, , , , , , , , ,

Known Unknowns #001

See that guy up there? That's me, the MP3-loving blogger who ends up getting way more emails than he knows what to do with. While I don't have the time to review and post everything that comes my way, I hate being sent emails without doing anything with the material someone took the time to send.

So, we have a new series we're kicking off in 2016, Known Unknowns, a look into my mindstate when I open up promo emails from artists I genuinely don't know anything about.

While I'm not sure what the frequency of this series will be, I plan on doing a few things with it:

  1. Actually listening to way more new music while
  2. Giving artists some insight on what a blogger thinks when they open up your email and
  3. Not holding back with my praise (or disdain) for your track/approach

It's not going to be pretty, but hell, hopefully someone can learn something about the art of sending people your art. There are right ways and wrong ways, and hopefully we can trim the fat and get the right tunes to the right individuals.

This week, we have seven songs for folks to dig into, with my open and honest views on the actual music and how it was sent to me. Welcome to these Known Unknowns.

The first artist is Brooklyn's Uri, who WRITES PROMO EMAILS LIKE THIS and sent a track about getting "So So High." I'm not sure if he's portraying himself as a weed smoking rapper, but if he isn't I wouldn't have sent this as the first track.

This is an example of his "UNIQUE SOUND GREAT FLOW AND AMAZING PRODUCTION," although I think it's heavier on a unique sound of his voice. The use of Opus III's "It's A Fine Day" for this dubby track is intriguing (although if you're going to use the singing as the hook and can't sing, there's no reason for you to be singing), but I kind of wish more happened in the track.

I wouldn't totally write Uri off, but I want to hear more to determine if he's someone I'd like to rock with on the reggy.

Now this is more like it. Ding is a producer from the UK who probably didn't know that throwing the title track of his free New Chapter EP as track #1 would hook me. He calls his sound "soulful" and "psychedelic" hip-hop, and I think I'm feeling more of the former than the latter on this particular five-tracker. Maybe it's psychedelic in the way that the dusty, '90s-era Ninja Tune releases were.

This has a very headphone-centric vibe to it, something for late night zone out sessions. Highly recommended, especially with word that he has a new project on the way.

Choo Jackson is someone I wasn't up on before, but the god Jon Tanners knows about him, and Big Jerm has production on this track, so he has to be someone. It looks like he's from Vero Beach, Florida, and is signed to Mac Miller's REMember music.

"All Alone" feels like one of those tracks I wouldn't throw on willingly, but is so catchy that it'd end up getting stuck in my head and, obviously, thrown into rotation. I don't walk around with my cup all muddy, but I can see this turning into something bigger for the radio in 2016.

This is from his forthcoming project Anime, which is due out February 9th.

Passport Louis sent over this track "Do It," and truth be told, this happens a lot. I'll genuinely fuck with a beat, but not totally dig what the artist is doing. That's not to say that Louis can't rap; I can feel the flow. I'm just not sure if he was the guy for this beat. Or maybe the beat needed some fatter drums, or some change ups.

The hook is cool, playing off the vocal, but you almost wish that some harder drums creep in at some point. That'd turn this from an "Internet single" to something we could see on a bigger stage.

I'd surprised I'm getting submissions with songs titled "Trap Niggas" in 2016. I mean, get it how you live, but you'd think we could find a couple of different ways to say this shit at this point, right? Oddly enough, I'm not mad at this; it sounds like a Future track, for good or ill. Young Sir is dropping this as one of the visuals from his Gift to the Game mixtape, but I really would just like a 320 of the track. Or maybe I need to get on my juug.

I can't front; it's hard to take a track seriously when the hook is something about only knowing "the media me" when I have no idea who the fuck you are. No disrespect to L'ego Motif; I get the whole "social media" thing probably didn't fit in the hook, but this is about first impressions.

Anyways, I'd pass on this. It might be me—if I wanted to hear a nigga sing throughout the track, I'd throw on Drake or 5011 of these other cats. This just doesn't move me. Maybe you'll dig this enough to check out Motif's forthcoming Ego Tripping project.

For the final track, I want to tell you artists something: if you're going to compare yourself to another artist, make sure the comparison fits. Energe drops this banger "High Note" that is placed firmly in the Drake/The Weeknd/Frank Ocean lane (to the point where he namechecks those artists in his tags on SoundCloud), but the person who sent the email tried to play this off as a track that "pays reverence to iconic MC’s from the 90’s Twista, Do or Die, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony with it’s melodic hooks and a slick rhythm that makes every lyric memorable."

Nah, fam, this isn't Bone or Twista; this is a talented guy sangin' some slick shit over a deeper instrumental, ala the zone Weeknd and Ocean is in. I get that Energe is from Chitown, and you're trying to link him to the Midwest's tendency to inject more melodies into their raps, but I was expecting something way more hip-hop-y, not buttery R&B-esque. It's dope either way, but don't front like this is a hat tip to the more melodic/lyrical side of the mid-'90s. This is just a dope vocalist doing something way more modern.

Either way, this is the perfect note to end the first edition of "Known Unknowns."


No comments: