Australian Rapper Manu Crooks Levels Up on “Ridin'”
‘mood forever’ is set to drop this summer.
With each passing release, Manu Crooks is establishing himself as the next rapper out of Australia to make international waves. His mood forever release is right around the corner, and the lead-up has been marked by strong singles like “Blowin’ Up” and “Assumptions.” His moody delivery and trap-tinged production reaches new highs on “Ridin’,” which was written and recorded in Crooks’ native Sydney with producers Miracle and DOPAM!NE.
It’s a song that lays out the full range of Crooks’ influences. Raised in Australia and of Ghanaian descent, Crooks has distilled his experiences into something wholly unique. “Hearing the music that was being played even around the house growing up, it instills a certain rhythm in you,” Crooks said. “The whole African culture and sound is embedded deep within, it’s something I can’t really explain but it’s definitely special. Also living in Australia, it’s a very culturally diverse place and being around so many different nationalities is always so inspiring, for life not just music.”
With so much good music steadily coming through, it’s easy to miss some of the best. To help prevent this, we’ve rounded up the best songs from the past week. Here are the songs you can’t afford to skip, in no particular order.
KILLY – “Distance”
Killy had a viral hit on his hands with the hypnotic “Killamonjaro,” and now he’s back with another spaced-out track that looks to replicate that success. One of the things about Killy’s output so far, is that it sounds like his songs are one long hook, and “Distance” is the slickest example of this so far. The production from 100tones is low-key, but it’s definitely a key ingredient to what makes the track so addictive. “Distance” isn’t a flashy track by any means, but Killy sure knows how to leave an impression.—Joe Price
Noisey Beats 1: Fast Life, Twista, Lil Pump and Smokepurpp, and More
Tune into episode 103 of Noisey Radio on Beats 1 this Saturday at 9 AM EST/6 AM PST and Sunday 9 PM EST/ 6 PM PST.
This week on Noisey Radio, we sit down with two of the most buzzing rappers in underground hip-hop, the unruly duo of Lil Pump and Smokepurpp. Then we catch up with Atlanta’s Fast Life who drops world premieres from his highly anticipated new EP, Fast Life Society Vol 1. Plus, don’t miss a check in with Chicago legend Twista.
T2 Ghetto Hippie feat. Maxo Kream *World Premiere*
D Flowers – Fell In Luv *World Premiere*
Twista – Happy Days feat. Supa Bwe
Fast Life – “Rolex State of Mind”
Bangladesh – “After Party (feat. Alley Boy, Future, Fast Life, CyHi The Prynce)”
Lil Wayne – “A Milli”
Yvng God – “Eye Pray (feat. Gucci Mane, Lil Yachty, Preme, Fast Life & Rich the Kid)”
Fast Life – “Juice (feat. Casey Veggies, Derek Watts)” *World Premiere*
Fast Life – “No Sweat” *World Premiere*
Lil Pump and Smokepurpp
Lil Pump – “Movin’ (feat. Smokepurpp)”
Lil Pump and Smokepurpp – “Broke My Wrist”
Lil Pump – “D Rose”
Smokepurpp – “Audi”
Smokepurpp – “Different Color Molly”
Lil Pump – “Molly”
DON MYKEL’S VIDEO FOR “RETURN OF THE DON” IS BREATHTAKING
Harlem-based emcee Don Mykel hits our pages with the premiere of the visuals for his new track “Return of The Don.” Tackling a sample-heavy instrumental with impeccable lyrics and razor-sharp flows, the rising rapper proves that his time is next while taking us on a tour of seemingly abandoned infrastructure.
KILLY, Canada’s Answer to Emo SoundCloud Rap, Shares “Distance” Video
Listen to his new song here.
Most of today’s biggest SoundCloud rappers are from the States, but Canada is proving that there is more beyond its OVO and XO offerings. A young, up-and-coming artist by the name of KILLY is the North’s answer to the likes of Lil Uzi Vert, XXXTENTACION and Lil Peep. While the Toronto native’s most popular track at the moment is “Killamonjaro,” which has racked up over half a million views on SoundCloud (and 1.6 mil on YouTube) since its release four months ago, his latest song/video for “Distance” has accumulated nearly 100 thousand views in less than 24 hours since the drop.
KILLY delivers catchy melodies over a synth-laced instrumental produced by 100tones. The visual, directed by limitedvision, finds the rapper hanging around Vancouver’s BC Place, Gastown and other areas; scenes from Dragon Ball Z are interweaved between some of the shots. Watch the music video above and stay tuned for more from the up-and-coming rapper.
