evan froiland

PREMIERE: KennyHoopla - CAVE// (prod. taxpurposes)

It's no secret that KennyHoopla is a favorite of ours. We've covered him a number of times and recently did our first podcast with him. Never has anything he has released sounded like this. 

"I wanted something people could walk to when the sun is out instead of something for when it's dark," he told us. 

And that is just the sort of song this is. Following his dark EP 'Beneath The Willow Tree', this cut totally switches it up. 'CAVE//' is a collaboration with Madison, WI based producer taxpurposes, and likely the first of many between the two. He gave us some words. 

"I made this beat a year ago, but was hoping to find someone I felt would really appreciate the melody in the sample, because that melody speaks to me a lot. At a certain point I almost forgot about it. I knew that he would dig the sample and want to do it justice, on a melodic level as well as a lyrical one. After being in the same creative space as him for like an hour, it was obvious that his sense of melody and his honest lyricism was what I had been wanted to see on it. I put the beat on and within seconds he started singing that hook, and I knew he was gonna take it and do something beautiful.
The sample on here is from 'Ideal World' by Girlpool. They're an indieish, punky duet with sparse arrangements but a lot of emotional depth. I originally found them through a show they did at UW, and I instantly fell in love with the song. I just heard the beat in my head automatically. I love all their songs actually. Shoutout Girlpool. 
Kenny and I are making the music that we hear in our heads, and it's honest and going to resonate with people. We both love melodic, raw and honest, in-your-feelings type music, but we also like rap music that fucking slaps, and as I see it, we are gonna bring the intersection of that." 

Stream below. 




MANWOLVES is a great example of what we're seeing in a lot of young artists and what we love to bring to our to pages... and that is the blending of genres. The 6-man outfit from Evanston, Illinois consisting of vocals, guitar, drums, bass, keyboard and trumpet clearly draws influences from all over the place. This manifests them into an effort you might call 'a hip-hop band'... but you might not.

The recent high school graduates are now committing to music full time. This is an exciting and justified development for sure: the band has racked up many thousands of plays on their November 2014 EP and a number of other singles. They've also been playing at some of Chicago's most notable venues (namely The House of Blues). 

'8:38' is their latest release, a single that shows a lot of what they can do and who they are. "We don't even really look back, we ain't trying to think about the past" is damn right. Keep an eye on MANWOLVES as they look to make big steps forward in the next year. Stream below. 


Lil Wayne is one of the greatest influences on modern hip-hop, if not the greatest. The past couple months have been definite cause for concern for Weezy fans, including suffering a seizure on the flight home after playing a show in Milwaukee on June 12th. 

Additionally, this early September tweet caused a lot of speculation over Wayne's retirement, but he has since dismissed it. He performed at Chance the Rapper's 'Magnificent Coloring Day' festival in Chicago this past weekend. 

This all brings us to the point. It's Wayne's birthday. He's 34. He deserves to be honored. So Minneapolis rapper CRASHprez did just that. You read that right; after growing up in Maryland and living in Madison, WI for the last five years, CRASH is now a Minneapolis resident. 'DMC JR.' is just his second single since last year's November release of his album, 'More Perfect'. 

"Wayne is one of the reasons that I rap. I saw him perform [at Magnificent Coloring Day] last weekend and lost my fucking mind. I saw how everyone else did too. It was transcendental, indeed. I felt like it was a religious experience or something. I just wanna let the people, and the OG's like him, know that rap never went nowhere. I'm still here. Me and the people I'm proud to call the squad, we still here. I still love rapping my fucking ass off. I have Wayne to thank for that." 

For those in Madison, be sure to turn out for CRASH as he makes a temporary return this Friday (9/30), playing a show at Memorial Union Terrace. 9 PM, free, along with Trophy Dad and Zhalarina

Siren - Priestess

If you've recently been to shows in Milwaukee, odds are that you've seen Siren (of New Age Narcissism) rock the stage at least once. The remarkable vocalist has played a seemingly infinite number of shows around the area in the past year, building a following through her dynamic live performance. In fact, it's probably more likely that you've seen her perform than heard her music on the web. July 2015's 'Queen Medusa' has been her only solo release - until now. So this is pretty exciting. 

