It’s been three years since “Drank In My Cup” and Kirko Bangz is finally ready to release his debut album, Bigger Than Me, this June. Many might think he missed his window to capitalize off the success of his earlier singles, but Kirko feels otherwise. “A lot of niggas would’ve dropped three albums by now,” he tells Sermon’s Domain. “I wouldn’t change, I felt like I had to go through what I had to go and learn a lot of things about the game. Just figuring out what people want from me and how to get what I want at the same time. Putting out this mixtape helped with me working on my album, ’cause now I know, oh, people want to hear this type of shit from me.”
The mixtape he’s referring to is the fourth installment to the Progression series. When he initially began, a mixtape wasn’t in his mind. It just developed that way and produced the stand-out record “Love Rihanna.” When he asked why he dedicated the song to RiRi, he poses the question: “Who badder than Rihanna?”
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Freddie Gibbs is a problem. One of the few versions that’s actually good and a necessity in hip-hop. The Gary, IN native has had a rough path as a deal with Young Jeezy’s CTE ended up failing (he wouldn’t be the first or last to experience that), and he’s made it pretty well known. Still, Gibbs worked his ass off. His first offering since leaving, ESGN, was pretty well received, while he teased an album with Madlib since November 2011. And two years and some change later, we have Pinata.
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The spot for gangster rappers is getting smaller and smaller. This is especially true of MCs from the west coast and particularly Compton, the cradle of gangster rap. Look at the stars the West is churning out these days: Odd Future weirdos and decidedly non-gangster Kendrick Lamar. So how does YG, a guy so dedicated to gangbanging he’s still swapping out the “C” in “crazy” for a “K” on a major label debut, deal with a rapidly shrinking demand for his lyrical content? He hooks up with his old pal DJ Mustard to create the best West Coast album since GKMC. Read more →
At some point in an artist’s career, he can feel like he only do so much in his city. For J. Pinder, that happened and he ended up moving down to Los Angeles in 2012. A move that might have been criticized a little bit, but has turned out to be well worth it. While quiet, he has been creating, evolving and bringing what he wants into his career. All of this preparation for his next album that’ll be coming out sometime this year. However, there’s no rush as he wants to come out with a “game changer.” He speaks like a young visionary with such passion and knowledge of this music industry that gives you the feeling that he’s going to accomplish exactly what he talks about.
“It’s a blueprint, really, for getting over certain mental and physical obstacles and blocks that people might have. It’s a record I wish I had at 17. If I had it, I’d be a lot further in my process than I am now. But, ultimately, it’s art. Express yourself. Everyone should create in some way. It’s the best way to live. It’s the only way to survive is being creative. That’s what hip-hop used to be about: expressing yourself. Speaking your mind in a place where you couldn’t or a way that you couldn’t on the street or in school. I’m trying to get back to that, and I hope others get back to it. That’s what rap is missing. It’s become just entertainment. There’s no substance anymore, so trying to bring the substance back while entertaining at the same time,” he says.
Since moving to L.A., J. Pinder has also had the opportunity to step inside the studio with Dr. Dre on several occasions to write songs for him and mostly learn from one of the best in this game. Pinder describes the first time he got in the lab with Dre and how paying attention got him a shot to sing a part another artist was having issues doing. This impressed the doc and Pinder’s been working with him on multiple ideas, songs and even his own material.
Also in our Access 206 interview is a short preview of the session that he and Kuddie Fresh were in at Jupiter Studios. Other topics include: writing for Dre vs. doing his own songs, more details on the creation process of his album, if he’ll sign to Aftermath and more.
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The same way there will always be a special place in our heart for Dr. Dre is where Jay Electronica has decided to reside. Act II was supposed to be Jay’s amazing debut album that was preceded by a ton of buzz racked up in 2009-10. In the four years since, we’ve heard rumors, seen artwork and even track lists. Not to mention promises that the album was turned in. It wasn’t. And it’s been frustrating to see such potential wasted. Yeah, he’s marrying into the Rothschild family and everybody says that’s the cause for delay. Who cares about music, right? The Dr. Dre syndrome all over again. The common bond between both is they still record and make music regardless if the people hear it or not.
