Tag: Complex

Live Footage: Royce da 5’9″ Performs “Thou Shall” and “Overcomer” on Vevo’s Ctrl

Born Ryan Daniel Montgomery, Royce da 5’9″ is a Detroit, MI-born and-based emcee, best known for his longtime association with Eminem, with whom he’s one half of duo, Bad Meets Evil, a critically applauded solo career, primarily collaborating with Carlos “6 July” Broady and DJ Premier, as well as ghostwriting for the likes of Diddy and Dr. Dre. He’s also a member of Slaughterhouse, an All-Star hip-hop act that also features Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I, and one half of PRhyme with the legendary (and aforementioned) DJ Premier.

As the story goes, Royce da 5’9″ signed his first deal with Tommy Boy Records, who offered him $1 million while Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment offered him $250,000 and unlimited beats, a decision that he described as one of his biggest regrets in a 2016 Complex interview. After Tommy Boy Records closed, the Detroit-based emcee signed a deal with Columbia and Game Recordings, with whom he began recording an album then titled Rock City, a title which referred to Detroit being the former (and best known) home of Motown Records. When the album wound up being heavily bootlegged, the Detroit-based emcee left that label for Koch to re-record the album, eventually releasing it 2002 as Rock City (Version 2.0). And although the album didn’t sell well, the DJ Premier-produced single “Boom” helped Royce achieve some underground recognition and lead to the two working more closely with PRhyme.

Their 2014 debut album together featured both artists going out of their comfort zones, and expanding upon their familiar sounds; in fact, Premier enlisted the compositional skills of Adrian Younge, whose work he sampled throughout the album’s production while Royce da 5’9″ traded bars with the likes of MF Doom and Little Brother‘s Phonte on the initial release, and with The Roots‘ Black Thought, Joey Bada$$ and Logic on the deluxe edition released the following year. 2014 also saw Royce da 5’9″ team up with Eminem on the posse cut “Detroit vs. Everybody.” 

Since then, the Detroit-based emcee released 2016’s solo album Layers, 2018’s Book of Ryan, which featured another ongoing collaboration with Eminem “Caterpillar,” that year’s second PRhyme album Phyme 2 and a guest spot of Eminem’s surprise release Kamikaze. 2020 continues a recent period of incredible prolificacy with the release of his eighth album, the 22 track The Allegory, which features guest spots from Westside Gunn, YBN Cordae, Benny the Butcher, and a boatload of others. 

Vevo’s Ctrl series highlights the work of hard-hitting, cutting-edge artists making an impact in today’s music scene with a focus on both emerging and established artists. The artists Vevo’s Ctrl series features are artists that the video platform believes demand attention, and the series is a way of shining a deserving spotlight on those artists. Recently, Vevo’s Ctrl invited the acclaimed Detroit-based emcee to their Brooklyn studios to perform two tracks off the album — “Overcomer” and “Thou Shall.” “Thou Shall” is centered around an eerie, RZA-like production: stuttering beats, a sinuous bass line and a looping string sample and eerie atmospherics while Royce da 5’9″ of bold and swaggering pronouncement of being doper than anyone else out there, full of pop cultural references with Kid Vishis slamming the door on anyone who may challenge them. “Overcomer” is centered around a looped and seemingly ancient soul sample and thumping beats while Royce da 5’9″ rhymes about blessings, the wisdom he’s earned, sociopolitical observations and more.

The performances that Vevo’s Ctrl captured are swaggering, passionate within an intimate yet minimalist setting.  

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Mr. Green is a Brooklyn-based producer, who has received attention from Vice/Noisey, Complex and Netflix for his forward-thinking #LivefromtheStreets series. Building upon the buzz that he amassed from the #LivefromtheStreets series, the Brooklyn-based producer has teamed up with the legendary and iconic dub reggae pioneer, producer and singer Lee “Scratch” Perry on the recently released collaborative EP Super Ape vs. 緑: Open Door, an effort that finds the Brooklyn-based producer pushing his sound an approach even further while attempting to do something that had never been done before: a standard-length EP that cohesively meshes over 20 different genres and styles. The EP also features a diverse array of guests that includes The LOX‘s Sheek Louch, Daniel Son, Bad Brains’ H.R. and comedian Eric “Scratch” Andre.

The EP’s first single “Come Back Alone” features The LOX’s Sheek Louch spitting gritty street shit bars over a dense and hallucinogenic production that thumps so hard that it’ll destroy speakers. The track finds Mr. Green and Lee “Scratch” Perry pushing old-school, street boom-bap into a radical sonic territory while retaining its grittiness and toughness.

