The Hurt Project- The Shady Bear Sessions (single/EP)

Listen as the band The Hurt Project blend classic and contemporary blues with their newly released "The Shady Bear Sessions" single/EP.

ADaD- In Search of The UNSEEN: ADaD x Madlib

A brand new set of dope beats and razor sharp rhymes from Chi-town wordsmith ADaD on the recently released In Search of the UNSEEN... project.

D.A.C. Beats- Beach Mu$ic EP

Listen to producer/beatmaker D.A.C Beats' newly released instrumental project, the Beach Mu$ic EP.

Hezekiah- Can I Live

Soulful new single from Hezekiah's upcoming album Dreams Don't Chase Themselves

Ju-Ar- Day Out (album)

Check out the new Day Out instrumental project from producer/beatmaker Ju-Ar.

Qwill & The Soul Review- Ghost

Enjoy this brand new bluesy soul single from Qwill & The Soul Review

Midnight Runners- Free single!

Download a free copy of the new single "Nights of Pleasure" from duo's upcoming EP Odyssey

Jurassic 5 & The Word of Mouth Reunion Tour

This summer, a reunited Jurassic 5 will embark on a worldwide tour, with special appearances by Dilated Peoples, Ugly Duckling, Lyrics Born, Blackalicious, DJ Shadow, & The World Famous Beat Junkies!

Lyric Jones- Love's Trail Mix (EP)

Lyric Jones tackles issues of love, lust, infatuation and everything in between on her latest project, "The Love's Trail Mix (EP)"

Sons of the Sweet Potato- Awakening Exp.02 (LP)

The Sons of the Sweet Potato beatmaking collective brings tons of jazzy, sample-heavy hip hop on their newest LP, "Awakening Exp.02".

Blakk Soul- No Love Lost (LP)

Listen to singer Blakk Soul make modern soul music with classic inspirations on his new release "No Love Lost".

REVIEW | The Hurt Project- The Shady Bear Sessions (single/EP)

While I won't begin to present myself as some sort of authority on the subject of blues music, I do consider myself a fan that's familiar enough to recognize good blues music when I hear it.  The sound has been a part of my life for as long as I can recall.  In fact, some of my sweetest memories of growing up in the Carolinas are connected to songs by artists like Little Milton, Bobby Blue Bland and pretty much anything and everything released by Malaco Records. So, while I'm by no means an expert on the subject, I'll concede that I do know a lil' bit. Take this new The Shady Bear Sessions single/EP from the group The Hurt Project for example. I know that it's a fantastic  slice of modern electric blues as served by dedicated students of the craft. The set opens with an amazing original number entitled "Up In Smoke" that pits lead singer Jasmin Lloyd's beautifully clear and powerful vocals against a smoky backdrop filled with lamenting harmonica notes, dusty drums and fiery electric guitar riffs that almost steals the show. After blowing the listener away with such a soul-stirring performance, the band ramp things up with a raw-edged heater entitled "Hello Misery". Everything about this track is hitting, from Jasmin Lloyd's  rousing vocals that grow larger and larger as the track progresses, to the bands impassioned playing when their leading lady takes a break from the spotlight (peep the interplay between guitarist Marlon Hurt and drummer Paul Wohlmaker at the 2:16 mark). This is just good music, from start to finish and I truly can't wait to hear more from this band. Check out The Hurt Project's The Shady Bear Sessions below to get your weekly soul and blues music fix. Dig the sounds.

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NewRelease | ADaD & Khaibeat- Apollo (album)

Brand new project from emcee ADaD and producer Khaibeat.  The Chicago-based wordsmith teams up with a talented young beatmaker out of Spain to give the people a dope 4 track project entitled Apollo. You can stream 3 of the 4 tracks, right now, over on Soundcloud (here).  Or you can purchase all 4 tracks for the low, low price of $1 over on Bandcamp (here). Come on son! love and buy the album ASAP.

