Through their vintage beat production and empowering rhyme delivery, Shining Soul has made and name for themselves and has carve out their own unique lane in the AZ Hip Hop community and beyond with their distinctive blend of socially conscious, yet soulful brand of hip-hop.
Emcee Liaizon, Bronze Candidate and DJ Reflekshin have proven time and time again that their music is universally accessible and has the power to start the healing process regarding the social ills we all face through the medium of hip-hop. Whether opening for major acts such as Phife Dawg, Ana Tijoux and Pharoahe Monch or “spreading their medicine” throughout the U.S., Canada and Germany with their rigorous tour schedule, Shining Soul reaffirms hip-hop can be a conduit for positive change, internally and externally.
So after years on the road, Shining Soul is back at it with their new music video titled “The H.E.A.L.I.N.G”. Shot in Washington D.C by El-Shamesh Photography, “The H.E.A.L.I.N.G” is just a glimpse of their long awaited third full-length album Politics Aside.
“The H.E.A.L.I.N.G” promises to be a disclaimer for what's to come and a wake up call for all those sleeping on Arizona's favorite rap trio.
Watch: Shining Soul - "The H.E.A.L.I.N.G."
Big things are happening for Albuquerque-based MC Wake Self. Currently touring through Europe after dropping his latest single, "Change the World" featuring Gift of Gab of the legendary hip-hop duo Blackalicious, Wake took some time out of his busy schedule (and lack of zzz's) to give us the lowdown on his upcoming album Malala.
First off, let's start with "Change the World." What was it like to collaborate with Gift of Gab and how did that come about?
It started when I went on tour with him in 2014. We did a short run of shows in the 4 corners area, and after a show in Durango a fan asked us "when is a Gift of Gab and Wake song dropping?" He looked at me and said we should do that, so I approached about him last year and sent a beat to him. He's a really cool dude, definitely deserving of all the success and praise.
Who else did you work with for Malala?
I usually don't have many rap features on my albums, unless it really fits into my vision for the final product. Mainly I have a few vocalists, musicians and producers involved. I got Def-i on there, that's my best friend we always make music together. The majority of the album is produced by SmokeM2DG. He's extremely gifted with the beats. I really love working with him, I always have these long random descriptive ideas of beats and song concepts I send him, and usually he can bring to life and make sense out them. I may have one more feature that I can't talk about just yet.
When will that album drop?
It drops August 24th, on my moms birthday! [Wake professes he is a momma’s boy]
What kind of themes are you working with in terms of lyrical content in Malala?
I don't want to give away everything, but I feel like I reached pretty deep down the rabbit hole on this one. I discuss youth incarceration, homelessness, environmental issues, and spiritual enlightenment. There's a lot about personal growth; my experiences with depression/anxiety and the human condition. A few more lighthearted songs as well, some songs to try and motivate people to be true to themselves, and be proud of they are no matter what boxes or boundaries they don't fit in.
How has Malala shown your growth as an artist since your last album?
I'm at a better point in my life right where I've found more understanding on how to open myself up to these creative moments. Life is a trip, literally a journey and I'm just expanding in various ways in life that integrate with the advancement of this music. I think sometimes we know things, have ideas and concepts in our head, but it takes a while for the full depth of them to become realized. I'm just thankful every day, every second, and it's really allowed me to climb out of some tough years, be able to see clearly and feel more alive.
STREAM: "Change The World" ft. Gift of Gab here:
Rising Indigenous hip-hop duo Mob Bounce drop their hotly-anticipated new album, Mob Medicine.
Gitxsan MC The Northwest Kid and Cree/Métis MC Heebz the Earthchild have been locked in the studio working on their "grassroots labour of love" for a minute now, but the hype has been building for their debut album to drop.
Well, the wait is over. Mob Medicine is here.
A self-produced effort featuring the two MCs trading conscious bars over decidedly abstract hip-hop beats, Mob Bounce combines west coastal naturalistic imagery and acoustic poetry with more rugged spiritual anthems dedicated to uplifiting the Indigenous community.
From the spoken word melodics of "Land of Giant Dragonflies" to hypnotic healing joints like "New Sage" and the half-sung, eerily melancholic "Starseed", the duo pushes out beyond the limits of masculinist rap bravado and into more intimate and interior territory.
Mid-album cuts like "Walk With Our Sisters", a crackling rhythmic dedication to missing and murdered Indigenous women, and the early single, "Oral Tradition", find Mob Bounce bringing their commitment to culture, family, and community to the forefront, but it's in the album's closing tracks, like the sublime "Sacred Space" featuring Drezus, that their music really finds its spirited groove, infusing the Mob's open-hearted aesthetics with hip-hop's urgency and prophetic poetics.
Don't sleep. This is just the first step on their journey. Get a dose of that good Mob Medicine and like they tell it, #burnsageeveryday.
Stream the album in full below or head to mobbouncemusic.com and grab the free download.
