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Diary: Geneviève Mame Kodou Dieng

Lawrence Burney

From True Laurels: The Overseas Issue. The zine will be available in our online shop Monday, April 20th. 

Genevieve Mame Kodou Dieng

Genevieve Mame Kodou Dieng

I just got my graphic designer diploma. I’m half French, half Senegalese. I always had a passion for drawing and never stopped since I was able to hold a pen and express myself on a piece of paper. I love how it always let’s me capture moments and the faces of life. One of my largest influences comes from the comics universe. I've always been fascinated by drawers like Druillet, Moebius and Crumb. My work reflects these influences both in my pictures and drawings. I just spent a month in Senegal doing a documentary on my family. What’s important for me is to share my work as it is made of the people for the people.

GMKD is my artist name : Geneviève Mame Kodou Dieng. I promised my dad to never forget my African roots so I have put my African name on my nickname! I love Martian stories, and stories about space, that’s why my emblem is a spaceship. For me, people like Erykah Badu, Sun Ra, Bad Brains, Funkadelics, The Cramps, Sex Pistols, The Specials, and so many more are kind of comics characters for me. That’s why I love to  find special people for my pictures. People who remind me of a comic world!

Senegal is fantastic for that because everybody reflects the sun and it shines in their smiles. Everyday I was so happy to see happiness and colors, especially for the spectacular pink and orange natural light flashing from the sunset.

I’ve taken a special interest in religion in Dakar These souls or these mystic spirits, demonstrations (appearances) of the deceased or animal divinities, can act on the tangible world...in a beneficial way or not. It is thus advisable to dedicate worship to them. So by definition: faith in the soul and in the future life, correlatively, faith in guiding divinities and subordinate spirits; it can characterize extremely diverse societies, situated on all the continents.

I’m a total fanatic of Japanese artists like Takeshi Kitano, Hayao Miyazaki, Suehiro Maruo, Wong Kar Wai and Katsuhiro Ōtomo as well. I love how they put a lot of colors with all this beautiful perfection. Since I was born I always dreamt to be a nice witch and fly on the GMKDIZ (my imaginary world). One day I will jump on my drawing and I will fly into the page of all the comics from this world!

All photos are taken by Genevieve Mame Kodou Dieng, a French-Senegalese multidisciplinary artist. Follow her on Instagram.

Al Rogers Jr. Speaks On His Growth & Shares "BlueGreen"

Lawrence Burney

Photo: Raheel Bear

Photo: Raheel Bear

It's been two years since Baltimore's Al Rogers Jr. came out with his debut project, Almost, which was a somewhat-erratic introduction that touched on his weighted relationships with parents, watching his older brother sell drugs and his own frustration with the system. On narratives alone, the project was a solid one; Al shed his layers enough for listeners to get a sense of who he was beyond his music. Musically, it lacked a true identity, as his screechy delivery doubled as his best friend and worst enemy on a track-to-track basis. Having songs that were made two and three years prior to Almost's release sprinkled amongst newly-recorded ones made for a undesirable listen at times, too. 

Al's taken all of these things into consideration, he says, and in his absence, he's worked hard to not only sharpen his artistry but his personal flaws. His upcoming project, BabyAl, is set to release in the coming months and he's given us a chance to share one of the project's songs, "BlueGreen", which showcases more singing than you'd anticipate if you've heard his earlier material. We talked to Rogers about "BlueGreen", BabyAl and what's been in the works while he's been taking time with his new music. 

Your newest track, "BlueGreen", is probably your most singingest (lol) song you've done even though harmonizing has always been a part of your delivery. Why's that?

Al Rogers Jr.: I felt it was important to show that versatility, you know? Some of my favorite artists are actually singers and at this point in life I'm listening to more R&B/Soul than Hip Hop. Don't get it twisted though, i'm working on my rhymes just as much as i'm working on my pitch. I always remain a student of the game especially when you have artists out here spitting and putting out quality Hip Hop like Kendrick.

Judging by the material you've released over the past year, it seems that love is something fresh on your mind. Does that reflect your personal life?

Love is the most important factor in my life. Without it, I would not have any drive to continue at all; it's the origin of passion and the origin of hate. My music from the beginning has always been very personal and  it's not just about falling in love, it's about the act of love itself. Life for a lot of folks of color is in a very dark place right now and love conquers all. The greatest leaders would not have been able to conquer any feats without love on their side.

Your debut project, Almost, was two years ago now. Is it difficult to go back and listen to the person you were back then?

Almost was necessary for me and  I would not be able to make the music I'm making right now had I not put those personal stories into my music. A lot of that shit held me back and it was a lot of doubt and fear in those songs, so listening now feels triumphant. Although I am not in that same place, I can still appreciate how far I came.

How've you changed as a person in that time?

I'm a lot more honest with myself about my flaws and personal struggles. I'm still fighting some of the same inner demons but it's always better going into the fight with a sharper sword; my mind is more equipped. You learn to accept the things you can't change and learn to love the things you have. I'm not completely content with life but I am very happy with the route i'm going. Shoutout to my girl and my mom for holding me down.

What are a few things you think no one is expecting to hear on BabyAl?

An artist who came ready for battle, battered boots and all. BabyAl is my war cry; I have a lot of things to get off my chest because a lot has happened in these 2 1/2 years since Almost. I respect love in its truest form and a part of that is continuing to create and having enough heart to push this culture. It's so much going on in this world and I would be a fool not to talk on that as well so expect a lot of aggression and passion.


Follow Al Rogers Jr. on Twitter & Instagram





 

Labtekwon: On His B.O.P. Album, Not Wanting To Travel & People Selling Melanin

Lawrence Burney

Describing what an "underground" artist is in 2015 feels like more of a genre indicator than whether or not that artist has any corporate ties. Underground artists headline major festivals now and perform on network television late night talk shows. It's rare to find artists who choose not to align themselves with some sort of major backing. One artist that does come to mind is Baltimore's Labtekwon -- an over-twenty-year veteran in the rap game who chooses to remain free of pressure to please the masses. Over the span of his career, he's released thirty albums, all of which take on different musical identities; He's Sun Ra-like in his relentless outpouring of substantial material. When I first stumbled across his work a few years ago, it was a task to get into it. I came up on songs like "The Truth About Population Control", which taught me a great deal but wasn't delivered in a way I was used to. I had to be warmed up to it.

At the end of last year, we happened to be speaking on the same panel in Baltimore (The Exchange) which explored reasons why Baltimore's rap scene was still so divided. From that, I started to appreciate Labtekwon's music much more and recently got a chance to pick his brain as we strolled through Downtown Baltimore:  

With your work, you often challenge what the general concept of rap is by using it as a tool for a broader agenda rather than to just make quality music. Do you see rap, at this point and in its 40 year existence, as the best way a person of color can get a point across?

Labtekwon: My music is an element of Hip Hop culture and Hip Hop culture is actually a means to bring forth knowledge, wisdom, understanding, freedom, justice and equality to all the human families of the planet Earth. As an EMCEE, my focus is on the art of Emceeing and the evolution of the craft of Emceeing. As a Black man with a divine purpose, everything in my life connects to my purpose. So my art is a reflection of my mind and spirit. A glass can only spill what it's filled with. I get my point across in rap, books, lectures in the academy, scholarly research, mentoring, community action and daily life. Art is whatever the artist makes it to be and however the patron of that art interprets it. I mastered rhyming when I was 16, but I am constantly growing as a man of substance. I am a master of my art form, and I am also a master of my own divine purpose. Form follows function.

I'm gonna be real with you, when I first came across your music about five years ago, I didn't appreciate it enough to sit with it. And not because of its content but more because of your delivery. Do you run into a disconnect with listeners on a regular basis? Does it even matter to you?

I make music for those who love the art of Emceeing and I have been blessed to maintain an audience without trying to please casual listeners. I keep it a trillion always: as an Emcee my main concern is advancing the art of Emceeing. I represent the vanguard of Hip Hop culture and to be honest: everybody isn't really interested in Hip Hop culture. It's a way of life for those of us who have chosen Hip Hop culture, whether it's Graf artists, deejays, dancers, Emcees, or those that build community. My friends that do Graf art in BMoor often share a similar view about how the layman may enjoy a piece in Graffiti Alley, but those layman don't truly know what they are looking at. But for those of us committed to the culture of Hip Hop and it's art forms: we seek to please those WITHIN the culture, rather than those outside of the culture. I am not an entertainer: I am a practitioner of the art of Emceeing. It's just like a saxophonist or pianist: some folks like a little sax and piano here and there, but they aren't truly trying to listen to Bird and Monk. I always make the metaphor of food and art: McDonald's has a large consumer base, and most of those folks who frequent McDonald's don't really care about gourmet cuisine. In terms of what I do as an artist, most folks only know McDonald's value meals: my art is gourmet vegan cuisine. To each his own.

Following and researching your work, you give an alternate perception of what I'd normally think of what a rapper, or really any artist should do to pursue a career. My idea of the come-up is feeding the street, digitally establishing yourself, doing shows and building a platform to release increasingly recognized work. But I'd be stupid to not acknowledge that the process I just listed is something I've been programmed to believe. I view your work as more, though. It's almost an oral history; a collection of essential teachings. Your work has always felt more rooted in community-building to me. Can you speak to that? Like, how many of us are pursuing success that is genuine to our being and purpose?

Most folks don't truly understand the difference between art, entertainment and the art/music business. I maintain my vocation as an Emcee at the vanguard of Hip Hop culture, regardless of the themes I cover in my work. But I am not trying to be a "reality star" and I am not in the business of YouTube views or trying to give away free music. I sell products that uplift the minds and souls of those who support through their patronage.

