Che Noir is a 27 year old MC/producer from Buffalo, New York who caught my attention after 38 Spesh signed her to TCF Music Group & fully produced her first 3 EPs. However, her Apollo Brown-produced full-length debut As God Intended & then her self-produced 4th EP After 12during the 2nd half of 2020 where her potential began to blossom exponentially. Given all that, I had a very good feeling going into her sophomore album right here.
After the “Eat to Live” intro, the first song “Split the Bread” kicks off the whole album with some rich pianos talking about being mentally dangerous whereas the self-produced “Eat or Starve” with Jynx716 has this killer guitar loop with the pair letting listeners know they never had it easy. After the “Daily Bread” skit, “Bless the Food” has a cheerful sound to it talking about being the voice of the people just before Armani Caesar & 7xvethegenius tag along for the string-laced “Ladies Brunch” reminding themselves that they’re the nicest females in the underground currently.
Meanwhile on “Praises”, we have Che on top of a cinematic boom bap instrumental from Chup talking about going down as a GOAT just before Ransom & 38 Spesh come into the picture for the piano/vocal loop infused “Table for 3” treating necks like footsteps lyrically. The track “Good Cutlery” encourages listeners to make wise decisions over some hi-hats & synths while the JR Swiftz-produced penultimate song “Brains for Dinner” goes straight into battle rap territory. After the “Water to Wine” interlude, “Communion” ends the album with a powerful ballad talking about some pain she’s been through.
Despite the brief delays the album faced prior to it’s release, it was very much worth it. It demonstrates her massive range, styles & techniques from nostalgic reminiscences to crime-driven narratives accompanied by the golden age-inspired production that’s all over her previous works.
This is the 5th full-length album from Nebraska emcee/producer King Iso. Coming up as a protege of San Diego chopper Twisted Insane, he would only drop first 2 albums & The Insanity Plea & Autophobiaunder Brainsick Muzik. Shortly after, they had an unfortunate falling out & it prompted Iso to put out his next album DeMenTia independently in 2018. However, I was thrilled to see him sign with Strange Music the following spring & his debut on the Kansas City powerhouse World War Me has quickly become one of the label’s best albums ever. So given that & the singles that Iso released for Get Well Soon over the fall, my expectations were very high.
The title track opens up the album on top of a somber trap instrumental confessing that he no longer feels the same whereas “0 Dark 34” weaves some hi-hats behind the sound of a phone beeping talking about being too busy to work on himself. “Today” has a more jangly ring to it pondering if people would call him if they didn’t need a favor or wanted to get money leading into “6 AM” has a darker tone sonically talking about getting high before the sunrise.
Meanwhile on “Big Farm A”, we have C-Mob & X-Raided tagging along with Iso over some tropical guitar licks & skittering drums letting the masses know we’re living in a sick market just before “Under My Tongue” takes a more spacious yet bass heavy route talking about how he was getting it in in the mental hospital. Rittz & Twista come into the picture for the rambunctious “Self Destruct” admitting they’re about to implode any moment, but then “Hellthy” talks about smiling while burning away over a downtrodden trap beat.
King Kash joins his brother for the cloudy/trap infused “I’m Okay” lying about their state of mental well being prior to jumping on top of some hi-hats & pianos admitting he’s “Not Well”. Following this, “Window” kinda has the same feel as the previous cut instrumentally except it’s more somber & detailing having so much on his mind while “Made Me Crazy” makes the sounds of cuckoos into a trap beat with Snake Lucci & Tech N9ne talking about being unhinged.
“Big Facts” with Taebo tha Truth finds the 2 taking shots at those who be talking too much over an atmospheric instrumental whereas the guitar-heavy “My Flowers” is basically The Brazy Bunch demanding their respect. Taebo returns for the aggressive “6 PM” reminding the world that they had to run it on their lonely. The song “Cover the Scars” is an acoustic/trap banger paying tribute to all of those out there who have Iso tattoos while the penultimate track “Hypocrite” has a churchy quality to it talking about how his music has helped others yet he’s not helping himself. “Help Yourself” ends the album with an energized ballad encouraging self care.