 

 

 

 

I’ve managed to write quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Phillips, a.k.a Crywolf over the past 12-15 months or so. When Phillips started writing and releasing his own music. he was practically homeless, living in a room roughly the size of a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Since then, Philips has developed a growing profile that has included amassing several million streams across all of the various streaming platforms, a headlining slot on the second largest stage at Electric Forest and praise across both the blogosphere and the major media outlets, including Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complexas well as this site.

Now, if you’ve been following this site over that same period, you might recall that Phillips sophomore album widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. Building upon the momentum of his sophomore album, Philips recently started a new series THE OBLIVION [Reimagined], which will feature reworked versions of tracks off widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. The first single in the series featured the Chicago-based producer Mielo tackling “DRIP” — with Mielo releasing an arpeggiated synth-driven, cinematic remix that recalled A-Ha’s “Take on Me” and Depeche Mode while retaining the urgency and frenetic feel of the original. Earlier this week, Seattle-based producer Levit∆te released a glitchy, murky and hyper-futuristic remix of “ULTRAVIOLENT Pt. 2” that retained Philips plaintive vocals.

widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1] album single “QUIXOTE [i am alone, and they are everyone] features Philips’ achingly plaintive vocals floating over a cinematic and glitchy production. Recently, SWARM, a dark, industrial metal-influenced electronic artist released his own take on the song — a take that places Philips’ plaintive vocals within a gritty and jarring, industrial production featuring thumping, industrial clang and clatter, aggressively arpeggiated synths and a soaring hook. Evoking the increasing automation and brutality of our contemporary world, the song manages to pull upon and tease out the dark, gritty psychological detail of the original, placing in a new context without stripping the emotionality or the intent of its creator.

“There is something about ‘QUIXØTE’ in particular that is deepening haunting to me,” SWARM says in press notes. “I could feel my own emotions in every aspect of it, from the cathartic atmosphere to the painfully raw lyrics. In my re-imagination, I wanted to bring the psychological grit to light in a more aggressive way by using my own background in metal and industrial music.”

 

 

Over the past 12-15 months or so, I’ve managed to write quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Phillips, best known for his solo recording project Crywolf. When Phillips started writing and releasing his own music. he was practically homeless, living in a room roughly the size of a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Since then, Philips has developed a growing profile that has included amassing several million streams across all of the various streaming platforms, a headlining slot on the second largest stage at Electric Forest and praise across both the blogosphere and the major media outlets, including Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complexas well as this site.

Now, if you’ve been following this site over that same 12-14 month period, you’d recall that Phillips sophomore album widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. Interestingly, Phillips recently started a new series, THE OBLIVION [Reimagined], which will feature reworked versions of tracks off widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. The first single in the series found the Chicago-based producer Mielo tackling “DRIP” — and Mielo’s take is a arpeggiated synth-driven, New Wave-inspired remix that’s cinematic and buoyant, recalling A-Ha’s “Take on Me” and Depeche Mode while retaining the urgency and frenetic feel of the original. The series’ latest single finds Seattle-based producer Levit∆te, known for a sound that meshes dubstep, left-field bass and hip-hop taking on Crywolf’s “ULTRAVIOLENT Pt. II [she sang to me in a language strange].” The original is a slow-burning and atmospheric take on industrial electronica centered around stuttering beats, industrial clang and clatter and Phillips’ plaintive vocals. Levit∆te’s reworking features a glitchy production that features harder hitting beats that gives the song a murky futuristic air — while retaining Philips plaintive vocals. “When I heard ‘ULTRAVIOLENT Pt. II’ it immediately resonated with me,: Levit∆te says in press notes. “Carrying notes of wave music, slight witch house influences and intimate vocals, teh song really resembled a lot of my own music. I really did my best to retain the original message and feeling the song gave me, but refine it through my own filter.”

 

 

Over the past year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Phillips, best known for his solo recording project Crywolf. As the story goes, when Philips started releasing music, he was practically homeless, living in a room the size of roughly a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Interestingly, since then Philips has developed a growing profile that has included amassing several million streams across all of the various streaming platforms, a headlining slot on the second largest stage at Electric Forest and praise across both the blogosphere and the major media outlets, including Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complexas well as this site.

Philips sophomore Crywolf album widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1] was released earlier this year,  and the album’s first single was the urgent, frantic and trippy “DRIP.”  Centered around a swooning and wobbling production thumping beats, a cacophony of industrial clang and clatter, a looped vocal samples, and plaintive vocal delivery and atmospheric synths, the song managed to be a dramatic push into a radical new sonic direction. And at its core, the song evoked a narrator, whose mind and sanity have begun to rapidly fray at the seems — and we hear his thoughts, observations and feelings ping-ponging back and forth. As Philips wrote about the new single and of his sophomore album, “one of the themes of this album is the exploration of the shadow – the darker, more difficult aspects of the human psyche. People often think they have one unified ‘personality,’ but the truth is that we are made up of up to a dozen different personalities that are only loosely tied together. We feel like we have so much control over our actions and personality characteristics, but often when we pay close attention and are honest with ourselves, we can see that we can’t actually control or even explain large parts of who we are. ‘DRIP’ is the my process of staring into my brain and being brutally honest about some of the really difficult aspects of what I see there. It might not be, but it’s uncomfortably real.”

