[Folk] Bruno Merz – Departing From Crowds


There’s some stuff I’ll admit to and some stuff I won’t: I’ll admit that I cry at movies. I’ll admit that I will often think for more than a second about shoe selection while picking out an outfit (most dudes don’t). But until today, I would not have admitted that I got choked up listening to music. Well, Bruno Merz’ Departing From Crowds is a great way for me to come clean with myself. This album had me fighting back the vapors, lemme tell ya…

Shut up. I lift weights and watch football, too! Well, except for the last part.

Anyway, Merz clearly studied up on his Nick Drake while crafting his songs, but Departing From Crowds seems somehow more approachable than Drake and artists like him. The content of the lyrics is simple, reassuring, grateful and soothing. Instrumentally you can expect the inclusion of guitars, banjos and some piano, simply and skillfully employed.

The first track “When You Found Me,” is a tear-jerker but not in a sappy, sentimental, Nicholas Sparks kind of way. The utterance of “when you found me/I never knew that I deserved you” is one of the simplest but most profound and moving lines I’ve heard in music. Anyone who has found the love of his/her life knows exactly what the singer means. The instrumentals are simple and thoughtful with some eloquent piano additions. This will be played at many a wedding.

“The Nine Sixteen,” is folkier than the others on the album. There’s a distinct bluegrass feel with the addition of of the banjo plucking over the chords of the guitar. The lyrics questioning “where is home?” is essential folk, but it’s inserted so smoothly into the song that one doesn’t feel beat over the head with the genre.

This is a good one–not just for making a playlist for that gal you’re crushing on (quite good for that though, fellas)–but as an example of well done music. Take a listen to these couple tracks and add Merz to your “must haves” in folk.

When You Found Me
For You Now
Home Soon
Nine Sixteen
Crossing Borders
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The Hip-Hop Dojo [Vol. 14]

TMN Hip Hop Dojo 2

After way too many delays, I finally present to you the fourteenth edition of The Hip-Hop Dojo. These playlists keep getting larger and larger, which is really a good sign for the state of hip-hop, as it means there’s way too much quality material for me to even sort through on a weekly basis. Like a trooper though, I’ve powered through to bring you some of the best the game has to offer. We have quite the eclectic group here for you, with a few artists showing off their versatility by making repeat appearances throughout the playlist. Among them are returning veterans like Chance The RapperHit-Boy, Alchemist, Action Bronson, and Domo Genesis as well as newcomer, Sean Dee. Hit-Boy in particular had a strong showing this week, tackling some recent singles from two of his favorite idols. For his first effort, Hit-Boy recruits Rockie Fresh to aid him with a remix of Jay-Z‘s “Somewhere In America.” While Jay’s line about Miley Cyrus had everyone in stitches, I have to say Rockie’s little jab at Amanda Bynes might actually be just as clever. On the second cut, Hit-Boy puts his own stamp on Kanye’s “New Slaves,” flashing his shiny “New Chains” for the whole world to see. It’ll be interesting to see what Hit-Boy has ahead of him now that he’s officially parted ways with G.O.O.D. Music.

Leading off this week’s lineup is one of my absolute favorite groups from the 90′s, Camp Lo, who team up with Pete Rock and Mac Miller for a fun little ode to the always alluring Megan GoodAlchemist came through this week as well, releasing a mini-EP in collaboration with streetwear company SSUR, featuring the likes of Freddie Gibbs, Domo Genesis, Action Bronson, Blu and more. If I had to base my decision on production alone, then the dreamy soundscape on Na$im Williams‘ “61 Lilies” would be a lock for the top honors this week. Luckily, each emcee that touches the record has the bars to match. Devin Miles reminds us of at least one reason why summertime happens to be the most beloved of all seasons through his latest single (hint: it has something to do with “Sundresses”). Bishop Nehru recently dropped off one of the most impressive mixtapes of the year with strictlyFLOWZ. We’ve only provided you with a small bite here, but we’d like to think that at only 16 years old, it’s pretty evident that Nehru has a bright future ahead of him.

With the feverish temperatures escalating throughout the country, it’s only appropriate that Ibn Inglor would come through with a furious “COLD STORM” to help rescue us from this blistering heat. If Cazzie Jetson sounds familiar to you at all, it’s probably because he constitutes 1/3 of TMN favorite, THEBLKHANDS. Cazzie brings that same focus and dedication to quality to his solo effort, “$eminole.” Jarred A.G. and Dally Auston continue to show off why Chicago is one of the preeminent cities for hip-hop at the moment, ruthlessly shredding apart this C-Sick produced number like the “Barbarians” they claim to be. Meanwhile, Da YoungFellaz display why they’ve been a constant staple on these pages over the last few weeks with yet another excellent single in “Presidential Rolex.”

