Called ‘No Real Peace’ pepperboy gifts us with a new ep the day before his birthday! Only available on youtube as a one track, no skips play option – it feels like a digital cassette in that way; something you can trust to put on in the car and let ride for a while.
The way the tracks are presented it’s easy to get a larger than life, blockbuster movie soundtrack experience – but this subject matter is all too real and relatable these days. Each song is an anthem for action and perseverance. These aren’t new fields for pepp – a literal street and military veteran with well over a decade in the rap game. With the production from local artist OG GROOVE we get a down home and hungry project that feels fresh and classic at the same time. Pepperboy is no stranger to the internet rap scene – he’s known around the world, but it’s refreshing to see him call upon some hometown talent that has to be some of his best work to date! It’s a sandwich of horror / action soundtrack trap ballads and tasteful soul / funk sample flips in the middle.
‘No Real Peace’ satisfies that itch for some new music and new pepperboy wisdom for the end of summer 2022. Happy Birthday to the legend – go check the massive discography on bandcamp and all streaming services!
Tune in and check out the new release now and pick up a copy of pepperboy’s ‘Str8 Off Tha Block 7’ on cassette on his IG or on our site coming soon!
We’re proud to present the latest from one of the greatest! It’s been in the works for a while and last night we got a surprise drop of the 7th installment of the ‘STR8 OFF THA BLOCK’ series from Pepperboy. The record is streaming everywhere now and you will see some physical copies of this coming very soon!
The intro track ‘Bullet’ is brief but ear grabbing. Producers G Lie and Hal give a hard, UK Drill vibe to introduce his new project. Out of all the deliveries and voices he uses on the record this one is definitely a more naturally confident and demanding one. He always keeps it real, but here he’s definitely not playing a character or telling a story – this is his mission statement. If you’re new to the artist – you get a good glimpse into the ethos and content of his message and works. This intro really sets the scene for what’s to follow.
This album flows between tracks in a dynamic way and after the jump we hit a hazy southern groove. Shoutout Abgohard (‘Blind City’) and Dizzy D (‘Off the Porch’) for their features. Always love seeing repeat collaborators and they both return with passion for these featured verses.
We also get a feature from another rare legend Lofty 305 on the track ‘Bread’. The beat by big cyst is pleasantly classic, and we find both rappers right at home.
Love to Squadda B, for bringing a moment of the Green Ova South connection to life on this project – peep the video above for ‘FTP’! While it’s one of the more shocking titles and carries a heavy message the airy production by Mango & Rivvvt and sentiment of positivity is brought to light and the statement is more of a statement of triumph than defeat or a complaint.
It’s always hard to pick a favorite track off a Pepperboy record – but between the (Enya) sample used by Big Syst and Sickboyrari (formerly Black Kray) feature on ‘Ambulance’ – that is definitely a standout track on this project for me.
Even though we are blessed by a handful of key featured artists on SOTB7 the standout part of this record is the consistent delivery from the man himself. The track ‘Runnin’ is the perfect example of a classic Pepperboy flow that finds new form and shine.
At the end of the album, we get a few darker more solemn messages accompanied by more dramatic production. I wouldn’t call them ballads, but their reflective lyrics and laid back beats definitely make you wanna slow down and listen. ‘Ambulance’, ‘No Emotion’, and ‘Code of Life’ are the anchors to this album before a bonus remix of ‘FTP’ by producer R4INF4LL, a hauntingly hyped up rendition of the original caps it off.
Cassettes and Cds to come ASAP ! Go buy the album on Bandcamp (embedded above) to send money directly to the artist – or stream on your favorite streaming service.
Get as clouded as you need – roll the new release ‘Cloud Blitz’ above, glaze over in its’ hype-bliss …and focus on the following email dialogue with Squadda B – we get some insight and advice from the MP3 Martyr!
Hey Squadda – hope you’ve been well – glad to see you busy with all these projects! What’s good!!
