Memo’s Monthly Favorites: March 2021

Hello everybody! Happy April! Somehow we are already one quarter done with 2021. How did that happen? This past month was jam-packed with great music. Although I did struggle finding a lot of good albums to write about, there were a lot of great singles and even EP’s released in March. There’s a lot of music I want to point in your direction, so let’s just jump into my monthly favorites!

Song Honorable Mentions:

Osay – How Many Licks: If you are a boring person who gets offended over songs like WAP, then you might want to sit this one out. Chicago-born rapper, Osay, dropped a short track about sex. With a song title like that, what else would this song be about? When listening to this expect some hot bars and impressive rapping. Although the beat isn’t amazing, Osay’s charisma is able to carry this song. Although it is easy to dismiss a short sexual trap song like this, I do admire Osay’s talent. After listening to this track, and some of her other singles like “Bad Girl”, “Off Brand”, and “Shimmy Season”, you can tell that she is passionate about her craft and hip hop in general. I can’t wait to see what Osay does in the future. Give her songs a listen.

Mello Music Group, The Lasso, & Open Mike Eagle – Gold Gloves: The independent music label Mello Music Group has been churning out tracks with several different artists and producer’s for an album called Bushido. It is out now! They’ve dropped several singles for this project, but “Gold Gloves” is probably my favorite. I just love how suffocating The Lasso’s production is at the beginning, but it quickly smooths out when Open Mike Eagle hops on. Both Mike and the track itself are pretty chill for the most part. The magical outro is really cool. It’s a hypnotic experience. Check out “Gold Gloves” and Bushido.

Aesop Rock – Long Legged Larry: Aesop Rock rapping about a frog named Larry saving the day is something I didn’t think I needed, but I am glad it exists. It’s such a cute song. I just love the innocence and child-like whimsy in the lyrics. If I had a kid, you best believe my kid and I will be bumping “Long Legged Larry” in the whip. Fuck “Baby Shark”! My kid will be bumping Aesop Rock thank you very much. Seriously though, the rapping and production are top-notch even though the lyrics are very playful. Aesop Rock has always been good at being a descriptive storyteller when he raps, so seeing this skill set being implemented in a song that is basically a nursery rhyme honestly makes sense. Out of all the rappers out there, he is probably the guy you would want making nursery rhymes. I genuinely wouldn’t mind more songs like this.

ZillaKami – Chains: For some reason, I don’t talk about ZillaKami as much as I should. He does have one of my favorite voices in hip hop. It is so rugged and animalistic. It pairs well with the trap metal fusion he has been doing on not only his material, but also with SosMula on City Morgue. “Chains” is a perfect example of the type of music City Morgue and ZillaKami are known for. On this track, ZillaKami is shouting and rapping over trap beats and energetic electric guitars. It’s abrasive and kind of catchy. I recommend checking this song out if you are curious about this weird trap metal fusion. If you do enjoy it check out City Morgue.

AG Club – TRUTH (feat. Sam Truth and redveil): I wasn’t really familiar with this rap group, but AG Club impressed me a lot. I love the rebellious energy in this track. This track starts off with a bang. Jody Fontaine sounds so focus while the beat sounds so hard-hitting.  Jody’s pre-chorus is catchy and it segues nicely into the sung chores from Sam Truth. I love how the production transitions into a beat switch. I think the new beat fits well with redveils rapping style. I think everybody kills it on this track. It’s a great posse cut. Give it a listen.

Laura Les – Haunted: One-half of 100 Gecs, Laura Les, dropped “Haunted House” this past month. 100 Gecs is a guilty pleasure of mine, so you know I was excited when this song dropped. Like many 100 Gecs tracks, this song does a great job at blending cuteness with insanity. The beat starts off pleasant, but as soon as that inaudible chorus hits you get reminded its a hyper pop song. I absolutely love the crazy energy on the chorus even though I have no idea what she is saying. I think her verse was pretty good. The monotone delivery contrasts nicely with the crazy chorus. The only bad part about this song is that it is too short. I want more!

BROCKHAMPTON – BUZZCUT (feat. Danny Brown): BROCKHAMPTON, the best boyband since One Direction, are back with a FUCKING BANGER! I absolutely love this song. The instrumental sounds like something off Iridescence, but on crack. It is insane! Weirdly, Kevin Abstract is the only member rapping on this track besides the feature Danny Brown. They both brought in a chaotic, yet infectious energy to the track. For some reason, Kevin sounded like Denzel Curry to me. Danny sounded like he was in his prime form again. I also really love the outro. Joba’s beautiful singing and Merlyn’s adlibs finish off the song nicely. I can’t wait for their new album. I’M SO HYPED!

