Charlie Eastern – Jalen Santoy

If you’ve never heard of Jalen Santoy before, don’t worry…most people haven’t. The young, LA-based rapper provides listeners with smooth flows, thoughtful lyrics, and hard-hitting beats. While remaining fairly quiet over the past few years, Santoy released Charlie Santoy in 2016 and has left us with a beautifully done album. Colossus isn’t always about covering what’s new and popular, sometimes we just have to write a review of a favorite album. This record from Santoy easily ranks up there in my Top 50 list with its pure playability. Let’s explore it and help you fall in love with it as well.

The Vocals:

Santoy chooses to start off the album in a very…different way. We are met with a sample of Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith discussing Chris Paul future during free agency. Not exactly what you would expect, but he quickly enters into the forefront of the track with his bombastic, nearly angry flows. I have heard many times that Santoy sounds very similar to J. Cole. While I think this comparison to the Dreamville legend is warranted, Santoy has his own feel and vibe on his flows. Some are smooth and easy while others are hard and aggressive. “Foreplay” is what most people will recognize as his main “hit” with over 77 million plays on Spotify. It’s one of those songs that you throw on and immediately vibe out with. The verses are incredibly smooth and they lead into an elegant melody on the chorus between Santoy and whoever the uncredited female vocalist is. This track alone makes the whole album. Luckily for the listener, he continues with five more tracks, each with hard-hitting lyrics, smooth flows, and playful vocal inflections. The outro track, “Mama Loves Me”, seems to be Santoy’s most personal track on the project, with spoken word pieces and emotional choruses singing about his relationship with his mother.

The Beats:

You can’t talk about the beats on Charlie Eastern without highlighting the saxophone on “Foreplay”. Sampled off “Sunny”, a Stanley Turrentine piece, it’s jazzy and smooth, just like his vocals, and only adds to the depth behind the track. Yet, from a sexual, jazzy beat, we move into a depressing piano intro on “Toast”. The fusion of the piano, hi-hats, and bass drums creates a solid hip-hop sound. “Good Winter” is also a very well developed beat from start to finish. We are met with deep, heavy-hitting bass and uptempo symbals over some very haunting guitar chords. However, the hardest beat off the entire project is “No Peace”. Santoy spits quickly over this track and therefore needs to be met with an equally strong beat. With its beat drops, electric sample buildups, and scrubbed out sound during verses, it’s easily the most hyped, head-nodding beat on the seven-track album.

The Production:

There’s been a common theme with this review…”Foreplay”. Yes, I am about to bring it up for the third time because it is that good. What surprises me here is the release of the clean cut of the track and not the expletive version. A quick search on Genius proves that there seems to be another version out there. This could have been to try and make sure it would get as much attention as possible from playlist curators, radio DJs, and music listeners in general, but interesting none the less. Other than that, smooth transitions throughout and extremely solid mixing of tracks. I have always been a large critic of “short” albums. Anything with a tracklist that is shorter than eight tracks is usually balancing the thin line between an album, EP, or mixtape. It has to be top quality for me to move past this, and Charlie Eastern most definitely is a top quality listening experience.

The Essentials:

If you don’t have time to listen to the full album, don’t avoid “Foreplay”, “Off The Glass”, and “No Peace”.

The Rating:

In a world of mumble rap, pop rap, and emo rap, this Carolinas-raised, LA-based artist seems to give his listeners hope for the future of rap. However, Charlie Eastern was dropped in 2016 and other than a few singles and some small tours, Santoy has been fairly quiet. I really hope his silence means he is in the studio cooking something up for his fans. Jalen Santoy seems to be one single or album short of getting the recognition he so truly deserves. With all that said, Charlie Eastern deserves a…

Straight up 9 (no questions)

Santoy had a concert at S.O.B.’s in NYC back in September of last year and I was so disappointed to have missed it. This guy’s music is a must-listen for all hip-hop lovers, and I can guarantee you will find at least one song to add to your playlists.

– Heff


Sit Down Series: FTK

FTK stands “For The Kulture” and that is exactly what ApeBaby a.k.a. JungleBoy, Deemo, and Kold Ka2e all are developing. Coming from their respective neighborhoods of New York City, they each bring their own sound and vibe to the table. A Different Path EP dropped on February 22nd of this year and shortly after, the trio sat down with Colossus Music’s Heff to discuss their influences, creativity, and future dreams for themselves and the label.

Colossus Music: How did you guys all get into music? Where did it start for each of you?

Deemo: When I was in elementary school I played the trumpet. I also sang in the choir at church and at school so it really started there for me. I really liked playing trumpet but when we got to middle school they discontinued the program so I started playing basketball. I really didn’t care about music much until I got to college. I always liked listening to it but never really cared to make any of my own. The beginning of my sophomore year, I was like “I feel like making music.” Being here, there really isn’t much to do but there is a studio up the hill so I started talking to JungleBoy who also wanted to make music and that’s how it started. We went to high school together and have known each other since we were thirteen.

ApeBaby: I was just in the hood and was always around people who were either playing ball or rapping. When balling didn’t work out, I was always making rhymes and stuff and when Deemo told me he wanted to make music I was like “oh what’s up!” I was already in tune with little flows and stuff. Plus girls were always telling me too, why don’t I take it seriously? I would do little flows here and there, especially driving around in the car and they would always say to me, “Nah you got to stop playing you could be good.” That’s when we started going to the studio, putting up bread, and making music.

Kold Ka2e: I wasn’t rapping at first, I was kind of just the manager. I already knew some people so I could network and stuff. Then, December 6th they had a studio session and told me to pull up. I went in and we tried some things and it came out good so we posted it on Instagram. It had 1000 plus views on it and from there I just started rapping and we made songs.

CM: So when you guys were growing up were you listening to a lot of music? What was being played around you?

KK: Yeah, yeah, yeah, all I do is dance!

AB: My mother always had the radio on with the old tunes. I know all the old stuff as well as all the new songs too. Music was just always around.

CM: What was she playing for you when you were a kid?

AB: Sam Cooke, The Temptations, everything like that. Then now I know all the new stuff too, just always around music. I never thought I’d be making it because it really started out as a joke.

D: Well my parents are from Barbados and they were playing a lot of records when I was young. I was listening to a lot of their kind of music growing up but personally, I always loved rap. I was always into music that when it came to making my own, I was like “I don’t see why not.”

CM: Bouncing over to the new EP, Deemo and Kold Ka2e, you seem to be the main rappers on the project while ApeBaby is providing more melodic hooks and flows. Where are you pulling your musical inspirations from for this? Do you listen to other genres to find new flows or styles?

KK: I listen to R&B a lot. I don’t make music for males, I make music for females honestly. I don’t really care what dudes think I do what I do regardless.