What’s your first memory of enjoying music and realizing it’s something inside of you that resonates with that art form and expression? It’s hard to pinpoint my first memory. I heard there’s footage of me performing “slam” by Onyx as a kid with a mic downear word for word. I’ve always been around music bc my dad was a drummer and my mom sang and produced as well.. I remember buying marylyn manson and method man tical 2000 and not liking either, but the looks of the albums made me purchase. I loved Jay Z volume 2 and played No Way Out a bunch from Puff Daddy. I don’t think I bought music before then or asked to get it bought. I can remember clearly ‘97 and up in music, I was writing raps and downloading music soon through Napster!
You’ve been doing most of your own production aside from collaborative projects like “Green Ova South” for most of your career – how has your approach to picking beats of your own or other producers changed – do you get contacted by producers often? I pretty much want to give as much of me as possible and I feel like since I know how to make beats and I have a history in music it’s important that I use my own production. I happily feature on others beats and i’m down to work with other producers too, I am a rapper and there’s so many producers i’d love to work with and will learn about in the future. I’m open but today I’m way more focused on giving my producer side the focus and shine it deserves, I feel like I never exclusively worked on my own beats only because of how much work that takes! My approach in producing tracks is pretty much the same it’s always been, though I am very open to trying new routines and different concept albums. I do think about that daily!
How many tracks do you have in the vault with or without raps? My current vault.. Beats, at least 150 area and only because I lost a macbook in 2017. I had laptops crash ALL through my career, I rarely backed up my work. It’s incredible to think about all the material gone, even things people have heard. I am way more responsible today and with that being said.. I’ve got to have about 300 beats between all my computers, recorded material not too much!
With your writing do you start with beats or writing raps first and what’s your favorite part of bringing a finished song together? I always start with the beat since I started making beats. Sometimes I do write raps when i’m out without beats but honestly I feel more like a producer nowadays. It’s probably been since before the pandemic this year, the last time I wrote a rap without a beat, for the sake of writing one! I used to do it everyday. It’s good to be aware of these things! My favorite part would be the first listen. It’s like the reward after the long hard task of recording performances you’re happy about. For some of us, that comes after coming up with the lyrics, after coming up with the beat, in the same hour or so! It’s pretty cool.
What determines the length or finishing point of an album or project to you – is it planned or does it just hit an attention span limit or mental stopping point? For me, lately I give myself an achievable deadline and go for that. Previously, i’d pretty much notice how certain songs had a feeling and then bunch them together. From there add songs, take songs off, we’re always recording.
What about your production gear setup or workstation has changed over the last 10 years I don’t want to say the sound is drastically different – I know I saw a Roland (I think) hardware rack-mount sampler in a recent video – has it always been a mixture of hardware and computer-based workstation production or how has it changed? My workstation went from being the keys on a laptop to midi controllers to hardware, not in the past decade but last 4-5 years. I still make certain projects or beats using the click method of literally clicking out beats to catch that sound and feel. I like to stay balanced and I also like to build character. I had insecurity with my beats in 2011 because I noticed me getting recognition for one style and I felt like I couldn’t make anything better than the style that was being applauded. Not that it matters, but it lingered in my head and eventually made me seek other producers rather than work on my own stuff. It takes at least more than a little time and commitment to get a good sound going using different rhythms, melodies and patterns. Since 2016, i’m in a way better place production wise as far as knowing why something works for me and urging to make music that’s building on the legacy it previously left. Also, i’ve made so many beats since 2015 that I feel like my knowledge of myself in the field is something that will never fail me. My mental workstation changed more than my physical workstation.
Would you ever settle for being just a paid producer? Would you have a limit to who paid for your beats if the money was right? How picky would you be? I’m absolutely interested in being more of a producer than artist, though that would only happen if I got signed to something where I wasn’t allowed to release music? If so, i’d still record music, i’m stuck on this lifestyle! I’d be pretty picky if I had to handpick artists to work with, i’m not sure how being a producer exclusively would work for me. At the same time, I love music so i’m pretty easy to work with, in terms of pushing forward the music scene. It’s not a lot to think of, mostly living adjustments.
