In April of 2010, Michael Burton Jr. was working at a chemical plant in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania when there was an unfortunate accident. A chemical explosion caused him to go through multiple surgeries and spent years in and out of hospitals.
He decided the only way he could get past this incident was to create music and tell his story. He went by the rap name skies and instead of doing it on his own, he made music with his son. Their album was called Father/Son Talk and it brought them closer than ever and Michael passed something to his son even bigger than he could've dreamed of.
An accident led to the future, and the artist now known as Lil Skies.
It's beautiful to see great things come out of unfortunate situations. The story behind Lil Skies and his family is incredible. It gives me as a father motivation to always make sure to include my son in everything I am passionate about.
At just 20 years old, it may seem as if he is a new up and coming artist. But he's been doing this since he was about 13 years old, so being a musician has come natural. He is already on his second full length album and looks to have a promising career.
His following seems to be a positive group of young people who admire his lyricism for its consistency. Consistency in the fact that he is always looking forward and remembering that everything that has happened in the past is a lesson.
But it hasn't always been this way. His lyricism has come a long way in just a few years as a signed artist.
We'll go year by year to see the growth. "Rude" came out in 2017 and was just the third official video he ever recorded.
It's got a lot of your typical references about fake bitches and disloyal niggas. But you could see the potential. The flow was smooth and the story telling ability was in it's early stages.
It's similar to what you would see from a rookie in the NBA. That first year is always going to have its rough patches. There will be ups and downs, but there will always be flashes of the future that get you excited of what could come.
A lot of the song was in your basic four bar sequence. But every so often you would get a cold four bars and tell yourself "Ok youngin."
Call my lawyer, I'm beating the case
Fast forward one year, and it was the same kid but with a whole new approach to the beat. His 2018 video "Welcome to the Rodeo" was his introduction to the rap world. The video is a homage to Lil Wayne's "A Milli" as the camera follows Lil Skies backstage of a production set.
A little bit of time has passed and he has ben able to learn how to reflect on his past. He talks about his long nights in his garage, selling drugs to get his money up. Not sure how his dad would feel about him selling drugs, but it's tough to imagine a scenario where a struggling family would be able to pay for all those medical bills on a middle class salary.
But now he's at the top of his game and everyone who doubted him is trying to get in on his fortune. Another similarity to young NBA players who sign that first contract. Old friends and family they haven't seen in years start to come to them and ask to be around. Everyone wants to be close to you when you're on, but don't want to be there while you're struggling through the journey.
He bet on himself when nobody besides his close family did. The kid got tattoos on his face, so you know he that's he all in on himself.
I got tattoos on my face, I use that shit as motivation
It's 2019 now, and Lil Skies is a steady force in the rap game. His sophomore album was no slump. He kept his momentum going and may have dropped his best song of his young career.
"i" is a look into the mind of a kid who is getting closer to his emotional side. He is learning how to express himself with more of a mellow tone. Rap isn't always about coming with hard bars, and he realizes that.
This track has made him more relatable to people who may have thought his music was slightly aggressive, or may have judged him by his face tattoos. Everyone has times of sadness and darkness, and Lil Skies is no different.
Life goes on, I can't take breaks
The story of Lil Skies and how he became to be is enough to view him as an inspiration. But his story isn't over, it's just beginning.
So as he continues his growth in music and in life, we will be able to know where it all started and enjoy the journey with him. The sky is the limit for Lil Skies.
One of the strangest reasons for people not liking a rapper and their lyrics is when they say, "I can't relate to this." Therefore in their mind, the music is not good or it lacks substance.
Let's take Eminem for example. People on social media have said things such as "Y'all listening to a dude talking about his mom's drug addiction and him wanting to kill his baby mama? Can't relate." Yeah, no shit you probably can't relate.
But it's not about the lyrics themselves that you need to relate to in order to understand or feel the message being presented. In some cases, rappers aren't trying to be relatable. They're just trying to live their truth.
And they say the truth shall set you free.
"First Day Out"
November 6, 2016
There's something about those Michigan rappers, they really know how to tell intricate stories. This single from Tee Grizzley was recorded just two days after he was released from jail. And from that point on, his life would never be the same.
