Earth Tiger creates songs that swirl together the electrifying textures of hip-hop, big pop, rock and electro dance music into a brand-new sound. Masterminded by artists Cruz Mathews and Tom Taylor, the group spins out clever lyrics, infectious hooks and energetic, inventive grooves that intertwine with bold bass and playful synth layers.
Earth Tiger was dreamed up around a campfire on Christmas Eve in New Zealand, when friends Cruz Mathews, a songwriter fresh out of the Gold-selling New Zealand group Kidz In Space and Tom Taylor, decided to turn their shared passion for ‘90s and ‘00s hip hop into an musical collaboration.
Their debut album titled Holiday has arrived just in time for summer and has already seen their single Lucky ones added to Flavor and ZM playlists.
The songs on the album are masterfully crafted with spacious sound scape's that utilise sparse, bass heavy beats. Each instrument occupies its own space in the sonic frequency spectrum giving Earth Tiger a very clean sound and to my ears a tell tale sign of skilled and experienced producers.
Cruz Matthews is from Hip Hop group Kidz in Space and you can hear the similarities in the songwriting. The style of rap is modern with trap influences, occasional low pitched vocals, pre trap triplet flows reminiscent of Flow Rider, a swag in the vocals reminiscent of LMFAO and a foe American accent. If I could be so bold I would describe it as Hipster Hop.
The lyrics are often gritty and raw which helps to balance the overtly pop orientated formula of the songs and keeps the music in the Hip Hop genre while really making the most out of their accessible radio friendly sound. I think these guys understand whats expected of them from Move The Crowd Records, Warner Music and "radio land" and are going to hit a bulls eye with radio listeners. This is a rare quality indeed and no doubt was knowledge that was hard earned.
Over all this album is a great listen and kept my mind ticking away as I listened to its intricacies in the music and lyrics. I really liked Kidz In Space and although Kidz In Space probably appealed to the more rugged Hip Hop heads. I think this album is set to hit a wider audience and a more lucrative market for Earth Tiger.
Check out their music video Lucky ones which might just be your new summer Jam for 2017.
Dilz is a rapper from New Zealand with a fresh voice on hip-hop. Working endlessly on collaborations and mixtapes from the start of his career as an amateur rapper, Dilz has grown into a professional ready to break his way into the forefront of underground hip-hop.
Dilz has 2 new projects to ad to his repertoire, his EP 'Three And A Half Seas' and his new mixtape 'Reconstruction'.
'Three and A Half Seas' sees Dilz team up with american rappers 'Kongo Madstak', 'Mr 200' and 'JSapp'. The first song on the EP after the intro is 'The Rill-Ist' a cliche Trap song about being real and getting money with a typical Trap flow with simple repetitive chants and syllables broken into triplets. The EP continues in the same vein with songs about hustling and living large never straying too far from the stereotypical. It sounds like Dilz has bought beats from Madstak studios with hooks and verses included with some space for him to spit. The production is great and Madstak, JSapp and Mr 200 have that deep Afro American voice that compliments rap so well. But Dilz has the fresh lyrics and flow. In my opinion showing up Madstak, Mr 200 and JSapp's played out Lyrics. Although Dilz has the thin white boy tone to his voice his penmanship is a lot more interesting than his american counterparts.
There's things that Madstak studio do very well on this EP though and that's production with huge beats and rappers with fantastic sounding voices. Kongo Madstaks flow is simple and hard hitting and his hooks are strong but his lyrics show little original thought. The accents and tone of Kiwi rapper Dilz and USA Kongo Madstak and guests don't really play well together in my opinion and they sound like unlikely bed fellows. For a small town white boy from Foxton NZ to team up with "'real G's'' from the states is no doubt a dream come true for Dilz and If anything this EP is a testament to Dilz giant ambitions. But these are two very different worlds colliding and Dilz sounds a little out of place in these songs. Never the less the quality of the work is far superior than most releases from underground NZ rappers and If you like your Hip-Hop formulaic and contemporary you might very well enjoy Three And A Half Seas by Dilz and Kongo.
