The Pink Overlord from Harlem’s New York finest housing projects stretching from Lenox Avenue to 126th; Cam’ron is a New York superhero. From the flashy diamond rings, the Bentley Coupe, or the pink overcoats, Kill Cam had it all with a level of respect in both his musical style and his personality. He is a walking embodiment of hip-hop on a street power level; and his 2004 project Purple Hazeis a direct insight on the Harlem resident’s outer view on the surrounding area of New York and beyond.
Reaching into the deep rich history that both Harlem and Cam’ron share would take years as most of his life would be impossible to even record throughout. With over “2000 unreleased songs”, it is apparent from Cam’ron that he is one of the hardest working artists in music along side the help of a young Kanye West, Jim Jones, Juels Santana, and hundreds of collaborations that would eventually come later in his career. Purple Haze benefits from these features and is able to produce this New York sound of the sunny days in Harlem stretching on Madison Avenue, but also the busy streets of the inner city where the subway cars are in a constant capacity and momentum.
With Cam’ron rolling out the rug on his first track cleverly named “Intro” which then leads into “More Gangsta Music” that can instantly get the crowd moving and shouting along to the easy-to-follow chorus. Cam’ron holds this classiness supporting his vision that is approachable from a hip-hop fan, but also as a sense to study the music and the way that it can be built and produced in a pop style that can connect to nearly anyone. Even as Killa Cam describes “I’m on the south side of Chicago looking for a real hoe, I don’t see a touchdown; arms up field goal… I ain’t dissin’ you dog, I’m dismissing you. Get the R. Kelly tape and see how we piss on you.” There is some magic factor behind Cam’ron’s bravado and command on the microphone that illustrates just how charismatic he was.
Rhyming through the sudden swarm of 808 bass drums and the church-esque choirs on “Get Down” where Chad Hamilton handled the production. Cam’ron again handles the microphones and is able to seriously create a classic almost as soon as the first drum beat starts to flourish and stretch. “No one supposed to know, but she lay me up like the prime minister. Thousand grams of dope, smelling like Heinz Vinegar” Cam’ron explains as the clicking hi-hat acts as a burner to the stove of the production that delivers this sense of depth to the sound.
Especially with an album as well produced and as everlasting as Purple Haze, there is going to be the continuous flow of skits and tracks that invoke that grasp of smile-invoking power. “Killa Cam” is a track that comes into mind that feels like a drive through the dark nights of New York where the fluorescents are the primary source of light. “Killa Cam” has the emotional attachment to feeling unstoppable and being able to take anything right to the chin. Almost like a verbal bulletproof vest, “Killa Cam” swoops in and speeds off into the night with only a trail of taillights behind.
Then featuring the famous Kanye West featured “Down And Out”, Purple Haze continues to deliver and represent the iconic team-ups that Cam’ron would have through his career. As the 24-total tracks are finally laid out on the table, Cam’ron opens up and shows one of the best hip-hop releases in musical history. His wordplay, his production selection, and his raw ability is just inspiring and it made him a staple of New York as the Harlem Hero from the streets to Manhattan high rises.
Produced By: Jak Tripper // Listen Here – Soundcloud
Behind the cracked mountains of the dull reds and dark blacks on Still They Pray, the 2016 release from Cough. The Richmond, Virginian band holds the key elements to making an excellent display of rough undercuts that deliver throughout the hour-long journey.
Cough is noisy, they hold this arching grasp on the listener as they focus on the electrifying riff-heavy instrumentation. Still They Pray is driven primarily by the droning style of repetition that feels cumbersome to the point where Cough derives the hard metallic overcoat with the gentle synthetic background pad. It is a platform that lets Cough become welcoming, but in a similar sense, daunting as the quantity of volume that they bring is almost crushing.
