music

Baby Keem - The Sound of Bad Habit by Alex Young

 Baby Keem via  Baby Keem

Baby Keem via Baby Keem

Baby Keem brand heats up as days go on and people discover his music online. Watching his Instagram live from Pittsburgh where InTheRough’s caught the Los Angeles rapper with questions, Baby Keem said he has more success with streaming platform Audiomack over SoundCloud. His newest mixtape, “The Sound of Bad Habit” amassed 10.6 thousand plays in 14 days on Audiomack alone. “I woke up and hit the lotto,” he raps in “Opinions.” The line is such a mood for how the Internet age can affect the popularity of rappers.

One blog reported a Tweet that said, “Baby Keem gave CPR to the hip-hop game.” Save yourself and stream “The Sound of Bad Habit.” It’ll have you “shaking like strippers,” former Taylor Gang producer Cardo says in the “Gang Activities” track. Cardo Got Wings production and influence juices Baby Keem’s product. You may be familiar with Keem’s work from “Redemption Interlude” from “Black Panther The Album.” I know you heard Jay Rock’s “Knock It Off,” yeah, that’s a Baby Keem beat.

With cosigns from prominent hip-hop actors, like those aforementioned and even notable A&R Brocky Marciano liking Keem’s pictures on IG, the rapper’s music is what makes his stock rise.

Baby Keem produced four songs on his “The Sound of Bad Habit.” He touched “Xmen,” “Miss Charlotte,” which he just released a music video for, “Check Please” and “Extra.” Cardo gets credit for beats on the album too.  The hard bass kicks and cool lyrics make this Baby Keem record something to share with your friends. “I like having fun,” he exclaims on the project. Listen and read good lines from his music below. “Next project coming 2019. We on,” Keem finished.

Good Baby Keem Lines

  1. “I don’t have time for trends. Dare I say it.” - Wolves

  2. “Gang, gang, gang it get chippy where I live.” - Check Please

  3. “I can’t fuck in the dark. Either you’re real or you’re not.” - Vicious

Yucky and John$ Occupy Different Pockets of Hip-Hop by Alex Young

Look for rap variety in Pittsburgh. Many acts make music, but not everybody is willing to mine local music. Shows aren’t packed out to see the cast of Pittsburgh rappers, although the climate is more intimate. Somebody says, “My friend raps,” and you get put on to new music that way.

Gentry Taylor, the manager for Yucky, a 24-year-old rapper living in the ‘Burgh’s Aspinwall neighborhood with a cult following and a baby pitbull named Faygo, introduced ITR to the artist. Yucky’s fun tracks have substance about a high, youthful and romantic gloom that sounds hopeful in his music.

I had to sniff a Perc ‘cause I was sad. Only thing that could put me in my bag. I had to pop a Xan cause I was sad. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah I was down bad.
— Yucky in "Only Thing" ft. Jimmy Wopo

Yucky’s music begins to sound like classic self-destructive narratives for the drug themes in hip-hop, but he’s more interesting for how he tells open stories about his life. Apparently, everything Yuck feels makes a hit record. “People call it ‘emo-trap.’ It has an alternative music style to it. It sounds more like rock music than traditional rap,” Yucky said. The sensitivity opens listeners ears. He’s got a part in the “Steel Teeth” film that illustrates Yucky’s punk-star mood. “Put me six feet in the dirt. Thinking ‘bout suicide I feel like Kurt,” he raps over precious chords.

In a wood-paneled room with his roommates, like fellow rapper John$ (John Dollar Sign), and Gentry, Yucky pet puppy pitbull in his lap. He rapped over his song “Anti Social” playing loud on the speaker:

“I don’t want to leave my room. Girl, won’t you come through… Promise I ain’t trying to duck you. I just ain’t trying to leave my room.”

I think everybody’s felt this way before, not wanting to leave the house for society, yet still longing for the company. These everyday thoughts we have connects various people to Yucky’s music.

“It’s okay to be lonely. That’s what you told me when you left. I just want you to hold me instead you ripped my heart out of my chest. You are not very nice,” Yucky raps in “Ok 2 Be Lonely.”

Let’s not get started on heartbreak. “I’m trying to get a feeling across in my music,” Yucky said.