'Priestess' is a return for more than one seemingly missing artist, with production from Mic Kellogg. The Milwaukee hip-hop favorite hasn't dropped anything since being a part of 4 releases between March and May. You could call his production here many things; cinematic, atmospheric, epic, the perfect backdrop for an empowering anthem. As Siren tells These Days, 'Priestess' is about demanding respect and equality [for women], and draws from inspirations from songs like Kanye's 'I Am A God'. If a man can go on record telling everyone that he should be worshipped, so can a woman. 

Stream below, and be sure to keep close tabs on Siren - an EP is on the way. 

KennyHoopla (ft. Bray Costello) - WHERE DID YOU GO??// (Prod. DRK$PRK)

"I promised myself I would do something with the art of music before I turn 20 in July. I always felt like I had some sort of vision for it but I never trusted it."

This is a quote from KennyHoopla after dropping his first ever song in early June, IDWNP (which is now nearing 10K plays). He's been hard at work since then, really developing his own style that can be heard through 'IDWNP', July's 'iPhone 4', and now his new release, 'WHERE DID YOU GO??//". Kenny is making simply picking up music seem easy as he perfects the craft of making songs that have a distinct mood and feeling. The Madison artist almost constantly stays at a stylistic crossroads between rapping and singing. With a little vocal help from his friend and fellow Wisconsin artist Bray Costello, and production from DRK$PRK, 'WHERE DID YOU GO??//' is another great release as Kenny prepares to release an EP later this year. 



Lucien Parker - Broken Records (Prod. The Rxsing)

When we featured Lucien Parker in July, one thing was clear; the Minneapolis/Madison MC is inevitably and indefinitely going to be continuously one-upping himself. 'Broken Records' is his first single since the release of 'Black Sheep', and it's a reassurance of this notion in a big way. As Parker mentioned in our interview, he's doing a lot more singing, and his progression as a vocalist and songwriter jumps off the page with this The Rxsing-produced cut. Stream below. 



oddCouple - Blinded (ft. WebsterX & Mick Jenkins)

You may remember us running our 'Top 25 SoundCloud Hip-Hop Projects of 2015' at the end of 2015. Milwaukee native and Chicago resident producer oddCouple's 'Chatterbox' took the 12th spot; a cohesively produced and tastefully featured debut album released via Closed Sessions. He's had a hell of a year since, producing on highly successful albums from Jamilia WoodsKweku Collins and Joey Purp. Now, he's working on getting ready to release his new album, 'Liberation'. Today he released the first single.

'Blinded' is a coming together of 3 artists at exciting points in their career - ready to put new music into the world. oddCouple has 'Liberations'; no date, but it's expected soon. WebsterX hasn't announced anything just yet, but he has heavily hinted at something special coming later this year. Mick Jenkins has an album on the way September 23rd, 'The Healing Component', which he's touring for with Smino shortly after. 

The song's "flowetry" is influenced by an array of musical styles, compiling R&B roots and dreamy glo-fi with fluidity. It melts together experimental beats with heavy synths, snares and a chillwave backdrop. oddCouple's production is a liquid compliment to Mick and Webster's distinct flows. They lead the song from the slow and steady chorus with occasional progressions to a larger, amped, and more familiar style. 

Upon listening, it's no wonder these Midwest cats are at such exciting points; 'Blinded' bangs. Stream below. 

Kane - Bright Side Of Madness / The Influence

August 16, 2016: On his 18th birthday, Kane releases his second ever project - both coming in the span of just over a month, which makes us wonder if his Future-esque rate of work will continue. This takes nothing away from the quality of work: both 'The Influence' and Bright Side of Madness (BSOM)' offer a unique range of style of sound.

The Influence

Not the project that we were expecting to hear from Kane. After a slew of singles rapping over relatively traditional beats, Kane pulls something totally out of left field for his first ever project; a live band. 'The Influence' has a distinct feeling throughout created by guitars, basses, synths, real drums, and of course, Kane. He rides through the instrumentation with ease on this self-proclaimed 'Alternative Rock' album. 

