hip-hop

What does a good album rollout look like today?

Most artists can’t just drop a surprise record, so Confucius and Fresh review press strategies for making a bigger album impact before discussing why the majority of blog site era rappers never made it. Hear that, an Unpopular Opinion on New Edition’s Ralph Tresvant, plus Hip-Hop Facts and the most recent headlines.

Will Austin blow up because of Rap & R&B?

In this edition, Confucius and Fresh debate what genres will continue to put Austin on the musical map before discussing why the South in general is so dominant. Get that, Hip-Hop Facts, Confucius’ reaction to the latest headlines, and an Unpopular Opinion on lyrical positivity in the latest episode.

Do Ghostwriting Allegations Hurt Drake’s Reputation?

With the big beef behind us, how do ghostwriting allegations hurt Drake’s status among the GOATs? Hear what Confucius and Fresh have to say on that, plus Jay Electronica’s prospects on being the greatest rapper that never was and an Unpopular Opinion The Alchemist’s ranking in the world of production.

Has Hip-Hop done a good job of making women feel safe?

After reacting to Apple Music’s recent “100 Best Albums” list, Pause/Play producer and co-host Miles Bloxson joins Confucius and Fresh to talk women’s safety in a genre once run by abusers. Catch that alongside Hip-Hop Facts and Confucius Reads the News, plus an Unpopular Opinion on the modern equivalent to What’s Going On? in this episode.

When Did R&B and Hip-Hop Become One?

After a quick postmortem on the Drake-Kendrick beef, Confucius and Fresh dissect how R&B crept into Hip-Hop’s sonic sector. Get that, an Unpopular Opinion around Kendrick’s de facto influence on the West Coast’s relevance, plus Hip-Hop Facts and Confucius’ reactions to the latest headlines right here.

How Important is Weed to Rap?

Over the 4/20 weekend Confucius and Fresh hash out marijuana’s impact on hip-hop, the latest shots against Drake, and why the OGs aren’t always right. Hear that along with Hip-Hop Facts and Confucius’ take on the latest headlines.

J. Cole’s Apology /  Kendrick vs. Drake

It’s a two-parter of Kendrick Lamar clashes: J. Cole’s public apology and Drake’s ongoing affronts. Hear how Confucius and Fresh feel about the beef, Hip-Hop Facts, the latest headlines, and an Unpopular Opinion on hip-hop’s “health”.

Faaris: “Taken Not Given”

As our ever-evolving hip-hop scene steadily expands, so does the representation of nations, cultures, and identities from its contributors. And for some truly refreshing cross-cultural flavors that have made their way into the ATX hip-hop melting pot, look no further than Faaris.

Brought up in a Pakistani household right here in Austin, Faaris brings a perspective not often recognized here in Central Texas. In the short time since he’s been making a name for himself (dating back to just 2021), Faaris has shown a skillful strive for variety, as heard on his 2023 LP Change of Scenery. But his standalone singles are what have propelled Faaris’ collective streaming numbers into the millions.

And this weekend we’re getting what’ll probably turn into another streaming heavyweight. Almost picking up where Britney Spears’ “Toxic” left off (sans mainstream appropriation), “Taken Not Given” puts a more authentic voice over those South Asian strings and Drum and Bass-style beat. Besides being an absolute banger, the lyrical braggadocio of “Taken Not Given” grounds itself in a clarion call for the historically conservative creatives of India and Pakistan to get with a more progressive program. And at just shy of two minutes, “Taken Not Given” begs for several repeat listens, no matter what tribe you call your own.

The Drake-Future Feud / Sex Appeal

Confucius and Fresh cover the latest rap beef before weighing the importance of sex appeal in the modern era. Hear that, Hip-Hop Facts, Confucius Reads the News, and an Unpopular Opinion on industry politics.

