Now Playing: NEW COOL – week 1

NEW COOL is a weekly offering of summer hip-hop playlists with the best new rap tracks that the genre has to offer. You can listen on soundcloud, and it will be playing on this page as well.

Please send submissions to: itzdadiabolical@gmail.com

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Rick Hnter on “Wait 4 Me” and Musical Artistry

Active since 2012, Rick Hnter has been forging his way through the music scene as a vocal talent and producer over the past few years. Based out of Houston, he’s been making his mark in its underground scene as well as collaborating with some of Maryland’s artists. Over the past few weeks he’s released a couple of singles for his upcoming EP “Wait 4 Me”, and plans to get the ball rolling with other releases.

You’ve been busy with a lot of different projects over the years, but at the same time quiet. Why is that?

Rick Hnter: I was skeptical of what route I actually wanted to take… like, “should I go the R&B way, or rap/hip-hop way… Or should I just ride these waves until I get on, then find my own lane. So I just kept working, and now I feel like I know which route I want to go musically.

Oh I see… You’ve got talent in both singing and rapping, so you was trying to figure out how to leverage both?

Rick: Basically, or just find a balance between the two. ‘Cause I never liked being called a rapper or singer. It limits me to just one category you know? And I didn’t want to take the Drake or Kendrick way ’cause I don’t like being compared either (laughs). So it’s like I had to blend the rapper and singer in me with a touch of my own style so I can be my own artist, not someone else I’ve been influenced by.

Hey I respect that because a lot of emerging artists get caught up in their influences.

Exactly! And I peeped that. It’s so hard for artists to be themselves when they take the same route as other artists, you know? And that happens a lot out her in Houston. I don’t want to name drop, but it’s a lot of cats out here trying to sound like a better version of the next guy; but it’s all the same thing, and people gravitate to it temporarily until the next artist sounds like them (laughs). It’s a repeating cycle that I hope to break when these projects release this year.

Yeah I feel like the culture needs to be shaken up. So how does being yourself and balancing your talents influence your creative process?

Being yourself is where the originality comes from. And that plays a key part into creativity. Without originality, it’ll just be a recycle or an imitation. And the balance between talents gives audiences the diversity and shows how much of an impact you can make musically. Plus, most of the artists that sing and rap have longevity in their music career. That’s how I plan on getting and staying in the music game.

You definitely see that with a lot of artists with longer careers. Speaking of that, your first single “Clit” is a good example [of you using both]. Appealing to the ladies I see.

Yeah man, and “Clit” was meant to be a banger, but I didn’t make it for that reason. Like the whole point of me dropping the four singles I dropped was to show my diversity in music. I can write hits. I can freestyle a song, I can sing, AND I can make beats and rap over them. I’m the whole package, and “Wait 4 Me” will show the singing side of that. Prey 4 Blacc will show the rapping side, and Nu Testament will break A LOT of genres. I also have a project called “Dualisms” I’m dropping this year too, it’s gonna be a beat tape of 4 tracks.

My man. Lots of stuff on the way from you. What is Blacc, by the way?

Yes sir! Blacc is an acronym for Belive Learn Achieve Create Conquer. I plan on investing in it to become my brand, and hopefully, my label in the future. Prey 4 Blacc is also the movie title to one of my films I plan on working on this year. I’m dabbling in a lot of things this year. I just hope everyone can keep up with the moves I’m making.

They should definitely be tuned in after you start with “Wait 4 Me”. What’s the release date for that?

Yeah man, “Wait 4 Me” is dropping February 14th, and has a lot of hits on it. But I’ll let the fans decide what they gravitate to the most, and ride that until Prey 4 Blacc is ready to drop. None of the singles I dropped are going to be on the tape [Wait 4 Me]. I’m thinking of putting Untitled 4 on there, but of course it’ll be different than what I already released.

Any closing statement for the people?

Yeah.

F** every rapper out right now, f*** the singers too. It’s Rick Hnter’s year… that is all.

Steel Tipped Dove – arguing on the internet is cool and fun

An anonymous Brooklyn producer with a knack for quirky titles has a new set of sounds for 2016. Collaborating with the likes of Kool A.D., SHIRT, and Mr. Muthaf*ckin Exquire, Steel Tipped Dove has become a staple hip-hop producer for me. Enjoy these 16 tracks of instrumental goodness.

New Music 10/15/15

Brotherhood members team up and deliver a new smooth catchy single for folks to groove to.

The first single for MJ Withers’ new album “MJW”. An upbeat ominous banger with an aggressive delivery and hype for ages.

A quick freestyle from crazy ol’ Shirt on a head-knockingous beat by Spectacular Diagnosis.

“GAF” is a breakout single, slow club banger by the group Rumour Hasit with rapper and vocalist, Taylor King and Nick Thomas.

