AToMiC ALiEN x AJ RU$T: LAST OF OUR KIND Prod. AJ RU$T

So when I first started out with this blog, I was an idiot.

Why? Because I was dedicated to writing reviews only on albums, and not singles. Which in hindsight was a terrible idea. The reason I bring this up, is because this track is just begging for more attention.

AToMiC ALiEN doesn’t just drop bars, he drops bombs. Comparing him to most cloud rappers, is like comparing Michael Jordan to a high school basketball team. AToMiC ALiEN is playing a grown man’s game while everybody else is playing “make believe.” Now why do I say this?

Each verse he drops is so expertly crafted. The verses shift in rhythm like a great drummer knows the perfect drum fill. Actually let me shift the comparison AToMiC ALiEN drops bars, like machine gun fire. Which is a lot more filling, listening to this coupled with the heavy distorted soundscape, makes this track sound so vicious. It’s rap with testosterone, and what’s not to like about that?

Now that I got the actual rapping out of the way, the production deserves some praise as well. Everything from the distorted guitar samples, the alarm going off, the heavy distorted 808’s, and the electronic glitches just adds to it’s savagery.

Most rap on the radio talk about going hard, but nothing sounds like it’s going hard. Almost everything on the radio has this weird drugged up feel to it, while the guy is rapping about fucking girls, doing drugs, settling grudges, and shooting guys. So since we’re talking about the music industry, it’s of course not going to sound at all vicious–that would make too much sense.

Another reason I gotta give this track some respect is mainly because I’m a sucker for AMVs. What can I say I’m a weeb at heart.

 

 

Ryan Deranged: Deranged EP

There’s been this kind of desire in music for awhile now. It’s like when Kurt Cobain said, that he wanted his band to be vicious like Black Flag, heavy like Black Sabbath, while poppy and melodic like the Beatles. While other bands had done it–specifically Husker Du and the Pixies–it was that unconscious idea that was brought up to the mainstream that made them the overnight success that they were.

Now hip hop kind of has that same kind of unconscious desire: to sound heavy like metal, to have the viciousness of punk, the nostalgia of vaporwave, and the instrumentation of electronic music. That’s kind of why, regardless of what Kanye does, music lovers can never really fault him. I mean how often does a hip hop track sound Psychedelic?

So what do unconscious desires have to do with Ryan Deranged’s album, Deranged EP? Simple it fulfills the desires you never knew you had.

So let’s dive into the first track of Deranged EP, Hamartia. In Soundcloud rap, the Navi sample, “Hey” in Ocarina of Time is kind of a staple. I mean I even have the Skull Kid’s laugh in one of my songs. If there’s ever a debate on whether someone is an industry plant or not; if one of their early songs doesn’t feature an N64 Zelda reference, then they’re probably a plant. Yet also the reason I point out this sample, is because it gives the track a really needed levity. What I mean by that is that there are hip hop groups that are experimenting with heavier, darker sounds; bands like Death Grips, $uicideBoy$, or GHOSTMANE. Yet I wouldn’t say those groups are “fun” in the way that Ryan Deranged is fun.

The best analogy I can come up with is picture punk rock, all the earnest bands singing about Anarchy, getting fucked up, social upheaval, and political views delivered with a sneer and sarcastic lyrical delivery. Then imagine the Misfits, who wore makeup to look like Ghouls in their devil locked hair, singing about B-movie horror movies, and Jaqueline Kennedy giving blow jobs. While the punk groups seem like outsiders with outsider opinions, who are abrasive, edgy, and do controversial shit to do controversial shit. The Misfits seem more like the class clown, and let’s be honest a class clown is always more preferable than an edgelord.

So Ryan Deranged has an incredibly “fun” kind of approach to what other bands have doing. As mentioned before the Navi sample, combined with the dirty synths that aren’t abrasive, the sword slice samples, and the distorted laugh sample. All of these individual elements builds up a track that is just sounds fun.

Now that I’ve kind of set the stage, let’s dive into the rest of the album. Chaos, has some amazing bars. The flow is absolutely on point–in fact let’s say that the sound isn’t your cup of tea. Anybody can admire a virtuoso even if they have no idea what is going on. I know nothing about soccer. I just know that you gotta get the ball in the goal. Yet if you were to show me a compilation of the greatest soccer plays ever made, I would be impressed. The same I would say for Ryan Deranged, even though he goes out on a limb with a unique sound, he at least has some virtuosity that even a casual listener of hip hop can respect. So with the imagery, as I described in his track on Hamartia, this track really embraces the fun of this kind of hip hop. With violins that sound like something that would be played on an early N64 horror game, distorted heavy synths, HEAVY 808’s, and glitchiness of some aspects of the track; it’s so over the top that it becomes enjoyable.