In terms of the business of music and art; my classic vinyl had sold from from anywhere from $100 to $500 a 12 inch. I have classic CDs that have sold for $400. I make art and quality art appreciates with value. For those who appreciate the art of emceeing, I always have a market for my products. I collect sneakers and I always know when a new pair of Foamposites will be released, but Nike never does commercials or ad campaigns for Foamposites. Yet Foamposites always sell and they appreciate with value when they resell on EBay. My musical products are like Foamposites. But my craft isn't monolithic, I do many different things and according to each project the content and styles vary. The last few years I chose to emphasize substance based content and 21st century style. I am an Emcee and every album I make is more like a novel or a movie.

You've been promoting the B.O.P (Black On Purpose) for the past few months. It leaves a lot of room for interpretation so what was your vision when establishing it?

Well, it's a 25 song double album...The album title is an abstract, "(B.O.P.) The Theology of Timing: Tehuti and the Het Heru Cult"  is really explaining the theme of the album and the styles on the album.

"(B.O.P.)" is an acronym and a double entendre; Black On Purpose speaks to the paradigm of Black Consciousness developed over the last 200 years by David Walker, William Blyden, Marcus Garvey, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Franz Fanon and Steven Bantu Biko. I cover themes as it relates to asserting Blackness as a willful decision, rather than a random circumstance.

(B.O.P) also refers to the evolution of Jazz known as "Bop" or "Bebop", which emphasized deconstructed melodies and improvisation, this is a focal point of many of the styles of my delivery on this album as well. The flows I use are designed to show the evolution of Emceeing beyond the redundant formats we used in the 80s that rappers are stuck doing in 2015.

The "The Theology of Timing" portion of the title is a double entendres as well. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad did a series of speeches called "The Theology of Time: knowing the time and what must be done." For me, knowing the time and what must be done in that time is what separates a child from an adult. "The Theology of Timing" in the artistic context represents my perspective of rhythm as a sacred science and how melody and tone convey and accentuate rhythm. This album ranges in tempo from 80bpm to 270 bpm and time signatures that range from 4/4, 6/8 or even 7/12. I show what the art of Emceeing looks like in 2015 and timing is central to that purpose.

The "Tehuti and the Het Heru Cult" portion of the title explains my motivation for doing the album. Tehuti is the Scribe of the Ntr (Gods) from the pantheon of deities in the Nile Valley civilization of Kemet. Tehuti is the founder of language and the sciences, and he is married to MAAT: who is the embodiment of truth and justice. As an Emcee, I am a high priest in the order of Tehuti; with language and tone as my tool. I am also married to truth and justice in my craft.

In the Nile Valley civilization of Kemet; Het Heru is the mother of the omniverse and the source of all material existence. Het Heru is also the patron of music, art, dance and joy. She is the Supreme Black wombman.  

My album is designed to touch the souls of Black folks thru the art of Emceeing and also to honor and stimulate the Black wombman through rhythm, tone and language.

What musical direction did you challenge yourself to go in with the project?

Mainly what I sought to do was channel Fela Kuti, Charlie Parker and Al Green through the art of Emceeing.

I wanna talk about my favorite song on the project, "Time Check". You question the encouragement of black youths protesting because of the prison industrial system's power at this point. So is your issue exclusively with those who push people to protest or is it also with those who choose to protest? I ask that because most people marching in the streets are coming from a good place, in my experiences. And even though it may not make a significant dent in white supremacy, it can provoke those affected by it to somehow involve themselves in liberation. Do you see value in that?

It's 2015 and those who don't learn from the past are doomed to fail in the present. A lot of folks are just regurgitating the past because they didn't learn anything from the past. It's like repeating 10th grade for 50 years. Folks don't use rotary phones anymore because they respect the evolution of technology; I am saying that we need to respect the evolution of the Black Human Rights Movement in real time.

If you aren't willing to transform in this larger rites of passage: you will face the fate of the dinosaurs. Liberation is not an event: it is a process that begins with a state of mind. Liberation is the Theology of Time: we must know the time and what must be done in that time.

"The American ideal of racial progress is based on by how fast I become white," is a quote by James Baldwin that you recited during "Time Check". I read Paulo Friere's Pedagogy Of The Oppressed a few months back and it spent a great deal on our idea of progression, in that, the white man's success is what is base ours on. Where do you see that being exercised most in music right now?

Some people just want to get rich and be famous, and they see entertainment as a means to that end. The harsh reality of America/capitalism/white supremacy is that you most likely won't be rich and famous as an entertainer unless white folks say so.

For an artist such as myself: I am FREE from having to please anyone beyond the Creator, so my art is liberated/liberating and my inner peace is priceless. I Self Lord And Master, and anything less than that is a personal hell. I choose heaven on Earth and I seek that for my people and all the Human families as well.

You always speak on how we have a skewed view of progression. You think the world is actually more stagnant than people realize?

Well, the "world" is a construct of the human mind, so there are many versions of the "world." In terms of the world that has been created by capitalism/white supremacy: everything is moving smoothly according to the plan. But as far as the world for Black folks and the human family as a whole: there is definitely a state of stagnancy and even regression. I see folks trying to make an analysis of the current problems faced by non-white people, and the perspectives aren't even as informed and cohesive as what brothers like David Walker had manifest in 1826 in his work titled "The Appeal." Folks have made entertainers and corporate propaganda/mass media the foundation of their world views and in doing so, even the folks that seek to "change the world" are only sustaining the world of capitalism/white supremacy with reactionary behavior and shallow ideologies. Folks have social media and more convenient technology, but it's like Jalal Mansur Nuriddin said: "new hairdo: same mind."

We make fools famous and we run from sages. So there is less psychological evolution in 2015 than there was in 1975. Of course this is all by design by those who rule this world of capitalism/white supremacy. There are open enemies of TRUE knowledge, wisdom, understanding, freedom, justice and equality; and those people are functioning to diminish the progress that was gained from 1865 to 1965, which in fact was moderate progress in reality.

Combine that with the fact that the best minds of our people are marginalized, while the best minds of the oppressors are given complete autonomy and you have a state of stagnancy in the collective of non-white people and the human family as a whole. My version of the 21st century doesn't include the SAMO shit from the 19th and 20th century: eating meat, smoking, assimilation, materialism, misinformation, etc... We should be evolved mentally, spiritually and physically based on every step of real problem progress we have already made as a collective and this progress will be evidenced in our daily habits and how we raise our children.

You told me that you're not into traveling that much. Why? Isn't that essential to spreading your message?

I am a recording artist and a filmmaker, so my art reaches people without me being in the same room with them. I have released over 30 albums and over 100 short films, documentaries and music videos and that has allowed me to reach people globally much faster than I could ever physically travel. This type of work offers posterity and a way for people to let what I do sink in more than a 30 minute concert. I have written two books in the last 3 years, which is another way for me to create a legacy that will last for generations and reach more people with my divine purpose. Also, I was naive growing up in BMoor because I thought that my experience with rap outside of my city would be similar to BMoor, but once I did my first 28 city North American tour, I realized how racist America is and it turned me off to touring. Also, I hate sausage parties. A lot of the underground Hip Hop circuit is basically dudes standing around looking at the stage while you perform; that is corny to me. I like seeing females balance out the males, because that's the culture I grew up in. The goal was always to touch the Black woman's soul with the musical craft; hence my album has the subtitle "Tehuti and the Het Heru Cult." For me, art is really just a tribute to the creative power of the womb, which is the highest form of creation for all human beings. So I need to rock stages where sisters can bear witness. At this point I'm only interested in the east coast and HBCUs, I will only travel beyond that for VERY LARGE sums of money, I'm not pressed at all to travel.

Earlier you mentioned that you learned about people actually buying melanin which is fucking crazy. What was your reaction when you first found out?

First thing I thought was "SAMO shit"; first they sold Black people now they just wanna sell the Black from our people....Yeah man, melanin is on the market for about $350 an ounce. Melanin is a valuable chemical in the epidermis and neurologically, so I wasn't surprised they were selling it. But my concern was where are they really getting it from?

Like I said: they ain't satisfied with stealing our Black bodies and grafting our Black souls. Now they just want the Black out of us completely.

 

 

Who are some of your favorite new artists in Baltimore? Are they inspiring you?

I dig Only and his new album "Lapis Necklace" on Ankh Ba Records; he has the best freshmen Hip Hop album of the 21st century hands down.  Elon is the best singer I have heard in this decade, he is a brilliant musician and I am very excited to work with him on his 1st album release coming out on Ankh Ba Records in 2016. I would say I am inspired by divine purpose 24/7, so I don't really get personal inspiration from other artists. I'm deep in my own journey, so it's more internal for me. But because I am internally inspired; I have a motivation to help others develop their own internal inspiration and divine purpose. My father Doc Soul Stirrer mentored many musicians here in Baltimore during the 50's and 60's, so I am tuned with his legacy of mentoring and the rites of passage.

How has the city changed since your childhood (like all the spots you were telling us about, etc) and do you think it's headed in the right direction?

BMoor has always been dope/wack and I think that's true now, but just in different ways. The thing I miss the most is after hours parties that end at 6-7 AM. I also miss events where people actually came to LISTEN to music and dance, now it's more of an open mic/show culture. People don't know how to act if they ain't on a stage, I miss the jams where we would sweat out our clothes, dancing and learning new music from DJ's that really educated listeners with new musical experiences and classic music equally.