As SXSW ’14 has raged through the week, Jay made his presence felt and in return thought we as fans deserved a new song for showing him love still. Does this mean Act II is truly on the way? Let’s not get over-joyed yet. It’s not as if this is a first single or anything. On a similar note, Just Blaze teased fans with a Electronica x Drake collaboration while DJing at a show down there.
An extensive introduction that takes up over a minute of the track before Jay gets into a long poetry-like verse. It’s his only one, which is a minor tease, but it’s impressive to say the least. Whenever he raps, his complexity warrants many listens to try and understand his meanings and feelings. LaTonya Givens ends the song with a good portion of the record. She sings, “tomorrow is on the way/ you don’t have time to waste.” Kind of ironic, no?
“It’s frustrating when you just can’t express yourself/
and it’s hard to trust enough to undress yourself/
expose the naked/
in a world full of hatred/
but the sick thoughts of mankind control all that’s sacred/
I pause take a step back/
and caught all the setbacks/
fast forward toward the stars and the jetpacks”
Better In Tune With The Infinite ft. LaTonya Givens:
G-Eazy seems energetic and excited. He’s been on tour for about two weeks with sold-out shows in every city on his These Things Happen tour, named after his upcoming debut album. When I arrive, his manager informs me that G just got back the mastered version of his album, so a listening session between the team was happening. Afterwards, I greet him, sit down and make small talk on the bus while my camera man sets up. He asks for a beer. I notice a fan painting next to me that becomes the topic of discussion.
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Marsha Ambrosius’ sophomore album, Friends & Lovers, has suffered through a long delay, but not necessarily any push backs because specific dates were never given. However, she released “Cold War” and the Ne-Yo-assisted “Without You” as singles and neither really made a huge impact. Still, Marsha’s ability to craft an album was solidified off Late Nights & Early Mornings, her debut released in 2011 that’s still very much playable to this day. Through this wait, we can at least appreciate that we’ve gotten surprise EPs in the form of Hors D’Oeuvres and now Fvck & Love.
What the first EP accomplished was exactly in its title. It was a light snack compared to the sheer sexuality that is pushed out through almost every song on Fvck & Love. It’s poetry. Marsha sings about the beauty of climaxing on “Come” in a way that’s sure to turn on male listeners. Does “69″ even have to be explained? At the end of the EP is her title track “Friends & Lovers” that seems to bridge the gap from this project into her sophomore album coming out later this year.
With no guest features, production from Da Internz, Eric Hudson, Oak, Marsha and the awesome name of GOOOOOOOO!!! (seriously, that’s crazy), you can stream and download the EP below.
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At only 16 years old, Nico Fazio has already racked up a few impressive production credits with KR, Pro Era and Astro. The Winsor, ON producer returns with his second instrumental album, Recreate, and has Curious Collection and Sermon’s Domain sponsoring it.
Recreate is eight tracks of various instrumentals that all sound different than the next. Co-production comes from Sür Niles, Taleil Brown and Seedafuture. Nico invites any rappers that may want to make a song over the beats to do so, but don’t come with nothing wack.
Stream and download it below.
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Mastermind, previously slated for release on December 17th, 2013, is in stores this week. It’s Rick Ross’s sixth studio album, and his second in a row to miss a winter release—despite statements over the years by Ross and the MMG twitter account that the Untouchable Maybach Empire does not do push backs. If there’s anything we’ve learned, though, it’s not to doubt Ricky. He isn’t one to disappoint, and Mastermind finds his persona as grandiose and uncompromising as ever. Read more →
Hip-hop has never been about the sprint. At least, longevity doesn’t get secured in that way. We can run down a long list of artists that popped up like this game is a 100 meter dash, only to find out that it’s a marathon. There are exceptions to the rule, but most of the time the artists that experience a lengthy career are the ones who had to work hard to build a fan base on the underground until they’re too big. In the last year, Skizzy Mars has been doing that, and Pace reflects.
As the norm with rising artists that can actually make music, Skizzy keeps the features light with Jon Waltz and Ms. Jones making the only appearances. Michael Keenan handles most of the production with VMG’s 6ix doing one song and co-producing another.
The whole body of work is cohesive (due in part to the production). There’s a wide range of emotions, including perturbed and sorrow, brought on through many subjects that produce relatable themes. Love on “All Say,” nights of fun on “Dance & Drink” and dealing with break-ups (“Without You”). In addition to those three stand outs, there’s another nine tracks.
Stream and download below.
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