“It’s crazy to see his evolution. He’s found himself within the SoundCloud wave,” John$ said about Yuck. Learn “how to utilize the Internet,” Yucky finished. The ‘net has allowed John$ and Yucky to grow a fanbase outside of Pittsburgh. They hope their fanbase in the ‘Burgh will happen naturally. Gentry chimed in that he’d want Yuck to work with Linwood if any Pittsburgh artist. “Linwood is a more marketable Kid Cudi,” he said.

If anything, Yucky, along with John$, is in a productive space in Pittsburgh to make music as they live together. “I’ve made a song every Wednesday. I made a standard for myself,” John$ said. He’s got a beat ready-made for Sierra Sellers. John$ just needs to write the song for her. Check out his record “i might be crazy” from his new EP “$ad.” For Yucky, he has plenty of records with bop producer from Cranberry, Pennsylvania Jackpott. Jackpott sent Yucky 45 beats for free, how generous.

As I left the wood-paneled room in Aspinwall, Yucky left me with, “I thought my music was good for a while now. It’s nice to get some recognition, and I want more, but… I don’t know if we’re even doing shit the right way.”

Photos of Yucky (above) and John$ (below) by Alex Young













Woolane - STUK by Alex Young

 Photos via  @woolane_

Photos via @woolane_

Popstars from Pittsburgh live and die. Woolane moves right now live and direct. That bop, that culture of being a dope human, that’s Woolane. I could write all day about his style and glitz digital hum, but you should just spend some time combing through his SoundCloud. Sample two tracks, a past song and his latest, then go digging on the Internet.

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Woolane’s newest track, “STUK,” and “Comfortable,” an old cut, are in rotation. Both bang and shine on musical stardom in Pittsburgh. You might have heard “STUK” hyping the “Steel Teeth” film that will show how fun this ‘Burgh scene really is. “Comfortable” lit actually. Play it for your girl. “I wanna symbolize a glow. I wanna shine past the dark trap scene that got a curse on our city,” Woolane said when ITR asked why he wears a white Steelers Troy Polamalu Jersey instead of a black one. Woo’s a different mood. He’s a popstar.

Popstar is basically just for a very long time no matter what genre of music. Colored people made it. It was considered R&B or Rap when pop was a more successful genre. On the other hand, I’m truly a pop star. I make pop, and I’m a star. I got good energy when I’m on any scene even with complete strangers.
— Woolane on the definition of a "Popstar"


Listen to his music, and go to his show at The Smiling Moose on Nov. 8, 2018. Woo’s associates even carry heat. Check out “Purple Hearts” by YungDrip.

Pk Delay Finds A Rhythm With New Records by Alex Young

 Pk Delay hydrating when a ‘fashionista’ walks by him. Photograph by Alex Young

Pk Delay hydrating when a ‘fashionista’ walks by him. Photograph by Alex Young

It started with “I Take It Easy.” This bop came clear through the speaker. “But these niggas need me. Package the whole thing.” As cocky as the line sounds, I think Pk Delay just recognized his role in this music scene. Cool as confidence, sometimes Pk’s records come in with the full anticipation of a professional rollout like his “Silver” album. Or his records hit you unannounced, like his song with Benji, the hip-hop musician, and brother of super producer Christo.

Even better, the rapper Pk Delay has a new album, “Pretty The Pico.” We’ve anticipated his song “Move Away” with Taylor Gang’s own Chevy Woods for a minute. When Delay debuted the song at Cody Baker’s Pop Style bar party in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville, Reese Youngn featured on the song, so another hype version of “Move Away” exists. “Pretty The Pico” delivery below.

“I might move A WAY.” ITR grammatical error got the city trippin’.

10 Jonts From The DMV by Maxwell Young

Y’all keep coming with the heat and we’ll amplify.

*Jont: Washingtonian slang to generically describe something or someone. In this case, songs.

