Thursday, December 21, 2017

Review - The Maschine Wars: Songs of Solomon by Noah Archangel & The Band of the Hawk

"Noah Archangel returns with is 3rd installment of his instrumental series, The Maschine Wars. This years will be named Songs of Solomon. The style is more classic then the EDM style from ExitUs in 2016. Featuring the fiery single Black Lotus.

Noah's Maschine Wars always pushes the boundaries of genre and style. With great lines from classic movies and influencers, Songs of Solomon will surely be his most accessible Maschine Wars to date. Featuring verses from The Band of the Hawk's best, Yeaux Majesty, STX, and Juskwam."

This is per the Notes on The Band of the Hawk website

The album starts off with "Old Gods And The New," an intro that more or less confirms that great lines from classic movies and influencers are used. An intro of this nature not only gives you the feeling that you're in for a unique hip hop experience, but you're going to have feelings of nostalgia as well.

"Jamtiquity" is an instrumental that has a nice R&B feel to it. A singer, preferably a female singer/songstress would sound great over this beat. "Blade Runner 2011" is a name that will grab a Blade Runner fan's attention just from the title by itself. Aside from the nostalgic feel from the name, this is an instrumental that can remind you of an instrumental from a video game. That in and of itself can take a person back to the days of Nintendo and Sega Genesis. The instrumental "Wendy & Lisa" does the same thing as well. 

"Kundalini" has sharp lyrical darts being throw all over a real low-key , minimalistic type of beat. These darts are being thrown by Yeaux Majesty, a member of the group, The Band of the Hawk. The way he flexes on this track, it's obvious that he is lyrically gifted and he takes his pen game seriously. 

"Down The Rabbit Hole" is awesome from start to finish the way it flips the Dionne Warwick "Walk On By" sample. It was done in such a creative way that whoever is lucky enough to rap over this beat would need to really do this beat some justice. It would be an injustice to not have great bars over such a great beat. A rapper who is subpar or flat out wack shouldn't even entertain trying to rap over this beat. "Moo View" is definitely a different type of beat. It borrows from the Blackbox song "Gonna Make You Sweat" and brings you back to a time where house music dominated the airwaves. "Transgressions of Trismegistus" has a well-played piano sound/sample throughout and seems to be the type of beat that would make you want to go down memory lane. Whoever raps over this track would need to reminisce about the good 'ol days. "Pillow Talk" has a late 80's R&B/pop feel to it while "Rogue 777" is more on the grungy underground hip hop side.

"Nebuchenezzar" is a track where rapper, Juskwam gets busy with a stop-and-go type of flow. His cadence is unique the way he approaches the beat. At 2 minutes and 21 seconds, the track is short, but still worth a listen.

The instrumentals continue to come relentlessly with instrumentals like "Intermission" (having an outerspace, otherworldly sound), "Those. Hoes. Over. There." (the instrumental title has a good play on words with the acronym for one of today's popular slang terms, "thot" while having a sample that possibly sounds like Tina Marie singing), and "The Watchmen" (minimalist beat with a hollow inside of a cave/tunnel sound).

"Curses" and "No Fools" features STX. "Curses" is just an instrumental without him rapping while "No Fools" has him rapping over the instrumental. "No Fools" is very short, succinct and straight to the point with both the instrumental and bars.

"Jus Enuff" has a beautifully blended sample of Levert from the New Jack City movie and soundtrack. You can hear where they sing "just enough" and the way their harmonization is blended smoothly into the instrumental. "The Macknificent Breath," and "Miles Head" keeps the flow of straight instrumentals going while "Fall 4 Nuttin" gives you a break with some effortless rapping taking place on the track. "Dievergent" is a synth-heavy instrumental that is well-placed towards the end of this project as a closer type of track.

Speaking of the end of this project, "Black Lotus" is the very last track. Yeaux Majesty along with Juskwam are back for this go-round. Yeaux Majesty takes care of the rapping duties while Juskwam handles the hook. This track sounds like a signature Band of the Hawk song, vivid raps full of colorful punchlines and metaphors throughout. After listening to this project, I've come to the conclusion that Noah's Maschine Wars definitely did push the boundaries of genre and style. This isn't your typical hip hop project, especially the ones coming out nowadays. If you need something refreshing to listen to, this album would be it.

