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Verdict Album Review “Keep Livin” By Brandon Scarber “Real Name No Gimmiks”

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KEEP Livin for tomorrow is not promised!!

By Brandon K. Scarber (Real Name, No Gimmicks)

 

In 1991, Geto Boys released “My Mind Playin Tricks On Me” via their magnum opus We Can’t Be Stopped on Rap-a-Lot/ Priority Records, who doesn’t know the timeless lyrics:

At night I can’t sleep, I toss and turn…four walls just staring at a nigga. I’m paranoid, sleeping with my finger on the trigger…But I ain’t goin’ out without a fight…” – Scarface [of Geto Boys, raps]

This song with these specific lines, is the first time in hip-hop/rap we experience an artist describing issues with mental health and dealing with it in real time.  But, it definitely wasn’t the last time we would hear it on wax, or deal with it either.

From Mac Miller’s death to XXXtenacion, Capital Steez [Pro Era], Juice WRLD and documented accounts from Eminem, Joe Budden, and recently Big Sean and Charlamagne the God, hip-Hop/rap awareness on mental health has grown over the years. Verdict’s coming of age shall be no different!!

VERDICT, a Detroit bred emcee and lyricist, is the new artist to watch. Verdict dropped his first project Eastside High back in 2014; and now he’s back with KEEP Livin.  A project filled with vivid storytelling and visceral bars, delivered in an entertaining way.

He’s unafraid to address the taboo of mental health and its relationship with social media.  Unapologetically, he tackles musical withdrawal, stagnated successes, public acceptance and validation.

All of these things drive artists and creatives, at times to fall into depressive mind states and situations.  The feeling of maintaining one’s own perceived “hype” and/or success, or the keeping up of appearances to maintain a status, which can become ultimately a liability to the artist and/or creative.

Not to mention, the elusive RESPECT from fellow artists and creatives, who could be considered peers? But let’s be honest, Hip-Hop/Rap is a blood sport!!  Verdict gives us the realness from a black man’s perspective who is taking control of his life and career.

Most artists are spewing clickbait, and/or more concerned with the superficial “comments,” “hearts,” “likes,” “shares,” and/or “views.”  Verdict, on this project is openly talking about not being immune to these divisive things as well.  At the same time, he is doing the handy work of dispelling what it means to be an emcee and lyricist in Detroit and beyond.  He is an artist, creating music aka stereo therapy!!

KEEP Livin, is not just his manifesto but a war cry to all the refugees of the culture who’ve dealt with similar issues and circumstances.  KEEP Livin is only 8 cuts!  There are some bangers, conscious tracks, introspection, and pretty much something to satisfy any type of listener.  This isn’t your regular degular!!!

I do not believe he did this in vain. Maturity is woven into the lyrics and songwriting.  It is heartfelt throughout the project and it is refreshing!!!   Keep Livin should surpass Verdict’s past records “Feelings” and “Scenario” Feat. Neisha Neshae, as they both gained some radio successes and premiered on MTV. KEEP Livin is another strong entry into his musical catalogue behind local favorite – College Ain’t for Everybody.

With KEEP Livin the title trackVerdict raps about short term retirement and re-igniting his creativity for music. You feel the hunger pains and growth throughout the track, the same can be said for the “come up story” you hear on the Eminem sampled Don’t Lose Yourself. Verdict is beaming with vigor.

Applause to the Production team. They took creative risks and it’s paying big dividends throughout this project.  Quarter Pound Music did most of the heavy lifting on this project with 6 of the 8 tracks to his credit.  The Snap! song “The Power” sampled on Verdict’s Hectic will definitely catch you off guard.  On JODY, the way Quarter Pound Music flipped 2 Pac’s “Hail Mary” was solid too!!

Verdict refuses to dumb down his content to the mumble rap.  What You Know has single potential. It’s a summer time vibe that’s sure to be heard cranking out plenty of whips cruising down Jefferson Ave to Belle Isle this summer.   On July 19, which closes the project combining Mary J. Blige and Roy Ayers’ brings everything back home for the listener.

With all of this content, Verdict has the talent, but I don’t think he has fully found his voice or place within the music community of Detroit and beyond. Maybe, his music is bigger than the city? But, at any rate, with KEEP Livin, he is definitely headed in the right direction.

Rise up, Gunston and E. McNichols!!!

Rise Up!!

Benofficial Music Certified!!

ALBUM

“Axel Foley” New Album by Killz

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“You can hear my pain in the verse,  im versed in the game.” Lines from the first song “Get Up” off the recently released AXEL FOLEY from Killz. There could not have been a better way to set the tone for this album. Jay Z could not have laid a better verse from one of his many classic albums.

“Axel Foley” finds Killz in the mecca of the desert Las Vegas. If any city can understand the mob mentality it takes to make it past 20 and not be dead, in prison or homeless like Detroit its Sin City. Get up has a ocean freeway drive vibe musically, yet i can also place myself in a foreign with the top peeled back doing 90 on Mt Rose. Yea you might Kill yourself!

This isnt a full in depth review. But more so a must listen with tracks like “Just Speak in” “Rearview” “We in This” and “My Own” for the commercial ear. Songs that give it to you lyrically from “Open Mic” to “Real Ones” “Mobbin” and a classic feature from Dog Pounds finest Kurupt on “We On” treat yourself to the Axel Foley experience from Killz

 

 

https://kkproduxions.bandcamp.com/album/kk-produxions-presents-killz-axel-foley

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NEW MUSIC: Sigidy: The Flood vol.2

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The Flood vol.2 is the second installment to “The Flood” mixtape saga from Ypsilanti artist and underground heavyweight Sigidy. The offering serves as a definitive flag in the sand moment in the evolution of the self proclaimed “audio craftsman”, and truly reveals a more contagious, concise and polished style the Michigan legend has become known and acclaimed for. The tape features the usual cast and crew on production with B.e-Z exclusively doing every beat on the project, exposing a myriad of feelings and tones through highly unique instrumentals that take the listener on an audio adventure like no other.

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80 Empire Anthems & Icons (New Album)

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Just got a email with the new Anthems & Icons from the 80 Empire. I thought to myself, ok i know the crew is from across the bridge over in Canada. Go ahead and follow the link and got beat over the Head with the opening record from KRS ONE “WE RUN SHIT” feat DJ Eclipse on the cuts! Ok im sold as i look at the credits and notice a couple Michigan Goats on the project Swifty Mcvay and Jon Connor. So im like bet lets run this project.

Then the second song comes on with a hypnotizing track and the voice of MC Eiht with some guest work from Kurupt and we are sold already. To find your favorite Detroit artist on the project make sure you tap in with the joint “BRAVO” feat DJ Spice and NEMS along with Swifty. Stand For Something feat Jon Connor needs to be the title track for a future oscar nominated film. This song is produced and written to inspire emotion and thought. Check out the entire project at a streaming service near you!

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