Aloha OTDHipHop fam!
Thank you for your support and patience. The past couple weeks, I have been very busy promoting my new EP and preparing for my first headlining show (which was last weekend). Anyways, we are BACK again for our Mixtape Monday segment. This week, I finally made time to review, Itz All Love, a brand new album by Bay Area artist, Watzreal. He's been featured on this blog multiple times and we also had a dope interview last week, via Instagram Live.
1. Lucy Liu and Keanu Reeve
I fucks with this track, especially as an intro track to the rest of the project. It’s definitely Watzreal’s chill nostalgic sound, and gives me Atmosphere vibes. The song is a love song, where Watzreal is talking to a girl. But overall, this is definitely a track I can vibe to and add to my “in the office” playlist. Considering the project’s title, I think I’m in for more songs about love, relationships, and more.
2. Better feat. Tone Jonez
“Better” takes a softer R&B tone, with Tone Jonez on the hook and Watzreal raps the verses. The hook tells Watzreal’s love interest (on the song) that she’s used to heartbreak, and that he can show her better. Overall, I think this track could be played in the car with bae or vibing at party.
This track flips opposite from the first 2 songs, with an uptempo trap sound. I also dig the different EDM style bass drops and other elements. Watzreal seems to continue explore ideas of love interests, but this song takes a more “for the moment” type of vibe. His tone is more aggressive but still deep with the storytelling. This track is definitely something I’d like to see performed live.
We’re back with the funky boom bap sound from Watzreal. I’ll let you listen to the track yourself to figure out what the track title’s acronym sounds for. This song is more aggressive and talks about different drama and challenges in relationships. I also like the comedian’s sample in the song. It definitely focuses on the guy’s perspective though. Lol.
5. Why You Insecure?
Yo, I never expected a rap song to have a clip from of Kevin Hart’s stand up specials. Lol. But it adds context and a humorous element to the project and song. This song talks about modern day couples’ challenges, especially when it comes to communication. Watzreal mentions things like social media, immaturity, etc, of which all these things can make a relationship difficult if either person is insecure.
6. Life Iz Love, Love Iz War
I appreciate Watzreal’s different styles that I’ve heard so far on It’z All Love. But I always fucks with Watzreal on funky boom bap beats. So this track is definitely something I dig. Watzreal continues to explore his thoughts and feelings when it comes to relationships, communication, and all the challenges that come with it. I like how he mentions things like “seeing red flags” but still staying in the relationship. Overall, I find this project and its tracks relatable, especially this track.
I love the title already, and the sample on the intro is so dope! This song continues to give me nostalgic vibes, and I’m glad Watzreal kept the same R&B tempo for this track. Like the title says, Watzreal explores a brand new relationship and all the hopes he has for it to work out. He also goes deeper in to how relationships and communication take a lot more time and compromise than people think (or choose to put in).
8. Monogamy vs. Mohogany (Bonus Track)
I really dig the instrumentation for this song’s production. It gives the song an 80s and 90s feel. Staying on theme to the project’s title, Monogamy vs. Mohogany, talks about building a relationship though the good and bad. He’s a lot more sensual on this song, and I appreciate his honesty.
9. Look Your Way feat. Cash Campaign (Bonus Track)
I love the gospel piano sound on the beat. The tempo is boom bap again, but I appreciate it from Watzreal. Cash Campaign KILLS it on the hook with the vocals. I really dig the 80s and 90s sounds and vibes too.
WATZREAL'S UPCOMING SHOW:
Aloha & welcome OTDHipHop!
Today we have a very special Mixtape Monday installment. We’re featuring Brandon Michael (fka Dopeless), an up and coming artist from Santa Cruz, CA. I have the pleasure of reviewing his new sampler, #SpeakForItself. Proceeds from this sampler will help fund and operate Brandon’s various projects, including one of which is geared towards helping the survivors of domestic violence/sexual abuse.
“For 26+ years I've perpetuated unhealthy behavior. If you took a look at my family history, it would be clear as to why. My family has been affected by domestic violence and other forms of terrible abuse forever. At some point I believed it to be genetic for me to carry on in the same way other males in my family had. But if there's one thing I've learned through writing this project... I am NOT them.”
- Brandon Michael
Check out my track-by-track review of Brandon Michael’s #SpeaksForItself Sampler below:
1) My Name Is Brandon
Yo straight up I was not expecting the trappy/singy vibes from Brandon but it sounds dope! Lol. Listening to it I’m still tripping that he’s on a new wave type of beat. Aside from that, I think this is a good intro track. It has pop and rap elements that flow between each other. It honestly reminds of the Hopsin’s newer material, good shit! The vibe and message seems to be about pushing through limits and overcoming adversity.
The vibe of “Jump” totally switches from the trappy/singy vibes on track 1. Off top, it reminds me of old Eminem, a dark boom bap beat, with hardcore bars and a catchy hook. The lyrics basically talk about taking the “jump” or chance to accomplish your goals, which is dope!
3. That Dude
Sonically, this is my favorite track from this project. The production has a cadence style beat with melodic synthesizers. It’s highly autobiographical; taking the listener back to his school days and through his various dark experiences with abuse, alcoholism, and drug use. He’s hella real with it, even mentioning about being homeless at one point; and then overcoming those adversities with music and community. I’d love to see Brandon perform this live!
4. Speaks For Itself
Again, this reminds of old Hopsin! I’m a fan of Hopsin so that’s a compliment. Lol. “Speaks For Itself” is a cool segway sonically from “That Dude.” The production keeps the same cadence but a darker sound. The mixing and engineering is also really noticeable to me on this track. I like the different effects on Brandon’s voice and helps keep the vibe suspenseful. Lyrically, this is my favorite song from the project. Brandon dives into topics like self-believe, overcoming adversity, and more.
5. Little Lies
This is the last track on this project as Brandon Michael. The following 3 tracks are “bonus” material from when he was Dopeless. “Little Lies” takes a totally different turn from the previous 4 tracks. Production wise, it’s just a clean and clear acoustic instrumental. Brandon comes in heavy with the melody of “It all begins with little lies.” He shares about his issues in intimate relationships, codependency, and more; but also about focusing on bettering yourself and overcoming yourself essentially.
6. Blessing (Dopeless)
I really dig “Blessing!” I’ve actually been a fan of Brandon even from when he was Dopeless, so this song is a classic to me. I love the positivity on this track.
7. Deck of Cards (Dopeless)
I’ve never heard this Dopeless song before, but I dig it! It has a cadenced boom bap style beat, and Dopeless shares a very personal story. You gotta listen to it.
8. Why You Waitin (Dopeless)
This is one of Brandon’s most popular songs as Dopeless, and I’ve actually reviewed it before. This is another classic I’d say. There is also a high quality video to go with it. He shares very deep and dark challenges he faced as a child, such as racism in his own family, his abusive father, and more. Check it out here.
Good morning OTDHipHop fam!
We got another installment of our #TrackTuesday segment. Today we’re reviewing a new song called “Feelin Myself,” by Bay Area-based female rapper Turfergirl aka TG9 Milli.
“Feelin Myself” is the first single to be released off of TG9 Milli’s upcoming EP, A Dose of Me. The whole project was produced, written, & performed by the artist herself. As far as production, “Feelin Myself” definitely has that classic hyphy Bay Area sound. TG9’s attitude and flow is confident and filled with heavy barz. I also like how the beat switches up time to time throughout the track. My main critique is that I think her vocals could’ve been changed up a bit more throughout the track; the hook is catchy and easy to recite but it can get difficult to hear again and again. Her voice seems to be naturally more high-pitched kind of like how Too Short sounds on a track; personally I think she would sound cooler in a more, calm, chill tone with the same heavy hitting barz. However, the overall vibe is that cocky Bay Area finesse and I dig that. I’m excited to check out TG9 Milli’s new EP when it drops! Make sure to stay tuned for her upcoming Instagram livestream interview!
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