-- By doubleay
Clams Casino is one of few producers capable of constructing an otherworldly atmospheric scape in his music. Clams takes you somewhere when listening; he engulfs you in sound indicting a mood and ambiance totally his own. Clams' music is beyond commendable production values. It's depth and spatial atmosphere is meticulously sculpted from the ground up. His music develops layer by layer, structured from a starting point, the skeleton becomes a body as mass is created from Clams’ brilliant sampling and epically booming drums. His signature sound is ever-present in his releases but has never been delivered in a cohesive body as breathtakingly grand as 32 Levels.
32 Levels is Clams Casino’s album debut. He's defined nearly an entire sub-genre influenced by the production behind iconic cuts like A$AP Rocky’s “Palace” and and Lil B’s “I am God.” His past releases have included the 2011 Rainforest EP and a series of mixtape installments simply titled Instrumentals, featuring beats used by artists like Lil B, Soulja Boy, Main Attrakionz, Antwon, A$AP Rocky, and more. His name is more so known from the individual hits “Palace,” which introduces and sets the mood for A$AP Rocky’s first project Live Love A$AP’s entirety. As well as “I am God,” which played a part in shaping and evolving Lil B’s ‘The Based God’ entity. Beyond that he's also produced for major acts like The Weeknd, Foster the People, Mikky Ekko, ScHoolboy Q, Pepperboy, and more. Through massive, select productions Clams has made a major name for himself over the past five years, all without an album. The debut of 32 Levels exudes Clam’s ethereal and atmospheric sound and advances it in a cohesive culmination that goes beyond any of his early compilations.
-- By doubleay
-- By doubleay
Green Ova South is the one of freshest Hip-hop groups to kick down the door into the rap game in 2016. The release of their debut album, Kome Ride with Us, is incomparable to any project currently circulating in Hip-hop music. Their roster consists of Oakland’s Squadda B (Charles Glover) who many know as 1/2 of the duo Main Attrakionz, the seasoned Arkansas spitter Pepperboy (Jerry Davie), and the Blue Sky Black Death producer Ian Taggart (FKA Young God, Rev. Left).
The group’s unusual formation is something like a fantasy team. To clarify the significance of Green Ova’s grouping, each member’s independent works are impressive to say the least. Main Attrakionz' numerous projects helped pave the path leading the development of the cloud rap sub-genre and was featured by request on A$AP Rocky’s first, Live Love A$AP mixtape. Little Rock, Arkansas’ Pepperboy, who was recently awarded 2016’s Best Out-Of-Town Artist to Make the East Bay his Adopted Home by the East Bay Express, has been featured on SPIN Magazine, The Fader, Mishka NYC, Def Jam France, and more due to his substantial discography stacked with releases that every underground Hip-hop connoisseur should have heard by now. The final element in the trifecta, producer Ian Taggart’s duo Blue Sky Black Death, has made progressive strides in contemporary Hip-hop production. Taggart’s production style constructs the atmospheric sound that allows Squadda B and Pepperboy to float through Green Ova South’s Kome Ride with Us (KRWU).
-- By doubleay
Future is a definitive Hip-hop titan who has garnered sky-high numbers in all aspects of his business and has established a platform that ascends from trap music to the mainstream in a way few artists could ever hope to achieve. The past two years of his career have been a wildfire run to say the least and he is currently sitting comfortably at the highest pinnacle he's ever known. As for touring he opened up for Drake’s Jungle tour, then his own international Purple Reign tour, and is now about to embark on another tour with Drake for his huge Summer Sixteen tour. In addition to the rigorous touring, Future has managed to release three studio albums, four solo mixtapes, a collaboration project with Drake, and host DJ Esco’s recent Esco Terrestrial mixtape. At this point Future’s discography has become rather hearty and reliable collaborators say there is tons more unreleased material in the vault. Among his three albums released in the past two years, the most recent, Evol, was just released on vinyl.
Prior to the vinyl pressing, it was originally released digitally back in February of 2016. Evol is 11 cuts highlighting Future’s iconic dark and twisted stylings. Always known for his somber grittiness, Future keeps Evol thematically depressive and street-oriented, but features a more cohesively melodic approach to the album. Future’s vocal capabilities are historically stand-out, but in the past his singing and rapping have seemed less calculated. On Evol his approach is more formulaic, providing more fluidity as he goes from spitting to singing in his tracks. This vocal presence creates a moody introspective body of music that provides so much more physical depth to the project compared to that of an average Hip-hop album.
In September Zion I will release the album the Labyrinth featuring the new preview track "Tech $" (Anthony Cole directed music video below). "Tech $" is about the impact of gentrification in Oakland as a result of the Bay Area tech boom. Zumbi has lived in the Bay Area since the nineties and has seen a lot of changes. In the ZIon I hit of a decade ago, "The Bay," he rapped of all the diverse things that made the Bay great on the anthem like track. The new song is not as uplifting. On the post AmpLive, Mikos da Gawd produced track he recalls how, "In the nineties it was the dot com" but now it is full scale gentrification, an unavoidable scenario that's been noticed (and noted) by other Oakland hip-hoppers.
Prozack Turner of Foreign Legion fame, who lives in East Oakland and runs the Oakland bar/club The Legionnaire Saloon on Telegraph Ave. near Grand Ave., addresses the topic of gentrification in the song "HIgh Enough." The brand new track, that features mic guest Brother Ali, is from a forthcoming solo album by the Oakland artist. Meanwhile another Oakland artist, Elujay, has themed his entire forthcoming album on the topic with the title Jentrify.
-- By doubleay
Antwon’s Double Ecstasy EP is the merging of an artist’s influence, style, and sound, cohesively culminating into a formula for success. Antwon’s roots lie in San Jose’s punk scene, and his tone and delivery are reminiscent of Hip-hops’s big bodies like that of Biggie Smalls, but his music is completely original. Since first coming onto the scene in 2011 with projects My Westside Horizon and Fantasy Beds, Antwon has undoubtedly never released anything subpar. Over the past five years he has indulged in new frontiers via intercontinental touring and connecting with artists at different platforms such as Lil Ugly Mane, Wiki of Ratking, and producer Hot Sugar, all while improving his craft. These experiences and connections have allowed him to develop a wider source of content to draw from in his music.
The video for Antwon’s break-in record “Helicopter,” from his 2011 Fantasy Beds Mixtape:
It seems many long and wild evenings in Europe’s night clubs have influenced Antwon on Double Ecstasy, both in terms of lifestyle as well as production. The EP displays rap music’s familiar turn up content but in a scene foreign to the average American rapper. Several times he cites accounts of partying, debauchery with females, and drug use in European clubs, which express and reflect his recent lifestyle. Meanwhile, the progressively drilling 808’s, almost more comparable to electronic dance music than Hip-hop, shape the upbeat yet atmospheric sound of the album (“Club,” “Luv”). Ignorant, fun, and accurate, Antwon is really rapping how he’s living on Double Ecstasy.