Dirti Diana
Dirti Diana

New Music: Dirti Diana Dominates, Benny The Butcher's Even More Famous, Flee Lord Blesses Us, BWLR's Pink Range Rollin' & Statik Selektah Balances The Game

Dirti Diana ft. Euro GotIt - "Self Made"

It had to be around 2017 or so, I attended a show at the now-shuttered Times Square New York favorite B.B. King's performance bar. If memory serves me correctly, Dirti Diana was one of the opening acts for the legendary Juice Crew reunion show. While all in attendance were waiting for the main event, we were all thoroughly shocked by the superfly fitted, curvy brown-skinned MC with the strong voice, blazing bars of fury, and sparkly smile.

I was so impressed by her stage presence and powerful punchlines, I ended up texting a few record label execs a video clip of her performance and suggested they grab her up. This is without knowing a single thing about her other than her name. It is a rare feat for me to do such an act without any backstory or other music, but I just knew she was dope and needed to be on bigger platforms. So it makes me smile to see that D.D. the Diva (I just made that up, haha) has linked up with AB Butler (formerly of Chris Lighty's Violator management company) and his Back in the Game Entertainment and the Imperial Records crew to release her new music.

Get with her and new talent EuroGotit, as they shower you with that luxurious, lavish talk on "Self Made." You are sure to see more from the fly boss of body and bars.

Benny The Butcher - "Famous"

Buffalo, New York builds a different breed. Conway the Machine survived gunshots before his days in the limelight and now his family member Benny the Butcher can claim the same, but the twist is Benny is well known as he recovers from a recent attempt on his life. Earlier this month, while out shopping in Houston, Texas, Benny and his boys were approached in a Walmart parking lot and the scene ended with Benny being shot in the leg. He's been posting his progress after addressing the situation through a few Instagram posts.

This situation bookends a big year for the Griselda crew member as his stardom has come into focus in 2020. His second studio album, Burden Of Proof, musically conducted entirely by red hot producer Hit-Boy, showed a new side to Benny's usual dark yet dope feeling tracks. Hit took Benny in a new space which you can hear on his latest single, "Famous." On this track and the video to match, we find Benny contemplating his newfound celebrity against his thoughts of still being Benny from the block.

We wish him a speedy recovery and to continue to shine against those that wish him otherwise.

Flee Lord - No More Humble Fashion

You aren't familiar with Flee Lord, the street God? Where you been? Damn, homie...catch up with the hardest working rap word pusher who has dropped a project for each of the last 11 months of the year. It's a huge feat for an MC that rhymes on the gutter side of the game. He's a frequent collaborator with the mighty Griselda team and on his newest release, No More Humble Fashion, he boasts heavy heat from Conway and Westside Gunn. Both tracks are worthy of your time, as is the whole project.

Flee has the voice of the dude you'd imagine tell you to, "Take all that shit out your pockets! Right now!!" Yeah, his style is that grimy. A co-sign by the late great Prodigy (of Mobb Deep) a few years ago, put Flee on the radar for a few in the know, but he didn't rest on that accolade alone. Overworking, doing shows and having fire artwork for his music has garnered the attention that is bubbling to the surface.

Be sure to give the Lord 32 minutes of your time this weekend, you won't regret it.

BWLR - Pink Range
Lyrics that lyricists love is all that flows from Rugz D. Bwlr. I've been listening to the Harlem native for many years now and this project shows his ever-evolving skills at mastering words on beats. Speaking of beats, how crazy is it that an ill MC in his own right with Passport Rav, did all the production on Pink Range. The laid back melodic mood music takes both of their statuses to the next level of dope, especially on the floating measure of "Harlem River Drive."
There is a certain bop that Harlem cats carry...it's something that's known by cats from all over NYC. BWLR goes on to explain this and the meaning behind the album's title in this Instagram post:
"In the late '80s, the Range Rover established a rugged symbol of wealth for the classy roaming the concrete jungle. In the late 2000s, the Pink Range represented the flamboyance of the Harlem dope boy. This mythological piece of machinery stood for something and the streets that it drove on spoke the trials and tribulations of Harlem. With that BWLR adds his stories with a personal and sometimes dark side of the family going to jail, friends dying and the spoils of gentrification. "
That pink Range really was it back then...ask Cam'ron and Lala Anthony. In the meantime, spin the block with this blasting out your own cool whip.