EP Honorable Mentions: 

S. Reidy – I Started Grieving Today: Oklahoma rapper, S. Reidy just dropped an EP this past month. It is very short with it being only four tracks and it is barely over 7 minutes long. He comes across as a pretty angry, moody, and passionate rapper. His lyrical content are basically passionate rants half of the time. You can feel the passion on tracks like “Pity Party”. His voice sounds so bold on that track. I believe Die Cute is the producer. If he did produce the EP, I think he did a great job at making a very moody aesthetic for S. Reidy. Not a bad EP. I just wished the songs were longer. Check out this short gem.

JAHMED – ARMANI: This is such a fun and addicting EP. JAHMED is such an entertaining rapper. I love the different flows and vocal inflections he does on this EP. He reminds me a lot of rappers like Vince Staples, Baby Keem, ScHoolboy Q, and Ski Mask the Slump God. Like those rappers, JAHMED is good at being an expressive rapper. The hard-hitting trap beats suit his voice nicely. It’s hard not to be pumped up after listening to a lot of these tracks. Freddie Gibbs has a great feature on “GLIMPSE”. The skits are entertaining. JAHMED has a lot of potential. He is definitely a rapper you should keep an eye on.

Moore Kismet – Vendetta For Cupid: Moore Kismet is a very talented young individual. At only 16 years old, Moore Kismet is producing insane electronic dance music. The production on this EP can be harsh and abrasive, but at the same time, it can be very pretty. The hard-hitting beat drops are chaotic. The features are great as well. They add a lot to the music, but Moore Kismets’ production always shines through. I hope we get more music from them soon. If Moore keeps up the great work, I can see them becoming one of my favorite producers right now.

Michigander – Everything Will Be Ok Eventually: This one for my indie rock fans out there. This EP is my first introduction to Michiganders music. After giving this EP a listen, I instantly became a fan. Michiganders music is very relatable. This EP is about being heartbroken and trying your best to be better again. This man is in his feels big time. Although the subject matter is pretty sad, the music itself sounds pretty uplifting. The instrumentals are pleasant to the ear. Lead singer, Jason Singer, singing is filled with so much emotion. I can’t get enough of this EP. Pretty please with a cherry on top, give this EP a listen.

Benny The Butcher & Harry Fraud – The Plugs I Met 2: If you have listened to Benny The Butcher or Griselda in general, then you should know what you are getting into before listening to this EP. If you have never listened to a Benny project you should expect great drug rap and grimy beats on every project. This EP is no exception. Benny is dropping fire bars. Harry Fraud kills it on production. It sounds very classy. This is some high-class drug talk. Chinx, 2 Chainz, and Jim Jones were great features. I don’t know if I like this more than the first one, but The Plugs I Met 2 is a great rap EP.

Album Honorable Mentions:

Armand Hammer & The Alchemist – Haram: Legendary rap duo, Armand Hammer, teaming up with legendary producer, The Alchemist, is a match made in heaven. Just like past Armand Hammer projects, Billy Woods and E L U C I D delivers great cryptic rapping, but this time it is paired with classy yet grimy production from The Alchemist. It is hard to decode what Armand Hammer is rapping about, but when a bar finally clicks your mind will be blown. I am actually surprised at how well The Alchemist is able to make Armand Hammer-like production, but it still has that elegant feel you expect from an Alchemist beat. You can tell this album was a team effort. This is no high school group project. Everybody put in the work. This includes the features as well. This is definitely one of the best rap albums of the year.

serpentwithfeet – DEACON: What a beautiful album. This is the first time I listened to serpentwithfeet and I am impressed. He reminds me a lot of Frank Ocean. They both have a similar chill and laid-back delivery. Serpentwithfeet sings with a bit more vibrato, but other than that I think they have a similar style. As the album’s description says, this album is about black gay love. Serpentwithfeet is in love and he is not afraid to show it. This album is very romantic. I love how pretty and heavenly the instrumentals are. If you want to listen to a good R&B album, then check this album out.