This was supposed to be a single just to get his name out there, instead it made his name one to be respected. Not only in the streets as someone who has lived through some shit, but as a new up and coming artist with dreams of going from nothing to everything.
"First Day Out" starts out soft and subtle. He is going through his mind and thinking about everything he has gone through to get to this point. Whether that was cooking dope, being dead broke, or sitting in the court room wondering if he would ever experience another "free" day in his life.
Grizzley talks to all the people who have been through the fire with him. Reminiscing on all the violence and criminal activities they committed before they were able to learn from their mistakes. He is essentially setting the table for what is about to be a hefty meal for the listener.
Go get a thermometer for the pot, I need this shit cooked right
What starts out as a song that songs like a heartwarming comeback story, turns into a hard hitting moment of truth. At about a minute and a half into the song, the beat and mood of the story completely changes. Grizzley turns from a man of reflection into a man with his sights set on everything.
His entire spirit is exacerbated and he allows himself to let out all the feelings he had cooped up while in his jail cell. Three years of being behind bars was a small price for him to pay to achieve this level or artistry.
One can only imagine what it is like to be locked up and feel like the world is against you. While facing multiple charges for armed robbery and home invasions, he continued to fight the system and his own demons so that he could keep pushing forward.
Some people could have easily folded in this position. Allowed the system to hold them down and continue to fall into the same criminal traps to get them right back where they were. But Grizzley knew he was destined for more.
Don't let them get the best of you, just get the revenue nigga
The constant bars in this song are unmatched from many artists in the game right now. And considering the fact that he wrote this just two days after getting out of jail while being an unsigned artist, truly makes this story that much more powerful.
Every bar is a story within the story. Every line means something to him, the person he is referring too, or the situation he was in at the time.
He wanted to share this moment with his younger brother. Getting out of jail, and having that first day with his family meant the world to him. However, his brother was already in jail by the time he had made it out. Only adding more fuel for his fire to make sure his message was felt by the world.
The feds say my name hot like when the oven on
It's not always about what music is most relatable to you. If every song you listened to made you say "Same" then you as a listener would never allow yourself to put yourself in someone else shoes for a day.
This man told his story of his "First Day Out" of jail. Something most, if not all of you, will never experience.
So the next time you are listening to a rapper spit some shit that makes absolutely no sense to you, think about where they were coming from when they wrote it. Think about how they must've felt when they were able to finally put their story in writing and get through it without having second thoughts about whether or not to share it with the world.
These words are more than just bars to them, it represents their moment.
Quality over Quantity.
Less is More.
It's a Numbers Game.
The world is one big cliche. You don't have to be crazy to live in it, but it helps. And going outrageously dumb at venues (GO DAV) helps too.
June 5, 2019
Five years into his career, P-Lo continues to keep on going. And by going, we mean going stupid just in time for the summer. Somethin' Light lives up to its name as it is just a three song release.
P-Lo somehow found a way to give the world exactly what it needed for the summer in this small package. The sounds represent everything the about the Bay Area weather that everyone travels miles to see. Put Somethin' Light on wherever you're at and you'll feel the Bay Area breeze.
He opens up the release with "Hella Fun." A track perfect for the strip clubs. (Not that we know what is played at the strip clubs. We're just assuming because of the lyrics that they would play it there. Don't tell Mrs. Irrelevant.)
"Going Hella Dumb
Jay Anthony on the chorus is a throwback to some Diligentz vibes. His smooth voice makes throwing one's sound like a hoot.
P-Lo has done his due diligence by consistently putting local artists on his work. From Jay Anthony, to ALLBLACK, to AKAFrank. He never doesn't stop putting the Bay on.
The next track on this release sounds like something between Zapp & Roger and Dave Steezy. "Luh You" is your typical rap love story.
A man has some plans to make her his girl.
He tells her that he's different and that she's independent.
He trash talks her ex.
Uses the term "Nothin' above you"
Is full of perfect Instagram captions, which we will display next.
"You text back, I hit my dance"
This track is perfect for the ladies who want to be sung to. And its perfect for the dudes who are looking for that special girl to call their summer love.
