Tag Archives: Milo

This Week’s Essential Releases: Punk Rock, Hip-Hop, and New Wave

7 essential

Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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Rapper Milo Doesn’t Spit Trauma Bars


Photo by Kristina Pedersen.

Milo begins his new album who told you to think??!!?!?!?! by sampling author James Baldwin’s 1962 speech, “The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity.” “It’s not your fault, it’s not my fault that I write,” Baldwin says. “I would never come before you in the position of a complainant for doing something that I must do.” Near the end of the sample, milo recites the words along with Baldwin. His voice is strained yet resolute, as if the iconic writer is slowly providing the rapper with a theme for his latest masterpiece. “Rap is how we say our truth, catalogue our culture, develop our philosophies,” milo says. “This is my definition of rap. And James Baldwin said it a long time ago.”

Baldwin’s influence on milo is profound; the album at large is a direct response to fans who say his music is “pretentious.” Milo believes hip-hop artists must speak a collective truth, and who told you hones in hard on that idea, encouraging listeners to join him.

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No More Drama For Nocando


Photo by Adam Stanzack.

James “Nocando” McCall seems happy. When we caught up with the underground staple in his Los Angeles home, positive spirits abound, which might seem odd considering that his new record, Severed, delves into the pain he’s faced over the past few years. He’s seen his marriage fall apart and his Hellfyre Club crew disband. Severed is a direct reflection of these events. McCall put these songs away for a few years after the initial recording sessions, only to be reminded of their existence during a wedding he attended last year—love can still withstand, after all. The place he’s in now is far from the man he was then. “It’d be dangerous for [those songs] to come out at that time,” McCall tells us. “It would have been wasted. I would have been heartbroken and angry.”

His decision to hold the music is remarkably level-headed, given the pain associated with it and how all-encompassing it can feel at the time. McCall is now in a better place, and Severed is a diary of incredibly dark times. We spoke with the MC about balancing art and commerce, making music for the underground, and his early days as an all-world battle rapper.

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Song Premiere: Blu and Fa†e Share Spacey Hip-Hop Collab

From the left: L.A. rapper Blu, and producer Fa†e. Photo by Mish Khalil.

Though it has many aspects, “Oblivia” is, most of all, a cypher on which underground rap veteran Blu takes a moment to just rap. The song—a spacey collab featuring Milo and Open Mike Eagle—is the latest single from Open Your Optics To Optimism, a collaborative EP between Blu and rising producer Fa†e. The project stems from years of work between the two; the first being on Fa†e’s slept-on (and damn good) debut album, 2013’s The Night Bus Home.

That track and subsequent team-ups laid the groundwork for OYOTO, a project that arrives September 28 via rap blog-turned-indie label EveryDejaVu. On its own, “Oblivia” is all sweeping production and razor-sharp lyricism, but it’s also a meeting of the minds—some of rap’s greatest minds, for that matter. Brothers-in-art-rap Milo and Eagle show up to kick knowledge atop a spacious beat, anchored by its swirling vocal samples and slapping drums.

Not surprisingly, the rappers deliver verses you need to play multiple times to fully understand. And Blu, a wildly popular L.A. rapper, punctuates the track with well-intentioned bravado. When he’s not high-fiving the L.A. skyline and carefully placing condoms in his utility belt, the lyricist finds time to tear down walls and knock Superman out of his kicks. What does this all mean? Who knows. That’s why we spoke with Blu and Fa†e about it.

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