The Flock: Hip-Hop/Rap – Jamar Carr, Makk, NGHTMRE & Pell, Geno Five, Obi Khan, Darien Fields, Rodagues, MRGR

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*

Jamar Carr – Nothing New

There’s nothing new under the sun, and there’s also nothing new about us falling in love with a Jamar Carr song. If you aren’t familiar yet, or you’re new to the blog/podcast, this man has been featured on the blog more than any other artist. He is a great writer, has a smooth cadence and flow, and is looking to use his platform as a rapper to bring to light topics that bother him. He doesn’t want to talk about the money, the fame, the cars, etc. He’d rather talk about racial inequality, the economic divide, and the struggles of turning nothing into something and breaking out of perpetuating cycles of poverty in areas of the country that the government has forgotten about. We love bangers as much as the next guy here at B-Side Guys, but it’s a lot harder to talk about from a lyrical standpoint. Jamar makes our job so easy by giving us insightful and thoughtful lyrics that tell the story of a man who is out to break the cycle that this country and that his neighborhood are both in.

I’m a product of my borough
Queens get the money
 And us kings keep it thorough
Demeanor often humble
We only use aggression
If our challenge is oppression 
Otherwise we drop gems
And these words be our weapon
I’m filled with ammunition
Some brothers value money
But I’m driven by ambition
You’ll never know I’m hungry
And for that there is a difference

 

Makk – Empty Bottles

Makk is the Lebanese Earl Sweatshirt. He even has a nod to Earl towards the end of the track. Lyrical melancholy hip-hop is something that we here at BSG absolutely love, and Makk is doing it at a level that can compete with anyone. What I believe the key to his sound is, is the fact that he doesn’t view his songs as songs, but as therapy. He has things he wants to say, or at least write, and this is his way of getting it out. When artists view their music this way, the emotion in their songs is palpable. Andy Hull, my favorite artist on this planet, said something to this effect. He said that he writes his songs not to fill an album, but to empty his mind. Every word has a purpose, and every song has a story. That’s not a direct quote, but it was the sentiment behind his words. Makk is an artist who writes in the same vein.

It’s hard writing these sonnets 
And when I read em I vomit 
I gotta act like I’m modest 
But I just find it ironic 
This fucking mess I made 
Leave it for another date 
working on my mental state 
you see it on my fucking face 
I Hope you all got the message 
This a vocal repression 
This a mental suppression 
But is This is not a fucking song it’s my therapy session 

 

NGHTMRE & Pell – Swiss/Lights Low

Who the hell directed this video? Give that person a raise! The trip is strong with this one. I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but I’m saying you should definitely enjoy a little bit of extracurricular activities before sitting down to watch this one.

NGHTMRE brings an absolutely slick track that perfectly compliments Pell, creating two fully formed and complete tracks in a 4 minute period. When Caleb told me about the transition at around the 2 minute mark, I kind of laughed and thought that there was no way there would be two fully fleshed out ideas and songs; I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong. I’m wrong. This song(s) is so well rounded, and it is a perfect balance of producer/artist. Pell puts his trademark rapping style on the track, mixing up his cadence, switching between rapping and singing, and letting his unique timbre come through. NGHTMRE may actually be the feature here though. I’m usually a lyrics and vocals guy, but I don’t remember a song that I’ve listened to recently that made me audibly yell, “Yoooooo.” What NGHTMRE put together at around the 1:04 mark is so cool. For that reason, he gets the nod from me, but these guys both worked really well together and we hope to see more collaborations in the future.

Image result for nghtmre and pell

 

Geno Five feat. Stone Soto – Without You

I’m no cardiologist
But you ain’t got the heart for this

That line is so good. We listen to a lot of music here, and that is a line I’ve never heard before. That’s just a quick note I had to get out before I did the review of the song. Let’s move onto the track.

Geno Five has written a track that everyone has been or will be able to relate to at some point in their life. He has had a relationship end with his significant other, and it was not a mutual agreement. The man misses his partner, and to avoid having it trapped in his head, he wrote a song about it. I love how he starts the song off by saying that he may appear fine on the outside, and he may even try to convince himself that he’s fine, but in the end, his feelings still eat him up inside.