Being a pioneering, influential a producer/rapper that’s been inspiring to many – would you ever consider making videos or doing live streams of your production? Do you pay much attention to other producers or their streams or production techniques or styles? I watch a lot of youtube videos and I would like to leave documentation of myself working for sure. I know that it’s good business to put yourself out there in that way but i’m still a bit weary on showing people my process like that. As far as paying attention to other producers styles, hell yes I do when I can! What I liked when Lil Baby and Marlo dropped Two da hard way is some of the things I heard Quay Global doing, I wasn’t hearing in a lot of others beats. Producers for sure pop out when I listen to them. Rappers too, I began creating music by being a fan so I def keep my ears open, responsibly, to keep being inspired. I know the world isn’t over, some of the best music has yet to have been made and that’s a chilling thought. I’ve always liked the short and sweet method of 1-2.5 minute tracks on average never get tired of the songs that way – glad to see that has remained a trend in the releases over the years.
How often do you find yourself thinking about your art and music while you’re totally away from your studio / gear or usual tools for creation? All day everyday! It’s how I started making beats, I had too much time on my hands and no outlet for rapping since we didn’t have a home studio at the time. Making beats helps ease this disease.
When do you feel most creative or in your element and able to create and write most naturally? (What really sets the mood – or could you put in work anywhere the gear is there.) I think over the years I find myself effortlessly creative in the mornings. Other than that , the thrill of being in the motions keeps me creative for sure! I do light candles sometimes and I do keep myself mentally in a place I can dig from to make art.
Do you schedule a portion of your day for creating or is it more or less on and off all day – whenever you have the opportunity? I pretty much plan everyday and then freestyle once it’s on and rolling. Atleast half of the week I have planned beat times that actually happen and the other half is me being drained or not in the zone.. In those times I usually do something related like find new music or study old music.
How much of the entire writing and production process is “free-styled” and how much time goes into the final– writing/ recording / editing until the product is finished. The freestyle element of production, so far, has been the same anytime i’ve rapped, I don’t think too ahead with beats. I usually go for it and if I like it i’ll bring it to the studio. Now song writing, some projects like “Return Of Dog”, I intentionally wrote out a bunch of those songs knowing where they’d go. With “Cloud Blitz” those are songs that I made on the spot and a lot were freestyled. I write a lot of my stuff down lately or build it in my head. Sometimes I punch-in bar by bar but it all really depends. I mostly focus on being free to do whatever unless it’s an album where I made the decision to play it by the book. I’ve been recording myself since 2005 so I’m kind of mixing my music as I go. It doesn’t take me too long to edit out a final version of album i’m happy with. I also could pay for help if it took me too long. I know I didn’t release a rap album in 2017, it doesn’t haunt me, though I never want to go an entire year without a rap project coming out that i’m atleast heavily featured on. I don’t like taking too long with music, but if I decide to, I have something else going that I can be more free to release whenever.
How much time went into Cloud Blitz and what was your goal and vision for the final product? I worked on Cloud Blitz during Return Of Dog, both of which were in the Feb/March – August/September arena. Cloud Blitz absolutely fit the original vision, more-so than I expected since I got more producing equipment during “Return Of Dog” recording sessions and was able to do new things I didn’t imagine, that I wanted something similar to done in my vision.
What’s your top 3 favorite tracks or tracks you are most proud of from ‘Cloud Blitz’? “When You Cry” “MP3 Martyr” “Nutty Professor” / “My Factory”
What were the session days and hours like for Cloud Blitz – how much feels like work and how much is just pure joy of creating? Smoking a lot of weed.. Writing or not writing , vibing out to the beats. Being free to grab from wherever – “When You Cry” uses an instrumental from one of my previous albums. Cloud Blitz picks up where Cloud Ether left off in terms of the rush of being in front of the mic. Real lofi cloud feel. The only pressure I feel is the pressure to fit in when I listen to my mixes or the performance itself. I usually don’t let it change my decisions though. I’d say atleast 90% of Cloud Blitz was out of Bliss.
Do you ever make music while trying to fight negative feelings either as a necessity (work) or form of therapy to get out of that mode? I make music a lot, preferably everyday. As I get older I learn not to bring too much of my personal drama into the music, I may be wrong in my personal decisions. I don’t want to publicly express things before knowing how I really feel, that’s what I used to do in my music!