I think it’s safe to say that Iso’s output ever since signing to Strange has been the best of his career thus far & Get Well Soon wound up being a fantastic follow-up to World War Me. His production skills continue to progress while continuing to raise awareness of how much mental health matters further & detailing the obstacles he constantly faces.
Adding another gem to his vast catalog stretching over 2 decades Wu-Tang / Killarmy affiliate Dom Pachino turns Hip Hop upside down to start the new year with his new 13-track full-length album “I.C.O.N“.
Underground hip hop icon Shabaam Sahdeeq and renowned music producer Nick Wiz return to their roots to bring us a wildly versatile body of work titled “Cabin Fever.” There’s no doubt that over the past few years most of us were quarantined and may have felt a bit of Cabin fever from time to time. That said, it is clear that while many of us were moping about, Shabaam and Nick Wiz used their time wisely by creating a melodic masterpiece for us.
While Shabaam delivers top tier lyrics, Nick’s musical genius shines through on his elite production. The soundscape contains eleven electrifying tracks with both local and global appeal. The lineup also has a few powerhouse features from D.V. alias Khryst, LoVel, Ran Reed, R.E.K.S & Phantasm and U.G (each from the the Cella Dwellas) . The duo dropped riveting ‘Thunderin’ with a visual to set the tone for the entire project, which depicts themselves, as characters from the highly popular adult cartoon “South Park”. What’s even more amazing,19 year old Shabaam Sahdeeq makes an appearance on the last joint “Do or Die” that was originally a demo that only aired on Stretch & Bobbito Radio show back in 1996, when Shabaam Sahdeeq first surfaced. Shabaam also showcases his bilingual skills on banger “Soul Food Sofrito” going back to his Venezuelan roots.
This is the collaboration we knew we needed! Cabin Fever is an instant head nodder and a truly outstanding listening experience. It’s official, Shabaam Sadeeq and Nick Wiz have done it again!!
America is in a state of hardcore tribalism and divisiveness. For Asian Americans, the stereotypes and old tropes have morphed into real hate. SoCal hip hop artist and activist Kaze Jones is, sadly, all too familiar with the current climate. Never one to be a victim, Kaze flips the script and reclaims the narrative with his new EP “The Alumni.“
Produced by Ionika from Philadelphia , Kaze Jones brings you along on a ride showcasing some of the newest talents from Asian American artist in the music scene. Kaze Jones hails from the underground but this new project will bring you to the current sounds of todays hip hop landscape while delivering real flows. Follow him on Instagram @kaze_jones.
Check out this new album “Portals” by rising underground Hip Hop artist Mr. Forge. Entirely produced by SoCal’s very own Ariano. From the moment you start listening to the intro to the new Portals album, you quickly understand that this is not just another album, this is an experience, a full aural immersion taking you on journey through different dimensions of this auditory movie-like world that has been created. Follow him on Instagram @mrforge.
Rigz is a 30 year old MC from Rochester, New York who came up as a member of Da Cloth. He eventually broke out solo in 2017 off his debut EP Calculated & then the debut mixtape I Got Samples, which was followed up with a sequel tape & then his 2nd EP A Piece of the Action. However, Rigz’ popularity began to grow in 2019 off his Chup-produced 3rd mixtape Roach Gutta Slums & then the Big Ghost Ltd. produced collab effort with fellow Cloth member Mooch called The Only Way Out. Then he brought in Futurewave to produce his full-length debut Substance Abuse to universal acclaim & now after coming fresh off the sophomore effort Wake Upsthat came out over the summer, DJ Muggs is coming in the picture to produce Rigz’ highly anticipated 3rd album.
