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Fresh 11: March

by g.o.a.t Hip Hop

11 Songs You Need to Hear

Every month I will be highlighting 11 songs in the Hip-Hop, R & B realm which I believe deserve your attention. These tracks could be street rap records, wavy progressive hip-hop, lyrical tracks with a message, or a combination of these boxes people like to put hip-hop music in. One thing is for sure, if it`s on this list, I recommend you give it a listen. This month's selections include:


Smino - Blkoscars feat. Jay2
(prod.Monte Booker)

St. Louis-based artist Smino has quickly become one of the most interesting artists in hip-hop with his knack for creating melodies, signature unique delivery and ear for melodic genre-bending production. This track produced by long-time collaborator Monte Booker sees him linking up with frequent collaborator Jay 2, and both seamlessly weave intricate lyrics and catchy (pre)hooks. This one been stuck in my head since it dropped. Smino’s debut album Blkswn is available on all outlets now...


Rexx Life Raj - Waiting For You feat. Russ
(prod. Kyle Betty / Ian Mckee)

It probably isn’t surprising to see Rexx’s name once again on this month’s Fresh 11, as he has easily become one of my favorite artists in the game over the past few years. Rexx’s incline as an artist has been tremendous and even though I first caught wind of him in 2012 roughly, seems like with every release and every year that goes by his movement is getting more and more serious. And with recent studio sessions with Pharrell to collaborations with Russ, Mozzy, Murs, etc. its safe to say that Rexx Life Raj is the next big thing to come out of the Bay Area. This song is the first of 2 I wanted to share with you which showcase Rexx Life Raj and Russ collaborating. This one is an R & B ballad that sees both artists expressing their sentiments toward the opposite sex.


Russ - Take It All In feat. Rexx Life Raj
(prod. Russ)

I had to share this track as well because it shows a different side of Russ x Rexx Life Raj’s collaborating. This
one is about turning up, and being thankful for their respective hustles/successes. The track is actually the first one released by the two, and they reportedly have more music on the way. Russ handles a saucy hook over the banging production, and Rexx comes in with the fire 3rd verse, on this collaboration which seems very organic to be honest.


Ziggy – Bounce
(prod. Krikit Boi)

San Jose emcee Ziggy is back with a new record after a short hiatus. Ziggy had an impressive project released in early 2016 called Hurry Up & Buy and had some key appearances on Traxamillion’s The Tech Boom project which dropped last summer, but hasn’t released much solo material since. Bounce is a refreshing track with some innovative Krikit Boi production to with Ziggy’s cool cadences and witty punches.


Goldlink - Meditation feat. Jazmine Sullivan & Kaytranada
(prod. Kaytranada)

Kaytranada has quickly become of the most impressive, original and groundbreaking producers in music today. His collaborations with Goldlink always impress as well, and this is no exception. Oh yeah, and the wonderful Jazmine Sullivan is on this record, random? Yeah. Dope? For sure. This is a track that is
guaranteed to get you moving.


Goldlink’s next project is one to look out for as his recent drops have been nothin short of amazing, and this one is no exception.


Mick Jenkins - Pressed for Time (Crossed My Mind) feat. Goldlink
(prod. Monte Booker& THEMpeople)

Another dope collaboration which sees some of the most innovative artists and producers linking up. The midwest really has the juice right now when it comes to genre-bending, thought-provoking yet groovy hip-hop. Like Smino, Mick Jenkins is a prime example of this movement and developing subgenre in hip-hop. This track sees Mick Jenkins linking up with Goldlink over some fire Monte Booker & THEMpeople production.


J.I.D. - Lauder
(prod. J. Cole)

J.I.D. is another example of lyricism in the South, which often gets overlooked due to prevalent street and trap nature of a lot buzzing emcees in the region’s music. J.I.D. has recently signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville imprint, and is affiliated with the likes of Earthgang and Spillage Village, as well as burgeoning star, 6lack. His recently released project, The Never Story, is a perfect blend of new styles of lyricism and cadences combined with stellar production and cohesive themes. This track is just one example of the project’s depth.


Promnite - Ride Around feat. Adam Vida
(prod. Promnite)

Los Angeles based producer, Promnite, has recently released a new EP, Snake Charmer. This track is the second single, and is an awesome follow-up to the acclaimed Denze Curry-laced “Gunsmoke” track. “Ride Around” sees Adam Vida painting vivid descriptions of San Francisco life, with witty Bay Area slang, catchy lyricism and the necessary level of energy to make this track work. I couldn’t help thinking that this banger would sound amazing performed live.


Niko Blue – Backyard
(prod. Niko Blue)

This self-produced gem is the first track I’ve ever heard from this artist. Shouts to my potna, Abeltron, who is
another college radio host at the station I host a radio show on (90.5FM KSJS in the Bay Area), he brought this track to my attention. It sees the artist creating infinite vibes with wavy vocals over this laid back production which is super catchy and melodic. This shows yet another facet of the hip-hop scene in Georgia and Down South in general which seems to be showing no signs of slowing down in terms of new music and dope new artists.


Chuuwee - For the Kids feat. Niko IS
(prod. AC3 Beats)

California emcee, Chuuwee is one of the most relentlessly hard-working artists in the game. This cat literally drops a handful of projects each year, all of high-quality by the way. He is constantly dropping singles and visuals, which leaves no shortage of new Chuuwee blaps at any given point. This track shows his range as if you read last month’s article you heard the more eerie/spacey “Waves (Dispersion)” track whereas this track has a more traditional boom-bap style. He taps Niko IS for the feature and the result is pure fire.


YMTK - Heavy
(prod. Ekzakt)

Wavy R & B crooner, YMTK has become known for his engaging melodies, and knack for creating harmonious gold. “Heavy” is no exception, as he creates blissful vibes, on this track that suits drives, blunts, chillin with your girl and various other occasions. The track not only features his wavy ability to craft catchy melodies, but also has dope songwriting and structural qualities which show YMTK has no interest in creating standard or generic styles of art, and is constantly pushing boundaries. He has been dropping gems on a regular, and we are excited to see what this year has in store for his movement.


Written by Arman “StrongArm” Mahmoudi

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