Bright Side Of Madness

The project that we were expecting to hear from Kane; his debut full-length, produced entirely by LeanBeatz. Neither the production nor the raps can be undersold, and the play between the two is perfection. It's clear that these two have worked together a lot, and they've come up with something in order to mesmerize you. 

With two awesome and entirely differing projects released not a day past his 18th birthday, Kane is sitting pretty.

Bien Bien - She Grooves Me / Whereabouts

Bien Bien is a 3 man Madison, WI outfit self-described as 'a little groove, a little indie rock, a little hip hop, a little soul, a little jazz, a little bien bien'. That's pretty apt, we would say. The group has played countless shows over the past year without releasing any music, and they just dropped their first two singles at the end of July. It's no wonder that they've done well on the show-front upon listening. Both tracks highlight their wide range of influences, with a definite emphasis on groove. 'She Grooves Me' is an absolute jam (with vocals) that doesn't deserve to be genre'd; 'Whereabouts' is an instrumental track that's super easy listening. Groove below, and catch Bien Bien at their next show, August 28th at High Noon Saloon. 

Bear In the Forest - Fickle Young Mind (EP)

19 year-old guitar player and vocalist Bear In the Forest has a unique style that is often put into the boxes of folk and singer/songwriter. Truly, Bear's style is much broader than any one box. This is clear on his first ever project, an EP entitled 'Fickle Young Mind', which released earlier this week. Influences from all across the musical spectrum are audible as Bear creates his own sound. The 'songwriter' notion is apt, with well-crafted song structures throughout, despite five of the EP's six tracks being at least 5 minutes long. 

In this introductory project, Bear does a great job of capturing the youth angst that he experiences himself and observes all around him. It definitely has us wanting more. 

Stream 'Fickle Young Mind' on SoundCloud and Bandcamp, or download it on Bandcamp. 

Additionally, catch Bear live in Madison, WI at High Noon Saloon with Lucien Parker, Bien Bien, and Son! on August 28th. 

Ju, bleeklino, Yomí, Melo Makes Music - Sleeping

Through the efforts of neonpajamas, 7 Chicago artists found themselves all in the same room (Jaro's studio) recently, with the goal of making a song. And they did. What a successful smörgåsbord of sound it is. Vocals come from Ju, bleeklino, Yomí, and Melo Makes Music. Production comes from Jaro and Boathouse. Additional instrumentation comes from Mormimoto (synths), bleeklino (guitar), and Yomí (harp). Together, they created 'Sleeping'. It's a seemingly well-planned track despite its spontaneousness that takes you through different styles of vocalists and patterns and melodies of instrumentation: all in all, a must listen. Check it out. 



Mvleeek - Oh My

"These last few months I've been experimenting with creating many beats and trying to progress in production." 

This is a quote Mvleeek gave us this February as he released one of his first mixes. It clearly rings true with his release of 'Oh My' yesterday, an instrumental track that showcases his progression as a producer. It's a slow, laid-back beat, the type of thing you might put on and just close your eyes for a couple of minutes. Listen. 

Vic Mensa & Joey Purp - 773 Freestyle

773: Chicago. 23 year-old Vic Mensa and 22 year-old Joey Purp, some of the biggest faces of the Chicago-based hip-hop collective SAVEMONEY, just dropped a heater. Both have recently dropped their own projects, Joey with 'iiiDrops' and Vic with 'There's Alot Going On'. Two of the best rap projects to come out this summer and even this year. The two recently appeared on Sway In The Morning and spit a ridiculous [written] freestyle that they then performed at Lollapalooza.

Today they are sending it out into the world. The flowing off on each other on here is impeccable. Listen. 

Noname - Telefone

Chicago's Noname has made a big name for herself over the past couple years. Despite never releasing her own project, and singles even being few and far between. Features with the likes of Chance The Rapper, Mick Jenkins, Kirk Knight and more have given her some light and it's been clear for a while that she's been going to be a key part of the hugely talented group of positive artists in Chicago. 