Kota the Friend & Statik Selektah – To Kill A Sunrise: Kota is back once again with another album. I was nervous before going into this album because I was afraid it was going to be more of the same chill raps. Although it is very chill, Statik Selektah comes through with lushes jazzy boom-bap instrumentals. The change in production helps spice up what Kota has been doing, but at the same time keep the chill aesthetic his fans love. I also like how Kota sounds more focused on this album. He is laid back for the most part, but he does sound energized in tracks like “Wolves”. I really hope Kota and Statik keep working together because this album is great. I would love to see more albums released from this duo.

Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats – UNLOCKED 1.5: Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats ARE BACK BABY! Earlier this month, they dropped a remix album based on their 2020 album UNLOCKED. They had an assortment of guests to provide their own spin on UNLOCKED. Artists like Smino, Joey Bada$$, Benny The Butcher, Kenny Mason, and Arlo Parks, just to name a few, came through with great features. Most of the beats were remixed by other producers like Robert Glasper, Charlie Heat, The Alchemist, and Jay Versace. With all these people helping on the album, this remix album ends unbecoming a totally different experience. Although I do like the original album even more, if you are a Denzel Curry fan this is a must-listen. 

Favorite Song of The Month:

Silk Sonic – Leave The Door Open: Although there were a lot of great songs this month, nothing was able to top this masterpiece. Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak came through with probably the best song of the year and we still got nine more months left. They really took aspects from 70’s neo-soul music and modernized it. Doing this makes the song sound nostalgic, timeless, and forward-thinking at the same time. I am surprised with how well these two sound together. Even though they are similar in many ways, they do still find ways to compliment each other. Anderson comes through with some smooth and charismatic bars, while Bruno kills it on the chorus. His singing sounds so powerful and grand. I’m expecting big things from these two. I’m on the Silk Sonic hype train. We might be hearing a classic pretty soon.

Favorite EP of The Month:

CHIKA – ONCE UPON A TIME: CHIKA IS AMAZING! She really is such a brilliant lyricist. This conceptual EP has a very creative fairy tale theme going for it. I absolutely love how she is rapping about serious topics while constantly making fairy tale references. Before this EP, I preferred CHIKA’s singing over her rapping, but that has changed. She is an amazing rapper! The flow switches on the first track alone is mind-blowing. Her rapping is flawless. She makes it seem so easy. If she is putting all of this work in a short EP like this, it makes me wonder what a CHIKA album would sound like.

Favorite Album of The Month:

Genesis Owusu – Smiling with No Teeth: Last month I said that Genesis Owusu was my favorite discovery of the year. I gushed all over “Gold Chains”. Now that he dropped his debut album, I can now gush all over more of his music. This album is fantastic even though it was not what I expected. “Gold Chains” was such a smooth and cool track, so I didn’t expect a track like “On the Move!”. This track sounds like a Death Grips song for some reason. I like it, but I just didn’t expect it. Surprises like that happens a lot on this album. Genesis can come across as smooth, chill, aggressive, cartoony, serious, and even sensual. Genesis is such an entertaining and diverse performer. Each song on this album sounds different yet the album is still cohesive. I am absolutely in love with this album. I can’t wait to see how his career unfolds. I expect big things from Genesis.

These are my monthly favorites! Let me know what you have been listening to!

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Memo’s Monthly Favorites: October 2020

Hello everybody! Happy first day of November! I hope you all had a wonderful October and a happy Halloween! Starting this month I want to do a monthly series where I talk about my favorite songs and projects released in the past month. I will be naming my favorite song, album, and EP for this month, but before I do that let’s first talk about honorable mentions.

Songs Honorable Mentions

Jesswar – Venom: This track is insane. Jesswar is cold-blooded as hell on this track. She is basically coming after anybody who is in her way. She is not someone to be messed with. Her delivery is very aggressive. It pairs well with the hard-hitting production. This is my first introduction to her music and I am very impressed. She is definitely someone to look out for.

Freddie Gibbs – 4 Thangs (feat. Big Sean & Hit-Boy): Freddie Gibbs keeps blessing us this year! He first drops Alfredo with the Alchemist. Now he dropped one of the most addicting tracks this year. This song has a great Big Sean feature. I love how both Freddie and Sean were trading bars while having some very fast flows. Hit-Boy also delivered with the dark trap production. I am very impressed with the chemistry everybody had on this track.

Anderson .Paak – Jewelz: Andy never disappoints. This track had so much hype around it and luckily it delivered. It is a very catchy and feel-good song. I like to listen to this in the morning before work because it helps me get into a good mood. A lot of people might not like the chipmunk vocals, but I don’t mind it at all. I think it adds to the track. Give this song a listen if you need a mood booster.

