KI Back At It – Just Getting Started (EP)

Introducing KI Back At It, a new sensation hailing from New Jersey, with a slick flow, undeniable charisma and brand new sound. After establishing himself the past few years with a must-hear collection of projects, most notably includes, Destroy and Rebuild New Jersey and Signed to Myself. In 2020, the rising star delivers his best work yet in the release of his latest project, titled, Just Getting Started.

The perfect jump-on point for any newfound fan. Just Getting Started is a seven-track collection filled with snappy bars, heavy bass production and a feel-good vibe that hasn’t been heard from a new artist coming out of the East Coast since the early part of the decade. Ki Back At It is electrifying on street-smart tracks like “I Want It All,” “To Cocky” and “Think They Want War.” His standout track on the project is the explosive cut, “World on My Shoulders” which he claims responsibility of bringing the East Coast back to the forefront of music with his refreshing street presence. Clearly exhibiting the hustler’s mentality that has given us legends before him like 50 Cent, Fat Joe, Nas and so many more.

This is Ki Back At It’s defining moment to-date. A rabbit hole project that will send fans researching previous works within in catalog and learn the complete history of the up-and-coming star. Another noteworthy project to review the following Just Getting Started is last year’s money-motivated effort, titled, Getting to the Bag.

Just Getting Started features a guest appearance by the talented recording artist, Choose Quality. Ki Back At It’s new project is streaming now on his own imprint. After the stream, for more on this hot new artist, follow the star daily on Twitter and Instagram.

Take a listen to the new project now, courtesy Spotify.

Griselda Records – Live Concert 3/6/20 in Los Angeles @ The Novo | Official Recap Video

Official recap of Griselda‘s live concert in Los Angeles at The Novo 3/6/20 presented by UGHHBLOG & Goldenvoice. With all 3 original Griselda Records members Westside GunnConway the Machine, and Benny the Butcher performed in front of a sold out crowd back to back 2000+ people, this event definitively made a mark in Hip Hop history books.  Recap shot and edited by: These Streets Magazine @thesestreetsmag.

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RedRum – “On Fire” (Video)

Orlando-based duo RedRum are bringing that straight heat with their new video premiere for “On Fire,” a bars-filled banger that demonstrates why these two need to be on your radar. Set amidst burning buildings and flames-filled visual effects from Talonted Productions, RedRum’s Red Eye and Racks set out to talk their sh*t with verses that are full-to-bursting with quotables. If you’re feeling “On Fire” as much as we are and want more RedRum, be sure to check out their Website. In the interim, peep the visuals and head over to your preferred digital retailer or streaming platform to support. “On Fire” is taken from their forthcoming project, The Lucifer Effect which has no firm release date at the moment, so keep an eye out for more information soon.

GunDei – “The Place of the Skull” (Album Review)

 

GunDei is a seasoned underground mc. With releases like “Grand moun” and “There Goes Da Naybahood”, its no wonder why he is already a respected mc. His newest release is titled “The Place of the Skull” which focuses on how one’s bright future is corrupted by the environment they are stuck in. With such a conceptually rich topic, can GunDei smoothly execute these ideas into a cohesive body of work?

Lyrically, GunDei tells a compelling story of the events which destroy the dreamers. From the album’s opener “Lawd, Have Mercy”, we listen to the heartfelt tragedy that many in the ghetto face. The second track, “Dark Knights” with Fred The Godson, is a definite standout as the two exchange verses on how one is thrown into and adapted to the criminal underworld of America. The next few tracks go on to further the narrative as each cut brings a new topic to the table. We see GunDei’s versatility as he raps from the perspectives of a gangster, child, and more. Cuts like “So Amazing” and “Ghetto Wayz” were some of the most powerful to me on this run. Towards the end of the tracklist, “Real Izm” with Che Noir stood out to me as it depicts the chaos in the world with a more hopeful and positive light. The album closes out with its grand finale “Blok Muzik”, which summarizes everything we just heard while also tapping into the more emotional side of everything which has occurred leading up to this moment. All in all, GunDei pushes his deep narrative with his first-person experience of everything he talks about.

Sonically, the album complements the narrative Gun is trying to push. Most of the beats are gloomy and gritty, which near perfectly match the vibe of each track. Cuts like “Dark Knights and the “The Place of the Skull” exemplify this. On the other side of things, instrumentals like “Press Play” and “Against the System” are pretty upbeat and intuitive, yet they stay true to the record’s narrative. “Ghetto Wayz” stuck out to me the most as its change of pace and vibe challenges the listener to think with its sappy organ-based instrumental. Overall, the sonic direction of the project only helps get across the message Dei is trying to convey.

In conclusion, “The Place of the Skull” is one of the most unique and powerful records I have heard in a while. The touching lyricism isn’t just profound; it is important as GunDei poses serious topics that need to be addressed to a broader audience. This is an extraordinary project, and any hip hop fan should listen as records like these come around only once and a while!

Rating: 9/10

Highlights: Lyricism, Social Awareness, Production

A1 NWG x Aaron P – “La Cava” (EP Review)

A1 NWG and Aaron P are two rising artists who have come together to give us their ep “La Cava“. The two have completely different backgrounds as A1 is Puerto Rican rapper, and Aaron is a New York based producer. With contrasting upbringings, will the two be able to create a cohesive body of work?

A1 NWG displays all of his talent in a short amount of time. “La Cava” is built around fusing Latin and American hip hop into one powerful force. The way NWG went about this was by rapping four of the tracks in Spanish and the other two in English. While I thought that would be his selling point on the record, it’s honestly just the brim of everything A1 can do. He can make vibrant bangers in “No la Dejes Caer”, and he also has the ability to make smoother laid back tracks like “No Sé”. The English side consists of the cuts “On My Mind” and “I Don’t Know”. The ladder of the two happened to be my favorite song on the entire record as NWG’s writing and wordplay was on par as he recites a compelling story. Overall, A1 NWG shows he can be a worldwide musical force on this record.

