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  • Jameel Na'im X - 2 Birds 1 Stone New Orleans artist Jameel Na'im X (JNX) drops off his first project of 2021, 2 Birds 1 Stone. The entire project is self-produced without any guest features. JNX gives soulful and intuitive bars about himself, the world he perceives and his plight to higher degrees throughout 2 Birds 1 Stone. JNX's humbleness is apparent but so is his ambition to claim/achieve/attain/obtain what is his and the higher being he is becoming. Without question, JNX is one of the most consistent and competent in Hip Hop. What makes him special (in my opinion,) is he does it all on his own time. It's not a matter of releasing when the majority are or when the industry says you should. I appreciate that he always allows his music and work ethic to speak for itself. A line that caught me on "Nancy Kerrigan" was, "I'm like AI crossin' MJ in '97/ what would I do if I was in his shoes, no question" In one line JNX gives commentary on the a historical NBA moment among 2 of the best players while also stating he would do the same as AI in reference to his literal shoe through Reebok. This is just one of the many dope lines that could be broken down into more. So many metaphors, similes and really intentional lyrics I could highlight, but I listened to 2 Birds 1 Stone 10+ times in entirety and found new wit, flow and multiple meanings of different lyrics. The bars are never-ending. Alongside diverse lyrics, flow and content JNX also gives a variety of sound through his production. 2 Birds 1 Stone is an album you don't want to miss but to even get further context of the artist be sure to check out his earlier releases too. Precise, practiced, determined.

  • Coach Tev x Pat Ron - Shut Up & Rap

    Dallas artists Pat Ron and Coach Tev team up for their collaborative EP, Shut Up & Rap. Straight RAPS, like real raps with flow, diction, content, confidence, competitive demeanor and progressive intent. Storytellers, but they're athletes with it, almost like they're playing 2v2 basketball. Both their crafts individually are amazing, but together the game is incredible from assists, individual plays and putting on for their home city. Athletic raps, if you will. Whole tape feels like behind the back passes & alley-oops - like watching an AND1 game but you're listening to two artists express it as rap, rapletes. All the tracks on the EP are hybrids of sorts too, they hold/create a space where the chill and smooth delivery of their raps does not alter the the height of the energy expressed in each song. In all honesty, this EP is FULL of bars, wit and memorable lyrics. I'll highlight a few below from the beginning of Shut Up & Rap but the best ones you'll find when you listen to it in entirety. One of my favorite lines by Pat Ron in the initial song, "When In Rome," "The juice, the sauce, the drip... whatever you call it/ these niggas do not be on shit they just wanna be seen, these niggas ain't artists" And if we're still thinking in terms of basketball "When In Rome" serves as the 3-pointer off dribble after tip-off - an obvious moment that boosts team morale. Then Coach Tev makes a huge contribution on the song, "Shut Up & Rap," "I ain't buddying up with niggas, that shit overplayed/ I've been skipping out on group projects since like the 7th grade/ rap God veteran, coaching and I know the game/ I can tell your future shit ain't fuckin' with my throwaways" Shut Up & Rap has no fillers every song is intentional and concise, although my favorite is "B Roll." Pat Ron's delivery in "B Roll" is reminiscent of the puncturing tone of rappers in South Central in the '90s - precise, intentional with a commanding tone and a story to tell. And when it comes to the the way Coach Tev delivers his raps - I always envision him in the Wild Wild West and just every time he draws his gun he's just slinging words, phrases, wit that are deadlier and more precise than a bullet. Shut Up & Rap is an amazing project that I'm sure I'll be spinning for the rest of the year and beyond. If you get a chance to listen give it a spin too!

