Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to post last week’s DOOM release (“True Lightyears”, featuring Jay Electronica) from his Missing Notebook Rhymes series on account of that flute being absolutely unbearable. However, one thing about DOOM is that you can expect something different every time, especially when it comes to production. On the ominously- and aptly-titled “DOOM”, the enigmatic MC links with Alchemist for a record that makes true heads hunger for a DOOM/ALC collaborative project (MAD ALCHEMY? Come on, man. Please.)…because this, though really good, will not be enough.
EYRST Records head and producer Neill Von Tally blesses the boards for a stunning remix of UK duo Equals’ “Old Habits”. While it might not be immediately apparent, the original song is actually about an artist’s addiction to alcohol wrapped up in what could easily be mistaken as a heart wrenching ballad about tripping over an ex. Phenomenal record, phenomenal remix.
Hailing from Portland, Oregon (another one!), 20-year-old Wynne (imagine a young Margo Robbie with bars) surprised me with this incredibly thoughtful and heartfelt rhyme addressing a whole host of issues swirling around our country and its fugazi President. I’m just going to go on record saying that Portland and the surrounding area are churning out soulful, interesting artists by the dozen and you’d be a fool not to be paying attention because Portland is definitely up next. As for Wynne herself, she describes her style as “Kendrick Lamar with a feature from Julie Andrews”…and if that doesn’t pique your interest, I’m not sure what will.
Growing up on the west coast, DJ Clue and Funkmaster Flex’s respective album series were my first introduction to the mixtape format. When I went to DC for college, I began actually collecting the more consistent street tapes by Clue, Kay Slay, Flex, and others. Dj Clue’s The Professional remains an album I hold dear for several performances on it. On “Brown Paper Bag Thoughts”, Raekwon floats over a sinister track while DJ Clue somehow improves the record by screaming incessantly in the background.
As a backup singer, Portland songstress Erika Day lent her vocals to other local artists. On the breezy “Little Sinner” (produced by Palm Dat), we get her first step into the spotlight as her own artist and the result is exceptional.
Music criticism is defined as “the intellectual activity of formulating judgements on the value and degree of excellence of individual works of music, or whole groups or genres”. As a journalist first and critic second, I find that the market for music critics has become heavily oversaturated, as social media has given everyone a platform to speak about any topic they choose with the same assumed authority as a published writer. Even established publications are literally hiring “any geek off the streets” to write about music, so it’s difficult to tell who you should be listening to and who you shouldn’t, but there are a lot of folks who have questioned the relevance of music critics at all in a world where you no longer have to buy albums with no idea what they sound like first.