Music is one of the purest forms of therapy known to man. It’s truly amazing how a great song can instantly change your whole mood and day. I’d like to think JAY Z’s The Blueprint helped a young 6th grader like myself cope with 9/11. Songs like “Ain’t No Love” helped prepare me for this New America we’re currently living in. It’s nothing quite like hearing a song for the first time and instantly forging a connection with the beat, lyrics, or theme.
One of the greatest joys in my life is discovering and sharing new music. Although Hip-Hop is my culture, no matter the genre, if it feels good, sounds good, and makes me move, I’m bound to listen to it for a week on repeat and then send to the homies in the group chat. I really take pride in finding great songs from obscure artists. Tapping into often forgotten regions such as the Bay Area and the Midwest, I have found hit records that will never make it beyond YouTube and SoundCloud.
Here’s a collection of songs that have piqued my interest in the first few weeks of 2017. Some of the selections have been out for months but they just started bubbling enough to come across my radar. Others are new releases that instantly caught my attention as the next big song and flow that Soulja Boy will inevitably try to copy. The thing they all have in common is they are organic hits that are ready to have labels like 300 Entertainment put some radio dollars and SoundCloud buys behind them.
Sahbabii – Pull Up With The Stick (Feat. Loso Loaded)
When Young Thug first hit the scene with his I Came From Nothing mixtape series, the peak Lil Wayne influence was undeniable. Now that Thug has come into his own, taking Wayne’s style and adding his own brand of weird, ambidextrous flows, it’s amazing to see new Atlanta artists being direct descendants of him. My favorite of the Post-Slime generation is ATL newcomer Sahbabii. Straight out of the 9th Ward—home of 21 Savage and the Slaughter Gang—Sahbabii continues the hometown tradition of making violent murder music. Sahbabii puts his twist on this overdone topic by employing melodies more commonly found in barbershop quartets.
His breakout single, “Pull Up With Ah Stick” featuring Loso Loaded is arguably the hottest record in the streets of Atlanta. Over an ethereal beat that sounds like it was made for Main Attrakionz (remember them?!?), Sahbabii reps his hood and makes a birdcall sound as dangerous as ever. Loso Loaded, formerly of Viking Life, balances out Sahbabii’s harmonies with a hyped up verse that perfectly compliments the bass on this track. Be sure to check out Sahbabii’s SANDAS mixtape, he’s definitely no one hit wonder and has a few other bangers tucked away.
Squidnice – Everywhere I Go
Coming straight out of Heroin Island, NY, we have newcomer Squidnice. The internet is a funny place. I first heard of this kid when a meme of his baby picture was floating around with an anonymous female caption that read “If he’s 5, I’m 5.” Meme turned rapper trajectory aside, Squidnice’s “Everywhere I Go” is one of those songs what will be stuck in your head all day. With an infectious hook that is reminiscent of French Montana, this record is well on its way to going SoundCloud platinum.
The art of hook writing is lost on this new generation, so it’s refreshing to hear a chorus that’s straight to the point and easy to rap along too. The line “Please do not text all that hot shit to my phone, my young boys will pull up and take your iPhone” was practically made for tweets and Instagram captions, emojis included. New York is always looking for an heir apparent, so I’m interested in hearing more from Squidnice and if the city will get behind him.
Valee – Shell
Music discovery is a beautiful thing. A few weeks back, I was over my guy Cousin Stizz’s crib watching playoff football. He kept playing jam after jam from a smooth-voiced rapper that I didn’t recognize. From the lingo, I could tell he was from Chicago. Eventually, I asked Stizz who he was and he told me it was Valee. As soon as I got home, I did my due diligence and liked every project of his on SoundCloud. After sitting with the music for some time, the stand out track to me was “Shell.” Gliding on the hard thumping 808 bass with a whisper flow, you can’t help but rock along to the beat.
Valee does an impressive job of making mundane topics such as having a stomach ache, walking to the gas station, and shopping sound like best day ever. I really love the “bumpy Margiel[a] feel like braille” bar, that’s ghetto poetry at its finest. This is what I like to call lifestyle music. Clocking in at just under two minutes, “Shell” is one of those songs you wish had an extra verse. Valee has been teasing a music video for “Shell” on Twitter lately, which means this record is poised to be a viral hit.