Catch more new music on my soundcloud and Cymbal page: itzme

itzme Review: Benjamin Starr – Free Lunch

In the wake of many racially charged occurrences in America, hip-hop (along with many other things) has been more vocal about overcoming racial barriers. The music has been used as a means to display pride and rich culture that’s impossible to hide. That being said, nothing is more topical than the album “Free Lunch”. Free Lunch expresses hunger, self-love, and a passion to fight injustice with the will of a warrior king. Benjamin Starr reveals his self, his passion, his mic skill, his pride, his culture, and his versatility in this project.
As indicated by the album, cover, Free Lunch is a montage of Afrocentrism. “Movies” is an elegantly-stated listing of people and incidents related to police brutality, civil rights, and black art. “Play me the truth, and let me groove with it”. Furthermore, Starr’s voice is just as potent and impacting as the activists that he borrows quotes from. He viciously rips oppressors with bars like “burn the confederate flags ‘til they feel me” and “I came explicitly to challenge history”. In the “Within, Him” spoken word interlude, his stanzas paint the picture of the history behind America’s brainwashed (or whitewashed) antiblackness; and mentions rich history and culture that instills pride in spite of that. Starr consistently and boldly delivers defiance towards prejudices and stereotypes throughout this album. This along with his everpresent reverence for his roots and culture gels the album together.
Free Lunch is as much about Starr himself as it is anything else, though. He expresses his faith on “Seventh” along with other songs throughout the album. In “Seventh” as well as “Tuxedos” he details his struggles to succeed and become greater. “Wonderful Love” is a celebration of a love through both hard and good times. Starr gives listeners himself going through many downs, but still withholds the personality of a man standing tall. Such gives him a charisma, and makes you feel close to him beyond being a “rap activist” in a manner of speaking.
Beyond being an activist and a person, Free Lunch shows Benjamin Starr to be an artist: a poet and technician, as well as one with a keen ear for instrumentals. In the aforementioned song, “Wonderful Love”, Starr’s bluntly stated chorus is “woman, you’re wonderful”. With the following sax notes jumping for joy, he plants the seed of profound admiration for this woman. “Grace” is reminiscent of a fashion of holy hip-hop tracks. The thumping bass, horns, and opera choir gives it the epic sound of going to war. That coupled with his aggressive delivery and cadence lights a fire in one’s soul. Of all the songs in the album, “Grace” displays his hunger the most (fitting, as the chorus uses eating a meal as a metaphor) his technical skills are off the charts in this joint (e.g. “Black angels in my chambers of commerce, concerts in my converse, rallying the converse(?), Yes God’s great…” Rapping in a 4-4, he spits two internals is the first quarter of a bar [angels, chambers], uses “commerce” as an end rhyme, then rhymes it twice more before the bar ends. Afterwards he continues the rhyme, and transitions mid-bar).
Starr’s lyrical prowess thrives in its variety as much as anything else. As stated before, he shows art in expression with his spoken word pieces, but he also displays a battle-rap reminiscent wit, impressive wordplay, and cinematic storytelling. The evidence is laid bare throughout the album, from the tales in “Mirrors” to the clothing-related wordplay in “Tuxedos”.
Starr’s quote on this album sums it up perfectly. It represents not only an evolved hip-hop artist, but an evolved black man. The versatility in sounds, subjects, and skill that this album shows along with the personality and passion make it a modern masterpiece. Free Lunch is an enjoyable and compelling album from front to back and it has a strong sense of purpose. Any fan of hip-hop should love this album.

Coldest Tracks: “Tuxedos”, “Grace”, “Seventh”, “Black Owned”, “Love, For You”

Eh Songs: “2 Faces”

Hip-Hop Is Full of Thugs

Ever since the murders of young men like Oscar Grant and Trayvon martin, a lot of awareness is being built up for America’s 400+ year relationship with “minorities”, particularly black people. Fast-forward to 2015, black pride is probably the strongest it has been in this whole generation. And hip-hop, one of the most dominant forces in our modern society has reflected this in a truly powerful way.

Rappers have stepped up to the political forefront as champions for the cause for equality. Killer Mike has appeared all over news channels, sharing his articulate insight on the current sociopolitical climate

As he has, very fervently, in his music

As he has, very fervently, in his music

Him doing so has created a powerful visibility for a number of things, namely the Run the Jewels brand and the movement. Needless to say, hip-hop is proud.

Another example of engaged rappers is Talib Kweli. The legend has been sharing wisdom all over his social networks, as well as appearing on CNN. Just follow him on social media to see this.

In fact, social media has been a pivotal point in this new movement, as we see many celebrities and artists share their thoughts and feelings in a way that has never been shown and shared before. Twitter posts by artists surrounding incidents around police brutality or screwy media quickly hit headlines. Anything you see on the internet quickly spurs huge conversations, for example, Azealia Banks’ fiascos.

Most profoundly of all, this has leaked into the music of many artists, underground and mainstream. The commentary presented in Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” video is powerful and potent.

Many have taken his last album to be a “pro-black” composition, although it’s moreso a story of Kendrick Lamar’s revelation after conquering his bouts of depression and simply brushing and bumping past the concept of “pro-black”. And his messages has transcended circles of hip-hop into mainstream media, albeit misconstrued. Big name artists team up to make posse tracks. Up and comers deliver powerful passion of these incidents hungrily. Benjamin Starr, for one, deserves a huge mention that’s packed with black pride and empowerment from front to back.

It’s refreshing to see that as much to see that things have evolved and changed, a lot has stayed the same. Hip-hop is still the voice for those who wouldn’t have had one otherwise.

Watch the lyric video for “Thuggin'” by Glasses Malone