The Flock: Rap/Hip-Hop: The Abnorm, Joe Quinto, Surreal, Tamara Bubble, Shwayze

The Flock is an idea that we had to help fans of a specific genre find multiple bands they love in one post. It helps us provide value to you, the reader, by putting more of what you want in one place. It also helps the artists. Fans of their music come to the page and become fans of other similar artists, growing their fanbase more efficiently. It also helps artists connect with other artists who have a similar feel, so they can help each other out, work together, play shows, etc. Our goal here is to help promote artists that we believe in and want to see succeed. The Flock is a great way to help with that, and we’ve seen some really cool things happen because of it. Let’s get into this edition of The Flock.

*click on the artist’s name to go to their page*

The Abnorm – “Golden Era”

“I used to want to be Nas, now I’m more like Jay,

I used to want to rule the world until I met Ye.

I used to want to kick knowledge,

now I want to get paid.”

I really appreciate where The Abnorm is positioning himself in the world of hip-hop with these lines. Nas, of course is one of the most lyrically talented rappers of all time, but has hit or miss commericial success. Jay-Z is arguably the most financially successful rapper of all time. Ye (Kanye), has had a ton of success, has even at times “ruled the world,” but he also has struggled with the spotlight, and mental health. The Abnorm seems to be trying to find lessons in all of these figures to build his own career. There’s a classic dissonance between creating “high art” and “pop art”. In the past, he seemed to want to focus more on high art/kicking knowledge, but not he just wants to get paid, because that’s how we ultimately survive in America unfortunately.

The other thing I love is just how beautifully this video is shot. The backgrounds are somewhat run down, abandoned buildings, graffiti laden walls and skateparks, but everything looks so vibrant because of the way it is shot. It’s just a really well produced video overall.

Joe Quinto – “Rehab”

I wish I had heard this song before we did our podcast episode on Addiction. Joe Quinto describes this song as:

“The song is “Rehab”, a juxtaposed track that ties a correlation between being in a toxic relationship and the crippling effects of addiction. Often times, these types of records are slow and sad, but this one is different – it’s fun and it’s funky.”

One line really stood out to me: “What’s another drop in the ocean?” That line really strikes home when thinking about addiction, because at some point it can very much become a situation that feels like bailing out a sinking ship with a bucket. At some point, you just give in to the sinking.

Surreal – “Hello”

On today’s edition of perfect artist names: Surreal. After seeing the video, I can’t imagine a better description, both lyrically and with the trippy visuals and instrumentals. Given the fact that the artist behind Surreal, Jeremy Ian Thomas, has directed music videos himself, including for Odisee. It’s easy to see how his experience has lead to this excellent culmination in his own work. It feels like I imagine floating in space might feel like, with lyrics that are both grounded and transcendent. Surreal will be releasing his first full project, “Hello”, in almost a decade, but it’s clear that he’s been growing and learning that entire time. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Tamara Bubble – “Too Busy”

I know she probably gets this comparison a lot, but the verses on this song sounds so much like Nicki Minaj to me. It’s somewhat of a straight forward party song, but sometimes that’s exactly what is needed when things get too heavy. I thought the style here was very unique, and the delivery itself invited itself inclusion in this list. But then you realize it’s not as straightforward as you might think. When you hear “shots” you might think alcohol, but the artist says there’s some intentional misleading here:

“Tamara Bubble penned ‘Too Busy’ because she sick of gun violence and the fact no one considers the girls caught in the crossfire, running around in high heels dodging bullets, titties flying everywhere. Ladies looking crazy in the shoot out footage!! If we’re the reason you came to the club, why are you shooting up the club when you supposed to be having fun!!!!”

She basically describes it as a response to the classic, “Big Poppa” by Notorious BIG, which of course reminds people to focus on having fun and partying, and not “shooting up the place.”

Shwayze – “God Gives”

I haven’t kept up with Shwayze’s career too much since the “Corona and Lime” days, and I have to say, I love the evolution that has happened. He is a self described “Gemini” and of the two releases he’s released recently he says this song is more “Aaron Smith”, while the other single is more “Shwayze”. Aaron Smith of course is his real name. You can certainly feel a sense of vulnerability in this song. “I don’t want to be single, I know the single me, I’m insecure and I think a woman’s all I need, every morning I need a woman next to me, I just wish that you were next to me.”

I’m really excited to see Shwayze’s career continue to evolve.

Bonus Story Time: Back when Shwayze was playing with Sisco Adler (sp?), he played a show at my college (College of Charleston). About half way through the set, the police told them “don’t play anymore songs about marijuana.” How do I know this? Because Shwayze told us the cops said that, the whole crowd booed, Shwayze played a song about marijuana, and smoked a blunt on stage, then promptly walked off. Baller af.

-Caleb

You can find all of these songs and more on our July TOTD Playlist here.

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