D: I listen to a lot of music honestly. If I hear a rock song that I like I will listen to it. I really am open to anything but I mainly listen to rap music. When I was younger though I was really into Green Day and that kind of rock.

AB: For me, it’s just if it sounds good.

CM: What artist are you listening to a lot right now? Who is it that you guys really like?

AB: I look up to Cardi B. That’s one of my favorite rappers of all time.

KK: I got a couple. Young Thug and Lil Baby are really my top two. I could play Lil Baby all day, don’t matter the song or whatever. These guys get pissed off about it.

D: I listen to a lot of Lil Uzi and Young Thug too.

CM: Where did you guys come up with your artist names. Deemo, you mentioned that it’s based on your actual name Kadeem, but where did the names Kold Ka2e and ApeBaby come from?

KK: I’m in a Greek Fraternity and that’s my line name. It was given to me and kind of stuck. I couldn’t find a rap name or whatever so I thought I would go with whatever my Instagram name and all my other social media to make it easy.

AB: We only been doing this for a year now. I was ApeBaby first, there wasn’t no Jungle Boy yet. I got ApeBaby from the hood ’cause I was always on some apeshit. The Jungle Boy came from the fact that I had a lot of animals when I was younger. Always around them and stuff. I also look at the hood like the “Concrete Jungle” so like Jungle Boy straight from the Jungle.

CM: Speaking of animals, I know you have a German Sheppard that you talk a lot about in your songs.

AB: Yeah, he’s gonna be in music videos. In each of them, there will be new animals popping up. All that!

CM: Let’s talk a bit about FTK The Label. How did you guys create it? What do you want out of it and are you looking to bring in more artists?

AB: FTK stands for “For The Kulture”. We really wanted to build our own label because we were really not interested in signing with any other. We know the industry pretty well and know how to get what we need. We wanted to have our own structure and move up together. Later on, we will start signing people and all that stuff that comes with it.

KK: FTK started a couple summers ago. It was just me and my bro that DJs. There was a lot of crazy things going on. We couldn’t even go anywhere without something happening so I decided to throw parties. I’m a neutral person and I know everybody from each hood so they would come and there’d be no problems. I don’t know what went down after the parties but everyone would come and have a good time. So we kept doing that and we had 1,000 people in the backyard for the first party. I did three or four parties and was making so much money over the summer. Then I had a clothing line I was going to start but I never really launched it. But during that time, everybody was like “FTK! FTK!” so I ran with that. When I started music, all my other bros was rapping with their own shit so we combined FTK with their group. It’s us, my bro Marquise who takes pictures from PACE, and my friend who DJs. There ain’t a lot of people who are FTK. You have to be bringing something to the table. If you ain’t got drip it’s not happening.

CM: Is there a producer as well with the group or are you producing your own beats?

KK: We working on that! We working on it. We are trying to do it all.

CM: Where did those beats come from for the EP?

AB: A lot of them come from the internet. It be hard finding them though because we don’t always vibe with them. We could go through fifty beats and still not find anything that we like. But then we find that one that works and we know it. I don’t like to spend that much time trying to search for beats. If it hits it hits. Once you hear a beat you know.

D: That’s a fact!

KK: We are all very selective. If I like a beat but Kadeem is iffy about it and Sam hates it, then I will know to keep it for myself. Sometimes you just have to hear it on the speaker too.

AB: Producers will be getting mad us too like “How don’t you like this beat?” It won’t be that the beat is whack, it’s just that that’s not my swag. That’s why I really like picking them myself.

KK: Now, I’m starting to get beats sent to me. It’s weird to me honestly cause people will hit me up out of the blue to show me their beats. I don’t try to be disrespectful cause really their beats are whack but I will still respond just cause. A couple beats made my own EP though. My friend Cam Racks made “Neck Froze” and my boy Bobby Zeppelin made “Cannot” on Unexpected Hail.

CM: How much time did you end up spending in the studio making A Different Path?

D: A couple months I think.

AB: There was a lot of hold-ups too. Sometimes there were breaks involved where we didn’t get to see each other that much. And then of course money and school too. The EP came out on accident honestly because we were originally aiming for just a single but we had a new producer who was really pushing for the EP to drop.

KK: We just wanted to make one song but the world was like”nuh-uh you gotta do it this way.”

CM: And what are you guys doing to promote it? Are you trying to set up any shows soon? Any other projects on the way?

KK: Definitely have a few shows lined up. We promote heavy too through social media. Word of mouth too.

CM: Wrapping things up we have to do the standard Colossus Sit Down series question. If you could have dinner, drinks, smoke, whatever with three artists, dead or alive, who would they be?

AB: R. Kelly…nah I’m playing. It would have to be Michael. I like Michael Jackson and a lot of his older stuff. I really think Biggie could be up there too. I need to have someone big from my hood at the table. I ain’t gonna lie, right now I’m jacking Blueface too so add him. I like how he has the off-beat flows. A lot of people be like “oh its too off-beat” but really it’s just old school West Coast style. I think doing a feature with him could be cool too but we will see where we end up with that.

KK: Michael Jackson for sure. If you call my aunt she will tell you I used to do all the dance moves, the whole routines to every song. Besides that, definitely Young Thug. He got the keys. This man said he recorded over 15,000 songs since he started his career. That’s just ridiculous. And then also Lil Baby. He wasn’t rapping at first either. He low key was just around. We sort of got the same story but not the same story. I wasn’t rapping but I was around them and they told me just try it and now look where we are.

D: Also Michael Jackson for me definitely. Then I would also say Jay Z and Young Thug. His harmonies…that man is something different with it.

CM: Last big question. What do you want 2019 to be for FTK and you guys specifically? Where do you want to be by the end of the year?

AB: I want to have pool parties with lots of girls.

KK: I want to have a lot of money. I want everybody who doubted me to see that you can’t just doubt people. This ain’t even about me. The music stuff is cool but I’m about to graduate college so I need to get a real job soon. When this pops off, I want everybody to see you just can’t doubt people. The person you see everybody going against you can’t just jump on the bandwagon. If they doing something right everybody got to dislike them.

AB: I also want to be somebody from the hood. I want to show little kids that you don’t always have to be a gangbanger, don’t have to just play ball, but instead can use your talents in other aspects. In my hood, there is a lot of violence and senseless killings and all that stuff. I just want to do something so kids can see me and be like “nah he made it out though.” They don’t have that right now, they hear about it but don’t really see it.

– Heff

A Different Path EP

Death Race for Love – Juice WRLD

I am still not 100% sure where this strange craze of emo rap came from. Juice WRLD first came on my radar, as well as many of hip-hop listeners’, over the past summer with his debut album Goodbyes & Good Riddance. Obviously, there are the sure signs like XXXTentacion and Lil Peep who seem to be the forefront of this “sad boy” sound in hip-hop but what’s more impressive is its commercial success. It’s already hit the number one spot on the Billboard Chart…in a week. Death Race for Love took me a few listens to collect my thoughts and in multiple settings to truly understand the vibe of this project from the young 20-year-old but let’s dive into it.