Words cannot describe my excitement when I first discovered Atmosphere‘s new single, “Bob Seger.” While the title may seem odd at first, it has plenty to do with this exchange right here. I guess Slug draws his inspiration from Twitter now. With a rumored seventh studio album in the works, we’re hoping “Bob Seger” is just a taste of what’s to come from one of the most accomplished hip-hop acts of the last fifteen years. Speaking of accomplished underground artists, Tech N9ne surprises us with one of his most personal tracks to date, addressing much of the criticism he’s received towards his art, and how he handles it. It doesn’t hurt that he gets a fiery new verse from Kendrick Lamar too.

If you need any more convincing that MeLo-X is one of the illest emcees doing it right now, look no further than “Natural Vibez,” which is equal parts chill-out anthem and equal parts trunk rattler. In case you missed it, check out MeLo’s terrific GOD: HiFi project; it’s an absolutely must listen. Chance The Rapper isn’t quite done with the acid rap, teaming up with ProbCause to bring us a trippy new ode to “LSD.”  It’s a well known fact that Space Jam is easily one of the greatest films ever made (anyone who tries to argue this just doesn’t understand modern cinema), so when I saw this single from Audio Push appealing to my nostalgia, I just had to press play. Sampling a portion of the classic theme song, the West Coast duo transforms the hyped up tune into a certified dance floor anthem.

We hope you guys enjoyed our fourteenth edition of The Hip-Hop Dojo as much as we did! As always, you can send all submissions/suggestions to baseer@themusicninja.com.


Camp Lo & Pete Rock
Megan Good Ft.Mac Miller
Camp Registration feat Step Brothers, Action Bronson, Blu & Domo Genesis
Tesla feat Domo Genesis, Freddie Gibbs & Hodgy Beats
Na$im Williams
61 Lilies feat. Scheme, Doc, & Sulaiman
I Remember
Dark Knights featuring Wale
Devin Miles
Bishop Nehru
Mobb Dizzle
Joey Bada$$
Norwegian Breakfast
Sean Dee
Kami de Chukwu
Wont Not.
Mickalas Cage
Cross Roads ft. Chance The Rapper & Vic Mensa
Martin $ky
Ibn Inglor
COLD STORM (prod. Mhone Glor)
Ken Rebel
Rebel Life (Remix) Feat. Brandun DeShay
Cazzie Jetson
Snoop Dogg
Passenger Seat (Prod. Cardo)
I Cant Stop
Dom Kennedy
Erica Part 1 (Prod. by Lord Quest)
Jarred A.G.
BARBARIANS ft. Dally Auston (Prod. C Sick)
Willie The Kid
Medusa feat. Action Bronson & Roc Marciano
The Procussions
Fall to Fly
True 2 Life Music
 We Go
Da YoungFellaz
Presidential Rolex (feat. Kepstar & DeVo D)
The Underachievers
The Proclamation
Blame One & J57
B.L.A.M.E.57 (featuring DJ Rhettmatic)
Wake Up Feat. Andy Gruhin, Scolla & THURZ
Hit Boy
SomeWhereInAmerica (Remix) Feat. Rockie Fresh
Bob Seger
Archie Bang
Blasphemy (prod. By 12 Keyz)
Tech N9ne
Fragile feat. Kendrick Lamar, ¡MAYDAY! and Kendall Morgan
Doley Bernays
Till We Fall
Hayk x dFresh
Elevate (prod. Mike C)
Kings Dead
Honest Abe
MeLo X
Natural Vibez (Prod. Tom Richman)
LSD ft. Chance The Rapper
Sean Dee
Bow and Arrows (Feat. Anna Yvette)
Audio Push
Space Jam ft. Lil Wayne
Makin Papers ft. Lupe Fiasco, Snow Da Product & Too $hort
DJ Katch feat. Izza Kizza
Let Me In
All My N*ggas featuring Danny Brown & Schoolboy Q
Hit Boy
New Chains (James Sommerset)
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[Remix] Kavinsky – Odd Look (Feat. The Weeknd)

Odd Look (Remix) feat. The Weeknd

Seeing Kavinsky and The Weeknd together on one track may seem like an “Odd Look” to you, but once you press play you’ll realize it’s a natural fit. While Kavinsky’s latest single has already been remixed by the likes of A-Trak and Surkin, it can be argued that this version is the finest endeavor of them all. Abel’s sumptuous falsetto glides seamlessly over the French producer’s 80′s inspired retro-futuristic electro-pop sound. This track, along with the two others, will be packaged together in Kavinsky’s Odd Look EP, due for release this Tuesday, July 23rd. If you still can’t get enough of Kavinsky though, I suggest checking out his peculiar self-titled mobile game, which is surprisingly fun to play.

