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D| REVIEWS – Vstylez Brings Us Back To School With “Thornton Melon”.

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Roughly four years ago the Detroit hip hop scene was blessed with one it’s most put together & impactful albums of the decade. “At Oddz Til I’m Even” helped establish emcee & lyrical artist Vstylez locally and beyond. It was eighteen tracks of hard hitting, true to form “hip-hop”, storytelling, substance, & a team of an emcees like Royce Da 5’9”, Bumpy Knuckles, Crooked I, Big Gov, Guilty Simpson, Jon Connor, Kid Vishis, Big Pooh, and more. Together the production, features, & the tried and true lyricism of Vstylez shined in near immaculate fashion providing for a brilliant hip hop record.

Enter 2018.

The Detroit hip hop scene is brewing brand new stories & the underground scene has arguably experienced one of it’s strongest years in recent times. Amongst new faces, taste-makers, & creatives in the scene driving the art form forward one such staple has returned to leave his hip hop fingerprint smack dab on the front page of Detroit’s musical renaissance. This time around Vstylez takes us back to school in an ode to slash play on the 1996 motion picture Back To School starring Rodney Dangerfield. The album artwork perfectly morphs Vstylez & the late Rodney Dangerfield together giving “Thornton Melon” quite the cover.

Thornton Melon”…..ahhh yes the follow up to the critically acclaimed “At Oddz Til I’m Even” is a shorter adventure than its predecessor but what it lacks in length it more than makes up for with quality cuts. As always join me as I breakdown my listening journey track by track, here is D|REVIEWSThornton Melon”.

01. Intro – Pretty self explanatory here – Vstylez sets us up letting us know we can look forward to some “good lyricism & dope abstract beats” over one of those said beats before leading into Ozone.

02. Ozone – With one of the most recognizable samples we get some twilight zone sounds to lace Ozone. The Nottz produced record has Vstylez lacing us with some facts in what sounds like an introverts anthem “at all times I’m alone, I’m in my mother fucking zone….!” “Ozone” extends as a true intro to me with some facts & statements that provide good idea of Vstylez as a vet in the emcee game. It’s a powerful opening record & packed tidbits of life that show knowledge being spilled.

03. Memoirs Of A Daywalker – It becomes obvious about thirty seconds into “Memoirs” that your ears are going to grow accustomed to epic production & Moss continues to provide. Vstylez spills his thoughts, “final thoughts” to be exact, yet only to let us know he still has a lot on his mind. Which is great to hear because the introspection here bodes well with the “Back To School” theme & you can pick a apart pieces where Vstylez is dropping truth that feels aimed for younger generations to learn from.

04. Detropolis – Now this right here is an anthem? Detropolis pays homage to the city & legends of city over a classic brewed Pete Rock canvas. I was lucky to hear this in the studio for a preview prior to the release of “Thornton Melon” & had been dying to hear it again since. I give every album I review the “car test” & let’s just say this particular record has garnered quite the attention of my vehicles speakers lately. A standout record on “Thornton Melon” & one of my favorite hip hop records out of Detroit for 2018.

05. Consistent ( feat. Deion Lucas ) – Coming along for the first feature on the album comes the R&B voice of Deion Lucas of 7 Mile.  You’re like a wish that I made so beautifully true…in this ode of sorts that plays like a hip hop love song has Vstylez professing the support that is given even amongst vices or imperfections. It’s great to have records with a variety of sounds but sometimes hard to be cohesive when you throw a hip-hop/r&b record inside a bunch of harder hitting tracks. However “Consistent” fits, & it’s beat is infectious the ear. It’s provides the perfect variety in contrast to the songs its sandwiched between.

06. Phenomenon ( feat. M.O.P. ) – My favorite hook/chorus of the album comes together on Phenomenon and legends M.O.P. provide a flawless addition. After repeated listens I can really see this one being a dope music video. Another one of my favorite cuts on “Thornton Melon”.

07. O-Ellis – The first single from “Thornton Melon” this was the first record most of got to hear from the project. I had it pretty heavy rotation earlier this year and coming back for a refresher the track hasn’t lost any prestige. I like the placement on the album – roughly at half way point. The self definition record that gives a profile of the layers of Vstylez. It already stands the test of time & meshes well with the album it prefaced.