Riders Against the Storm: “Black Girl Payday”

As Women’s History Month comes to a close this Sunday, we assure y’all that we’ll keep featuring the countless talented women of our fair city all year ’round. But March 2024 does end with a unique spectacle this weekend, thanks to a fierce feminine force who’s already left her historic mark on Austin’s steadily diversifying music scene.

And that’s Qi Dada, one half of the husband-and-wife hip-hop duo, Riders Against the Storm, one of KUTX’s very first Studio 1A guests and some of Austin’s most influential socially conscious creators. Following a track record of promoting Black and Brown women’s voices through RAS Day Fest (currently on hiatus) and Body Rock ATX (which has found new legs at Sahara Lounge), Qi Dada’s put something together just for the ladies…well…at least lineup-wise.

That’s right, audiences of all kinds are welcome to join Qi Dada and her handpicked crew for a live concert taping and post-show ceremony – Black Divas – 6:30-8:30PM this Saturday at Austin PBS. It’s all in the name of uplifting motherhood and maternal health, aiming to raise awareness around the rise of maternal death rates in Texas and beyond, so you know your cover fee is going towards a great cause and great music. And although we wish we could spin stuff from the whole roster of performers, we also don’t want to spoil the Black girl magic ahead of the actual event. So instead we’re bending the knee to Austin’s certified queen of the hustle with an oldie-but-goodie Qi Dada solo cut from RAS’ 2021 LP Flowers For the Living. Because with empowering triplet-ripplin’ lyrics and a sassy bass-heavy beat to match, “Black Girl Payday” is the alarm you need to keep from sleeping on Black Divas this Saturday.

Kassa Overall: “Make My Way Back Home” (KUTX Live at Scholz Garten)

Shoutout to everyone who caught our Scholz Garten live series last week for SXSW, either in person or over the airwaves! But if you didn’t turn out or tune in, don’t fret; we’re taking the next few days to recap some key performances.

Starting off today with Brooklyn’s Kassa Overall. This Grammy nominee is about as expert as it gets when it comes to drumming, yet by stepping behind the mic or into the producer’s chair, Kassa’s not just sequestered to the rhythm section. After landing a real KO on last May’s ANIMALS LP, Kassa Overall came in hot last Thursday at Scholz with his sonic supercollider of jazz and hip-hop.

Starting off at 11AM, the set’s energy was a real pre-noon pick-me-up. Auxiliary percussion, keys, and pair of saxes rounded out these retro arrangements for some truly magical moments, like the band’s rendition of “Make My Way Back Home”. Let’s just hope that Kassa Overall makes their way back to Austin sooner rather than later.

SXSW Plans / The Hard Early ’00s

Find out what Confucius, Fresh, and KUTX have coming up for SXSW and decide whether or not Nelly’s first three albums came up in the “hardest’ era. And in between Hip-Hop Facts and Confucius Reads the News, feathers get ruffled with Fresh’s Unpopular Opinion around the recent wave of women in rap.

Act II: Album of the Year? / Rappers in Politics

Will Beyoncé’s upcoming Act II score the Queen her first “Album of the Year” Grammy? What role should rappers play in political discussions? And does Houston need to share more of its legacy with the rest of Texas’ hip-hop hubs? Find out what Confucius and Fresh have to say in this latest episode.

Sweet Limb: “Meditate” (feat. Norman BA$E)

No matter how talented an individual vocalist is, the addition of live instrumentation can really elevate a performance to the upper tier. Like can you imagine if Rage Against the Machine was just De La Rocha spitting over pre-recorded tracks with a DJ instead of their legendary full-band energy? Us neither.

So we’re not really going out on a limb when we say that Austin four-piece Sweet Limb has a pretty swell thing going for them. The project started off over a decade back as a solo outlet for singer/rapper Chris Robinson but really took off post-COVID when Sweet Limb branched out to include bass, drums, and keys. Thanks to Robinson’s seasoned Frank Ocean-esque verbal skills, killer grooves that fuse multiple styles, plus the intentionality of their arrangements and proven understanding of dynamics in live settings that’s gotta pull plenty of new listeners, Sweet Limb’s been getting some admirable streaming traction just from releases over the past couple months alone.