Ironically, I think BMoor is safer than it was when I was younger, but now there are more out-of-towners trying to front like they run shit culturally. So there are trade offs, mostly because of gentrification. I think the main problems of poverty, weak city government and genocide are still the same, but opportunity for investment and development have increased. It's bitter sweet like its always been.

Follow Labtekwon on Twitter, @Labtekwon, and listen to B.O.P The Theology of Timing: Tehuti and the Het Heru Cult

 

True Laurels Volume 6 Release

Lawrence Burney

Flier: Theresa Chromati 

Flier: Theresa Chromati 

We're excited to announce that on Saturday, April 11th from 5-8p.m. at Baltimore's Terrault Contemporary, True Laurels will launch its sixth volume, The Overseas Issue, which focuses on the narratives of artists based in or native to lands outside of The States. 

As many millennials can probably agree, our immediate reality is often limited to what we expose ourselves to digitally. What our friends, favorite artists and publications promote are usually the lenses we see through. True Laurels Volume 6: The Overseas Issue is a challenge to break away from what is comfortable and easily accessible. How is race viewed by young black people in South Africa? What music soundtracks the youth of Paris? What is taking ayahuasca in the forests of Brazil like? The Overseas Issue explores these curiosities and more in hopes of expanding our sometimes-limited perspectives while also searching for common threads through various corners of the world. 

There will be music by Brookyn-based DJ Ushka (who is featured in the issue) and visuals by Time Spent. 

Dola: On Police, Feeling Trapped & The Dynamics Of Jacksonville

Lawrence Burney

There's only one thing I've known to come out of Jacksonville and probably to no surprise it's their NFL team, the Jaguars. Outside of Miami, I actually don't know anything about any place in Florida outside of Orlando being the home of Disney World. But thanks to some digging around on SoundCloud, a bit of the wool has been lifted from over my eyes with Jacksonville's Dola. He has a gentle, yet unorthodox style to his delivery; his raps don't escape convention as far as women, weed and being self-made goes, but he carefully slides his social leanings under the surface as well. Chapter 1 Night Vision--a mixtape he dropped in late 2014--was filled with frustration about cultural appropriation, crime in Jacksonville, finding a way to push past the bullshit and rapping better than you can. After hearing it, I reached out wanting to know what went into the creation process and to learn what life experiences provided Dola with the fuel to make Night Vision

You describe your project as being an alternative to social systems that are in place like law, religion, church and parents. Do you find it a duty to spread what you know and believe?

Dola: Not really. I don’t feel the need to push my opinion on people. I just like to share my thoughts. I don’t feel like my way is law or anything. It’s just perspective. That’s what art is to me: perspective. 

In “Feral” you say, “You tryna get your culture back but kosher, it ain’t that” Was that about the climate of hip-hop culture today and how it’s being penetrated?

Yeah. It’s crazy to see it right before my eyes. It’s scary a little bit because it makes me feel like, “Where is me and a lot of people I know gonna be in a couple years?” But in the same sentence, it makes me want to work harder. I’m not against anybody endeavoring to get into any art form. People make mockeries of us everyday. I guess them doing it tastefully is all you can ask for. 

Well do you think it’s been tastefully mimicked by some? That’s best way I can name it because if it’s someone coming from outside the culture there is some mimicry going on.

To be honest, I haven’t really seen hip-hop being done too tastefully by outsiders. Everything is almost a joke. Like there’s a shock factor to it. And I guess it kinda opens up an avenue for whoever to run through. It's just hard to find good music now. 

On your song "Salutations" you mention funeral attendance in damn near higher than football games in Jacksonville. Do you ever feel trapped there? 

Yeah sometimes. Like any other big metropolis areas in the country, there are a lot of murders. Statistically, people actually do get murdered more than who goes to games. Jacksonville is tough because there isn't a lot of local support. The radio doesn't play local artists. I stayed in Atlanta for a little bit and they fuck with local music hard. It ain't like that here. 

What are the dynamics of the city?

Land-wise, it's the biggest city in the country but our transit system isn't that good. The bus runs every 30-45 minutes and the trains don't go to other sides of town so people don't really venture out. People won't go to the other side for entertainment. Everybody is separated.

On the North Side which is predominantly black, people's social lives mostly is high school football games and ratchet shit. East side is the same. Downtown you have more hipsters and people with funny mustaches who listen to EDM. Surfers are downtown too. None of these people really fuck with each other, though. 

Have recent happenings between black men and police made you more introspective? What’s your state of mind as a black man in this society?

A lot of Florida is country and woods and rednecks so when I was in high school there were a lot of incidents. Redneck kids would hang nooses from trees. It was always very apparent here in comparison to other places I've been. But since it's gotten more public it definitely feels weirder. Police killing people out in the open with nothing happening is crazy. 

Back last August, I was on the West Side at a gas station and two dudes pulled up -- one in a purple Monte Carlo on 26's and the other in a Dodge Charger. Soon as they get there, the police pulled behind them. The guy with the Monte Carlo got out to pump gas and the officer in the car gets out with no lights, no warning and pulls his gun out. Then another twenty cop cars come to the gas station and did the same. They just pulled their straps on this nigga without asking for any of his information. Just witnessing that while thinking about all this other shit going on was crazy. 

It's at a point now where I'm always late to where I'm going because people driving on the highway are afraid to go by a police car. 

How’d you come up with the name Dola? Is it your birth name? 

I just came up with it through different nicknames I had growing up. My father used to call me Dopeboy Dola or my uncle would call me Dolamite. So when I chose Dola as a rap name I started looking up meanings. 

You talk about your father a lot on Night Vision. What’s your relationship with him?

Not horrible but it could definitely be better. He’s who got me into hip-hop on a major level. He always listened to good music. He was always listening to stuff outside of Jacksonville like DJ Clue mixtapes, DMX, Nas, Scarface, etc. Just a wide range. 

Your project gives me the feeling that you have a lot more to say and share. Will you only be doing that through rap or do you want to express yourself in other ways as well? 

In the bigger scheme of things, I’m a writer. I used to have my own blog before I started to focus on rap. It’s what I’ve always been most interested in. I play with different forms all the time.

Eddy Braveux produces just about all of your music Would you consider him as a partner or just someone who makes sense for your vision? 

He’s definitely a partner. He’s helped me direct my vision and not with just production. With everything

What have you learned during your musical journey up to this point? 

The element of surprise is something I definitely want to take advantage of. I took my time with Chapter One but I could definitely be better with the promotion. I'm trying to get more into directing my own visuals.  Just trying to round things out.                                                                                                                                                                  

Catch Dola live in Baltimore this weekend at our FLATOUT party. Follow him on SoundCloud, Instagram and Twitter.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Pick 'Em Up: Lakim, Rushmore, Flow Castle & Slow Graffiti

Casey Embert

Rushmore - "Moment X" (Victoria Kim's Kowloon Edit)

Last year, The Astral Plane released Heterotopia, a collection of super grimy club tracks only suitable for the darkest of nights.  Heterotopia included a minimal club track with an impressively busy percussion section titled "Moment X" from London-based producer, Rushmore.  On the Heterotopia Remixes Vol. 2 compilation released earlier this month, Sydney-based production duo, Victoria Kim ups the ante with incredible force.  Victoria Kim adds some groovy synths, a dark industrial vibe, and most importantly, a textural club beat driven by a "work work" vocal sample so repetitive that it's pleasantly encouraging.  Victoria Kim's Kowloon Edit is a heater through and through.

Lakim - "Get Out On Your Own"

On the totally opposite end of the spectrum lies Soulection, a record label, traveling dance party, and cohesive musical family that thrives in showcasing only the smoothest of sample-based, R&B-inspired sounds.  To celebrate 200,000 listeners on Soundcloud, Soulection gave away their highly-anticipated ode to Sade, Love Is King, complete with soulful dedications from many of their incredible producers.  Check out LA-based producer, Lakim's take on Sade's "Mr. Wrong" on "Get Out On Your Own".  Lakim used the classic, energetic Baltimore club break as the backbone to his track but somehow still made it sound smooth as butter.  

Flow Castle x Slow Graffiti - "Do"

A few days ago, LA-based collective, Too Lush dropped Too Lush Vol. 3, a hefty, 25-track deep compilation which promises something for everyone.  "Do," a collaboration between Flow Castle and Slow Graffiti, is a future Jersey club track that is just too easy to love.  Pumping bass, spiraling synths, and a Jersey club break builds a track that can easily be rocked with all night long.

Stumbled On: DaKidd Moo

Lawrence Burney

Is it really a rush better than stumbling across a crazy track when you least expect it? Nah. Not for me anyway. Last week when I was kicking it with my man Keem, we hit YouTube and Sound Cloud as a part of my new favorite activity: searching for non-covered Baltimore rap. Over the past few months, I've been treating local music as if I'm an outsider and it's been paying off in a major way. This time around, we caught wind of DaKidd Moo--an East Baltimore rapper with a voice you can't possibly overlook. At first I thought I was hearing my uncle. Then I thought, "This might be the Baltimore Boldy James." Then the dude from those classic Philly vs. Baltimore battles came to mind. Either way, what I was hearing was blowing my mind. 

