Tag Archives: Hip hop

Delving Into Rex Mac’s Talented Music: The Release of “ABLOOM” & More

He’s keeping it one hundo for us

Introducing a Massachusetts Asian-American native and a truly talented hip hopper in the scene, Rex Mac. This young lyrical master and hypnotic maestro has been working on music for years now.  He is also a journalist for Know Your Scene, but of course devotes his time and love to his one true craft.

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Since 2012, Rex has been transforming noise into ferocious, elegant tracks (but the passion really began when he was just 12). With a keen eye for the matching of sounds, this artist took his abilities to a whole new level when creating his recent project ABLOOM, which released this year. He demonstrates his competence and expertise in what he does each day, and it shows through the production of this album, which he did all on his own- wrote, produced, and mastered.

The songwriter mentions, “It took me four years to make Abloom, so I felt like a wholly new person by the time I finished it. I named the album after all of its songs were made, and the title just made sense. The image of a big, open flower that Abloom brings to mind was an effective way for me to visually reference vulnerability, honesty, life, the women in mine, and an overall born again feeling. Also, it’s kind of close to the word, ‘album,’ no?”

ABLOOM was created to discuss a deeper and darker topic that many are afraid to express transparently, and Rex made sure to be there to represent the masses. It is an album that touches upon the impacts of detrimental mental health and the thoughts and needs of those affected by it. With each track, he reaches into the soul and brings out the topics that matter most: doubt, self-love and relationships, and understanding. ABLOOM is bursting with various shining colors, vibes, and emotions. “Every song on Abloom tackles the idea of what it is to be your best self. For me, the album’s 10 tracks were simply the songs that materialized when I personally resolved to no longer let depression or anxiety suffocate my day to day. Those two themes have formed and still somewhat drive my narrative, but now I make my demons work for me. I use them as a means to let my listeners know they’re not alone.”

ABLOOM has received praise and review from such publications as Allston Pudding, Boston Hassle, Millennial Noise, and Mmmmaven.

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In an interview with Allston Pudding, the artist recalls, “Songs on the record that sound overly happy were actually made in moments I felt pretty down about myself and my lack of movement in life. In those moments, now that I look back, I think those songs materialized because I was writing love songs to myself in a time when I needed encouragement. ”

The album starts out with the title track, “Abloom”, which is the best intro for this compilation of ingenuity. Following that is “The World is Not Enough”, which is a fun, fast-paced single that kind of sounds like an acoustic version of a video game track. “East Meets West” is a witty tune that features a past GMAD-reviewed artist, Rowlan, a good friend of Rex’s.

To compare and contrast Rex’s music, he reminds you of new day Cam Meekins meets old-school Snoop Dogg & Slick Rick. The music itself is an impressive experimental sound like Kid Cudi’s, but incorporating more 90s West Coast G Funk and Kanye West millennial, forceful simplicity. All the beats are melodious, which is what I think I love most about his music. A healthy balance of tunes and tones, with smart, sincere lyrics.

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“How To Be Alone” is a track about learning to be isolated with oneself . What is very artistic and intriguing about his sounds too are that many of them lead down an unbeaten path of tempo change and rhythmic distortion into a whole new sounding song. It gives listeners a chance at a fresh new experience all in the same the track. At the end of this song, it concludes with a little Frank Sinatra-esque riff, without the autotune and just the raw vocals of Rex, telling the sincere truth of emotion.

“Mantra” is a bumpin’ track that gets you movin’ to the tempo, and the strings are an interesting touch giving it a more spiritual experience.

The whole album in its entirety is like a spoken journal of a man’s thoughts and emotions as he goes through his day, in his own narrative voice and locked inside the chambers of his own mind. “Sonically, I had a blast making the beats for this album. They’re quirky… minimalist. I had the Konmari method in mind when I selected sounds for its songs. The song, ‘The World Is Not Enough,’ doesn’t have a single kick drum or hi hat. ‘Rogues’ doesn’t have a single snare. There are secret songs not mentioned in the album’s tracklist. I wanted to give listeners a deep world to wander”, relays the artist.

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The retro hip hop tunes are honestly really invigorating because we don’t really hear this kind of sound anymore. “One Hundo” gives  us a taste of that. The whines of the 808’s and the slow and smooth flow of the voice and words remind you to appreciate the history of hip hop. Rex perfectly reflects that sound. Definitely my top pick on the album!

