Our music staff has returned with their second round of Music Streaming Suggestions! We have another diverse lineup this week, headlined by the likes of Action Bronson, J Dilla, The Neighbourhood, and UnoTheActivist. As usual, we added our new suggestions to our weekly-updated Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.
This week, we decided to honor a talented, game-changing artist who passed away far too soon: 6 Dogs. Rest in power Chase Amick; thank you for everything.
6 Dogs (2017) - 6 Dogs
This past week, we lost another legend in the music world far too soon. Atlanta rapper and producer 6 Dogs passed away last Wednesday, and this one stung. For this week’s suggestion, I decided to pick 6 Dogs’ self-titled debut album, 6 Dogs. When I first got into the SoundCloud scene in 2016, 6 Dogs was one of my “Founding Fathers.” The completely independent artist had a vision and never stopped dreaming. This self-titled album is just as heart-wrenching as it is fun; the man gave us the classic fan-favorite “Faygo Dreams;" the celestial, poetic, and thought-provoking “Kingdom (God);” and the glitchy and cheerful “Spaceship” for the first three songs on the album alone… 6 Dogs gave us one of the most complete and elated SoundCloud-era experimental trap albums to exist, and it should be remembered for the rest of time. Rest in Peace 6 Dogs. I'm going to whip a hearse in your honor someday. -Marty Gross
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: "Faygo Dreams," "Kingdom (God)," and "Spaceship"
Lamb Over Rice (2019) - Action Bronson and The Alchemist
When I think of truly powerful combinations, a few come to mind: peanut butter and jelly; Kobe and Shaq; weed and cold brew; Action Bronson and The Alchemist. While Bronsolino and Alc had worked together on music and Fuck, That’s Delicious, they released their second full-length project together in 2019 with Lamb Over Rice. Lamb Over Rice is the audio representation of the finest things in life, and the perfect album to accompany a 20-minute car ride or solo smoke sesh. The Alchemist’s production and genius sampling creates beautiful instrumentals that could be heard in a dimly lit Italian bistro or a cage fight in the harsh Russian winter. Toss in Bronson’s hard-hitting bravado and bars about Robert DeNiro, expensive garments, mind-alternating substances, and delicious food, and that’s magic. The album only runs 20 minutes, but captures a multitude of moods that are seamlessly interwoven through seven tracks. The front-half of the album places a focus on Bronson’s ability to craft lyrical wizardry, most notably on “Dmtri,” LOR’s introductory track. The track begins with an elegant arrangement that transitions into Bronson’s declaration that he is indeed a superhero, and includes one of my favorite Basketball Bam Bam bars: “Yeah, don’t you motherfuckers know that I’m the logo / Like Jerry West and Teddy Ballgame / I don’t wear Balmain, swing the ball and chain / Executioner style.”
The midpoint of the album is “Accoutrements,” the epitomization of life’s intricacies. Bronson’s rhymes glide over Alc’s instrumental and lead up to the conclusion, which features in-studio singers that absolutely take over the song. You’ll have to listen for yourself; I truly don’t believe I can do it justice with my words. It’s my favorite song on the album, and one of my most listened to songs over the last 15 months. For years, Action Bronson has been one of my greatest creative influences. The man dips his toes into all facets of media yet never fails to stray from the medium that brought him success: his music. Lamb Over Rice, and 2020’s Only For Dolphins, have ushered in a new chapter of Bronson, who feels wiser, somehow even more traveled, and appreciative of the global journey he’s embarked on. -Jack Martian
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: "Dmtri," "Accoutrements," and "Tear Away Shorts"
Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones (2020) - The Neighbourhood
After narrowly escaping my 2010s-Tumblr phase, I thought the era of The 1975, Arctic Monkeys, and The Neighbourhood was a closed chapter. That was all good and well until Neighbourhood lead Jesse Rutherford resurfaced as "Chip Chrome." Made up entirely of metallic paint and flashy suits, Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones represents a new era of rockstars. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2020, meshing their old upbeat pop mannerisms with an older and wiser rock-and-roll semblance. The album is filled with an abundance of worthwhile tracks, but nothing quite hits home like the first single titled "Stargazing." Accompanied by a star-studded video, the track feels like cruising down PCH at the climax of a road trip. Rutherford’s effortless vocals coast over the steady tempo of his electric band, eventually building up to the dance hall chorus. The song is pure euphoria. Despite my best efforts to suppress my teen-angst music preference, Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones have given me a reason to revisit my nostalgic past. -Deja Williams
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: "Stargazing," "Lost in Translation," and "Tobacco Sunburst"
Donuts (2006) - J Dilla
When an album consisting of 31 beats and 0 features is regarded as one of the best hip-hop albums of all-time, you know it’s gotta be next level. But “next level” doesn’t even really begin to describe Donuts; there are few words that do proper justice. The emotion and soul packed into Donuts is nearly tangible, and the depth and influence of the project is still growing nearly 15 years later.
Legendary Detroit producer James Yancey, better known as J Dilla or Jay Dee, was truly beginning to carve out his place in the game when he fell ill with lupus and TTP, a rare and incurable blood disease. His condition deteriorated fast, and he had a number of long-term hospital stays. His mother Maureen Yancey was by his side the whole way, and she and his friends supplied him with an arsenal of old records to flip. With a stockpile of records and his trusty Boss SP-303 sampler, he crafted 29 of Donuts’ 31 tracks from the hospital, working through intense pain. He would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and ask his mother to move him to his instruments when he couldn’t get up himself, and he required frequent finger massages to keep working. According to his mother and his doctor, he was proud of the album and was absolutely determined to complete it. It was released three days before he passed away at 32 years old.