When The East Is In The House: Clash Meets Rich Chigga
Internet icon Rich Chigga on his unexpected rise as Asia’s hottest rap export…
When 17-year-old Brian Imanuel from Jakarta, Indonesia pulled on a pink polo shirt and fastened a fanny pack around his waist, he had no idea how his life was about to change.
He’d originally been planning to dress in ultra-cool fashion that day, but changed his mind last minute. Coupled with the incredibly violent lyrics he was about to deliver, he thought the contrast of “white dad” attire would provide a necessary contrast.
For the career of his rap alter-ego Rich Chigga, it was perhaps the best decision he ever made.
‘Dat $tick’, the video he created that day, would become an international success when YouTube channel 88Rising, who dedicate themselves to celebrating global Asian culture, created a short clip in which they’d record rappers – including Ghostface Killah, Cam’ron, Desiigner, Tory Lanez, 21 Savage and Flatbush Zombies – reactions to the video.
The majority of the rappers involved were taken by surprise initially, but praised Brian’s skills as a rapper. Ghostface enthusiastically demands “Let me get on that!” delivering a verse for the remix which would be released a few months later.
Since then, Brian has made it out to the US where he played a handful of headline shows, delivered features for Skrillex and Diplo, surprised Post Malone with a Mariachi band and even sat down to be interviewed by Pharrell Williams on Beats 1.
We caught up with Brian to discuss the rise of Rich Chigga…
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In your mind is Rich Chigga you or is it like an alter ego type of thing?
I think it’s just like a part of me, that’s like somewhere in the back of my head but I just don’t show it when I’m talking to people. So it’s kind of nice to say things that you’re not able to in real life, to say it on a song is really cool.
When you broke through with the ‘Dat $tick’ video, a lot of the commentary surrounding it regarded the way you were dressed, with the pink polo shirt and fanny pack. What made you choose to present yourself in that way?
It was just part of the concept. At first, I was going to dress all cool and stylish and all that. Last minute I was like, “Maybe because the song sounds so serious, maybe I should do something different with the video. Maybe I should make it kind of comedic almost, but at the same time it was cool as shit so.”
I thought about the polo shirt and the fanny pack – that’s like the classic like white dad look – and I’m like, “Damn. If I wear that it could either completely ruin it or make it really good.” I thought about it for a while and then wrote a full concept behind it. So it turned out pretty good I think.
What was the first hip-hop that you started listening to?
I started listening to hip-hop in 2012 when my first American friend introduced me to it. I mean, I heard hip-hop around before but back then I only heard super old school stuff.
In 2012 I started listening to Drake, 2 Chainz, Kanye, Macklemore, Logic and a bunch of other stuff. But the first song that I tried rapping to was actually Macklemore, ‘Thrift Shop’ and that was when my English was really bad. Learning how to rap actually improved my pronunciation a lot back then. That’s also why I really like hip-hop too and I got super deep into it.
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I wasn’t trying to actually make rap songs at all, I just loved hip-hop…
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What made you progress from being a rap fan, to giving it a go yourself?
In 2012 I wasn’t trying to actually make rap songs at all, I just loved hip-hop. But 2014 was when I made my first song, and that was just me fucking around using my iPhone microphone. I was rapping something that barely even rhymed over an MF DOOM beat. I’m like, “Damn, this is really fun, I should keep doing this.”
I did some more. I uploaded them to a SoundCloud, and my friends liked it, so I was like, “Damn. I should start doing this seriously.” I know now your references seem to be more like Tyler, The Creator, $uicideboy$, Awful Records and stuff.
When did you start getting in to that?
I started getting into that about two years ago, I think. For Awful Records, I started listening to Father first, and then I found him through this song ‘Nokia’ that he did with iLoveMakonnen. Tyler, ‘Yonkers’, I guess we were deep into that and just the whole Odd Future and Earl Sweatshirt, it was just so cool to me. $uicideboy$, I found them through Pouya.
What is the hip-hop scene like in Indonesia?
For the mainstream stuff now, Kanye, Drake, and all that stuff, a lot of people listen to that here. But the people who listen to the rare stuff, the more underground stuff, is very small. Hip-hop is still super small over here, I can tell it’s definitely getting bigger though.