I’m glad we’re finally getting to drop “Return Of Dog” into the tape decks soon – and proud to say it’ll be one of several releases we’ve had you featured or centered on over the years with Candy Drips catalog. – What’s your favorite tape you’ve released with us and what’s your favorite physical format in terms of listening back to music you like. (CD,Tape, Vinyl -etc.) My favorite tape I’ve done w Candy Drips has to be Green Ova Greatest Hits with all due respect to the Green Ova South legacy! The B side of greatest hits has beats from a computer that disappeared in 2017. If that Greenova tape never released, those beats would have no trace of existence! My favorite way of listening to music is deff YouTube! If we had to talk any other way I’d say records. I love CDs and have a huge collection still but listening to records is an experience I enjoy.
Do you collect records (cds,tapes,or vinyl?) What is your current record collection like? Where do you search for new music (physical or digital)? I collect CDs, records I’m real disrespectful with how I trash the ones I don’t like. Most of the records I get to sample are usually not more than $10 though so it’s why they end up getting trashed because I can’t re sell.. My personal collection has some Whodini, MicMac records singles, I def got some WuTang as well as Gucci Mane. Mostly music for my own personal listening, I bought a raveonettes vinyl and accidentally got a record by this band Japan that was inside of a different sleeve. It turned me into a fan of them. I mostly search for new music (old or new) through YouTube. If it wasn’t covid I’d be at the flea markets and used CD/record stores finding things for sure. Book stores, wherever they sell music.
How do you think that having a physical release of a project changes the public perception of a release? I think the traditionalism, nostalgia of how music was once done has an affect. Also, money is a huge impressive factor, so whenever someone does something that seems more expensive I’m sure it does something also!
What’s your real idea of success in 2020 and do you feel more comfortable in a solo element or in a group or collaboration? My idea of success in music as an artist is freedom, control, ownership, support, security, sale based strategies, it’s a lot of layers to my idea of being a successful Squadda B. Overall, ability to release music to an audience and having improved sounds is what’s success to me. I feel like i’m on to something and have the best work to come. I’ve learned valuable things in business and I feel like being alive in 2020 and having the capacity to even think about music in a healthy way is being a successful Squadda B. I’ve never been a group person in school, but with music the benefits are pretty cool. You do less work! It’s been a learning curve going to holding down more than one verse a song. It’s absolutely fun and natural, though I do see the benefits of a group. I’m fortunate to have a history of great artists i’ve collabed with and I use diff methods from everyone when i’m alone!
I see you recently released that sample pack that was laced with some key sounds for any producer to get started and then some. What were some of your resources back in the day – and do you have any advice or secrets you’re willing to share on where you’re sourcing samples or sounds these days or advice on developing an original sound when using the same sounds that everyone has access to? Splice is super dope for the price for getting soundkits.. I used to google “free sound kit” And go from there. There’s tons of apps and resources today to legally get sounds and stuff, do your research! As far as developing an original sound, I got mines from my limitations. Me learning with what I had ended up blessing me with a production style that people like. I’d say go for what sounds good to you and do it the best you can in a way that sounds good to you. You’re adding yourself into history, it’s best to be intentional about the Soundwaves you’re sending out.
Your lyrics convey a lot of the topics covered in this interview and cover a lot of ground in terms of your intentions, processes and experiences with your life and art – is there anything you’d like to get out to the fans and or aspiring artists or producers that hasn’t been covered?
We are magicians – use responsibility !
You’ve always been an inspiration to us as producers and collaborators – we appreciate you working with us again and taking the time to say some words about your art, your process and experiences!
I love Candy Drips – real independent label
Check out some more recent video posts from Squadda below and follow him on IG @squaddab , Twitter @Squaddab and YouTube to keep up with his latest!