  • Seafood Sam - Rocco's World

    Long Beach artist Seafood Sam is back with his latest release, Rocco's World. The album is an embodiment of what Seafood claims in the intro, "some old player shit," and with any real player shit you can expect truth, motivation, wit and luxury delivered in the flyest of forms. Out the gate, Seafood Sam sets the tone in the intro track, "Cuban Linx" purely off his line, "I"m so North I should get a tattoo of Sansa/ you gotta learn how to play it smooth & conquer." The smoothness is also apparent in the use of the sample of "Fuck My Car" by UGK on the song, "Lil Boy, Old Soul." While the infamous line loops in the background Seafood Sam touches on everything from family, women and the integrity of his soul and craft. Seafood Sam also has lines that further aligns/affiliates him geographically like in the song "Apple Eve" where he shouts out other Long Beach artist Joey Fatts & his business/label "Cutthroat." "Better than most, the black sheep turned to goat/ word to Joey I'mma cut me a throat & that's on Northside, double up if you short 5." This is a project without any skips and at any point of any song there is a poignant line that I could highlight but it's best y'all just give it a listen for yourself. Rocco's World includes production from MelloMatt, NiceGuyXVinny, Cam The Chef & Damablanca and features artists Huey Briss and Rae Khalil. Rocco's World is for sunny days or times you need motivation and beautiful production. Every track is a scene from the day2day of Seafood Sam chasin' and conquering his dreams. If you play this around your uncles, aunts, moms, dads, cousins, grandparents - the whole family gonna be groovin' to it. If you play this around your friends or your significant others - they gonna be groovin' to it. If you play it to yourself - you'll be groovin' to it. The beauty and positive energy of Rocco's World is undeniable.

  • NappyHIGH - Yellow Y'all already know the first spin of April went to Yellow by NappyHIGH. Coming off his January release, Villains, Yellow ain't nothing shy of phenomenal either. NappyHIGH has an ability to put listeners in a space/time that feels like sunlight and makes you wonder if you're listening to red light music, blue light music, Hip Hop or soul - it's a fusion of them ALL+. There are songs like "ILY" & "Just For The Moment" that may have you slow dancin' in the kitchen with your sweet thang. Or a song like, "The Get Down" that's feels like you're at a kickback with the homies with blunts and brews. Additionally, purely instrumental tracks like, "Call Me" & "Let Go \ OneForMe" puts you in the mind state of crusin' beachside in the evening in L.A. or Miami. If you're lookin' for quality soulful music that goes beyond and fuses many musical genres this is the album. The album features RnB/Soul & Hip Hop artists such as: Devin Morrison, Iman Omari, ihateyouALX, Blu, Memnoc & Maggie Kiing. A contemporary symphony of a synchronized RnB/Soul/Hip Hop fusion with a sultry essence.

  • CROWNTHEM Newsletter | Issue 6, Vol. 1




    Hailing from Chicago, Pete (formerly known as Acr0bat) is a producer that I was unfamiliar with until I heard Jimmy Golden's recent album, "At Heaven's Gate." After receiving the album about a month before it was released I became more familiar with Pete's transitions and the ways he bends and morphs genre. Many times throughout listening to, "At Heaven's Gate," Pete changes pace and creates a sound that is at times "galactic chill." He's one of the producers I've grown to appreciate especially with his versatility within and outside of various genres. When did you start producing? What inspired you? What continues to inspire your sound? Pete: I've been producing for 13 years now. I started when I was 13. I'm inspired by a few things but primarily just creating new sounds and pushing boundaries. I've always been motivated by this. Of course I want to make songs and beats that people like but honestly what inspires me most is creating something new. But most of all, and this will sound cliche, I have a serious urge to create, and music is a perfect platform. I I get to express my feelings through song, you know? If I'm feeling hype, I'm going to make somee hype shit. If I'm feeling mellow, I can show that. On top of that, I had some inspirations to start producing, mostly Hudson Mohawke. But I've had other inspirations throughout the years like Knxwledge, Monte Booker, FlyLo and Iman Omari. What is your working style? Pete: Oh man. I think my working style is aggressive. Just get after in. Once I'm in it...I'm in it. I rarely work on beats for a couple minutes or an hour at a time. I get really locked in and work for hours. When I'm working on beats for the gang I usually finish all those beats within the same session. Sometimes it's 3 hours, sometimes it's 7, but time flies by when I'm working. I really enjoy getting locked in. When I'm working on like actual songs, that's when I get a little more strategic since it's a bit more a process sometimes. I still work on large chunks at a time but on different sections. I know artists can be sensitive about their art - how do you go about changes and rearrangements to artist's songs or projects? Pete: When I'm producing for someone, my number one priority is to make sure they like it and feel comfortable with it. How can you make something good if the artist isn't comfortable with something? As a producer, I think it's important to be flexible. Of course, I'm going to bring new ideas to the table, but if an artist doesn't like something, then I'll hear them out. It's a joint effort. That's one of the reasons Jimmy Golden and I mesh well. We accept each other's ideas. Oh, you think I wasn't going to give Jimmy a shout? Shout out Jimmy. What are some of your favorite projects you were a part of this year? Pete: See above. At Heaven's Gates was insane to work on. I'd just send Jimmy new beats everyday and he'd be like, "I'm hearing the words 'x' over the beat." Then he would go to the studio and deliver that exact idea over the beat. That dude heard the song when I sent him a beat. It was done before he started. I also had a few other projects drop this year. The first was before covid hit called, The Way Home. It's a bit more experimental but I worked with two other Chicago guys on that, MFnMelo and Kobe Jxrdan. Both of those dudes have way too much game. Kobe is like a brother to me. I've known him for years now and we've made some really cool stuff together. Lastly, I had a track drop, called Beef Dipped, a few weeks ago with another Chicago rapper, Judy. Bro... Judy is a certifire crazy person. I send him beats daily. DAILY. And he goes and records within a day. The funny part about that though is he always records early in the morning. Like 3AM. I'll wake up with a text from Judy at 4:30 telling me the song was done. Should we expect any new projects in the near future? Pete: I would expect yes. Multiple things actually. I'm working on a project with J tha III. He has some insane lyricism. Just next level. I have a few songs with an artist named Yoko Chanel. His hooks are just ridiculous. Go listen to Chanel Blue right. Thirdly, Judy and I have a tape. Lastly, and what I'm most excited about, is the project I'm working on. I'm producing each track and there will be a different artist on each track. A producer tape of sorts. I can tell you that everyone I listed above is involved along with a few other producer features. We also have some other guests including William Prize and Bari and a few others. Keep an eye out. At Heaven's Gate


