Wednesday, September 20, 2017

RIBs: Reviews in Brief for week of 09/20/2017 featuring King Arthur & Tru Speech

Been catching up on new and not-so-new albums so I'll be bringing back RiBs for a couple weeks, let's see how it goes.
King Arthur of Thee Brown Plague’s Revenge of the Mixtape Rapper is a super fun romp through classic and modern hip-hop beats from a confident MC who speaks in crisp rhymes and fresh flows. I prefer the positive songs to the ones about sexcapades but I am becoming an old dude and ultimately think that it’s all executed very well. There’s a lot of both on this tape; I particularly enjoy how some of the beats are exact replicas while some are slightly rearranged versions of the beats the tape borrows from. Arthur’s flexibility of cadence on both old school boom-bap and nu-rap tracks is seamless. Something else I like about this tape is how Arthur’s performances makes all the production sound of one era even though these beats traverse decades. Don’t sleep on King Arthur and his squad Thee Brown Plague, a live act that has energy and cooperation unlike any other.

Tru Speech’s Forgetting Tomorrow is a nocturnal dreamy adventure soundtrack about desires, whimsy and clashing against what other people in one’s life want from you. While many albums I’ve listened to lately have smartly and gamely tackled depression holding people back from their lives, Speech’s record is about, it seems to me, how his protagonist persona’s lackadaisical way of life throws off people in it, particularly the women pursuing him. Just when you think the pressure of I.E. life (that pressure being to set yourself up economically, be a good friend to your squad, to not be so flaky with the girls you date and more) is going to get him to focus outside of himself he gets lost in another wordy daydream of tangents and fantasy. It could almost be a metaphor for the kind of diabetic that lapses into hallucinogenic realms when blood-sugar is low. Speech’s similes are delightful and amusing in their cleverness and I.E. specificity (“blow up on YouTube like super hot fire…”) but what I find even more entertaining is his tendency to play with every formulation of a word and similar sounding syllables as he tumbles through a rhyme-scheme. It’s nonchalance and baritone delivery remind me of the Herbalistic’s Greaseball but the values expressed and the instrumentals used (made by all-stars like Nabeyin, Curtiss King, OhGoshLeotus and more ) are certainly consistent with those usually expressed by members of the Over Everything crew, whose members C.J. Westley and Cam Archer, show up at various points for perfectly executed appearances. I’m aware that JooseBoxx has pretty thoroughly covered this album before but like everything on Wiggy Wednesdays, this weekly column just kind of reflects my recent ear-diet.  It’s impressive that each Over Everything project feels of one brand while exhibiting different flavors. Enjoy this throwback!
Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program ( and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

In Bloom: review of Zzay's botany

In the years since I first met Zzay and reviewed her last album Cloud 92she has developed and polished her craft and business savvy immensely. Like MC Mega (now known as Brandon the Wizard) before her, I saw her make spirited earnest attempts to collaborate with multiple crews in the So Cal region including my own before finding a space and set of people who both fully appreciated her contributions and had a platform strong enough to propagate them. She’s been a host for B-Side Show, toured with Belzar, hosted for BricktoYaFace Common Ground events, slummed it with beatmakers and hipsters in San Bernardino, became part of the Platform Collection family, lots in between and most recently linked up with the prolific and borderline-massive East of the River network based in Boyle Heights.

I say all this to say that I thought her style would be refined and professionalized to the point of being unrecognizable on her next album, Botany. I was prepared for this and thought "well the old songs exist, the new songs will exist too, it's all good." To my pleasant surprise she kept it all while growing in new directions. On songs like the first single and video "The Stem's Cry" she keeps it raw on some boom-bap that eases into melody at its end. "No one in the White House is a girl!" she says earnestly but angrily on the hard Doja beat. The song returns to humility as mantra, a common theme of EOTR.
                                               "I'ma spark up a blunt- don't you tell me how to function!"
"You don't talk enough" is vintage Zzay about waning and see-sawingly uneven relationships over melancholy infectious melodies. "All Kinds Of" is her with a persona her listeners would be familiar with but still with a new kind of song, speaking to unappreciative men from the past with jazzy wistfulness. “Wilted” is a mesmerizing "93 til infinity" flip; like most on the album, it's about valuing yourself enough to not keep negative people around. "Cool, calm and connected" and "Barcode" are harmonious stony stream of consciousness poems that deliver for fans of her older work. She's not afraid to get weird on stranger beats like "Spotlight" vacillating from siren cooing to aggressive rapping over trippy beats whose snares and bass fade in and out.