This last track is guaranteed to be a major banger. Put "Type Beat" on in the car at full volume and try not to let the feeling of the 2005 Hyphy Movement take over your mind and your limbs. It's the kind of beat that hits so hard that you start dancing while driving ad you take your hands off the steering wheel.
With every bar P-Lo spits, you'll be shouting "Aye! Aye! Aye!" while encouraging your passengers to hit that shit hard. The authentic Bay sound let's you know that the dream of Mac Dre still lives on through P-Lo.
Or if you don't like to be an unsafe driver, put this on at the pool party. Everyone will be giggin' with a red cup in hand, making sure not to spill a single drop of that ice-cold Patrennesey.
I know that they prayin' I don't hit again
Read those lyrics in Mac Dre's voice. Anyone who has ever listened to him can hear his voice saying these words. This is the precise lyricism that the listener won't get from anyone not from Northern California.
P-Lo has yet to release music that can't be danced too. But his music isn't all beats, there is substance in the work. If it was just about the beats, he'd just simply be a producer.
He continues to prove why he is one of the best artists in the Bay Area, and one of the best producer/rappers in the game. Somethin' Light has something for everyone.
The older generation's favorite thing to say about the state of the youth is that they ruin everything. The youth is creating a bad image for the future generations to follow. The youth is responsible for all that is bad in the world.
But here's something the older generations tend to forget, they were once that young generation who used to say "Fuck you" to the older generations before them. Especially with music. Music has always been the place for expression for the youth, specifically coming from rock & roll and rap music.
So what happens when you mix the two genres together? The biggest "Fuck You" you've ever experienced.
Trap music can often be described as ignorant, loud, and scary by those who don't consider it music at all. But to those who enjoy the sounds, it can described as emotional, uplifting, and colorful. The thing about most of these trap artists is that they couldn't give a shit about whether you like it or not. That's the whole shtick.
Jasiah isn't ignorant at all, actually he's an educated young man from Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from Stivers School for the Arts where he not only gained an education, but also learned about the different forms of musical performance and art.
It doesn't take a genius to make music, but it does take dedication to the craft and the ability to be a target for criticism. And if you're screaming your vocals the entire time, chances are that someone is going to hear you.
There's a lot of rappers out there talking about things they aren't really living, so lyricism is mad overrated. So when Jasiah says the same lines over and over, don't just sit there and think "He's just repeating himself, this lacks creativity."
Because maybe he's saying "I'm depressed" a million times because, I don't know, maybe he's feeling depressed. A normal feeling that many young people go through, he's just not afraid to say it. He's literally shouting it.
If you had the bass turned up on your speakers when listening to his track "This is for my Young Niggas Who Listen to Soulja Boy" then they might have blown out after this song. His production value comes on very strong. If the beat was a body building competition, then he snapped the trophy in half and shoved it down the judges throats.
Nigga, runnin' up on me is a mistake
These lyrics are from the video above, his most popular song "Crisis." The visuals are like those of the video "Bodies" by Drowning Pool mixed with "My Name is" from Eminem. What better combination could you possibly want from a music video?
This is the type of music you need to hear when you are getting ready for that job interview. Just because you are a Finance major applying for a job at H&R Block doesn't mean you aren't allowed to get hyped the hell up. Get your blood boiling and make yourself feel invincible by listening to this beat at high volume.
Allow yourself to scream one time. We're always talking in normal toned voice and the only time we yell is when we're mad. How about you yell to pump yourself up? Get out of your day to day crisis!
Make a nigga wanna take a step back
Ok, yes we were saying that this music is emotional and all of that. But sometimes it's ok to just get full ignorant and say screw everything. We don't condone the use of the words bitch and hoe, unless the woman likes to describe herself as that. Then in which case, be a hoe girl. Do you!
And for all the women with flat asses, there are dudes out there who will have sex with you. But not Jasiah, sorry. And for the dudes out there, he said you can have that. So congrats, he saved some women for you.
The best part about Jasiah's music is that it doesn't ask for anything from the listener. You get what you get from it, and if you don't get anything at all then he doesn't care.
Maybe that's what gets lost as we get older and become that older generation that doesn't understand the youth. There's an expectation that everything that is put out into the world must give something back. Why can't things just be?