Return Of Dog Tapes are dropping Friday 12. p.m. central via Candydrips.bigcartel.com (limited to less than 50 copies via our site)
***additional 50 copies will be with artist and released ASAP – will update as details are available.
“LOT GOIN ON OUT HERE” … we hear Pepperboy call out in the intro track ‘Danger.’ Something we’re all feeling….Stream the record and read our thoughts on his latest below : get it here on band camp or on all available streaming services.
“Live To Die’, That’s the record ; It’s Dark Out Here, Another Street Lecture”…Pepperboy said it best and on this records he sheds light on the pain of what we see in the news, in the neighborhood, right at home and even within ourselves. Even though he’s giving graphic recollections and speaking on uncomfortable subjects he isn’t here to bring us down. He is here to help us reflect. We all know we gotta go, but we gotta stay up while we’re up.
With a solid 6 songs we are blessed with just under 20 minutes of some of Pepperboys’ finest. Longtime fans will enjoy this no-filler EP from front to back and appreciate the double-feature, double-play, back to back tracks with production from long time collaborator Marvin Cruz. He graced Pepperboy with the production on the title track ‘Live 2 Die’ and came with an enormous sound on the controversial yet eye opening ‘Mass Shooter.’
We find evidence of Pepperboys more high profile days on the aggressively swangin’ ‘Daytons & Vogues.’ I don’t think it mattered who you were in the late 90’s and early 00’s …you wanted to be pulling up fresh or riding with somebody who was, and if you were fortunate enough to afford the luxury, you also knew better than to park on the street too long.
‘Streetlights’ , my favorite on the EP, is reminiscent of a hustler’s anthem. The final track details the dangers of mixing a “money don’t sleep” and “anything goes” mentality. It’s a look back to when Pepp himself was living that life. The production provided by Healing Language feels like a lean-soaked dream sequence narrated by Pepperboy to warn those who may be on similar path now.
If you’re looking for light in these cloudy days, Pepperboy is here for the people.
“Ive been busy im working ..but IM BACK” – PEPPERBOY
Produced by Blackwell, ‘Cold Case’ carries a brooding ambient-leaning bounce that pairs well with a side of Pepperboy that fans of the Arkansas artist will find familiar but fine tuned. It’s a haunting soundtrack for the graphic scenes and scenarios drawn lyrically.
Every day you can see it on the local channels – no matter where you live – you grab your phone in the morning – it doesn’t matter where you look, there are horrible stories of murder, death and violence. The tone is set with an in-character intro; “There are no witnesses, no-one has come forward – if you have any information, please call the local police station.” Now we are tuned into channel 11 and the news ain’t good fam; Pepperboy voices News Station’s Anchor. Another Day, another update to the harsh realities of the crueler side of life.
“Body drop, they put it on the news, Channel 11, add it to the ghetto blues ; cold case, the killer got away, they stopped looking, this shit happens every day” – Pepperboy pops in on the chorus in a deep ghostly whisper as if a warning from the other side or somebody horrified by what they’ve seen and are getting shook by the story they’re telling.
Pepperboy tells the audience how it goes; a third-person look with an all too familiar narration showing different perspectives and the sad, sad endings to risky business gone wrong or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. These stories of unsolved murders are sold back to us on all platforms daily but Pepperboy is not here to glorify or analyze the situation; these are just cold hard facts. There is no actual mystery, only the pain felt by those affected by the loss at the end of it. Unfortunately the truth is we cannot rely on the justice system or the local authorities to invest too much time in solving these daily murders when they turn a blind eye to the communities in need and are left without leads or are even guilty of cover-ups, corruption and outright murder.
The song is out now and if we know Pepperboy we can expect to see some more new records on the horizon – New Pepperboy is always good news!
*GreenOvaSouth – ‘3 Tha Hard Way’ cassettes coming soon !*
Capping off a string of All Star, middle-of-August birthdays from Leo Rap History makers; Chief Keef (15th) , Young Thug (16th), Lil B (17th), is the Green Ova South Champion Pepperboy!
Happy Birthday Pepperboy ! (August 18th)
A true testament to his nature, and absolute character – on this day, we the people are given a gift! A two song Ep, and sneak preview of 2 tracks off the up coming and highly anticipated ‘Str8 Off Tha Block 7.’