On his track, "Just Bars", you get occasional trendy ad libs like "SQUAD", "GANG" and "SKURRTT" but that's minor shit to look over in the hook-less song. Moo is hitting on all cylinders here; his energy is at full speed throughout, the voice can't be denied and his wordplay is fluid and hard-hitting--something that local standouts like Young Moose, Lor Scoota, Lor Stackks and others still find trouble doing for the full duration of a track. A story is being told. It opens with: "Turn me up, bitch I'm in my zone/ I'm from East, you gotta keep a tone / I'm from where they let the knockers roam / They'll search you drawers right in front your home / I'm from Bradford where we sellin' stones / My block a vacant. Ain't nobody home."  Moo has sprinkled tracks all over the internet but this three-month-old track is probably his most proper introduction: he's telling you where he's coming from, his plans to provide for family and warning you to stop sleeping from now on.

The cinematic video, a seemingly subtle reference to Shottas, is mostly shot in his neighborhood, a car where he's being set up and a candle-lit room. It's about as raw as you can get but the skill can't be questioned, which characterizes Baltimore altogether. Doing some digging, I found that Moo has a tape being circulated on the streets right of the same name as the track, Just Bars. Hopefully it'll be available online sometime soon but either way I'm gonna go cop the physical and pray that some more undeniables are on it. 

Some of my other favorite bars from "Just Bars":

"My mama already got the Masi, I'm just tryna get me the Bentley/ Porsche truck for my lor sister, Kendall dipping in a 650/ Boobie said he gone keep the Lincoln, he don't ask for much just give him 650."

"Every time I come in the city it's a new nigga that's playin' the 50 / If it's beef tell 'em come and get me/ The thing like a I.D, I keep it with me."

Pick 'Em Up: Kilbourne, TR!CK$ & UNiiQU3

Casey Embert

Kilbourne x Albyy - "The Hand Clap"

I've been following Kilbourne ever since I heard her amazing work with Abdu Ali on his Already EP.  Kilbourne calls New Jersey home but is currently based out of New Orleans.  I just love the way she styles her club music - it's hype but not so aggressive that I feel like I'm gettin' shot up outside the club.  And such is the case with her collaboration with Albyy on "The Hand Clap".  Pulling the vocal sample from Hurricane Chris' track of the same name, "The Hand Clap" is such a classic demonstration of that signature Jersey energy.

TR!CK$ ft. L'Entranger - "All Alone"
 

TR!CK$ is another Jersey-based producer who is starting to make some waves in my world.  "All Alone" allows that super energetic Jersey style to completely carry a sexy R&B vibe from the vocals here.  I'm especially loving the varying manipulations he made to the vocals - pitched up here, pitched way down there, and chopped so expertly throughout.  This is the way you craft a Jersey club track that's fit for dance floors all around the world.

UNiiQU3 ft. DJ Kiff - 69 (If I Fuck)

Bow down to UNiiQU3!  She's a certified Jersey Club Queen and she's running the show in New Jersey and beyond.  This week I stumbled upon an older track of hers that I had on repeat for a hot minute - "69 (If I Fuck)" with DJ Kiff.  It starts out subtle, almost like it could easily transform into a dope footwork track, but instead it introduces this insanely cool bubbly bass that I can't get enough of.  It almost doesn't even sound like it's a Jersey club track - maybe a hybrid of Jersey and Baltimore - which is great because anything that fills the abyss between the two styles is really something remarkable.

Recap: FLATOUT

Lawrence Burney

If you couldn't make it to our last FLATOUT party in January, here's a recap video shot by our people from Time Spent. Special thanks to Asaad, Abdu Ali and Faded Mob for being great interviewees after their sets and for giving a crazy show. Also, shout out to Exaktly and Neuport for spinning that night as well. 

FLATOUT's next date is March 28th in Baltimore at The Windup Space and features sets by Ratking's Sporting Life, DJ Angel Baby, Lor Chris, Dola and DJ Genie. 

Diary: 3lON

Lawrence Burney

Photo: Diamond Dixon

Photo: Diamond Dixon

02.11.15

*OPENING THOUGHTS*

IT’S HARD TO FIND A GOOD PEN. THE SMOOTHER THE INK FLOW, THE MORE FLUENT MY IDEAS.

“THE CITY LIGHTS FORCED THE STARS INTO HIDING”

*INTRODUCTION*

I’LL TRY DO THIS WITHOUT GETTING ALL IYANLA VANZANT (IF THATS HOW YOU SPELL IT) ABOUT SHIT

*PAUSE*

I WANT ALL THE READERS TO LOG ONTO YOUTUBE AND TYPE IN “WAKE UP BITCH, YO BABY DADDY AIN’T SHIT”

*CONTINUE*

SO I DON’T WANT TO CALL THIS A DIARY BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE I CAN THINK OF SOMETHING MORE DRAMATIC.

“THE CHRONICLES OF A SPACE CADET”

HOPEFULLY THIS RECORDING OF MY DAILY ACCOUNTS CAN LEAD TO SOME SELF IMPROVEMENT..

I FELT LIKE THAT WAS GOOD LEEWAY FOR MY NEXT IDEA.

I FIGURED I SHOULD COMPOSE A LIST OF THINGS THAT I SHOULD KEEP IN MIND IN EVERYDAY LIFE AND FOR THE FUTURE:

*SIDENOTE*

I FIND I CAN'T WRITE AS FAST AS I TYPE

*BACK TO THE LIST THO*

-KEEP ALL PHOTOS UNTOUCHED. OUR IMPERFECTIONS ARE WHAT SEPARATE US AS INDIVIDUALS

-CLEAN YOUR LAUNDRY WEEKLY. FLYING FREEBIRD IN A -10 CHILL IS  NO BUENO.

-REMEMBER THE NAMES OF PEOPLE YOU MEET/NETWORK WITH

*SIDE NOTE*

THIS MAY REQUIRE A DECREASE IN WEED/ALCOHOL INTAKE

-DRINK MORE WATER. THIS WILL KILL YOUR FEARS OF SUDDEN DEATH AND CRYSTALIZE YOUR URINE.

-BRUSH YOUR TEETH.  GINGIVITIS FUCKS UP YOUR GUM TO TOOTH RATIO.

-SAVE UP FOR A CLOSET FULL OF SAMOS JUMPSUITS  

-LEARN MORE BRITISH SLANG

-STAY HUMBLE 

*REMINDER*

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “MAKING IT”. YOU SHOULD NEVER REACH A PRIME. YOU CAN ALWAYS GROW AND LEARN NEW SHIT. ART ESPECIALLY HAS NO LIMITS!

I SHOULD PROBABLY REFLECT ON MY DAY AND ITS HIGHLIGHT MOMENTS. I ATE THIS DANK ASS PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANAS SANDWICH.

IS IT SAD THAT I CAN’T SPELL THE WORD BANANAS WITH SAYING IT IN "HOLLERBACK GIRL" VOICE?

ANYWAYS, I ALSO PURCHASED THESE SLEEK ASS SHADES FROM SOME BEAUTY SUPPLY STORE. I’VE BEEN GETTING LAURENCE FISBOURNE COMPARISONS ALL DAY. 

TWO IS ALL I CAN MUSTER UP WHILE OUT OF ORBIT …”AND THATS FOR THAT NOW” *BLU CANTRELL VOICE*

02.12.15

WHY DO HUMANS FEEL MORE COMPASSIONATE WHEN ANOTHER HUMAN DIES OPPOSED TO AN ANIMAL? WHAT GIVES HUMANS SUCH ENTITLEMENT TO CONSIDER OURSELVES THE SUPREME RACE? ANIMALS GET EUTHANIZED SOMETIMES JUST FOR TAKING UP SPACE IN A SHELTER OR SOME SHIT. YOU DON’T KILL PRISONERS BECAUSE JAILS ARE OVERPOPULATED. HUMANS FEEL ENTITLED TO EAT WHATEVER FORM OF FLESH THEY DESIRE. IF A HUMAN WAS TO EAT ANOTHER HUMAN IT WOULD BE FROWNED DOWN UPON! HUMANS CAN DESTROY, EXAMINE, DEVOUR WHATEVER LIFE FORM WE WANT BUT IF THE SHOE WERE ON THE OTHER FOOT WE’D PROLLY BAND TOGETHER AND GET ALL MILITANT AND SHIT.

FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS I’VE BEEN WAKING UP AS EARLY AS 5/6AM. 

HALF THE TIME MY SLEEP IS DISRUPTED BY MY GRANDMOTHER SHUFFLING DISHES AROUND IN THE SINK AND SHE CLEANS THEM FIRST THING IN THE MORNING

THE OTHER HALF IS HAS BEEN MY BROTHER WIRE AS HE CHANGES THE GUAZE KEEPING HIS PRESSURE ULCERS DRY

IT’S BEEN THIS WAY SINCE MY FAMILY MOVED BACK INTO MY GRANDMOTHERS MINIATURE BEDROOM APARTMENT. NOW WE'RE FORCED TO BE IN EACH OTHER'S FACES AND SPACES UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. WHEN I WAKE UP I GO TO THE BATHROOM AND I SIT ON THE TOILET FOR A FEW HOURS WITH HOT WATER RUNNING, THAT’S THE ONLY TIME I CAN BE ALONE WITH MY OWN THOUGHTS WITHOUT BEING MICRO MANAGED BY MY FAMILY MEMBERS. THIS WAY I CAN MEDITATE IN MY MAKESHIFT SAUNA. THIS IS ME TRYING TO EVADE WINTER'S ANNUAL MELANCHOLY. THIS COLD ISN’T HELPING MUCH. I CAN FEEL MYSELF SLIPPING IN AND OUT OF DEPRESSION.

I’VE BEEN SMOKING MORE THAN USUAL. MY BROTHERS BEEN JUUGIN SO HE’S BEEN HAVING WEED TO SPARE. THE FIRST QUESTION HE ASKS ME WHEN I WAKE UP IS IF I CAN GET US A RELLO. IN THAT MOMENT I REGRET PICKING UP THE HABIT.