The Vocals:

Honestly, I still haven’t fallen in love with his voice. While I can understand the appeal, it just still sounds whiney to me. I really struggled with that on the collab album with Future. It just doesn’t fully do it for me. However, I went into my listening of Death Race knowing that and focused on other things, therefore, I’m not going to dwell on it. Instead, we will start by discussing the lyrics…and boy can they be depressing. For those bookworms, I often find myself relating Juice WRLD to Holden Caulfield of Catcher in the Rye, just that feeling of angstiness and constant complaining. Just look at part of his verse off “Fast”:

I go through so much, I’m 19 years old
It’s been months since I felt at home
But it’s okay ’cause I’m rich
Psych, I’m still sad as a bitch, right

The thing is…it’s working. I think the reason why lines like these and others are helping Juice WRLD get so much recognition is how many people can relate to it. You may find it a struggle comparing your life to that of a 2 Chainz song about strippers and boatloads of money. Yet, a lot of people can relate to personal and mental strife. It just works. The other thing that I can’t deny is the guy’s ability to flow. “Syphilis” and “Who Shot Cupid?” could seriously be two completely different rappers. Not only are the vibes different but his flows are nearly the opposite. Goodbye was a debut album and it showed in this aspect. A lot of the flows felt extremely similar, but with Death Race, not at all. Nearly every track has a different sound and style of rapping which really exemplifies Juice WRLD’s talents here. I mean this is the same guy who freestyled off the top for a god-damn hour…impressive to say the least.

The Beats:

There isn’t really a beat on this entire record that I don’t fuck with, which once again is the really the opposite of how I felt about Goodbye. The album opens with a very melodic and smooth sound that transitions well into hi-hats and bass which seems to perfectly set the mood for what we are about to listen to. “Big” has that head-nodding vibe that you almost can’t deny the second it starts and then draws you in even more with the little 808 switch up towards the end of the track. I also adore the use of the electric guitar for the beat on “Ring Ring”. Seriously no complaints here.

The Production: 

As an album here’s where we start to see a few cracks. While the transitions aren’t bad, they could be smoother. The mixing feels solid throughout but a few tracks sound just a bit off. And while the flow of the album is good, it doesn’t keep a continuous vibe throughout. It is the curse of a long album and modern day music streaming. With 22 two to three minute songs, you start to feel a bit of a “fall off” by the end unfortunately as nothing keeps you fully there. There is a lot of ways Juice WRLD could’ve counteracted this in my opinion, but he touches it with the Brent Faiyaz interlude on “Demonz”. It’s quick, smooth, and transitive which helps the overall flow of the first third of the album. If he added one or two more of tracks like this, it may have broken up the album slightly better to give it a more flowy, continuous vibe.

The Essentials:

I was surprised by how many songs I ended up adding to playlists off this album. “Out My Way” and “Robbery” are easily my absolute favorites but I also highly recommend listening to “Empty”, “Fast”, “Hear Me Calling”, and “Feeling”.

The Rating:

Juice WRLD continues to impress me by how fast he is developing into a solid rapper. While this whole emo rap style is most likely a fad, it seems this young dude is gonna be staying around long past the trend. Maybe it’s because one of my roommates only seems to play everything Juice WRLD puts out, but this project sounded fantastic compared to what I’ve previously heard from him. Death Race for Love is easily a:


In my last review, I talked about how excited I was to see where he goes in the future. Well…I’m pretty happy with how this album turned out and can’t wait for the next one.


juice wrld





STN MTN/Kauai – Childish Gambino

Today we’re gonna go back to 2014 when Childish dropped two EP’s, one titled STN MTN exclusively on Datpiff and the other as Kauai on all major streaming platforms. Two completely different EP’s dropped within minutes of each other that when put together make Childish’s STN MTN/Kauai masterpiece. The names of the EP’s have a lot to do with the sounds that follow. Childish was born in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Kauai is based off a soul-searching mission to Kauai, Hawaii that ended with a super fresh R&BhasababywithHipHop type EP. All together STN MTN/ Kauai shows us the two sides of Childish that are usually mixed on tracks. The hard Atlanta rapper meets the deep and soulful Childish and makes for an album that “makes it bounce like Spalding” and then drops you “in a tent under the stars…” to sum it up in two lines off the full project.

Since we’re dealing with two separate projects that come together imma format the review slightly differently today.

The Instrumentals

STN MTNBased off of what I mentioned earlier, that the titles reflect the music on the albums we can assume an EP based off of an Atlanta Suburb is gonna be some hard shit. It is. Childish takes the idea of Atlanta rap and runs with it. The beats on STN MTN is a wicked collection of hard hitters. I love describing this portion of the project as “making it bounce like Spalding” because honestly these instrumentals are so addicting I’m taking breaks to dance around the house while writing this. Childish and his team of producers (him being one of them) take all of their individual influences and make some wild instrumentals with them. STN MTN instrumentals are nothing but bops… after all, when Childish gets hype on a track we all know what he’s capable of.

Kauai: For those who haven’t seen photos of Kauai, google it and you’ll understand what this album sounds like. It’s beautiful, tranquil, a sweet escape from the suburbs of Atlanta some might say. Childish takes R&B and puts his Gambino twist on it. He still drops verses on Kauai, while also showing us his true vocal abilities on songs like “Sober” and “The Palisades”. The instrumentals on Kauai (as theorized by myself for the last 5 years) are intended to do for you what Kauai did for Childish – unwind from the chaos of Stone Mountain.

This is why the two combine together to form the full project. Once you experience STN MTN you go soul searching on Kauai, unwind, and get ya head straight.

The Vocals

STN MTN:  The vocals on STN MTN talk about where Childish has been, as well as where he’s planning on going. The idea behind STN MTN is Childish as a kid having a dream that he makes it big and runs the Atlanta rap scene, which is what makes it that much more genuine. I love that the entirety of STN MTN takes place in what is most likely a 35-second dream. He gives us insight to growing up in Atlanta talking about things like the best strip clubs on “U Don’t Have to Call” to “putting in work (on the corner)” on the track “Nextel Chirp”. It’s an ode to the life Childish lived and a musical precursor to his show “Atlanta”. That being said since it’s Childish, every single word means more than one thing. I’ve been listening to this project since it dropped in 2014 and I still hear and find easter eggs I’ve never noticed. STN MTN, also being the longer of the two EP’s (11 songs compared to 8 on Kauai), as well as the fact it’s the rap-heavy portion of the project, there’s an unbelievable amount of double entendres, mad jokes, and super clever shit that years later when you finally understand what it means changes your view of Childish.