Jasiah doesn't need your validation and he doesn't care for your criticism. And that's the message the youth should really get from this.
We're going to try something new today. Typically, we do music reviews or think pieces on music from the past that we are pretty familiar with. We like to break it down and extrapolate it to the point that what we're hearing messages that weren't intended to be put forth.
However, there has been a growing number of artists (mostly new young rappers) who look like they just stepped out of a scene from the movie Blade. They look like nightclub vampires with tattoos all over their face and piercings in every spot imaginable.
White, black, brown, the race hasn't mattered, they all sport this new look. So if you just scroll through Instagram, you'll find a handful of these kids. This next guy is no different. Now we've never heard any of his music before, so this is an instant reaction.
Bexey is an artist from London. He has been making music for about 3 years now, and worked closely with the recently passed Lil Peep. On the immediate surface, that's about all we know so far. But his millions of YouTube views paints out a different story.
His following seems to be strong and displays a willingness to support his message. Whatever his message may be is unknown to us at this time. But we'll go on this journey together.
This first video has over 9 million views, and is not what we expected when he first looked at him.
There's something about those all-black contacts that is just not right. It looks like something out of a horror movie where some little girl comes in with straight black hair and just stares into your soul.
Before even clicking play, we were expecting to hear some hard rap. Talking about guns and drugs and whatever other violence kids claim they know about when they really don't. But the chorus is refreshingly honest and full of emotion.
Stay alive for me
Poetry of love was not what we were expecting at all. Suicide is all too common across the world, especially among the youth. But the bigger problem is that they don't talk about it until it is too late.
And kids need to realize that they're not fighting this fight alone. These lines show Bexey talking to somebody about love and death and that the power of love could prevent the latter.
One word of advice to the kid, love is not life and death. Love is powerful in many ways but can be broken in a moment's notice. Not everyone treats love with the same gravity as others, so the loss of love should never lead to suicide. Keep your head up kid, real love is out there.
Again with the damn contacts! Well that's his look I guess, at least he owns it. I like his style too, that matching colorful suit shows a lot of life and vigor.
Even though he is still singing a bit throughout his verses, this is a little bit more of what I was expecting. Still no words of violence, but much stronger vocally on the beat.
There is this subtlety of respect for women that is rare in today's music, specifically rap music. This sound is more grunge than anything else, but is probably considered rap if it were to be put into a box.
Do a woman no wrong
"Do a woman no wrong" is a line that may have never been spit in a rap song before. And if it was, it was probably replaced with the word "bitch" or "hoe."
Now if you never pretended the floor was lava, then just close this page right now. You can't relate to anything we're talking about over here. Those were the good old days, and now he can barely see the floor because of all of his designer bags. That's probably a little excessive, but if you've got it flaunt it.
Those last two lines are relatable to anyone who has ever been in love. Like real love. Having someone so powerful in your life that you feel your spirit leave your body is a scary thought. The fact that someone could control that much of every part of your being is a lot to carry. It's no wonder he uses music as an expression of his feelings.
On the surface, Bexey looks like a crazy ass kid who breaks the law, does drugs, and loves violence. And maybe behind the music he does. We don't know him personally, so we can't assume.
And prior to listening to his music, we made assumptions about him that probably aren't cool. It's all about remembering that thing your mom told you when you were five years old, "Never judge a book by it's cover."
From what we've seen so far from Bexey, he fits the criteria of people to not judge. He may be scary at first glance, but his music offers a reminder to the world that there is love in everyone. And Love is the most powerful drug of all.
Well except like real drugs. Don't do drugs you guys, it's not cool. Wear black contacts instead.
Sometimes, the greatest pains we feel in life bring us the greatest joy in the long run. Especially when it comes to heartbreak from a relationship.
In the moment, we are devastated. Someone you opened your entire world to crushed it with their actions or lack of care. We sit and sulk in our own misery because we don't know any other way to cope with what just happened.
But once you get past the point of sadness and you reach acceptance, you realize that you're better off without them. All the times they said that they loved you were just words. You now feel stronger than ever because you know you are ready for whats next.
It's time for you to have the confidence of The Mack.
"Return of the Mack"
March 18, 1996
If you've never heard this song, you're a rare one. This classic 90's super banger is an all-time great. The type of story that gets passed down from generation to generation. A story a love lost, and new beginnings.
