Track 1: Buy Me
Off top, beat and flow is fire! This is a really nice track, sonic quality is clear and matches Pedro’s lyrical content and style. Production is great; it starts off with a down south type of vibe but has different kicks and extra sounds throughout the track that hints trap and hype vibes. Ima have to bump this in my car again, which is ironic because the EP is called Car Tunes. I dig Pedro’s lyrics and flow on this beat; it’s clear and easy to understand but there are different mixing elements (voice filters, echos, etc) on the track that keep me engaged as a listener. The song itself seems to be an inspirational “grind” type of track, Pedro is definitely a talented emcee. He has a solid hook, with different storytelling elements on his verses and switches up his flow from time to time. The only critique I have is that I don’t really know how the song fits its title “Buy Me,” but I’ll leave that to Pedro to explain since it’s his work of art.
Track 2: Fulfill
This track has a more melodic tone, starting off with the piano and then drums. Pedro basically sings the hook, and follows it with his verses. This song seems to dig deeper into Pedro’s life and persona, mentioning about his time in the army and aspirational dreams to become a known artist. I really like how he incorporates the word fulfill, ending each of his verses with “go and get your fulfill,” and then followed by the hook. The hook is deep and melodic, ending with the statement “We all gotta pay a price to get what we want in life.” Another great production, and props on the mixing elements again.
Track 3: You
This is the final track on the Car Tunes EP. Production and mixing are great; I dig the R&B and Pop vibe on this song, especially on the hook. Pedro’s verses are on point, like the rest of this project. He picks up the pace of his flow on this song and I appreciate that as an emcee. I felt that the verse content didn’t really match the hook’s lyrics, but I do get that the vibes go well together regardless. The vibe of the song basically talks about keeping your business and grind on the low, ‘cause you never know who might be lurking, and also to stay focused on yourself and less on others.
Overall, I give this project a solid 4 out of 5 rating. I really liked the production and mixing elements sonically, on each of the tracks. I am also impressed with Pedro Ramon’s flow and lyrical ability. I look forward to hearing more projects from him as he continues to pursue his music career and lifestyle.
Pedro Ramon is an emcee/songwriter from Jersey City, NJ, currently residing in Hawaii. He served 8 years in the U.S. Army and is a proud veteran. His music is truthful, heartfelt, and original.
For more info on Pedro Ramon and his music, visit his website.
Aloha & welcome to another week of #OTDHipHop exclusive content! For this week's Mixtape Monday segment, I got to review Gio Martin's newest EP In My Feelings. Gio Martin is a hip hop artist/rapper from New Jersey, who also does graphic design and videography. I met him back in 2015 for Team Backpack's Mission Underground Los Angeles, and he has been featured on this platform before. He is also one of the managers of his own hip hop blog & promotions.
1. Same Old Song (Prod. by Nedarb)
This is first single from this EP to be released, along with the visuals which dropped recently. At first, it seems like this song can be considered a little cliche, a love song. But as I listened to it more, I feel like it can have a deeper meaning such as his love for music. This grind can get hella tough sometimes and Gio sets the tone of In My Feelings with this track. Production, mixing, and mastering is on point. I prefer Gio’s voice less edited and autotuned, but I appreciate the sonic quality.
2. In My Feelings (Prod. by The Martianz & Nick Niro)
This flows well following Same Old Love, keeping the darker storytelling vibe. Unlike the previous track, this one goes a lot more deeper into Gio’s life as an independent artist and entrepreneur. He talks about sleeping on floors and even in his own car at times. But the overall message is that this grind is not made for the weak-minded, and he has definitely prevailed in his own right. Overall, I dig the hook and vibe of this track.
3. Know It (Prod. by Cam on the Beat)
Now THIS is the slapper type vibe that I know Gio’s music for!! Lol. From watching his TeamBackpack auditions and other online contests, there’s no doubt that he got barz and finesse for days. I’m familiar with Cam on the Beat instrumentals, and it’s cool to see that Gio worked with him on this song. I would say that “Know It” is my personal favorite from this EP, and probably my newest favorite from Gio himself.
4. Cool (Prod. by Nedarb)
This song has a trap type of beat, and a great follow up to “Know It.” I’m not a big fan of these type of beats by themselves, but I dig Gio’s energy and style on this track. The hook and both verses definitely deliver. I’m cool right now…#vibes!
5. Back Then (Prod. by Stevejobs 2)
I’d say that from “Know It,” the rest of the tracks are hella dope and the type of vibe that I dig from this EP. As an indie rapper myself, I relate to this track as far as people only wanting you for their personal gain and not wanting to put the work in with you. I think it’s a solid track to close out this EP.
Overall I give this project a solid 4.7/5 on my "Rap's Lumpia Scale." As far as beat selection, production, and sonic quality, I think Gio Martin's music is a great example for other upcoming underground artists. I like that he opened up a little bit and showed some vulnerability in some of these tracks, especially track 2 "In My Feelings," just liked the EP title. He is known for being a dope bar-for-bar rapper along with clean visuals, and has performed in many venues across the east coast and New York city areas. For more of Gio Martin's music or to peep the In My Feelings EP, follow him on Soundcloud.
Despite the huge variety of segments within hip hop music and culture, it is often criticized as a whole for promoting themes of violence, misogyny, and otherwise wild behavior. But, from pioneers like N.W.A to game changers like 50 Cent to more contemporary artists like YG and Kendrick Lamar, we can see that while those themes recur, we often forget that entertainment is entertainment. As an independent artist myself, especially as a female, I often find myself trying to close myself off from music that doesn’t follow my standard of listening or content interest. However, at the end of the day, music is best when it is created organically, regardless of who the artist is or his/her content. Music should be fun and entertaining.
This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing an up and coming artist from Connecticut, who has been putting in work in the music game for a number of years and continues to work towards reaching all of his goals. With that said, I would like to introduce hip hop artist / rapper M.A.R. M.A.R has already toured alongside Chris Webby in 14 different cities, has opened for mainstream artists 2 Chainz, Beanie Sigel, Juelz Santana, Young Jeezy, and Lloyd Banks, and even headlined his own 5-city tour in the north east region of the U.S. In my opinion, M.A.R has the skill, work ethic, and impressive track record to “make it” in the music industry. He stated that an integral component of his success is staying focused on his own sound. “My music is my sound. As long as I do me, I don’t have to worry about the rest,” said the artist.
M.A.R was born and raised in Bridgeport, CT, having stated that his city taught him a lot. First introduced to turntables and dj equipment as a kid, M.A.R soon found himself delving to a number of different components - from writing lyrics and rapping to taking film and video production classes and even acting. Directed By 86HourPhoto and Gee Huertas, M.A.R’s music video “Too Far” is basically a mini-movie, taking viewers on an dramatic journey regarding infidelity and the temptations that people might face while in relationships. He has also put out a number of solo mixtapes that have gotten good traction in his region, and continues to release music, including one his recent releases “Martin Luther Blvd.”
His most recently noted accomplishment though was performing at the legendary Toad’s Place in Connecticut, opening for one of his favorite artists - Lupe Fiasco. “We talked about me opening up for him one day, and that day final came in my home town. It was truly an amazing show and I have the upmost respect for Lupe and the hip hop game,” said M.A.R.
M.A.R is currently partnered with Street Level ENT and represents the “Light Up” movement. Street Level ENT is an independent record label and entertainment company based in the Connecticut area. Only time will tell at where this artist and entrepreneur will go, but I have no doubts about M.A.R. He has marketable music and videos, a discern vision, and a solid team. For more on M.A.R, follow him on Twitter or Facebook.
OTDHipHop is an independent music blog and network, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.