On the other hand Dilz new Mixtape 'Reconstruction' which Is a sequel mixtape to his 2013 mixtape 'Renovation' is a little more suited to Dilz particular set of skills which Is conscious Hip-Hop with meaningful lyrics and descriptive rhyme and story telling. With 'Ill Lies of Foxton' telling a haunting tale of domestic violence.
His version of the Trap hit 'Panda' which is a tongue in cheek remake of the popular tune, sees Dilz showing us how it could be done with fast technical flows instead of the almost laughable mumbling rubbish vocals of the original. 'My Love' is a sweet love song with impressive 'Twista' like flows and the lyrics to 'Dilz Time' rips in to corny USA whiteboy rapper 'Slim Jesus' over his famous song 'Drill Time'. He also does a version of Australian rapper '360's' 'Hecktickist'. The last track on the Album 'Stan' is a remake of the famous song by 'Eminem' with a kiwi girl singing 'Didos' part and Dilz singing about his rapping inspirations. The mixtape format lets Dilz shine and as usual Dilz goes hard with his impressive rapping abilities.
Its only half way through the year and Dilz has released 3 projects all ready. Dilz obviously eats sleeps and breathes Hip-Hop and must spend a huge amount of time working on his craft to be such a prolific artist.
So check out Dilz EP 'Three And A Half Seas' and Dilz mixtape 'Reconstruction' on Bandcamp.
Dillon Lamb aka 'Dilz' is a young rapper from Foxton who has released a new mixtape called 'Scrapbook'. This isn't Dilz first mixtape his Bandcamp discography shows several mixtapes dating back to 2013. In 2013 he released 3 mixtapes alone which shows he's putting in the hard yards and coming out the gate full steam. He seems to have taken a step back for most of 2014 and 2015 (probably to create new material) but his first offering for 2016 Scrapbook showcases Dilz immense talent not only as a rapper but as a musician.
Scrapbook is 13 tracks of medium paced Hip-Hop in which Dilz displays a competent flow and a pretty decent singing voice. Dilz has a great ear for hooks and melody and Scrapbook is full of great songs. I thought the album could have used a professional mix and master but the quality is still decent.
Usually when I think of mixtapes I think of rappers taking popular songs and rapping over them. I didn't recognize any of the samples used in 'Scrapbook' although the samples chosen like the female vocal hook in the opening track 'Losing my mind' are catchy and creatively put together. In saying that I think you could consider this a full length album rather than a typical mixtape.
Dilz raps about his life. His frustrations he has about being trapped in a small town, his love for his girlfriend and the struggle a Hip-Hop artist has getting recognition in a never ending ocean of rappers and competition. Dilz speaks from the heart and I could feel myself relating to his story. In a lot of ways his story is my story and maybe your story too. I like this approach to Hip-Hop lyrics and is a device successfully used by huge international rappers like Eminem and other artists like Kiwi rapper Tom Scott. Here's an example from Dilz 'Losing my mind'. " 'Heal the wounds' made it big and they say it really helped, but I’ve got a hundred other songs that took my time and effort, though my closest friends can’t even find the time to check it, I’m feeling like my hope is gone, got a girl I love and it’s her that I’ll focus on, working on a farm filled with pigs it’s ironic though, as working with the police is the route that I wanna go, but I promise that I’ll grab the pen and finish what I started if I get the urge to rap again"
I also related to his song 'Hometown' which is about feeling trapped in a small town. I know I relate to that and has got to be a subject many in this tiny country of ours have experienced. Check out the music video for 'Hometown'.
Check out Dilz music on Bandcamp.
The Boombox Eulogy is a hip hop production collective made up of Simon Townsend, Kriston Batistic and Josh Harvey.
