From the '90s scratch-and-scribble bombast of Statik Selektah's "Day ZzZ's" production to the '70s gangster flick-sound of the Backpack-helmed "Left Get," rapper CJ Fly's Thee Way Eye See It is arranged like a movie montage, minus the camera.
Today marks the launch of Absolut Originality, a bespoke collaboration between the Swedish vodka brand and up-and-coming UK designer, Kitty Joseph. A limited-edition Absolut bottle with a single, cobalt-blue drop, infused into the glass during production, is the primary inspiration to the designer's three-look capsule collection.
Harlem-bred rapper-entrepreneur Vinny Cha$e is a viable contender as the heir to Nas, Hova, Rakim, and Biggie. Skewing recession-era material obsessions into equal portions humor and seriousness, Cha$e rides basslines with nonchalance and cultural breadth.
Kat Dahlia, who burst onto the scene via Sylvia Rhone's Vested In Culture imprint on Epic Records, brings old-school hearty vocals to today's street-strong sound.
We talked to Crown Heights rapper Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire on the eve of his return—his Kismet mixtape is coming at the end of this month, and we're pleased to premiere the new song "Draped in Gold" here—about his life-affirming hiatus, the pressures of going mainstream, and quitting the sauce.
The world takes time to warm up to you—longer in some cases than others. It's taken Bad Boy songstress and former model Cassie nearly seven years to find her place in today's soundscape. The singer, who released her biggest hit to date, "Me & U," in 2006, has become something of a cult star for R&B's new sound—but without actually being a part of it.
In hip-hop, to boast is to breathe—and some fare better than others. The genre's become so synonymous with braggadocio, it's practically a no-holds-barred palace of self-inflated "triple beam dreams," most times so extreme, listeners can never be too sure what, or rather, who to believe. For New York (by way of D.C.) newcomer, Njena Reddd Foxxx, one doesn't have to listen to deem her top-notch at anything (although it helps)—just look to her credentials.
Dawn Richard, formerly of Danity Kane and Diddy-Dirty Money, has released a mixtape and EP on her own, without any major label assistance, to rave reviews and an inspired fanbase—yet it's her upcoming debut solo effort, Goldenheart, that's set to get the mainstream talking once it's released next month.
While studying at Parsons School of Design, Colombians Melissa Losada and Marcela Velez discovered a shared interest in translating old-world luggage into everyday chic. "We're both from the same place, but we had never met," remembers Losada. They met one late night at the now-defunct Bungalow 8 and started talking. "Ever since it's sort of been fate."
Mike Tucker's sound is considered by some to be of "big room" origins, but the 21 year-old up-and-comer, who performs under the name Blood Diamonds, would simply call his electro-hinged variety, "fun shit." And that's exactly what we're so into about his latest vertiginous EP Phone Sex.
"Money comin', money goin'—ain't like you can take it wit' ya," Drake raps over the relentlessly vicious Hard-NRG skitter-beat of French Montana's "Pop That"—and that's exactly how it sounds: like the last kegger before succumbing to the apocalypse. The track that's already considered summer's unofficial fire-thrower—accompanied by a posse video shot over Memorial Day weekend in Miami, due to debut any day now—is Montana's first foray into the mainstream, courtesy of the cut's Young Money and Maybach Music tie-in verses (by superstars Rick Ross, Lil' Wayne and Drake).
Sweden has always been a hotspot for bubbly, melodic fun: from Robyn and producer Max Martin to ABBA, The Cardigans and back again. But never before has the small Scandinavian country birthed such a uniquely magnetic, otherworldly pop creature as Zhala. A&R's, take note: the former Lykke Li backup singer—who just last week debuted the far-out "Slippin' Around," her first and only single and video, via her YouTube channel—is a free agent.
Leave it to The-Dream to usher in the fall weather with a chilly breakup anthem, "Long Gone"—but don't expect him to offer you much more than a dull black-and-white video, released today on his website, to accompany it.