This past Sunday, Noname dropped her first ever mixtape 'Telefone' and it looks to be one of the year's best projects. Between the dreamy production style of the project, Noname's soothing voice, intricate rhymes, beautiful melodies and a handful of well-placed features - it's 33 minutes of music that's extremely easy listening. Dive in. 



The FREESPACE Playlist

We've never been shy about how inspired we are by the movement of #FREESPACE, so we made a playlist just to show it. The FREESPACE Playlist features tracks from each and every artist to ever play a FREESPACE Showcase (with the exception of those without work on SoundCloud). The purpose of these events is to expose Milwaukee's youth to Milwaukee-based art and to provide them with the opportunity to appreciate that art with community members (artists, educators, peers, etc.) in a space safe for free-thinking and dialogue. As more FREESPACE Showcases continue to happen, this playlist will be updated over time.

If this isn't a convincing way to speak for the talented youth in our city, we don't know what is. Listen. 


PREMIERE: water.lo - H2LO EP

water.lo's cleverly titled 'H2LO' EP is finally here. The 17-year-old producer/vocalist/designer is constantly throwing beats on SoundCloud with his phone number and e-mail right there; a hilarious yet super respectable way of getting himself out there. Throughout the summer, the jams that he's been putting out have been appropriately seasonal: vibes perfect for summer. And this is exactly what H2LO is. The 6-track EP, fully produced by water.lo, is full of bright upbeat production and simple harmonies.  It's definitely something to ride to. Beyond peeping 'H2LO', be most certain to check out water.lo's whole catalog and pay good attention to him going forward. 

riQo - COME UP


Of all of the young Emcee's a part of the movement, it's definitely time that riQo get some more love. While often stylistically 'trappy', his bars are consistently three levels ahead of the next guy. His latest is 'COME UP', "just something to tie everyone over before the tape drops". It's a great showcase of why you should be excited for 'thelayoff', his mixtape set to drop within the next two or three weeks. Stream below. 



PREMIERE: Kyndal J. (ft. CAMB) - Queen (Prod. Hakeem Paragon)

Today, we are premiering a new track from some of our favorite artists, Kyndal J. and CAMB. And, of course, with production from one of Milwaukee's most respected producers, Hakeem Paragon.  

"Queen" is a song about family, love and the beauty of raising a daughter. It explores the desires she has for her future self as a mother and for the woman she will raise. 

"Queen is a reflection piece," Kyndal told us. "It represents who I am today and who my daughter will be in the future. I want her to know that she is loved and that she is worth it. She is royalty! Her parents will love her and want the best for her and will lay down their life for her! With the love and knowledge that her parents give her, she will grow up to be strong and confident in herself! Knowing her worth and believing in her purpose. I asked CAMB to join me on this song because he had just found out he was going to be a father. I felt like writing and recording this song with him would add depth of truth and that I haven't experienced yet." 

"Queen holds a special place in my heart," CAMB added. "I wrote my verse a little after I found out I was going to have my daughter so it holds extra meaning. Everything Kyndal talked about in the song makes the whole message even better because it embodies everything a parent should want for their child. All in all, it's just a beautiful record to me." 

In addition, Kyndal J. teases an EP with this track. "This song will be part of an upcoming EP. This entire EP is songs that I wrote in moments of reflection. This project represents the newfound freedom I found in my art and personal life. The project does not have a title yet but it will be released in the next few months. So keep your eyes open!"

Need we say more? Enjoy. 



CAMB - Anti-Social (Pt. II)

It's -almost- exciting that a talent such as CAMB could possibly be overlooked, simply because of the growing wealth of talent of his peers surrounding him. However, that possibility is diminishing by the day as he preps the release of his forthcoming project, "Ain't I Social?". As a teaser, he released 'Anti-Social (Pt. II)' this past Saturday. As you'd probably expect, it's a follow up, coming almost a year after a previous track, 'Anti-Social'. This track is a perfect showcase of CAMB's unique melodic style, as well as his tendency to really put a heartfelt piece of himself on each track. Be sure to click around CAMB's SoundCloud and be on the look out for "Ain't I Social?".