In the new episode of XXL’s Hip-Hop Moments of Clarity podcast, XXL’s Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten, Executive Editor John Kennedy, hip-hop entrepreneur Rahman Dukes and veteran hip-hop journalist Shaheem Reid discuss who’s the better producer between Dr. Dre and Kanye West, Nipsey Hussle’s legacy, Offset’s phone being hacked and more.
Happy #TBT & Thanksgiving! The New Orleans native Los Angeles living rap artist Kara Juélz debuts her first video from her 1990’s Female Edition #TBTMixtape. Kara raps on Erykah Badu’s classic hit “On & On” discussing an inevitable day in the life of an everyday female who grants a guy “the goods” way too soon. Watch as the video entertains to illustrate the plot of the song and leaves the viewer anticipating more at the end!
2. CHURCH GIRLS
3. NEW DAY ft LUCK ONE
4. FAMILY AFFAIR ft Grynch & Spac3man
6. TAKE YOUR TIME (additional trumpet by Farnell Newton)
7. WHAT UP
8. ABOUT YOU (additional cello by Chloe Victoria Cerva) x BIRTHDAY SONG 9. GOOD RIDDANCE ft Co$$ (additional bass by DJ Flip Flop)
All songs written, recorded, and produced by TOPE for itsTOPE (ASCAP)
Mixed and Mastered by DJ Flip Flop for Studio 22 (Los Angeles, CA)
All cuts by DJ Celsius
Photos by Mike Grippi
Artwork by Noah Porter
“At age 27, Portland MC Tope has become an old hand in the Portland, Or hip-hop scene. His career stretches back almost a decade, but this year, he seems to be hitting his stride. His new EP, Trouble Man, is a heartfelt snapshot of where he’s at now, musically and emotionally.
Lyrically, the record is steeped in nostalgia. Tope has always been somewhat of a romantic, crafting love songs that walk the line between sincerity and smooth talk. He spits pick-up lines at girls in coffee shops on “Church Girls” and bickers with his girlfriend for smoking his weed on “Stuck.” Elsewhere, he takes a more serious tone, addressing the death of his grandfather and mother as well as his rocky relationship with his father on “About You” and “Birthday Song,” respectively. His personal insights are brief and to the point, but they’re refreshing on an album that is mostly devoted to life’s good times. But the most captivating aspect of Trouble Man is the production. Tope really has come into his own as a beatmaker, chopping samples so they coo and hum at just the right moments. “Start” blends chopped guitar lines, sped-up vocals and splashy drums to create a breezy tune built for the sound system of a vintage car. He gets smoother on “Take Your Time,” which samples Erykah Badu and features live instrumentation from trumpeter Farnell Newton. He even wanders into pop territory, turning Cheryl Lynn’s “Got to Be Real” into a party jam on “Family Affair.” Trouble Man is a display of Tope’s versatility, not just behind the mic, but behind the boards as well.”