    December 11th, you got something major going on? ADV: So yea, December 11th Bando Beatz, a company I’m a part owner of, is hosting Atlanta’s first official beat auction, hosted by Skygod Spence. The auction will be live streamed on IG, Twitch and Clubhouse. Originally it was supposed to be an in person event, but due to COVID we decided to make it virtual to protect our team and all the producers involved. Taking precaution is beneficial. I think this is a really dope idea. Who are all the producers that will be auctioning off beats? ADV: The producers are Losif Stalin, SK808, Wavy Wallace, MTRSPRT, and Popstar Benny are the producers for the first one. In the future we plan on having more than 5 producers and the list will have a few more big names along with ones who are on the come up. What is/was your inspiration for the beat auction? How did the idea begin? ADV: I came up with this idea in 2016 after winning a few beat battles/showcases and not feeling fulfilled all the way. I felt like the interaction between the artists and producers during the events could have been more streamlined to make real connections. What are your goals for the beat auction? ADV: I think my goal for the auction is to break the barriers between bigger name artists/producers and underground artist/producers. For ex: A up and coming artist would have a chance to get a Sonny Digital beat or and up and coming producer could sell a beat to an artist like 6lack. But I think overall I just wanted to create an environment void of politics. How has it been challenging? ADV: The biggest challenge at first was finding a venue. But we ended up getting a commercial space this year so that made it much easier. Also with COVID it made it easier to make the auction virtual since Versus has been successful and with the invention of Clubhouse it’s also easier to connect people without certain barriers. I watched your interview w/ Skygod Spence (who is hosting the show) and he mentioned you were primarily a producer and now you're moving into a different version of your art. Can you tell me a little about that? And your new album, "I'll Be Ready"? ADV: So, what we were talking about in that part of the interview was the fact that people are just now seeing my artistry but I’ve been singing, rapping ect since I started producing. I was in a group in high school and had hella different names, I’ve released 6 projects minus my recent one. My first solo album was meditation album in 2014 lol I had so many different version of my sound and I didn’t really have it in a form that made it digestible for listeners. I just found the balance of all of what I do on this last album, thus where the name came from. It’s really the part two of the series “When I Feel Like It, I'll Be Ready”. I dropped the first part of that in 2019 and it’s the start to me figuring “it” out. This is all sounding like you're at a beautiful place in developing and expressing your artistry. After the beat auction is there more we should expect? ADV: And I appreciate it! For the last quarter of this year and first quarter next year, I’ll be releasing a few videos from “I’ll Be Ready” and executive producing a few albums coming out of Bando Beatz. My next album isn’t coming until 2022. Anything else you'd like to say to those reading? ADV: The only thing else I want to tell people is to focus on their own peace and happiness in these times. Shit crazy! photography: eastside.bizz I'll Be Ready