Album Honorable Mentions

Open Mike Eagle – Anime, Trauma and Divorce: This album is a very nice and calming listen. The lowkey instrumentals are matched perfectly with Mike’s baby butt smooth voice. This album makes you feel like you’re in a coffee shop during a slam poetry session. Especially since Mike is known for his having some weird yet poetic lyrics. My favorite part from this album was when Mike had his son join him in on two of the tracks. I really liked listening to their father-son dynamic.

Clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burn: This is the perfect album for October because the trio implements horror elements into the album. Even though I am not a horror fan I do appreciate how creative this album is. The beats are obviously scary. Not only do they implement scary sound effects, but the abrasive sounds makes this album an intense experience. The beats are so weird, I am surprised with how well Daveed Diggs raps over these beats. His rapping is very impressive especially from a technical standpoint. I do need to give this album some more listens, but I do think this is one of the craziest and creative projects released this year.

Jean Dawson – Pixel Bath: Thank you Indie Pong for helping me discover Jean Dawson! He is one of the most unique artists I have listened to in a while. I just love how he blends different genres like experimental hip hop and bedroom pop. The weird combination of different genres made this album a very fun listening experience. Dawson has a very angry, angsty, carefree, and energetic delivery throughout the entire album and I love it. I think this album is a must-listen. I can’t wait to see what Dawson does in the future!

Favorite Song of the Month

Tierra Whack – Dora: Song of the month goes to “Dora”! Just like every other Tierra Whack track this is weird but in a good way. The trap production is very cute and kind of childish. Even though Tierra is being very silly and whimsical, her flow and lyrics are still top-notch. Tierra whack never lets me down. I really hope she drops an album soon. I need that ASAP!!!

Favorite EP of the Month

James Blake – Before: This is probably the only EP I’ve listened to this month, so picking EP of the month was pretty easy. Even though there wasn’t really any competition, Before does deserve attention because oh how beautiful it is. Going into any James Blake track you will always receive angelic passionate singing. What surprised me about this EP is the amount of experimentation going on in the instrumentals. The artsy instrumentation is one of a kind. You can really tell James Blake is trying to push himself as an artist and a producer. If his next album builds off of the ideas on this EP, then we might be getting James’s best album yet.

Favorite Album of the Month

Gorillaz – Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez: I am a huge Gorillaz fan, so I am definitely going to be very biased. With that said, I love this album so so much. This is the best batch of songs Gorillaz have made since Plastic Beach. Even though there is no theme to this album, the quality of each track makes this album work. Each track is a total banger. This includes the bonus tracks as well. What makes me love this album so much is the fact that it is a very happy album. Most of these tracks will make you smile at the end. I feel like we need a happy album like this especially in 2020.

These are my monthly favorites! Let me know what you have been listening to!

An Ode To Anderson Paak

It was a summer’s eve in 2016 when I stumbled upon Anderson Paak, performing to a Paak-ed house at Coachella’s Mojave stage. Truth-be-told, I was chasing Kendrick Lamar. My entire weekend setlist revolved around where Kendrick might pop up, and once again, I was right. Sweat drenched and sardined between scantily clad festival goers, I popped a squat and readied myself to recline until Kendrick made his appearance. But when Paak took the stage, seducing us with sweet tunes from his album “Malibu,” I was immediately TRANSFIXED.

Anderson Paak is, hands down, the best performer I’ve ever seen live. FIGHT ME. I DARE YOU! He’s the ultimate musical multi-hyphenate: drummer, rapper, singer, producer, pianist… Paak’s soothing, jazz-imbued rap performances radiate pure, contagious joy. If you’re still not convinced, allow me to name drop a few of Paak’s friends, who’ve either collaborated on a song or shown up to accompany a live performance: Stevie Wonder, Dr. Dre, Smokey Robinson, Eminem, to name a few… It’s no surprise, though, that my favorite Paak collaboration just happens to be about, well, me! Just listen to those lyrics: Jet black hair baby jet black hair. 😉

If you think I’m fangirling too hard, I’m not the only one. Sorry to throw you under the bus Billie…

If it’s any consolation, I’LL THROW MYSELF UNDER THE BUS TOO:

Paak has a song for every mood. He’s soulful. He’s jazzy. He’s funky. He’s dynamic. His music videos are as finely tuned as his albums, and one can only hope to be as cool as Paak’s son someday (48s):

Paak’s authenticity shines through in his perspective on growing up in Oxnard. The raw lyrics and edgier sounds shift from the calmer vibes of Malibu.