Feels is the only thing that keeps it real
Cause you can fake who you are
and what they see,
But you can’t fake what you feel

With a smooth cadence, a timbre that bounces between silky smooth and perfectly rough edges, and a beat that makes your head bounce and your lip curl, Geno Five has a track that is making it onto playlists ranging from hip-hop lists to breakup lists, which is a pretty hard feat to accomplish.

 

Obi Khan feat. Profesa’ Dibbs & Trippy Trip – The Life

This flock is coming together to be one of the most eclectic lists while still remaining in the genre. Obi Khan brings that MC lyrical flow that’s reminiscent of a smoother Eyedea and Abilities. One thing that is wild about these guys is the difference in their voices. You go from a deep gruff voice to smooth rap that teeters on the cusp of singing. Lounge piano and turntables create a beat behind them that has enough variance to keep you engaged, but never detracting from the main event, the MC’s. This is the kind of song that makes me want to start skateboarding again. Then I remember I was terrible at it then, and I’d definitely break something now.

This is that pharaoh music.

 

Darien Fields – Applesauce

 

With an ethereal beat, off-balance flow, and vocal inflection for days, Darien Fields has something real with his track, Applesauce. He has that perfect blend where he talks on the track, but keeps the flow in line so he can hop back on at any point. The lyrics tell a story of possibly being bumped into a friend zone and being secure in that for now so you can maintain the friendship. The relationship ended, but the friendship is still there. It’s a really neat perspective to write a song from, especially in a genre that is dominated by lyrics about chasing girls, not being happy with the “friend” designation, and being god’s gift to women. Darien’s lyrics are more introspective and honest, citing that it is probably his fault that he is where he is, but he’ll work to fix it.

Squadron full of some goons 
So I’m never alone 
But if I’m honest with you 
I’ll be forever alone, yeah 
I’ve been all the way to space and back 
Spit a waitress rap 
While she was out in Norway 
I ran and lost more weight 
And after all that 
She still wouldn’t take me back 
Damn.. 

Well, I probably wouldn’t either 
Kind of a lost cause 
I wish I didn’t need her 
Wish I could stop, pause and rewind time 
I wouldn’t change a thing 
I just miss the ignorance 
Bliss in the make-believe 

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, standing and outdoor

 

Rodagues – Apologize

This beat is insane. The time signature, the beat, and the flow together are unlike anything I’ve heard before, and that is an absolutely beautiful thing. The beat starts off almost tribal, and takes a sharp left as the lyrics kick in with a deep tone and a cadence that constantly changes. I know at the top of the post we talked about how we look for rap songs that don’t follow the stereotypical lyric tropes of hip-hop. This one skirts that line, talking about how he keeps people that try to fuck with him out of his eyesight, but when you hear something great, you have to appreciate it regardless of the rules you typically abide by. This song is meant to break rules of stereotypical hip-hop and plays on a playground that most artists, regardless of genre, dare to touch. I don’t know Rodagues’ background, but I feel like there has to be some music theory somewhere on his resume.

 

MRGR – Human Being

I saved this song for last for a very specific reason; it tells a message that is applicable across the world. I am someone who goes hard towards my goals everyday, much to the dismay of my family and my brain. This song is a great reminder that you have to take time to breathe. Getting to the finish line isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. I know… cheese alert – but it’s so true. Working on this blog is a perfect example. If I was better at pacing myself and took my time to create a steady workflow instead of going 110 and burning out, I would have a much better end result. Luckily, when I’m off, Caleb’s on, and when he’s off, I’m on. A lot of people don’t have that kind of support though, whether we’re talking about a job, relationships, passions, or anything else that can suck you in.

This song is therapy. Lyrically, it is a great reminder that we need to take time to not be a robot and actually behave like a human being, and the beat is so smooth and soothing that it has already been added to my “wind down” playlist on Spotify. With well rounded samples and a flow that fits perfectly in his lines, MRGR has created a track that can seriously pull you out of hard times. Most songs are just songs; this song is more than that.


