Thursday, June 23, 2016

Four Music Reviews (June 2016)

The Human Condition - Jon Bellion
(Genre: Pop/Alternative Pop)

Ever since I became acquainted with Visionary Music Group through Logic, I caught wind of one of the other artists on the docket. It was Jon Bellion and I couldn't help but be intrigued by his brand of pop music. I began with The Separation album and was hooked after seeing the making of some of those tracks. After that, The Definition album solidified him to me as the next thing the pop radio needed. His uncanny ability to fuse pop with an alternative flair with a J. Dilla (hip hop) influence is addicting.

This is where The Human Condition comes in as his official debut album on the major label, Capitol Records. Though his affiliation with them apparently started after the first project, the scale of this LP is noticeably larger. Bellion brings his catchy pop vocals and his signature sound with more bells and whistles with gorgeous results. People who dwell in the sounds of pop music and hip hop could definitely get their fill here. My favorites include: "New York Soul (pt. ii)", "Maybe IDK", "Overwhelming", & "Guillotine". 

Half Way There, Pt. 1 - Snow Tha Product
(Genre: Rap/Hip Hop/Pop)

My introduction to Snow Tha Product was through her collabs with Strange Music artists like Krizz Kaliko and Tech N9ne. I was drawn in by her level of lyricism and technical skill displayed by her fast rapping (or chopping). Through research I found out about her WOKE movement and Good Nights and Bad Mornings mixtape. I discovered that she just became my new rapper to "turn up" to, especially after the extended version "GNBM: The Hangover" was released. Even with "The Rest Comes Later" mixtape, I knew that she was an artist that you can play at the party and listen to her relatable stories on your downtime.

The long awaited release under Atlantic Records, "Half Way There, Pt. 1" EP is a slightly more radio ready sound for Snow, yet it still maintains her style. The singles "Nights" and "Get Down Low" really aim for that chart hit appeal, but has her expressing her feelings and hustle naturally and respectfully. She even includes a track that's predominately in Spanish with the Reggaeton-esque "Nuestra Cancion". It seems like Snow is primed and ready to finally get the mainstream recognition she deserves with this project. My picks from the EP would definitely be the less pop tracks like "No Cut" and the interludes "Too Much" & "Too Much to Take".

A Star - Alleon Mathis
(Genre: R&B/Trap Rap)

Alleon Mathis is an acquaintance of mine from Kansas. I met him years ago and was instantly impressed by his stunning vocal performance at a show. I knew then that he was one to keep an eye on, because he had a lot of potential to breakout. I then saw him pop up on occasion with a new track or music video and enjoyed the quality of his work and appeal. I was then left waiting to see if a new project would eventually be released.

That happened last month to my surprise as I lost track of him on social media for a bit. Yet, catching the premiere of the title track's music video, "A Star", I immediately downloaded the album. I suddenly became aware that his definitive sound would be akin to Chris Brown on trap beats or cloud rap. Or you can imagine if Migos or Fetty Wap sang really well, instead rapped. Many of the songs have a hip hop club vibe that will get a grinding session for anyone on the dance floor. Tracks range from love of women, relationships, and working hard for your dreams delivered in the most concise way possible. Though his song writing may be simple, his vocal performances are not and provide the vibe anyone who enjoy that type of music. A few joints I enjoy include "A Star", "Let's Have Fun", "Always & Forever", & "785". 

Calm B4 the Storm - Sav Dawsyn
(Genre: Cloud Rap/Hip Hop)

Sav is another Kansan artist that I came across a little while ago. I was introduce to him through a Topeka artist compilation and his affiliation with another childhood friend/artist Seuss. I was appeased by his clever wordplay and production choices. Ever since that introduction about 2 years ago, I've watched him grow into one of my favorite new artists from my hometown. After "Project 301" and seeing him perform live, I knew for certain I needed to keep my eye on him.

On the road to this project, the singles he put out before the release excited me by showing more variation on the production side demonstrating his continually expanding versatility. This album gives a nice range of topics from his pursuit of dreams, the skill he possesses, his loyalty to his girl, & his usage of the ganja. This a very enjoyable listen as he glides over beats with precision and authenticity. To be honest, I find him to almost be Topeka's J. Cole and Sav is actually starting to dabble in producing himself. Standout tracks, in my opinion, would be "Trip6ix (ii)", "PocketPlottin", "My Steez", & "Matching Mercedes".

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