AWAR & Vanderslice- The Winning Team (album review)

The duo of producer Vanderslice and lyricist AWAR create a dark and gritty opus with their latest collaboration, a full-length album entitled The Winning Team. The two man team have a knack for creating eardrum pounding, grimey hip hop music that attacks its listeners with the intensity of a melee attack on a battlefield. As an emcee, AWAR succeeds in keeping things interesting by assailing the microphone with razor sharp rhymes and fully fleshed-out concepts. On one of the album's opening tracks, a hard-hitting offering entitled "Rotten Apple"AWAR taps into something ravenous and lets loose a visceral assault that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Vanderslice backs his man up with a stark beat that sounds like the tense opening track of an Italian horror flick. The duo effortlessly keep that aggressive "New York shit" vibe flowing over the course of the album with tracks like "Orange Boxcutter 2", "Broad Daylight" and "High Grade". But the fellas also seem to realize that no matter how much their fans may want to hear hardcore beats and rhymes, a memorable album manages to do more than just repeat the same formula from start to finish. In response, the team switches things up a bit on tracks like the R&B tinged "Cloud 9" (featuring the ever soulful LaToiya Williams) and the "hold-ya-head-up" anthem "Ready for the World". Another factor that works in  the album's favor is the fact that the guest artists and producers that are featured on project tend to mesh well with the duo's sound. Two of the best examples of this are the tracks "Reincarnation" (which was produced by West-coast based beatmaker Trox ) and the title cut "The Winning Team" (which features guest verses from emcee/producer Has Lo).  Overall, The Winning Team lives up to it's name and comes across as a well sculpted offering from a winning duo. The album is a shining example of why AWAR and Vanderslice are held in esteem when it comes to hardcore, street level hip hop music that bangs. Yet it also showcases two artists who recognize the importance of challenging yourself, your music and your fans. Dope work peoples...don't sleep.

Live45's | Engelwood- Only For You (instrumental)

Check out this free spacey soul instrumental from producer Engelwood. And if you dig what you're hearing, pick up a copy of his recently released Tre project

Live45's | yU- Never Burning Out (single)

Incredible sounds from one of my favorite hip hop artists! On this new "Never Burning Out" single, Diamond District representer yU connects with producer Drew Dave (who you may also know as Soulful! from his Mumbo Sauce & Drumbreaks album from a few years back) to create a beautifully soulful, high concept track that imagines a thoughtful conversation between the earnest emcee and "...the brightest, most seasoned & experienced star in our realm...the Sun". As usual, yU slays it with the rhymes, and even hums a few bars for the tracks super catchy chorus. But don't let me give you the impression that yU is the only reason to check out this track because Drew Dave put together an amazing beat for the rhymes to shine on. Dope work from everyone involved with this. Check it out for yourself below, then head over to Mello Music Group's Bandcamp page to download a free copy.

Live45's | ADaD- Next To It (remix) Featured Artist

Listen as ADaD remixes and "re-spits" over the track "Next To It" , as originally released by Lupe Fiasco earlier this year. If you haven't done so already, head over to ADaD's Soundcloud page to make sure that you stay up on all of the new heaters the brother has been dropping lately.

Live45's | SNKA- Knw[Sm]Wun (instrumentall)

A nice bit of glitchy goodness from producer SNKA. The track is called "Knw[Sm]Wun" and it's a dope future soul cut that kind of sticks with you well after the final note sounds. While the highlight of this track may be its stuttering syncopated drum pattern, its the little touches like the addition of haunting strings, horns, and vocal samples that make this one an instant winner. To me, this is the sort of track that perfectly captures that strange bittersweet feeling you get when the summer is coming to an end and the first hints of the fall season start to take hold. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into this. Either way, the beat is dope.

Live45's | Goodie Kao- Magic?!*S# (feat. Tower da Funk Masta) (instrumental)

Brand new funk from the Sons of the Sweet Potato beatmaking collective. This time around we get some laid-back and jazzy boom-bap sounds from producer and crew member Goodie Kao, with assistance from fellow SSP member Tower da Funkmasta.  Would love to hear the Jazz Addixx or Moka Only go in on this one.  Dope sounds!

