“Black Leather” is aggressive rock/hip hop fusion from @CallMeKarizma

CALL ME KARIZMA, “Black Leather”

Call Me Karizma is hardly a stranger to this blog as he returns with a new single that is on-point on so many levels called “Black Leather”. The Minnesota native took a jump into some really hard-edged hip hop a few years back which swerved outside of my wheelhouse, but I’ve kept listening, and “Black Leather” comes back full circle, almost like a sequel to ‘Riz’s earlier track “Rockstar”.  The lyrics scream 2021 in a nutshell with all of its societal and pop culture references, and its flashy video is a cool showcase for ‘Riz, although it has kind of a strange sub-plot that may have got lost on the editing floor.  For anyone enjoying The Kid Laroi, grandson, and Machine Gun Kelly, add “Black Leather” to your alt.rock hip hop flavoured playlist.  Call Me Karizma is in exceptional form and “Black Leather” could just be the ticket for him.

Published in: on September 17, 2021 at 9:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Producer @YungBae pairs up with rapper @Channel_Tres for disco and hip hop flavoured electronica of “Wonder”


Yung Bae’s recent single with UPSAHL called “Woman On The Moon” had its lens on alternative flavoured pop, and his latest release “Wonder” couldn’t be anything more different.  This time with Compton rapper Channel Tres taking the vocal reins, the Portland, Oregon native has opted for a semi-sung hip hop song that charges right in with disco lights and mirror ball ablaze! I could be wrong but I think there is a sample in there too that helps drive the song with its orchestral melody.  “Wonder” is very well crafted, with interesting lyrics and vocal that don’t come off too heavy.  I guess the best thing to bear in mind with the music of Yung Bae is to expect the unexpected and ride those cool grooves.

Published in: on June 18, 2021 at 11:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Boston’s @Heath__240 finds cool hybrid hip hop-alt.rock vibes with “Chirp” featuring @DanielPriceee

HEATH 240 and DANIEL PRICE, “Chirp”

He can rap and sing, and his style comes off as streetwise but fresh.  Meet Boston’s Heath 240 and his new single “Chirp”, which follows up his full album release from last year called The Hometown Hero.  The song looks on the brighter side of life when you need to move on to bigger, better surroundings, away from the haters, so you leave the nest and wash away that chirping to create your own path.  This is clever, creative hip hop flavoured indie alt.rock, which contracts Heath 240’s gruffer tones with Daniel Price’s dreamier pop flavours that are offered later in the song.  “Chirp” is instantly likeable and will appeal to fans of crossovers such as 24Goldn’s “Mood” and Gym Class Heroes/Travie McCoy.

Published in: on December 20, 2020 at 11:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A.’s Brandyn Burnette @EMAN8 is riding a cool R&B/hip hop groove with “Airplane Mode”


“Airplane Mode” is the title track from the recent four-song EP by L.A.-based singer/songwriter Brandyn Burnette. As faithful readers of this blog already know, Brandyn records both under his own name and under EMAN8 – in fact he also almost concurrently released a bluesy, more hip-hop flavoured album under that moniker called Heaven On A Cloudy Day.  “Airplane Mode” is more pop-oriented R&B, and I’m glad Brandyn has found that he can flesh out what he loves to do successfully under both identities.  Like previous single “Rolling Papers”, also featured in the EP, this is the most fun Brandyn has sounded in quite some time.  His verses couldn’t be better and always take you places you don’t expect, as he balances light-heartedness with some pointed messaging too.  While “Airplane Mode” is the highlight of the EP, I also have to give props to “Luh U” for being so direct about relationships being a two-way street. But do make sure you spin all four songs, which play together like a top-notch mixtape.

Published in: on December 17, 2020 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Rolling Papers” is unexpectedly light-hearted and playful from Brandyn Burnette @EMAN8 and Toronto’s @leFrenchBraids


“Rolling Papers” is one new song that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.  Brandyn Burnette has been hard at work in 2020 as both a solo and feature artist, regularly releasing new songs to showcase his pop, hip hop and R&B styles.  “Rolling Papers” might be a bit of a crapshoot but it’s a whole lot of fun.  The singer shows off his deft wordsmithing and is aptly supported by rising Toronto electronic producer French Braids (aka Sean Fischer), with whom Brandyn worked earlier this year on the track “Legend”.  But in “Rolling Papers” it’s great to hear Brandyn’s verses freewheelin’ in a lighter, feel-good setting, and that is a big win for fans and new listeners.