Click here to listen.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Artist Spotlight - WIRL

Raised in west Texas, WIRL has spent the better part of the decade grinding his way from small shows on the US border to headlining music festivals across the country. Inspired to create music by the loss of his musician father as a child, WIRL has been set on making a name for himself through passionate and powerful songs. Passion, Pain, Hope, and Heartache can all be felt through his music leaving just one lingering question in listener's minds... Who Is Raphael Leraux?

Instagram @WhoIsRaphaelLeraux
Twitter @Raheem_Bos
SnapChat @RaheemBos

1.) What made you want to get into the music business in the first place? Did anyone influence you to do music? If so, who? Influences? Role Models?

My parents both rapped back in the day and my father was actually a rising star before he was murdered in '93. I remember finding his old rhyme books in the closet as a kid and falling in love with Hip hop at that exact moment. He's been my driving force ever since that day.

2.) Unfortunately the music industry is full of talented individuals who just don't get any recognition for their talent and/or work. What do you plan to do to make sure you stand out and get noticed?

I've thought about this question a lot over the years but I always come back to the same answer... WORK! There's almost 8billion people on earth, so statistically speaking, even a wack artist has at least 100k fans somewhere out there. Its my job as an artist to hustle until I find them. People sleep on the value of hard work these days.

3.) Would you rather be on a major label or would you rather stay independent? Why or why not?

Man, both have their appeal. But the way the industry has been moving lately, there really isn't much value in being major other than that initial head start. Being independent just has too many perks for me to look at a major label anymore. I'd rather keep all my royalties, publishing, and income in house so I can properly take care of my family and team.

4.) Do you think that the traditional music industry model as we know it is dead? Why or why not?

It may not be dead yet, but without some serious evolution it will be soon. There is way too much availability on the internet to be stuck in archaic thinking, when it comes to the industry. Artists are blowing up independently and living comfortably on their own.

5.) How do you think the internet and social media affected the music industry and how musicians are able to market themselves?

You have to really go out of your way to NOT be able to market yourself today. There are so many websites, blogs, channels, stations, and outlets specifically dedicated to pushing indie artists right now. It's really the best time to be an artist. It's virtually eliminated the need for major label backing because you can reach just as many people from your home computer, given enough time.

6.) What is the most difficult thing you've had to endure in life and has that had any effect on your path to becoming a musician?

The most difficult thing I've had to battle in my life and career has got to be depression. From living without my father, having my old team turn on my and try to derail my career because it was growing faster than theirs, having somebody I called fam stab my in the face at a show, being in and eventually leaving a failed marriage, and being a single father. It just all piles up on you. I took 2 years off of music to deal with it and I still have my moments. I just have to remind myself that it's ok to feel the negativity. It's healthy to face it head on. I just have to channel it into something productive. That's how my #AlmostAngels series came to be.

7.) Artists who try to make music for the general public and make more money are usually seen as "sell-outs." Do you see it that way and if so, what do you plan to do to make sure you make music that is true to your brand and make a good living at the same time without having to "sell out"?

Every artist has their own goals and ambitions. If their goal is simply to make as much money as possible and then cash out, more power to them. Personally, I'm making music because it's what flows through my veins. As long as my mother and daughter are taken care of, I'm happy. There is too much variety in Hip hop right now to worry about who may or may not be a sellout. I just focus on making music that I like to hear and then let everything else fall into place.

8.) When you do music, what would you like your listeners to get out of your music?

I just want my message to be heard. Whatever that message is for the particular song, I just want it to be heard. To be felt. I use a lot of mime imagery in my visuals because that's the way that I view myself, my fans, and my music. We're all entertainers to some degree, but sometimes we simply feel voiceless. That's where my music comes into play. My music is meant to act out those thoughts and feelings. It's meant to be a reflection of those deeper meanings. I just want people to not only listen to my music... But REALLY hear it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review - ECLECTIC THE EP by Randy McGill

"Multi-Instrumentalist originally from Kansas City now residing in South Florida covering a broad range of styles. Heavily influenced by artists such as Robert Glasper, Snarky Puppy and every musician still pushing for greatness. Real Music still lives!" 