I wanted to understand what Rex thought of the current climate of the Massachusetts music scene, especially since there are so many talented ones out there, but such an underground niche hidden beneath the surface of it all. He thoughtfully answered:

“People keep asking why I never moved to New York or Los Angeles upon graduating college to pursue music, implying that the creative grounds are infertile out here. I’ve chosen to remain firmly planted in Massachusetts because I see all of its personality and potential. This is why when I’m not performing I’m writing articles on Boston artists and their backstories. I’m invested in why people do what they do, especially in an area where the infrastructure isn’t as supportive as it should be. Human spirit in the face of resilience is gangster. I thrive off the energy of our underdogs and channel it into my own work”. The artist proceeds with his reasoning:

“Massachusetts is so heavily revered for its leaders and establishments..from academia, to medical advancement, to sports. But for some reason, only a small number of the scene’s current hip hop artists are brought up in national conversation. I’m happy for all of Token and Joyner Lucas’s recent success, but I see so many more hip hop folk out here really executing thoughtful, creative visions.”

He also mentioned that even the female music and art scene is rising and is very strong.  He offers a few suggestions of women that are currently making waves of their own to see for ourselves, such as Jamilah Unique’s multi-genre showcase Art Plug; hip hop artist Oompa’s album, November 3rd; Amanda Shea’s Hope Inc. Showcase; and Anna Rae’s All Together Now POC/LGBTQ/Female focused showcase. “Ultimately, I just want to see a futurist rise out of Massachusetts. I want to see a Kanye or Pharrell pop up out of Boston. I’m not sure who it’ll be, but I won’t stop working till I see that person emerge” enthusiastically chimes the sonic connoisseur.

Rex is working hard, and putting his heart and soul, and every inch of being that there is of him in it. He’s proving that and no question will this artist be able to rise to more fame in which everything will finally blossom and bloom into a stunning career.

To hear more of Rex’s tracks off the album, listen HERE.

Also: Check Out This Exclusive Playlist of Some of Rex’s Favorite Tracks Right Now Both In & Out of Boston!

Be sure to follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Spotify, and Soundcloud. Check out his site HERE.

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[Exclusive]: Interview with Hip Hop #AskJezDior

 

He’s got 2 birds and an album in a row

Jez Dior is an emerging hip hop artist signed to Epic Records, and is currently on the path of releasing what is his solo album.  Jez took the time to let me ask him questions about his musical endeavors and how it all started for the 25-year old man.

The artist began making music when he was 13, but this came from the inspiration of having a father around who was a rock musician. It wasn’t until he was 13, however, when Jez heard hip hop for the first time, and fell instantly in love with it.

“My first Eminem stuff is when I really fell in love with hip hop, [and] it led me to rap. I just really related to it.”

The rapper has now released plenty of content and has been climbing the Spotify streams ladder with each release. “It was just a hobby at first, but then I put out my first song “Candles”, probably 5 years ago, it went straight to number one on this thing called HypeMachine, and … that’s sort of when everything started. I was in Atlantic records two days later, and from there I put out a couple EPs and projects and now I’m working on my first solo album”.

He laughs because he definitely told this story many times before, but the confidence in his voice expresses a feeling of settlement and excitement on how his life took its course .

“It’s definitely been difficult. I’ve definitely gone through my ups and downs, especially in my career. There’s for sure been times when I’ve wanted to quit, and was just not into it anymore, but I always pushed through it. It’s always been a dream of mine, and I love doing it [music].” He sounds contemplative and reflective as he recalls moments of dark honesty.

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With weather of 117 degrees Fahrenheit and a big ‘ol truck in the middle of a desert, Jez’s team took off to create the visual for “Sober”. (Read about and watch the music video HERE.) The epic cinematic experience of this single is raw, intense, and chaotic. “The song is about  the first year that I moved out to Hollywood, and my life was sort of spiraling out of control. And when I say ‘you got me off track’ we kind of wanted to create a visual that portrayed the way that I felt. So we all got together and came up with the idea for that.”

Following the desert escape, Jez released “2 Birds”. ‘”2 Birds” is sort of a party song. It’s funny I didn’t ever think that song was gonna come out, especially when we were first making it.” The rapper explains how the genesis of the song came about, as he sat on the couch in the studio and heard the composition play through the speakers. It was then that in his mind he could picture the melody and the rest flowed with it.

