Sep 16, 2019

Album Review: Suburbia EP - @DrewTheRecluse

Drew the Recluse is a real life Swiss army knife and chameleon. He sings, he raps, he rages, and he books a lot of local shows. I often find myself asking the same question about artists who struggle identifying themselves and their sound:

The tweet was a complaint but not one about the Black Suburbia artist. We all know singers who rap and rappers who sing, but there's not many do both at the SAME clip. When you see a set from Drew you may see him sing more of his R&B, Pop or Alternative songs but I've also heard Drew bars that have made me make a stink face. Which route does Suburbia EP take? Let's get to it.

I won't be before you long as Drew has made my job easy today. Suburbia is only a ten minute listen. Four tracks and one of them is a 2.7 second intro. That introduction appeals to our senses with ambient natural sound of what I could imagine to be the cul-de-sac that is the album art. Pictures say a thousand words but the audio definite adds a thousand more. I enjoyed the mix because it crossfades into Survive so smoothly. I hate making artist comparisons but Survive sounds like a song Kid Cudi would sing if he were as good a vocalist as Drew. The feel of the music gets a little darker with the next track Everytime. After the trap 808s and hi-hats intro us in, Drew comes in with a more aggressive 16. 

"I've been accustomed to casual lust on a Sunday, I don't got time for no love."

Enter our only feature on the project, Solo Dolor. He really shines on this hook crooning to a former lover whose interests seem unrequited. This was well done. If you haven't yet you got to see this live. I was backstage jamming to this at NJ Live 3. I've been listening to the New Zealots Oath for awhile now since he gave me the early scoop. It still has that replay value after all this time.

Hip-Hop is so interesting. I wrote my senior thesis and soon to be book about its complexities using examples of how regional it is. If you listen to rap all over the country the flavor sounds different which isn't really something you can say for Rock, Country, or any other genre birthed in the United States. Drew dips and dabs in a lot of different hip-hop sounds let alone singing other genres of music. That's what makes him special. I lock in with him on the messaging and identification. Black Suburbia, that is the life for a lot of us and the goal of our parents and the generations before them. Growing up in Ocean then moving to Neptune, my experiences align with Drew's scope and appreciate hearing it in audio form from a person a little less nerdy but just as artistic as Donald Glover (although I love his full discography too).

Word from Drew is there's another EP in the works then a full length album. There was another bonus track titled Sometimes that didn't make the cut in this listen. I'm curious to see if we'll see it later on. Drew the Recluse has been working. You see why we told you to look out for him this year. Do yourself a favor: Check out Suburbia - EP on your favorite streaming platform by CLICKING HERE. I need you to feel this.

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Aug 30, 2019

Album Review: Voice of Reason - @_tnah_ (words by @RamseySaidWHAT)

July 27th 2019 11:57 AM

I'm sitting in the ridiculous line that was Curlfest 2019. My girlfriend was already inside with her homegirl Katelynne who shares a 3C hairtype. Between getting off the free shuttle to Randall's Island (with this hilarious bus driver shooting his shot with the natural shorties) and dodging this rabid raccoon in line; I was trying to save my phone battery until it rang. I was expecting a "Where are you?" from my lady, but I was pleasantly surprised with what became the inspiration behind this here article.

Yeah, T'NAH's back! Formerly the first lady of Pro Era is back and making music again with her brand new project, Voice of Reason. This is actually her debut project as a solo artist. She's done countless features on projects from Joey Bada$$, CJ Fly, Kirk Knight, Chelsea Reject and of course the Pro Era posse cuts, cyphers, and tapes. Aside from her own singles and loosies this is her first full album. She's been through a lot of changes in her time away from the spotlight. She's even done two name changes running with Kris and now dropping the Apex. One of our writers broke this down a few years back. My hope is this review is the beginning of the answer to the question people have been asking for nearly a half a decade: WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO T'NAH APEX?  After a few conversations with the Brooklyn spitter and songstress, we'll get the story from her mouth in an exclusive A-Side B-Side Podcast Interview coming soon. In the meantime let's get to the music.

I promise I won't make anymore Lauryn Hill comparisons because that would be too easy. Besides, I hear way more jazz influence when T'NAH sings. Track one, Tension, proves just that. She almost scats her cadence of singing, but they are written lyrics. I'm always amazed how she goes back and forth from singing to spitting back to singing so flawlessly in the same 16. If you don't really pay attention it almost sounds like she abandons prose and is just speaking into the mic; however even that's on beat even if it's nonchalant. We've seen that since first hearing her on her classic hook from Snakes and verse on Suspect on Bada$$'s unofficial debut 1999.