Sonically, Aaron P fuses the two different continents’ worth of styles under his intricate production. Whether he’s making a more electro beat on “No la Dejes Caer” or something more trap oriented like “No Sé Que Pasó” P appears to be able to do it all behind the boards. “On My Mind” was a definite standout with its accessible and soulful instrumental. Creating a soundtrack that competently follows a project with this much versatility is challenging, but Aaron P does not shy away from the task.

In conclusion, “La Cava” is a one a kind project which displays the unique talents of an upcoming rapper-producer duo. My only real complaint with the project was its short length and its lack of depth. Both artists have the potential to build up reputable names in this business if they can expand and grow on the lane they are paving right now. If you’re like me and want to see what this duo will do in the future, be sure to follow @a1nwg on Instagram!

Rating: 7/10

Highlights: Versatility, Production, Vibes

Young iLLa – “2 Real for the Industry” (Album)

Rising Seattle, WA based underground Hip Hop artist Young iLLa releases his groundbreaking 11-track debut album titled “2 Real for the Industry“.  Follow him on  Instagram @bue_young_illa.

M.A.V., Rob Gates & Big Ghost Ltd. – “The Dark Side of Nature” (Album Review)

This is the surprise collaborative album between Rochester emcees M.A.V. & Rob Gates. Both of whom are members of Da Cloth along with Mooch & Rigz, who actually happened to drop their own collab effort with Big Ghost Ltd. production top to bottom late last year called The Only Way Out. Given that, it’s only right for Big Ghost to show off 2 other members of Da Cloth for a full project.

After the “Prelude” intro, the first song “Bad News” opens up about doing what needed to be done over a grimy beat with some rock influences to it whereas the next track “Bloodhounds” gets murderous over a wailing guitar. The song “Said What I Said” talks about how ugly the lives that they’ve lived are on top of an instrumental that sounds like something from a horror flick while the track “Wild Card” angrily paints themselves as mobsters over a melancholic boom bap beat.

The song “Green Light” talks about applying the lesions that they’ve learned throughout the years on top of a somber orchestral loop while the track “Tombstone” talks about engaging in criminal activity over a fuzzy boom bap beat. The song “Left for Dead” with Rigz sonically gets back on the rock side of things as the trio talk about how dudes in their hood don’t play while the track “Said Less, Did More” talks about grinding as over an elegiac piano instrumental.

The song “Authenticated” talks about how their credibility over a hypnotic beat while the penultimate track “By Myself” gives us a glimpse of what it was like for them growing up & I really love the instrumentation gets more layered as the song progresses. The album finishes off with “Smokin’ Aces”, where everyone in Da Cloth gruesomely show us what they’re capable of as a unit for almost 8 minutes.

If you loved The Only Way Out, then you’re gonna enjoy this just as much. Not only because M.A.V. & Rob Gates’ chemistry is just so unique, but Big Ghost Ltd. also continues to show why he’s one of the best producers in hip hop today.

Score: 8/10

Struggle Mike – “Da Wall” (Album Review)

Struggle Mike has been an established force in the Buffalo hip hop scene for a while at this point. He has just released his newest album, “Da Wall”. Like his last project, “The Great Escape”, his new album embodies everything Buffalo and New York rap is about with its star-studded tracklist featuring big names like Fred the Godson, Rj Payne, Rick Hyde, and Griselda member Benny the Butcher. With all of these high profile artists on one compilation, can Mike create a competent body of work?

Almost every artist featured goes on a lyrical annihilation on the record. Opening up the album, the hard cuts “Sicario”, “Not 1 Boss” and “Shoot Outs” set the tone going forward. Each one of these songs has a handful of unforgettable lines and moments but none more memorable then Benny the Butcher’s closing verse on “Not 1 Boss”. Whether its Struggle Mike, Benny, or anyone else, each performance is dark and gritty as each artist gives their take on the pain they have experienced throughout their lives. One appearance that stuck out to me was Che Noir’s on “Coming for You”, as her cold delivery over the hard-hitting instrumental created an exciting dynamic that stuck in my head for hours. “Something Beautiful” is another highlight as Mike and Fred the Godson go bar for bar on this lyrical exercise. The second half of the album takes a more chaotic turn with the cuts “Work and” “Blender”. Overall, the magnitude of talented artists on this record embeds “Da Wall” with some of the best lyricism I have heard all year.

Sonically, the project offers just as much as it does lyrically. “Sicario” is worth mentioning as it fuses a typical boom-bap instrumental with a Latin sample masterfully. “Shoot Outs” and “Coming for You” capture the typical sound you would expect from a hardcore hip hop record like this while the cuts “Helping Hand Remix” and “If I” contain a much more vibrant feel. “Blender” was my personal favorite instrumental as it serves as the climax of the entire record with its epic and triumphant sound. None of the beats feel out of place as they all complement the mood Struggle Mike is trying to create. All in all, the soundtrack of “Da Wall” shows the living soul of Buffalo hip hop.

In conclusion, “Da Wall” is Struggle Mike’s most refined effort to date. From the well-placed features to the intricate lyricism, there is so much for a true hip hop fan to admire. Being able to get together so many artists together on this work is afoot to admire as its something not many can do. Since Griselda’s emergence, I have been saying Buffalo New York is producing some of the hottest talents right now, and with this project, there is now a piece of work from the entire city to back that statement up. To see what Struggle Mike does next be sure to follow @strugglemike716 on Instagram!

Rating: 9/10

Highlights: Lyricism, Production, Features