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May Music Roundup: 3 Hip Hop Songs Worth Listening to on Bandcamp

Quelle Chris, Blue & Exile and 14KT laid down choice tracks in May.

Ryan Feyre

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Quelle Chris – “Spray and Pray”

On “Spray and Pray,” a single off of that album, Chris highlights the hardships a young kid faces in the mean streets of Detroit (“We load up, lift, and shoot/Nothing much else to do”), over a menacingly laid back beat (what a juxtaposition!). Chris’s baritone voice and potent songwriting will surely resonate with diehard rap fans looking for something outside the norm.

Quelle Chris has quietly lived behind the glitz and glamour of mainstream trap rap: having released 15 solo albums over a span of eight years (and with seemingly no one knowing about them). Only recently has he experienced widespread critical acclaim with the release of Guns in April.

Blue & Exile – “True & Livin”

Blue (rapper) & Exile (producer) are originally from Los Angeles, CA, but their sound is reminiscent of the New York hip hop glory days. On “True & Livin,” Exile summons his inner Kanye, constructing a gorgeous Gospel sample behind boom-bap drums. The subtle additions of 90s-like scratching establishes the perfect platform for Blue to spit his knowledge.

Blue’s expertise ranges from socially conscious (“We only come in peace to preach about the next coming/The first black president, what if the next is a woman”) to witty (“Open your hearts and let us walk through your mental fortress/Close down your chart soon as we spark cause you consent to forfeit”).

Combine that with a memorable chorus, and you’ve got yourselves a spectacular ode to rap’s heyday. Go check out this song, and the duo’s new EP by the same name on Bandcamp.

14KT – “Down the Street From Peace”

I haven’t heard anything quite like this in hip hop. Michigan rapper/producer 14KT facilitates a five-minute collage of sounds that blend together as perfectly as coffee and sugar. It’s a mix of Tyler, the Creator’s instrumental grandeur with Kanye’s meticulous composition.

“Down the Street From Peace” starts out with a simple drum loop and guitar riff, until eventually evolving into a full-on orchestral performance. The collision of synths and saxophones help illustrate the burden of chaos, and how the hustle and bustle of life can get in the way of peace. The production sounds like a sped-up version of something from Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly.

14KT has the ability to tell a story without lyrics — nwhich is something that’s becoming more and more valuable as we enter the apex of trap rap. Go check out “Down the Street From Peace,” as well as 14KT’s album For My Sanity on Bandcamp.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Ryan is a Communications major student at Salem State University. He’s written for the pop culture websites, The Young Folks and Fansided. Currently, Ryan is working to finish his degree, and in his free time, he enjoys listening to music, going to the movies, and playing basketball.

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