Philips recently started a new series, which he titled THE OBLIVION [Reimagined], which will feature reworked versions of tracks off widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. The first single in the series finds the Chicago-based producer Mielo tackling “DRIP” — and Mielo’s take is a arpeggiated synth-driven, New Wave-inspired remix that’s cinematic and buoyant, recalling A-Ha’s “Take on Me” and Depeche Mode while retaining the urgency and frenetic feel of the original.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Crywolf’s Gorgeous and Unsettling Visual for “CEPHALØTUS”

Crywolf is the solo recording project of Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumetnalist and producer Justin Phillips. When he started releasing music, he was practically homeless, living in a room the size of a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Since then, Phillips has come a long way — he has amassed millions of streams, headlined the second largest stage at Electric Forest and has received praise from the likes of Consequence of Sound, Alternative Press, Billboard, Nylon, Complex. 

Deriving its name from the Latin name of a small, carnivorous plant, Phillips’ latest Crywolf single “CEPHALØTUS” will further his growing reputation for sensual, enveloping and cinematic pop centered around a gorgeous and atmospheric production featuring shimmering guitar chords, Phillips’ reverb-drenched ethereal falsetto which expresses vulnerability and plaintive need paired with  dramatic bursts of industrial clang and clatter. The song possesses a surrealistic and painterly quality — while delving deep into the depths of its creator’s psyche. 

Phillips latest Crywolf album, widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. II] was released earlier this year, and he further cements his reputation or boundary pushing in all aspects of his art with the release of the “WIDOW” series, a short film that will be released in three parts — and unsurprisingly, the short film series is designed to compliment the music perfectly.  “Mabul [CEPHALOTUS Official Video), is technically the second part of the series and begins in media res, as we follow the video’s protagonist (Phillips), dressed like a priest and underwater, seemingly stuck in a purgatorial state, unable to move and unable to die. Much like the song, the visual is at simultaneously dream-like, haunting and unsettling. 

Last year, I wrote about the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Phillips, best known for his solo recording project Crywolf. And as the story goes, when he started releasing music, Phillips was practically homeless, living in a room the size of about a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Since then, he has amassed a growing national profile that has included amassing several million streams across the various streaming platforms, a headlining slot on the second largest stage at Electric Forest and praise across both the blogosphere and the major media outlets, including Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complex.

Now, as you may recall, “CEPHALØTUS,” a single that derived its name from the Latin name of a small, carnivorous plant was a sensual and atmospheric bit of synth pop centered around a production featuring shimmering guitar chords, Phillips’ reverb-drenched, ethereal falsetto paired with dramatic bursts of industrial clang and clatter. And while possessing a surrealistic and almost painterly quality in which the artist slowly layers sound for a specific emotional effect, the song is also a deep dive into the depth of its creator’s psyche.

Slated for a March 22, 2019 release Phillips’ sophomore Crywolf album, widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1] and the album’s first single is the urgent, frantic and downright trippy “DRIP.” Centered around a swooning and wobbling production thumping beats, a cacophony of industrial clang and clatter, a looped vocal samples, and plaintive vocal delivery and atmospheric synths, the song is a dramatic and decided push into a new direction sonically. But at its core, the song evokes a narrator whose mind and sanity have begun to fray at the seams, thoughts, observations and feelings seem to rapidly ping pong back and forth throughout. Interestingly, while in the middle of working on his sophomore album, Phillips was forced to take a break, as an entire album worth of material and over $5,000 worth of gear was stolen while he was in Chile. Heartbroken, Phillips headed to Patagonia, where he began to write in a small, wooden cabin in the Huilo Huilo rainforest, which has long been rumored to be haunted with thousands upon thousands of lost souls. Upon his return to the States, Phillips spent time in Twin Peaks, the Blue Ridge Mountains, Reno, NV and the forests just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada — overall a period that the acclaimed producer and electronic music artist has dubbed his “quarter life crisis.”