Alright guys, that’s it for this Flock. Check out all of these artists, buy their albums and merch, and keep track of when they’re going to be in your area.

Also, check out our Spotify playlist that features all the artists from the blog this month.

We have a podcast too. Check it out here.

-Seth

 

The Flock: Rap and Hip-Hop – Chris Color, Raw Collective, Jamar Carr, Jay Holly and Primaa Bank$, Tee Noah, Rome

*This first paragraph is a copy of a previously written synopsis of the point behind the new section, The Flock.*

We have two goals here with our blog and our podcast; we want to help you find a bunch of new artists that you love, and we also want to support those artists. We came up with a new idea for a post where we take a genre, and give you a few artists within that genre. That way, it helps everyone. If you come here because you love one artist, you’ve got five more that you’re probably going to love now. That helps you load up your playlist with tracks that will impress your friends, and it also helps the artists hit untapped markets and possibly network with likeminded artists they didn’t know existed. Without further ado, I present “The Flock.”

ARTISTS LOOK HERE: Caleb and I have started a Facebook group that we want to turn into a place for artists from around the country to find likeminded bands to fill shows out, find shows, and really just a community made by artists to talk about the industry. If you’re interested in joining that, CLICK HERE.

Chris Color – “five.”

Oh my god that saxophone line. Using a sample from Take Five is absolutely genius. Once they clip it up and add the beat, it’s impossible for me not to start nodding my head. Once the lyrics kick in, we see a nice proud sort of lyrical tradition, with a flow that’s extra smooth. I also really appreciate how clever some of the word play is. Like: “Got a couple o’s in my pocket straight chilling/ Ain’t lying set my pants on fire no kidding”

Or: “Spill it, don’t trip it/
Paper on your back saying kick it but I rip it/
Off and go flip it”

At the very end he says “Mr Rodgers gotta have a great band”, which after seeing his picture here, I wonder if he’s just referring to his clean cut look and how that could be seen as a detriment in certain circles? I don’t know, could just be me speculating, but either way, it’s great sounding track that I’ll be bumping in my car all summer long.

Raw Collective – “Pictures”

Something that makes Raw Collective unique, is that they play their instruments live, rather than just using a pre-produced track. They have a full 12 piece band complete with guitar, bass, a horn section, live percussion, and more. This instrumental prowess is on full display around the 2:00 mark with the sweet horn breakdown. And again around the 3:00 mark with another instrumental interlude to ride the song out.

Image result for raw collective

It’s a herculean task to get that many people to work together “collectively” (pun intended). I also really love the ambiguous lyrics of this song:

“Fake pictures tainted by the painting of your virtue

The end of the day, you’re the only person that can really hurt you

Live and learn getting burned, laying lucid, losing the meaning

Cold at the poles, staying neutral isn’t always that easy”

There is a big focus on pictures in the song, here and in the hook (oh and obviously the title. I don’t know exactly what it might be referencing. If the pictures are fake and tainted by the painting of your virtue, it would mean that the picture is the opposite of what you actually are. So that can either be a positive to negative shift or a vice versa. It could be a picture of you helping someone out while you’re actually very selfish, or it could be a picture of you looking downtrodden when you’re actually very happy, but either way, something about this picture does not mix with the actuality of the person. It’s a really interesting angle to consider for sure. And if blown up, it should make you consider the media you take in about people you know nothing about.

Jamar Carr – “Million Dollar Slaves (Prod. Bandit Luce)”

The ever present Jamar Carr is back with another socially conscious hip hop track. It starts with a great sample from some news source (I’m tempted to say Fox News, but I can’t be sure). It is apparently after several NBA players spoke out against Trump or police brutality or some right wing talking point, and the reporter reminds them to stay in their place as “someone paid millions to dribble a ball”. This immediately sets up Jamar Carr’s title: “Million Dollar Slaves” which calls to mind these basketball players, and also, in the topic of the year, all the NFL kneeling stuff that happened last year. It calls to mind the hypocrisy in white conservatives enjoying their entertainment from black people in sports, or the music industry, but once they share their perception of the flaws in this country, those same people want them to shut up and fall in line. “Never talk politics, that ain’t what we wanna hear, if you don’t like this country you can get the fuck up out of here”, Jamar Carr screams near the beginning of the song, which sets the precedent of the rest of the song where we see that the whole song is from the perspective of one of these white conservatives, dripping with irony the whole time obviously. I want to say it’s also dripping with exaggeration, but honestly, like a lot of satire in the past 2 years, it feels too close to truth.