A few of my friends told me that since ‘Dat $tick’ blew up, Indonesian people are more in to hip-hop now. EDM is currently the biggest thing here right now, it’s really fucking annoying. But people are definitely starting to get into hip-hop more.
I guess one of the videos that put a lot of people onto your music was the 88 Rising clip where different rappers reacted to watching ‘Dat $tick’. How was the experience of watching that?
That was really crazy. Especially seeing Ghostface. I listen to all of them; Flatbush Zombies, that was also crazy. But having Ghostface saying that he wants to get on that song is the craziest thing that ever happened to me. I was so excited, I called my mom. That was a crazy time. It was like all of my idols criticising my stuff. And they liked it.
Even though Ghostface said that, it was still a surprise when he actually kept his word and delivered a verse for the remix… It was so fast. After that video, he sent the verse super fast. I was like, “Woah, what the fuck. That was quick.” It’s so crazy to hear his voice on the ‘Dat $tick’ beat because before that, I was just getting in to him. Getting in to Wu-Tang Clan.
Every day I try to find new music on YouTube mostly. If I do get in to something, I get in to it for like weeks and months. I was just getting in to Wu-Tang stuff, and that was crazy.
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Writing real stuff is what gives you character. It’s what makes you different.
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I know that you’re a big fan of Pouya also, how did he get involved in the remix?
Pouya was crazy. When I released the original ‘Dat $tick’ video, my plan was to get his attention on Twitter and then have him follow me. And it actually happened. After ‘Dat $tick’, he found me and he followed me.
I DM#d him like, “Yo, we’re doing this remix and Ghostface Killah is going to be on it. Do you want to be on it?” And he was like, “Hell yeah, man.”
He got on it, and then I also told him that whole plan of how I wanted him to follow me, and he was like, “Shit, I’m glad your plan worked out, man.” He’s a super nice guy.
It seems like you really go back and do your homework. Obviously there’s been a lot of debate lately around whether up-and-coming artists need to know their history, do you think that’s important?
I don’t think it’s important. I feel like at least if you’re going to call yourself a rapper, or if you want to do hip-hop, the least you could do is respect them. That’s the least you could do. Don’t talk shit about them, basically, is all I’m saying.
I’m not going to say I know all the old school shit that people like. I definitely respect them. There’s always been this notion of “keeping it real” in hip-hop, that’s been diluted as years have gone by.
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Don’t talk shit about them, basically, is all I’m saying.
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Do you think that that’s irrelevant now?
‘Dat $tick’ was just me fucking around, to be honest. I just cared about it sounding good. I wasn’t really paying attention to the lyrics that much and I just thought at the time. I listened to a lot of gangsta rap and violent lyrics, so that’s kind of what influenced me. Now, I kind of want to stay away from that.
Sometimes when I write stuff I kind of want to make it fictional, but at the same time there’s kind of a thin line between fictional rap and trying to be hard rap. Sometimes I also just want to write real stuff. Just write what I’m thinking in my head.
Writing real stuff is what gives you character. It’s what makes you different. For other people. The stuff that I’m writing now is definitely not going to be about violent shit or ‘fuck the police’ because that’s not what I’m about at all.
People always seem genuinely really surprised that you’re a good rapper, which feels bittersweet, because why should you not be? How do you feel about that?
I think I understand. That’s actually kind of the whole point of the video, because the way I look, the way I dress up too. I’m also like skinny as shit; It’s definitely understandable that they think that way.
That’s kind of what I was thinking, too, when I wrote the concept, “Damn. If I do this, I bet they’re going to be not expecting it.” Yeah, having them say that, it kind of makes me happy that it works.
Moving forward, what do you want people to be able to take from Rich Chigga?
With the music that I make I really want people to feel emotions. I’m not going to be writing all emotional stuff, but I want to make something interesting. I don’t want to be the same as everyone, definitely. I want to make something that people can turn up to, and I also want to make stuff that can make people cry, because that’s the best type of music.
I want to make people feel emotions with everything that I do. If I’m making a short film, or videos, or music, or comedy stuff. I just like making people feel a certain way. Just leaving an impression. That’s an important thing to me, leaving an impression. Making them come back.
Budding Brooklyn rapper on confronting the world and coming of age on the rough streets of East New York. At just 21 years old, the young rapper out of the Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York has quietly set himself apart from the rest of the Big Apple’s hip-hop scene. On his new full-length I Can’t Go Home , Jimi Tents picks up where he left off on his lauded 2015 debut 5 O’Clock Shadow, exhibiting a flexibility that resists being rooted in any one style, sound and region and more in Tents’ own multifaceted talent and eclectic tastes.