08.  Roulette (feat. JRGotTheHiTS ) – Producer/Rapper JRGotTheHiTS joins forces with VStylez on this one. “Success is the best revenge” VStylez states as this whole record is sort of a metaphor to game of roulette. A reflection on the struggle and mishaps of life that promotes chasing your dreams vs monetary gains. It’s a relatable record for the artists out there who know that this game isn’t easy but Vstylez continues to provide lessons & if you truly listen into what he is saying there is some terrific advice intertwined with his lyrics. The delivery on this record almost had me feeling like it was an intelligent “whisper” rap. It’s a softer delivery that blends with what I say is the most unique sounding beat on “Thornton Melon”.

09. Respect (feat. Skyzoo) – As we head into the final portion of the album we learn another lesson. Detroit’s Big Gov provides yet another infectious production & thoughts on the “new school” line the opening verse that gives an example of those “new” ones being abolished when they approach a track with legends. An ode to showing respect where it’s due, & Skyzoo comes along for ride trading two great verses that deserve respect on their own merit.

10. Triple Lindy (Feat. KetchPhraze & Finale ) – A lot of people were anxious for another clash & well we are delivered that right after this very record “Triple Lindy” is not to be overlooked. A triple threat of it’s own making we get a local clash of lyrical proportions as KetchPhraze & Finale provide quotable bars back & forth over some Moss production. I love the way this record switches up at the end before Vstylez comes in hard over the guitar laden switch up. Love it.

11. Return of the Kraken ( Clash, Pt. 2 ) ( feat. Kool G Rap, OC, Masta Ace, & KXN) – I might be a tad bit bias because Masta Ace is one my all time favorite lyricists but that fact only elaborates the proof that Vstylez can hold his own with the best of them. This is what folks were waiting for after the legendary clash that took place on “At Oddz Til I’m Even”. There’s really nothing negative that could be said here. It’s a group of legends trading polished bars over a classic sounding hip hop production. I also enjoy how Vstylez once again finishes off the record & although there are no slouches here it does feel as the best has been saved for last & he shines amongst the entourage.

12. Mom and Pops – In closing we get what feels like the most personal record on “Thornton Melon. From a love for camouflage passed on from mom to staring in the mirror seeing a reflection of pops the storytelling here illustrates a beautiful tale of love for his parents. The chorus is the only segment of the album where you will hear Vstylez singing & it fits perfectly. I’m a sucker for these type of records & it’s one of my favorite on here. Great production by Apollo Brown here as well.

Before we finish we get a hidden gem that comes after Mom and Pops….. “I ain’t the first one I’m the last one out” I’ll call it for now, but it’s a pleasant surprise to those who stay listening past M & P.  & ends “Thornton Melon” on an upbeat & chorus driven moment after a couple prized verses to close out the album.

Thornton Melon” is without a doubt one of the strongest releases to come out the Detroit area this year showcasing a veteran emcee who can flow with the best of them. Vstylez once again proves his knack for putting together classic sounding hip hop records & has brewed quite the concise, consistent, & definitive effort in this release. It’s packed with stellar production & a gang of standout tracks surely set to stand the test of time. It’s a terrific listen for any hip hop head old or new, & if your new well hey – you might just learn something as you get taken to school with this timeless banger packed offering. Overall rating: 9/10

Purchase/Stream “Thornton Melon”: https://songwhip.com/album/vstylez/thornton-melon

“Detropolis” Music Video

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What’s Hot On The Streets? Coalition Djs Det Top 10 Chart.

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Coalition Dj Top 10 3/10

Coalition Djs Detroit provides a weekly top 10 of whats hot on the streets! Make sure you get in touch and take part in new music Sundays. Tell them your people from Detroitrap.com sent ya!!!