On "Bloom" and "Venus Flytrap" she brings the drama and displays her diva chops; "Venus" is particularly fun to hear revisited. The song that made me fear she would lose her older poetry-stream style but at the same time excited to hear what someone with her drive would do with more professional tools and enablers was "Late Bloomer". A masterful jazz-pop piece produced by Aspect One and written by Viva Mescal, Zzay makes it her own with perfect restraint, tune development and innate commitment to the character and message of the song. That the song feels like a lovely culmination of Zzay's other lovelorn story songs sells it further- her performer's persona is someone the audience connects with on a vulnerable level and hearing her this confident and wise, speaking kindly to a young flower perhaps not unlike herself once is charming and timeless yet neo-soul and hip-hop. Spec's crackin' claps and funky melodic layers give Zzay one of the most deft and tight soundscapes she's yet to float on.
One doesn't have to look farther than the album's launch website to see she is a in a fertile creative mental space with the East of the River crew and in her own right, offering multimedia content and handcrafted paintings and shirts that go with the music.

The album's themes unfold naturally with the idea of a person blooming into finding a balance and is rich with plays on the botanical like "Late Bloomer", "Stem's Cry", "Bloom" and the sun cycles alluded to in the intro and outro.

That Zzay could deliver an album with pop gems like "Bloomer" , conscious boom-bap like "Stem's cry" and addictive sorrowful mourns like "You don't talk enough" speaks to her versatility and confidence in different musical pockets. Botany is a more than worthy destination for her fans from all over So Cal and beyond who have kept up with her artistic journeys thus far.

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program ( and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Time Is Near: Review of BRB by Notiz Yong

 An astute listener would tell you I.E. hip-hop veteran Notiz Yong has always used music to vent his negative feelings. In BRB, he extrapolates the practice into a major theme for an album. In Dear Rappers… he owned his negativity, on BRB he attempts a spiritual cleansing, turning the aggressive feelings into blessings like squeezing water from stones.

Sonically, this is his most brain-massaging album since Rappers in my opinion. He smartly deploys his own production skills in conjunction with young but experienced I.E. beatmakers like Asend and Kordisepz to create an11 track record with a unified feel. His maturity and his anger on display side by side, the candor of Notiz’ concerns and dreams and frustrations are human and soothing to hear whether it’s over keyboardy boom-bap or nu-rap electro-bangers.

Notiz continues to wield his singing voice with confidence such as on the opening song and “RIL”. “NTW” is the second video for the album, after the hip-hop homie cameo-laden “FYH”, and it’s a great demonstration of Notiz’ updating his sound for new years while staying true to his aesthetic. It’s one of the most impressive things about his catalog, the consistent style within works by numerous producers.

On “FYR”, Yong tackles religion in America and explains how he sees tribalism. The concept of blessing has become mantra to him, a reflexive defense against not only external but internal negativity. The single “FYH”  is the one moment where he lets himself go off on the haters with no Zen guardrails on his trains of thought. The ideas of people taking up your personal space, of haters, of being taken for granted are pervasive in an almost paranoid way. Yong’s MC persona’s wit and melody are his weapons against these encroaching forces.
“DTD”, like “FYR”, shows Yong’ consciousness expanding beyond the I.E. and on America at large. I can’t help but wonder if he would have made such songs if we were not in the era of Trump. Like “FYR”, “DTD” meditates on tribalism and Yong’s willingness to make the listener part of his, the distance people will travel to follow their dreams. Yong’s dreamers that he refers to throughout the whole album, usually including himself in that grouping, are particularly present on “DTD” and I couldn’t help but hear them as DREAMers as Notiz croons “You ain’t got to fear/the time is near”. Perhaps an artistic sign of hope for the day when people can come out of the shadows and live their best lives.

“Through the Pain” has one of my favorite sung choruses from Yong so far and makes explicit the idea of him squeezing blessings out of his pain. He reiterates all the album’s biggest themes on this closer, with this entreaty to the audience: “live a lot and just shine”. Yong’s funny vocalizations and laughs throughout the album, singing “bonus” over and over on the intro, the recorded phone call “be right back..” at the very end and more, give this, his most thoughtful work yet, relatable flourishes of personality.