Both tracks on the Ep are produced by Young God aka Televangel ; formerly 1/2 of respected duo Blue Sky Black Death. It is important to bring up that affiliation to highlight the length of the relationship between this producer with the huge-hearted, street-wise rapper Pepperboy. *Over half a decade at least.. (Days of Grace? 2012?) They also just finished off the second of 2 full on classic albums as Green Ova South with help of Squadda B on the mic. Check out Green Ova Souths’ ‘Kome Ryde With Us’ and ‘3 Tha Hard Way’ here. (as well as major streaming services!)
‘I Am Trouble’ is a maxed out banger with plenty of dynamic turns and unique syncopated sample-drops laced in with a solid gliding sub bass melody and enchanting flute parts. The drums really smack you in the face as per the concept of the lyrics; “I am trouble…” pepperboy warns over and over – from the prospective of all the many dangers you might run into if you don’t check your intentions or get caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
‘Hands Up’ (Remix) as the parentheses give away – is a reworking by the same producer it was made by originally. (Young God) It’s not a total diversion from the original, the tempo matches but the tone is more somber and less triumphant. It highlights the reality of the lyrics a bit more accurately. A standout track from Pepperboys’ ‘Channel 11’ – Young God takes us even deeper into the soul of the message Pepperboy is portraying through personal life lessons and the reality of what people deal with daily. Racially motivated injustice and hypocritical politicians make this world a more dangerous place for the people just trying to survive another day; that’s the bullshit we’re seeing on the nightly news, this depression and stifling of expression and ability to live rings true as ever on this re-work of an already epic track from two of our favorite people to ever pair up.
I just got the private link to ‘3 Tha Hard Way’ and I’m feeling blessed and inspired and not just because I got an advance link on the latest album from some of our favorite collaborators and labels Green Ova South; (Pepperboy and Squadda B. with Young God exclusively on production) I’m at my DJ (my day job…) with two more hours on the clock, on my way back from my truck to retrieve my headphones and it hits me; “Work Till I Die” starts to play. The intro track is just the motivation I needed to get through this day.
Steam the album now via bandcamp and it will drop on all streaming services ASAP!
It would really be tough to sit here and talk about “stand-out tracks” on a 9 track album of straight classics. I’ll just have to touch on em’ all. My words won’t do it justice, but maybe my excitement will! (I’ve only had the album a couple of hours and it comes out tomorrow.) It’s been 3 years since we’ve seen a full length release from these three. If you didn’t happen to catch KRWU (Kome Ryde With Us) now is your chance to get caught up!
The first track “Work Till I Die” hits you right off with an impact comparable to soundtrack vibes with horn-like synth pads and melody. It’s another epically captivating composition from Young God. The opener is a song about the everyday grind required to maintain and survive. Trading verses back and forth Squadda and Pepp come with anecdotes about going to work and affirmations of what putting all that work brings, should their goals be reached.
‘Without U’ is a cruise down memory lane of the history of the Green Ova South saga. Travel back in time with Squadda and Pepp to the beginning of their collaborations as they serenade you, the supporters, the friends, producers, crew members and everyone that’s showed love. Lil B even gets a shout! (they go way back.) This track really harks back to the KRWU record sound. When you bust out the SUB pads on the beat, it just feels like $ !
‘Str8 Off Da Block’; Bridging the Gap from the West to the South is something that comes naturally to these guys. Since Rebel Muzik Squadda and Pepperboy have always met up in person to record and produce their full length joint efforts. This time around Pepperboy made his way to Oakland and met up with Young God and Squadda to write and record the entire project in a matter of days. This song title is also a straight rip of Pepperboy’s FIRST ALBUM EVERY RECORDED from 2002! It has continued as a series over the years with the latest installment ‘Str8 Off Da Block 6’ dropping late 2016. That album also had a feature from Squadda!
‘Take It’, is a solo Pepperboy track that exposes us to some darker places and perspectives. Young God brings the vibes with a whistling melody that reminds me of “the wild west” or something you’d hear in a cowboy movie in 2019 over the chorus while the rest of the tracks’ timbre is a bit more ominous and eerie.