Anderson Paak has longevity. He seamlessly switches between rap, jazz, and hip hop, all while joining in on the instrumentals. Paak’s signature “Yes Lawd!” is here to stay. In fact, I just stumbled upon a Justin Timberlake x Anderson Paak Instagram post. Do we smell a collaboration?

Best Tracks of the Week 11/6/19

This is our weekly best new tracks article. We cover mostly brand new songs but also some gems from the last few weeks. Follow our playlist if you want to follow on Spotify or if you hate my writing and just want the music:

84 Palms – Ackerman

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Ackerman! I’ve been waiting for a long time for the EP from this Psychadelic Rock/Trip-pop Brooklyn band, and it finally dropped this week and did not disappoint. The only critique I have of this song is it has to be the hardest song to sing along to of all time. I did a little research, and asked my family and friends to listen to me covering this song and tell me if I’m using my head voice or falsetto. Haven’t gotten any responses yet, pretty sure something is wrong with my phone. There’s something about if you use too much data on Spotify it can mess with your signal. Keep you all posted.

Stainless – The Game/Anderson .Paak

You could have The Game rap over the sound of my broken dryer and I’d still be down. That’s a legend right there. I was watching this the other day so just for shits and gigs (timestamped to The Game):

Did you think Game was bout to stand around and take your shit Ashton? Hell no. He’s from Compton, wear the wrong colors be cautious and one phone call would have your body dumped in Marcy Ashton, think he gives a fuck about your concrete? Hell to the naw.

But I digress. Anderson Paak is as smooth as ever with an I can’t believe it’s not butter ass smooth ass hook that’s got me vibing like I’m popping bottles flying private to Cannes (when really I’m flying Spirit to Spokane to visit my grandparents).

Страшно – Shortparis

It has come to my attention that this song was actually released as a single late last year which slipped under the radar seeing as, you know, I don’t speak Russian. But I’m leaving it, because I’m a man of integrity and able to stand up to my own mistakes.

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Shortparis was formed in Saint Petersburg, which if you didn’t know like I did without having to look it up on Wikipedia is the second biggest city in Russia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia

Threat – Charly Bliss

In the sharpest transition in Indie Pong history, next comes the 90’s nostalgia power pop absolute JAM from four piece Brooklyn band Charly Bliss that feels like it came straight out of a 90s teen movie in the scene where we see the three popular girls for the first time as they strut down the halls of their brightly colored high school wearing sequined everything and one of them is eating a lollipop, an then our protagonist says something like “Samantha Dean is all that and a bag of chips” and her best friend who is the rational one says out loud “barf”. Right guys? Am I right?

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Don’t Start Now – Dua Lipa

This is what a perfect pop song sounds like.

And as a bonus, check out the live performance which is pretty amazing:

CRYBABY :*( – Dijon

When was the last time you had a good cry? I’ll tell you one of the most cathartic cries I ever had was watching The Color Purple on a plane, hot damn. Yes please I would like a glass of water.

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This song is sweet, it’s got some Blood Orange/Frank/TV On The Radio vibes and I’m here for it. This song feels like experiencing the moment of a breakup and then all of the self-growth on the journey to getting over it up to the moment of finally getting there. Love a good jam that not only slaps but is incredibly substantive and emotional as well.

New York Holiday – Josh Rouse

Merry Christmas y’all. Thought we could use these tis’ the season Christmas vibes to break up this hard hitting playlist of Russian electronic and power pop songs. Thanks to Josh Rouse for spreading holiday cheer from Nashville by way of Spain as we slide into the holiday season headfirst.

The Holiday Sounds of Josh Rouse by Josh Rouse

Shaking – Hazel English

The Australians are showing up all at once over these last few years like that scene in Endgame where all the Avengers come back:

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Out of the woodwork, and they are absolutely killing it. Mallrat, Jessica Mauboy, Hatchie, Jack River, etc. they are seriously shaping pop music. Australian born Hazel English is no exception, the kind of song you can listen to first thing in the morning to pump you up or right before you go you go to bed to mellow you out. Love it and can’t wait for the album.

No Other Fault – ZLUTZ

TRASHPUNK ELECTRONICA BAND FROM THE UK is how they explained it, couldn’t have said it better myself. Sometimes you just need some techno to close out the week. This is just awesome, fist pump your heart out.

P.S. I understand that there was a shortage of electro girl pop this week which is an Indie Pong staple but don’t fret, we’re on the hunt:

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