Lil Wok - Loneworld Soldier

by Ali Shana

Lil Wok’s ten-track ‘Loneworld Soldier’ is like gaining star power while playing Super Mario on a Nintendo 64. The static cadences catch little pockets of air over bright, 808 driven candy-like beats.

Wok says his influences on this tape range from Slipknot to Bon Iver and Adele. This could explain why the mood of the music is sometimes aggressive, other times laid back and a bit gloomy. These lyrical moments compliment the outros to ‘Ex Girlfriend’ and ‘Paid In Full’, which slow into half speed, hazy play outs.

The straight up titled track ‘Lil Wok’ starts off with him saying “I feel like RL Stein or some shit.” This song tastefully uses low and high pitched layers making it a perfect sedated break in the middle of the track list.

While Wok’s previous projects were also bass heavy and full of ad-libs, this project seems more consistent. The young Illnois artist produced a majority of the instrumentals. Even with a number of features, Loneworld Soldier keeps the same magnetic confidence throughout.

The number of talents, instrumentals, vocal effects and voices combine to make a great turn up soundtrack. Stream the project below.

riQothemenace - 'cantgo' & 'bigtyme'

by Ali Shana

riQothemenace’s latest release ‘cantgo’ is an upexpected musical direction for anyone who’s been following the Milwaukee-based artist’s previous catalog. Interestingly enough, though, Riqo says this slower and darker track still isn’t the ideal sound he’s been looking for. “It isn’t the sound, but it’s the rapping sound,” he explains.

Even this sentiment of disconnect towards the song compliments with the lyrical theme. The Milwaukee-based artist speaks on broken homes and emptiness on the song’s slow, sorrowful instrumental. While ‘cantgo’ focuses on emotion, the follow up track ‘bigtyme’ gives more context:

I aint really been good since the start of ‘06/Daddy tried to build a house and they caught em with a brick/Had to realize quick, I’m a son of a bitch/Couldn’t even break it to me when he left on Christmas.

Born in Louisiana, the 22 year old emcee says he’d be making R&B if he could sing to his own standards. Riqo is somewhat of an eclectic, saying he could write for any genre including opera. Since his 2015 mixtape, heavily utilizing production from Kutthrowt and Lean Beatz, Riqo continued to experiment with music. ‘Cantgo’ and ‘bigtyme’ is just our first glimpse of that process.

Of the two new tracks, ‘cantgo’ is much more melodic and drawn out with vocal effects. And while ‘bigtyme’ shares a common bleakness, it still centers around the fact that the artist is trying to make it big time. This may not be the final creative direction for riQothemenace, but the lyrics are genuine and the music slaps. Stream ‘cantgo’ and ‘bigtyme’ below.

DAD - Treehuggin (video)

DAD - Treehuggin (video)

As most of readers know, DAD has been away from his homeland for quite some time at this point. But he will be ending his journey this week, returning for his COMEBACK performance at this year's annual Arte Para Todos festival, the largest local music festival in the city. 

Prepare for his holy return, video below.

Abby Jeanne - Cosmic Beings

By: Stephanie Baghai

Milwaukee crooner Abby Jeanne has had an impressive year, and she shows no sign of slowing down. Fresh off her release earlier this summer, Abby has kept busy with consistent performances, trips abroad, and, now, an unexpected new song, "Cosmic Beings".

The track highlights the artist's musical growth and uses new influences not found in previous works. Cosmic Beings is a fuller, bigger production that uses a rock foundation while incorporating Indian undertones and backings. With a more well-rounded accompaniment, her powerhouse vocals shine through multi-layered elements that elevate her 60's classic sound into a rounchier and fiercer composition. Recorded and mixed with Daniel Holter from Wire & Vice, Abby Jeanne is using her experiences and influences to create consistently impressive works that showcase her growing talents. 

bello x knowsthetime - Rewind

We like the unheard of, the brand new. So naturally, we took to this track which features the vocals of bello, an artist from the Bay area that we will be happily call a silky-smooth soulful singer... and rapper! 'Rewind' is a vibe of a song that's a collaboration with Milwaukee producer and DJ knowsthetime, who provided a mellow, elegant background for bello's vocals. 

There's more purpose to this song than sound; it accompanies bello's release of her film and zine, 'Baraha': "a visual chapbook that follows her relationship with her family, her language, and belonging as a hyphenated identity". Preview the film, pre-order the zine.