*QUICK QUESTION*

DON’T YOU JUST HATE WHEN YOU CUT YOUR NAILS TOO SHORT? IT HURTS TO GRAB ANYTHING WITH YOUR FINGERTIPS.

EVERY MILESTONE I REACH WITH MY ART FORCES ME TO REFLECT ON ALL THE TIMES I FELT DISCOURAGED. WHEN PEOPLE TOLD ME NO ONE WOULD UNDERSTAND MY ARTISTIC DIRECTION. THERE WERE MOMENTS WHEN MY FAMILY LOST HOPE IN MY CREATIVITY.

02.13.15

STUCK IN A RESTLESS HAZE. I REGISTERED FOR CLASSES SO THAT I CAN GET THAT REFUND CHECK OF THE REMAINING FINANCIAL AID MONEY! AS SOON AS THE CLASS BEGAN I INSTANTLY REGRETTED EVEN SIGNING UP FOR IT. I THINK MY “FUCK THIS” SETTING IS STUCK ON AUTOMATIC.

LAST NIGHT I GOT TO CHILL WITH SOME COOL ASS KIDS, AND IT’S PERFECT BECAUSE I’VE BEEN FEELING IGNORED BY THE FRIENDS I THOUGHT I WAS CLOSEST WITH. EVERYBODY'S LIVES ARE SO FAKE HECTIC. MAYBE I’M GETTING BORING TO PEOPLE. I HAVE MOMENTS WHEN I QUESTION HOW ENTERTAINING I AM TO BE AROUND. 

*SIDE NOTE*

ALMOST READY TO BUY MY TICKET TO LA! I MAY NOT COME BACK.

02.19.15

IT’S BEEN A FEW DAYS SINCE I’VE LAST WRITTEN AND SO MUCH HAS BEEN GOING ON. I’VE BEEN RECEIVING MESSAGES FROM ARTISTS WANTING TO COLLABORATE, THIS EXCITES AND SCARES ME ALL AT ONCE. THIS EXCITES ME BECAUSE THIS MEANS THINGS ARE PICKING UP MOMENTUM. AND I WANT PEOPLE TO FUCK WITH WHAT I’M DOING LOW KEY.

OK SO VALENTINES DAY SOME FRIENDS OF MINE HAD A POTLUCK. IT WAS PRETTY CHILL EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT THEY KEPT REFERRING TO ME AS THEIR “GIRLFRIEND”, WHICH I DON’T LIKE. THIS ISN’T THE FIRST TIME EITHER. I’VE LET IT GO ON FOR TOO LONG.MY PEERS ARE STARTING TO LOOK AT ME FUNNY AND I DON’T BLAME THEM. ONCE MY FRIEND CALLED ME ONE OF HIS GIRLS BEFORE A LARGE AUDIENCE OF PEOPLE, THIS MADE ME SAD LOL.

GRANT IS GOING THROUGH SOME FAMILY ISSUES AND TAKING A HIATUS FROM MUSIC, LEAVING ME WITHOUT SOMEONE WILLING TO PLAY MY MUSIC WITH ME. AND I CAN’T BE LIKE “FUCK YOUR PROBLEMS AND COME DO MUSIC WITH ME”. AT THE SAME TIME I DON’T KNOW HOW LONG I CAN WAIT FOR HIM. SOME DAY SOON THE TEAM IS GONNA HAVE TO HAVE A TEAM MEETING.

02.20.15

*QUICK QUESTION*

ISN’T FUNNY HOW ASH CATCHEMS LAST NAME IS CATCH ‘EM? HIS WHOLE EXISTENCE REVOLVES AROUND CATCHING POKEMON. WHO ELSE KNEW THAT HIS VOICE WAS PLAYED BY SOME MIDDLE AGED WHITE WOMAN?

IT’S ALWAYS FUNNY WHEN AN ARTIST DECIDES TO EXPRESS HOW THEY DON’T LIKE ANOTHER ARTIST'S WORK TO THEIR FACE. THERES NO PROPER WAY OF DOING THIS. THERE’S AN ASPIRING DIRECTOR THAT I KNOW THROUGH MUTUAL FRIENDS THAT TOLD MY BEST FRIEND (ALSO A DIRECTOR) THAT HE MAKES “GAY SHIT”. THIS TOOK PLACE JUST DAYS AFTER COMPLEMENTING ME FOR THE VIDEO THAT ME AND MY FRIEND COLLABORATED ON TOGETHER. PHONY OPPORTUNISTS.

*RANDOM QUESTION*

WHY DO HUMANS ASSOCIATE CATTY, BACKSTABBING BEHAVIOR WITH WOMEN? WHY IS IT OK FOR WOMEN TO BE CATTY AND BACKSTABBING BUT NOT A MAN? WHY DO WEMON GET A FREE PASS TO BE ASSHOLES SO OFTEN? WHY DO WE MAKE THEM OUT TO BE THESE OVERLY EMOTIONAL CREATURES? BEING A BAD PERSON ISN’T A GOOD LOOK FOR ANYONE.

WHY DO WOMEN LOOK FOR MEN WITH TOUGH EXTERIORS WITHOUT A CLUE AS TO HOW TO MAKE THEM DROP THEIR DEFENSES? WHY ARE MEN SUPPOSED TO BE DISCONNECTED FROM THEIR EMOTIONS? WHAT MODEL OF MAN ARE WE MODELING OURSELVES AFTER? I CAN’T STAND HEARING A CHICK COMPLAIN ABOUT NOT BEING FELT OR HEARD. WHOLE TIME YOU HAVE SOME BULLSHIT IMAGE IN YOUR HEAD OF WHAT A MAN SHOULD BE, AND THAT’S HALF THE BATTLE.

WHY HAVE WE SET UNREALISTIC SOCIAL STANDARDS FOR HUMANS TO ABIDE BY? THERE SHOULD BE NO HIERARCHY OF CLASS, NO FIGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHT. WE’VE BEEN TRYING TO MASK OUR TRUE NATURE SINCE CREATION LOL

IN OTHER NEWS, MY WEED MAN IS GETTING CLOSER TO SOLVING THE CASE OF THE ROBBERY THAT TOOK PLACE AT HIS HOUSE WHEN HE WAS OUT OF TOWN LAST HALLOWEEN.WHAT HE DOESN’T KNOW IS THAT A FORMER FRIEND OF MINE DID IT. THE ONLY REASON I HAVEN’T TOLD HIM IS BECAUSE I DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE RUNNING MY MOUTH OFF. I JUST FEEL SOMEWHAT SHITTY BECAUSE I’VE BEEN BECOMING PRETTY CHILL WITH MY WEED MAN, HE SMOKES ME UP AND LOOKS OUT ON THE WEED ALL THE TIME. AFTER MY (FORMER) FRIEND HELD MY WEED MAN’S GIRLFRIEND UP AT KNIFE POINT HE’S BEEN SUSPECTING ME LOW KEY. WHAT HE DOESN’T KNOW IS THAT I HAD TO CUT THE ACTUAL CULPRIT LOOSE. I CAN’T HAVE SHIESTY PEOPLE IN MY PREMISES. APPARENTLY, HE WAS WAITING ON VIDEO FOOTAGE AND IT FINALLY RETURNED. NOW HE'S QUESTIONING MY ACTUAL FRIEND, WHO HAS LITTLE INVOLVEMENT WITH THIS WHOLE THING, BUT HE’S GETTING CLOSER FOR SURE. AND HE’S HELL BENT ON FINDING OUT WHO FINESSED HIM OUT OF A PS3.

Pick 'Em Up: Kingdom, Vjuan Allure & Diamond Kuts

Casey Embert

Kelela - "Enemy" (Kingdom's Destruction Before Paradise Mix):

It's really impossible to make Kelela's voice not sound like it came straight from the heavens above. Otherworldly Fade to Mind add just the right touch of future to her 90s R&B influences. "Enemy", originally produced by Nguzuguzu, sees a brand new treatment from fellow Fade to Mind creator and cohort, Kingdom.  Kelela's voice sounds as soulful as ever while Kingdom builds a future club beat so delicate at times that it barely erupts into a full-blown ruckus.  While you can hear the occasional pounding bass, grandiose synths, and a hint of the signature kicks of club music, Kingdom keeps his take on "Enemy" right under the threshold of a big room banger.  That's some real finesse right there.

Vjuan Allure - "Wherkk ft. Purple Crush":

"Wherkk" is the title track from Vjuan Allure's latest EP, which is streaming over on THUMP right now.  Allure is one of the innovators of the classic ballroom sound - house and disco tracks that you hear at vogue parties - and actually created "The Ha Dance" (later dubbed as "Allure Ha") which is basically what "Sing Sing" is to Baltimore club.  But on his "Wherkk" EP, Allure demonstrates a vast knowledge of that classic club music sound, especially on the title track here featuring LA's Purple Crush on vocals.  The horns are blowin', the kicks are perfectly energizing, and it sounds brand new and timeless all at the same time.

DJ Diamond Kuts - "Keep Your Ass Down":

Philly's DJ Diamond Kuts has a stellar reputation for being versatile behind the decks to deliver sets that are totally free of the binds of particular genres.  However (!!), I know she has an affinity for club music stylings from Jersey to Baltimore.  "Keep Your Ass Down" doesn't seem like a typical club track from the surface, but it has all the right vibes.  It's repetitive and hyper just like a classic Jersey club track but the way she blends in bouncy twerk and the rolling hi-hats of trap makes it perfect for all kinds of dance floors. 