We could call the title track ‘3 Tha Hard Way’ a good way end a Side A, if this were an LP. It may be the most unique on the album in that the beat sounds like some classic 80’s synth pop ballad with a savory, sexy saxophone solo sample blazing through the mix.
By no means is the rest of this tape any kind of “B-side”. ‘From Tha Bottom Up’ is what I would call the most ‘hype’ track. Dope G of Green Ova pops off immediately with a round of the chorus. Young God went across the world and into some worm holes into other dimensions and universes to manifest his sonic palette for this one.
‘Step N 2 Tha Water’ was released around a month ago on a single drop with ‘Without U.’ This is what those who remember may call a “cloud-rap” banger. Slowed down vocals and that half time snare slap get you lifted with the quickness, but the funky legato bass line Young God slathers throughout this track really keeps you moving.
The arpeggiated harp on ‘This Is International’ over the sub bounce groove may take you back to some classic Squadda B and Main Attrakionz days but with a cinematic, enchanting depth.
The track ordering on this tape is perfect. It’s strong all the way through. The conclusion to this piece of art is ‘Made My Mind Up’, an uplifting message over serene melodies (steel guitar samples?). The features from Dope G and Robbie Rob fit like a glove. After several repeat listens I’ve definitely made MY mind up ; this is Album Of The Year so far!
One of our favorite new artists on our radar Jordan Isaiah brought the noise earlier this year with ‘Thank You / Pay Me’ (Blackhouse Records.) On this album we saw multiple producers and a variety of deliveries. When Jordan hit us up about his latest we had to see what he was working with and put some support on the project!
The ‘Jordough’ EP is a raw collection of 9 songs showcasing a timeline of collaborative efforts between Jordan Isaiah and Kansas City based producer Doughboi Phlex. The project is presented by Doughboi and highlights his growth in production and vocals.
To those who haven’t yet noticed, the tape’s name breaks it down with the idea of two “sides.” : “Jor”, short for “Jordan” and “dough”, short for “Doughboi Phlex.” The sides are broken up by an interlude titled “Time Interlude.” The tracks for each side were chosen by preference of the sides’ namesake and feature that person a little heavier throughout the selection.
The whole tape is tied together by something more than the obvious factor of sticking with the same duo throughout. The delivery on all tracks is a culmination of ego-boosted lifestyle bars with an heir of aggravated and warranted entitlement. Based on work put in, determination and passion behind the project these artists know they are onto something. Being that it took a few years to compile this collection of recordings you will notice a slight sonic difference in the mixes from track to track but the energy remains constant throughout.
Starting out the gate with the “Jor” side we are summoned by a whispering chordal wash and eerie bells plucking a melody before Jordan comes in with loosely doubled vocals on the songs hook singing “said we made it through the worst / now every day a holiday ; said we started in the mud , so every day we elevate.” This showcases duality; juxtaposition of a celebratory anthem over an overtly chill but mysterious melody. It isn’t a song about wallowing in the mud, it’s about rising and coming up from that place while maintaining a reverence and appreciation for the struggles since the journey began. The two voices kind of symbolize the harmony of past, present and future existence.
The rest of side “Jor” is immediately more hype, starting with the powerful delivery and regal production on Lilith freestyle ; to the inciteful irony of “Unconcerned”, a title that implies apathy but lyrically suggests anything but. The confident delivery from Jordan is paired with smooth 16’s, adlib assitance and chorus work from the Doughboi Phlex. Check out ‘Exotic’ for a prime example of what Doughboi is capable of.
The neutral track ‘Time Interlude’ is a very big change-up from the rest of the record. Being far removed it serves its purpose well to break up the flow a bit with some icey chords and what sounds like a radio scanning the airwaves trying to breakthrough the dimensions of time and space all over a minimal triplet thump from a dull but punchy kick. The searching tones in the background remind me of a radio attempting to dial into the frequency somewhere between space and time – is this what a time machine might sound like? Have you ever watched the first episode of the original ‘Outer Limits’ show?
