Hip Hop

KOTA The Friend tames his "Dragon"

“I used to want to be up on the music blogs / [...] / I may not have a million but I’m chillin’ dawg”

KOTA The Friend is hardly a slacker but he could play one on TV. A multi-instrumentalist who excelled early on as a first-chair trumpet player who taught himself bass and guitar while going on to hold down two jobs and attend performing arts school eventually becoming a producer, photographer, visual artist and interior designer in addition to a musician, the man is actually a polymath if you do the math. Plus on his 2020 full-length Everything KOTA somehow managed to score features from such obscure names (sarcasm alert) as Lakeith Stanfield, Joey Bada$$, and Lupita Nyong’o which is hardly the work of an underachiever. A true DIY artist, it’s been reported elsewhere that KOTA will take on mundane tasks himself ranging from flyer design to directly answering fans’ queries, all the while turning down three major-label offers (so far) in order to maintain his independence. 

And yet, on his latest single “Dragon,” he sounds as laid back as a panda bear that just got laid. (apologies for the mixed animal metaphors, KOTA is actually named for a baby bear of the non-panda variety) Opening with a loping, start-stop jazzy guitar loop, KOTA laconically drops lines like “I do what I want, I go where I please / but still I want more things” over a beat that sounds like an outtake from the Lofi Beats to Relax/Study/Quarantine To videos--sonic shorthand for sitting at one’s desk and staring off into space all day. The conversational flow and mellow vibes on “Dragon” can be deceptive, however, tinged as they are with regret, doubt, and deceit lurking around the corner. Likewise for KOTA's flow itself, laidback on the surface but twisty at times and shifting relative to the main guitar riff.

Not unlike a good friend IRL, KOTA The Friend puts the listener at ease but doesn’t stoop to please, giving it to you straight: "Before it gets better, it's gonna get worse" so you better “Skip the fast pass, be knowledgeable, that’s the bag bag / polish all your skills, set your price, then you tax that.” Sage advice as 2020 slouches towards its end. (Jason Lee)


 

   

Dre Izaya "4 No Reason"

The 19-year old artist, producer and songwriter from Englewood, Dre Izaya has released a new EP via Loop Theory called "4 No Reason". This is Izaya's follow-up to his debut album, The Blue Tape Vol. 1, which was released earlier this year, and for this four song EP he split production duty with the talent Kenneth "Disrupt" Clair.

Dre Izaya is a fierce lyricist with a lot to say, and is clearly and loudly "Bangin at the Door".

   

KeiyaA "I! Gits! Weary!"

KeiyaA has released a video for the latest single, "I! Gits! Weary!", from her debut album, Forever Your Girl, which was released back in March. The remarkable, experimental R&B album was almost entirely produced by the talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

The video was directed by Ryosuke Tanzawa and highlights the feelings of weariness and isolation in the all too brief song.

   

FRIDAY AFTERNÜN "Sheesh"

FRIDAY AFTERNÜN has released his third single of 2020, a message to anyone who is fake called "Sheesh". The track features production from Cue Sheet and a verse from the talented Syl Messi.

It was just a month ago that he dropped the optimistic but deeply introspective track "Tryna". He is clearly a extremely talented and a versatile artist with a lot to say about the times we find ourselves in.

   

Jean Deaux Virtual Concert Tonight (10/29)

Jean Deaux is releasing a deluxe version of her latest album, Watch This!, this Friday, October 30th. The new version will feature five new songs including her latest single "Yep!" (below).

This week she dropped a Filippo Savoia directed music video for "Recipe!"/"Ok!" from the album as well.

You can catch Jean Deaux performing a virtual concert tonight, October 29th, at 8pm live from Lincoln Hall.