    photography: Destin J Bryant You're a new artist to me. After I became more active on my Twitter account I came across you in April around the time you dropped Jahshua. Since then, I've seen you drop another album and get a clothing line going. Where is your inspiration coming from? King Jahsh: Honestly, my inspiration comes from whatever I’m going through in real life. I tend to make music about my life, or how I feel about things that are going on in my life in hopes that people that are going through the same things as me can make a legit connection. How challenging has it been to get to this point? What lessons have you learned that help move you forward? King Jahsh: It’s been overwhelmingly challenging to get to this point honestly. I’ve never gotten any type of handouts, opportunities, or “Looks” and honestly it’s been very hard the last year. I think quality is very important but it’s also not cheap. I don’t believe in putting out anything that isn’t quality and honestly that’s why it’s been so hard because I come out of pocket for for literally everything I do. Jahshua & Julius. Two really dope albums. For me, Jahshua felt more intimate with interpersonal emotions and experiences tied to them while Julius had those aspects but was more of a declaration of you and the path you're forging. What do these 2 albums mean to you? King Jahsh: Jahshua was definitely more intimate. Jahshua took YEARS to come together and I wrote almost all the songs to Julius within the span of 2 hours! I literally said, “I want to drop a project in July and name it Julius.” And within the next few hours it was written and ready to go. There were two references that I want to know more about. In "God Body" off you most recent album, Julius you state, "this an ankh ain't no Jesus Piece" and also in your song, "Space" off your previous album, Jahshua, you stated, "used to live by the cross now I live by the ankh." There's a signaling of elevation in both these statements. Can you tell me more about it? King Jahsh: So I grew up in a pretty strict Christian household. My Mom is a pastor and my Dad was the minister of music. There were a lot of random things about Christianity that I questioned that seemed like they should have answers but no one had answers for me. Such as, “Why do we say amen when we end our prayers?” or “Why are prayers always answered when you fast?” These 2 questions alone led me down a different spiritual path. I found the answers to most of my questions. Do you feel as though you found growth between projects? King Jahsh: I do feel like I find some growth between all my projects. Especially when it comes to the engagements on like social media. Music wise I also feel like I progress a bit between drops. In the last song, "Sometimes" off Julius it sounds like you're going to be taking a break from rapping? King Jahsh: Yes, that is true. I don’t know for how long though. It could be a few more weeks, it could be a few more, it could be a few more months I’m not sure. But, when I release again, I will be comfortable releasing. You also have a clothing line, KÖNIG. What does the brand represent to you? And what made you choose to use a German word? King Jahsh: The brand is honestly everything to me right now. It saved my life before it was even established! It still isn’t where I want it but we are getting there. I brainstormed for a really long time. So many name ideas that i liked and didn’t like for weeks. The clothes were already made but I had no name. Then one day I was in the store getting ice cream with Dani (featured on “FREE”) and I liked how the A in Hägen looked. In that moment I remembered the word King in German had the Ö and once I drew it on paper I knew that was it. That was the brand. What are some of your aspirations with KÖNIG? King Jahsh: I want KÖNIG to be global. Local people try to put everything you do in a local box but I believe everything’s I do is meant to be global. It meant the world to me when the 1st ever customer I had was someone I didn’t know that lived in Atlanta. That ended up being you haha. But I want everyone to be able to rock affordable designer clothing. Once it’s a bit more successful, I plan to drop some pieces for Women and Kids. I got some FIRE for the ladies! Julius Jahshua