Kauai: This EP focuses on Childish’s mental health and relationships. It’s an album about a girl who is obviously toying with Childish’s emotions like it’s god damn Christmas day…poor guy. Makes for a gorgeous Gambino R&B album though. Childish starts the album with the line “And now that it’s over, I’ll never be sober, I couldn’t believe, That I was so high” giving the listeners the idea he just had his heart broken. The rest of the album seems to talk about what could have been had she stuck around. Things like laying under the stars at a bonfire party on “Late Night in Kauai” and “Pop Thieves” (both featuring Jaden Smith), as well as “smokin’ with bae at the beach like this” on “The Palisades”. It truly is a beautiful album about being broken hearted – that’s so upbeat the first couple listens you think it’s an album about currently being in love. While only being eight songs, Kauai really packs a punch and puts the listener on Kauai with Childish trying to get over this girl.

All the vocals on STN MTN/Kauai are so precisely delivered, expertly written, and right from the bottom of Gambino’s heart. It shows us the two very different sides of Childish that we have seen before, just never together like this. I really love how Childish divided the different vibes into two mixtapes to really emphasize to his listeners just how different his two sides can be.

The Overall Vibes

STN MTNI mean for starters the vibes are Atlanta, with a Childish twist. It’s the heavy hitting instrumentals, storytelling lyrics, a glimpse into the streets of Atlanta, and Childish Gambino’s delivery of his message that makes STN MTN such a bop of an album. It’s diverse too, featuring some club bangers, some trap house theme music, and even an entire song dedicated to all the times Childish has been shouted out on the radio in Atlanta called “The Atrium”. For an album that’s guaranteed to “make it bounce like Spalding” look no further than STN MTN.

KauaiI’ve always been a bigger fan of Kauai if I’m being 100% honest. Not because STN MTN doesn’t slap…because there’s no doubt it does. It’s just a beautiful display of a side of Childish we didn’t get to see until Awaken! My Love in 2016. Kauai vibes are special, and although its an EP about heartbreak, it’s so upbeat and beautiful in the stories told that I just can’t help but vibe out with it. When Childish mixes R&B with rap it makes for a sick story, as well as something to dance and sing along to. The final reason I love the vibes on Kauai so much is that at the end Childish is happy again, we hear it in the instrumentals as well as his voice. It makes the album that much better as the listener because you know Kauai changed Childish for the better and after hearing Because the Internet it’s a relief the man got his head right. Again, beast of an album just insanely dark at parts.

The overall vibe of STN MTN/Kauai is (simply put) special. It’s a special project for Childish because he opens up his past, and future to his fans. It’s a special project for the fans because we get two sides of Childish, and nineteen incredibly perfect songs that tell the story of Gambino.

The Essentials

STN MTN“Fucks Given (ft. Nick Banga)”, “No Small Talk (ft. Kari Faux, prod. Black Party and Kari Faux)”, Move That Dope/Nextel Chirp/ Let Your Hair Blow (ft. Young Scooter, prod. Zaytoven)” “Chandler Road (1st half prod. Tim Suby, 2nd half prod. Childish Gambino)”

Kauai: “Sober”, “Retro (ROUGH)”, “The Palisades (ft. Christian Rich)”, “Late Night in Kauai (ft. Jaden Smith)”

The Rating

All in all, STN MTN/Kauai will always have a super special place in my heart because of what a Childish fan I am, as well as the inspiration I draw from him. It opened my mind to a different side of hip-hop and the idea that fitting in the mold is boring…so make music that makes YOU happy. Childish changed me with this project, as well as yet again showed the rap game that he’s not a freak, nor a geek, or anyone to mess with. For all of this, I give STN MTN/Kauai an insanely solid


I don’t have to explain myself. It’s Childish Gambino we’re talking about here…just re-listen to STN MTN/Kauai if you disagree with that number.

Final Thoughts

Childish has been one of my favorite musicians/main inspirations since “Freaks and Geeks”. I really have nothing bad to say about the guy, he’s a genius and a true renaissance man. STN MTN/Kauai is another example that Childish is really mentally on another level.

Both albums are fantastic in their own ways, and I hope if you haven’t heard it in a while, or at all that you’ll toss it on today and understand why I’m speaking so highly on this album as a whole.

Much love everyone and as per usual thanks for all the love and support!

– JMac

'Atlanta' TV show premiere, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 19 Feb 2018

Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD – Future

To be honest, part of the reason the content cycle at Colossus has been slow for #NewMusicMondays is that there hasn’t been an overwhelming amount of music dropped in the first two months of this year. Later this week I will be covering another new album as a gift to you loyal readers but for now, let’s take a look at what Fire Marshall Future has to offer us. Being one of the first big rappers to drop a project in 2019, Future gives us easily the wordiest title to his seventh solo project, Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD. While the man himself has shown us many personas over the years, this seems to be a culmination of all of his best styles and flows into one album.

This is also the 100th review on Colossus…so yeah props to that!

The Vocals:

Look…I am not going to bullshit you. I have never been a major fan of Future as a rapper. I think he is subpar at best. However, this project has a lot of different versions of him, some I like and some I don’t. He starts it off on “Never Stop” with an extremely introspective style, discussing his growth into fame. This is the kind of Future I have always found intriguing but he then moves right from “can’t forget where I came from” to “jumping on and off the jet”. Primarily, his lyrics throughout are braggadocious, rapping about money, chains, girls, and drugs. But if you are going out of your way to listen to a Future album in its entirety, you aren’t exactly anticipating politically charged tracks or deep, meaningful lyrics. Instead, you are more likely to be singing along to chorus like on “Promise U That”.

“Came in a car, you gon’ leave in a jet, I can promise you that (Yeah, yeah)
Came by myself, I’ma leave with your friends, I can promise you that”

Got to give him credit for rapping about his hobbies and extracurriculars!

The Beats:

Future worked with a really solid team here for the beats and nothing was really amiss. Southside, Billboard Hitmakers, and ATL Jacob all primarily worked on the album and it shows. The 808s throughout are killer, especially on “F&N”. Metro Boomin even hopped on “Stick to the Models” as pointed out by a Genius user. However, what is most evident throughout The WIZRD is Future’s producer influence. People often forget that as big as Future has gotten as a rapper, he was mixing beats first and truly helped cultivate Atlanta’s trap sound using combinations of 808s and snares. Even when he isn’t creating the beats on a majority of this album’s tracks, you can still see that he kept a heavy hand on how the beats were made.