Life-changing things can happen on “Tuesdays In July” according to Canadian singer/songwriter @Jeymon_me

JEYMON, “Tuesdays In July”

Waiting to put some spunk into your Autumn playlists is British Columbian singer/songwriter Jeymon with his debut single “Tuesdays In July”. It’s got a playful, sometimes linear-sounding melody that will resonate with you with subsequent listens. Not only that, but the song evokes a special time for the singer (previously known as JMON) when he encountered someone special on a Tuesday in July after a club event. So all of a sudden, Tuesdays in July became equally special, and he shares that happiness he found in this song. Fans of the lighter sides of The Weeknd and Miguel will enjoy the crossover pop-R&B-hip hop music of Jeymon, and you can also appreciate some melodic influences from his Punjabi heritage in the mix. Trading in his accounting education for music, you’ve got to appreciate a guy who offers this quote: “All I want to do in life is cheer people up with my music, literally just vibe and eat unlimited amounts of dried mangoes.”

Published in: on October 17, 2020 at 10:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Check out @BretSears’ minimalist hip hop flavours in “Breaks My Heart” from his EP Imperfections

BRET SEARS, “Breaks My Heart”

Baltimore’s Bret Sears has shifted back and forth between electronic dance pop and hip hop in past releases which I’ve written about in the last few years. He recently released an EP called Imperfections, which almost anecdotally touches on a number of relationships in five very short songs. “Breaks My Heart” is the standout, drawing from influences from the likes of Justin Timberlake, Bryson Tiller, Party Next Door, and others, in a sheer, minimalist production that captures the isolation which takes place when a relationship is ending. Though the song sometimes seems more like stream of consciousness without a centre, it still works well and demonstrates Bret’s ongoing close attention to his craft.

Published in: on September 25, 2020 at 10:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“You” is gritty soulful hip hop flavoured pop from Maine artist Shang-High


“You” is 3:19 of infectious and gritty soulful pop brought to your attention by Maine hip hop artist Shang-High.  The singer/songwriter has been off to a stellar start these past years with two albums and Spotify streams over one million for his song “What Did We Do”.  Since his last album in 2018, it’s been a steady outpouring of singles, and “You” definitely has all of the chops in place to draw in a variety of listeners.  Shang-High’s singing voice is totally on point, sometimes recalling a Daryl Hall or Jay Kay of Jamiroquai – and then it’s often brought to a raspy edge.  His hip hop break in “You” flows beautifully, and he’s clearly well-versed in that style (since hip hop isn’t my thing, I won’t even try to cite any influences), though to me it’s a secondary attraction in this particular song.  Overall, “You” is an energetic bop that will easily get stuck in your head.

Published in: on July 14, 2020 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A. producer @PrizmOfficial shows versatility with standout “Her Symphony” and earworm “Baby Do” featuring @RapperJayCee

THE PRIZM “Her Symphony”


L.A. progressive electronic and dance producer The Prizm recently unveiled his debut self-titled album.  It seems to be a conceptual piece about the search for a mysterious and important woman or entity called “ID”.  I previously wrote about the lead-off single “Hello” featuring pitched up vocals by singer McEwen.  The album will definitely appeal to those who enjoy Illenium in particular but other artists like Ekali, Crystal Skies, and Trivecta, and is tightly packed at only 32 minutes long. But the standout track is “Her Symphony”.  The soothing female vocal honestly just gets stuck in your head and the song has a nuanced, almost classically-based melody.  It’s also not quite like what the other artists I’ve mentioned are creating, so appropriately it really stands out.

Right after the release of the album came an almost instantaneous release of “Baby Do”, featuring Maryland’s RapperJayCee.  It’s completely in a different space than the music in the album.  “Baby Do” is a radio-friendly earworm that draws from late 90’s and early 00’s europop like Alice Deejay and marries it with a likeable rap style that you might hear in releases by Big Sean and definitely Drake.  It’s also got a positive message about ‘just doing you’ – no need for phoniness when you’re trying to attract someone’s attention.  “Baby Do” is a real surprise and well-worth hearing – because you’ll keep playing it!

Dig the 90’s hip hop and jazzy vibes in “Thinking A Lot” by Brooklyn The Kid @thatkidBrooklyn and @ConradoMuluc


I don’t write a lot about hip hop as I’m not an expert in that genre, but I do know a good song when I hear it.  DMV-based rapper with Latin roots Brooklyn The Kid impresses with “Thinking A Lot” featuring fellow rapper Conrado Muluc.  The song takes a well-rounded sampling of hip hop styles post-Lauryn Hill and takes us back on a retro trip to the time of Digable Planets and Arrested Development.  The jazzy-Latin backdrop is incredibly inviting and the verses by Brooklyn and Conrado, a likeable M/F combo, flow freely, stream of consciousness-style.  “Thinking A Lot” certainly deserves your attention for all it has to offer in its loaded 2:41 length.

Published in: on March 5, 2020 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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