Statik Selektah - The Balancing Act

There really is much to say about how ill Statik Selektah is...like, insanely sick with the rap game beats. I mean, early in the quarantine Statik rocked an IG Live DJ set for our VIBE account and it was scheduled during an East coast shutdown where none of the social media platforms were working. None of them. But, Statik found a way to fool the ISPs and transmitted from Brooklyn, by way of Hawaii! Yep, don't let that go over your heads. It just shows how he is an under pressure, high-level performer, on that all the real hip-hop artists want to work with. Just check his album line up...

Where most of the careers of boom-bap lane producers seem to stay right there, for the underground heads, Statik made the supreme effort to expand his sound with more melodies and bridges and chord switches. It's refreshing to hear our greats go beyond their comfort zone and challenge both themselves and the artists they collaborate with.

The Balancing Act album art cover finds Statik looking directly at us with his young daughter in tow. When hearing the themes of this album you'll see why he choose this heartfelt moment to freeze for our own contemplation. Listen to "Time" with Jack Harlow, "The Healing" featuring Black Thought, "America is Canceled" showing Jadakiss, Styles P, Termanology, and the album in full for the harsh lessons of life wrapped in love and light of the current state of the world.

Much respect Stat.

 

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King Resource

Celebrate 35 Years of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Day With Song By '80s Music Legends

Even before signing of the proclamation to make civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a national holiday, families across Black America sang the Stevie Wonder's version of his celebrated song, "Happy Birthday." The 1980 released tune will usually come after the more traditional "Happy Birthday" melody, with a soulful hand clap and bounce from side to side. Wonder made the song to bring attention to King's efforts for Black people and how he should have been honored with a holiday. He and many more started the campaign for the day well before it was signed into order by then President Reagan in 1983 and then officially recognized on January, 20th 1986. The day was also just made a federal holiday by the soon to be former President Trump.

With an official song dedicated to the man that gave his life for the betterment of people of all races, the emergence of a new song was experienced by the masses when the single, "King Holiday" dropped in 1986 by the King Dream Chorus & King Holiday Crew. The ode to showing the ultimate love to Dr. King was performed by the hottest R&B and Hip-Hop stars of the times. The King Dream Chorus included: Lisa Lisa of Cult Jam with Full Force, Stacey Lattisaw, El Debarge, Teena Marie, Menudo, Stephanie Mills, New Edition and Whitney Houston. While the Holiday Crew consisted of Grandmaster Melle Mel, The Fat Boys, Whodini, Kurtis Blow and Run-DMC.

The separation of the soul genres didn't come across in the song as much as it did in the billing of it. Both sides meshed well and grooved with a digital funk and futuristic pop that captures the feel of the mid-80s while laying down lyrics that are meant to stick to your heart:

"For the future generation/Dr. King's medication/For successful operation is peace for every nation/Sing! Celebrate! Sing! Sing! Celebrate! For a King Celebrate!"

Written and produced by Phillip Jones, Kurtis Blow, Mellle Mell, Bill Adler and Dr. King's son Dexter Scott King, the song has various versions that run from four-minutes to over seven-minutes. It is also spoken of that the one and only Prince, of Purple Rain fame, paid for the production. Regardless of the ways it was pulled together, the message of unity and honoring the man with the message for us to come together, the "King Holiday" song shows us how our talents can endure generations and still inspire change in the face of the adversity of present day America.

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Calvin Schneider

Rah-C Emerges With New Album 'An Unsurfaced Melancholy'

As we tread through the brisker months of the year, it's only natural that one's emotional and mental state can at times become downtrodden and weary, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that's currently ravaging the globe. Couple that with mandated and self-imposed isolation for months on end, catching a case of the feels has become par for the course, no pun intended.