The first track "Neeeooooohhhhhh" starts off very legendary with a clip of one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches. The piano playing along with the beat compliments the speech very well and help to create a very compelling intro. The choir in the background adds to this track sonically too. "Your Eyes" has a very low-key but sensual sound that picks up when the chorus plays. You get a little bit more funk at that point. The instrumentation throughout was very impeccable. Speaking of funk, the next track is "Funktastic", which quite frankly lives up to its name. Very funktastic indeed and it puts you in a good enough movie to want to get out on the dancefloor. "Nakupenda Wewe" is very minimalist and has an extremely tribal element to it. "Kansas City" has strong instrumentation goin on throughout the track. If there is a track that makes you just want to sit back and relax, then this is it. "Neeeooooohhhhhh (Reprise)" brings the EP around full circle and brings it to a close. Same beat as the intro but different approach and way that the instruments were played. Randy McGill's EP, ECLECTIC has a very refreshing sound. A really excellent blend of Gospel, R&B, Jazz and Rock and if you're a fan of one or the other or all of them, then you will become a fan of Randy McGill after listening to his EP. Listen to ECLECTIC here.

Artist Spotlight - Randy McGill

Randy McGill is a drummer, organist, bassist, and producer who performs with unmatched dexterity. Born on August 14th, 1981 in Houston, TX, McGill was exposed to music right from childhood. Though he was exposed to all genres of music while still a child, McGill was fascinated with gospel, r&b, jazz and rock, especially the drumming aspect of it. McGill would spend time playing on whatever surface that would produce a percussive sound. His mother and grandfather were impressed by their sons’ interest so they purchased him a set with only one stipulation, “all practicing to be done outback in the shed,” McGill happily recalls. From then on, there was no stopping him. 

McGill has been described as “a charismatic drummer whose playing techniques of drumstick twirling and cross-over strokes make him stand out from the pack”, while lauded in JAM magazine for his “forward energy and abundantly attractive ideas”. 

“His playing is always tasteful whether it be in forceful, intense situations or in quiet, supporting roles. His sense of time is intriguing” notes the Lawrence Kansan. 

Randy is noted for expressing the desire to “give the world someone who has endured and persevered through life’s trials and can still completely leave it all on the stage when I perform. I want people to experience a musician who is real enough to express the joys, pains, and emotions of life through the gifts in which God has given me.”


1.) What made you want to get into the music business in the first place? Did anyone influence you to do music? If so, who? Influences? Role Models?

I've always loved music since those days of hearing it in church growing up. I've just always been drawn to it. As far as influences go, I'm a big fan of funk and fusion music from the 70s, groups like Earth, Wind and Fire and Parliment all the way to Average White Band and Frank Zappa! 

2.) Unfortunately the music industry is full of talented individuals who just don't get any recognition for their talent and/or work. What do you plan to do to make sure you stand out and get noticed?

Though that's tough, the beautiful thing about my genre is if you just keep grinding and putting out music that speaks to the people you're gonna get noticed, especially if you're social media savvy, but in the meantime I plan to keep doing shows and connecting with people who can take me to that next level.

3.) Would you rather be on a major label or would you rather stay independent? Why or why not?

I just want to get my music into as many peoples ears and hearts that I can. Again my genre is a little different; the "major" labels are mainly comprised of musicians like myself who have been down the path I'm going but there are definitely perks to being independent. So at this point all I want to do is work and have people love it lol!

4.) Do you think that the traditional music industry model as we know it is dead? Why or why not?

I wouldn't say it's dead as there are artists that come out all of the time in the traditional manner and gain success but I will say like any living thing it's evolved and you've got to do what it takes to evolve with it.

5.) How do you think the internet and social media affected the music industry and how musicians are able to market themselves?

It's the best thing since sliced bread to musicians like myself. I've been creating music and gigging for a long time and I've never been able to connect to musicians and fans so quickly! With that being said it's literally a whole world out there so it can be like throwing a pebble in the ocean. But with proper planning, good product and a little faith the sky's the limit. 

6.) What is the most difficult thing you've had to endure in life and has that had any effect on your path to becoming a musician?

I didn't grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth in Kansas City. I'm a product of the "crack era" as are most of the people my age who grew up in urban areas. If you grew up in the ghetto in the 80's you'll know exactly where I'm coming from. There were many nights I didn't know what we were going to eat or where we were going to stay. I know about running extension cords from the neighbors house lol. But the beautiful thing in that is all of that comes out in my music so it's the reason I'm the musician I am.

7.) Artists who try to make music for the general public and make more money are usually seen as "sell-outs." Do you see it that way and if so, what do you plan to do to make sure you make music that is true to your brand and make a good living at the same time without having to "sell out"?