Jez has a lot planned, and a lot to share, and with this new project on the way, he deems we’ll get a better understanding for him in a snapshot of tracks. “There’s definitely something for everybody on there and for most situations. There’s definitely the darker songs that tell my story, and more upbeat songs; it’s very eclectic,” he confesses. “I got songs on there that I think are going to be very important to a lot of the kids who listen to me. In particular, there’s this one song that I released a little snippet of on Twitter like almost a year ago, not thinking anything of it, and kids will still tweet me everyday about it. I think that’s going to be a special one.”

Devoted to and very much appreciative of his fans, he admits, “it’s just a special thing when I get messages from them from Instagram DMs or Twitter messages me, and it happens very frequently when a kid will just say ‘Jez, you saved me life’. It’s the craziest thing… it means so much!”

Our conversation took a diversion from the topic of his music and fans, and we discussed more of his interests. If the artist could collaborate with anyone, he said he would want it to be Leon Gallagher, Oasis’s lead singer. On another note, his social platform of choice used to be Twitter, but recently, he has made the switch over to Instagram more.

As an avid soccer fan, I had to ask him what would be his dream day agenda would look like, to which he replied, “probably to play soccer on Inter Milan’s field in Italy and then get in the studio with Eminem. Then get drunk on a beach in Brazil.”

Jez and I talked more about what fans should be looking for on this upcoming piece, or if there is anything in particular that he is feeling fans should know about him that they don’t already know. “I want to save a lot of that for the album, like I think they’re going to be very surprised in a  good way about what is on the record. I have a plethora of music that they haven’t heard yet and I’m really really excited about it.”

“I think it’s going to translate really well live.” Jez expresses his excitement to be finally playing some of these new tracks live, and thinks fans will be surprised to hear how much of his singing has gone into the project. So, stay tuned for when the album drops!

Follow on Social Media:

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Dude Madison Collabs with Scotty Evil to Create “Rebel Soul”

 

The 90’s are back

In this cool, kick-back vibe, Dude Madison and Scotty Evil collaborate to create “Rebel Soul”. This smooth auto-tuned and raw piece is a simple flow with a vivid sound.

Hailing from New York originally, but residing in Ann Arbor, Michigan currently, Leo Gitelman, also known as Dude Madison, is a young artist with a massive passion. He’s basically just a kid with a vision and big dreams, and even talent. Listening to the song above, you’ll realize his attention to detail is impeccable as each beat and rhythm are in sync with the vocals. He produces a track that has both an element of nostalgia and novelty, which is a refreshing breath of fresh air from the current conformist sounds of hip hop we hear today.

Madison allows the echoes and synths to circulate delicately around the piano chords which vibrate throughout the song. Scotty Evil’s rapid fire of poetic language then takes the mic and the whole song becomes this concoction of dreams.

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Madison is actually still a student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and has been pursuing this love for music and production since he was a kid. Only now do we get to see it come to fruition and see him take the reins to prove himself a member of the music scene and with this track, I agree that he does leave a memorable impression.

The single is a preview of the EP the artist plans to release this week! The project will include the tracks: “808s & Ankleweights”, “Lala Lala La”, “Rocky”, “FCD”, “Rebel Soul”, and “Dice Roll”. A super well-constructed compilation of songs that deserves a listen!  Be sure to check it out when it releases soon!

And stay tuned and follow Dude Madison on social media SoundCloudFacebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram

Mysterious Rap Artist Thatshymn Releases Erotic Single “Therapy”

That’s him

Needing a mind-unwinding hip hop melody? Then here is your next spin. The mysterious rap artist known as Thatshymn releases his next new single titled “Therapy” produced by Saidbysed.

The faceless artist has flow that is fire as he performs this monologue over a masterful composition. “Therapy” continues to lead you swaying and moving in circles and has to be one of the more impressive down-tempo hip hop tracks to come out these days. In fact, it has the statistics to prove that already accumulating  well over half a million streams in just its first week of release! With heavy rotation by the radio tycoon’s show, Zane Lowe Beats 1 Radio, he’s been filling the airwaves with “Therapy”‘s  tune.

Like a chant, the song whirls around in circles, hypnotizing you into its own form of musical therapy. Thatshymn’s voice is soothing and much like a spiritual incantation seduces you into the depths of the night.

“Therapy” is the rapper’s second single ever to drop after his first, breakout track “iKnow”.  As an emerging artist, the internet sensation has been proving himself worthy of the music scene’s attention, with his own intricate work in his songwriting. Even with all of this love, he still remains an enigma– not even Zane Lowe knows who is the man behind the music!

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His voice slips and slides so precisely over the reverb of the synths while the snares snap sharply back on the beat. The robust track is filled with pose and catastrophe all in one where euphoria and pleasure mixes with a dystopian, fragmented melody.