Crates and Collabs is a 6 track E.P of Jazzy boom bap with a real nice local flavour. The album reminds me of nights at Khuja Lounge on Queen Street 10 years ago. Not saying their sound is outdated but the crew have found their sweet spott with their style of 90's inspired loungy, Jazz infused Boom Bap and are creating some superb music with it. MC Simba Diallo is the voice behind the crew. Simba an inspired lyrisist, brings some great performance heat to the project, lending the songs insight and swagger.
Hazy Nights wins the "Hugest Hook" award with its Gang Vocals, Jazzy Motifs and swung out Hip Hop groove.
The song Born from a boombox reminded me of the hit song Groove is in the heart by swinging psychadelic freakazoidz Deee Lite with a similar Jazzy upbeat Hip-Hop energy and is the song that I could see myself freaking out on the dance floor to on a Friday night.
The songs Back to The Streets and Breathe bring a low down and dirty Gangster feel to the project, painting a picture of the streets, holding it down for the true heads out there. Although I thought Breathe had a bit of trouble with the mix and that odd timed sample kind of through me off a bit.
The whole album flows well and maintains it's upbeat atmosphere and your attention for a good 30 mins of jazzy dopeness.
I really enjoyed this album and I could picture it finding a home in hipster cafes on K Road and maybe your car stereo. It's definitely the kind of band you want to see live. The album accurately captures the huge energy coming from this talented collective and this project would be a happy companion to any respectable playlist.
Get your copy from Bandcamp now!
With a husky rapping voice reminiscent of 'The God Father' Louie Knuxx latest offering Tiny Warm Hearts is a collection of introspective and mellow songs mainly about relationships. I could describe them as love songs but I think that would be a stretch. Louie Knuxx keeps the raps slow paced and simplistic and the vibe of the whole album is rather low key. The album has a handful of collaborator's who lend the project a Polynesian flavor. The instrumentation has a strong Trap influence made apparent by the tempo synths and snare rolls. In moments like the chorus of Mercury Plaza the album also has a slight Indie vibe.
Someone covered from head to toe in tattoos has to maintain his tough guy image so probably isn't going to get too soppy with his "love songs" so initially there's not too much warmth in the lyrics of Tiny Warm Hearts until you get to the title track which is quite a touching and a true emotional "Love Song". There are definitely hints at a deeper emotional undercurrent in the rest of the album that become apparent on further listens.
The songs are well structured and nicely produced and the album flows quite well in pace and tempo. It's definitely more of a contemplative mood than a party album. Louie keeps his sound current with the Trap of YARP and the opening track Body would fit quite well on commercial radio.
On first listen I found it hard to get past the gangster-esk Americanised posturing present in Louie's voice, delivery and lyrics, which is how I often feel with NZ rappers. But once I got over myself, I began appreciating the album.
Louie Knuxx has been working on his craft for a considerable time and this is the second album he's released in the last couple of years. Tiny Warm Hearts reflects artistic mastery and is the kind of album that allows you to peel back layers of depth the more you listen to it.
Formed in 1993, and hailing from Orakei, East Auckland, Patriarch, Nemesis and DJCXL are the legendary trio Ill Semantics.
After a 9 year hiatus Ill Semantics have released their third full length album Trillogy. The 20 plus years they've been developing their unique Kiwi Hip-Hop sound has really paid off. Culminating in an energetic album which is an aggressive, commercially viable and immaculately produced masterpiece.
Trillogy – a play on the phrase “trill” meaning both “true” and “real” features a barrage of guests veteran MC’s and rising stars, including Scribe, Mareko, K.One, Sikeone (The Doqument), Tyna, J.B, Nikki Montana, Madis, KD (Lost Tribe) Giant Killa, Sir T, Ashely Hughes, Flows (Foot Souljahs) and more.
This album is tasty, no doubt about it. Containing world class production and song writing with a distinct New Zealand sound that only a few NZ groups actually pull off well. The thing I notice is the blend of aggressive bars and commercial appeal, artfully balanced to entice a wide spectrum of the Hip-Hop community.