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The Hot Hand Belongs to 42 Dug

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42 Dug You Da One artwork with Yo Gotti

The Most talked about artist in the city of Detroit right now is 42 Dug

The rapper has lived the life of a man double his age. As predicted, he became the product of his circumstances, which put him behind iron poles at age an early age. The defiant young hustler spent a considerable amount of time in solitary confinement, which is where he found his voice in hip-hop. The rapping style of 42 Dugg, whose moniker derives from his neighborhood, rivals no one although artists with similar narratives inspired him such as Yo Gotti, Jeezy and Peezy. His lyrics are also riddled with gritty street observations; angry messages about systematic oppression and unrelenting tales of criminality. Every aspect of his art, from rhymes to stage performances, is grounded in realism.

On his debut project, Young and Turnt, 42 Dugg has a lot to rap about. The overwhelming majority of his songs were penned while in the hole. Writing his truth not only passed the time, but it also fortified his belief in himself and his ability to overcome obstacles. From the prolific “Mama I’m Sorry” to the profound “Free Minds,” the savvy MC flows with passion, precision and in precise detail. But it’s the track, “You Da One,” featuring Gotti that will cement his status as a viable chart-topping artist. From the day he decided to take his shot behind the mic, he knew he wanted to be an inspiration for his generation and that includes the young people that can relate to his transparent storytelling. By connecting with the culture through his pain, 42 Dugg has been able to grow a solid fan base and also create a major label bidding war. He is everything that hip-hop represents, an authentic and raw talent who has overcome extreme difficulties that would break the average.

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TIDAL Unplugged Kicks Off One Million Dollar Artist Grant Program in Detroit Starting March 1, 2019.

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As we say ourselves – THE NEW MOTOWN IS HERE! Now Tidal is putting their money where their mouth is establishing a brand new one million dollar artist grant program to help struggling artists reach the next level! The best part of it all though? They are kicking off the Tidal Unplugged program right here in DETROIT! That’s right if your a Detroit area based artist who could use a little help reaching the next step in your musical career & you believe you have what it takes to do so with that extra little push than today is your day! Be sure not to waste any time & click here to apply now!

Once again if your ready to take your music career to the next level that submission link is right here: https://tidal.com/us/unplugged-submit

Read the full official press release from Tidal themselves below for more information about the program, & good luck!


TIDAL PRESS RELEASE

TIDAL Unplugged, One Million Dollar Endowment, Launches to Support Emerging Musicians

With Support From Donors, Artist Grant Program Kicks Off in Detroit, MI on March 1, 2019

(New York, NY – February 21, 2019) Today, global music streaming and entertainment platform TIDAL along with Mark Lampert & Robert Nelsen have announced the launch of TIDAL Unplugged, an unprecedented million dollar artist grant program dedicated to building emerging artists’ careers. Funded by a generous donation from Mark Lampert & Robert Nelsen, TIDAL Unplugged will kick off in Detroit, where Lampert’s grandfather started his musical career. Local artists will have the chance to submit their music through TIDAL to receive part of the million dollar grant.

As an artist-owned platform built with the goal of creating a sustainable music industry and empowering artists, TIDAL supports talent helping to bring their artistic visions to life. TIDAL Rising is a key pillar of the platform’s mission to showcase emerging talent. TIDAL Unplugged is a realization of Lampert and Nelsen’s desire to provide artists with the means to pursue their dream. Both have a long history of philanthropy outside of their venture capital endeavors and supporting TIDAL Unplugged is a personal touch point as music has always been a passion.

The artists chosen will each work with the TIDAL Unplugged team to create a personalized program aimed to cover resources needed to further their musical career. The grant can cover living expenses, equipment, studio time, and more as well as access to expertly guided recording and creative resources. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allows aspiring musicians to chase their dreams as well as dedicate more time and energy to pursuing a career as an artist. Beginning March 1, 2019 Detroit residents can apply on TIDAL.com/Unplugged. Artists from all genres are encouraged to submit, but music must be performed acapella or acoustically and must not rely heavily on digital elements. The finalists will be announced in May. Following a pilot run in Detroit, TIDAL aims to expand the program into other markets.

“The TIDAL Rising program is incredibly special to everyone at TIDAL – from the interns to the artist-owners — we recognize the power of streaming and the importance of supporting and encouraging emerging musicians,” said Jason Kpana, TIDAL SVP of Artist Relations. “Being able to expand  the program to support musicians in an authentic and substantial way is truly an honor.”