The next track If you don’t know now you know, sounds more like a cheesy video game boss kind of music, and I mean that in the best way. With the looped distorted laughter, brevity of the track, and that same signature distortion. It’s over before you know it, and the same applies for Opus Dei. Which again calls back to punk, where the Ramones would play 20 songs in 30 minutes or 30 songs in 20 minutes. With this whole album being under 10 minutes it’s really a breeze to listen through. Not just because of it’s length, but also due to the fact that the sound always manages to surprise you, while still sticking within Ryan Deranged’s sound. It’s such a unique sound that every synth, every 808, and every sample seems novel. In having this fully fleshed out style, played out in such a short amount of time, that it’s incredibly rewarding to listen to. After all Shakespeare said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” The songs by being shorter, keep all the bullshit out, and just focus on what matters–the music.

So with the last track, Babylon–which opens up with same amazing samples that call back some Sci-Fi Horror movie–it’s the best summary of what this whole album is. While most of soundcloud rap that’s experimental try to be abrasive, shocking, emo, and political; Ryan Deranged goes a different approach, and one that should be further explored in this genre of hip hop. Because if you try to be abrasive, shocking, emo, political, etc. all it needs is somebody to take the piss out of you, for everybody to see your music as schlocky. So when this album, that sounds like a video game Boss’ EP, embraces this campy sound–it adds something that is needed for this type of experimental Hip Hop to survive. Fun.

So I can’t give this album enough reccs. You gotta check it out for yourself. It’s the kind of album that everybody didn’t know they needed to hear, until they’ve heard it. With that I give this album my full recc.

Backxwash delivers superstardom on Black Sailor Moon

This post was written by The Scratch King you can follow him on twitter, instagram, and soundcloud.

For many children growing up in the 1990’s, the classic anime known as Sailor Moon was one of their first, if only, representations of LGBTQ+ characters in animated media. If any rapper is capable of capturing the latent energy and bad-bitch power of Sailor Moon, it’s Canada-based rapper Backxwash. Her most recent EP, Black Sailor Moon, is a wall-to-wall slugfest of sharp bars and personality, featuring instrumentals from the likes of Natsu Fuji, Buttress, Non Bruh, ELII3, and Backxwash herself. Backxwash’s bars spare no creative expense either, detailing her experiences as a trans woman in the cis-dominated rap sphere. Her delivery and flow carry tremendous amounts of emotion and power from track to track without losing any lyrical flair or tightness over the course of the projects’s 14 minute runtime. Few rappers bring as much raw talent and ambition to the table as Backxwash, and to miss out on listening to Black Sailor Moon is to miss out on something genuinely special and like nothing else.

SLIMEYSKUMBAGGZ: SKUMBAGG CIGRAP pt. 1

 

 

This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had doing a music review. Mainly because I have no idea how these guys

697b29bd-2792-43b5-80a8-c532a96d3b8c

made one of the best rap EPs I’ve ever heard on soundcloud. I’m not joking either.

I had my suspicions of them they are from England, and as an American, we are very hesitant to English Hip Hop. Two their tags on their EP is as follows: trumpets, drumkits, and “ur mums tits.” Three it could be an elaborate ruse, that they’re just trolls looking for ways to fuck with nobody music bloggers. And finally they don’t even look like they’ve graduated high school (or whatever the English equivalent of high school is.)

I don’t mean to insult them in anyway, because I want to set the stage by how impressed I am by them. I’ve met grown ass men, guys who have families, who have been struggling their whole lives to make rap music, and NONE of them sound remotely as good as these two guys from England. It’s so bizarre and strange that it’s like how in Amadeus Mozart is just this immature manchild, who just wants to make fart jokes all day long, and comparing that to the Salieris of real life I’ve met is truly a bizarre experience. Don’t take this that I’m saying SLIMEYSKUMBAGGZ are unintelligent far from it, what I’m saying is that these guys who don’t even take themselves all too seriously are slaying grown ass men who’ve been at the game for a whole lot longer.

The whole album has the best that hip hop, in it’s golden age (the 90’s), on the best coast (East Coast) has to offer, and they’re literally spitting fire. The best way to compare their rapping prowess is a comparison to Robin Williams (which is bizarre but it’s what works). Robin Williams had such a speedy delivery in his stand up that you’d be laughing at one joke, and then he’d deliver five more jokes on top of that, so that you’d have no time to breathe. They’re so technical, and their rhymes are so brilliantly crafted, that by the time you are appreciating one bar they’ve dropped 5 more that are just as brilliant.

The production from how hard the kicks sound, the subtle little trumpets, the keyboards, everything is just so well produced and mixed. It’s really incredible, and with everybody going for the whole lofi hip hop feel, to listen to kick drum that actually KICKS is such a joy to hear.

I had to look up SKWID to see his earlier works, to see if it was them that was actually rapping, and he wasn’t just sampling other rappers (even though if that was the case the production is still top notch.) I found his earlier music and even his earliest song you can tell that there is the formation some serious talent.

 

In SKUMBAGG CIGRAP pt. 1 you really see the progression of an artist, and the album itself is so fun, I don’t know anybody who likes hip hop that wouldn’t like this album. It’s like watching a Tarantino movie. Tarantino is a big movie nerd, and he makes movies that just take all the good parts from every movie genre, and gives it his own unique flair. SLIMEYSKUMBAGGZ do the exact same thing, but with hip hop. It’s a celebration of Hip Hop and it’s a must listen. The fact that it hasn’t received that much attention is astonishing to me. This one of the best, if not the best soundcloud rap album I’ve heard yet. If you don’t believe me look up other hip hop artists on soundcloud and tell me whether they can hold a candle to this album.

I not only give this album a recc. I give this album an MVP award. I give it hall of fame. Stop reading. Listen and judge for yourself. I could be crazy. I don’t know. But this album is fucking fire.

 

Noisemad Succeeds to Impress

This post was written by The Scratch King you can follow him on twitter, instagram, and soundcloud.

 

It’s hard to make a good impression in a short amount of time, especially in the dog-eat-elephant world of underground music in 2019. That is, unless you’re Noisemad, fresh off the release of his new Deadcity EP. Three tracks in length, the project wastes no time submerging listeners in an ocean of polished production, aptly coupled with harsh, unrelenting lyrics. This is clearest on the intro track, “Meat Wagon,” which features a John Carpenter-esque key melody alongside a screamed refrain. It’s a powerful sonic package that’s hard to ignore. Noisemad doesn’t let up as the runtime continues, delivering equally razor-sharp lyrics through the second and third tracks, Red Light District and Wanted.

Coming in at about seven minutes, Deadcity EP is a quick but intense listen worth hearing.

Recc/10

atlxb: TheLostSouls

 

 

Nothing hurts like your first heartbreak. Yeah sure, we can look back and say, “Oh man I really dodged a bullet there. That bitch was psycho hahaha.” But really can anything be worse than the first time a girl looked into your eyes and said, “I love you” only for her to end the relationship?

atlxb spills his guts and reveals truths about breakups that we’d rather forget. Every single song oozes with a melancholy that can only come from a hurt that only a breakup can give. Every single track deals with a specific feeling that’s pinpointed with surgical precision. Whether it’s the obsession of the girl you lost, to suicidal ideation, and then the false machismo that comes from hooking up with girls. atlxb has got you covered, and the fact he has committed this experience to his music speaks volumes on his willingness to express himself through art.

atlxb is an excellent rapper who has really honed his craft. His flow is phenomenal and his lyrics are excellent. Though at times he can be difficult to understand, it’s not so much due to a lack of technical but due to a lack post-production polish. Which my reply to that is, would you rather listen to something that “Says nothing to me about my life,” as Morrissey would put it? Or would like to hear something that’s sincere and honest?

The production as well is top notch. KAMIKAZE is an amazing musical number that perfectly encapsulates the themes of this album. The guitar strums along this dramatic chord progression that feels an apex in a movie where a shoot out takes place. Another song that just oozes with sadness is Forever. The reverbed out piano and rain samples, paints such a clear picture of the isolation that a break up brings, and that’s just through the music alone, taken with atlxb’s lyrics, he adds such an emotional depth that only somebody who has experienced heartbreak can understand.

atlxb spills his guts for us and his bravery for doing so provides a much needed perspective on the matter of relationships. Everybody after a breakup does things they regret, and because they regret what they’ve done we try our hardest to hide our pain. We all try to cover it up, we lie to others that it really didn’t hurt us as much as it did. We try to intellectualize the relationship–minimize the pain as much as humanely possible. We do everything we can to runaway from the emotional truths of what we gone through, because it’s difficult to believe that anybody else has ever gone through what you have gone through. You feel alone, because you believe are alone and atlxb shows us with his incredible lyricism shows us–that no we aren’t. We all go through this and there is nothing to be ashamed of.