And even if you've heard this song a million times, you still may not have realized that this song is about a deep hurt this man went through. The beat is so easy to dance to and get lost in, that the emotions that were meant to be conveyed somehow got lost.
But, don't worry, we're here to make you feel sad.
You lied to me
Man, this shit is messed up. How many times did she lie to him? How many times did he say he loved her? How many times did he cry? Must've been a lot for him to expose her to the world for being the shady backstabbing jerk that she is.
If you've ever experienced heartbreak, think about the first time. Did they hurt you so much so that you made a legendary song just to show the world how much they screwed you over? Unless your name is Mark Morrison, it's highly unlikely.
Men so often get pegged as the ones who screw up the relationships due to cheating and lying, but this song is more realistic. Men, don't let the mainstream media make you think that you're always the ones supposed to do something wrong! Women can't be trusted! They're all dogs!
Yeah, I bet the women didn't like to read that. Well guess what, that's what men have gone through for years. how does it feel? Not good, right? Be nice to the men on this planet, and hopefully eventually we'll have a world full of good men. Tell them they're good men! Speak that shit into existence. Quit knocking them down!
Sorry, we just had to give love to the fellas one time.
Give Morrison credit, that's a grown ass man telling the whole world that he cried. In an age where people were not yet ready to put their broken heart out there for the world to see, he was ahead of his time.
Well, I tried to tell you so (Yes, I did)
Alright, now that we got past the fact that this song was actually made from pain, let's dive into some happiness. Tupac once said that there was a rose that grew from concrete. And Mark Morrison sang the greatest comeback story of all-time. So who's really the GOAT?
Let's imagine this quote as if it's a dramatic scene from a telenovella.
Morrison sits in disbelief as he hears about the lies she has told. His eyes begin to red, and fill with years full of love. As he cries, the love begins to evaporate into the atmosphere.
All the time he has spent wasted on someone who treated his love as if it wasn't one of a kind can't be replaced. But then Morrison realizes something. He realizes this is a fresh start. A chance to find his true self in a world full of people who don't.
He wipes his face dry of all the love he's spilled. He looks at her and says, "Baby, now I've got the flow."
So, I'm back up in the game (Hustling snow)
As the kids say, this song is a Big Mood. A story of the resiliency of man. His comeback song, is the whole world's comeback song.
This song should be played at a high volume in your car on a 80 degree day with the windows down. And if you aren't screaming the words for the whole world to hear, then you're disrespecting The Mack. He made this song for anyone who needs to get back up on their high horse.
Speaking of high, I think that first line is about selling cocaine. Which is illegal, but hey if it brought The Mack back then we can't really be mad about it.
Just imagine he gets caught selling cocaine and Morrison just turns to the cop and is like, "Before you try to arrest me, let me sing you this song. Then you'll know why I'm doing this." Guaranteed he'd get off with no charges, except for bringing too much heat to the streets with this track.
One's man comeback story, is a billion listeners' treasure. So although that girl who broke his heart was cold blooded, it gave us a timeless track that will never not bang. So let's thank her, and the thousands of cold hearted women out there, for making a stronger generation of men who aren't afraid to share their feelings with the world.
"The Return of the Mack" is deep, and if you didn't know before, then you do now.
According to Lil Wayne, God is a man. Such an outdated viewpoint. Ok, so the Bible says that God was the one who impregnated the Virgin Mary, big deal. It doesn't say that God had a penis, just that God put a baby in Mary.
The New Testament refers to God as "Father," but also makes many maternal references to God. So when Lil Wayne says "God took His time when He made me," it sounds correct because that's what is implied when God is spoken of.
But our women are the ones who gives birth. Our women are the caretakers. Our women are the superior gender. God is a woman, and if you disagree you're probably a man. And if you don't even believe in God then just remember that you are your own God.
"Took His Time"
Tha Carter V
Momma said God took his time when he made me
After what seemed like an eternity, Lil Wayne was finally legally allowed to release his album Tha Carter V. It's been a long time coming for himself and his patient fans. And if his God had anything to do with this album, then patience was the key.