With the vocals of an artist like Bryson Tiller, the chill air of PartyNextDoor, and the ominous vibrations of Travis $cott, Thatshymn offers a combination of the three that fits a hip hop-lover’s paradise. So, listen to the track above now, wind down, let the music be the remedy, and let the session begin.

Follow him on Twitter and check out more of his music on Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud!

Ro Ransom Stops The World with Leven Kali & This Pop-Rock Single

A Sweet Trap Serenade

Ro Ransom has been killing the game, with every song and with every collaboration. So why not crush it with this single, “Stop The World”, too, along with the talents of neo-soul pop artist Leven Kali? Mystery Boy and Palm King demonstrate their abilities in the field of sonic inflections by throwing us a sweet riff about giving up the world for the one you love. Together, they create a catchy, rhythmic Rap-N-B track that runs circles around our head and keeps us grooving to the beat.

“Stop The World” appears on Momentum, which is to be Ransom’s debut project.

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The infectious single was produced by Leven Kali, mixed by Andrew Wright, and mastered by Peter Letros. So with this detailed team, Ransom is able to construct the perfect tune with a beautiful pop-rock beat. His hip hop vocals somehow alter into the perfect match up to his voice, and it all just rides so smoothly. As if it’s a dark fairytale, the song creeps into your heart with intricate guitar whines, airy violin screams, and robotic voices.

“Stop the World” is an experience of its own. Close your eyes and you can feel the endearing touch of the song as cold as metallic drums against skin or hot steam emerging from city streets and slowly passing you in the darkness of the night. You can feel the lonesomeness of Ransom and Kali take the mics and soundboards as they try to emphasize the efforts they would take to prove their emotions, and for just a moment, the melancholy track sounds optimistic and hopeful.

If you remember, we have reviewed both Kali and Ransom in the past, and we have never had anything but amazing things to say about these two talents who take their music and morph them to their own indescribable masterpieces. Of course, their collaboration did not leave us disappointed.

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Ransom, the master of disguise himself, is making moves on the scene receiving over 12M streams on Spotify with his music alone. New York’s Ransom has already had the honor of touring with Dua Lipa, has gone gold with Khalid, where he had co-written Khalid’s single “Let’s Go”, collaborated with Jazz Cartier, sung on tracks produced by Mike WiLL Made It, and now joins forces with Kali and will be performing on the same stage as Kyle.

So there is still more to see from these two! So be sure to stay tuned and follow them on social media to catch up with the latest happenings on their paths below!

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Ro Ransom

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“Lose It All” with Swedish Producer Finis Mundi’s Amazing Dance Track

Stockholm Syndrome

Get lost in this hypnotic single “Lose It All” by the Stockholm-based producer himself, Finis Mundi.

It has an incredible rhythm and a striking vocal progression that carries on throughout the song making the Mura Masa-esque track a  melange of hip hop & pop sensation. The song is seriously irresistible, and it just happens to captivate you and your dance soul so intensely that it you can’t keep from replaying it over and over again.

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This being Mundi’s second single yet, it’s already a masterpiece! Raised in Lindingö, Sweden, the producer has quite the expertise in the art of sonic design. The mystery man behind the sound had released his debut single “Say That” (featuring NOVAA), which proceeded to receive half a million streams and ranking at No. 22 on the Spotify Global Viral Charts! “Say That” is an ominous melody, yet for his second record, Mundi took a new spin with a more upbeat tone and a harder impact in order to let the vibe resonate within the spaces of the room. The fragmented automaton voices layered over the sounds of oriental plucks and reverbs of the continuous loop of synths is spellbinding and mesmeric.

“Lose It All (What If)” is a tidal wave building up and slowing down in just the correct areas and diversifying its sound in just the right ways. In fact, it will be interesting to see where this song will lead to as it seems to be an even cleaner, more-constructed track compared to the first. We should expect to see this artist more often as his productions are heard and recognized for their artistry. Mundi is only getting better and has proven his first success worthy of the streams it received, so why shouldn’t this single be just as (if not more) triumphant?

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Listen to the track above, dance your heart away, and be sure to check out his socials~ Facebook Twitter Instagram SoundCloud

[Ones to Watch]: Live Nation Presents Allie X & Buddy – LA

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ONES TO WATCH STRIKES AGAIN FT. ALLIE X & BUDDY

Back at it again with Live Nation’s incredible event that showcases some of the most talented up-and-coming artists today! Ones to Watch has to be one of the best ideas in the music industry and for it. On the hunt for new talent, OTW scouts search and seize those they find have incredible musical skills and potential and bring them to this one night where they are seen by many within the music business world!

