New Music, Old Heads
"Alej.HipHop & Tech" but the "tech" stands for "technically this week's issue is still music only"
As always, you can listen along to the music in this newsletter via my “Alej Archivez” playlist on Apple Music, Spotify, or Tidal. I put each week’s new music first, followed by any references or samples.
To my L.A. folks: redveil, one of my favorite up-and-coming rappers, is on tour and has a show at the El Rey Theater this week, FRIDAY MAY 5!
Tickets are still on sale, but he just dropped this “4 FOR 4 FREESTYLE” after selling out 4 back-to-back shows and he might pull it off again.
redveil is a 19-year-old artist who makes his own beats. His 2022 project learn 2 swim is a quick 36-minute listen and one of my favorites from last year. If you want specific songs, start with “pg baby” or my personal favorite “working on it”.
Peep the music and if you dig it, I’ll see you at the El Rey tomorrow. Honestly, there’s nothing to lose going to an affordable show at an intimate venue on a Friday night, Cinco de Mayo at that.
(Speaking of Cinco de Mayo, do you say El Rey or “thee” El Rey?)
Moving from new school to old school, this piece from The Guardian may be relatable if you’ve found yourself falling off new music:
Bring that beat back: why are people in their 30s giving up on music?
A 2015 study of people’s listening habits on Spotify found that most people stop listening to new music at 33; a 2018 report by Deezer had it at 30. In my 20s, the idea that people’s appetite to consume new music regularly would be switched off like some kind of tap was ludicrous. However, now I’m 36, it’s difficult to argue with.
The article explores some interesting reasons, and although it’s well worth the read it honestly ends a little drearily, if not realistically.
My biggest personal reason for falling off at times is a disinterest in recent mainstream hip-hop. This line from “Lightyear” off of Logic’s latest nostalgic boom-bap College Park album summarizes it well:
I feel like rap is retreating while my hairline is receding
Which is literally the definition of what I've become:
That's an old head
Enough of the old head mind state, here are a few of the recent drops I’ve been spinning.
“SentRock” by Lupe Fiasco
New Lupe! This fire collaboration with acclaimed Chicago painter sentrock also has AMAZING cover art, which you can get a better look at in the music video.
Additionally, just like the self-produced redveil mentioned at the top of this issue, it looks like Lupe is making his own beats as well now. (Interestingly redveil and Lupe both participated in a recent “Artist Rights & Business Realities” talk at Harvard).
I’m only bummed that this is a one-off and not part of a larger project.
“Turnin' Heads” by Kari Faux & Big K.R.I.T. [Explicit]
This is the 2nd single off Kari Faux’s next project and it is FULL of nostalgia. From the guitar licks to the dreamy ethereal chorus, this is good mellow vibes.
Although the Big K.R.I.T. feature helped me click play even faster, Kari Faux is a force of her own. You may recognize her name from her collaborations with Isaiah Rashad, Pivot Gang, Jean Deaux, and Childish Gambino to name a few.
Her 3rd single, “MAKE A WISH” is equally as nostalgic to me, especially because the instrumentation gives me strong Bone Thugs-n-Harmony “The Crossroads” vibes. I may need input from a fellow old head or older head however, because I’m not hearing the exact wee-ooo-wee-ooo on Bone Thugs or the original Isley Brother’s sample so maybe it’s just a vibe and not a sample (a la Ed Sheeran’s court decision which just dropped today).
“Mr. Police” by IDK [Explicit]
If you think you know where an explicit song with a title like “Mr. Police” is going, you may be surprised by this one, although yes it does go there too. A hint from the description of the forthcoming May 5th F65 album that this comes from is that it’s a “bold, jazzy, conceptional album on life, race – and Formula 1.”
The song alone is enough of a hook for IDK’s F65, but the additional “Formula 1” theme is also super intriguing.
IDK speaks on that more in this video: F65: Formula 1 & the Human Race, which HOLD UP – includes the info that IDK reached out to and worked with Nickelodeon’s “Hey Arnold” jazz composer Jim Lang.
I didn’t think I could get more interested, but as an owner of one of the dope variants of this “Hey Arnold” vinyl, I couldn’t be more in on this.
Speaking of Logic’s recent College Park album, that album is full of highlights and is one of many projects re-affirming my recent confidence in music from artists new and “old”, even if it means searching the fringes of the mainstream.
My only personal con with the album is my pet peeve that he didn’t split the skits from the songs, especially because they can be a little too immature for me despite that immaturity tying into the album’s concept. I almost always prefer separate skits since it lets individual songs fit into playlists better.
I recommend checking it out whether you are or were a Logic fan or if you’ve only had critiques of him, especially since he discusses many of them on this album. On “Clone Wars III” for example, he talks about his desire to sound like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar early in his career; something he received arguably deserved hate for.
I have a positive Logic bias of my own after creating an interactive fan website “Everybody Cover” inspired by his 2017 Everybody album along with my friend Tony. However, I had pretty much fallen off Logic after his two sub-par 2019 projects, another criticism he talks about on the album.
Speaking of me and Tony’s “Everybody Cover” website, College Park has a dope website of its own that I’ll be breaking down and analyzing in my next DeCoded tech breakdown. I’ll be analyzing it similarly to how I most recently analyzed Kendrick Lamar’s oklama website as well as other sites on alej.hiphop.
One More Thing
Staying on brand with my old head badge, in honor of the 10-year anniversary of Chance the Rapper’s “Acid Rap”, the only song which couldn’t get its samples cleared, “Juice” [E], is finally on streaming! If you haven’t heard it yet, it’s one of the mixtape’s best songs.
As a bonus, here’s a fun fact I never realized until looking up the opening word of “Juice”’s third verse. Chance slips three Spanish phrases into the song, one per verse, the third of which being:
Speaking of mixtapes, jugo, and Cinco De Mayo, here’s a throwback to the song “Mixtape” [E] off Chance the Rapper’s 2016 Coloring Book.
Also, is anyone else watching these NBA and NHL playoffs? Either way, here’s some hockey humor with Chance the Rapper.
Enjoy the weekend and see you at El Rey!