DRIP DROPS of HIP-HOP from CHATTANOOGA
By Carlos Rodriguez
By Sammy Lowdermilk
I will have to admit my bias at the beginning - I think DjDee is one of the most slept on producers and artists in Chattanooga. The kid has talent! He can create a wide range of music and if you didn't know where he was from, you couldn't tell me what region influences his sound as exhibited by his 'Leader of the Free World' project. . With all that said, let's dig into the "Matrix" drop!
HORNS! We have horns. You had me at horns. The beat gets your head moving and the horns tilt your grin. The intro has a Eastwood western feel to it. That intro! "Concentration. Focus be the anecdote."
The production is clean as it always is with DjDee. As a fan, you want him to drop more music but then when he drops a project or song, you know why it's been so long...he's a perfectionist and the sound has to be right.
But let's move past the production. This man can rap. His bars are thoughtful and layered. Even beyond the vocabulary, he's always open and vulnerable with his music. All that is so rare in an artist these days. If you follow DjDee, you can immediately hear the growth on this song. There is confidence, there is something bigger in his voice. I like it. A lot.
This song is a major step for DjDee and something that I feel will take him to a new level. What's your favorite line from "Matrix"?
By Sammy Lowdermilk
Keith & Colby (AK Films) are always cold with the camera and this video is no exception. AK gets a director assist from Greg "Gbo" Vinson on this visual as well. Many of you have probably seen Mannish on the Steve Harvey Show or on The Apollo, but some may not have known of the Chattanooga connection.
The video concept is a weekend stay at Granny's house in Chattanooga. Quick sidenote, where can I get one of those dope roller suitcases! The video cuts from Granny's to the corner store which is a staple in every Chattanooga neighborhood and a spot where the community connects. The cut to the Tivoli in downtown Chattanooga is dope. When I spoke to Keith Ward about the video, he said it was a tribute to their appearance at The Apollo. The cuts between the store and the Tivoli are clean as they can be! Not quite as clean as those outfits worn by Mannish though!
The song has a nice vibe to it and just because they are kids, don't think that their music is just for the youth. This one can be enjoyed by fans of all ages. Both the song and the video are dripping with swag and it's no wonder why these young men are on a steep trajectory of success.
By Sammy Lowdermilk
Orion Hunter & Mike Jet are an impressive duo. Seeing them perform a few times, you definitely leave feeling like you experienced something special. I’ve had people walk up to me after performances asking who this R&B and hip-hop duo was on numerous occasions. They are definitely on my radar as two talented artists whose sky is the limit as to what they could achieve.
Their newest single, “Come Thru,” is a perfect reflection of both the talent and potential. Orion Hunter’s voice is as smooth as silk and his cadence is mesmerizing. Before you know it, either your head or your body is moving as the song cascades across Uncle Duke’s top-notch production. And then…
Mike Jet comes in and carries the song to an even better place with his flow. The lyricist is a perfect match with Orion Hunter. Remember back in the early 2000’s when the winning formula became the pairing of a dope voice with a hot flow? This is that same winning formula and I’m not sure I’ve heard this type of pairing coming out of Chattanooga, especially recently.
So lucky for us, this won’t stop here. Orion Hunter has an album, “The Heist,” coming out on Valentine’s Day and Mike Jet has a solo project dropping in May. But we’ll be blessed with a joint project from the duo called, “Have 2,” which drops on April so be on the lookout for more music!
By Ben Banks
It’s no secret that Keith Austin, Cuatro Cinco, and Danny Polo have a hit on their hands with this new collaboration track ‘Secrets.’ The track opens with some beautiful riffs from Danny Polo, then Keith slides into the first verse with nicely applied autotune asking why his girl is hiding her phone. Cuatro brings the funk on the second verse with a flow so smooth and fits perfectly into the beat. Danny takes care of the hook/chorus and the rest of the track with his suave vocals wondering if he should risk it all and tell his secrets.
This whole track has such an infectious vibe. Literally, my first instinct was to start dancing when I played it. We’re still only one month into 2019 and I’ve already got a strong contender for song of the summer. Like Cuatro sings, it makes you “wanna roll through the city with the top down.” Despite whoever’s keeping secrets from someone else, this track eases the pain because it just makes you feel so good. I do really like the contrast between heavy subject matter playing out over such a funky instrumental. If you’re also feelin’ the groove of this collaboration; there’s absolutely no reason that you’ve gotta keep it a secret.
By Julian Cuebas
Kid K’s EP, Projection, is the rapper’s shot into insight. During the project, Kid K talks about the complex emotions and experiences that have occurred in his early twenties. The production of the project is studio quality. Returning listens drive up the value of this EP. It’s a genuine project in a sea of an oversaturated hip-hop market. His approach to feel good hip-hop, R&B, and party hits combine to create a well-rounded EP.
Sonically I feel like the record is influenced by dance feels and infectious hooks. K’s voice is smooth and the autotuned layers provide a flair to a confident vocal performance. I think this confidence comes from an acceptance of self. K knows who he is and he wears it as an admirable quality. He’s a genuine guy that seeks the constant betterment of himself and others. On “Don’t Be” he offers advice he has experienced firsthand. He says all goals are obtainable if someone simply seeks them. His messages are positive and an honest perception of his reality.
I think one of the strengths of this EP is the integrity of the music in a genre that sometimes struggles with integrity. It’s easy to be corny and cliché on feel good instrumentals. Kid K doesn’t opt out, each line is a chance to up the ante, cleverly boast, or offer advice and insight.
Also, his song “Isn’t Real” about the passing of his mother is an honest, life lesson, that Kid K shares with the listener. He offers a refrain to comfort people who have experienced loss and the song closes with a beautiful string section that pulls the experience together.
Overall Projection is an ambitious effort of a talented, young Emcee smoothly moving through all the motions life moves his way. Through the good times, and bad, Kid K sees the lesson to be learned and shares it with the listener. I believe Projection is a positive forecast of what is to come for the twenty-three-year-old Chattanooga rapper.
Tha Milk Drop is a site focused on highlighting the hip-hop culture in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but also taps into hip-hop worldwide. Each week we drop exclusive and new content from artists. Also catch the profiles and interviews of hip-hop artists and creatives.
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