Mob Bounce - Mob Medicine Track List:
1. Cree Dance Clearwater Revival 2. Redfist 3. Culture 4. Animal Spirit Interlude Poem 5. Animal Spirit 6. Land of Giant Dragonflies by Wysper Light 7. Welcome to the Struggle 8. Baldhead with Braids 9. New Sage 10. Starseed Interlude Poem 11. Starseed 12. Redboy 13. Walk With Our Sisters 14. Oral Tradition 15. Brush That Rain 16. Our People Were Sleeping But Now We’re Awake 17. Stay With Me 18. All My Relations 19. Sacred Space (Keep it Real) Ft. Drezus 20. Grandpa’s Journey Song
Stream Mob Bounce's "Mob Medicine"
No more waiting. The new Angel Haze project, Back to the Woods, is here.
Get it for free.
Until midnight. Right now.
This "accidental masterpiece" is already blowing our minds. Angel Haze is elevating their game to a stratospheric level.
Following a string of increasingly dope releases, from Reservation and Classick to Haze's killer debut studio album, Dirty Gold, in 2013, Back to the Woods arrives at a time of tremendous emotional upheaval in their life, but one that inspired incredible development in haze's personal growth and creative expression.
In an interview with Billboard, Haze talks about what they're hoping listeners will take away from the project:
I listen to this record and I hear an exponential amount of growth. Not just as a person, but as an artist. I don't really know what people will take away from it, because I think interpretation is up to everybody. I just hope in some way, shape or form, they understand that I am who I am. I am just trying to feel my way through life. I'm not trying to take a form. I'm not trying to change any minds. I'm just expressing myself, and if you feel it, you feel it. If you don't, then they motherf—king don't, and that's just it.
Back to the Woods is a bombastic assault that rolls out over 11 tracks of Tk Kayembe-produced firepower. Rugged, raw, badass, and overflowing with strength and purpose—Angel Haze is taking rap out of this world and into the beyond.
DOWNLOAD: Angel Haze - Back to the Woods
ANGEL HAZE - BACK TO THE WOODS - TRACKLIST
— UniversalMusicCanada (@universalmusicC) September 14, 2015
Mic Jordan's new video, "#DearNativeYouth", speaks to directly to those who need to hear it most—the youngest members of our community.
Equal parts open letter of understanding and story of encouragement, Mic Jordan's new video is simple statement of love and responsibility to the community.
That's what makes it dope.
The up-and-coming Turtle Mountain Anishinaabe hip-hop artist is part of a stellar list of Indigenous musicians and poets contributing to The Last Stand Mixtape, dropping later this fall, and "#DearNativeYouth" is the first glimpse of what we can expect from the mixtape. Encapsulating both the spirit and sentiment of a new generation of Native artists fighting back against all forms of oppression with strength, unity, and conviction, Mic Jordan makes clear that this is bigger than a hashtag movement.
#DearNativeYouth is about affirming the life we share in common, and the dreams that every youth in our community deserves not only to have access to, but to feel confident in achieving.
The Tido Vegas-produced track features a lilting guitar loop paired with Jordan's impassioned flow, and a melodic hooks that hits just the right note of uplift, minus the corny-ness.
Respect to all the Indigenous artists raising it up each other and for a worthy purpose—celebrating Indigenous life, love, and power. That's what the movement is really about.
WATCH: Mic Jordan's "#DearNativeYouth"
Shapeshifter and ever-hype emcee Angel Haze is taking no prisoners on her new track, "Babe Ruthless".
Ruthless is the word here. Raw, rugged, renegade rap monster Angel Haze annihilates all competition on the track—transforming into her Machiavellian alter ego and proceeding to kick some of the illest successions of syllables she's ever released.
If this is any indication of where her forthcoming Back to the Woods mixtape (due September 14th) is headed, the rest of the hip-hop world is right to be protecting their necks.
The Tsalagi MC is out for more than just revenge. She wants it all.
You've been warned.
STREAM: Angel Haze - "Babe Ruthless"
City Natives drop their new single and music video for "Beast Mode".
Over a banging Beaatz-produced beat, booming kick, stuttering snares, and jangling piano riff, the rap Voltron crew spit fire for three and a half straight minutes of rockin' rap goodness.
That's it. No frills and gimmicks. No makin' it rain in the club or gratuitous imagery. No fake records, just raw, rugged lyricism. True to form, City Natives bring the heat while standing their ground, reppin' the struggle while flexing their skills.
"Beast Mode" is the second single from their latest album, Voltron, which you can stream in its entirety right here.
If you don't know, now you know.
WATCH: City Natives - "Beast Mode"
City Natives' new album Voltron, is out now and available on iTunes
Stream "Ruler", the lead single from City Natives' new album, Voltron.
Voltron is not just the title of City Natives' latest album, it's also an apt metaphor for the crew's collective power.
Energized by Indigenous camaraderie and lyrical skill, the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia-based quartet of MCs and producers—Beaatz, IllFundz, Gearl, and BnE—has consistently delivered some of the dopest hip-hop coming out of Indian Country.