Jay Holly, Primaa Bank$ & DJ JS-1 – “Stand Tall”

This Queens banger calls back to a better era of hip-hop. No tricks, no mumbling, no autotune, just emcee word flow over a booth beat, and enough scratching to remind you why you fell in love with hip-hop all those years ago. This is the new era of Nas, a fellow New York emcee. This is that gut punch truth. Fuck talking about cars and girls, Jay Holly and Primaa Bank$ pull no punches when talking about being proud of who you are and where you come from. You can hear the struggle in their voice, and their word flow is made for battles, both on a stage, and in their neighborhoods.

Tee Noah – “OMW”

When is the last time you were floored by an Australian rapper? That’s what we do here. We help you track down artists that you’re going to love from every single corner of the globe. Yes, I know that doesn’t really make sense since globes have no corners, but you know what I mean.

Tee Noah hits us with his third song from the upcoming EP, “T,” and it is an absolutely head rush. With a unique flow and vocal inflections over a beat that will make you bounce wherever you’re at (No, seriously. Currently dancing in an Atlanta Bread), Tee Noah delivers something that’s even more rare than any of the aforementioned things in rap; he delivers a positive message about coming up through the struggle and coming out on top. What makes that a rare message? Tee Noah doesn’t shit on anyone else while doing it. Hip-hop usually takes a direction when talking about this subject where it’s, “I made it, I’m doing great, and you really suck.” Tee Noah doesn’t bother with the other people, having put them in his rearview, and solely focuses on himself and this other person who helped him through the struggle. They may still struggle, but together, they can move mountains.

Rome – “All In”

Yooooo. If Tee Noah is the good guy of rap, Rome is one of the four horseman sent to bring rap back to its roots. He goes in on everyone who is part of the tie-dyed, mumble rap sub genre of rap. The video shows someone who is shockingly similar to Tekashi69 (or really any number of new rappers) getting famous, doing big things, and then being brought in to Rome and his crew for what we’ll call “repentance.”

Roll call, roll call,
Every new rapper lookin’ like a troll doll
In my era, gangs died over colors
These pussies yell gang, 
dreads dyed different colors
Rome, bitch
Hit ’em with that grown shit
Mumble rap
cause you’re chokin’ on your own dick

This is the definition of a diss track. What’s great about it though is Rome doesn’t target an individual, he targets a whole genre. This song is meant to ruffle feathers, and it appears Rome is ready for hunting season.

Video of the Day: Jamar Carr “American Way (Prod. AZ Beats)”

Alright guys, time to broaden your perspective a little bit. First, go watch that video, you don’t need my background first, you need to see it. Go. Now….

….okay. Are you back? Cool. I can’t even begin to get into all of the allusions that are going on in this video. I would suggest if you are interested in some of it, a great place to start is with the Netflix documentary: 13th. Which goes into a lot more detail about the history of mass incarceration of African-American’s in this country, and really hammers home how much of the issue centers around government policy, much of which is referenced in Jamar Carr’s music video.

 

Image result for Jamar Carr

He also goes on to reference Colin Kaepernick, which I’m sure my conservative readers won’t find any issue with ;). Just kidding, we all know those people stopped reading/listening to us months ago. If you’re really excited to hear more from Jamar Carr, we are going to have him on a podcast episode soon, and will always be adding a Facebook Live interview with him in the near future hopefully.

In the meantime, go listen to his song on our Spotify playlist. 

Go watch 13th on Netflix and report back your findings.

And go listen to previous podcast episodes.