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Known Unknowns #002

After debuting Known Unknowns last week, I wasn't really planning on bringing the second edition to you this fast. Kind of like doing this, though, and look, there's always some kind of educational insanity going down in the rockthedub@gmail.com inbox. Here's what we've been working with since I finished the first edition...

This email bothered me for one thing: the descriptive words used. LA's Duney KUSH is said to have "spazzed out" on O.T. Genasis' "Cut It" on this freestyle, but the actual lines aren't saying much. I don't want to call you DJ Khaled because you've "got the key," or how you're cutting people off like a bad habit. Sure, homeboy is styling on this minimal beat, but I feel like a lot of people—rappers and fans the same—could mimic those same flows if they wanted to (or had enough kush in them). Kind of wish the bars were as vicious as the catchy flow.

While I normally "meh" to submissions listing the 5011 other sites where an artist has already been featured, seeing that Brooklyn's KOTA The Friend had previously graced Pigeons & Planes, I was immediately intrigued. This is chilled, though. Not sure if I'm feeling the first verse on this, though. Sounds fine on the actual track, but this is such a beautiful, delicate track; it feels like lesser MCs aren't needed on this.

KOTA produced this, too. Might need an instrumental tape from the god at some point.

So, this was a weird, sparse email I got. The producer, Toma, sent this one hyping it as "soulful hip hop" featuring this cat P8e from Toronto. As per usual, I fuck with Toma's beat way more than what P8e is doing. I can totally appreciate what P8e is saying, but I'm not into his delivery. He's not the most agile MC, but it's his actual voice that takes me out of it. I don't feel it's right for the track, nor do I want to hear him rap ever again. Also assuming that's him doing the random sung bits over the beat? It just feels like a mess (although he's on the bass guitar, and that sounds dope).

I'm wishing for an instrumental.

Now this is the kind of submission that bothers the piss out of me. This was a submission for the Detroit-based "supergroup" known as Crown Royal. The actual email had, say, five lines in it and a fucking HTML file included (they said the artwork was there, but I didn't get it). That feels sketchy as hell, even if it isn't, but the problem is that neither the e-mail OR the HTML file actually broke anything down about who the hell Crown Royal is. That was found in their SoundCloud description, where I see that the threesome is P8tience, A-Dot and Recipe Aim. Cool.

Now, the other big issue, for me, are comments like this track being "sure to make a strong impact throughout the hip hop community and music blogs." Keep in mind, when I opened this email, the SoundCloud link was 18 days old and only had 1.8K plays. I'm not a numbers guy, but it's hard to take those claims seriously when the numbers don't manifest that. Keep in mind, dope outlets like 7th Boro and Bound 2 Hip Hop showed "Uh Huh" some love (and for good reason), but if it was me, I'd refrain from those kinds of statements, just in case they end up not manifesting.

Outside all of that, I dig the track. It's grown man in content, something deeper than the usual drug tales. Paul Cabbin did his thing on the beat; I'm humming this, which is helping me remember what these cats are laying down. It's tough, I just hate for the wrong presentation to muddy up a quality song.

One thing I know a LOT of bloggers hate is the superblasts with no BCC. Why would you want to openly show that you're sending this to 5011 outlets in one shot when a blind carbon copy is a) cleaner and b) more respectful. You throwing this out to 5011 outlets is a given; no need for me to see that, especially if someone then hits Reply All and puts 5011 people into an unnecessary conversation.

Outside of all of that, Chicago's Keenan Davis has something. The blast's generic "new wave of the culture" and talk of how Davis "brings a new vibe" are lame, but the track is far from wack. Very space-y production, and dude knows how to do a little singing over the ominous track. Digging this one.


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