Aloha & greetings OTDHipHop fam! Thank you for rocking with the platform and don’t forget to stay updated with us onFacebook and Twitter! As promised, welcome to our weekly #TrackTuesday segment, where I review a song and/or music video of an up and coming artist. Today, I’ll be reviewing “Cruise Mood” by KeepItSwain. Fun fact: I actually went to elementary school with this dude! Then we saw each other and Team Backpack’s Mission Underground event in Los Angeles in 2015. But I digress...scroll down for the review!
I don’t say this too often but as soon as I heard the beat I knew this track was gonna be fire. I’ve been a fan of KeepItSwain for about 2 years now so my anticipation for his new projects make me bias. But that’s besides the point! Lol. First off, the production by Hazewerth is amazing. Off the bat, it gave me flashbacks to T.I from back in the day and his classic ATL sound. Swain, who is also from Atlanta, has a smooth and cool yet very intimate and social vibe. He also mixed his own vocals.
I really dig Swain’s wordplay and flow on this track, all while painting a picture for the listeners with his stories. I’d say that on “Cruise Mood” specially, Swain sounds like a mix between T.I and J. Cole. Cruise Mood is definitely something you want to play in your car and vibe too, it’s also great for the marijuana smokers out there!
Often, when people think of New York City, they think of popular streets and monuments. But there is a deeper culture within NYC's streets, especially as an iconic place in hip hop culture and what it means to hip hop history and rap music. New York is home to unfiltered expression, whether it’s the city’s fast-paced lifestyle or attitude, New Yorkers dare to be bold and different; of which hip hop culture and music has contributed to. With that said, this week’s #FridayFeature artist on #OTDHipHop is New York-based - RaSTATiiic. While he is still at the early stages of his music journey, this young man is serious about accomplishing his goals, and offers an alternative message in his music. In his name alone, there are multiple elements of his identity that make up RaSTATiiic - the hip hop artist, rapper, and creative mind.
A few weeks ago, I was approached on Twitter by RaSTATiiic himself, regarding promotions on this blog. I checked out some of his material and digged his “Hype” remix, and figured I feature him on my platform. My first question was “what kind of name is that, and what does it mean?” Known as “STAT,” for short, RaSTATiiic is only 19 years old and has been recording and performing on his own for about 2 years. Although he was born in Atlanta, GA, he always had close ties to family and friends in Brooklyn, NY. He currently resides in Newburgh, about an hour from NYC’s main metropolitan area. The rapper stated, “I named myself RaSTATiiic because ‘Ra’ is short for (Ra)madan (RAMADAN is my birth name). The STATiiiC part relates to electricity.” STAT went on to mention how he experienced multiple seizure-like attacks about year or so ago, with seemingly no explanation. He stated that the seizures felt like he was getting tazed or electrocuted; but after, he felt more enlightened like he started to have deeper senses and intuition, what he calls “woke.” For that reason, he added 3 “i’s” to his name, and thus RaSTATiiic was born.
#STATiiiCMADNESS Vol. 1 (hosted by @CaptainChardo) is the rapper’s most recently released project. The project’s most popular single is the “Hype” remix, with over 5000 plays on Soundcloud, and even more via other music outlets (Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, etc). If there was a way I could describe his sound, it would be a mix between Kid Cudi’s enlightened flows about the universe and Schoolboy Q’s raw edge and catchy vocals. I think this unique mix is best showcased on my personal favorite off the project -
“Call Us The Plug” (Prod. by Tig). STAT’s major goal is to make a living off of his music but also seeks to delve into fashion, with hopes of developing a global brand. However, this artist understands that he still has a lot to learn. While the equipment and skills continue to develop, STAT remains self-sufficient in taking time with the different elements of a project, including directing and editing his own videos.
STAT currently has a solid local fan base from his town of Newburgh, but does a lot of work in Brooklyn and around the city. His Twitter account has over 2000 followers, and he hopes to increase it even more as he continues making music, videos, and other projects. Being near a major city like NYC, it might seem that opportunities are more easier to come by, because of all the creative energy around the area. But he mentioned some frustration on trying to “come up” in his local scene. “Often times, when there’s slots for local openers for major artists, it’s the same artists week after week,” said STAT. However, anything can happen in time, with the right work ethic and sense of direction, which is what the rapper believes as well. If anything, I think STAT’s biggest asset is his belief in himself. “I'm a leader and one of my goals is to turn a lot of the modern day followers into themselves and become their own person, and make them feel comfortable being themselves so we can make more leaders. But at the same time, it's ok to be a follower as long as you are following the right people,” said STAT.
At the end of the day, STAT believes he has what it takes to make it, and that’s all a true artist’s ultimately needs. He definitely has the creative ability and pays attention to other aspects of his projects, like photography and videography. His rhymes can take the listener on a trip to space with all his different theories and analysis; in time, it’ll be interesting to see how he further develops his artistic and entrepreneurial skills. Straight outta NYC...For more info on RaSTATiiic, visit his official website, follow him on Facebook, or Soundcloud.
OTDHipHop is an independent music blog and network, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.