This song feels like it encapsulates everything that Wayne has gone through while awaiting his trail with Birdman to end. All the beef with Cash Money Records is over, and he's looking past it. Not just because he's over it, but because he feels a sense dominance after the dust settled.
In broad day like "let's play," lil' kids playin' jump rope
Damn, it really feels like Wayne is talking specifically about Birdman on this track. With their trial and beef out there for the whole world to see, Wayne winning the legal case that netted him well over $10 million was just the beginning. The battle was over, but Wayne just had to flaunt a little bit.
Wayne left Birdman's body out there for the whole world to see. People started to piece the puzzle together and realize that Birdman had been doing shady deals with young artists his entire career. Wayne refers to the other artists on Cash Money Records as "the unknowns." A little jab at their top artist, Young Thug.
I been feelin' like Galactus
Galactus is a super villain from Marvel Comics who has powers that are similar to those of a God. And similar to how Galactus has unlimited abilities and powers in his world, Wayne feels the same way with this track.
People may be wondering or asking to themselves if Wayne still had it. If after all these years between albums, he could still come with the bars we could always expect from him. If he still had the fire that drove him to be one of the most successful and decorated rappers of a generation.
His sound still transcends music nearly 20 years after his first album, and this track is a look into where his mind has been all these years. If you have been a Lil Wayne fan since the beginning, you can feel the power he displays on this song.
It not only lets you know where he's been, but it allows you remember what it feels like when he used to leave his heart and soul out on each and every verse and hook. If time has taught us anything about Lil Wayne, it's that he doesn't adhere to the same time frame that most do.
He has been up and down throughout the years, but by taking his time with "Took His Time" he allowed the world to not only hear his art, but feel it once again.
November 17, 2017
To be iconic is to be a person that is revered or idolized. Most icons are not idolized until after their death. Jaden Smith wasn't being so humble when he wrote "ICON." And that lack of humbleness is a big mood. It's probably a little bit cocky to call yourself an icon, but life is too short to not think highly of yourself.
It has been a long time coming for Jaden. He has been making music since about 2012, mostly stuff that wasn't too popular but was still heard by many of his followers. So what better way to get people to take his music seriously than to speak his work into existence.
This wasn't his first single off of his debut studio album, but it was the one that encapsulating his sound and his spirit moving forward. Let's break this song down.
I need you to listen to the vision (woo)
The first verse on this track intentionally comes before the chorus. For anyone who hasn't listened to Jaden before, this is his way of getting you to pay attention. Whether you haven't listened to him because of who his parents are, because he's a young kid, or because you have some preconceived notion of what he represents, this is your opportunity to listen to his vision.
A lot of music out right now, specifically rap music, consists of "dirty" lyrics and messages that aren't pushing the young generation forward. Jaden's goal is to cleanse your palette with his unique sound that is different from what you're used to hearing.
And while it is near impossible to be completely unique in your sound, it's all about the vision. He has that goal in mind that he wants to change the perception of himself and the music itself.
I am not a Mayan, I'm a menace (menace)
The Mayan's had infinite knowledge and were to believed to have known much of the future based on their calendars. Jaden isn't trying to act like he knows what's next, instead he is acting as a menace in the industry by attempting to break down the walls of what is supposed to be known.
He doesn't want to waste his time by trying to diss other artists currently in the game, he'd rather sit back and do his thing. The message being displayed in this part of his second verse is one of self-reflection. Living in his moment, he is able to realize that he can put prove the "professors" wrong who may have told him his vision wasn't clear enough or even attainable.
As an actor, writer, thought-provoker, fashion symbol, and musician, he is beginning to realize that he is someone that people look too as iconic.
I'm going straight to the top with the crew
The vision and goals are big. There is no point to limit himself to whatever others believe he is capable of. Yet, he knows that he should not rush anything.
There is a slight fear of what is on the other side of his goals. He believes that if he achieves all that he perceives is to be achieved, then there will be nothing else to accomplish. This is a real fear of many of us. The grass seems greener on the other side, but what happens once you're there?
If you accomplish everything too soon, there may be a sense of contentment. Jaden wants to take it step by step and enjoy the process, so that when his goals are finally reached he can sit back and reflect on everything he's earned.