Well, just in time for a few unofficial SXSW appearances over the next week (this Sunday afternoon at LuxeArt Agency, next Monday at Coconut Club, and next Thursday at Full Circle Bar) Sweet Limb released their first full-length Thank You For Not Snitching last Friday. Clocking in at a hair under half an hour, Thank You For Not Snitching packs ten tracks of black talent you’ll wanna tell everyone about, made in collaboration with local scenesters like KUTX favorites Ben Buck, Breadcouch, and Norman BA$E, who lends his production chops to the LOW KEY EP holdover “Meditate”. Like an alternate Persona 5 composition recut to capture a jazzy, placid Austin aesthetic, “Meditate” is a great way to clear the mind going into another work week on the verge of South By.

Officially the Best Radio Show

After so many consecutive nominations, Confucius and Fresh reflect on their first ever ‘Best Radio Show’ Austin Music Award before discussing why longtime Austinites are jaded to good opportunities. And in between Hip-Hop Facts and Confucius Reads the News, Fresh dishes a particularly Unpopular Opinion on why the music industry actually doesn’t need to change.

The 2024 Grammys / Professional DMs

Confucius and Fresh recap their likes and dislikes of The Grammys and break down how to best approach them for music consideration. You’ll hear some great Hip-Hop Facts, fun takes when Confucius Reads the News, and an Unpopular Opinion about the impact of media inspired by the 2005 film Havoc.

Breadcouch: “WAIT” (feat. Ben Buck)

We’re struggling to find the exact quote, so maybe we just imagined it, but we’re pretty sure Notorious B.I.G. said something along the lines of, “Ready to Die was 10% skill and 90% the chronic”, alluding to his lauded lyricism. And while we don’t advocate for substance use as a sole source of inspiration, we do appreciate how much a quick smoke session can convince a lyricist to get comfortable and let the beat play as long as it needs. Because when an un-rushed set of free-association bars have spent enough time in the oven, they often come out hotter and fresher than your run-of-the-mill one-take freestyle.

That brings us to Austin’s Breadcouch, who’s been baking his eccentric brand of alternative hip-hop/R&B since 2020. The multi-genre fusion of Breadcouch’s boundary-less beats really lends itself to the versatility of his vocals, which switch between rapping and singing for evenly-toasted slices of bedroom soul-pop, electronica, trap, boom bap, and even indie rock, all from the same, surprisingly-cohesive loaf. And although you could sample a few brief crumbs from Breadcouch’s expansive catalogue and label his style as “wordy” or “busy”, we respect the grains of brevity that Breadcouch brings to his hooks.

Case in point: a new tune featuring fellow Austin rapper-producer Ben Buck, “WAIT”. They’ll both be performing at Hole in the Wall tonight for the Speaker Bump Social, so smoke ’em if you got ’em, and let the hazy wordplay, sativa-scented samples, blunt-ready bass, and doja-derived drums of “WAIT” whisk you through this showery Wednesday.

2024: Year of the Austin Breakthrough?

Confucius and Fresh kick this week off by weighing the odds of an Austin hip-hop/R&B artist breaking out into the national mainstream before tackling the latest from everyone’s favorite controversy-maker – Lil Nas X. Get all that, Hip-Hop Facts, an Unpopular Opinion about hip-hop’s hatred of Drake, and Confucius Reads the News in this edition.

Ranking Wu-Tang’s Solo Albums

After a quick back-and-forth about musician work ethic versus entitlement here in Austin, Confucius and Fresh honor Raekwon’s 54th birthday by ranking the first run of solo albums from Wu-Tang clan members. Hear that, Hip-Hop Facts, Fresh’s Unpopular Opinion on the state of integrity in hip-hop journalism, and the first installment of Confucius Reads the News for 2024.