News | Producer/Emcee Black Milk About to Embark on Solo Beat Tour

(courtesy of

Critically acclaimed emcee and producer Black Milk will be touring this August for the first time since his "No Poison, No Paradise Tour". His "Loops Don't Lie Tour", which will feature the Detroit native performing live beat sets, stops in five U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Charlotte, and Tampa. Soon after, the multi-talented artist will be heading to Europe with his four-person live band for the "Black Milk Live With Nat Turner Tour". This segment of the tour includes dates in major cities such as London and Amsterdam, and three dates in Germany, before returning back to the U.S. for a final show in his home state of Michigan. Speaking on his previous tour, LA Weekly shares praises, saying "Master of Ceremonies Black Milk was expertly both directing and starring in this show."

Valentina CX- Found (album)

Beautiful vocal work from a talented young singer by the name of Valentina CX. The sounds on display with this offering are lush and jazzy bossa nova pieces that artfully blend acoustic and electric elements into a cohesive whole. Valentina's vocals are warm, soothing and heartfelt for the entirety of this brief, yet very satisfying, project. CX's band is solid in its arrangements and phrasings and allow the singer to flow freely during her performances . As the album is just a 4 track EP, I'll skip the part where I pick my favorite tracks and just say that the whole thing is a great bit of airy bossa nova from start to finish.

Tajima Hal- Sometime Ago (album)

Glowing, jazz-tinted work from producer/beatmaker Tajima Hal. While the beats on this effort are soaked in the sort of dusty, sample-based mode of beatmaking that made so many golden era productions so beloved by hip hop fans, Tajima Hal manages to give the listener a unique take on that classic sound. Through the use of subtle changes in his arrangements and sample choices that are just left-of-center enough to keep things interesting, Tajima ensures that all the dust that comes from so much crate digging never gets so thick as to choke out Sometime Ago's overall jazzy sound. Standout tracks include the cool homage to the jazz piano-trio "Bloom", the driving soul number "Waves", and a stark boom bap outing called "Someone Else".

Joose- Cruise Control (album)

Top shelf hip hop music from Michigan emcee Joose. The set definitely lives up to its "cruise control" title as Joose uses his laid-back rhyme style and cool-out demeanor to create an album filled with feel good, "bump-it-in-the-car" type of music.  Short, sweet and to the point, the overall sound of Cruise Control falls somewhere between the traditional southern trap-music of the early 2000's and the newer trap-style music coming from labels like Soulection and Darker Than Wax. On tracks like "California Girls" and "Bonita", Joose commands the spotlight by addressing tried and true topics (i.e. women, weed, and good times) with creative and smart lyrics. Which isn't to say the project is a endless parade of odes to the high life. Other standouts include the reflective, and almost somber, "Black Sand" and the "take no sh*t off nobody/hold your head up high" anthem "Julian" (that 1st verse is nothing short of genius!).  And as far as the beats, new school production wonders Brock Berrigan, Mozaic, and Sango keep the sounds live no matter what the situation calls for. Shout out to Jooseand the entire AGO (Astronaut Gang) collective for this one.

SoundCheck | Rah Digga, Tristate, Lyric Jones & more @ The Terrace (Pasadena, CA) Featured Artist

Tamara Renée- The Moon Goddess (official video)

Official video for the title track from singer Tamara Renée's The Moon Goddess album. I fell in love with this young lady's voice while repeatedly listening to the track "Alchemy" (from ShunGu's The Pisces Tape) earlier this year. Directed by Ms Renée herself, the video's intimate, candlelit frames and up-close-and-personal feel matches the tracks deeply spiritual vibe. Respect to Tamara Renée's skill in front of and behind the camera because I cannot stop watching this video.  Enjoy.

Dave East- Black Rose (mixtape)

A brand new mixtape from a new name to me. The mixtape is called Black Rose and it from a young Harlem rhyme spitter by the name of Dave East. From the jump this mixtape goes for the throat as East's uncompromising street-level rhymes shine bright over the project's massive selection of cinematic beats. Loads of epic  beats and rhymes on this one. Standout tracks include the catchy "gotta-stay-winning" anthem "Fuck You Think", the vivid crime life narrative "In Some Shit (pt 1)", and the soulfully infectious track "Around Here".  A dope mixture of sounds make Dave East's Black Rose mixtape a highly recommended addition to your growing summertime playlist.