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.

New Visuals: Aaron Cohen feat. Alexander Spit- Booyakah

Aaron Cohen 5 - Credit - Miloh WrungThis morning’s soundtrack comes courtesy of Aaron Cohen featuring Alexander Spit. “Booyakah” is the second collaboration between the two and the first single from Home LessCohen’s new EP.

The track is 4 minutes of dark escapism produced by Coopatroop. It’s the work of two rappers who know that a necessary component of sanity is the ability to step away. Cohen continues to impress with each release.

If you’re in the LA area tonight, stop by Delicious at 5419 W Adams Blvd for the official release party.

Vince Staples Reveals Summertime ’06 Tracklist

Long Beach, California’s Vince Staples is set to drop Summertime ’06 on June 30th. The Def Jam MC claims the record is “an examination of himself and family.” If nothing else, Staples is honest and his music is pure raw. Summertime is a follow-up to 2014’s Hell Can Wait. 

Tracklist and cover art below. Catch him on tour with Earl Sweatshirt and Remy Banks this summer.

Vince Staples summertime-06 Album Cover

  1. Ramona Park Legend Pt. 1
  2. Lift Me Up
  3. Norf Norf
  4. Birds & Bees
  5. Loca
  6. Lemme Know
  7. Dopeman
  8. Jump Off The Roof
  9. Señorita
  10. Summertime

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.