Last year's Red City was one of 2014's finest releases, and this year the group returns with their latest effort, Voltron, the crew's third LP. Continuing to build on the strength of their established sonic palette—rugged rhymes paired with head-knocking production—the crew's consistency trumps all else; and they're becoming increasingly adept at interweaving the dextrous flows and intricate wordplay between each MC. Every track on Voltron bumps like a long lost classic posse cut unearthed from the dusty crates of hip-hop's bedrock foundations.
On "Ruler", the crew declares their supremacy as "natural born lyricists" committed to maintaining hip-hop's ethos of self-determination and self-made success. There's no denying their claim to a rightful place in hip-hop's pantheon of greatness—but as an Indigenous crew, they're harnessing a uniquely native set of superpowers that makes their collective form all the more compelling and dynamic in what it represents for the people.
And, not that we can take the credit, but all the way back in 2013, we hailed their imminent ascendance as "a young Native rap Voltron" poised for break out success. Looks like it's taken City Natives a couple years to grow into the title. But they've earned it.
Tour dates and album purchase info below.
STREAM: City Natives - "Ruler"
CITY NATIVES - TOUR DATES :: SUMMER 2015
June 24th - Kingsclear, NB @ Jedi June 26th - Halifax, NS @ Multicultural Festival June 30th - Elsipogtog, NB @ CC's Bar July 3rd - Eskasoni, NS @ Pow Wow July 12th - Antigonish, NS @ Evolve Festival July 19th - Fredericton, NB @ The Capital Complex July 31st - Fredericton, NB @ The Capital Complex August 1st - Listuguj, QC - @ Real Bar August 8th - Toronto, ON @ Planet Indigenous August 19th - Millbrook, NS @ Summer Games August 30th - Charlottetown, PEI @ Babas Lounge
Stryk-9 represents for the people on new single and video, "In The Spirit".
Hochunk-Northern Cheyenne hip-hop artist Kunu Dittmer—aka Stryk-9—has been at the game for years, building and creating throughout the Northwest with his Indigenous crew, the Burial Ground Sound Collective.
Stryk-9's new single, "In The Spirit", is a heartfelt portrait of empowerment and Indigenous struggle that comes drumming through your speakers with the spirit of Crazy Horse. Opening with a throwback soul sample that flips a traditional hand drum song and vocal over a head-knocking hip-hop beat, Stryk-9 spits raw verses about bringing his creativity into action for clan, fam, and all relations.
But as he asks in the track's closing lines, what can we do in the face of "world wars and global warming", when we're "living the story of creation / the destruction of the system that's corrupting the spirit of women and men / is it the beginning or the end?"
Politically charged, but decidedly personal in its ambition to bring truth to the light for the benefit of all Indigenous Peoples, this is a revolutionary warrior's anthem for the conscious, proud, and free.
Catch Stryk-9 and the Burial Ground Sound Collective, alongside Almas Fronterizas and Katrina Benally (Diné), at "Uprising at the Abbey"—an all ages, hip-hop showcase organized as part of the One Flaming Arrow Festival's closing night—Sunday, June 14 in Portland, Oregon. Full event info here.
DOWNLOAD: Stryk-9's - "In The Spirit"
Watch Stryk-9's "In The Spirit"
Young Kidd re-emerges into the hip-hop limelight with his new song, "In My Dreams".
It's been a minute for Young Kidd.
The Winnipeg-based hip-hop artist was making moves and building his fan base a few years back, but then everything changed.
In 2013, Franklin (Young Kidd) Fontaine was sentenced to three years in prison for shooting off a prohibited firearm in a Winnipeg sports bar back in May 2009. It not only curtailed his freedom, it forced him to reconsider where his life was headed.
As a father to a young girl, Young Kidd took the time to reflect on his own choices and, having recently gotten out, he's returned with an introspective hip-hop track charting the course of his recent years.
Flipping his handle on SoundCloud to YK The Mayor, Young Kidd spins a tale about family, incarceration, love and loss, and his determination to get right.
"When you locked up, all you got is time", he speaks at the track's close, "It's just a matter of what you do with that time."
STREAM: Young Kidd - "In My Dreams"
Stream and download Red Lake rapper Thomas X's new EP, Have a Good Day.
Thanks to a #SwayintheMorning mega cypher featuring Minnesota-based MCs Tall Paul and Knox, we just got put on to Thomas X.
Part of the 100 Souls crew and Rez Rap Records, the Red Lake Anishinaabe MC is making moves and today he dropped his new EP, Have a Good Day.
Stream and download it for free on his bandcamp and support underground emcees putting in love and much work to support true hip-hop culture and Indigenous pride.
Have a Good Day is on some throwback to the boom bap era vibes, without dwelling in nostalgia. Thomas X kicks his laid back cadence with confidence and persona, weaving personal stories of struggle and survival over solid production from Mike the Martyr.
In the absence of institutional support and a larger urban scene, the Rez Rap crew has had to do it for themselves—building their production and audience brick by brick, listener by listener.
Thomas X holds it down on that front, filling the EP with bold declarations of love for his people, family, and homeland, while standing up to represent his nation and community.
Salute to all the Indigenous lyrical warriors on the come up. Now give Thomas X a listen.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Thomas X - Have a Good Day EP