Interview: Amy Reid On Her GRL PWR Party & Why It's So Needed

Lawrence Burney

It's no secret that women are underrepresented to a shameful extent, in music and otherwise. Shit, in every industry just about. It's also no secret that not enough fight against that goes down which is why things like The Exchange II are starting to pop up in Baltimore and all around. We need discussions like those to continue challenging the patriarchal structure of our society. Amy Reid of Baltimore duo, Chiffon, is doing her part in that challenge with her new Baltimore-based party, GRL PWR, which exclusively showcases women performers and DJ's. Her last party featured performative dance by Fluct, a live set by Ami Dang and DJ sets by Genie and Isabejja. Aside from proving that they didn't need any men to pack over 300 people in a tight warehouse space, it also showed that there are tons of talented female artists that go unnoticed. Wanting to know more about the origins and intentions of GRL PWR, I caught up with Amy recently. 

Photo: Diamond Dixon

Photo: Diamond Dixon

What was your initial mission when conceptualizing GRL PWR? Was it to show that you didn't need men or was it just to celebrate women?

Amy Reid: Definitely to celebrate women performers. Exclusion is the opposite of what I want. There is an obvious focus on women performers but I'm all about including people who want to be a part of it. Originally, I wanted it to be strictly DJS and then I realized how boring that could be to exclusively have DJ sets. I think the best shows are when you get a taste of everything which is why I love Baltimore. It's not out of the ordinary to walk into a show where there's 4 different genres of music being represented on a single bill and I love that. I also wanted GRL PWR to represent a mixture of established artists, up and coming artists, and people who have maybe never performed before. I was just getting into djing and I was trying to find women djs in the area and I had a hard time and I was kind of puzzled. I had a drink with a friend and they brought up a good point that I had never really thought of but if you don't see yourself represented in a genre or art form it's hard to picture yourself doing that. I think that's a little extremist but still holds some truth.

When you think about it, it's pretty crazy that there haven't been any women-focused shows in the city. But it's so common for an all-guy lineup to be booked without it even being a thing. I've been guilty of it too when putting shows together. How's all that make you feel?

AR: That was a driving force for sure and I know people don't do it intentionally I just hope that this event brings awareness to that. There have been a few that have happened over time like Puss Fuss, Female Front Fest, and Lady Fest. They are all cool events and there is always room for more. Like those events, mine is curated. I want every show to make sense even if it's in a non traditional way. There's a focus on electronic, club and movement/ dance performance so far but I'm not going to limit it to be only that.

Did any anxiety come during the planning process when you thought of how the party could be received?

AR: I definitely had anxiety before both events. Some people freak out when you start to talk about things like gender. I look at this event as a positive reaction to further support women performers and have a conversation about it if someone thinks differently. There was one person sort of trolling the first event facebook page which made me pretty bummed out. But realistically, you can't please everyone and not everyone will agree with you and that's okay, I am interested in the conversation that happened anyway even if I feel uneasy or start to second guess afterwards. That's how we grow, we listen to each other, contemplate, and agree disagree or meet somewhere in the middle. For the most part it's been positive.

Playing in Chiffon, you've done a good amount of traveling through touring with Future Islands. Was the disparity in women being booked a problem in other places as well?

AR: It's not unusual for me to be the only woman on a bill but thats not to say that it's 100% of the time. We play with a pretty broad spectrum of artists from  a lot of different genres and backgrounds. When I'm on the road I actually forget about it cause I'm just doing my thing with Chase, my best friend/ bandmate. I don't really notice a difference in treatment or anything. It's when I take a step back and think about it, that's what makes me want to address it in a positive empowering way.

It's a common thought that women are marginalized the most in hip-hop culture but this party speaks to multiple genres. Is that struggle of being ignored just as prevalent in other genres, in your experience?

AR: I think that DJ culture is what initially sparked my interest in starting GRL PWR. It's a problem when you can't name more than 5 women DJS in your city and part of that is me learning more about djing in general. I obviously don't know everyone who is djing or interested in it, that would be stupid to assume. I just want to meet those people doing it or provide an opportunity for people interested in it.

Photo: Diamond Dixon

Photo: Diamond Dixon

A great thing that I noticed at last week's party was that the all-female lineup had little-to-no effect on the crowd's diversity in comparison to other shows in Baltimore. Was that something you put a lot of thought into?

AR: Yeah, definitely. I want to put on shows that slay every time which is generally the philosophy behind every show I play or book. I think that everyone can get down with celebrating powerful women performers and I am confident in everyone I ask to play or that wants to play. I want people to come to GRL PWR knowing that they are going to have a great experience.

How've people been receiving GRL PWR?

AR: By the turn out alone I think it's going well. The first one was about 150 and the second was about 300 which is crazy and i was not properly prepared for. I was talking to isa bella about that earlier, DJ isabejja, and we were trying to figure it out. It's one of those things where I have no idea at this point if its the performers, the  event, the philosophy behind the event or a combination of why people want to be a part of it. Either way, I'm grateful that people want to be a part of it.

What effect do you hope the party will having on booking trends throughout Baltimore?

AR: I hope that people who perform at GRL PWR gain more attention and people become more open to giving budding artists a chance to shine. I also hope that people think more deeply about the ways that shows can be more dynamic and interesting be it location or performers. Not saying that this already doesn't happen, but there is always room for things to grow into something more.

Dream acts to have play at GRL PWR?

AR: Missy Elliot, Tink, Holly Herndon, Kelela, Grimes, Kali Uchis, Emily Reo.....everyone that has already performed has been that dream come true.


The Exchange II: A Much Needed Surge Of Energy For Baltimore's Cultural Growth

Lawrence Burney

Photo: Kyle Yearwood

Photo: Kyle Yearwood

Last weekend, Capri Shorter—a Baltimore-based brand strategist and artist manager—hosted and took part in the second edition of her rap-focused panel discussion series, The Exchange, at local bookstore and coffeehouse, Red Emma’s. Back in November, The Exchange’s (all-guy) first panel took on the history and state of hip-hop in Baltimore and as a panelist, I badly wanted a woman’s insight. Janae Griffin (Saturday’s moderator) penned an article for us leading up to the first installment, opening up about turning down an invitation to speak that night due to feelings of not being qualified to join the men who were asked to speak. And while I appreciated her honesty, it didn’t hold me back from the sadness I felt when she sent me that article’s draft. On a grand scale, I understood how feelings of  inferiority can be internalized by women living in a patriarchal society but on a personal level, I kept asking myself “Why?!” No shade to the others who spoke at The Exchange back then, but what made them so qualified? Other than Scottie B and Labtekwon who’ve been putting in work before most of the panelists were born, the bulk of us are still trying to make a mark, no matter what we’ve accomplished so far. That’s why I was so happy to hit the all-female-focused second part of The Exchange last Saturday which featured Shorter, radio host and Baltimore Club DJ, Angelbaby, rapper TT The Artist, organizer Mia Loving, radio host Civ Jones, and event curator, Chin-Yer.  

It didn’t take long at all for me to realize that I’m probably not half as strong as the panelists to repeatedly face the shit they do. “In the music business, men aren’t afraid to tell you they want to have sex with you,” Shorter answered to what some cons of being in a male-dominated industry are. “And that could be anyone from your boss to the artist you represent.” TT The Artist shared similar frustrations as she told stories of executives’ reasons for not investing in her were “we’re not attracted to you.” How to deal with those situations ranged from Civ Jones saying that she’s never had any incidents, to Chin-Yer asserting that “checking a man first to assure he doesn’t try again” to TT saying that she pretends she doesn’t even hear the sexual advances.

Sadly, mostly nothing I heard was particularly surprising that night. With an all-woman panel in this context, I expected to hear questions on how they were dealing with being a minority in the music business, I expected to learn about the pathetic shit men kick to them on the regular and I expected to hear them discuss what compromising situations they regularly faced. All that still didn’t fully prepare me for their stories. It’s like when you go into watching a gore-y film; you know people are gonna get whacked but that doesn’t always stop your reflexes when somebody’s chest gets opened up and you see their insides pop out. While being mostly enlightening, a lot of The Exchange II was numbing for that reason.

When the floor was first opened to the audience for questioning, many issues expressed by the panelists were manifested by bonehead inquiries and suggestions from too-out-of-touch male spectators. In reference to women nowadays wearing their shorts “up to here” (ugh), one asked: “If you can’t put a woman emcee on your level, then you won’t have respect for them. So what is being done by women in your industry to increase the respect level that men have for you?” With understandable frustration and anger, Shorter quickly snapped, “This event” before TT The Artist properly put things in perspective by expressing that the societal double standard in personal presentation should have no bearing on how much/little respect a woman garners. She also shared the trials she faced in her one year of teaching at the Baltimore Design School when her 6th and 7th graders caught wind of her “Pussy Ate” song and how she had to explain to both students and administrators that her art outside of her job was not to be compromised or used as ammunition for admonishing her as an educator. Soon after, another male audience member suggested women in the industry having “a coalition of men” to check men who step out of line, apparently not realizing that his advice was largely why we were all in attendance that night; a woman should not need a man’s protection while trying to complete her fucking job. Further, who’s to say that a member of this coalition wouldn't try a woman just as quickly as ones in her field?

Interestingly, Saturday's most heated and vital period was actually in response to topics not specific to women. In particular: are local artists doing enough in the community to redirect people from the detrimental happenings in society, especially in the inner city?