In 2017, balancing boom-bap sound with modern styled double time songs is a factor I look at with underground hip-hop albums since we’re at a point when versatile MCs can’t ignore the existence of these poles on the spectrum of rap. Notiz has delivered what I think represents the best balance of these styles in an album I’ve heard all year- weaving seamlessly from tempo to tempo, choosing beats that still feel of one piece, and taking his craft seriously throughout; there’s something on this record for a lot of different kinds of hip-hop listeners. In Be Right Back / Bless Right Back Notiz Yong has reached the religious phase of his artistic career and the time has come for us all to reap the spiritual harvest.

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program ( and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at

Thursday, August 31, 2017

So Alive: review of Spirit Gunner by Cam Archer


 I mean it in the best of all ways when I say that OhGoshLeotus’ work consistently reminds me of the 2012 Channel Orange album by Frank Ocean. Certainly neo-soul sounds existed before 2012 but that year and album marked a turning point in hip-hop and R&B production in my view and I was glad to see with 2016’s Cocamania that Cam Archer & OhGoshLeotus applied much of what I loved about that aesthetic to a barsy rap album by one of the Inland Empire’s sharpest mic controllers. Archer’s Spirit Gunner, scheduled for mass release 2 days from now, is very much a sequel to Cocamania and it doesn’t waste its chance to deepen the journey that album started us on.

     It’s a neo-soul nerdcore MC’s journey into the self like that album but it actually delivers on its implications about inner revelation. To harken once more to Ocean’s Orange, that album culminates in an implication about the album protagonist’s sexuality in the song “Forrest Gump”. In Gunner, Archer goes beyond Ocean’s game of footsie with a deep admission and makes explicit what Cocamania went through meticulous pains, Rube Goldberg-esque machinery and Jungian imagery to explain: that Archer’s rap persona emerged from intense depression, insecurity and struggle with suicidal tendencies. If Leotus didn’t make it such a melodious symphony and Archer didn’t round up such a talented coterie of singers for it, you could say this album is to Cocamania what Alan Moore’s footnotes to his From Hell graphic novel are to the actual From Hell graphic novel. He explains not too long into the record that he is frustrated that people didn’t understand the cries for help in Cocamania, that the constant Nirvana references in that album and this one aren’t just coincidences. In a world where Netflix shows like 13 Reasons Why are becoming massive phenomena among the youth, Archer’s topic matter is both timely and relevant to the young people of the world who listen to hip-hop.  

          The truth is that these days I can’t talk to anyone who won’t tell me about their intense depression and inclination towards suicide within 5 minutes of our conversation beginning. Some blame Trump or late capitalism generally for this mass ennui and nihilism. I think they’d all have a point. And I’m talking to people over the age of 25. Apparently younger people are feeling the same way and they might not have a vocabulary for it. Cam Archer is here to help. His "spirit gunner" character seeks a durable and oh-so-elusive happiness for him and his lover- what teen can’t relate to that? It’s amazing to me honestly the myth that Kurt Cobain has become. Kurupt was referencing his suicide in raps in 1995, almost as a jab at spoiled weird white people who don’t understand how good they have it but by the time younger MCs like Sonnie Babble and Cam Archer are rapping about him, he was a prescient sensitive soul whose intolerance for this plane of existence foreshadowed how we all would feel about the world at this point. In this sense, Spirit Gunner has a lot of darkness both in its narrative and in what the title even means- the implication that the gun in that phrase could be used on oneself is not expressed subtly. I stress how blatant the album is on these topics because it shocked and surprised me while never compromising the muscular quality of the vocals and production. To never lose your momentum while shocking the audience is a mark of exceptional art in my opinion.

        That said, even death-and-Anime obsessed BarGawds get hungry and the same dude who seamlessly wove Highland and San Bernardino into Cocamania presents in this album a standout single which also serves as an ode to an Inland Empire Mexican food staple, "Amapola".
"Grew up on 13th where coke was harbored/now we're talkin'!"

The single's second verse has some incredible insights about working class life about the I.E. and all within one of the album’s bouncier singles. The above line and others about growing up on San Bernardino’s infamous west side reiterate an idea I gleaned from Cocamania and that many great MCs have in common- lack of middle class comfort early in life leading to an intense drive for success as an adult. The milieu Archer paints in his songs that speak positively but honestly about his youth are odes to working class perseverance and the struggles of single mothers. I love the bangin’ Leotus production on “Amapola” for claiming G-Funk for the I.E., something I always wanted for the region as I grew up listening to Dr. Dre and DPG. Also the idea of celebrating a Latino business in the I.E. is dope, I don’t know how else to put it. I don’t harp on the working class just to do it; we are ignored by the political and cultural elite. Artists like Archer and Leotus are changing that.

“Songs about You” is a clever riff on the idea of sexual partners that want to be muses and not getting it twisted; Archer doesn’t just shit on floozies here though but rather delves into his own evolution from someone who was not confident with women to someone perceived by some as a player. This deepens the whole album’s thesis of explaining the Phoenix that rose from insecurity and depression which was in Cocamania but more subtly than this and apparently less understood than Archer hoped based on his lyrics in this record.

"Snake Road" and "Super Saiyan 2" are more melodic bangers and example of how you never quite know if you’re in the I.E., an anime, a video game or a combination of all of the above as you listen to Archer’s work. More strong songs, "Namaste" and "Nights" continue to balance the badassery and growing zen of our hero, depicting his journey towards peace and being able to let things go.

The closer, "BarGawds IV", is the most ambitious of the Over Everything BG series yet with multiple producers (Nabeyin on the second beat) providing a different hard and tony beat for each rapper. Each MC delivers but Kit’s verse, the final, shows that the singer has more Goodie Mob in him than most can handle. Always lovely to hear Stone x Sober together on a new track.

                 “If I’m not the king by 2019 then I swear on my life with this music I’m done”.

      The whole album but particularly “Savin’ Up” (the sole track not by OhGoshLeotus, a Nabeyin production) and “Amapola” touch on working class Inland Empire, California life exquisitely and in a way that pushes the visceral impact past where Cam took it on Cocamania. On a record that in my view is less misogynistic than his last in general anyway (I like to think this happens to us modern thinkers as we age…), “Savin’ Up” gets specific and eloquent about the relatable and common struggle of balancing one's love life and the pursuit of artistic dreams. Even this idea of particularly talking about the simple but ubiquitous concept of “saving money” takes humility to discuss- a lot of rappers like to rap from a persona that has always been and will always be rich, high above the hoi polloi. Hell, even the ones that don’t tend not to laud the virtue of frugality- to me this is I.E. as hell. Our reality is working class. Our parents had to save to survive and so will we to thrive. Life was not handed to us in some already dope city- we, the independent artist community, are among the ones building what is dope here. The tenderness, passion and sincerity with which Gunner’s protagonist speaks to his life partner is palpable and effective in a song that was really a vulnerable and risky moment in my opinion. In another move that I think is more I.E. than the swingy open-relationship lifestyles of major metro areas (not that I’m hating, just observing), the song implies a desire to spend the rest of life’s moments with one’s lover. Marriage, monogamy….these are working class values that cultural elites and privileged hipsters increasingly sneer at and I love that Archer is unaffected by that.         

                          "I've waited my whole life now I feel so Alive"

The two “Holographic” songs catch the O.E. / Chill Palace combo at their most OddFuturish except you don’t have to squint for Cam’s verses to hit. To me the songs symbolize the deepening journey of the hero but I am sure there is more to mine there. Another thing they symbolize is the distorted chronology of the album, with the first "Holographic" being "part 2" and the second one "part 1". Our narrators are letting us know the order of events is not necessarily precise and when I think of the two songs that actually culminate the album's through lines it makes sense. On "The Shooter", our hero breaks it all down for us: what "Nirvana" meant in Cocamania and the triple meaning of the gun in Gunner: everyone loves the shooter who scores the last points in the game, everyone loves the gunslinger in the movies, and when we're honest everyone seems to loves the angsty artist that shoots himself in the head only to be glorified posthumously while they dwell in Nirvana. Archer confronts all three ideas and if you care about what he started in Cocamania, you've got to hear this resolution. I like to think of "Alive", the catchiest and most cathartic life-affirming track on the record to me, as where the character ends up, the lyric quoted above feels like a satisfying conclusion to the angst and depression we've seen him trudge through in the stories before. That's certainly a reductionist take but it's satisfying. Certainly Archer's work is more textured in the end- an ongoing discussion of the good and the bad in life and the truth is most people that deal with depression have intense highs and lows.