1:20 Rest in peace, Kelan Phil Cohran. Revisit his legacy with this NPR interview from when he released 2012’s Kelan Philip Cohran and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, the first collaboration with his eight sons.
15:30 Here’s Marke Bieschke’s RBMA Daily article about gay Mardi Gras balls, complete with incredible archival photos.
20:25 You can hear Honey Soundsystem’s Red Bull Radio show every fourth Thursday of the month at 4pm EST.
1:05:00 Take a listen to East New York rapper Jimi Tents’ new LP, I Can’t Go Home, over at SoundCloud.
1:17:16 Here’s that Billboard article Jimi Tents is referring to: the premiere of his 2015 track “Elmer Fudd.”
1:25:00 Check out some photos from NYC’s VAMP Cave Studios, where Jimi Tents recorded his album I Can’t Go Home.
1:45:00 Dig into this Genius article about all the beefs in New York City’s hip-hop community in the ’90s.
As we prepare to embark on our Fourth of July celebrations, it’s only right that we get ready with some good music. Cue in T2 Ghetto Hippie. The Houston native is preparing to release his project, Double Cups & Taco Trucks, this summer and to get fans ready for what is to come, T2 has just dropped a summer-perfect visual.
“Daze” is basically the party that you strive to have or have been lucky enough to have. Chill vibes, food, liquor and pretty women…what more could you ask for?
Check out T2’s visual for his track, “Daze” above and tell us what you think! And make sure to stay tuned for T2’s project, Double Cups & Taco Trucks.
The emerging stars who are shaping the future of music.
First off, there are a lot of artists who we wish we could include on this list but can’t because we already mentioned them in previous years. It’s a testament to how quickly things move these days—artists who were brand new just a couple of years ago are now making major waves, and there’s already a new crop of brand new artists on the cusp of big things. So take a look back at some inclusions from previous years before you hit us up on Twitter like, “This list sucks, you forgot ________.”
Some highlights from 2014, 2015, and 2016’s lists: 6LACK, D.R.A.M., MØ, Jessie Reyez, Khalid, Boogie, Kevin Abstract, Kodak Black, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Lil Uzi Vert, Smino, Post Malone, A.CHAL, Ta’East, Night Lovell, Stormzy, AJ Tracey, Jazz Cartier, THEY., Kamaiyah, 21 Savage, Jorja Smith, SAINt JHN, Aminé, Noname, Maggie Rogers.
We’ve already shared our picks for the best albums and best songs of 2017 so far, but now it’s time to take a closer look at the emerging artists who have the chance to shape the future of music.
These artists are in varying stages of their careers—some haven’t ever performed live yet but did enough with their first releases to capture our attention, some have been making music for a few years and are finally hitting their stride, and some got signed this year and are playing festivals—but the common thread is that they all did something special in 2017. Here are the new artists who you need on your radar right now.
Image via Getty
Squidnice’s “Everywhere I Go” solidified the Staten Island rapper’s place in New York hip-hop despite looking and sounding unlike anyone else out. His off-kilter recording style (concise bars that recycle themselves to form a chant-inducing echo chamber) and gangster-meets-oddball visual presence stand out in a world overflowing with imitators. “Trap By My Lonely” got the ball rolling just over a year ago, and the dude who proudly claims to have a flow as hot as Jamaica has enough natural charisma for three Big Apple boroughs. An episode of Frank Ocean’s BlondedRadio showed Squid love, Kehlani is a fan, and hundreds of thousands are ready for more.—Alex Siber
Young Clancy Experiences Life Without Love in Japan for “Slo Mo”
“Each subway line [in Japan] has its own distinct jingle for each stop and they’re all sick. Still trying to find HQ download links.”
Japan inspires Toronto musicians in profound ways, which makes sense considering we’re all secretly nerds and also the fact that Toronto ‘burb Mississauga has a sister city, Kariya, in the country. In that way, Young Clancy is just part of a storied tradition, but he also went one step further and actually flew to the damn place. His resulting adventures are chronicled in the video for his pillowy new song “Slo Mo.”