Other than Mia Loving's suggestion to start putting hip-hop back in the hands of children by encouraging them to create, getting funding to fuel organizations is what lit an explosive fire under the panel. Civ Jones expressed that instead of speaking on public issues, artists like Lil Wayne should put money into the communities that are "directly affected by the trash he talks about." Her sentiment here, while heartfelt, to me, was problematic and mirrored the double standard that the panelists spoke out against earlier in the program. Wayne—who's an entertainer first—has the right to speak on any issues he pleases and could very well be funding organizations in many communities. The lyrical content in his music doesn't have to reflect his political stances.

TT's "go fish for grant money" response led to justifiable kickbacks from other panelists who pointed out that grant money in Baltimore's art scene are rarely allocated to startups and organizations that have black progress as a priority. This is where shit got officially turnt to the point of TT's mic being cut off for being too overt and forceful in her conviction (I suppose), as she defended her suggestions by stating that no matter if you get the grant money or not (which she has tried and failed at repeatedly), you should still try. But after the explosion, Loving concisely stated: "If we don't try to continue to define the culture for ourselves and create mechanisms and institutions for ourselves, we'll continue to have these issues of segregation." No argument there.

An equal amount of passion was generated on the topic of local media's role in breaking new artists to which 92Q's Angel Baby asked, "Why are you coming to me for support?" Building a personal brand and a loyal following are what she urged underground artists to place as priorities, which Shorter responded with "92Q is not on our side." And while the audience clearly sided with Capri's rebuttal, this is a topic that will never be fully agreed on by anyone. The most important takeaway was Angel Baby and Civ sharing the knowledge that who they play on radio doesn't come down to what their personal preferences are; artists who are not backed by big corporations like SoundScan will probably never be played on local radio because there is no way to profit from them.

What was most refreshing about Saturday was the constant outpour of passion, no matter if it was synchronized claps for a "no shit" moment, explosive disagreement or just the willingness to show some fucking emotion; women, naturally, are better than men in that way. I don't know if vulnerability comes easier to feminine beings or if, at this point,  it's just a might-as-well approach in response to being constantly tested by male counterparts. The male-donated first leg of The Exchange that I took part in, while insightful and informative, sorely lacked in FEELINGS. Stepping back and assessing both, I ask myself would men had even been questioned the way the female panelists were? How to conduct yourself, if compromising the grind is in your best interest for safety's sake, if I'm truly welcomed in this industry, etc. As a man, I don't ever HAVE to think about that shit. And also, as a man, I'm not constantly subjected to the self-marginalization  that women all too often are. After I stepped out for a few minutes Saturday, some major pushback was given to a comment that Chin-Yer reportedly made in reference to the small presence woman have in hip-hop to which she said, there aren't as many good female rappers as there are male.  A counterproductive comment? To say the very least, YES, but judging by the effects of oppression from women in hip-hop to people of color across the globe, it's not a complete surprise...just sad.

Hopefully, the efforts of Saturday's panel and others to come will start to reverse such mindsets and promote an overall awareness of women's worth—not only in rap, but in our society as a whole. For true progression, Baltimore could use more non-digital, cultural discourse within the arts community and The Exchange II showed how much can be learned and shared when we don't harbor our feelings.

 

Photos: KAHLON

Lawrence Burney

Diamond Dixon snapped some amazing photos from the last installment of KAHLON which went down on January 31st at The Crown in Baltimore. Below are shots of Chae Buttah, DonChristian, Abdu Ali, Isabejja, Rip Knoxxx, OCDJ, Mental Jewelry and more! 

The next KAHLON is back at The Crown on March 7th with live sets by Juliana Huxtable, Al Rogers, Qiana Kitt, Sunatirene, Abdu Ali + DJ Haram & Precolumbian. 

Pick 'Em Up: Blastah, Imaabs & Sugar Shane

Casey Embert

Blastah- Give It Up To Me

I constantly have my ears open for unique productions of club music and "Give It Up To Me" grabbed my attention immediately.  Located in Lisbon, Portugal, Blastah seems to have created his own personal blend of Baltimore and Jersey club in this track.  A classic club beat drives the track while blasting gun shots, bed squeaks, and chopped up vocals accentuate its every unique twist and turn.  "Give It Up To Me" has a comforting way of feeling very familiar while feeling so brand new and rejuvenating all at the same time.

Imaabs- Grafito

"Grafito" is a whole different monster here.  It feels very dark and industrial as an ominous whirring and sounds of "machinery" add intriguing textures to the production.  Imaabs, of Santiago, Chile, seems to thrive in mystery and darkness here as he blends warehouse techno with the hyperactive stylings of Jersey club music.  Techno is usually pretty hit-or-miss for me but I'm so impressed with the way Imaabs expertly integrates that signature bass you'll only hear in Jersey.  If you're feelin' this style, you can hear more on Trax Couture World Series Vol. 2.

Sugar Shane- Kill That Bitch (Promnite Remix)

Sugar Shane's "Kill Da Bitch" in its original form is already a certified club banger, but Promnite's remix elevated the track to critical mass.  If Sugar Shane's stinkeye and super sass in "Kill Da Bitch" wasn't enough of a beatdown, New York-based producer Promnite kicked the joint into overdrive.  "Kill The Bitch" takes on a future club sound at light speed with hints of vogue, heart-pounding bass, and a pitched-down chant that urges you to "go for the kill".




Photos: FLATOUT

Lawrence Burney

Major love to everyone who attended our January edition of FLATOUT in Baltimore. Special love goes to Butch Dawson for holding us down and hosting the party and Faded Mob, Exaktly, Abdu Ali, Neuport and Asaad for putting on a crazy show. There's more to come soon so stick with us! 

Photos: Diamond Dixon & Megan Lloyd

Pick 'Em Up: James Nasty, HI$TO & Debonair Samir

Casey Embert

What up, y'all!  It's Stoop Girl here bringing ya the dopest club music I can find on The World Wide Internet.  I usually try to keep it really weird and favor artists who thrive in the dark corners of the mainstream, but this week I wanted to show some love to our locals here in Baltimore.  Very underrated at times, Baltimore producers are still fighting tooth-and-nail to put our city on the map.  But having been all over the place and back again, these guys you'll hear below have a worldwide perspective on club music.  They've really got a lot to offer for the future of club music and we're lucky to claim them as our neighbors here in Baltimore.

James Nasty - "Good Perereca"

What originally attracted me James Nasty's productions was a very apparent love for old school club music—classic breakbeats, what! what! chants, and lots of booty talk.  But lately, he's really been looking at club music from a worldwide lens - a perspective that club music has desperately needed to launch it out of Baltimore and into the speakers of the rest of the world.

"Good Perereca", released via Enchufada's Upper Cuts project, is everything that's great about global club music: Brazilian percussion, samples of frog croaks, and that familiar club sound to keep it grounded.  It sounds amazingly exotic right from the start—the perfect soundtrack to a hot and sweaty night in the club.  I know y'all are gonna act like some wild animals when this shit gets played in the club.

HI$TO- Where Dat Pussy At?

HI$TO flirts with hip-hop and bass music of all kinds so his approach to club music always feels like a well-rounded and complete composition. This track is some nasty shit and if it weren't for all the bed squeaks, sex moans, and a general future vibe to it, "Where Dat Pussy At" would take me back to the days of old school club music.  And all that shit was hella freaky too.  Let ya freak flag fly with this one.

Debonair Samir - "Drunk"

When was the last time you heard some new sounds coming from Debonair Samir?!  I think the club scene might be ready to hear some new music from the pioneers again.  I really dig Samir's manipulation of the classic Baltimore club horns on "Drunk"; they sound a bit warped and when I really think about it, that's probably what it sounds like when you're drunk and wildin' out in the club.  Do ya thang.  Anyway, I'm more excited to see what Samir's up to in the lab in 2015 and we'll all find out in March when his Whatever EP drops.

Catching Up w/ True Laurels' Favorite Artists From 2014

Lawrence Burney

2014 saw four new issues of True Laurels and while we wish we could have caught back up with every single artist featured, here's what seven artists from the zine took from this year and how they're going into 2015. Check it!

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Butch Dawson (True Laurels Vol. 2)

What was your favorite musical moment from 2014?

My favorite musical moment of 2014 was experiencing my first tour and first time in LA.

Best artist you got put onto?

I got put on to Thundercat this year and I listen to him all the time so he has to be my best artist.

What’s the most valuable lesson you learned this year to carry over to 2015?

I've learned that things are possible for a Baltimore guy like me and for all musicians from Baltimore, and that i shouldn't doubt myself or have a conscience when it comes to taking the next step. I wanna be able to take my confidence into the next year and show myself that I'm capable of doing what I need to do.

Abdu Ali (True Laurels Vol. 1)

You've been very candid online with your take on the structure of our society this year. What's a more fitting explanation: The world's bullshit making you more conscious or is your increased level of consciousness hipping you to the bullshit?

It's a combination of both: me being more conscious/educated on the shade of society and the current events of shade that have taken place as well. Both sort of provoke each other to come about. Also with age comes wisdom. As you get older, if fortunate, you become less blind and your perception of the world you live in starts to become more raw and real.

Something you did that even surprised you this year?

At the last Kahlon, during my performance I got too overwhelmed by the energy and became very emotional and idk. It was an out-of-body experience I had on stage for the first time, it was a lot to deal with. I loved it though. It was like I saw and felt that burning bush, as if "god" came down to me touched me and spoke to me.

