Lately, some new artists have hit the interwebs who are down right addictive and, if all goes well, they will be giving fans the shakes on a massive level. J. Cole’s “A Dollar and A Dream II” affixes graceful metaphors about the throes of quarter-life insecurity to a generous piano melody that makes a clean break from the ever-ubiquitous synth-hop. Jay-Z scooped the North Carolina MC as the first signee to his newly-formed Roc Nation imprint; a move that makes sense since Cole has the same low-key cleverness that has rendered Hov a mega-bajillionaire. He’s young so his mixtape The Warm Up has the requisite knuckle-headed sneaker and swagger rhymes. But the clean production has the classic brooding sensibility of jazz-sampled hip hop from Slum Village and Little Brother. Tracks like “I Get Up” and “Losing My Balance” are that good good.
In the battle of the protégés, G.O.O.D. Music’s Big Sean is definitely the Kanye to Cole’s Jay-Z. A fellow Midwesterner with a penchant for candy-colored kicks, Big Sean’s UKnowBigSean mixtape is a sundry collection of poppy beats thumping under moments of conspicuous consumption and raw introspection. On “Intro” he concedes it’s his tenacity versus his talent that sets him apart while the obvious have-more name-checks abound on the bouncy single, “Getcha Some.” He’s great because he has a slick, sleek sound that his lyrical capabilities will catch up to soon.
Fresh Daily is the archetypal blog rapper with endearingly lo-fi rhythms, a pale live show and music that only gets better with noisy fan commentary – so let me yap for a sec. His concept mixtape Tomorrow Is Today flutters with airy rhythms and references to space travel, being in space, spaceships and otherwise flaunting his chick-magnet prowess. Geekiness aside, he shines on tracks like “Space Movies” and “Jump” with Jesse Boykins III.
These young MCs show promise and could be getting’ their Wale on by next year. Last year, the DC MC was riding the buzz from a grip of popular mixtapes and now he’s signed to Interscope and performing at tony locales like The Hudson Hotel’s Private Park. Flanked by the gentlemanly Mark Ronson and causing a head-banging ruckus with his conga-thumpin’ band and brash potty mouth, Wale’s ripe sound ripped through the joint and made it clear he arrived. And with their slick sounds these rising lyricists are on their way to sending shockwaves though hotels – and the music game – very soon.