In line with his desire to keep his illness lowkey at the time, it’s likely that Dilla knew that Donuts was his grand finale before anyone else did. Even without any words, the emotion throughout the project is absolutely robust; you feel like you personally knew Jay Dee after you listen all the way through Donuts. There are even some cryptic messages throughout the album; Questlove stated that Dilla dedicated the moving track “Don’t Cry” to his mother, and some fans believe the track “Bye.” was also a purposeful farewell. Regardless of the theories, the most salient takeaway is that Dilla poured every ounce of his beautiful soul into Donuts and left us with an album that will continue to keep his spirit alive for generations to come. -Evan Linden
For fans of lo-fi beats: J Dilla is considered “the godfather of lo-fi,” and after listening to Donuts, you can easily see the album’s influence on the genre.
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Don’t Cry,” “Time: The Donut Of The Heart,” and “The Last Donut Of The Night”
Her and All of My Friends (2019) - Ritt Momney
Ritt Momney, a one-man indie rock band out of Salt Lake City, Utah epitomizes what social media, and more specifically, what TikTok can do for an artist. After the release of his cover of “Put Your Records On” by Corrine Rae Bailey, the rising musician struck gold. After the song went beyond viral on the popular app TikTok, the 20-year-old was offered a record deal by Columbia Records. No music has been released since this deal was inked, but I am genuinely ecstatic to see him with a legitimate backing for his dreams after years and years of grinding. Ritt Momney (aka Jack Rutter), prior to being a solo project, originally consisted of Rutter and all of his high school friends. This collective remained until graduation when the other bandmates were tasked with embarking on their Mormon missions. To add to the pain, Rutter’s girlfriend exited the confines of SLC to pursue school, as well. Momney released his debut album Her and All of My Friends in 2019 in which he carefully and descriptively recounted his experience with the Mormon Church and how it impacted his life and relationships. The amount of depth, emotion, and pure creativity purported throughout is truly unbelievable and under appreciated. -Finn Askin
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: "(If) The Book Doesn’t Sell," "III," "Pollution / Disclaimer"
Live.Shyne.Die (2017) - UnoTheActivist
The 2010s in hip-hop will be remembered by three legendary, industry-adjusting words: the trap revolution.
Future, Migos, Young Thug, Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert were responsible for growing a niche sub-genre into the most popular form of music on planet Earth. But somehow, an artist by the name of UnoTheActivist slipped through the cracks of A-list popularity despite working with Playboi Carti for much of their young careers. You may recognize Uno from the legendary mosh-pit anthem, “WHAT!” where he stars alongside Playboi in a moment that personifies the old saying, "Ignorance is bliss."
If I were to rank of my five favorite trap projects of all-time, there isn’t a world that wouldn’t include DS2 and Monster by Future, Barter 6 and Slime Season 2 by Young Thug and lastly, Live.Shyne.Die by Uno. That’s right. I wouldn’t have an Uzi, Carti, Lil Baby, Migos or Gunna tape in there alongside four of my favorite projects ever from two of my favorite artists.
No, I’d catapult Uno right into that discussion for the best trap artist alive. And if at least not the best trap artist alive, then the one with arguably the highest peak aside from the gentlemen who brought us Super Slimey.
Live.Shyne.Die has only one semi-mediocre song on the entire project, and it’s the introductory track, “Wake Up.” The album would’ve been served much better if it’d just allowed one of the standout tracks, “Day Dream,” to be the glowing first chapter in a project full of shifting moods and fusing templates. “And I wake up every morning trying to get this cake up / And I pray before I sleep and when I wake up,” Uno recites. It’s the prototypical chills-inducing track, and not because it’s filled with overtly masculinized adrenaline, but because of its singularity in the trap genre. It’s his most genuine track to date, and without any underlying complications—it's a simply pure and rejoiceful moment for a young man who made it out of the literal trap and became a celebrated artist in the trap community. It’d have been the perfect kickstart to an otherwise nearly perfect album that brings you the jaw-dropping “Pop At Ya Buddy,” which is a riot-inciting bass-boosted capital-B Banger. And that’s what great about this album; the fact that there’s a different song for damn near every mood.
Are you rolling off mass amounts of ecstasy and MDMA in an anonymous Miami nightclub at 2AM and you somehow, someway just got offered the aux cord because the DJ had a heart attack from doing too much shitty coke? Put on “Go With the Flow” and immediately queue “Things I Brought (featuring Famous Dex)” right afterward, and I swear on my life that you’ll have won the hip-hop community in the crowd over.
Struggling to come to the realization that you don’t love nobody? And you ride around with that K, so you don’t fear nobody? Perhaps “Words from the Wise” can offer you some words of advice on how to handle that delicate situation.
Looking for an underground artist with a distinct voice that you might be somewhat familiar with but would love to hear more of? Check out “No Flaggin (featuring Kodie Shane)” and “Mojo Jojo (featuring Lil Duke)” who both bring an eccentric, unique vibe to their respective tracks.
Itching to run through a wall full-speed, completely sober, without any real reason to run through the aforementioned wall other than pure trap instrumental-inspired adrenaline? “Pop At Ya Buddy” may not be the only song that can operate as the ingredient to that recipe, but it’s arguably the most effective one.
There truly isn’t an area that you can go wrong with on this project. It’s cemented itself into my permanent rotation until the day that I— unlikely— fall out of love with hip-hop music. The fact that UnoTheActivist’s Live.Shyne.Die isn’t recognized as one of the greatest trap albums of its era is a sin, and I’m glad that I could help bring it to light for it is a colorful landscape of ATLien sounds and positive vibrations.
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Day Dream,” “Go With the Flow,” and “Pop At Ya Buddy”