The Production:

It’s not too often that a Future album or EP disappoints me in its production value however this one does for me. The album as a whole comes in at an hour and two minutes and with twenty tracks that seems short to me. A majority of the track lengths are under three minutes and for me that isn’t satisfying. At times I feel like I’m Michael Scott listening to the free sample of “Goodbye My Lover” over and over again with how short the tracks are. I mean “Crushed Up” and “Call The Coroner” are some of the most popular songs yet both are only two minutes. It just didn’t do it for me.

The Essentials:

“Never Stop”, “Crushed Up”, “Call The Coroner”, “Promise U That”, “Servin Killa Kam”, “First Off”, and “Faceshot”

The Rating:

It’s not that I would skip much of this album. Hell, I put seven of the twenty in the essentials. However, there is just a lot I know I won’t go back to. They just aren’t special to me, to be honest. For me, nothing will beat his 2017 releases: the self-titled FUTURE and the ever important HNDRXX project. With that said, The WIZRD gets a:

Soft 6

This album was good but not Future’s best work. Still a great listen though, especially if you are looking to get into his discography.

– Heff


Sit Down Series: B.A.D

B.A.D is a young up-and-coming rapper out of Boston’s growing hip-hop scene. By formulating his own sound, he has created some solid mixtapes that have generated more and more exposure. It won’t be long before he finally breaks through, especially with the team in Boston he has surrounded himself with. Last week, he found time between the studio and getting his new single “Come Thru” out to sit down with Leo and talk a bit about life, his upcoming album, and the Celtics.

CM: Let’s start off from the beginning. How does a kid from Norwood, Massachusetts get into rap?

B.A.D: It’s kind of a lot of things. Growing up around music, I just really loved it. I listen to all genres but I related most with rap music. I think I just felt it and realized I had stories to tell from growing up. It started as writing off little pieces, almost like poetry you could say, then it became me and my friends just smoking and freestyling in the car; slowly getting better and better. Eventually, people started telling me to write and make songs. Then, bang, just like that I started fucking writing and making music.

CM: So who were you listening to as a kid?

B.A.D: Anybody and everybody! I grew up on Snoop, Dre, Eminem, Lil Wayne, and 50 Cent, really whoever was big back then. 50 was really one of my favorites growing up for a while in the mid-2000s. I didn’t really have an iPod until I was older so I was really listening to whatever I could find on YouTube.

CM: Now your real name is Brian Dittmeier. How did you come up eventually with the stage name “B.A.D”?

B.A.D: Well it’s actually just the initials of my name. Brian Arthur Dittmeier. I was always called Ditty growing up and shit, from 7 years old and on. But obviously, I can’t use the name Ditty since that’s already a billionaire rapper, one of the biggest of all time and another of my inspirations. I just knew I had to go with something myself so I kept it simple and went with my initials, B.A.D. It’s not like it’s a fake name I am hiding behind, it’s me.

CM: You seem to run with a pretty tight crew. However, would you say the Boston rap scene is easy to break into or difficult to?

B.A.D: It’s getting a lot better. I can see a progression with it because there is a lot of talent out here but no one has ever really worked together and there aren’t many big platforms to push us. There aren’t any big labels out here and there are only a few small studios. People are coming together a lot more though and you are starting to see more Boston artist really push Boston’s own stuff. It is becoming less of a competition and more of a support system almost.

CM: There are a few big names that are starting to shine out of Boston; Cousin Stizz and Michael Christmas being two great examples. Now they don’t sound the same but have similar styles, almost Boston’s own type of Trap. How would you describe the hip-hop that is coming out of Boston recently?

B.A.D: It is kind of tough cause there is a lot of different things going on. Mass is such a small state so everybody is geographically close in a sense. There is Joyner out in Worcester who is wicked lyrical. Then you got Cousin Stizz who is the new school type and gives you that wavey vibes when he raps. I don’t think there is a particular sound out here. I think it will come into form eventually though.

CM: Now what would you say is your sound?

B.A.D: I have been getting a lot more into melodies. Starting off, I had the bars but I needed to develop that catchiness, something to get the people dancing and shit like that. All peaks and valleys! I feel like I have been really finding it in the last six months or so. I am still trying to perfect. My new shit has more melodies. I don’t want to compare it to anyone but almost like a Post Malone style where is singing but also rapping too.

CM: A month from now, your debut album is coming! What can you tell the readers about that? Who is going to be on it? How many tracks?

B.A.D: It’s more of a smaller album. There will be four songs that I’ve dropped over the last few months that were singles. Then there will be nine new songs so really 13 in total. I wanted to make this one small just so I can come back quick with another mixtape in a couple months from now just to keep the consistency. This album though is really a story about forgetting the last few years and moving on. There is everything from relationship stuff to friendship stuff on it. It’s called Don’t Look Back.

CM: Damn okay! From one album onto the next project. How much time does that mean you are spending in the studio?

B.A.D: I go right from work to the studio. Either we are recording songs in there or were mixing songs. The last two months I have probably been in there 100 plus hours.

CM: That’s a ton of time! Are you writing a lot there as well?

B.A.D: It depends because it’s really whenever anything comes to me. I can be riding around in the car and I hear something or feel something so I write it down. Sometimes I also find a beat and stuff just starts flowing. I feel like I do work best in the studio though. I could be in there and someone asks me to write a verse, there’s the pressure of getting it done quickly and I feel like I work well with that. The lyrics really come from whatever I may be inspired by or something that is on my mind that I really want to get out.

CM:  You have also done a ton of work with Valid Tone, another rapper out of Boston. Tell me a little about the work you have done with him. I know he does a lot of your beat production.

B.A.D: It’s awesome! He just makes everything easier for me really. He knows all the technical stuff and been doing this shit for years. He’s truly the best fucking engineer in Boston. Tone’s been teaching me along the way too how to do my own stuff. He’s just really easy to work with plus he is really well known in Boston and because of that, I have met a lot of other artists as well. I was going to another engineer for a little while but have come back to Tone just cause he hooks it up with the prices and he is really just one of my boys. When we work together I barely know how to describe it! It’s like fucking peanut butter and jelly. It comes naturally!

CM: How many shows have you had so far this year?

B.A.D: In the last month, so the first month of 2019, I have had five shows. That’s pretty much total of what I had in 2018 so starting off strong.

CM: One of your recent shows you had DJ Chubb pull up from 94.5 (Boston’s hip-hop radio).

B.A.D: Yeah DJ Chubby Chubb pulled through. That show was in Boston in the Financial District then Moneymav showed up a few weeks later. Those are pretty big DJs on 94.5 so they have a pretty big name for themselves in the local area. It’s just about getting those people to see you and notice you so the next time they see you they recognize you and think to themselves “I know this kid he must be making a splash on the scene”.

CM: Back to your music here, but where are you getting inspirations for your lyrics?

B.A.D: It’s just anything I am going through in life. It could be fun shit, bad shit, something my boy is going through and I am speaking through him. Anything like that really.

