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(Album) Nando STL – “Y.O.T.A.” @NandoSTL

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St. Louis rapper Nando STL released his debut project Y.O.T.A or ‘Year of the Ape’ today via Nappy Boy Entertainment. The 10-track body of work, almost entirely produced by PDUB (Da Baby, Tory Lanez, John Legend, Kirk Franklin), features guest appearances by Nappy Boy label-head T-Pain, STL legend Nelly + more, and was mastered by Darwin at Chicago’s Classik Studios. Recently released singles “Weakdays”, “Loud” and the title track “Y.O.T.A” featuring T-Pain and Young Cash, are all found on the release. ‘Y.O.T.A’ is available everywhere now.

In time for mental health awareness month, the soul-felt project highlights themes of mental health. With lyrics like “Imma throw a smile on and crack jokes all the way home, and then I’ll tuck my kids in and go and cry alone…,” on tracks like “Weakdays,” Nando shares thought-filled, internal commentary on his struggle with depression while faking happiness as he navigates life’s challenges.

Alongside his new music, Nando has been on tour with T-Pain, supporting select dates across his nationwide run, with additional ongoing (unannounced) dates through mid-July.

With Y.O.T.A., Nando is cementing his spot among hip-hop’s new regime of newcomers.“This year I wanted to do something totally different than what I’ve ever done as an artist,” said NandoSTL. With his new label home and forthcoming body of work, Nando STL is poised to be a 2023 ‘Artist To Watch’.

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(Album) MeRCY – Michaelangelo @musicbymercy

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After months of anticipation backed by three singles, we are finally gifted with the 12 piece offering of art from MeRCY. Even with some technical difficulties on the upload, nothing could stop Michaelangelo as it hits all streaming services in full force. With the transfer complete and minds at peace we can now indulge on the latest album from the craftsman MeRCY.

Michaelangelo begins on a high note with the record “Work Of Art” as it sets the tone for the rest of the album. Backed by heavy drum & snare hits, MeRCY begins to paint his picture from his heart and painful scriptures. “You don’t got bark or bite/you don’t got stars and stripes/you ain’t built for this/I’m the army type” spits the heavy hitter over the Black Metaphor production. The track begins to boost your endorphins and that cycle continues to prove true throughout Michaelangelo, MeRCY says “this project is meant to be emotionally charged. Each record was supposed to be compelling storytelling”.

With a vision in place and a mic in hand the South Florida native went to work. The sculptor compiled other artists and producers to help complete his work of art, giving them a brush so they can cement their own strokes of creativity. When asked about those moments behind the scenes MeRCY says “The creation process behind this album was almost like free falling to an empty abyss of imagination. I can feel what I want or say what I want based on the production provided. I wanted the listener to capture the essence of that.” T.F, NapsNDreds, Yoamanduh, Four Square Miles, The Musalini & P. Hall help by providing their vocals to the record. Lebanon Don, Tone Spliff, Sebb Bash, Syer, Jake One, Odd Squad, Zino, DJ Wayne Ski, Kubo , SlimRock & the previously mentioned Black Metaphor lace their imprint behind the boards.

MeRCY has always been known as a lyricist and has never fallen short of expressing his interests regarding the world of art. He combines both within Michaelangelo, bringing to life an album that brings a visual lyricism of a musical art gallery. The artist says “I wanted the people that’s listening to picture the music and see the sounds of every record.” If MeRCY turned this final project in before the end of the semester with hopes of passing he’d get an A+ for simply creating a body of work that has no faults. Instead he’s a college dropout who’s playing college dropout, he’s always been in a class of his own even before getting out. He’s an artist who doesn’t need a class or book to make his mark in life, he’s doing just that with his book of rhymes and the art that comes from it.

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Grammy and Juno Award-winning producer/engineer David Strickland releases his debut solo instrumental album Foundation

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Grammy and Juno Award-winning producer/engineer David Strickland has released his debut solo album Foundation via MNRK Music, a 20 track instrumental project that seamlessly blends his hip hop-fuelled musical inspirations over the years. Boasting production credits with a who’s who of rap superstars including Drake, EPMD, The Clipse, Def Squad, Method Man, Kardinal Offishall, Saukrates, Maestro Fresh Wes and many more, Foundation arrives as a follow up to his last critically-acclaimed 2022 release Spirit of Hip Hop: Elements album, and its prior accompanying series, that celebrated, showcased and highlighted a wide range of North American rap icons alongside emerging Indigenous rappers. “This album represents the first time I did something musically that was just strictly by myself. No MCs or singers. Just me alone. Producer and engineer,” explains the Scarborough-born producer/engineer who has quietly worked behind the scenes for decades, producing, mixing and/or engineering records from the likes of Canadian urban music legends including Glenn Lewis, Ghetto Concept, Jelleestone, Choclair and k-os. “I was in NYC going through beats in the studio and I was looking at the last two albums I released and the instrumental versions, and it made me think about how guys like DJ Muggs and The Alchemist have been doing instrumental albums for years. I spoke to my A&R and VP about the idea, and then locked myself in the studio and banged out and revamped a couple beats and it just all came together.”

Strickland pays homage to his neighborhood roots on “Scarboro Forever”, and references his career sustenance on “The Journey”, but what lies at the core of the highly rhythmic, breezy and boom bap-inspired production on Foundation, is that at its core, it reminds listeners of what it takes to make a hit record – the production, which is the foundation. But the album title carries deeper layers of meaning. “Music is the foundation of any song, and I am a part of the foundation of the ‘Toronto Sound’. Any good project needs a solid foundation. And say what you want about me, but I’m a finisher. I always deliver.” Foundation delivers on all fronts, and appeals to music lovers of many stripes, as its contemporary sonic edges are rounded out nicely by its timeless classic old school musical sensibilities.

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(Album) Benny The Butcher – Everybody Can’t Go @bennybsf

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New Album from the Butcher the Def Jam debut. Benny the Butcher has deliver us a 12 song album with features from Lil wayne , Snoop Dogg , Pezzy, Westside Gunn and more! Production from Hit Boy and Alchemist. Check out “Everyone Can’t Go”.

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