Technically speaking, the album finds MC Cam Archer and primary producer Oh Gosh Leotus in peak form but the musical aspect that is new here is Cam's singing. Particularly on "Alive", he renders choruses confidently and in smooth complement to his verses. All the guest vocalists are transcendent and the way the album plays like an out of order movie is why this review is so extensive: it's an album length nerdcore-tinged neo-soul hip-hop story of a moody yet reborn love-struck gunslinger that speaks to a multiple generation-spanning global sadness that most struggle to express- and everybody loves a shooter.

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program ( and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

WIGGY WEDNESDAYS: VIDEO ROUND-UP WEEK OF 8/23/2017 featuring Mad Macks, Araless, Muds One, Cam Gnarly and more



Another boom-bap classic from East of the River. I love that this video makes Mad Macks' college graduation ceremony look cool. The video is still dripping with irony and working class skepticism of the system, evident in Macks' irreverence while so many students around him are somber but at the end of the day, the video conveys an image of family and loved ones are happy around our protagonist. Muds' eye conveys both the momentousness and everydayness of the situation with Macks gamely playing a Fresh Prince-like vessel for the audience to experience the narrative through. More Mad Macks here


Cam Gnarly’s modern polished posi-bangers never disappoint. Gnarly reminds me of OutKast- each time a new song of his starts, you’re sad the last one ended and then the cycle repeats. This song is no different and Cam’s hip embrace of campy on-the-nose video imagery is a stoner’s delight.


Seattle based hip-hop artist Araless finally dropped the video for his chill summer love song, “Intertwine”. Set in San Diego, the piece finds his co-director and he clearly enjoying themselves and each other. Don’t miss the EP’s worth of remixes that came out with this single and since. More Araless here


Nice clips of up and coming beatmaker Yohalmo, video by the John Romita Jr. of west coast hip-hop videos himself....


Yeah that's two monthly video round-ups in a row in which Muds One has multiple entries in the round-up. What can I say? Dude puts out a lot of completed polished content. This chronicle of the East of the River crew’s journey to their Paid Dues appearance on 09/16/2017 is released in weekly webisodes and is funny as hell. Looking forward to watching it all as one movie soon!

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program ( and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at

Monday, August 21, 2017

Why does the Lord God Almighty hate the DC Cinematic Universe? An Investigation

The curse on the DC cinematic universe is starting to look intensely real.

Man of Steel wasn't responded to the way Nolan Batfilms were and those who did care generally disliked it.

Warner Brothers hired Ben Affleck fresh off of his Oscar win for directing Argo thinking hiring an attractive movie star with writer/director credentials would be a smart way to make a well-loved follow-up to the now canonical Nolan Batman films. This seemed like a smart move until Affleck's infidelities and divorce played out in real-time in front of America, damaging his lovable image and apparently taking him out of a space where he could do triple duty on a billion dollar franchise flick.

Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad were both 5 times as hyped as they were good.

The Batfleck dream of writing, directing and starring in a Batfilm is falling apart, we’ll be lucky if Affleck is even in the next solo Batman movie.

Justice League is a 5 freight train-wreck: first Zack and Deborah Snyder re-tooled it after the backlash to BvS and Suicide Squad, then their daughter committed suicide and they passed the movie to the legendary untouchable nerd luminary Joss Whedon.

        Whedon was already getting dragged for his old Wonder Woman script, which was really unfair internet nerd abuse in my opinion and now, his ex-WIFE is dragging him for years of deceit about infidelity. Not only is she DRAGGING him for it but she (or the editor of The Wrap, the magazine who published it) is insisting that it means he’s a fake and hypocritical feminist when feminism has become a bigger part of his brand every year that goes by. It will be about 5 minutes before the feminist internet nerd community, which I think of myself as generally sympathetic to by the way, successfully demands he be fired from working on Batgirl. The web's biggest Whedon fansite, Whedonesque, has already vowed to end its own existence in reaction to the Kai Cole article. Let me reiterate that the internet’s biggest Whedon fansite is committing suicide over this article. Now none of the film's 3 directors nor its biggest star can execute a huge successful talk show circuit push for fear of being pushed into profoundly painful circumstances and Batgirl the movie is effectively preemptively knee-capped.