CM: Obviously you are a huge Boston sports fan. One glance at your Twitter or Instagram proves that. Everywhere you go you seem to be rocking some apparel.

B.A.D: I grew up on this shit! It’s hard to hate them when they are so good, what can I say?

CM: In that music video for “Change The World”, you are dancing around outside the Boston Garden so what are your predictions for the Celtics this year?

B.A.D: I think they are coming into form at the right time. They won 10 out of their last 11 [as of February 7th]. Plus a close game with Golden State a few weeks back which shows we can compete with the guys who are “supposed” to win the championship. That should give them confidence.

CM: I always try to hit artists with this as my last question! If you were to have dinner with three artists, dead or alive, who would they be?

B.A.D: I got to put Biggie up there. He is one of my absolute favorites and is definitely the one dead rapper I would have to meet. Just ’cause the bangers he had, the way he switched up his flow, and what he did for how young he is, he could’ve done so much more. I think he could’ve been the greatest rapper of all time if he didn’t die at 24. His life was cut way too short! Other than that, maybe like Snoop Dawg because he just enjoys life and has a good time. I would love to chill and get some advice from him. He still is doing this shit and was doing in back in the 90s when Tupac and Biggie were just popping off and getting big. Lastly, probably Eminem. Growing up I only listened to black artists then I saw Eminem and was like “Oh damn, white people can do this shit?” because I had no clue it was like that. I would love to get some information from him on what it was like going through this shit and being a guest in the game almost.

CM: Follow up to that, is there a specific place you would want to take them?

B.A.D: I am trying to make some money and give back to everybody. I am a big food guy and love cooking too so I want to invest in restaurants if I get money eventually from music. Put some in my own town and get some more shit to do there in Norwood. Almost like Whalburger’s and what they did. I got to get the idea fully down but something like that.

CM: So you’re telling me you would want to cook for Snoop who has his own cooking show with Martha Stewert?

B.A.D: I don’t think I would be the head chef but I would definitely bring them to whatever restaurants I own.

CM: Final question. What is next for you? What do you want this year, 2019, to be for you?

B.A.D: I want this to be the year I start getting noticed and recognized. It doesn’t have to be performing at motherfucking Rolling Loud by the end of the year but as long as people have my songs in their playlists that helps. Even to get on the radio a few times would be great. I know the music I have is good and once people hear it and like it, I will have more to follow it up. Once they hear you once, then you come right back and hit them again with new stuff, they start to recognize you and pay more attention. Then it is just up if you keep putting the work in.


Beat Tape 2 – Tom Misch

Beat Tape 2 is Toms third project after his recording debut in 2014. I say recording debut because although he’s been making music all of his life, and releasing instrumentals on Soundcloud since 2012. I chose Beat Tape 2 because of a personal connection I have with this EP. As we know from my review of Geography, I’m a major Misch fan, really can’t get enough of the guy. The connection is I found Beat Tape 2 back in 2015 while looking around Spotify for instrumentals to write some lyrics for what would become JMax Hypetrain. I saw his name and remembered him from my Soundcloud likes so I checked out Beat Tape 2. As soon as I heard “The Journey”, the structure of my song “JMax Hypetrain” was formed. So since I got off work due to the snow, why not get a little nostalgic, while also talking about another fantastic project by my man Tom Misch.

The Vocals:

Ironically titled Beat Tape 2…the vocals on this EP are a massive reason the project is so goodNot only does Tom kill the vocals once again, bringing the funk and sharing his soul on every track he touches – his features have this gift too. Carmody, Loyle Carner, Sam Wills, Alexa Harley, and Zak Abel have all gained a new fan today. All of these artists bring their own flair to the tracks they’re on and assist Tom in taking this EP to a different realm of Lo-Fi Funk/R&B. Carmody, for example, is described as “The Electronic Soul Queen of South London”. She and Tom pair up yet again (they’ve collaborated before) and make “Wander With Me”, a super groovy, upbeat yet soul soothing track. Then he brings Sam Wills into the mix. After some research, I discovered Sam Wills is a classically trained vocalist and pianist who takes his training and combines it with his musical influences who just happen to be Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, and D’Angelo. His feature “In The Midst of It All” is the perfect example of everything I just said. I could go on all day. But, all in all, the vocals on Beat Tape 2 are nothing short of outstanding. The vocals alone are so soulful, their messages are (at least for my life right now) pretty damn relatable. The little things like harmonies with his features and his instruments are catchy, clever and like I said earlier, take this album to a whole different realm of Lo-Fi Funk/R&B.

The Instrumentals:

I’m always down to talk about Tom Misch’s instrumentals. I can’t get over the fact that a 23-year-old dude makes all of this with little to no help. With Beat Tape 2, Tom is setting the stage for what’s to come. Not only does Tom create a story with his music, but his instrumentals are also so cohesive that I even noticed the “rough draft” guitar riffs from songs on Geography make their debut on Beat Tape 2. This EP has ridiculously smooth instrumentals. Tom’s ability to combine hip-hop drum kits, with jazz guitar/piano riffs and a whole array of other instruments is incredible. Beat Tape 2 does feature some vocal-less instrumentals too. After all, as I said in the intro, I found this EP while looking for instrumentals. Tom shows us with “The Journey”, “Falafel”, “Come Back”, “Hark” and “Home” that while he’s expanding and tuning in his vocal abilities, he can still make, and loves making flawless super funky instrumentals. Tom shreds the guitar, bringing a nice bouncy jazzy vibe to every melody. Tom’s been producing for the better half of a decade now, so he’s found his instrumental sound and absolutely rocks it every time. 

The Overall Vibes:

Universal. As I mentioned earlier, Tom is so creative he took riffs from Beat Tape 2, revised and improved them and made entire songs based off of them which became Geography. To me that puts this project, future projects, and Tom as a musician on another level. The vibes are funky, soulful, upbeat, and curated to draw the listener into this musical movie he directed. Tom is successful in this with the help of all of his features, and his ability to make outrageously funky instrumentals. 

The Essentials:

“Wander With Me”, “In the Midst of It All”, “Your Love”, Colours of Freedom”, “Beautiful Escape”

I know it’s a bold statement saying almost half the album is The Essentials, but Beat Tape 2 is something else.

The Rating:

Although it’s pre-Geography, Beat Tape 2 is an insanely cohesive and super solid album. Tom vastly improved between 2015 and 2018 as a musician, lyricist, and producer, and it’s been a pleasure going back to 2015 and reliving this album. Overall, it put me in a great mood, Tom brought the funk and for that, I give it a…


What more can I say? Tom Misch is a Lo-Fi prodigy and without a doubt one of my favorite artists. Check out Beat Tape 2 and let the vibes take you away to somewhere special. Watching the snowfall and thinking about sitting in my Jeep at the beach working on “JMax Hypetrain” was my special place today. Anything Lo-Fi is great for vibing out and letting your mind wander, so to have lyrics accompanying that is always a fun time. Anyone looking for new music, an excuse to get away for an hour, or something to dance around your living room to… I highly recommend tossing on Beat Tape 2. 