The first single from the album, Musik is a feel good song all about the love that one has for music and how music can be the one thing that keeps many people strong and blessed. Musik features the soulful vocals of Grace Ikenasio, a top 10 finalist in X Factor NZ season one, as well as veteran MC K.D (Kilo Delta), from pioneering Hip-Hop group The Lost Tribe.
The album contains 16 tracks that fit seamlessly together to give a high octane, energetic experience with immaculate rap flows and hooky choruses.
Ill Semantics have definitely put their best foot forward with this masterful offering which in my opinion is an instant New Zealand Hip-Hop classic.
Check out the music video for Musik by Ill Semantics.
Rising is the latest full length album from B2KDA Sound Machine. In a career spanning 12 years this interesting group of dedicated musicians from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities have travelled the world playing their brand of high energy fusion music.
I've known about B2KDA for some time but I never connected with their music because of their strong Latin influences. Latin music is alien to me and I've always found it too "fruity" to be taken seriously.
But in this latest offering they have refocused their aim and in my opinion hit a direct bulls eye. I would even go as far as to say that Rising is a master piece.
On this album B2KDA have found a brilliant balance between complicated rhythmic and melodic virtuosity and simplistic catchy song writing. This is very difficult to accomplish and these two musical approaches are seldom seen together these days, but B2KDA have found a formula where the two co- exist in exquisite harmony.
I was hearing similarities to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Salmonella Dub, Six60, Fat Freddy's Drop, Kora, Jimi Hendrix, No Doubt, Santana, and elements of Pacific Urban/Hip Hop to culminate into what I can only describe as kick ass summer festival music.
B2KDA hit you with great song after great song on their new album. I listen to a lot of new music and review a lot of artists but seldom feel the level of inspiration I'm currently feeling from listening to Rising. I'm feeling the singer who reminds me a little bit of Tiki Tane but without the faux Jamaican accent. There's nothing fancy about his singing voice but he connects to the listener and I find his vibe relatable. The dude has a descent rap flow too. A solid all rounder.
I found it quite funny that the last song on the album is the B2KDA Sound Machine I remember from the past, with the fast paced Latin music in a language I don’t speak. Almost as If they knew what I was thinking and put it in as a cheeky "Stuff You"
This music is too good to be ignored and I think B2KDA are going to do great things with this latest offering. The whole album is full of hits in my opinion. So I hope to be hearing these songs all over the radio in New Zealand. And If NZ radio is dumb enough to pass them over I have a strong feeling the rest of the world will be all over Rising by B2KDA Sound Machine.
Rising is available from all major online music stores. check it out you wont be disappointed.
Check out 'Same Old' by B2KDA Sound Machine.
Who is Reubz as a Hip-Hop artist?
I use Hip-Hop as an art of pure expression. Hip-Hop is a gateway where I can freely experiment with sound, lyrics and image and that is why I became hooked on it. I like to see myself as a creator over musician, I find the term ‘musician’ very limiting. Pretty much as an artist, I want to be someone who inspires others. Through Hip-Hop, I want to give something back to the world just like my idols gave to me.
When did you start and what inspired you to make music?
Michael Jackson was the catalyst for my love of music. To me, he is the definition of life. It wasn't really just his music.. it was everything. The dancing, the videos, the messages.. Everything he stood for influenced me and I began to experiment with creating my own sounds. I found a strong passion for writing lyrics, but I sucked at singing, it just didn't feel natural. I caught onto Hip-Hop when I was about 16 and became obsessed. I watched Nas, Kanye and Jay Z and these were just the coolest guys I had ever seen. I realized that rap was all about lyrics and image, so experimented with creating my own and for the first time I felt like I found something I wanted to do in my life. Since then I have been constantly studying the rap greats, their techniques, backgrounds, everything. I have a lot to learn but feel that I have got to a point where I can start to put my stuff out there.
