[Column] “We Gon’ Be Alright”: The Importance of Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar

It doesn’t happen often, but some art is tailor-made for a moment in history.

In 2004, Kanye West’s The College Dropout captured the self-identity crisis of middle-class America in the midst of ultra-consumerism, racism in a ‘post-racial’ society, and the search for spirituality in an increasingly-secular world. Brother Ali’s Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color was the perfect encapsulation of 2012, weaving a narrative around the presidential election, Islamophobia and the ongoing War on Terror, and income inequality in the aftermath of a recession. Kendrick Lamar’s time is now.

No major label artist – save for perhaps J. Cole – is close to matching Kendrick’s significance in the midst of what’s happening in Charleston and (more broadly) the United States, and what has unfurled in the last half-decade after the deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and many others. To Pimp a Butterfly is the at once the encapsulation of this world of racial tension and a catalyst for change. It’s brash, it’s unapologetically black, and most importantly, it’s a message of black self-love and reassurance when, around the hip-hop landscape, those messages are so few and far between.

Read the full column after the jump.

[EP] OSIYM- Spirits EP

Toronto duo OSIYM is back with a new 10-track EP entitled SPIRITS which offers a refreshing look at bass heavy, eclectic, and industrial sound waves. Coming right off their previous release “B.O.M.B.“, OSIYM manipulates the dark vibes of Toronto’s iconic sound while capturing the city’s energy and delivering an impressive EP in every sense of the word.

OSIYM, or Out of Sight, In Your Mind consists of Charlie Black, and Nova who are working to change Toronto’s already flourishing music scene for the better. The two have been a part of the underground scene for quite some time now, generating buzz individually before linking up to take their art to the next level. Charlie Black has two mixtapes to his name  “D.E.S.T.A. Dude” and “Work in Progress“, and has worked with the likes of another Toronto born artist JD Era. Nova’s mixtape “It was all a dream: The HIStory” enjoyed positive reception from YouTube, as well as local blogs.

Utilizing OSIYM’s ability to switch their style up, their SPIRITS EP encompasses a wide variety of tracks, from the club heavy trap singles “Go Down“, “F*ckery“, and “No More“, to “Us” that pays homage to Charlie’s late brother Nate. “Do Too Well” focuses on an internal struggle, while tracks such as “Ginobili” get the alcohol flowing. The EP also features pristine production from the likes of Demar PDanthraxKid MKJustin CookeNate Smith.

Overall, OSIYM’s SPIRITS EP, showcases the talent that the Toronto based duo are capable of, and offers the vision of a bright future with these emcee’s, but now they are looking to shake up the game, so be ready for much more music to come.

[Video] Calabru – “Planes, Trains, And Automobiles” [Prod. Pavilion]


Toronto native and one half of Blis Music Group (Because Life Is Short), Calabru has finally dropped new music. Having almost been a year since his last release, “Plane, Trains, and Automobiles” continues his streak of providing quality pop music.

Produced by Pavilion, the instrumental takes influences from R&B, Rap, and Electronic music to create a hybrid pop song. Lyrically, Calabru is expressing his deep passion for that special someone and breaks down what he wants the listeners to take away “Planes, Trains and Automobiles takes the listener on a journey and reminds them that nothing or no one is too far away”.

Filled with catchy and infectious hooks, Calabru is still working on his yet to be titled debut project. However, while wait check out the visuals he provided for the track.

[Video Series] Nas- “Obey Your Thirst – Episode 2″


In the second episode of Sprite‘s Obey Your Thirst documentary, Nas shares his story about growing up in Queensbridge, New York, his career, advice for up-and-comers and much more in this inspiring documentary courtesy of The FADER.

 “There was nothing more important to me than having a voice. I wanted to make a big impact on this art form. I wanted to open up a doorway for another generation.”  – Nas

Nas, the artist behind the legendary 1994 release “Illmatic” has surely made his dreams a reality, but how did he do it? He followed his vision regardless of what his friends, family, the public, or that little voice in your head says.

“Why do something that’s not you? Trust in yourself and always push the envelope.” – Nas

[Audio] Van Hill – “The Wild” [Prod. Tay Lewis]


M5E member and Smashmouth affiliate Van Hill, continues to gain momentum with another quality release “The Wild”. Dark, aggressive, and raw the Brampton rapper breakdowns the track “This song is about watching your own, because it gets wild in the the wild and nobody is vegan out here. Everybody’s after blood. Some people are squeamish, some people love the thrill. Me? I’m the guy behind it all on some Coriolanus Snow shit.”

A blunt yet accurate description of what artists encounter daily in the industry. Unexpectedly insightful, “The Wild” is just another promotional single, it’s a precautionary warning and cathartic expression of what he’s experienced as well as his plans to overcome and prevail.

Consistently providing high caliber instrumentals, Smashmouth producer Tay Lewis provides a dramatic, cynical, and cold blooded sound well suited for Van Hill’s lone wolf antagonistic attitude. Also, an impressive detail notable from the track is the audio engineering. Mixed and recorded by dF, “The Wild” is Van Hill’s best production yet. The clarity, balance of instrumentation, and the added distortion on vocals gives more of an edge and elevates the track to a new standard.

No word on any upcoming projects, Van Hill is staying driven and proving he can do it without a label as well as winning over the rest of the industry.

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