Much love!

– JMac 

Image result for tom misch

Shift Breaks – Ticker Tape

Brooklyn and Queens have always been the heart of the New York punk scene. The Ramones, The Dictators, and Blondie all found their audience and sound among the garages, basements, and dive bars of the sister boroughs. Recently, newer bands have been tearing through the scene by blending the punk roots of the area with more pop-heavy melodies and harmonies. Ticker Tape, comprised of Andrew Cunningham and Mike Salerno, is currently at the forefront of the changing punk season in New York. Their newest release, Shift Breaks, uses the punk formula and gives it a different take on the same sound.

The Vocals:

The vocals on this album remind me heavily of early Yellowcard and Joyride-era Transit. The harmonies created by Cunningham and Salerno are lush and bouncy. These harmonies tend to smooth over the lyrics of the band’s particular style of intensely detailed storytelling. The blend between the duo’s voices really gives the record a color that is both familiar and yet distinctive. “Hausman Street” shows off the interesting mixture of Andrew and Mike’s voices. Similar to Dave Grohl and Kurt Cobain’s on Nevermind, the melody lines are predictable, but that doesn’t make it any less memorable or enjoyable.

The Instrumentals:

The guitars are front and center for this release. In nearly every track, you can hear multiple layers of distorted middle voices that go nicely against the purity of Andrew and Mike’s vocals. However, these crunchy guitars can tend to bury the rhythm section. The bass work on this album is fantastic. The punchy tone is stylistically appropriate and helps to propel some of the less adventurous songs, like “Decades”.  The bass line on “Take It Back” in particular really grooves and could become a highlight of the release if it wasn’t buried behind what sounds like a wall of Fender amps with tube screamers piped in. All in all, though, the musicianship on this album is impressive, especially for an independent band with mainly local experience.

The Production:

The production on this album is intriguing. At times, Ticker Tape seems to be overproduced. The edge of their punk roots is refined by the studio, but as a listener, you tend to want certain mistakes or hiccups to get a better connection with the song. The highly-produced nature is prominent in certain tracks and assists songs, like “The Remedy”. However, other songs have a jaunty and almost unfinished nature from a production standpoint. The songs are well written, but the levels within the recordings themselves are simply off balanced. Other times the instruments are not captured in their best way. For example, one of my favorite tracks on the album, “Car Is a Mess” sees the vocal line drowned by multiple layers of guitar tracks. Also, “Meet Me in Brooklyn”, has a beautiful intro that is captured well in the studio. However, the transition almost tears the song apart. The band gets a great bounce out of the tune, but the instrumental tracks are not captured well. They either seem to muffled, like the bass line or too sharp, like the guitar lead. Overall, the listener should be able to see past the inconsistent production on this album to connect with the original sound of Ticker Tape.

The Essentials

“The Remedy/Chasing Trains” “Car Is a Mess” & “Hausman Street”

The Rating

Overall, Shift Breaks, offers a solid listen from a budding band in the NYC music scene. It is definitely a crowd pleaser for the pop-punk and punk audiences, but the album does lend itself to a larger listener basis. As a first release, there are growing pains, but nothing that hinders the release to the point of alienation. Shift Breaks, allows Ticker Tape to stay true to their roots, while also exploring their own contribution to New York’s distinct brand of punk music.


– Pete


Are You Experienced – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

For this week’s Flashback Friday I’ll continue a trend from last week, and take a look at another important three-piece band. This time we’ll be going all the way back to 1967 when the Jimi Hendrix Experience released their debut album Are You Experienced. Jimi Hendrix’s unique new approach to songwriting and electric guitar helped to establish an outline for the “Psychedelic Rock” movement, as well as inspired guitarists for generations to come. Hendrix is rightfully remembered as one of the greatest musicians of all time, but his fame often overshadows that of his bandmates, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell. Let’s take a look at their first work.

The Vocals:

Jimi Hendrix serves as lead guitarist and lead vocalist for the group. At times, while listening to what he’s singing and playing all at once, it seems like Hendrix has two brains. He’s got this big gritty voice that adds a lot of soul to each of these tracks. From harder rocking tracks like “Purple Haze” and “Hey Joe” to the soft ballad “The Wind Cries Mary”, Hendrix shows that he’s a multi-talented powerhouse. Hendrix also shows a lot of skill as a songwriter, writing ten of eleven songs on this debut work. The lyrics have been noted to contain a lot of influence from artist Bob Dylan, and if you pay close attention it’s pretty plain to see. Safe to say the vocals are rock solid on this album.

The Instrumentals:

The first thing you have to consider here is Hendrix’s guitar playing. Even today, over fifty years later, his guitar is impressive, to say the least. But for 1967 Hendrix was getting a sound out of an electric guitar that nobody imagined possible. The riffs and arrangements he puts together float around through hard rock, classic R&B, and even freestyle Jazz. It’s obvious that the guitar on this album is strong, but what I feel goes overlooked is the rhythm section made up of Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. Hendrix needs a strong rhythmic backbone to lay his sound over, and these two always deliver. If you listen close Noel Redding has to follow some crazy bass lines in order to keep Hendrix on track. Mitch Mitchell adds a lot to the psychedelic styling of the band, as his contribution sounds like distant jungle drums over each of the songs. These guys play together so well that it’s hard to believe they were put together by their studio. Very strong instrumentals on this album.

The X-Factor:

The x-factor for this album is probably the production. Production has been an integral part of creating the psychedelic rock sound that we know, from Pink Floyd to the Sargent Peppers album. Producer Chas Chandler did some really cool effects on some of these tracks. The background vocals on “Hey Joe” add a lot to an already amazing song, and “Third Rock From the Sun” is somewhat droning, but it seems like Chandler’s time to shine. Great production was a huge bonus for an already great album.

The Essentials:

“Purple Haze”, “Manic Depression”, “Hey Joe”, and “Foxey Lady”

The Rating:

This album was a landmark for rock music and would serve as a template for rock guitarists for generations to come. It’s gotta be a…


That’s all for this week, make sure to check out all the other cool stuff we’ve got going on at Colossus Music! Until next Friday.


the jimi hendrix experience

The Essentials – Johnny Cash

This week I wanna take it back not only to 2005, when The Essentials was released – but to anywhere from the year he started in 1955 until the year he died in 2003. Johnny Cash is legendary, as well as one of my grandparents’ many favorite musicians. Unfortunately for my family, but fortunately for my grandpa…my grandma passed a few days ago at the age of 84.

