Caught in the Trap: Hip-Hop in 2015

I have a love/hate relationship with album reviews. On one hand I enjoy reading them and consider it a much better waste of time than mindlessly scrolling though my Instagram feed, on the other hand I think album reviews are too opinionated to be held as valid forms of measurement for an albums quality. Because of this I don't think I'm going to necessarily make this a post about who I thought had the best albums of the year, or who totally flunked, however, I'm going to give my very biased opinion on what I believe the state of hip hop to be in 2015.

Even as the trap gods rose out of Atlanta with their fare ranging from Taylor Swift friendly, to hidden cries of help (Future anyone?), this wasn't what I held to be the most interesting sounds of the year. To be honest I find this style of music to be somewhat boring now. As much as I enjoy Thugger at high volume, the repetitiveness leaves me wanting more. Yes, the music itself sounds great to my ears, but I can't enjoy it as much as possible because it provides little in the content category. I 100% understand that many of the artists rapping about living the trap lifestyle are merely providing a window into that portion of America and what they know, however, sometimes I wonder if artists use this as a crutch to produce mediocre music that simply sells. Once you have housewives in middle America singing about baking soda you know you've made it.

What struck me as creative this year was those straying from the made up boundaries of hip hop. Artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Goldlink, and Raury, who weren't afraid to incorporate other genres into their music. This was fresh to me, a certain vibe which wasn't afraid to borrow from the past while sounding very new wave. A return to emotion almost. The popularity of a fairly new genre of music with R&B vocals, grimy lyrics, and pounding beats also reached a new level of success this year. From The Weeknd's love ballad to cocaine, to Bryson Tiller's bedroom tracks, this was almost enough to keep me satisfied without a new PARTYNEXTDOOR EP. Come to think of it, I enjoy these artist's work because its somewhat of a happy medium between top 40 pop fare and rap. Dark but seductive.

Overall, 2015 was a weird time for hip hop. With so many projects being produced in a short period of time it was hard to process each and every piece with enough time to truly hear it. But even with all the mediocrity and misses, the amount of talent was enough to call this year a success. 2016 should be interesting.

Favorite Albums of 2015 in no particular order:

To Pimp A Butterfly- Kendrick Lamar

Summertime '06- Vince Staples

All We Need- Raury

Dark Sky Paradise- Big Sean

Waves- Mick Jenkins

Compton- Dr. Dre

And After That, We Didn't Talk- Goldlink

Ones to watch in 2016...
Tory Lanez

Kevin Abstract

And more.

PS. Check out my interviews tab for some super talented new artists to listen to and follow me on Soundcloud to hear what I'm listening to:!

#NewNew: The Rap Game & Cuffing Season with Justin Rose

You tend to meet quite a few people going out in Los Angeles. However with all the small talk that you're obliged to participate in, you sadly forget most of the individuals you come across. But after running into artist Justin Rose at a 424 Fairfax event earlier this year, I've kept up with his antics and haven't been disappointed. With a killer track named She Movin' released a few months ago, and a song featuring Playboi Carti getting hype on the internet, this is definitely a rapper to keep on your radar.

Heres a little bit of the New York state of mind.

What burough of New York are you from? 


Are there any non-written rules of the city one has to know?  

Cuff someone with central heating by October.

Do you believe where you’re from still influences your musical sound even with the major use of the internet and social media? 

(I'm from queens). I've lived in Brooklyn and Queens most my life but this summer I moved to the Bronx. The Bronx in the summer has certain energy about it that I like to make music in, probably the abundance of Spanish women.

In addition to the classics of course, who are some new players killing the NY rap game right now? 

Junglepussy's killin it. Amir Obe is wavy. Joey Badass is still moving strong. I'm in it now so its lit.
Justin x Toronto rapper Tory Lanez

What spots do you frequent on a regular basis?

The Bodega, Crown Fried Chicken, the 4 train

Finally, the age old question, is the East Coast truly the beast coast? 
I mean I've never called it the beast coast before but uh, New York is always lit.

Keep up with the waviness on the web:

#NewNew: Dave B's Punch Drunk

When I hear music that I personally love I feel the urge to share it, and by share I mean share with everyone. I'm that person at a party who asks "Whose your favorite artist? Because you should listen to ______." One of my most mentioned names in this scenario is Dave B. Hailing from my previous home of Seattle, Washington, this isn't anything like your Nacho Picasso's of the town music scene. This is soulful, smooth, but still relatable to a younger audience in terms of content. From pursuing passions in Leaves, to finessing for photos in Polaroid, nothing goes un-mentionedyet the sound isn't contrived. New wave in the most classic sense.

Must listens:
Worth It

Ps. If you're in Seattle at the end of November be sure to check out Dave's show at The Crocodile, and feel free to say hi if you see me there as well!

Sunday Sounds: Internet Weird Boys


Write that down in your note pad, or i-Phone 6, or as Graffiti while coasting on your hoverboard.

When I'm telling you Brockhampton is the most creative sonical boy band to emerge this year I mean this 110%. This is no One Direction, this is no 1975. This is a mish mosh of music that will leave you confused, albeit very satisfied. Brockhampton is fully aware of the crazy territory that is the internet, and their ability to stay true to themselves while catering to a crowd that eats up Fetty Wap's and Young Thug's trap melodies for breakfast is impressive. With the addition of an accompanying visual for their latest track Dirt (directed by Tyler Mitchell) released through V-Files, Brockhampton proves their ability to entertain. Even as the lyrics of Dirt mention the likes of the A$AP Mob, its clear that theres something maybe even more genuine about this group. Gold chains and thousand dollar sneakers are traded for GirlPower sweatshirts and windbreakers. If this isn't what music in 2015 should be I don't know.

Just In: Yes I'm Free by Cold Water Theater

The end of August always feels kind of dreary due to the wind down of summer (even with the non stop sunshine here in California), and for some, the beginning of school. Luckily to get rid of our blues Cold Water Theater just dropped a single entitled Yes I'm Free on this Tuesday afternoon, a smooth track reiterating once again that some things are much better than money

Peep it here:

Follow Cold Water Theater for the #newnew: