Category: Visuals

Earl Sweatshirt – Off Top (Official Music Video)

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Earl Sweatshirt has had quite the year in his own rite, even if, by the sounds of his latest album, it’s been a lonely one. Plucked from 2015’s I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, “Off Top” is a somber ballad set to uneasy and fuzzy production where Earl is probably the most transparent we’ve ever seen him. The California emcee drops bar after telling bar outlining the changes that his life has seen, in terms of his music, family life, and fame. My personal favorite, and what perhaps sums up Earl’s feelings the best, is near the end of the track when he tackles the hype that is stapled to any music he releases: “I’m only happy when there’s static in the air ’cause the fair weather fake to me.”

Enjoy Earl’s Beavis and Butthead/Schoolhouse Rock-esque visuals below.

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Charlie Johns

Vince Staples – Norf Norf (Official Music Video)

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LBC emcee Vince Staples returns two weeks after the release of his studio full-length debut with a music video for one of our favorite tracks, “Norf Norf”. The track, produced by the one and only Clams Casino, paints a vivid picture of his hometown of Northside Long Beach. We’ve grown to love Vince for his haymaker bars that are as artistically poignant as they are ruthlessly blunt, but this track off of Summertime ’06 brought it to a different level. As I wrote in my review for the project as a whole (which you can peep here), this track combines an excellently murky, almost sinister and foreboding instrumental with Vince’s staple stoic lyricism. The song as a whole is great, but what punctuates it is a bar that summarizes what this song is about, the unending and uncaring need to persevere in a hostile and problematic environment: “folks need Porsches, hoes need abortions, I just need y’all out of my business.”

Enjoy the music video below.

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Charlie Johns

IshDARR – Old Soul Young Spirit (Extended Review)


I’ve got one word (among others): solid. Ishdarr is a Milwaukee rapper who has been reaping the benefits of finding his voice earlier than he ever could have hoped. He’s a great rapper, and I’m glad he realized that and started making music at just 17. His first project was The Better Life EP, and apart from his voice hinting at it, you wouldn’t have had any way of knowing that this kid was so young, and so new to making music. It wasn’t a lackluster flow that tipped you off, that’s for sure. Right out of the gates this dude was a more than respectable rapper. Looking back, what I loved about the project the most was its variety. “1996”, They Lost Me”, “NICE”, “MOMMA”, “SQUAD”, and “POPS” — quite literally every track on the EP had a crazy distinct identity. But, most importantly, this didn’t make The Better Life as a whole incohesive in any way, which is the big danger when playing around with different styles or genres within Hip hop. The thematic thread of “the better life” was just enough to give a clear through line in the EP. But, again, more than anything else I was impressed with this being Ish’s first stab at music. It was a great project, and, as I spoiled earlier, so is this record.

On Old Soul Young Spirit, Ish stays with his own theme of tinkering and experimenting with different sorts of sounds. From the dark and almost menacing beat on “Right Now”, to “Only You” and its smooth and sincere lyricism, to the airy, fun and radio-friendly track that is “Vibe”. And that’s just three tracks. This dodging between styles couldn’t be accomplished smoothly by someone who doesn’t come through and legitimately spit when he hits the studio. Ish deserves some praise; the confidence and hunger he has on the mic is something that adds so dynamically to Hip hop, and it’s what separates the boys from the men, so to speak. With these sharp tools he has in his skill set he makes a full-length debut that is a really nice listen. It flows very smoothly and is in and out before it overstays its welcome.

I’m going to put myself in the shoes of an average listener, perhaps the perspective of someone living in Milwaukee who was put onto Ish as the next big one. They are probably starting with “Too Bad”, which was the single that created the most hype leading into the release. Even if Ish really put his own heart and style into the track, it’s still a turn-up track, and people’s initial assumption may be that this dude is just a hype rapper — a good one, but just a hype rapper. I’d like to respectfully and preemptively disagree: he’s not afraid to dive into the less glamorous variety of subject matter. Consider “Still On It” or “Overdue Interlude”. Sure, he’s defaulting to the “rapping about rapping” style, but he’s doing it better — with more creativity, honesty, passion, authenticity — than a lot of rappers his age and in Milwaukee as a whole. That “Overdue Interlude” man, that is easily my favorite song I’ve ever heard Ish on. And it was really nice to hear the other rapper who gives Milwaukee’s Hip hop its spirit, Bliss & Alice, on the closing track “Still On It”.

After his debut dropped I was lucky enough to talk to Ishdarr and pick apart his brain as a rapper who had very real potential of blowing up. One of the things I asked him about the importance of showing for his city in his raps, since it takes some effort to find a track that doesn’t shout out the 414. He said he was doing everything to “give light to the city.” After that he explained his desired career trajectory by saying “I’m trying to be the Chance [the Rapper] of my city.” Now, a year ago this seemed like somewhat of a lofty proclamation, but, guys, he is coming remarkably close to achieving that. Old Soul Young Spirit is a project where Ish really stepped everything up a notch. The production, his flow, his lyricism, his song-to-song transitions, they’re all great progressions for the young cat. I’m leaving Old Soul Young Spirit with the same attitude I left The Better Life with: optimistically looking forward to Ish’s career and eager to hear what will come next.