After the “Gold Standard” intro, the title track with Mooch sets off the whole album by talking about how all they need is a brick over a morbid instrumental whereas “Every Season” with Rob Gates finds the pair on some spectral boom bap shit going at those who’re only tough in their heads. “Supreme” weaves in some keyboards & dusty drums talking about keeping 10 toes down just before Meyhem Lauren tags along for gritty drug dealer’s anthem “Cook Off”. Meanwhile on “What We Got”, we have Rigz on top of a beat kin to Wu-Tang Forever era RZA just giving the listeners who he is leading into the Rome Streetz-assisted “Heads on the Wall” talking about keeping their foots on cats’ necks on top of some luxurious piano chords & sputtering drums.
Mooch returns for the bare soul sample-laced “Where Ya Soul At?” speaking on turning the streets to their home, but then “Fool’s Gold” works in an enticing vocal loop going into battle rap territory. “24 Karats” goes back into drumless turf expressing his desire for a fortune while Big Twins comes into the picture for the forlorn “We Want In” talking about riding for their respective cliques.
The guitars on “Eastside Blues” are a nice change of pace sonically reminding that you can’t change where you came from & they carry their way over to “Crack the Code”, where Times Change jumps in to talk about how masterful they are. After the “Balance” interlude, the final “Never Met a Real Gangsta” with M.A.V. sees the 2 on top of some strings telling listeners all the G’s they know wound up not wanting be involved with crime anymore & then “The Culture” ends it with a spoken word piece.
It’s been a long time coming & I’m glad it finally came because this would be an excellent entry point for those who’re aren’t already familiar with Rigz or Da Cloth as a whole really. He continues to reveal himself as the sharpest lyricist of the crew even though I got love for all the members & Muggs’ production is as equally superb as Futurewave’s was on Substance Abuse a little over a year back.
Maez301 is a 28 year old rapper from Gaithersburg, Maryland that first got his start in 2017 with his debut mixtape Nowhere. The project eventually caught the attention of Ervin Pope & Jerome Taylor, both of whom helped Maez get a record contract with Strange Music the following year & dropped his eponymous full-length debut showing Strange fans who he is artistically a little bit after his 26th born day. The sophomore effort HASAAN took a more personal tone to it & now that he’s home from the Strange New World Tour, Maez is keeping EP behind the boards for his 3rd album.
The title track has some gospel qualities to it telling listeners to be ready when he goes whereas “Let Up” with Tech N9ne is a west coast-tinged banger talking about never slowing down. “First Place” goes into cloudy, trap territory striving for victory & “Black” has to be one of the best songs of his career thus far detailing issues that’re very much relevant today on top of a bluesy instrumental.
Meanwhile on “Frenemies”, we have King Iso joining Maez on top of an acoustic guitar as well as a flute & some snares addressing trust issues leading into “Olsen Twins” serving as a romantically lush trap banger. After the “Different” interlude, “Fallen” is a downtrodden cut cussing out those who wanna see him fail just before “Inspire Me” tells his lover how much she means to him & the beat kinda reminds me of DJ Mustard for whatever reason.
Jehry Robinson tags along for the ethereal “Strange Flows” talking about hoes, but then “Slow Down” keeps the cloud rap vibes going by trying to steal a girl fed up with fuckboys. “Girlfriend” is a smooth dedication to his new sweetheart whereas “Lot on My Plate” has a bit of a cavernous feel to it venting about people hating him because he did it his way.
“Nun 2 Me” is a more spacious cut saying it ain’t shit to him while the song “What a Life” follows it up with a high-spirited bop about how blessed he is. The penultimate track “Ecstasy” psychedelically encourages listeners to live in the moment & “No Limit” rounds it all off has this sparkling quality to the beat talking about taking things as high as possible.
If you liked how Maez introduced the world to who he is artistically & personally on the last 2 albums as much as I did, then I HIGHLY encourage you to check this new one out as soon as you can because he really outdoes himself this time. I always appreciate when one tries to expand themselves artistically & that’s EXACTLY what he does with EP on here successfully.