Record Radar: The rapper takes on the production-perfect soul singer

MOVE columnist Kennedy Simone reviews new EP releases from rapper Marty and duo Blended Babies with Anderson .Paak.

By Kennedy Simone | Oct. 8, 2015

Tags: Music Reviews

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You know what’s great about music? It’s one of the best examples of multi-dimensional and fused art, if demonstrated by the right artist. With that being said, it’s ironic how the music industry and many so-called “music enthusiasts” try to box in artists and musicians with strict labels, as if the art of music wasn’t built on the principle of using influences and experimentation. Let’s use rapper Marty to illustrate this fault. An underground rapper from Miami, he’s often strictly labelled by many as a Christian rapper.

I listened to his new EP “Marty For President” for 15 minutes and had no idea he was considered a Christian rapper until I pulled up his Wikipedia page.

“Marty For President” is a spark of hope in the music industry. With the EP, the rapper touches on a myriad of subject matters, like his inability to ever be on mainstream radio due to his spiritual lyrics and wanting to stay true to his character despite the naysayers.

The song that forced me to give Marty my undivided attention was “The One with My Friends.” This is the track where Marty mixes his signature genuity with gritty and grisly depth. Over a dauntingly bass-heavy beat, the lyricist gives a shout out to his haters and admits the perils of being a rapper who professes his faith with his line, “I got some people that write me like, ‘I wish you’d die like ya mama did.’” These type of gutsy confessions make Marty the type of rapper who you not only hear, but also actually listen to.

The EP’s not all dark matter, though. On “The One Where She Stayed,” Marty raps about being in love and “awkward and weird together” with his girl over ’90s synths keys and drum beats. Its quirky honesty makes it an absolute must-listen from the EP.

Need something slower? Allow me to introduce you to “The Anderson .Paak EP” by Blended Babies. The Chicago-based production duo collaborates with the groovy Cali singer and drummer Anderson .Paak to create a work so fervently finessed that I won’t hesitate to call it one of the best works I’ve listened to in a long time. If you’re a fan of neo-soul singers like SZA and Isaiah Rashad, you’re definitely in for a treat.

This EP has that early 2000s R&B soul that makes sweet memories worth reminiscing. Don’t believe me? Listen to the track “Make It Work” featuring Asher Roth (yes, the “I Love College” guy) and Donnie Trumpet, and you know it’s no argument. Paak’s honey-smooth vocals combined with Roth’s nonchalant flow, featuring memorable lines like, “Let’s roll this weed/Turn our free time to you and me time,” make this a definite EP highlight.

This EP only consists of four tracks, but there’s so much to love. “Drifter II” is where Paak puts his East Coast swag to great use. With a gentle guitar melody and the poetic hook, “Baby, a drifter is all I can be/but you won’t stop me from floating upstream,” Paak puts the finishing touches onto the perfect song to breeze through those wonderfully lazy days.

I don’t want to choose a Record Radar winner for this week, but I will.

I’m giving the title to Blended Babies’ “The Anderson .Paak EP.” I don’t say this often, so don’t take this lightly: This EP is perfect. This is the type of music that makes it onto one of those “Best of…” lists and eventually becomes a lifetime favorite. And Marty? He’s on the road to making the kind of music that makes it to the top of those lists. Until that day comes, best believe I’ll be listening to these albums on repeat, because they’re both absolutely amazing.

Bonus Play:

Song: Haunted Paradise Artist: Black Atlass

“You know I want forever”

It’s uncommon for a single line in a song to have the ability to break you, but Black Atlass beats the odds with this heartfelt electronic track. Flawlessly sung over a coasting and enchanting guitar melody, the young Canadian singer and producer pieces together a song so atmospheric, it’s hard not to get lost in his lyrics. This is the type of song that more well-seasoned musicians twice his age have yet to accomplish. Black Atlass is young, mysterious and talented. He’s also my new favorite artist. Listen to this new release and he’ll probably become yours, too.

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