evaluate your idea of fun.

If you are stationed in the Los Angeles area, and want to attend a party before the party actually starts, then you’re in luck because Take 2 Entertainment is bringing back the party buses – and this time with 2! The buses will only be able to hold 54 people, so make sure to book your ticket and get groovin’ before anyone else. For more information about pick-up locations, check out Take 2 Entertainment online.

If you’re down to party with good music and people, all while cruising around the Long Beach harbor on a boat, then Boatylicious is calling you! Get your tickets today before it sells out. See you ninjas on the deck.

Moon Boots
Whatever You Need
Yolanda Be Cool
Cause I Like It (Original Mix)
Case Of The Ex (Ruby Sparks & Shiny Remix)
AROD & BONES
Holidaze 2013 Mix
Kid B
dope vol. 4
The Interns
Lunch Break Vol. 7
Control Radio 065
Mixed By Sam Hiller

Check out last year’s Boatylicious adventure in this re-cap video after the jump: Continue reading

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[Rap & Bass] Daytrip – Drop It (Kingston) [feat. 77Klash, Lil Silk, Yung Burrakami]

Daytrip - Drop It
Daytrip
Drop It (Kingston) [feat. 77Klash, Lil Silk, Yung Burrakami]

We have been waiting on a new song from Daytrip since they put out Flight 43. The bass on this song is ridiculous, the vocals are stellar, and of course you wouldn’t know this song is legit unless you see comments from Lippy Lemur. I hope the duo from New York, Daytrip, drops down to Kingston more, because I’m loving the island vibes on this. Whether it’s a dancehall-esque tune, or a future bass track like Flight 43, we are excited to hear more from Daytrip!

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[Hip-Hop] Mac Miller – Melt (feat. ScHoolboy Q) (prod. Pete Rock)

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Mac Miller
Melt (feat. ScHoolboy Q) (prod. Pete Rock)
Mac Miller
The Star Room  (OG VERSION)

Mac Miller took to his twitter a few minutes ago to casually let loose an incredible previously unreleased cut that features production from the legendary Pete Rock and a ScHoolboy Q guest verse. “Melt” has a jazzy summer groove to it with layered piano melodies, an addicting bassline and a humming vocal loop. Mac’s goofy flow shines over the lush backdrop and, although we are not accustomed to laid back verses from Q, the TDE emcee switches things up for some smooth, creative bars.

Mac’s most recent album, Watching Movies With the Sound Offwas released exactly a year ago and the SoundCloud description for “Melt” reads ‘movies we didn’t watch’ suggesting it just missed the cut for that project. Earlier today, as further celebration of the album anniversary, Mac also released the original version of the opening song“The Star Room,” which strips down the production completely transforming its tone into a relaxed, introspective one. Check out both of these unique, surprise releases above.

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