New Visuals: Illab- Falling From Grace

Illab creates hip hop that is anchored to the culture. Like Detroit’s Red Pill and Brooklyn’s Joell Ortiz, he understands the balance between reality and fantasy; a dichotomy that has long defined the game of beats and rhymes. His latest offering, “Falling From Grace”, manages to highlight both sides.

Great art allows the chance for your own interpretation. Now dance bunny, dance.

Listen Up: Remy Banks- higher.

Children Of The Night and World’s Fair representative Remy Banks’ higher. might be my favorite under the radar project of 2015. Banks is a quiet force in the new New York movement delivering urgent bars over lush instrumentals that provide the perfect atmosphere for floating away. He’s less of a novelty as the Flatbush Zombies, and plays it far cooler than Bodega Bamz, but NY runs cold in his veins.

Banks is Queens through and through, but possesses a maximum chill akin to that of Currensy. Neither MC is in much of a hurry, yet both manage to apply unique pressure with effortless cool. Banks is at his best when unwinding on “the function” and “things i do”, both recalling the golden era without falling completely out of love with 2015. When it’s time to flex, look no further than the excellent “rem” featuring his Children Of The Night compadre Nasty Nigel.

Download the album here, and don’t forget to run it through on repeat this weekend. You’re welcome.

Download Fabolous x DJ Clue: Friday Night Freestyles

Rappers please take notice. Fab has been murdering microphones for over a decade, and this freestyle collection is no exception. Fab recorded and released these gems on Fridays for fun, so it made sense to gather and release them as a cohesive project with Clue playing host.

The tape is composed of iconic 90’s beats juxtaposed with the MC’s take on current situations in real time. Download the project here. Check the first track, Fab’s iconic radio freestyle debut with Noreaga. Happy Memorial Day weekend.

New Visuals: Kavyy- Wassupp

Kavyy has been a favorite of ours off the rip because he writes and records the soundtrack of his life. His new visuals for “Wassupp” continue in that documentary fashion, only this time he’s dabbling in special effects.

Nintendo characters, creepy uncle Snoop, Spongebob, Jurassic Park…just a few of the oddball moments here. Regardless of the flashy graphics, Kavyy’s bread and butter is his ability to switch flows all over a track. “Wassupp” is a strong three minutes from one of Harlem’s brightest talents.

New Visuals- A$AP Rocky: “LSD”

A$AP Rocky’s A.L.L.A. is a few weeks away. To combat the inevitable leak, he’s dropping gems right and left. Today I’m stuck on the visuals for “L$D”, which steers towards unfamiliar territory for the pretty motherfucker. He’s crooning all over this until the 2 minute mark, where it veers into “Excuse Me”, another new album cut decorated with Rocky’s trademark hubris.

The video’s treatment comes by way of Dexter Navy. The clip feels like a nod to Enter The Void, a 2009 film by Gaspar Noe. Trips on trips on trips. Enjoy.

On The Radar: Banditos

BanditosIntroducing Banditos, a gang of hometown southern bastards who bleed red, white, and blues via Chicago’s Bloodshot Records. Their take on Americana is a salty sweet dose of heartbreak and whiskey burn. Banditos generate a calculated heat, returning rock and roll to its Nashville roots.

Their self titled debut record seesaws between the rambunctious “The Breeze” and the grand ole sweetness of “No Good”. Banditos surges like Deertick on a coke bender running through Muscle Shoals on empty. By the albums end we’re served a wonderful reminder that a little redemption is possible after all.

The record plays like the soundtrack to a night in your favorite dive. Bring your smokes, your singles for the jukebox and your desire to make things right. You’ll need it. Banditos is officially on the radar.

Rapper Chinx Shot Dead In Queens

Coke Boys MC Chinx, born Lionel Pickens, died early this morning and and another was critically injured when his Porsche was sprayed with bullets during a drive-by shooting in Queens around 4 am.  Both men were rushed to Jamaica Hospital where Pickens was pronounced dead.

Chinx released his debut in 2009 hauntingly entitled, Hurry Up & Die: Vol 1. His latest project, Coke Riot 5 dropped last December. Supporters and collaborators continue to pay respects on twitter and Instagram. Lionel Pickens was 31 years old.