 UUV c/o Lordy | Photograph by Maxwell Young

UUV c/o Lordy | Photograph by Maxwell Young

1. REZT - WORTH IT

A representative of Prince George’s County Maryland aka “the Whop,” Rezt’s latest project, Murrlin was featured in this summer’s Sounds of D.C. vol. II playlist. “Worth It” has this ‘close your eyes and nod your head’ type knock to it, which makes sense as its tagged as ‘crank-soul’ on SoundCloud. Much of Rezt’s music follows this 8-bit video game bop that is prevalent in today’s hip hop sound, but the difference is his rapping skills are more apparent than some “mumble rappers” would like to show.

2. ledroit ft. SIR E.U - fuck off

Ledroit is the mastermind behind the omnipresent Tech Yes—an array of electronic genres and original sounds with Sir E.U as the backing emcee. Watching the duo in person is like watching Shaolin Fantastic and The Wordsmith command crowds in the Netflix original series, The Get Down. To have a streamable tune from them is epic. It’s one thing to watch artists cross pollinate and perform in other bands (Ledroit and E.U both moonlight in Rob Stokes Band and have conceived a new punk/hip hop/electronic group called Michaelangelo) but it’s a whole other dynamic when the project is executed for online consumption. As fans, we can appreciate the moment. Speaking of moments, you might have caught Sir E.U in the remix of this instant classic internet video.

3. DEN-MATE - XOSO

Released just several days ago, Loceke follows up Den-Mate’s self-titled 2016 project. Lead vocalist Jules Hale compliments spacey guitar riffs and wobbly bass notes with her unique monotone voice that evokes alternative/punk feels.

4. CISCERO ft. BLACK FORTUNE - BITE DOWN

Ciscero dropped new music for the first time in five months last week. “Bite Down” was teased to a sold out crowd at Union Stage on the Wharf during April + Vista’s first-ever headlining show.

5. TASHAZE - INTERMISSION BY MARTIN J BALLOU ft. MUDI (CHOPPED AND SCREWED)

Tashaze recognized the need to prolong the vibe set by Martin J Ballou and Mudi in the original track off Ballou’s You& The Space Between - EP because at two minutes, “Intermission” leaves listeners wanting more. From D.C. by way of Seattle, Tashaze has found a home with mxdhouse—an art and music collective that has supported the consistent programming of GIRLAAA, which you could have attended several times at John Geiger and Davin Gentry’s boutique hangout, Diet Starts Monday.

6. JENNA CAMILLE - 3000 ROSES

Jenna Camille released “3000 Roses” last night, but she’s been playing it during her performances for awhile.  Mellow synths carry over Camille’s vocals that slowly build throughout the track.  We’re looking forward to her Luce Unplugged show at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on November 1st.  She’s been quietly fine-tuning her album Free while also collaborating with rapper Odd Mojo.

7. INNANET JAMES - THE COOL

“I should cool it/‘cause these potholes real live stupid/Why they keep ‘em in the hood?/Not where white folks movin’,” ponders James, the Maryland-based rapper. “The Cool” comes from Innanet James’ recent Keep it Clean project, which includes a feature from Pusha T.

8. MUDI - SIREN

Mudi and Martin J Ballou have found a magical connection and they share the fruits of their creations mutually. Sometimes MUDI features on Ballou’s tracks and other times, like in this instance, Ballou will produce, mix, and master tracks for the R&B singer’s catalog. “Siren” has been in heavy rotation since it dropped last month.

9. MATT MCGHEE ft. ALEX VAUGHN - UNCOMFORTABLE

The catchy tune on the back half of McGhee’s newest EP, Since You’re Watching, features Alex Vaughn, who stepped out for a cameo at Odd Mojo’s curated Urban Outfitters Live in Chinatown several weeks ago. It’s reminiscent of early 2000s garage production from the UK, like “Has It Come to This?” by The Streets.

10. FILET MIGNON - I LOVE YOU TOO…

Her name is Filet Mignon and she has pink hair. Unsure how her persona as a DJ gets more cohesive than that. To be determined. This mix sounds similar to the set she spun last Friday at Open Studio D.C.’s closing event featuring UUV & Nomu Nomu. She flexed a rendition of Immature’s “I Don’t Mind” as well as a captivating mashup of Drake’s “Free Smoke” and his crush Sade’s “Lover’s Rock.” Let Mac Miller’s “What’s the Use” fill your room at 21 minutes.