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  • Writer's pictureJameka

Van Buren Records - Bad for Press


Brockton, MA Hip Hop collective Van Buren Records drops off their undeniable underground yet gritty glamourous album, Bad for Press. The album's energy is raw, dope and innovative art in the form of Hip Hop. The 11 member collective consists of: Luke Bar$, SAINT LYOR, Jiles, Lord Felix, Meech, Andrew Regis, Ricky Felix Kiron, RLouie, Mo, and Shelby. The best thing about Bad for Press is each member bringing their own skills and distinctive sounds that complement the group as a whole. With Lord Felix you get this raspy, lower voice that at moments where I can hear it on a Reggae track or Drill track, then Meech who has this lit, hype and he stylin' type flow, Andrew Regis delivers a slower and deeper tone that I could also hear on a Trap track, SAINT LYOR's tone is real rare and chill but he's still coming with fire, Luke Bar$ has a higher pitch tone but it's really jiggy and melodic and you know Ricky Felix & Kiron coming with the versatile and multi-faceted production.

It was similar to a domino effect when finding, Bad for Press by Van Buren Records - I stumbled across Jiles' project, It's Not Much, but It's Mine in July 2020. Automatically I was drawn to his deep, raspy and lowkey commanding voice, lyrical content and production. Few months later Jiles RTs, High End Theory by Ricky Felix - and again, blown away and refreshed by his sound and where I become a little more familiar with Luke Bar$. Few more months later they both show support to Meech's, Barriers of Knowing which ended up being featured in Issue 3, Vol. 1. Even after listening to all 3 projects I had no idea that they were all part of a collective nonetheless, the same one. There's something to be said about "group economics" in the sense of pure resources instead of just money focused. Their support for one another's journeys, their collective journey and their own individual journeys is rare and really inspiring to witness.

Truly, that's what Bad for Press very much feels like - a group of individuals with their own distinctive individual voices and thoughts that are phenomenal alone and phenomenal when they all collab too. From jump, I was drawn to the album purely off the cover art which gives a DIY, punk. innovative art type shit. A group picture that's off-center with the collective's name in graffiti and text underneath that's representative of "who" Van Buren Records is and their perception of the collective in media press form. "VB Interlude" is another place where you will see/hear the collective create their own press/media through a staged interview with Ricky Felix. I found this aspect brilliant, especially for the time we're in where you can really create your own narrative digitally instead of relying on mainstream or corporate media to do it for you. The importance of telling your own story but also having control of questions/answers and the ways in which it is presented. I believe once Bad for Press is circulated more it will become a major influence in how independent artists continue to create ways to tell their stories and present their art in THEIR way.

Be sure to check out the album - Van Buren Records is a force of innovation.


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