Shown on their opening “Haunter of the Dark” that focuses on creating a punch with the sound that works to glide along with the listener. Cough then moves to attack, but gradually with instruments that work into the frame with these build ups. The band that takes inspiration from earlier stoner rock bands and exhibits a real sense of familiarity behind their sound. As almost an amplification of some of the greatest workings throughout history, Cough carves themselves into the list with a natural arrangement that flows effortlessly. With “Haunter of the Dark”, Cough continues to illustrate a sense of provision under their direction.
However, proclaimed in Still They Pray,Cough shows their hand fairly quickly and does not hold many sudden surprises towards the end of the record. Even with the help of Electric Wizard’s Jus Oborn, there just are not many sudden changes that sweep the listener off their feet. Instead, their sound is deconstructed through the incredibly lumbering giant of an instrumental section as the vocals cascade over the sound.
The music is performed in a fashion that makes Still They Prayfeel substantial with each incoming listen and truly depends on the straight-forward ability. Cough conducts themselves in such a way that is actually engaging from the start as the intrigue surrounds and becomes ominous from the start. As the music begins to flood into frame as engulf the listener, Cough then has this potential about them that shines throughout Still They Pray.It takes their sound through a rollercoaster of emotional punches before finally resting with the acoustic and ambient self-titled track, “Still They Pray”.
The coffin closes on Cough as the gentle last embrace is approached like a steep cliff that overlooks a tired sea. The band is destructive in its final seconds as the range of feedback takes Cough into their sinister ways before finally dissipating into the silence. Still They Pray holds some sense of sentiment, but reveals all the secrets behind the curtain quickly and does not improvise on the sound. Instead, the arrow straight delivery is welcome as Cough is able to create something as powerful as it is droning.
Among the brash experimentalist style of artist creation as the driving force behind music, genre lets the listener narrow down the sound into a frame. With a band that stands so far away from the rigidness, Protomartyr delivers with their newest structure of artistic agility.
Consolation E.P. is a blank canvas for Protomartyr and feels incredibly similar as a continuation of their sound into the new year. With four total tracks that stem 14-minutes, Protomartyr is bold, starting with their cover art alone. The bright mustard yellow that is contrasted with the centerfold of a person that sports a three-hole balaclava, adjourned with a metal assault helmet and pale white, unrecognizable face. The suit coat and decorative ring support this classiness behind the style that translates directly into Protomartyr’s display.
As the first track “Wait” starts off in a slow, but momentum heavy push of instrumentation that becomes a blur; Protomartyr has a familiarity behind them that transfers into each track. Almost like a lumbering giant of emotional attachment, Consolation E.P. takes this sinister prowl that slowly builds before reaching a full pounce later in the record. With four members Joe Casey on the vocals, Alex Leonard on the percussion, Greg Ahee on the guitars, and Scott Davidson on the bass; the band moves heavily on the influence of Factory Records output.
The way the instruments are tuned, the way the band conducts themselves, there is just a magic behind Consolation E.P. that attaches itself to the English sound of indie rock. There is not much in specialty to the appearance of Protomartyr as upon initial listening the record does not make an effort to reinvent the wheel or recreate any new hidden tricks in their music. Instead, the band works incredibly well to perform a tight, sturdy release that slithers and never becomes overbearing. Consolation E.P. is rather welcoming as the band shifts and breaks the mold of genre fit before them.
As they move into “Wheel of Fortune” which has a feature from Kelley Deal, the iconic line “I decide who lives and who dies” resonates over the slightly frantic in comparing instrumentation. The anger that is punched in behind Casey’s vocals is an important display through the record and is especially needed on a track specific to “Wheel of Fortune” as Kelley Deal throws a slight mix-up into the equation. Rather than exploding with dominance however, the vocalists work together and form this sudden shift in the flow of the track that makes their voices become pedestal acts.
With the final moments of Protomartyr’s EP, the last breaths are suddenly unwarranted. There is so much sound behind the Consolation E.P. and strikingly, the band delivers on every aspect. It is a full meal of a record; the only problem is that it is not longer.
