Video Premier: Smug Mang- ZanexWeedLeannn Prod. by WTCHCRFT

Smug Mang‘s new cut, “ZanexWeedLeannn”, from the Internet Hippy Digital Flowerings Vol. 2 compilation takes us headfirst into a mind fuck of self medication. It’s all about movement on your own terms, and forgiving nothing and no one along the way.

The visuals are handled by Hidden Behind Leaves, and stand alone as a true bender of truth and consequence. The delerious track is produced by WTCHCRFT…slow and steady. Smug is officially on the radar.

Listen Up: Leon Bridges- Coming Home

Coming Home by Leon Bridges is a delightful throwback to 60’s soul.  If you can get past the vintage clothing and occasionally predictable arrangements, you’ll uncover a surprisingly sharp debut that would make Sam Cooke proud. This thing sounds like there’s actual dust on the sleeve, dug up in a crate from your parents basement. It’s a simple and stunning collection of love songs played with a straightforward honestly that’s hard to dismiss.

Bridges is well-versed in the R&B stylings of the 50’s and 60’s, crafting sounds that seem to spill directly from his soul. Amazing considering he was washing dishes in Fort Worth, Texas until late 2014. “Lisa Sawyer” is a beautiful song. Play it quietly next to the person you love.

Hear This: Vince Staples- Summertime ’06

Vince Staples’ dense new offering, Summertime ’06, slimes its way into your psyche, revealing snapshots of Long Beach California three minutes at a time in a fashion that elder statesmen Snoop Dogg and media darling Kendrick Lamar can’t seem to harness.

Summertime ’06 plays like a companion piece to Earl Sweatshirt’s latest record. They’re both products of corrupted young minds fed from the social media frenzy. The new west is a re-imagined coast, a place were expansive and somewhat bleak records are some of the most exciting releases in all of hiphop.

Where handfuls of fresh MC’s (see Joey Bad and Logic) are scrambling to pack their verses with verbose combinations of syllables and cadences Staples, like Sweatshirt, has decided to strip it down marking his territory with poignant smatterings of harsh truths.

The twenty songs spanning this two disc collection are as ambitious as they are terrifying.  No I.D. handles the bulk of the production, slowing things at times to a calculated crawl resulting in a true glimpse of California sans palm trees and flashing lights. Buy this record immediately.

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.