Put a hundred thousand in a bible (Bible!)
With some closing words to his verse, he is betting on himself. Many people will say "bible" when they are stating that they are serious about something.
Now listen, there isn't a single artist in the rap game right now who doesn't owe something to Kid Cudi. He is the originator of most of the sounds that all of these artists are trying to create. A lot of rap guys want to be rockstars and be unique, and it all stems from the music Cudi has been creating for years.
Jaden's nod to Cudi is just one of the many that artists have been giving to him over the years. And as long as Jaden is willing to follow in Cudi's footsteps, the more likely he is to continue to create influential music.
He ends the song with the simple repetitive hook of "I am just an ICON livin'." This message is stated many times to pose as a reminder to himself and the listener exactly who he sees himself as in this moment.
The future looks bright for Jaden. And while he may never be able to live up to the name of his father, his influence on his generation will be iconic.
May 6, 2016
Skepta from Tottenham, London, has been in the music industry for nearly two decades now. His work in international hip-hop music has only grown as time has gone on. And for anyone who has never listened to any of his work, his latest full length album is a good place to start.
He started his work with American artists in 2014 and has worked with Ace Hood, Drake, and A$AP Rocky. And his album Konnichiwa in 2016 allowed American listeners to get a closer look into his stylings.
Four sizzling singles all led up to the drop of the album. First of those singles coming in 2014 with "That's Not Me" featuring his actual brother Jme.
"That's Not Me" is an introduction to the street sound that Skepta can bring to the table. It is also a reintroduction to the new version of himself that he can clearly see.
With that New York rap battle type of feel to it, he lets the listener know that his days as a follower are over. This new path he was headed on allowed him to let go of the basic style and fashion that kept him from being him.
Just him, a microphone and a DJ gives vibes of a small local rap concert. Intimate and classic feels will get your head bobbing while you rock your Kangol hat and old school white Adidas.
Spray this 'til the clip is empty
A couple of side notes from this album. One is that "Sket" means "Slut" in British slang. And two, we cross referenced a couple of lines that are said on this album with lines that Drake has said, and everytime these lines and melodies were heard first on this album. Just saying.
Back in 1998, DMX drooped "Ruff Ryders Anthem." Skepta was 16 years old at the time, so to say that his video "Shutdown" wasn't inspired by that would be a surprise to anyone who had heard both of these songs.
Skepta and his "dargs" all look like a part of the #CozyFam with their sweats and jumpsuits. They don't look like the type of people who go out looking for trouble, but they also don't play the part of people you'd like to start trouble with.
A skit of what sounds like a British white woman alludes to the "intimidating" dancing of a group of young black men on her television screen. A representation of how little society has changed, even overseas.
A bunch of young men all dressed in black dancing extremely aggressively on stage,
It's strange that people still watch live prime time television. Especially with DVR, streaming apps, and replays on YouTube. But the speaks more to who is actually watching regular live television.
Every rap album needs a song for women empowerment, and "Ladies Hit Squad" is just the song women need to let them know they're appreciated. This would be something that would be played on the radio if it were an American song. As a matter of fact, it kinda was.
The melody to the hook sounds a lot like - no scratch that - The melody to the hook is exactly like what you hear in the hook of "Hotline Bling" by Drake. The biggest pop hit of the decade was taken by A$AP Nast to aid Drake and his long list of copycat sounds.
But this song came out before that track, so take it for what it is if you can. The sound is smooth and pure and can lead to dancing in your car. With hints of reggae and electric dance, it allows for a diverse group of listeners.
You were looking way too cold in your Reebok Ice
So far with the singles, Skepta brought in the old school New York hip hop sound, 90's DMX, something for the ladies, and his final hit gave more of a contemporary feel.
The genre for this album is technically called "Grime." This genre is a mix of electronic dance, underground UK grunge, and hip hop. This could be compared most to the stylings of A$AP Mob and Odd Future. An uptempo sound that gets the crowd going crazy in a concert.
This mix of head banging punk rock and hip hop brings together the sounds of different races over the last 50 years. Punk rock was mostly enjoyed by white people and hip hop has been generally enjoyed by the minorities. However, over time people of all races have become fans of all different types of music.