Originally, she’s from Whales in the UK, so naturally, she adored the Beatles. She even saw one of their first shows in America shortly after moving here from London with my grandpa. Since I’m mentally replaying memories of them, always looking for “new music” (new to me), and some of my favorite memories of them involve Johnny Cash in some way, I decided to not even rate, but just talk about how great one of their favorite musicians was. So what better way to remember their legacy, get myself into Johnny Cash, and celebrate their lives other than The Essentials?

Given this album is 34 songs, for simplicity and lengths sake I’m only gonna focus on what I believe would have been/what I know were their favorite songs or any songs that churn up memories of them dancing and singing around the living room…  

The Instrumentals:

I really hope by this point we all at least know who Johnny Cash is. Based off that I wanna start by saying even though his music ranges across decades, his sound is always constant. That forever classic, oh-so-beautiful, Dixieland meets bluegrass meets early rock n’ roll sound. Not only is it a unique sound today, but it’s also a sound that gets inside your head and just takes you back. Almost every instrumental consists of a simple array of Johnny on guitar, a rhythm guitar backing him up, a simple percussion line, maybe some horns…that’s about it. Most of his guitar parts are played in what is often referred to “boom-chuck” rhythm, so essentially within one single measure of music, the rhythm guitarist is playing the actual melody to the song while Johnny plucks along variations of every second note, creating that famous country/bluegrass sound. His percussion is always something simple, which makes a lot of sense given in early Dixieland, jazz, and country-bluegrass the drums are more of a metronome than a part of the song as a whole. All these simple bits combine into a sweet simplistic little symphony that just nestles so perfectly into your ears. It’s really hard not to bob along with Johnny’s instrumentals, and they’re a great escape from the (more often than not) cluster fuck of sounds we’re given today. It reminds me that music, no matter how simple, can still be catchy and (as we see here) historic.

The Vocals:

This is where I start to get too sentimental to keep my thoughts organized so bare with me. Johnny’s vocals have always been something else. Johnny’s topics of vocals range from women he’s lost to escaping “the ring of fire” to his stints in prison, so more often than not there’s a somewhat cheerful yet sorrowful vibe. The things this man can do with his voice are unbelievable though…Johnny will take it from the lowest bass note imaginable, up to a crazy high harmony to begin the next line. On paper, it sounds ridiculously un-impressive but audibly it’s seriously something else. You can hear the story of Johnny Cash in all of his music. His influences, where he’s been and what he’s done. He has a way of making music that transforms his music into more of a rhythmic storytelling poem than a song. Some song’s he’s straight up talking and it still registers as a fantastic song in your mind.

The reason the vocals are sentimental is that, for starters, I can distinctly hear my grandparents singing along to certain songs when they come on. The biggest reason, however, is that as I grew up I noticed that my grandma, and my grandpa too, had adopted this “Cash Style” of singing into their own lives. They were never serious singers (she was a bank teller for a while, and he was a freelance comic for some of the major NY and UK based papers), but regardless every time I heard either of them sing – whether it was Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Elvis, Welsh/Irish songs or even Hymns in Church, they always had that long, strung out, opera-esque Johnny Cash singing style in their voices. They would ALWAYS change vocal parts of any song into a Cash song, hitting all the highs and lows and keeping that vibe alive, and it always worked. They really had such special and influential singing voices. I’ll never forget their singing style.  

The Vibes:

Well, I’m ridiculously biased this week so I wanted to try and sum up the vibes more as reasons to listen to this album, instead of what I usually do – which is sum up the album as a cohesive piece.

On The Essentials, like I mentioned earlier there are 34 songs. It’s a lot to sit down and listen to the entire thing, so here are my recommendations of where to start.

  1. “I Walk the Line”**
  2. “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town”
  3. “Tennessee Flat Top Box”
  4. “Ring of Fire”**
  5. “Jackson” (ft. June Carter)
  6. “Folsom Prison Blues”**
  7. “Daddy Sang Bass”**
  8. “Girl From North Country” (ft. Bob Dylan)
  9. “Boy Named Sue”**
  10. “Man In Black”
  11. “Ghost Riders in the Sky”**
  12. “The Night Hank Williams Came to Town”**

So here’s how my little recommendation key works: Anything with an ** is a super classic, major fan favorites. All songs considered, these 12 are the most upbeat, or iconic (in solely my opinion) songs in Johnny’s arsenal. All of these songs make your head bop, feet tap, and mind race. They bring you back to an awesome time in the American Music Scene. For days when you’re feeling sad or insignificant, I suggest “Ring of Fire”, or “Girl From North County”. For an upbeat song to just put a smile on your face go for “Daddy Sang Bass”, “Boy Named Sue”, or “The Night Hank Williams Came to Town” (major shout out to my dad for introducing me to Hank Williams – also a god damn legend and if you don’t know him, check him out). For the classic Johnny Cash that you’ll know most of the words to (even though you may not know it yet) check out any song with a ** next to it. The vibes are incredible, it’s a super nostalgic change of pace. It’ll take you back to the days of Studebakers, a 5 cent hamburger, and pop, swing dances, and Danny Zuko…you can’t go wrong with The Essentials by Johnny Cash!

Final Thoughts:

My first thought is to thank you. Thank YOU, the reader – personally, for supporting me through this and giving this ridiculously special article a read. Thank you for letting me talk about the good times, and suppress the bad.

Dorothy and Des…wait, no…Nannie and Pa, your influence on my life have led me to dedicate myself to creative expression. Johnny Cash was a massive part of this. Thank you both, for partially raising me on weekends, introducing me to a plethora of amazing and legendary music, teaching me how to express my thoughts and views of this amazing and limitless world and being some of the greatest fucking humans I ever had and will ever have in my life. Your legacy will live on forever in me.

Johnny, you created something so special for not only my family and myself but for the world. It’s safe to say the sound you curated inspired legends like Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, and Patsy Cline (even though they were all kinda the same period as you, you were the first.) Johnny created a whole new type of country music that influenced an entire generation of badasses – shout out Nannie and Pa, and raised an entirely different generation of badasses – shout out Mom and Dad!

All in all, The Essentials is essential for anyone looking for a change of pace, something old-timey, or an All-American Artist. Also if you like any of the Fallout (the video game) soundtracks, I assure you Mr. Cash is right up your ally. Wanna impress any remaining grandparents you may have (or your parents if they like old school country?) listen to this album and randomly bring it up to them. Instant brownie points – you can thank me in the comments!

Again, thanks to everyone who stuck this review out. This has been ridiculously hard on me since I was the first born grandchild. It’s safe to say (not that I was their favorite or anything) but that we had a very special relationship, one that I will not only cherish until we are reunited but one that made me the young man I am today.

Endless, and infinite love and gratitude to all!

– JMac

johnny cash