If you're doing jazz or neo-soul for the money you're crazy lol! It's definitely a vibe genre, we can spot a phony or fake from a mile away. It's also a genre where the fans will still come out to shows and support the artists. So as long as you're good and coming from the heart you'll always have somewhere to play. 

8.) When you do music, what would you like your listeners to get out of your music?

I want them to feel my passion. I want to take them on a musical journey that will allow them to forget about all their problems even if it's just for a moment. I want them to get that if I can follow my dreams and passions, so can they.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Artist Spotlight - D DUKES

D DUKES is a talent that has been swept under the rug for years; he has found his feet and running head first into the music scene. Check out his new single title "Morning Light" his songwriting reaches depths of his soul, crafting his lyrics from his inner most thoughts and most personal of experiences. Intrigue deeper by downloading and listening to "Morning Light".
Twitter @iamd_dukes
Instagram @dukeboii

1.) When did you all start making music?

When I was 6 years old, I would rap off my video games music and just record myself with a tape recorder. 

2. What elements and/or characteristics made you say to yourself that you wanted to do music for a living? 

I wasn't the type to talk a lot. I was very shy but also very sensitive so music was my only outlet. That was the way to get my emotions across without actually having to sit and talk to somebody about it. So as I got older it just made sense to me to continue my passion and learn the formula. 

3. Who are your influences/heroes/role models?

I listen to a lot of underground because I can feel the hunger and compare it but big Krit, Peezy, and Cassidy are some of the influences with music. 

4. If you could compare yourself to an already established artist, who would that be and why?

I would say Big Krit because I got that southern in me and also we both have a story to tell. Difference is they haven't heard mine yet. 

5. What do you think your listeners will get out of your music?

They will get upliftment, motivation, hunger, and also fun. I try to paint a vivid picture with my words and I hope everybody can relate. 

6. How do you prepare yourself to write certain songs?

By thinking deeper, meditating and praying and just writing what comes to the heart and hope my listeners feel it. 

7. What is the most difficult thing you've had to endure so far when it comes to getting your music heard?

I would say visuals. I lack in that department. Everything nowadays is social media and visuals. So one thing I will work on is dropping more videos so my listeners can piece the puzzle better. 

8. Everyone in life goes through adversity of some sort. Is there anything in your life that has any influence on the kind of songs you write?

Yes my kids. My everyday struggle. Just the world in general, it affects me and everyone in general. So that's another huge part that influences the music I create. 

9. How do you feel when you see that people enjoy your music and are affected by it?

It's a wonderful feeling, it shows that I'm doing something right and that people are believing in my story and vision. I feel I work my butt off and at times it gets unnoticed but with music, it's a different kind of feeling when it gets noticed.  

10. What do you hope to accomplish with your music?

To get more visuals, drop more consistent music. Travel more with my music, and perfect my craft everyday to get better for the people who believe in me and want me to make it.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Review - I Want More by The Just Right Band

The first track "I Want More" is a real calm and serene song. It's a song that the ladies will definitely appreciate especially if they're being courted by the right man. "Now And Then" is a song that is reminiscent in nature and a confession of how you'd be hurt if you were to think of the woman you love being with someone else. The next song gets into how things between a man and woman "Suddenly" happen, especially when interacting and getting to know one another intimately. Going from distant to deep is something that anyone would feel happened suddenly when you click with the right person. With the song "It's Gotta Be Love", when you come across that one person, it makes you think it's got to be love. People who've had love at first sight before would be able to relate to the words of this song. The duet between lead singer, Michael Veal and Eunice Green is beautiful. There is definitely chemistry between the two on the track and it shines through. "Be With You" could be self-explanatory as the album comes to a close. The lyrics make it loud and clear that the woman being sung about is the one and only; the one and only woman you want to be with. When your woman gives a special kind of love and attention, that means everything in the world. "Baby's Love" paints that picture very well. Closing out the album is "Another Love Gone Wrong." This song touches on how a past relationship went left. Whether it be a relationship or marriage, sometimes things don't pan out. I Want More is a real feel good smooth R&B album, so if you're a fan of good R&B music that touches the soul, listen to the Just Right Band. Click here to listen to I Want More.