I sincerely hope Milwaukee is tuning in: New York has Joey Bada$$, Detroit has Danny Brown, and now we have IshDARR. Get listening, folks.

Personal highpoints:

“Vibe” / “Overdue Interlude” / “Still On It”

Personal lowpoints:


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Charlie Johns

Travi$ Scott – Mamacita (Music Video)


Travi$ Scott is back with a menacing video for his wildly popular song ‘Mamacita‘. The video features Travis tied up looking like a super villain with the homies Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug mobbing around. The video is very entertaining and it manages to capture Travis’ insane attitude. I’ll let the video do most of the talking. Enjoy!

– Dave

Yung Lean – Volt (Official Music Video)

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It’s a damn shame Yung Lean seems to be stuck in his #SadBoys2001, pink-trucker-hat-wearing caricature that got him his initial buzz, because the dude has finally been showing he can make some really lush music. Personally, I haven’t had my moment with Yung Lean yet. There hasn’t been the track that wowed me enough to delve deeper into the emcee’s sound. Although, this song may very well have been it. The humble Arizona iced-out boy impressed me; he made someone who thought of him as the white guy who thinks he’s Lil B change his stubborn, pretentious opinion. Now, Yung Lean doesn’t rap particularly hard on “Volt”, nor does he sound too hungry, but he is making strides. This is really promising, because his team forges some really compelling, spacey, almost psychedelic instrumentals. Once that whole package is there and running like the well-oiled machine it’s destined to be, the Hip hop world is their oyster.

Peep the trippy video to “Volt” below.

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Charlie Johns

Chester Watson – Pharaoh (Official Music Video)


Chester Watson is one of the youngest rappers that I know of who is fully grown into his own unique and compelling artistic style. The dude is an absolute talent both when it comes to his production (whether talking about his choice of beats or his own instrumentals), and as an emcee, bringing dark and shadowy lyricism with his nonchalant flows. I already mentioned it, but I think Chester deserves mad props for his style. Sonically, his songs are labyrinths of cryptic bars over unsteady, almost ghostly instrumentals. Here’s hoping Chester keeps dropping these one-minute peeks into his psyche. Y’all can enjoy the official visuals below.

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Charlie Johns

IshDARR – The Better Life (Official Video Album)


Well, here it is. We’ve been waiting on this. Our good friend IshDARR is an extremely talented writer and emcee, and earlier today he released a music video for his entire debut project, The Better Life EP. With each move that Ish makes, the more my admiration for him and his work grows. Whether it is the debut itself, his recently dropped single “Nothing”, or through chatting with him in our interview, it’s clear that the dude is likable, focused, and full of promise. As for the music video fitting into this pattern: it could not have been done better. I’m going to say that it is definitely the way that you should experience the project if you have not heard it all ready. This video makes me realize how much IshDARR’s sound meshes with Milwaukee, though I have a feeling that in a year’s time, Ish’s sound will be Milwaukee. He has mentioned it before, but I have high hopes that Ish could be Milwaukee’s Chance, the Rapper. Y’all best listen to this dude before he’s everywhere.

Please, if you haven’t all ready, experience The Better Life. You won’t be disappointed.

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Charlie Johns

Joey BADA$$ – Big Dusty (Official Music Video)


New York rapper and Pro Era frontman Joey BADA$$ came through with some visuals for the first single off of his very long-awaited debut album, B4DA$$, set to drop this fall. “Big Dusty” is a giant forward step in the right direction. Joey is a really polarizing act to follow in Hip hop today. The thing with him is that his style that is oh so very reminiscent of 90’s era New York Boom Bap, nearly to the point of replication. Some find this great, I mean, as far as that sound goes, he has nailed it in the past, and he is a more than capable emcee, so he is worthy of carrying that torch. I just think the kid has so much potential, and he may not be able to reach the fullest extents of that potential if he were to  stay in this box that he has proven that he can preform well in. As I said before, “Big Dusty” is a very productive song on this front. It shows that Joey can stand in a domain all on his own, with the track sporting this interesting soft and spooky production, and his rapping dipping to a considerably deeper tone while coming out seeming as hungry as ever. I totally dig this track, and it makes B4DA$$ all the more promising. Peep the visuals below.

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Charlie Johns

EPISODE – Hold On Feat. Stefan Weiner [Video]


New York City, EPISODE is next up and that’s a fact. Their latest tune ‘Hold On’ featuring vocals from the wildly talented Stefan Weiner has been given a set of visuals. The video features some breathtaking shots that, in their spatial arrangement, invoke feelings of loneliness. Be sure to read our in depth review of ‘Hold On’ posted a while back. Enjoy.

– Dave


Felly – Dirty Pockets (Official Music Video)


CT native Chris Felner A.K.A Felly is back with a set of visuals to ‘Dirty Pockets’. Dirty Pockets was a single on his most recent mixtape ‘Waking Up To Sirens’ and I gotta say, it’s one of my favorite tracks on there. The video shows some chilled out East Coast hanging featuring boats, backyards and blunts (alliteration is chill). The boys at 2273 records did a nice job on this one. Enjoy.

– Dave