I am seriously thinking that God, the Holy Spirit itself, has a huge problem with the DC Cinematic Universe. So here are my theories as to why:
  1. God sees the God-like DC trinity as false idols – it’s right there in the first commandment
  2. God is punishing the actual exceptional iniquity of this particular set of Hollywood Babylonians – if this is the case, then Bryan Singer should be getting locked up any day now so stay tuned….
  3. God wants to see more people of color hired to make these films, the way Marvel has begun to - this is the runner-up for the theory I am most inclined to believe.
  4. A different, more art-oriented God is angered by the over-commercialized bland uninspired adaptive approach of the DC film world. This is the theory I am most thinking is true. When Batman popped up on the scene in the late 30’s, he wasn’t a heartthrob- he was a creep; a freak, a weirdo, a ghoul. He changed entertainment history forever onward. Superman was an alien, an outcast. I think the Gods of art are disgusted that the characters are being turned into mass product, being stripped of their riskiness and weirdness, depicted with Olympian level attractiveness and sculpted beauty. The Gods demand the comics and their offspring be weird, challenging, strange. Art and its creation has always been an essential part of human society and its development- I would not be the first commentator to suggest the reboot-loop of small and big screen television we are in the midst of is a reflection of a lack of cultural imagination, cultural ennui, secular stagnation, or Fukuyama's "The End of History". I myself dismissed such concerns as cultural snobbery until God took particularly cruel vengeance on literally everyone who directed the Justice League film.                                                      I enjoyed Batman v Superman despite its huge flaws, same with Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman ( a somewhat less flawed movie). I would still love to see a Batman film written, directed by and starring Affleck. While I slightly prefer Marvel generally, I have a metric ton of Batman and Justice League hardcovers and paperbacks to go along with my Spidey and Star Wars collections so this opinion doesn't come from being a DC hater. I say this as someone who had accepted that the DC movies would be overwrought over-dramatic Greek God sculpture archetypes presented in a way that can sell to the largest number of the human population as possible. I had accepted all that and was okay with it- but God hasn’t! That’s how powerful the sigil of the DCU trinity is- the Heavens are concerned and they have opinions. God wants more originality, more risk, more trumpeting of the meek the Bible speaks about….never have I feared God so much as when the internet fell Joss Whedon, king of the nerds. Be afraid and tread carefully for we may very well indeed be living in the last days.
Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program ( and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Let 'Em Talk To Ya: Review of Dope Kid Danny's "Euphonious" Beat Tape

Dope Kid Danny's Euphonious Beat Tape is a chill and vibey but still straightforward collection of crisply produced new beats. They feel canonical in the sense that they have warm familiar melodies and concepts but also totally new in their craft and style.

"Let Me Talk To Ya" opens up the collection with a G-Funky guitar loop laid over claps and shouts atop a very chill hip-hop beat. "Can't Let Go" is a catchy and beautiful mournful lover's track that's really nice to blaze and drive to. Danny toggles between boom-bap and newer double-time styles.

"Private Party" is a funky banger, "Day Dreaming at Night" is exactly the pensive relaxing beat one would think it would be. "Boardwalk Convo" makes me want to take my girlfriend to Redondo Beach at night.

Over and over with these songs, a very entertaining maxim holds true: Danny illustrates his concepts in a narrative with these beats. "Along for the Grind" sounds like a montage of hustlers in training, "Scrapin'" is later in that same movie with the characters lowering their hoopties to the ground. "You Screwed Up" has the hungover ringing of being reminded of your folly along with undeniable bass driving the point home. "Me and My Shadow" hints at the producer's depth ominously in a hard coda.

His sound pays homage to old school funk hip-hop but also newer-style drum syncopation and electronic sound. The sound tells a story of a young Latino dude driving through So Cal cities, living his sincere life. It does all this but it's also a chill tape, indeed full of euphony.

The best beat tapes are an album in themselves while also reminding artists of what a good idea it is to collaborate with a given producer. Dope Kid Danny has hella I.E. hip-hop credentials from his work with Faimkills, Noa James, Curtiss King and many more- with Euphonious he tells his own sonic story, join him for it.

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program ( and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at