Review - "You Know" (Single) by Ms. Tia

"Tia McNeil is a breakout singer, songwriter from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a debut single scheduled for release in the fall of 2017. She started singing in church when she was just six years old and she’s been singing ever since.Tia’s gift blossomed during her time at Martin Luther King High where she joined the school choir and partnered with a few schoolmates to form a girl group that gained popularity singing at the local galleria and other frequented places around town. When the group disbanded Tia continued her work as a vocalist singing backup for Gospel recording artist Billy Thompson. Even in the background Tia was a standout. So much so that Thompson featured her as a lead singer on his celebrated project, Billy Thompson, From the Heart."

From that excerpt of Ms. Tia's bio (read more here), it is apparent that she has been pursuing music and perfecting her craft for a good period of time. Her hot new single "You Know" only goes further in solidifying the fact that she's a bonafide talent. The songstress flexes her singing ability over production that compliments her soulful voice. Her singing is very smooth and crisp throughout the track. The way the beat changes from a mellow R&B groove to a slightly more upbeat yet low-key sound after the chorus doesn't feel out of place and makes for a great transition into her verse. "All things are possible, nothing's unachievable" stood out because it helps to encompass the feel of the song and how much she believes in her king and the relationship that they can build together. You believe her when she says she sees the king in this man. It would behoove any man to fully engage with a woman who he's not only attracted to physically, but a woman who believes in him and sees the greatness in him. 

“You Know” is available on Tidal, iTunes, Google Play, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, etc. and distributed by STEM distribution on all digital and streaming platforms.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Review - Three To Your Belly by Yung Twizzle

Track Listing

1.) Bag Bigger 
2.) Spend To Win 
3.) That 30
4.) Seen Her
5.) Fire (feat. Keiria Marsha)
6.) On You
7.) One Take
8.) Big Headed
9.) Keep It Hood
10.) Head High (feat. Keiria Marsha)
11.) Jamaican

Yung Twizzle, a well-known mixtape monster before his 7 year incarceration 2009, is back with a blazing new single, "Spend to Win," a song that lets you know that Twizzle works hard and plays just as hard. In this game he's playing to win, plain and simple. The single is off of his newest project, "Three to Your Belly," a mixtape featuring production by hit producers Johnny Juliano, Polo Boy Shawty, Kajmir Royale and more. With tracks like the braggadocios "Bag Bigger," explicitly sexual "Seen Her," the more mellow and sensual "Fire," and "On You" (which addresses the adoration of that one woman you have your eyes on), it's clear as day that Twizzle is a certified ladies man, who pulls no punches with the game he spits. "That 30" is straight gangsta, rider type music that you just cruise down the highway with the volume up. If you're a fan of raps with straight-laced gun talk, then that's a track you'll enjoy. "One Take" is a song that addresses the haters among other things. If you consider yourself to be extremely confident or cocky and the type to not give any fucks, then "Big Headed" is a song you can relate to. "Keep It Hood" is a track that talks about that woman from the streets who's all about a man from the streets. "Head High" is a reminder to keep your head up especially since life is hard. If you're all about 420, then "Jamaican is a song that you will appreciate. If you're a fan of trap rap or Dirty South rap altogether, then Three To Your Belly is a must-have. It will be available for purchase on January 18, 2018. Click here to get a preview of the mixtape.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Who Is Big City Cowgirl?

"Big City Cowgirl is a songwriter, singer, and performer who was born on Long Island and raised in Brooklyn, New York. You might ask, how did a girl from New York develop a love and appreciation for Country Music? Her desire for Country Music was inculcated in her through her mother, who has always been a big Country Music fan. Big City Cowgirl grew up with it and has constantly had country music in her heart."
A look at Big City Cowgirl’s social media shows a surprising fact; a large portion of her Tweets and posts comprise of thanks and shout outs. 

This, by itself, is not unusual - it is a familiar grind of an artist on the first rungs of stardom.

Where Big City Cowgirl differs, however, is in the genuinely heartfelt nature of her personal Tweets and the similarly honest nature of the replies from fans and well wishers.

It is this personal touch, complemented by her backstory of a Big City Cowgirl with Country music in her heart, that makes Big City Cowgirl stand out.

She has always maintained that she wants her music to be honest and uncontrived, and, with the simplicity and down to earth nature of her lyrics and music videos, she seems well on the way to achieving that goal.

As of now she has a new song called “We Got All Kinds of Crazy Here.” It is a sing-along bar song that is suitable for several events, people and moods.


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