How would you describe your music in one sentence?
What sets you apart from other acts/groups?
When I started out, I have to admit I mimicked a lot of my idols. But as I grew I came to discover my own sounds and beliefs, so I think just the fact that my music is a reflection of who I am is what sets my art apart from other acts.
Which one of your songs are you most proud of, and why?
Hmmm.. “Gold” was the first rap I ever wrote so I´m proud of that and the message I put behind it, but I have a track I´m working on at the moment which is one I have sampled and produced called “lost boy” and I think this one will be my best yet, so you’ll have to wait and see ;)
Where do you come from or what part of NZ do you represent?
Born and raised in Wellington & currently flatting with two girls (dreams do come true haha) in Newtown ;)
Do you produce your own beats or do you use any particular beat maker?
I am starting to produce my own beats through sampling real old school R&B songs, trying to use traditional methods over the new computer generated beats. There are two really cool producers Ive found on soundcloud named Kev Brown & Lord slick though and I may use some of their instrumentals for future raps.
Whats your favorite and least favorite thing about Hip-Hop culture?
My favorite thing about Hip-Hop culture is that it teaches you to be proud of who you are. It give you strength, confidence & drive. My least favorite thing is lack of originality as a lot of rappers rap about the same thing, so it is really nice when you find something fresh and unique.
Tell us about your latest release.
My latest release is the official music video for my track “gold”. Im trying to build up a name so check It out :)
What advice would you like to give to other aspiring rappers/producers?
Turn dreams into reality, take risks, experiment, put your stuff out there and most importantly find your unique sound.
What can we expect to see from you over the next year?
I am currently working on a 5 track mixtape called “Class of 94”. Ill be publishing it on Datpiff in around 3 weeks time so stay tuned till then. Im also working on a second music video which should be released within the next month.
Check out Reubz brand new video for his song Gold.
The Arcee L.P is the full length debut release from female rapper Rona Wignall aka Arcee. She describes her style as ''hiptronic'' - a mix of hip-hop and electronica and her album will be launched with a party at Fuel bar in Dunedin on Friday the 14th of August 2015.
The Arcee L.P is a follow up to her 2014 release The Cool Zone E.P and among new music contains all the songs from her E.P including the hot singles and videos Fake Bitch and Go Hard.
2015 has seen a new batch of singles added to the mix to make up the full length L.P including the insanely catchy Pepsi and her single Rebound.
Rebound is a jazzy little number that carries the distinction of being picked out by a panel of industry experts for NZ On Air funding.
The L.P is produced by Darryl Matthew Suasua (Daz on the night shift at Flava) and he’s done an impressive job.
Arcee who was born in Manchester takes inspiration from her Mancunian roots, the soul and style of Wellington, and the down and dirty "scarfie" sound to help mould her style. But It's Arcee's songwriting, pop sensibilities and hooky choruses that make her stand out from the bland and predictable and compliments Suasua's ultra contemporary beat making and production.
I've observed Arcee putting in the hard yards to build a solid fan base for her album debut. She's taken the time to build buzz and anticipation, stretching the release of the album's singles over a couple of years. This appears to have kept her busy with putting on video release parties and events to get her name out there. She's also been involved in battle rap events pitting her skills against other local rappers and has made a name for herself for being a pretty good Keyboard player as well.
Her image is refreshing, I would describe her as a classic "Tom Boy". She's being herself, not over relying on sex appeal like a lot of female artists, but relying more on her talent as a musician and rapper. She seems to have a down to earth "This is who I am" "take me or leave me" vibe about her which I, like many, find endearing and relateable.
With songs like Pepsi and Go Hard, that are made for the dance floor, this album has a really nice party vibe and more than a dash of "girl power'' and is an album I could picture the ladies playing up loud while getting ready for a night on the town.
I really think Arcee and all that contributed to the making of this album have done themselves proud.
You definitely need to get some Arcee in your life.
Check out Pepsi off of The Arcee L.P