Last wednesday, (August 2nd), OTW presented us two artists of different genres who truly have a passion for their art and a talent that will most likely blow up on the charts at some point!The crowd that night was ecstatic as all filed in to get their free shirts from Bella X Canvas and The Shirt Agency and to get their free beverages from the bar. The room decorated with chandeliers looked fantastic under the lighting and the glass windows showed off a perfect sunset to start the night.

To set the scene, the event unfolds before our eyes on a simple stage of mics, seats, a drum set, a rug, and a “One to Watch” projected backdrop.

Artist 1: Allie X (Electronic-Pop):

Allie X is a radiant character hailing from Oakville, Ontario. Her real name is Alexandra Ashley Hughes. She originally came from a classical piano, opera, and musical theatre background, and it wasn’t until 2014 when she started to outgrow that scene to enter into the world of pop and electronica. Her first ever released single was “Catch”, which Time magazine had written about. Her music can be described as whimsical, positive melancholy, and enchanting. They’re hypnotic in their own way with her strong, yet serene vocals and she just manages to shock you with that electric feel. She will remind you of Betty Who, Charli XCX, and upbeat Lana Del Ray, and Ashe.

In 2015, she released her debut EP CollXtion I and in 2017, she released her sophomore EP CollXtion II. She has drawn quite the crowd through the power of her music and with her inquisitive nature and her fascinating personality, she draws attention to herself. She exposes a whole new side of the nature of pop to her fans and listeners. Truly a talent, she is one to watch.

Listen to her music below:

Artist 2: Buddy (Hip-Hop/R&B):

The second artist at the event was Buddy, a young man from Compton, CA who will remind you of artists such as Mack Wilds, Tunji Ige, and Saba. Simmie Sims (aka Buddy) has a cutting-edge sound to offer the hip-hop world. He was known for his impressive rap battles in the LA scene and starting at the age of 11, Buddy was performing in various showcases, and writing and performing for a rap collective. He was found out by DJ Casanova who then decided to take the budding rapper under his wing to help construct his style and discover his musical persona.

Soon after, Pharrell would find Buddy and mentor him. Together, the two produced Buddy’s single “Awesome Awesome” with the Neptunes. Buddy spits fire and will remind you of the skillful, witty tricks of Vince Staples, but he will also remind you of the fun, light-hearted stylings of Smino. He’s a new taste for hip hop. He recently collaborated with KAYTRANADA to create his EP Ocean & Montana. He will also be on a US tour with KYLE this fall, so be on the lookout for this one to watch.

Listen to his music below:

 

 

 

Find more emerging artists, here at OnesToWatch.com!

Jez Dior Cruises in Symbolic Music Video for Single “Sober”

 

King of the Desert Roads

Epic Records hip hopper, Jez Dior, just released the music video for his first major record label single, “Sober.” In this balladic rap track, Dior designs a song that presses the boundaries of modern hip-hop with a hypnotic piano riff at the beginning and an addicting tune. Recently premiered on Complex, the music video shows a new side of the song to emphasize its simplicity of sound and complexity of meaning. The visual was directed by the talents of Shane Drake (Timbaland, Avril Lavigne,  Fall Out Boy).

During the progression of the visual, the Los Angeles-based artist is found in various scenarios of solitude facing himself and his delusions. At one point, he is singing from the back of a self-driving pickup truck in the middle of nowhere which then eventually transforms into the intensity of him breaking objects and items in a small, abandoned shack. The whole entirety of the story of “Sober” is about Dior’s experiences of moving into a new world as his music begins to take off and he would have to move from his SoCal life to the wild Los Angeles routine. The song is dark and ominous, yet it is directed very impressively in terms of lighting, especially during the scene when the tepee in the night of the desert is on fire and juxtaposes the light of the flames. The music video has thus far generated over 379K plays on Spotify and “Sober” was included on Spotify’s playlists New Music Friday and R&B Right Now.

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“We really tried to portray the meaning of the song through our visuals. Shane [Drake], whom I’ve known for many years did an amazing job showcasing the way I felt when my life was spiraling out of control when I first moved to Hollywood. The shoot was one of the tougher ones, as it was around 117 degrees the whole time, but I love how it turned out, so it was all worth it” says the 25-year old artist.

Watch the video above now!

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