Amidst the 1980’s influx of hair metal, terrible movies, and even worse fashion choices; punk rock began to rage on. With most of the United States, the U.K. and almost anywhere there were instruments, there was punk rock. It was a loud movement that had heavy weights that would stand the test of time and become some of the most respected and well known artists of a generation; Hüsker Dü were one of the stepping stones of American punk rock that would impact years after their first initial market release.
With a disregard for the strict formalities of music prior, punk rock was a different animal that captured the ugliness of broken innocence and frantic behavior. Bands like Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Black Flag, and Hüsker Dü were needed to showcase the emotional attachment to the youth. With a president that was unfavored by the youth, a society in outrage at their surroundings, and a focus on creating a safe space for the different; punk rock was that catalyst that lead Hüsker Dü to fame with their first studio release Everything Falls Apart.
Led initially by Bob Mould on the guitar and vocals, Greg Norton on the bass and vocals, Grant Hart on the percussion and vocals, and “Spot” on a producing credit. They made up the personnel team for Everything Falls Apartwhere a small, tightly knit group would run together and create history. As the band begins to attack and open up the momentum with “From the Gut” there is this sudden marching snare drum that floods the sound. The emotion pours in and starts to throw everything into a tight, but noisy balance of flashy guitars and a vocal performance that not only inspires but manages to maintain a distinct nature throughout the record.
As Everything Falls Apart suddenly shifts tides and becomes silent after the near-twenty minutes of liberation, something becomes evident. Hüsker Dü feels brand new each time, like catching up with an old friend in a modern sense. The way the band shifted the sounds to form a punk rock base with a headstrong front was adequate for the time, cementing them in music history.
TEAMSESH // Listen Here – Soundcloud
Thanks to the real ones who showed out… I don’t forget
In a somewhat jaded lens of upbeat dance and distraught heartbroken poetry, Solange’s 2012 release True is a characterization of teenage emotion. She captures through a shadow of the dimly lit passion of the clasping hi-hats, crunching snare hits, and the graceful vocal performance. True was a first grasp on the collection of Solange’s sound that worked its way into what would become one of the most recognized artists in a modern era.
The sister of Beyoncé, Solange has a musical background that was expressed in the way that her sister was able to influence a generation and strike into an industry. Her ability is reflective of the very pop heavy, chord progressions but has a slightly different twist as Solange is more of a laidback, less progressive display of emotion. True opens with “Losing You” where the sampled vocal scream is laid down behind these moonlight lit chords that create this golden glow around Solange. Her vocal style is bright which coincides within this inner darkness behind the instrumentation throughout Trueand makes for a dynamic, but easily approachable network of performance. “We used to kiss all night but now there’s just no use, I don’t know why I fight it, clearly we are through” Solange explains as the instrumentation provides this substantial back layering where she acts as a centerfold of sound.
The vocal layering and actual presentation is a direct influence of creating this almost ethereal tone with a gleaming finish. Solange creates such beauty behind her production and is able to truly capture this sense of understanding and relatable nature behind the transitions from track to track on True.
As “Locked In Closets” starts to form the slithering instrumentation, Solange begins with gentle humming that soothes and eventually leads into her verse. With the work of David Joseph Michael Hynes, or better known professionally by Dev Hynes; Solange is able to form this shift of emotion that cascades throughout True.The way that her sound can be manipulated into multiple waves by transitioning is immaculate and shown well on “Locked In Closets”. The production moves to create these abstract uses of percussion swings, flooding synth chords, and a slight hint to the 80’s-esque electronic instrumentation. The production creates a mood in which Solange can use her glossy voice to protrude out, standing as a singling siren in a sea of sound.
Throughout Truethere are these moments of outstanding glory where Solange proves herself even as a younger artist at the time. She flourishes with the help of Hynes and is able to truly create an amazing first introduction to a lot of first listeners. As her later projects would put her into superstardom, Solange really refined a style and was able to capitalize on her abilities as a prospering artist.