“Man” is a representation of "I don't give a damn what color you are, if you're fake we can't relate to you." It's a whole new world out there, and people are accepting each other for who they are regardless of their background.
Cause man get money with the gang, man get girls with the gang
Konnichiwa is a late introduction to an artist who has taken the Grime genre to the main stage. So much so that he has had "artists" stealing his sound and style. But it seems as if he hasn't worried about that up to this point in his career, and maybe he really doesn't care.
That's probably the best part about his personality. Without worrying about whether or not his sound is influencing others, he just continues to do his thing. With Skepta, it's not about who he is influencing; instead, it's about the fact that he is an influencer all the way from London.
Most 13 year olds are worried about their Pre-Algebra test they have on Friday. Wondering if their parents are going to sign their permission slip so they can go to the dance after school. Thinking of a way to come up on $20 so they can go to a PG-13 movie with their friends.
But for kids growing up in the projects of New York, they need to mature a little bit quicker. The streets of the Bronx may have kids trying to find ways to get their own hustle on, whether it be legal or illegal. Smooky Margielaa is using his musical gift as a way to get to a bag at a very young age.
Smooky Margielaa is a 16 year old artist from the streets of the Bronx, but he is slowly taking over the sounds of the streets across the country. What he has done since he met A$AP Rocky at 13 years old is inexplicable for a kid who should be worrying about his early high school years. Yet, here he is. Doing tours with A$AP Rocky and dropping music videos constantly.
His musical roots come from his father who used to make music as a young man. He came to America from Africa to tour and display his own sound to a new country. He came to New York and never went back home. This paved the way for Smooky to live out his father's dream of being an American musician.
Without a mixtape or album, he has still been able to create a huge following through his singles and features. His Spotify currently only contains 10 songs that belong to him, but he can be heard on many features. His biggest feature work he has done came off of Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 with the A$AP MOB. He showed off his vocals on "Black Card" where he does an exclusive feature with Rocky.
On the block where they trappin' the hard way
Although he talks about growing up in the streets and what it took to get out, he loves his fashion. His name speaks for itself. You can see him rocking his Margielaa shoes in his video for "Stay 100."
This video was released in July 2017 and has 5 million views on YouTube. The visuals are what you would expect from a then 14 year old kid. Him and his friends having fun and dancing at a playground.
He has said in interviews that he enjoys being viewed as a young kid. It makes him feel like he is the youngest doing it, and he pretty much is. He states that he stays true to himself and his music, and that he couldn't fall into the trap of the street life.
His feature work has mostly come with members of the A$AP Mob. But he has also worked with Chris Brown, Juicy J, Playboi Carti, Soulja Boy, Lil Yachty, and ScHoolboy Q. It will be interesting to see who else asks Smooky to get on their work with them as he gets older and perfects his sound.
For most artists you see his age that try to get onto the scene, you get the very repetitive sound. But because his father showed him Michael Jackson at a young age, he learned how to add versatility to his music. Something you don't see from artists until their second or third album.
His track "VLONE FLEX" mixes sounds you've heard from Rae Sremmurd mixed in with Future with a New York twist. Sticking to his love fashion, he talks about one of his favorite brands in VLONE continuing to show what is important to him in his youth.
The video has many visuals of him flaunting his treasures. A new car, house, diamonds, clothes, and a scenery that looks like a nice neighborhood in Southern California. He keeps his friends close by, and always looks like he is having the time of his life.
Vlone on my body, I pull up and then I flex
From making music videos for YouTube, to working with a lot of artists in the game now, Smooky Margielaa is now doing his own shows. You can see at this point that he is blessed with the position he is in.
His most recent visual "Too Blessed" is a small look back on the short journey he's been on. He talks about how he made it out of the streets, the friends he lost to the streets, and the people he still prays can make it out.
I grew up with niggas goin' through shit in the hood
He lives by the slogan GRAPE. GRAPE stands for Get Rich And Pray Everyday. The kid has big goals, but also continues to think about others while on his own journey. It's rare to see a kid this age with this kind of success in the rap game.
Following in father's footsteps as a musician, he has been able to make a name for himself. Smooky Margielaa has a bright future, and 2019 may just be his biggest year yet.