3 Essential Do's & Don'ts for DIY touring.

Do: Be vegan. Drink a gallon of water everyday. Sleep as much as possible (fuck going out to sight see and all that). Don't: Eat bad. Smoke or Drink. Don't hold any emotions or feelings in.

Your most valuable takeaway from 2014? 

To do the most you can, be uninhabited, and try to stay calm and positive. All three are vital. And try to be healthy as fuck. Drink a gallon of water a day. Try to eat meat once a week or twice. Or never. And vitamins are bullshit. They basically don't work. Most herbal supplements are bullshit because they are cheaply manufactured and can fuck your body up. If anything use raw herbs or powders. Get mad iodine (salt with iodine or from sea plants), b12 (veggies or a high quality b12 product that contains no cyanide), vitamin d (from sunlight or uv light) in your body. FOOD IS THE BEST MEDICINE.

UNIIQU3 (True Laurels Vol. 5)

Overall, club music seemed to have reemerged as a leading genre of interest on the web this year. As an artist in that field, how'd it make you feel?

To see something that we just grew up on grow to be enjoyed and accepted internationally was beyond amazing. It also gave me hope and reassurance that I'm doing something right, as far as my music career goes. Overall it's just a blessing. 

You were on the road a lot this year. What was your best and worst touring experience?

This year was my first year being on the road. My best experience would have to be traveling to Australia. It's half ways around the world and it was my first tour! The whole thing was an amazing experience. My worst experience would have to be when I was getting picked up from the airport one time, my driver had the wrong name on the board so I walked around the ground transportation for an hour, but eventually I found him. 

5 mixes you really rocked with from 2014?

That's kinda hard, I'm such a music junkie but here you go!

1.  Pause FadetoMind :: Kingdom b2b Rizzla b2b Prince Will - Fade to Mind on Rinse FM - 10.9.2014

2.  Pelicanfly :: Dj Slow - As The World Turns Slow Chapter 1 

3. FILTHYRICHTAJ - xoChill

4. BEASTONLEASH :: SICH MANG - WARKSTAP FOR TRADER JOE'S MIX P3

5. The FADER FADER Mix: UNIIQU3

What's a non-music-related goal you have for 2015?

I really want to be the best version of Cherise I can be, and I'm well on my way there. 

B L A C K I E (True Laurels Vol. 2)

You've been a fighter through your music since Day 1. Has this year's heightened exposure to police killing black men added more fuel to your fire?

Not really. Not at all. I'm focusing on making sure my family is living good and all that outside of music. That's the first & only real battle. I got a black child. Fuck the police state. Fuck these tyrants.

Something you HAVE to get better at in 2015.

I want to get better at maintaining my own personal solitude. Kick all the fakes, flakes and mistakes to the dumpster.

Something new you learned about yourself this year?

This year I learned I can move on in my life and not let anyone (even myself) restrain me.

Three albums that got the most spins from you in 2014?

Ola Playa - Slime Season

Blunt Fang - 777 #1 Hits

Deftones - White Pony

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Chrissy Vasquez (True Laurels Vol. 4)

What was your biggest challenge of 2014?

My biggest challenge in 2014 was going to summer school and going on the Freakshow Tour. I had to wake up early in the a.m for a straight month and ride my Huffy bike to school while going out of town on weekends, coming back to school exhausted and not ready to pass some days. In general, it's hard trying to level out school and performing. It's like, "Okay do I take this chance and be half sleep in the morning while the school bus is 20 minutes away?" and I always did it. To be able to express is a blessing. 

What artists did you listen to the most this year?

Artists I listen to the most: Nas. 2Pac, Crystal Castles, Andre 3000, A Tribe Called Quest, Michael Jackson, Erykah Badu. Can't forget the good bike rides listening to Earl Sweatshirt. I listen to tons of artist and tons of genres. So it's not as if I listen to the same people everyday.

You're always carrying around a gallon of water. What health tips can you lend us going into next year?

Yes. I try my best to drink a gallon of water a day. Your body and my body needs water. I've transitioned from a vegetarian to a vegan, it being a full year now. I'm not saying in order to be healthy you have to drop the meat and lift the veggies...however, that would be a good option. I recommend everyone to eat many servings of vegetables and fruit a day. It's many fun things you can do with your food to make a healthy lifestyle not so bland. I enjoy making a good vegan meal with a spot of green tea. Sip it, it's good for you and very relaxing. Everyone should have up to 2 spots of tea a day. For my protein I like to eat beans and eat tree nuts...and digging my finger in the peanut butter jar. Be optimistic when it comes to having a colorful diet. Broccoli is your friend. Pineapples love you. Always remember that you can either look at your body as a trash can or a temple, and that what you eat on a daily basis can either better you or harm you in the long run.

Was there anything you read that changed your perspective?

I'm in the process of reading "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. To sum it up, it talks a lot about the mental and how you can think positively and act on your goals, pushing them to your full potential. Most of the people who are successful now is because it took hard work and a smooth thought process. You can do anything you desire as long as you strive for it. In the book he talks about successful people and situations where a blockage may come into your life and you just have to bite your way through it. I'm not going to summarize the entire book, but here's something I underlined: "Tolerance and an open mind are practical necessities for the dreamer of today. Those who are afraid of new ideas are doomed before they start."

Hi$to (True Laurels Vol. 3)

With some of your peers being featured in both Boiler Room's Baltimore and Jersey club episodes, how were you affected? Were you motivated?

I was definitely moved and more confident in being next. I've payed attention to these people for years prior to moving to Baltimore and I get respect from most of them featured in both episodes. I have a few joints with TT The Artist, a remix I'm working on for James Nasty, and I'm working on a beat I want UNIIQU3 to hop on for my next tape. I met Sliink again around this time last year and talked to him about working before but he was touring heavy over seas after that. One day.

What there a moment this year that made you really miss Houston?

Not really but I say that because I spent three months in Houston over the summer. But if there was a moment, it was definitely SXSW. I missed out on it this year and I usually kick it in H-town before I go to Austin. 

Did you develop any new musical routines during the year?

I've been practicing  new scratch techniques on the turntables. I learned a personal technique where I can knock out remixes within a day. And I'm currently working on fusing visuals I create with my sounds right now for my short film dropping next year. 

Four tracks that never left your rotation in 2014? 

That's kinda hard but my favorites I mostly play are:

Lakim- "Rent4"

iLoveMakonnen - "Don't Sell Molly"

DJ Rashad - "Do It Again"

HI$TO & Gianni Lee - "Shake"

Asaad (True Laurels Vol. 2)

What's your proudest moment of 2014?

The entire 2014. The fact that I stopped lying.

You were on the road with Ab-Soul for the These Days Tour. Your three favorite stops and why?

Chicago because I like the thrill. Toronto because I'm Drake there lol. Madison, Wisconsin was a great vibe. 

I saw online you were talking about getting your health right this year. What was your method?

I rid the lying, rid the stress, told the truth and got some rest. 

Your 5 favorite tracks from the year? 

Lil Mouse- Don't Get Smoked

Asaad- Blue Note Entendre 

Pharrell- Gust Of Wind

Rick Ross Feat. Yo Gotti- Trap Luv

Chief Keef- Faneto 

Favorite Songs of 2014

Lawrence Burney

 

1. Nicki Minaj- Lookin Ass

2. FKA Twigs- Two Weeks

3. B L A C K I E- Wings Blocking Out The Sun

4. D.R.A.M.- Never Again

5. Kelela- The High

6. Shy Glizzy- Coca Loca (Feat. Zed Zilla)

7. Jay Electronica- Better In Tune w/ The Infinite (Feat. LaTonya Givens)

8. Cities Aviv- (Self 100): Know Who You Are

9. Abdu Ali- Shiva

10. Freddie Gibbs- Real

11. Vince Staples- Nate (Feat. James Fauntleroy)

12. Run The Jewels- Early (Feat. Boots)

13. Asaad- In Tha Black Sand

14. Lor Scoota- Bird Flu Remix (Feat. Shy Glizzy)

15. Greedy- All My Niggaz (Feat. Kortaz & Coach B)

16. Azealia Banks- Ice Princess

17. Young Thug & Metro Boomin- The Blanguage

18. Drake- Days In The East

19. Skepta & Wiki- That’s Not Me

20. Lil Wayne- D’usse

21. Rich Gang- Givenchy

22. SZA- Childs Play (Feat. Chance The Rapper)

23. Butch Dawson- Red Leather Chair

24. Tkay Maidza- Switch Lanes

25. Willow Smith- Female Energy: Freestyle

26. Young Moose- Dumb Dumb (Feat. Bigger Vales)

27. Rae Sremmurd-  No Type

28. Mykki Blanco- Baby’s Got Big Plans

29. Jungle Pussy- Satisfaction Guaranteed

30. D’Angelo- Ain’t That Easy

31. DonChristian- Clerk

32. JuegoTheNinety- Lost

33. Migos- Story I Tell

34. Theophilus London- Water Me (Feat. Leon Ware)

35. Doe B- I Remember

36. Arca- Xen

37. Boosie Bad Azz- O Lord

38. Ratking- Canal

39. Isaiah Rashad- R.I.P. Kevin Miller

40. Jeezy- ¼ Block

41. PartyNextDoor- Options

42. Buffa7o- Lango

43. Gucci Mane & Chief Keef- Semi On Em

44. Chiffon- Milk & Marble

45. Cashy- Da Kid

46. Dola- Unresponsive

47. Travi$ Scott- Drugs You Should Try It

48. 2$ Fabo- My Planet

49. ZelooperZ- Plateau

50. Abhi/Dijon- Honest