ABOVE: MAXO KREAM. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARCO TORRES.
With an infinite number of websites dedicated to hosting tunes for the laptop-wielding masses, music truly lives online. However, the web’s bottomless pit of blogs isn’t the only place to troll for mp3 treasures—some of the newest and most exciting (Internet-friendly) artists can be sought out via Soundcloud, the online stage that allows musicians to promote and distribute music around the world. For this edition of the weekly column, guest sleuth Christopher Klimovski goes into the depths of the music-sharing site.
As the weather begins to warm, so too do the lyrical offerings of musical mavericks. Each artist included in this week’s column has dropped new work in the past seven days that focuses simultaneously on genre blending and rhyme-spitting prowess. The erratic, indefinable nature of the backing beats clear the way for lyrical-technique to shine. We picked three of our favorite fresh tracks that will show the world (or at least your friends) that you know what’s up.
Maxo Kream Ft. Joey Bada$$: “1998”
Who: Maxo Kream is a Houston, TX native who spits fluid lyrics about his past with a nod to drug-dealings, chopped and screwed references, and with deeper listening, some even heavier topics. His tracks are disjointed yet melodic and his project Maxo 187 features a slew of collaborators, including Joey Bada$$, Le$, and Fredo Santana, along with a team of producers like Wxlf Gxd and Ryan ESL.
The Song: “1998” prompted the release of the entire Maxo 187 project. Lyrics suggest urgency but proffer smooth flow, minimal beats, and vernacular that’s identifiable to gen Y-ers. It’s a dialogue on all that we experienced during the 1998, delivered in a raw, no-bullshit manner.
Audra The Rapper: “China Bus”
Who: Audra The Rapper isn’t new to the game. This D.C. lyricist has worked with big names like Rick Ross, Raheem DeVaughn, and Mickey Factz, among many others. Now, in an effort to secure her spot in rap, she has released a project dubbed “Retrospectrum” that blurs the lines of musical genres, showing the world how well she can really spit rhymes.
Song: “China Bus,” produced by school friend Carlos Torres-Montiel, shifts from mellow verse to screamer chorus. Inspired by the war between Israel and Palestine, it plays with both calm and violent sounds with the genius evidenced in the juxtaposition, offering a bit of both worlds. Play it and chill, or play it to pump you up. The only thing that seems impossible is to actually stop playing it.
Current Project: Keep up with Audra on Facebook.
Maydien ft. Waldo The Seventh: “Foreign Trance”Who: Dutch rapper Maydien has just released his debut EP, The Hello Soul, which features four tracks produced by Mitchell LC Yard and is reminiscent of early Childish Gambino. Defining his own musical style as an amalgamation of hip-hop, soul, electronic, R&B, and future, his standout flow, haphazard melodic beats, and chill ethos tell the world he is ready for center stage. Song: “Foreign Trace” takes influences from a variety of genres and inspiration points, chronicling Maydien’s musical successes abroad. A definitive European sound, this track is easily accessible to a U.S. audience through familiarity and polished production. Futuristic tones played on top of a solid beat acts as a dialogue to Maydien’s future domination. He’s definitely one to watch.