  • CROWNTHEM Newsletter | Issue 5, Vol. 1


  • ihateyouALX INTERVIEW

  • It Ain't Safe Outside by Propain

    Southside Houstonian Propain dropped off his album, It Ain't Safe Outside at the top of February. Since the album has released I play it through at least every other day. It Ain't Safe Outside is nothing short of a collection of stories, observations, thoughts and feelings directly from the soul of Propain. He thoroughly paints pictures with each bar, chorus, feature and sample. The album also connects some of the legends of Houston Hip Hop and it's contemporaries such as: Z-Ro, Sauce Walka, Lil Keke, Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Lil' Flip, Big Pokey, Big Jade, Peso Peso & more. The album's production is handled by XO, Liljunemadedabeat & more. Production wise the album uses enough samples for the listener to find familiarity but also uses them in a way that it becomes it's own entity (s/o the creativity of Houston producers.) Propain is able to emit an energy that represents an undying love, care and support for his city. Throughout It Ain't The Same, Propain is emotes love, grief, faith, pain and anger. The aspect that continually has me revisiting the album is Propain's vulnerability and willingness to share them with his fans, supports, listeners. There's a courage that comes from speaking truth and staying true and authentic to one's soul. It was difficult to choose favorite songs from It Ain't Safe Outside simply because the entire project sounds/feels so concise and coherent. From dribble, the album's opening track, "It Ain't Safe Outside" featuring Z-Ro has news clips and clip from Dave Chappelle's special where he mentions George Floyd. Already with the tone set, Propain dives into his thoughts about the state of the world from Corona Virus to police brutality. "We don't get no therapy we just walk around like nothing fazed, just another day" The next song, "Mama's Eyez" is told through Propain, but through what he imagines his Mama has seen. The track highlights how black death, poverty, gentrification and a variety of struggles traumatize us. Still very heartfelt, "Heart To Heart" serves as a reflection/vent for Propain and the weight that he often carries on his mind and shoulders. In this song we hear a lot of his inner most thoughts and feelings. "I've been righteous all my life and all I got were scars" "Championship Game" is used as a song to transition the album into a faster pace; he's talkin' his shit in this song. After Propain pops his shit a bit the album moves into "H-Town" featuring Sauce Walka. The track has very soulful production that uses a sample that sounds familiar to "I Ain't Made At Cha" by Tupac Shakur. A beautiful song where both artists pay homage to their city while also recognizing their own individual impact. It Ain't Safe Outside shifts into the song, "Saturday Night Freestyle" that shows more versatility from Propain. The song is full of different rhyme schemes, pace increase, really spittin' - the type of song you'd put up against some grimey ass NY rappers. My favorite words from the song: "But my niggas we gotta switch the direction. Your baby mama birthed your child and that's your biggest blessin'. Regardless of y'all's status, even if you not together, if you don't do nothin' else you gotta respect her" After the freestyle, "Ashley Banks" gives a sweeter tone, a true love song. I appreciate this song a lot because we're hearing about romantic love and shows another level of vulnerability from Propain. There's a Trillville, "Some Cut" sample tucked in (at least the bed squeaking aspect.) The next track, "Freak" featuring Big Jade is a great song especially with the added Adina Howard sample. My only concern with this song is I'm noticing a pattern of only putting fire ass lady rappers on songs that have them expressing sexual tendencies. I want to hear lady rappers rap about more than their sexuality especially on an album that touches on much more than that. Propain then turns the energy up with Peso Peso on "Rap Life" where they both give braggadocios raps. Production is hard af. "So it seems fame is stronger than that crack pipe/ these hoes will sell their soul and do whatever for some app likes/ these niggas breakin' all their street codes just for that rap life/ they rather look like money than really get their sack right" After the "conscious" turn up, Propain guides us to one of the first singles from the album, "Kill Me" featuring OTB Fastlane. This track touches on the frustrations of the many threats facing a young black man and/or boy. A memorable moment from the song is how he speaks on a friend who was locked up and how that will affect his daughter and where she will be when he's released. Another soulful song with poignant lyrics and beautiful trap spirituals from OTB Fastlane. The last two songs of It Ain't Safe Outside are, "Underdawg" and "Way Too Fly." A perfect ending the album simply because in "Underdawg" he's literally talkin' about what the title concludes, the struggle of the underdawg but still demanding respect and acknowledgement. Then the album finishes with "Way Too Fly" where Propain enlists Houston legends: Lil Keke, Slim Thug, Z-Ro, Paul Wall, Big Pokey & Lil' Flip. Good luck finding your favorite verse from the song! Overall, Propain delivered one of my favorite albums this year yet. It Ain't Safe Outside highlights all the different factors that make outside "unsafe" but at the same time represents that it ain't ever been safe for black people "outside." A very vulnerable album that speaks on black plight, respecting your baby mama, money management, staying true to your Self, where you from/how you represent and most importantly, beware of the snakes! Listen here.

  • CROWNTHEM Newsletter | Vol. 1, Issue 4



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