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[Trap] LifeAlert – Catharsis

LifeAlert Populous Control

Friday evening is upon us, and just in case the new Baauer track and Clayton’s Friday Party Playlist somehow weren’t enough to kick things off, we’ve got you covered with another weekend-ready track from a brand new artist. Ninjas, meet LifeAlert, a Bay Area-based production duo consisting of Evol R and Spac3 Monk3y. Their productions can be most closely associated with EDM trap, but hold a distinctively west coast hip-hop feel to them that helps distinguish them from the seemingly endless producers in the genre.

“Catharsis” captures your attention immediately with an addicting, high-pitched synth melody before breaking down to the point that you almost lose interest. Just as your attention begins to waiver, the beat draws you right back in to the point that you will probably want to listen again. Enjoy this track above and look our for the duo’s upcoming debut EP, Populous Control, which they will be releasing via their FB Page on July 21st. Happy weekend ninjas!

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[Indie] Me Like Bees – The Ides


Indie rock bands are a dime a dozen now-a-days, and that’s great. The grass roots music reviewer (eh hem, yours truly) is enthusiastic about this as it gives him something to do and also contributes to the diversity of music available for the consumer.

But the wading through new bands can be a tedious task as bands fine tune their sound, experiment, flop, fail, rework and finally succeed. I’m not sure what stage of the game Me Like Bees is in, but their album The Ides is an indie album that stands out. With asymmetrical song structures that can abruptly go from bouncy and light, to slow and heavy and back again, the listener is rewarded with an experience that is anything but dull. The vocals are also notable in their…strangeness? Lead vocalist Luke Sheafer has emotionally loaded and often cryptic lyrics that are sung in a strained fashion, as if the lead singer is about to burst into manic screams at any moment: and in some moments, he does just that! It works extremely well with the sharp changes in virtually all the songs on the album.

The first track, “Brand New Fall,” gives a suitable introduction to the album with a slow and measured opening. Just when the listener is convinced he/she’s in for a lilting lullaby, the drums begin a slow build up to a pop beat that explodes at the end with Sheafers fevered exclamations.

“Naked Trees” starts off with a bouncy baseline and top shelf drumming, accented by charged vocals. The tune hops along (the chorus is something like “Le-lu, le-lu, le-lu-lelu”) and then suddenly bursts into a stomping, crunchy rock song, then with the flip of a switch, goes back into the bouncy chorus.

“Pneumonia” starts slowly with simple strumming and softly sung vocals that pick up to another bouncing indie pop song–then suddenly switches to a slow, throbbing tune–then back to the slow origins of the song.

Me Like Bees isn’t a band for everyone, but it’s a band for me. There’s some solid, thoughtful and creative songwriting going on here that is a great change of pace (no pun intended). Check out their stuff here and enjoy something that will keep you guessing.

Brand New Fall
Naked Trees
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[Get Crunk] Clayton’s Friday Party Playlist #60


Hey hey Ninjas! Once again we find ourselves counting down the hours to that glorious moment when we can throw up our hands and exclaim, “it’s the weekend!” While it might not be quite that time just yet, know that it’s close. And know that we have some dance inducing tracks to really ramp up your Friday night activities. So, press play and get going already!


Side note: Shout out to the ever so handsome Victor Niglio for helping me select some of these tracks. If handsome were population, he’d be China.

Martin Garrix
Animals (Milk N Cookies Festival Remix)
Tom Ford (Nemysis Edit)
CROWN Ft Mike Posner & Boaz Van De Beatz & Riff Raff
Ace Hood
Bugatti (Diamond Pistols Unoriginal Mix)
AC Slater
Out Here
Jennifer Lopez Feat. Pitbull
Live it Up (Ahzee Remix)
Rick James
Super Freak (Kastra Remix)
Case & Point
RAT vs Julian Dtch Bootleg
I Could Be The One To Follow
Showtek & Noisecontrollers Feat. Dada Life
Get Your Happy Violence (Leo Laurettis Mashup)
Tiesto & Dyro vs. Imogen Heap
Hide And Seek In Paradise (Julian Dtch! Vs. Otto Knows Bootleg)
Serenity (Original Mix)
Gazzo feat. Farewell Luna
Inspire (Original Mix)
Mumford and Sons
Little Lion Man (Filtercrush Remix)
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[Rock] Wild Combination – Goodbye Drive

Wild Combination
Goodbye Drive

Back in June we had the pleasure of Wild Combination grace our ears with “Whole Lotta Truth.” Today we have the pleasure of bringing you their latest release, “Goodbye Drive.” Long gone are the poppy, warm weather vibes and in their stead we find driving guitar riffs and ominous at time vocals. While the band still maintains their infectious pop structure, but their sound is rich with a certain maturity that we’re used to hearing from bands like Silversun Pickups.

This track is going to be a free download available on their website as of…oh, right now. :)

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