"I've been a fan of Stefon "P.O.S." Alexander since his debut nearly 10 years ago. On "Audition" and 2009's "Never Better," he proved himself to be one of the few artists who could successfully meld punk rock and hip-hop. Fellow Minnesotans Atmosphere are sometimes called emo rap, but P.O.S. was the one combining actual emo punk with his raps. His 2012 release "We Don't Even Live Here" backed away from the guitars, going for a more indie rap sound. After taking off a few years for health problems, culminating in a kidney transplant in 2014, P.O.S. is back and better than ever on "Chill, dummy.P.O.S. has always juggled a slew of competing influences, especially sonically. His beats have combined punk, metal, indie pop, and straightforward hip-hop. He continues to evolve his sound on this album. For better or worse, the guitars and rattling drums that disappeared after 2009's "Never Better" only make brief appearances. Instead P.O.S. and Lazerbeak offer a mix of alternative synth beats similar to what was on 2012's "We Don't Even Live Here," while leaning harder into hip-hop than any of his previous albums. The whining synths and rattling hi-hats on "Pieces/Ruins" and "Gravedigger" aren't that far removed from club rap, and P.O.S.'s sung raps on the latter are closer to Drake than At the Drive In."
"Boogieman Dela's new EP "Feels Different" is meant to be a departure from the emcee's previous work. He definitely goes in a different direction with his vocals compared to his previously released singles. The loop-based hip hop instrumentals remain, but Dela relies more on his singing chops over his rapping background here. The first song "See Ya Face" sounds like an outtake from D'Angelo's "Voodoo." Anyone familiar with that album knows that is high praise indeed. Dela may not have the vocal range of D'Angelo, but his voice just works with the song. Although, Deet the Beat Machine's instrumental on "See Ya Face" is equally responsible for the song's success. A lazy kick and snare drum combination are all that's needed to set the rhythm. During the verses, the only other accompaniment is a short unhurried keyboard loop that matches the laid back drums. However, the best part of the track is when a trumpet joins the aforementioned instruments during the chorus. I'm not sure if Deet sampled an old jazz recording, but it sounds old in the best way; the trumpet literally sounds like a blast from the past."
"I want to take a second to sing the praises of Bandcamp for making a platform where independent artists can make their music available and music fans can discover artist and support them monetarily. It's user experience is vastly superior to Soundcloud, and their editorial department is solid as well. I've discovered a ton of great stuff on it, and it's become where I buy most of my music (and heavy metal t-shirts). Plus, they donated all of their profits a few weeks ago to the American Civil Liberties Union, raising over $100,000 for the organization. The coolest thing that Bandcamp does is give a venue for indie and unsigned artists to get their music out there. Case in point, Rogue Tendency, a hip-hop collective from Champaign, Illinois. The group consists of Black Mage MC Rota, Humbly G, Johnny Cashed, Jokojo, and Teacher Freeman. After a dance-infused intro track, the crew gets into it with "Rogue Tendency Gangster Crawl." They take things way back, with the crew accentuating one another's raps a la the Beastie Boys or Run-D.M.C. They even callback early 80s duo Double Trouble. There's also a little Del in Blackmage's flow, a little Eminem in Humbly G's, and MC Rota (who, in full disclosure, has written for this site in the past) has a nasal style that recalls B-Real, only without the guns and weed"
DMV emcee Marc 2Ray has teamed up with Armenian composer Eduard Hambartsoumian for a new track entitled "Wake Up". Composed and produced by Hambartsoumian, it incorporates some of Marc's lyrics from his single "1915". Over dramatic strings and holocaust imagery, the song itself stands in stark contrast as it's more of a plea to celebrate life as opposed to war. Check it out!