Described by Clancy as being about the “euphoric, but also frightening” feeling of getting closer to a romantic partner, “Slo Mo” soundtracks footage of the artist canoeing down a river, being picturesque in front of cherry blossom trees, and singing karaoke in a kigurumi. He also hangs out in a bathtub wearing a periwinkle coloured wig, which you bet we asked him about. Find the answer to that question and others below. Watch the “Slo Mo” video above.
NOISEY: How does Japan inspire you as an artist?
Young Clancy: They really strive for perfection over there. Like something that struck me about the culture is how little waste there is—literally (like you won’t see any garbage on the streets or oddly, any garbage receptacles) but also in terms of space and time nothing is wasted. Everything has a purpose. That’s why their doors are all sliding instead of swinging- it’s more spatially economical. I feel like every day in Toronto I walk by some trash restaurant or bar or I look in the mirror and I’m like, “why do you exist? What’s the point of you? What do you contribute?”
In Japan, you can be walking down some smelly, dark alley and stumble into some unassuming restaurant with five seats and more often than not you’re gonna have a beautiful experience. Also, each different subway line has its own distinct jingle that sounds after each stop and they’re all sick. Still trying to find HQ download links.
Musicians sometimes say they can hear a musical score when they enter a new location. Was there a song playing in your mind when you entered the city?
I’ll say that “Drunk” the Thundercat album dropped while I was there. And it has that track “Tokyo” which really captures the city’s frenetic energy and the child-like wonderment you feel when you’re there – like you’re inside a video game. Coming back to Toronto after was so refreshing – like I used to think of Toronto as this booming metropolis but I know now that it’s actually a quaint hamlet.
Are the shots of you wearing the purple wig in the bathtub a reference to an anime or manga?
Not anything in particular. Ella (the director) had picked that up earlier in the trip in Harajuku or something as a souvenir. She had the idea to shoot me in a bathtub with a pink bath bomb. When we dumped it in it turned out to be a similar hue as the wig. I said, “where’s that damn wig.” And the rest is music video history.
What else did you do in Japan, other than sing karaoke?
Mostly ate food: ramen, sushi, curry, Tokyo is the most delicious place of all time. We went to Kyoto for a day, went out in Shibuya, walked around all over, saw the famous robot show, saw the MNDSGN show, played many claw games, checked out a few cat cafes and shot something similar to a music video.
Music can sometimes be region-specific so what about this track felt connected not just to Japan but Asian culture as a whole?
The setting was just a beautiful accident – like we had this trip to Japan planned months in advance. We had just about finished the track and we knew we wanted to do a video ASAP. Our friend, Ella Rowan, who we were meeting in Tokyo, is a great writer/director. So we decided to do it without giving any thought really to whether Japan would be the right place to shoot it. But also how could it not be? Tokyo is the vastest, visually stimulating place I’ve ever been. If you have a camera, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Watch the Video For Squidnice’s Addictive “Trap By My Lonely”
Staten Island rapper Squidnice is heating up.
Squidnice‘s “Trap By My Lonely” is sneakily catchy. It’s a slow-moving, casual hit, but the Staten Island has a unique charisma and a way with simple melodies that stick. Today, Squid brings us into his world for the “Trap By My Lonely” video. Watch above, and look out for Squid’s EP coming soon. If you’re in New York, catch Squidnice at SOB’s on June 29 or the Knockdown Center on June 24.
We are back with yet another Lyrical Lemonade debut tonight, this time around for Harlem emcee Don Mykel’s brand new record titled “Return Of The Don”. The silky production on this track paved the way for Don to wreak some havoc, so shout out to the mastermind behind the beat, Blue Magic. Don took full advantage of the beat in front of him and delivering nothing but straight bars for the entire duration of the track, leaving me in awe. I was unaware of Don’s music until I came across this joint, but I must admit that he won me over and has gained a new fan, I will surely be checking out all of his releases from here on out.
Meet Higher Brothers, the Hottest Rap Crew in East Asia. Made in China.
Korea has Keith Ape, Indonesia has Rich Chigga, and over the past year, China’s Higher Brothers have been establishing themselves as the hottest rap crew from the East. Not only have they been consistently racking up millions of views on YouTube, they’ve already worked with the likes of Famous Dex, Jay Park, Keith Ape and more. We linked up with the quartet consisting of 马思唯 (MaSiWei), 丁震 (DZ), 杨俊逸 (Psy.P), and 谢宇杰 (Melo) and spoke with them about a variety of topics, including the meaning behind their name, how they got into rap music, their influences and more. Watch the interview above.