That said, Rah-C has just what the doctor ordered, with the newcomer's debut album, An Unsurfaced Melancholy. The  project finds him mirroring the signs of the times with music tailor-made to soundtrack your modern-day existential crisis. The follow-up to The Format, which was released earlier this year, An Unsurfaced Melancholy marks the next chapter in his progression as an artist, as the brazen lyricist is back for the first time, with an revamped approach and vocal style first teased on his previous single, "Whole Life." Produced by Rah-C and Identite Crisis in its entirety, the album begins with "Sooner or Later," an introductory cut that doubles as one of the more upbeat salvos on the album. Layering feathery vocals atop fluttery synths, the New York native vaguely recounts drunken nights in Denver, as he revels in his zest for living in the moment. From there, the tempo gets ratcheted up a few notches with "Back from My Lowest," an airy groove that captures him refusing to wilt beneath the weight of his shortcomings.

Drawing from his lyrical prowess, Rah-C kicks a couple of bars on "Lightning Stuck in a Bottle," which slightly misses the mark due to a grating backdrop, but regains his footing with "It Won't Matter in the End," a sublime offering that finds him in the crosshairs of the law. While An Unsurfaced Melancholy presents an ample amount of intriguing offerings, one that encapsulates the best of what the multi-dimensional crooner has to offer comes in the form of "Over Exposed," which is powered by robust production and stellar songwriting. Musing, "Hearing sweet words from your lips/And my finger tips linger with the taste of you/It causes tooth decay," Rah-C's experience as a seasoned lyricist is as evident as ever, as his clever quips leave the listener with a bit of food for thought to chew on.

In addition to showcasing his talents behind the mic and the boards, Rah-C's musicianship gets put to the forefront with "Til the Embers," a string-laden salvo on which he does work with an acoustic guitar, accounting for one of the more heartfelt compositions on the album. After waxing poetic about the days of yesteryear amid a flurry of rhyme spills on "Nostalgia, The Drug," the proceedings are closed out with "How To Break Free," which captures its host asking the complex questions life tosses us while providing his own answers on the road to peace and happiness.

 

 

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First hitting the scene on the strength of his skills as a wordsmith, An Unsurfaced Melancholy finds Rah flipping the script, returning back for the first time with new wrinkles to his artistry and a promising future ahead of him. Flexing the breadth of his abilities as a songwriter, producer, and composer over the album's ten tracks, Rah-C shines brightly, serving up a change of pace with An Unsurfaced Melancholy, which is sure add an extra bit of brightness to listeners' day after giving it a spin.

 

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Jazmine Sullivan And H.E.R. Unite On "Girl Like Me"? Yes, Please.

Jazmine Sullivan and H.E.R. have tag-teamed on an honest and introspective song, "Girl Like Me," the second single from Sullivan's forthcoming project, Heaux Tales.

Produced by Bongo ByTheWay, the guitar-laden song walks us through the real thoughts that tend to go through a woman's mind after her man leaves her for another woman. Why doesn't he love me anymore? Was it me? Is it because of how I carry myself?  Should I have dressed more like a stripper to keep him? What did I do and not do? Is being a good girl really worth it? Maybe I should just let go and be more like a hoe...

The ladies alternate between verses and background adlibs as they address these very things. By the bridge, Sullivan and H.E.R.'s powerful vocals weave in and out of each other as they get frank about why we've resorted to anger, frustration, and "acting like we don't care," even though it "breaks us to the core" when we're not wanted anymore. But their deliverance of the chorus drives the message of this song home.

"Boy, you must wanted somethin' different/ Still don't know what you was missin'/ What you asked I would've given/ It ain't right how these hoes be winnin'/ Why they be winnin'?/ No hope for a girl like me/ How come they be winnin'?/ I ain't wanna be/ But you gon' make a hoe out of me..."

Jazmine Sullivan's Heaux Tales project drops on Friday (Jan. 8). The world is ready to hear more from those pipes again.

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