Listen Up: Lurkavelli-Cold Summer EP

LURKAVELLI COLD SUMMER FRONTLurkavelli’s haunting new EP is a terrific reminder of the power of youth. The young MC’s across this country are hungry and tired of waiting in line. Rather than complain about the haves and have nots, they’re getting up and getting it. Lurkavelli has found a home among that new class of artistic hustlers.

Cold Summer EP isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a slow burning, woozy affair that hints at the popular A$AP Mob formula minus the glimmer and gold. Lurk’s straight-no-chaser- approach is calculated and direct, keeping the hugs at an arms length. The project is produced by Young Body Bag and serves as an audio diary of the subsidized life and times of the Lower East Side. Enjoy.

Guest Spot: Mumford & Sons- Wilder Mind

Will the real Mumford & Sons please stand up?

By Dandry Fields

With the release of Wilder Mind Mumford & Sons have finally shed the fiddle folk, jug bottle band sound for a polished rock and roll experience. Wilder Mind sounds more like the band Marcus Mumford and friends were meant to be and feels as though they are finally comfortable in their own skin.

The album has its quieter songs that we’ve come to expect, but the band really gets a chance to shed some light on their new found grown up side.  Don’t get all upset…you still get the folk and twang (impressive seeing how Marcus is a Brit) that fans love, but there’s something undeniable about this band plugging in and filling up the spaces with electricity.

Shockingly, this record blew me away.  This is definitely a stand out release, and certainly worth a download. Wilder Mind won’t disappoint, and If you aren’t sold yet check out “The Wolf”, “Wilder Mind” and “Ditmas”.

Czarface: Round 2 Knockout

Czarface’s 2013 debut was triumphant.  It’s no surprise that Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric chose to do it again. I’m beating a dead horse around these parts, but 2015 is turning into a year for the hip hop record books. There’s been no shortage of great albums released thus far (it’s only June), and you can add Every Hero Needs A Villain to that best-of list.

It’s top shelf hip hop dressed as a massive blockbuster sequel; the kind of stuff the summer is made for. No gimmicks whatsoever, just Deck and Esoteric rhyming their odd couple asses off surrounded by quality guests like Method Man, R.A The Rugged Man, Mayhem Lauren, and MF Doom.

Every Hero goes just as hard as the debut. Each track manages to blend the dynamic of Deck’s calculated and at times puzzling acrobatics with Esoteric’s tremendous knack for play on wordy punchlines. Somehow, the two MC’s are able to seamlessly destroy 7L’s gritty production. Turn this way up, and press repeat.

Dom Kennedy: Retro West

Dom Kennedy’s mood music has Los Angeles pumping through its veins. His records have become a staple in my quest to live life in a perpetual state of turning down.

Dom Kennedy is made for riding slow. From “Daddy”, the neck snapping opener, to “2 Bad” the record simply simmers. There’s moments of introspection and run of the mill brag raps, but Dom keeps himself centered by allowing his surroundings to channel through his art. To live and die in LA.

The new crop of west coast giants have the legends of twenty-five years ago in their souls. Kendrick, The Game, Nipsey, Schoolboy…N.W.A for the internet era. Dom seems right at home as our very own Warren 2K-G.

New Visuals: Vic Mensa- U Mad feat. Kanye West

Vic Mensa is a hot topic. Vic Mensa looks like he shops at Hot Topic. Vic Mensa signed to Roc Nation and tattooed the Rocafella logo on his neck. Vic Mensa’s working with Kanye on some avant garde shit. Vic Mensa’s prepping his debut Traffic, featuring the West assisted “U Mad”. Vic Mensa is poised to have a massive second half of 2015.

Summer Jam 2015: A Night To Remember?

Summer Jam 2015 popped off Sunday at Metlife Stadium in Jersey boasting a full lineup of the best of the (mainstream) best, hosted by NYC’s Hot 97. This tradition, twenty some-odd years running, featured Chris Brown, Trey Songs, Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, Big Sean and plenty of surprises.

Parking lots were live from the rip. Grills, coolers, bottles of Henny; there was a heavy anything goes vibe from the outfits to the mindsets. Inside, Omarion kicked off the show with a brief set. The Maybach member got the crowd moving with “Post To Be”. Ty Dolla came next and did his thing (shout out to his Lebron edge up), but it was his two guests that took control. Dej Loaf set it off to “Try Me”, and Wiz Khalifa tore it down with “We Dem Boys”.

Trey Songz…meh. Chris Brown…meh. R&B fans, mostly ladies, were grinning ear to ear, but neither managed to bring the intensity necessary for a hip hop show of this magnitude, even when Brown brought out G-Unit including 50 Cent. This would have been monumental a few years ago, but “Many Men” and “What Up Gangsta” have lost their luster in light of the massive year hip hop’s having in 2015.

On this night, the show belonged to Fabolous. He set it off with “Lituation” then proceeded to roll out the red carpet for hip hop perfection. Black Rob (literally, Whoa), Busta, Mobb Deep, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Red, Meth, Raekwon, Lil Kim, The Lox, and Ma$e all took turns rocking some of the greatest songs ever written. Billed as ‘Fabolous and Friends’, it was absolute fire.

Compton’s Kendrick Lamar came next, rapping his ass off. No vocal track, no dancers, just a man and a mic. He brought out his TDE crew, including Schoolboy and SZA, while chaos was triggered outside. The gates were closed around 8 pm which kept paying customers from gaining access. This prompted an attempt to scale fences, rush doors, pepper spray from Jersey State Police, and riot gear. Couldn’t tell there was a war going on outside that we were (mostly) safe from.

Big Sean rocked through his catalog of hits, including “IDFWU”, leaving the final slot to MMG torch bearer Meek Mill. He seemed comfortable in the lime light bringing Sean back out for “Burn” and Future who did a mini ten minute set. Meek pulled no punches and welcomed his lady pal Nicki Minaj to the stage. The crowd went ape shit to “Only” and “Truffle Butter”. Meek closed with “Dreams and Nightmares”. Best young rapper in the game? Argue amongst yourselves.

Last up? Troy Ave and Fetty Wap managed to wrangle the mics and get some songs in regardless of a crowd that was streaming for the exits. This last minute set was fitting for a strange night full of fantastic hits and solid misses. Next year stream it live if you’re afraid of the turn up.

On The Radar: Strand Of Oaks

Sub-genres plague the fickle world of rock and roll. Google lands Strand Of Oaks in the ‘folk rock’ camp. Agree to disagree. Strand Of Oaks is the music of songwriter Timothy Showalter; a delicate mix of subtle Lucero angst balanced with a Band of Horses ear for melody. With a Shooter Jennings-like knack for capturing living moments, Strand Of Oaks simply can’t hide the pain.

Cheating wife. Burning house. Near death car wreck.  2014’s Heal is the stuff of legends. You find yourself stride for stride with Showalter as he makes sense of this sick, sad, lonely world. I’ve played the record through twice today, and it’s only 8 am. Your weekend bender soundtrack has arrived.