Working with TIDAL and utilizing the resources provided, the finalists will develop and finish four songs for distribution. Once the tracks are complete, they will exclusively premiere on TIDAL and receive promotion through its TIDAL Rising program. Artists will maintain 100% ownership of recording masters. As part of TIDAL’s mission to support rising artists with unique opportunities to grow their fan bases, the finalists will perform their songs in a TIDAL Unplugged showcase in November.

Since inception, TIDAL Rising has spotlighted up-and-coming musicians with documentaries, playlist features, performance opportunities and more. From Ari Lennox performing on the TIDAL Stage at Made in America (2017) and Alessia Cara at TIDAL X: Brooklyn (2015), to A Boogie wit da Hoodie’s TBA Tour (2016) and SiR’s “Where I’m From” (2018)  docuseries, TIDAL Rising helps grow Rising artists’ fan bases and get their music heard by more people in more places.

About TIDAL

TIDAL is an artist-owned global music and entertainment platform that brings artists and fans closer together through unique original content and exclusive events.

Available in 53 countries, the streaming service has more than 60 million songs and 250,000 high quality videos in its catalog along with original video series, podcasts, thousands of expertly curated playlists and artist discovery via TIDAL Rising. With the commitment of its owners to create a more sustainable model for the music industry, TIDAL is available in premium and HiFi tiers—which includes Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) recordings.

In the US, Sprint customers with the Unlimited Plus plan are able to access a “free-forever” TIDAL membership.  For more information, please visit www.tidal.com.

About Robert Nelsen

Robert Nelsen is a co-founder and a Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners. He joined ARCH at its founding and played a significant role in the early sourcing, financing and development of more than 100 companies, including twenty-one which have reached valuations exceeding $1 billion. His seed and early-stage investments include Illumina (ILMN); Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY); Juno Therapeutics (JUNO); Unity Biotechnology (UBX); Hua Medicine (2552:HK); Sienna Biopharmaceuticals (SNNA); Vir Biotechnology; Agios Pharmaceuticals (AGIO); Sage Therapeutics (SAGE); GRAIL; Gossamer Bio (GOSS); Ikaria; Kythera Biopharmaceuticals (KYTH); Receptos (RCPT); Aviron (AVIR); Denali Therapeutics (DNLI); Rubius Therapeutics (RUBY); Syros Pharmaceuticals (SYRS); Sana Biotechnology; KSQ Therapeutics; Beam Therapeutics; NetBot; Bluebird Bio (BLUE); R2 Technology; XenoPort (XNPT); Fate Therapeutics (FATE); Caliper Life Sciences (CALP); Trubion Pharmaceuticals (TRBN); Adolor (ADLR); deCODE Genetics; Array BioPharma (ARRY); Editas (EDIT); IDUN Pharmaceuticals; Classmates.com; Hua Medicine; Fate Therapeutics (FATE); WuxiNextCODE; and Everyday Learning Corporation.

Mr. Nelsen is a director of Vir Bio, GRAIL, Sana Biotechnology, Beam Therapeutics, Unity Biotechnology, Denali Therapeutics, Arivale, and serves as Chairman of Hua Medicine, among others. He previously served as a Trustee of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, the Institute for Systems Biology, and was a director of the National Venture Capital Association. Mr. Nelsen holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and a B.S. from the University of Puget Sound with majors in Economics and Biology.

About Mark Lampert

Mr. Lampert is the founder and General Partner of BVF Partners L.P. (“BVF”), a San Francisco-based, private biotechnology investment firm established in 1993 that manages the Biotechnology Value Fund, L.P. and related entities. Mr. Lampert has been active in the biotechnology industry since 1984, having served on the boards of directors of numerous public and private companies. Prior to forming BVF, Mr. Lampert was a Vice President at the investment banking firm Oppenheimer & Co and the founder of Biotechnology Royalty Corp., aimed at pooling university biotechnology patent royalties. Mr. Lampert was previously employed by Cambridge NeuroScience, G.D. Searle & Co., and the Boston Consulting Group. He is a founding donor to the Lampert-Byrd Foundation and GiveDirectly.org. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Mr. Lampert holds an A.B. with honors in Chemistry from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

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