WATCH: Keith Ape – It G Ma

This video raises so many unanswerable questions in my mind and heart – Who are these people? Where did they come from? How does this video not have more views? Whose apartment is this? How do they afford such epic clothing/jewellery? What are they even saying?

Why will I never be this cool?!

LISTEN: Leon Bridges

25 year old Texan, Leon Bridges, is the reincarnation of Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and everything else good and beautiful about 1960s soul. What a striking voice. (Thanks Man Repeller for this recommendation!)

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2014 was full of groundbreaking musical releases from all corners of the earth. Regardless of your personal taste, this year there was something for everybody.

The following list is my top 10: From heavy hip hop, to summery jangle pop, to fluttery acid jazz; this genre-blending collection of sounds defines my taste perfectly – Inclusive, Diverse, and Eclectic.

Here we go:


Vince Staples – Hell Can Wait

The lyrical talent of Long Beach native Vince Staples is truly crippling. If Kendrick is the voice of hope, then Staples is the mouthpiece for the hopeless. Hell Can Wait is a captivating tale of drugs, crime, and police brutality. “And they expect respect and non-violence.. I refuse the right to be silent.” With resigned honesty, he tells the stories that are often overlooked. Unlike many of his peers, he is not glorifying street culture and violence or even necessarily trying to change anything; rather he is criticising the corrupt system that has taken so much from him and those he loves; the society that forces people down and makes us turn on each other in order to survive. “North Division tryna stop my blackness.” Staples is a much needed addition to the current state of hip hop because he raps from a place of truth and maturity far beyond his 21 years. His flow is calculated and alters itself seamlessly to fit the beat – At times firm and vehement, it then gracefully speeds up to dance over the tripped out haunting production.

Stand Out Tracks: 65 Hunnid, Hands Up, Feelin the Love

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Remember nearly 6 months ago when I interviewed my friend Hak of NYC group RATKING? If you’ve been playing close attention since then, shout out to you. They’ve come the hell UP and I couldn’t be more happy.

Here’s another fire video showcasing the creativity, truth, and grittiness of kids who grew up in or were influenced by the lifestyle and unavoidable hold of a city like New York.

If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, catch them early next year at Laneway. Tickets here.

Follow Ratking on Twitter & Facebook to keep up with the latest!

West Coast rapper Antwon with his Biggie-type chill flow meets East Coast lyrical beast Wiki (of Ratking) and his frenzied spitting; All this over a mellow Lord Pusswhip/Vrong beat.

This is just fire. If you get it, you get it.

Find Antwon and Ratking on Soundcloud




Ratking left to right: Sporting Life, Wiki, Hak

Ratking left to right: Sporting Life, Wiki, Hak [Image via The Guardian]

RATKING have been grinding on the low for a minute, but if you haven’t been paying close attention to music that falls outside of a box or genre, in this case typical “New York hip hop,” you might have missed the lead up. Fast forward to April this year when they released their debut album ‘So It Goes’, and you can’t help but hear them now.

The group immediately followed up the album with explosive performances over the 2 weekends of Coachella 2014. (Coachella is the highest grossing music festival in the world, so whether you think it’s awesome, played out, or too ‘mainstream’, being put on the lineup is an enormous achievement and one that even some established artists wait half their careers for! – SHOUT OUT TO RATKING)

Over the next few months of northern hemisphere summer you can catch them throughout Europe and America doing anything from huge festivals to intimate grimy shows alongside punk groups.

The first time I saw Ratking play was last September at the Echo in Los Angeles. They were opening for one of my favourite artists, King Krule. Admittedly, because of this cosign they already had a slight advantage in my book. I’d previously heard a few tracks, including this remix of King Krule’s ‘Octopus’ and almost immediately connected with the beautifully contentious sound. Continue reading