For his emotional depth, and relatability I give this album my recc.

Johnnascus Questions Everything

This post was written by The Scratch King you can follow him on twitter, instagram, and soundcloud.

In the microcosm of independently-released music, it’s all too common for relatively average projects to be erroneously labeled as experimental. Texas-based rapper/producer Johnnascus’ most recent release, Identity Crisis, is not one of these projects. Identity Crisis is an EP bursting with otherworldly bridges and authentic eccentricity, with genres within ranging from noise, to metal, to rap and even gaps of ambient. Johnnascus himself shows tremendous vocal range, bringing servings of screams, singing at a variety of pitches, and everything in between.

The first track, “Question Everything,” features a monologue setting the stage for the rest of the project, detailing meditation interrupted by an existential crisis. Playing out against a backdrop of haunting key melodies from producer Sleepy Randy, the track explodes into a stunning bevy of layered percussion and vocals. Similarly aggressive tracks can be found throughout the 36-minute runtime, including “My (A)sexuality” (prod. by Bruhmanegod), “Sad Satan LSD” (prod. By Bruhmanegod), and the self-produced “Gen Z.” The track listing here has no shortage of softer, more melodically-minded cuts either, including “2am,” with a stream-of-consciousness vocal flow that soars alongside a gorgeously mixed synth instrumental.

Identity Crisis is what so many projects dream to be: cathartic, polished, even unsettling. For any fan of music that doesn’t color inside the lines, it’s worth a listen.

Bigrecc/10

St. Wave: Troposphere

 

 

 

So from thesis of the album “Telling a story of moral conflict within a mind of an introvert, striving to be a better individual. From one Millennial to another.” The album already has grandiose claims.

What I mean by grandiose is that every single person in America has become an armchair psychologist for millennials. That the reason for our lack of agency, histrionics, or whatever; is the result of trophies for everyone, being taught that we were all special snowflakes, etc. You get the picture. You’ve heard it before.

St. Wave with his unique lyricism paints us a portrait that most pundits, armchair psychologists, simply just can’t grasp.

The music in Troposphere Vol. 1 has this melancholy atmosphere that seeps through every sound. It’s a melancholy that can only be expressed by someone that has experienced what life has to offer–which isn’t much.

St. Wave with his introversion is very introspective, and as a result very insightful. He’s not like the typical rapper who boasts of his success, lectures others, and tells the classic from drug dealer to mogul story.

St. Wave isn’t like that, he’s somebody who strives for higher heights, who knows he deserves better, no song better encapsulates this than Troposphere, yet we “We walk alone in this day and age, a generation misunderstood.”

The paths to success or even to start a family, something that all previous generations had so easily been to obtain, seems to allude us. We aren’t able to go work for a high paying job straight out of high school, we aren’t able to get a degree and get the career we want, we aren’t able to do these things. So what else is there to do but to indulge in hedonism. We have no future– so why not smoke weed, drink, and hook up with chicks?

Yet St. Wave wants a better life. He wants to be a better man and LiVE EVIL–my personal favorite track on this album–encapsulates the inner turmoil that an average millennial faces from social pressures, giving into temptation, giving into sin, resulting in the self defeating chorus of “I give in everytime.”

I’ll paraphrase C.S. Lewis–because St. Wave has a soul unlike most contemporary artists–that everybody on earth always feels like there’s something missing. Because we have souls we always feel like we’re missing out on a grand adventure; that we all want to get on, but somehow can’t. As a result our lives feel empty, physical pleasures lose their allure, we become alienated from one another, and even love as St. Wave on Wine puts it “Doesn’t feel enough.”

Millennials with all of our drugs, instant gratification, materialism, hook ups, and everything else still can’t find the thing that we yearn for. What that is–alludes us. But the diagnosis the symptoms of the disease of the soul we have is no where better laid out than by St. Wave’s Troposphere Vol. 1.

I give this album my recc.