In 2000, hip-hop was in a very different place than it is today. Outkast’s Stankonia, Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP, and Jay-Z’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia topped the annual charts; Nelly released his first album; Big Pun released his last; and through all of the sonic experimentation ranging a broader geographic scope than ever before, much of the scene focused on the Bay Area with smooth-talking pimp-culture projects coming from a number of acclaimed emcees including Del the Funky Homosapien, Mac Dre, and E-40. …


There’s abundant courage required to redefine oneself at the peak, but with no way to go up any further without the invention of something to fly on, the only choice remaining is to promptly head — or painfully fall — back down to Earth. Over the last five years, the duality of Isaiah Rashad has seemed to be in flux, heading in both directions at once. Out of the public eye, the eternally illusive Chattanooga-born, LA-based rapper has been going through it, and subsequently — personally — as his creative projects continue to spur a large following and ensuing influence…


Take a little bad boy glam, add a string of falsetto perfection, blend it into a filmic nonreality, cut jet black with neon color, and stamp it with the exclamation point of a panty-dropping, face-melting guitar solo. In that artistic space, JMSN’s cinematographic marathon, Love 2 U, beams. Like a James Bond intro merging with the Neo-Noir holographic lust of Blade Runner under a cinematic banner where the timelessness of Soul music soundtracks all, his new visuals — directed by girlfriend, actress, and apparent visionary mogul Alexa Demie — are an undertaking of daunting proportions and a vibrant creative achievement.


There is quickly a point at which recreating cultural imagery can take on a cultural identity itself. Art these days boasts nothing if not myriad possibilities, especially for artists who’ve got the touch. The re-envisioning, the process, the curating of a style not quite ever explored before, yet under the banner of ghostly familiarity in two directions: both towards an image’s original form and also towards the contemporaneousness from where it has been re-sourced; re-imagined. And at the broad scope of those many creative and cultural intersections, Nashid Chroma’s art is quickly capturing its own corner of pop culture’s modernist…


Pink Siifu wanted to make an album that reminded him of the music he and his crew used to listen to while cruising through the country towards Birmingham. He wants you to play it loudly. He doesn’t want to be put in a box. Pink Siifu decided to make GUMBO’!

The prolific, experimental, transcendent rapper rooted in Alabama, but broadcasting his necessary sound to the world from a listening and release party last night on a rooftop in New York, reminding us all that rap can feel familiar while simultaneously sounding not quite like anything ever made before, is back…


There’s abundant courage required to redefine oneself at the peak, but with no way to go up any further without the invention of something to fly on, the only choice remaining is to promptly head — or painfully fall — back down to Earth. Over the last five years, the duality of Isaiah Rashad has seemed to be in flux, heading in both directions at once. Out of the public eye, the eternally illusive Chattanooga-born, LA-based rapper has been going through it, and subsequently — personally — as his creative projects continue to spur a large following and ensuing influence…


Much of art, music, and culture at large becomes unnecessarily categorized. It’s the fault of journalism — of which we are undoubtedly a part of — to put effort towards defining the kind of indefinable qualities that make humans human — that make the arts art. Expression of the human — of the construct that is objective reality through experience — breeds myriad reflections and portrayals of an inner, deeper self more easily communicated and ultimately understood through art, through music, through culture as a whole, than it is through the simplicity of the written word or the tidiness of…


A sun-soaked reminiscence has always tethered the auditory aesthetic of California soulstress, Joyce Wrice not only to the Golden State, but to the Golden Era. It’s not to say that she’s not a figment of Neo-Soul modernity — having been a collaborative name and a standalone artist on the rise for something like half-a-decade — yet, her music could have ornamented the wavy birthstones of R&B as we know it, and no listener would dare question its placement in the 90’s or early 00’s. It’s her era of influence, after all. A young talent with the immeasurable grace and grip…


From the very beginning, it’s obvious that Kota — as he so fervently addresses in his opening lines — is in a different place — ‘ain’t the Kota that you first met’ — compared to the one we’ve come to know through his prolific last four years. Yet, through a listen, it’s also obvious that — even different — he’s still a Kota whose immersive poetics we’ll quickly come to love and relate to. To Kill A Sunrise is still Kota — but the album is also Kota by the way of acclaimed and established East Coast producer — maybe…


There is an undeniable discourse to the framework of Chicago’s hip-hop history. And more than any other nuance towards the past, present, and future of Windy City rap is a nod to what has long been described as conscious. Rap for social causes; rap for movements; rap with an inspiring edge rooted in an uncomfortable truth: that underrepresented communities — that the most underrepresented communities of color in particular that have crafted most of the modern culture we know — are often those that utilize culture to make a statement in the first place. …

RINGLEADER Magazine

RNGLDR Magazine is a small, independent online blog focusing on the creative worlds of music, fashion, art, design, and photography. For more: www.rngldr.com

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