Cailyn Finkel

J. Cole- Born Sinner

[rating=8.0] Born Sinner may be the strongest album of the summer, despite it still being the start of the season. J Cole simply mesmerized the rap nation with this piece

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Machine Gun Kelly : Rocky Point Cantina, Tempe, AZ 5/3/13

Machine Gun Kelly began his incredibly personal set with “Save Me” a hit off his Lace Up album. The performance seemed to rile the crowd to the point where a member of the audience climbed up on the rafters and was then promptly ejected by an overzealous security guard.  Kelly continued with “What I Do,” featuring Dub-O and Bun B, and held the somber energy throughout the entire song. With lyrics like, “This shit’s too real for ya’ll cause almost everybody rapping isn’t real at all. Sometimes I forget I got a deal cause’ I’m busy thinking about when I couldn’t get a meal at all,” he depicted the struggle he faced before his “come up.”

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2013 Paid Dues Independent Hip Hop Festival: San Manuel Amphitheater, San Bernardino, CA 3/30/13

Though the atmosphere made it hard to listen objectively, especially through the visible marijuana haze and palpable energy, there were some artists whose performances didn’t live up to expectations. Maybe it’s puberty finally setting in, or a lot of vocal editing in the studio, but Joey Bada$$’s voice was much deeper than in his recorded tracks. It was most noticeable in “Waves,” when he began it was hard to believe it was even him. In addition to that unexpected factor, his energy seemed to die of during the second part of his set on the Due’s Paid stage.

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Curren$y: New Jet City

Curren$y hardly fails to impress his fans, and his newest mix tape, New Jet City, is no exclusion. The tape is a compilation of well-produced tracks stressing the fact that he has made it as an artist, and depicting the struggles that accompany the fame. The mix-tape starts off with the title track, a powerful introductory sample, trumpets and an upbeat instrumental background help lift the mood instantly. Although the mix-tape had more features than usual, Curren$y still managed to come out on top and was able to showcase his relaxed flow and catchy lyricism.

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Skiggy Rapz: Satellites

Satellites, Skiggy Rapz’s newest album, showcases the 29 year-old’s fast-paced flow and intriguing and inspirational lyricism. The album, although classified as R&B, came off with a definite frat-rap feel, perfect from the upcoming summer months. Tracks like “Follow”, which features jazzy background instruments, and “Put It On”, which sounds remarkably similar to Macklemore, are fit to be played on a beach with a Corona in hand and neon bathing suits parading around.

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