As Phillips writes about the new single and the forthcoming album, “one of the themes of this album is the exploration of the shadow – the darker, more difficult aspects of the human psyche. People often think they have one unified ‘personality,’ but the truth is that we are made up of up to a dozen different personalities that are only loosely tied together. We feel like we have so much control over our actions and personality characteristics, but often when we pay close attention and are honest with ourselves, we can see that we can’t actually control or even explain large parts of who we are. ‘DRIP’ is the my process of staring into my brain and being brutally honest about some of the really difficult aspects of what I see there. It might not be, but it’s uncomfortably real.”

Phillips will be touring throughout the Spring to support his new album, and it includes an April 5, 2019 stop at Elsewhere‘s Zone One. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates

March 22 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop/Popscene
April 4 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
April 5 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere (Zone One)
April 7 – Chicago, IL @ Chop Shop
May 2 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird
May 3 – Dallas, TX @ RBC Deep Ellum
May 10 – Los Angeles, CA @ 1720

HERO is an up-and-coming Calgary, Alberta, Canada-born, Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based electronic music producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist. With the release of “Dirty Work” and “The Juice” off his forthcoming Dirty Work EP, the Canadian electronic music artist and producer emerged into prominence both nationally and elsewhere. “Dirty Work” received praise from the likes of MTV Latin AmericaComplexbooooooom tv and others while, “The Juice” was featured in an episode of HBO’s Insecure; in fact, the song was so well received that they actually wrote HERO into the script, with a character referring to him as “the black Daft Punk.” 

Certainly, with “Stay the Night,” the reference to the Canadian producer and artist as “the black Daft Punk” sounds and feels incredibly fitting, as the sensual and retro-futuristic club banger recalls Homework and Discovery-era Daft Punk, as its centered around a propulsive and sensual groove, arpeggiated synths, vocoder-fed vocals and an undeniable, infectious hook. 

 

 

 

Crywolf is the solo recording project of Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumetnalist and producer Justin Phillips. When he started releasing music, he was practically homeless, living in a room the size of a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Since then, Phillips has come a long way — he has amassed millions of streams, headlined the second largest stage at Electric Forest and has received praise from the likes of Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complex

Deriving its name from the Latin name of a small, carnivorous plant, Phillips’ latest Crywolf single “CEPHALØTUS” will further his growing reputation for sensual, enveloping and cinematic pop centered around a gorgeous and atmospheric production featuring shimmering guitar chords, Phillips’ reverb-drenched ethereal falsetto which expresses vulnerability and plaintive need paired with  dramatic bursts of industrial clang and clatter. The song possesses a surrealistic and painterly quality — while delving deep into the depths of its creator’s psyche. 

 

 

Born Ryan Daniel Montgomery, Royce da 5’9″ is a Detroit, MI-born and-based emcee, best known for his longtime association with Eminem, with whom he’s one half of duo, Bad Meets Evil, a critically applauded solo career, primarily collaborating with Carlos “6 July” Broady and DJ Premier, as well as ghostwriting for the likes of Diddy and Dr. Dre. He’s also a member of Slaughterhouse, an All-Star hip-hop act that also features Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I, and one half of PRhyme with the legendary DJ Premier.

As the story goes, Royce da 5’9″ signed his first deal with Tommy Boy Records, who offered him $1 million while Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment offered him $250,000 and unlimited beats, a decision that he described as one of his biggest regrets in a 2016 Complex interview. After Tommy Boy Records closed, the Detroit-based emcee signed a deal with Columbia and Game Recordings, with whom he began recording an album then titled Rock City, a title which referred to Detroit being the former (and best known) home of Motown Records. When the album wound up being heavily bootlegged, the Detroit-based emcee left that label for Koch to re-record the album, eventually releasing it 2002 as Rock City (Version 2.0). And although the album didn’t sell well, the DJ Premier-produced single “Boom” helped Royce achieve some underground recognition and lead to the two working more closely with PRhyme.

Their 2014 debut album together featured both artists going out of their comfort zones, and expanding upon their familiar sounds; in fact, Premier enlisted the compositional skills of Adrian Younge, whose work he sampled throughout the album’s production while Royce da 5’9″ traded bars with the likes of MF Doom and Little Brother‘s Phonte on the initial release, and with The RootsBlack Thought, Joey Bada$$ and Logic on the deluxe edition released the following year. PRhyme 2, the duo’s long-awaited sophomore effort is slated for a March 16, 2018 and the album’s latest single “Rock It” features a swaggering production consisting of shimmering synths, twinkling keys, boom bap beats, some of Premier’s classic sampling and scratching which Royce da 5’9″ waxes nostalgic over some of his favorite artists, while reminding listeners that he’s one of contemporary hip-hop’s sadly under-appreciated emcees; but perhaps more important, in an age in which most mainstream artists increasingly sound the same, real hip-hop that I remember  — dope emcees spitting bars over slick and thumping production still exists and is still absolutely necessary.