Just Like That serves as a interlude as it's less than a minute. I can see this song on a Pink Panther episode. She reaches deep into her tenor range and it's fluid, almost effortless for her. Act Rite is the first nitty-gritty Brooklyn bar spitting that we'd expect from T'NAH. She still flips bars and riffs on cue, "floating like a butterfly."

"Without growth what a waste,
You just a sack of trillions of sales
Won't be havin' my soul extracted for sale
You can stay in hell or you can lift the veil"

I think the words are self explanatory and speak for themselves. This seems to be a theme throughout. Let's move forward to track five. Man Dun featuring Kumbaya and Zamy Maa is the magnum opus of this here listen. This is the only song that has a feature and no one that we've heard from before. Kumbaya and Zamy Maa adopt a singing-rapping jive style that complements T'NAH very well. The things I like about this trio is how the mix the end of each bar where they all sing three part harmony individually over a particular scat holding the last note to the end of the measure.

Love Myself is interesting. I kind of have a lyric video in my head to the song as it is. I can see a young lady sitting on her couch reading a book sipping on coffee or red wine (nothing else just those two beverages) with a cat walking around brushing it's tail on her for attention. Then suddenly it takes on a beat change featuring a tribal flute and percussion accompaniment. I'd love to hear T'NAH drop a couple bars over it. Before I could finish the though Lyft You Up plays and tells another tale of affection. Only this time to a lover, then fade out.

What I enjoy about this tape is you can just let it run without looking at whatever device you're listening on. The feel is almost one very long song. I don't know if it's because of how well it's mixed, track sequencing, or both. It's like running a vinyl on Side-B. It's smooth like that. I've always thought T'NAH had the most upside from her peers. She's super talented and can find a lane or pocket that may be unorthodox to the ordinary spitter. I feel like if Jill Scott and Stevie Wonder were rappers they'd try to sound like T'NAH. Eight tracks and less than a half hour of your time suffices well for a debut. It's enough to keep your attention and a little to make you want more. If you're as impatient as me for the interview you can catch her September 7th at the first stop of the Fruits Of The Gods Tour at Remy Rouge Culture Center in Brooklyn. The tour also features Kumbaya and Zamy Maa respectively. Grab your ticket by clicking here. Check out Voice of Reason on your favorite streaming platform and look out for our interview coming soon. I need you to feel this.

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Aug 23, 2019

Watch: Elevating - @MrLatnie

Florida's own, Latnie takes it from the booth, up the elevator, to a leer jet in his brand new video. That's what I call Elevating.

"I've been elevating on the low, low.
Money and the growth is what I came for."

A fitting title got a even more fitting video treatment. If you subscribe to his mailing list on his website, you'd already know this is his m.o. In addition to the gems he drops on a day to day he wanted people to see it figuratively and literally from this Rolf Pierre produced video. As of now Elevating is his biggest track considering it came out close to 8 months ago. Watch the video after the break. I need you to feel this.

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Aug 22, 2019

A-Side B-Side Podcast Episode 022: @PilotJonze Interview

Dave Made Time.

I couldn't resist the play on words, sorry. In this episode of A-Side B-Side Podcast. RamseySaidWHAT took it back to Black Hawthorne to sit down with David Michael Jonze. The duo talk about his latest album, reclaiming his time, and the leading inspiration for both of them, women. The second part of the interview is back and forth between navigating 9-5's, being black content creators, Kanye comparisons, the thin line between narcissism and a God complex, watching the industry, and a track by track breakdown of the album. I always seem to learn in my conversations with Dave. You just might too.

The Music in this Episode is Good Dope (feat. MURADAH) by David Michael Jonze.

Rate, Subscribe, Review, and follow our social media. Press play.

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Aug 15, 2019

Watch: 4am Soul - @Malc_____

There's not much to be desired from Malc's hunger.

It's a breath of fresh air when you hear it in his raps but you can really see it too. I mean think about it. We couldn't even get out a review on P2 before he blessed us with a double shot of music. 4am Soul comes accompanied with Htgr on his new single pack titled, No Hesitation. Htgr features a familiar face in Franklin's own SoULFULL while 4am Soul gets blessed with a video treatment. Malc obviously has good taste in music because I'm digging the sample of the original girl shot shooter anthem, Alicia Keys' You Don't Know My Name. No Hesitation is a perfect name because it's full throttle when it comes to Malc. Watch the video for 4am Soul after the break.

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