The duo pops the ‘dough’ side off hot with ‘Myxed Up’ a bopper about staying true to yourself through the changes and confusing times you experience on your way to success. The rest of the EP turns to a low key point of smoked out cockiness. Doughboi Phlex compliments Jordan’s style in a way only he can; from the perspective of the producer.
One of the standout tracks led by Doughboi is ‘Watchin Me.’ This introspective paranoid confession may actually give you the creeps. The production elements are similar as most of the tracks on the ep but this one is a much slower and darker tune than anything else present. Starting off depicting a recent nightmare where he was shot it seems that the stress of striving for his goals and maintaining his normal life is catching up to him in more ways than one. It’s hard to maintain relationships as it is when you are struggling to survive and achieve your goals, but success can attract all kinds of unwanted energy from those we know and normally trust. That could also bring up dealing with your inner demons as Phlex references in the chorus.
Each track is relatively short at an average of under 3 minutes. It’s an easy listen through that gets better with repeat plays. The project is now streaming on all services!
Last month, the Green Ova general Squadda B released a Valentine-themed EP fittingly known as My Green Ova Valentine. The five song project comes fully produced by Bambino himself and features Pepperboy on the second track. Press play and take to the clouds.
Pepperboy is back after just a short time off. His latest Ep ‘These Are Tha Timez’ is out today (03/01/2019) on all major streaming services as well as Soundcloud and Bandcamp.
When Pepperboy shared these tracks with me earlier in the week, I had just finished swimming through his immersive catalog. We just made a playlist 50 tracks long spanning his previous 40 releases over the last decade. You haven’t heard a Pebberboy album quite like this. The production is in line with southern trappers UGK, T.I. and taken to a more modern level like something you might hear on a Curren$y or Big K.R.I.T. record. This project has a lot of pop-potential and it seems the quality and elements of production selected for this ep provoked some amplified deliveries in the booth. He’s pissed off about the state of the world and the trouble society is in due to reasons beyond their control.
The first single ‘Sex Trade’ produced by Lou Shretter dropped about a month ago, and now we have six more tracks spanning from southern trap influenced emotional ballad track ‘I cried’ to the more aggressive, in your face message and perspective in the track ‘Tha Timez.’
‘The Last Day’ sets the tone of the record. It could interpreted as a sign of the end of the world as we know it or the acknowledgment of the possibility that any day could be your last when times get tough. With production by Cloud-King Squadda B – we are introduced to a PISSED OFF version of Pepperboy – a man turned cold by the ways of the world. He’s shows us how easy it is to go into survival mode when pushed.
The madness carries on to the track ‘Crazy’ an eccentrically vibin’ slapper produced by Kubrixxx. The aggressive mood escalates and peaks on what you could call the title track ‘Tha Timez’….a take on the dog-eat-dog kill or be killed mentality. Paranoia and fear take over and Pepperboy is not letting anybody get over on him no matter how bad it gets. This multi-part production is also from producer Kubrixxx.
It’s only been a week since the second single from the record dropped. ‘Double Up’ – the obvious hype track from the record has gotten well over five thousand plays at the time of writing this! KirbLaGoop and the recently un-retired champion of the underground Shady Blaze grace the track as two major features. This song is gonna push you to keep going and young hustlers will look back on this and respect it as the classic grinders anthem that got them through during these hard times. If you’ve ever been caught in the cycle of trying to make it to that next step, you know sometimes you just have to take a risk. Double up or NOTHING!
The album ends with ‘7 days.’ Produced by Hype Chilliams, the track is a dedication to a love that takes a left turn from the rest of the album’s subject matter and vibe, but like everything Pepperboy does, it has heart and passion. 7 days a week mean Pepperboy doesn’t take a day off! Pepp lays it down smooth to round off an otherwise troubled record. Maybe it’s an answer to the question the rest of the album poses. How do we survive in these trying times? Maybe finding this kind of love is the answer.
Props to Paul Holsclaw on the mixing and mastering for this record – he was given the perfect elements of production and vocal takes / delivery to work with and really nailed the overall sheen that makes this a landmark pepperboy record.