Trap Manny "In Trap We Trust"

With the weather finally starting to turn, summer releases are starting to heat up.

Lil Nas X has returned with what very well could be his next hit song, and T-Swift once again released another rework from her "Vault." For the soulful and the rap heads, Rod Wave returned with a new album today, along with Gallant and serpentwithfeet, the latter of which is the talk of the town today.

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Music Lists

Who Is EST Gee? – 6 Essential Songs

Yo Gotti announced this morning that he signed Louisville emcee to his label, CMG Records.


Yo Gotti announced this morning that he signed Louisville emcee EST Gee to his label, CMG Records.

The announcement came after EST Gee released his stunning debut effort, I Still Don't Feel Nun, back in December. The project's feature list – with guest appearances from Moneybagg Yo, Jack Harlow, Kevin Gates, and CMG's own Yo Gotti among others – ushered in EST as a powerful new voice in trap music. "I know a star and hustler when I see one, and EST Gee is up next," Gotti said of the signing. "He got what it takes."

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Tianda - My God (Audio Only)

Canadian singer-songwriter Tianda introduces "My God," a track that searches for respite from guilt.

Tianda explains, "'My God' is a self-portrait. It's all of the things I couldn't say when I was younger because I didn't understand them yet. The hook of 'they won't let me go' repeating over and over captures the feeling of being held captive by thoughts you don't understand and can't control." Tianda's evocative multi-hued voice glides over a dark pop melody in this haunting new song.

Follow Tianda Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify


Cardi B's "Press" Video Implies That Her Felony Charges Were a Publicity Stunt

Was Cardi B's 2018 assault a meticulously preplanned publicity stunt?

Cardi B

David Fisher/Shutterstock

On Friday, June 21, Cardi B entered a courtroom.

She wore a black pantsuit with pink lapels and high heels; her gleaming hair fell around her face in straight lines. She proceeded to plead not guilty to felony charges that stemmed from a 2018 fight in a strip club in Queens.

Five days later, she dropped the video for her song "Press," which also finds her in a courtroom. Dressed in a white suit with an extravagant neck ruff, she delivers the kind of searing verses that made her famous while a white man screams at her—until he starts bleeding from the neck. Carnage ensues.

Cardi B - Press [Official Music Video]

Though the line between Cardi B's life and her art has always been blurred, the "Press" video erases that division entirely. The fact that the video so clearly parallels real events—along with the fact that Cardi refused to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge that would've almost certainly gotten her no jail time—raises the question: Was Cardi B's decision to refuse to plead guilty just a publicity stunt?

After all, even the fact that news of Cardi B's felony charge and court date broke in the same week as this video's release hints at some sort of premeditation. Even more suspicious: The assault in question was apparently preplanned as well. According to her felony indictment, "The defendant used social media accounts to communicate and coordinate the date, time, location, and target of a planned assault. Tawana Jackson-Motel and Belcalis Almanzar discussed payment of money in exchange for the commission for a planned assault. Jeffrey Bush prepared to video record the assault." In light of this, if convicted, Cardi faces up to 4 years in prison. It seems like all this might be a kind of experimental art piece, or maybe one of the more complicated and risky marketing campaigns in recent memory.

Cardi B Surrenders to Police in Strip Club

All this makes for a lot of media coverage, which is exactly what the ever-antagonistic Cardi B shouts that she doesn't need in "Press." The video finds its star completely in charge, declaring that she doesn't need any press or anyone at all to back her up as she ascends to the top.

Regardless of its messages, the video is a powerful visual counterpart to an already fantastic song. It's clearly designed to raise eyebrows: Beginning with a woman-on-woman kiss, featuring literally the maximum amount of nudity as YouTube's censors will allow, punctuated by gunshots, and bloodstained from beginning to end, it's a slideshow of Hollywood's most eye-catching pleasures but with a twist. For once, it's a woman pulling the trigger.

Like much of Cardi B's career, her new video and the possible publicity stunt surrounding its release are simultaneously empowering and destructive, magnetic and also undeniably messy. "Press" is full of mixed messages. She kills the white lawyers and jury who spew silent words of rage at her, which could be a pointed jab at the racial bias that leads to the mass incarceration of people of color; but later in the video, she seems to kill all the female dancers around her, backtracking on any themes of solidarity. In the end, there's only one clear point: This is all about the cult of Cardi B.

In some ways, Cardi acts as a kind of Lilith figure in the video—Lilith being the most notorious demon in Judaism. As the story goes, Lilith was Adam's first wife in the garden of Eden, but after refusing to submit to her husband's sexual requests, she wound up fleeing and embarking on a murderous rampage. In modern times, Lilith has been reclaimed as a feminist icon, an embodiment of the aggressive sexuality, freedom, and unassailable dominance that women are rarely given the tools to manifest, but which comprise the legacies of most of history's so-called "great men."

Like Lilith, Cardi B abdicates her role within the system and fights fire with fire in "Press." In that spirit, her possibly preplanned arrest may be a f**k-you to the criminal justice system, to white male-led hegemonies, and to the media at large. But it's not an ode to politically correct liberals, either, not exactly a feminist anthem. Ultimately, it's a battle cry, a declaration of independence at a distorted and violent moment in American history The point is clear: Cardi B isn't going to stop wreaking havoc, and we're not going to stop watching.


Justin Love Talks New Music and Gifts From God

Oscar nominated R&B singer shares stories of personal struggle and growth in new music video.

Singer-songwriter and producer Justin Love continues to combine the hard-hitting elements of trap and hip-hop with the smooth and vulnerable themes of R&B Soul.

Most recently, in his moody video for his single "Bad Mind." The Cliffside Park, New Jersey native has been praised by the likes of notable musicians and producers like Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys, Jermaine Dupri and more. Along with Justin's quick rise to fame, he has excelled in co-writing for many of the world's top acts, including the 2016 smash hit "Focus" by H.E.R.

Love opened up to PopDust about his journey as a musician, his artistic vision, and how God had a hand in getting him together to work with H.E.R.:

What was the creative process like for the "Runaway" and "Bad Mind" music videos? Was there a specific story you wanted to tell with each of these visuals?

So as an artist, we like to really tap into our personal and emotional side. In "Runway," I really wanted to make a point that I was running away from all the negativity in my life and towards a better, happier place, whether that be getting away from toxic people or getting away from a toxic environment. I'm from New Jersey and about a year ago I moved to Los Angeles and "Runaway" pretty much sums that experience up. I really wanted to make a point in the visual that I was in a dark place and that I'm just moving on to bigger and better things.

What was it like to work with producer Shy Boogs on "Runaway?"

So Shy and I work together every so often and every time we work together we work very fast. We just kinda tap into whatever experience we're feeling. He just started making a beat, and as he was making the beat, it was kinda screaming the melody. It felt very true and I wanted to stay true to who I am personally and I wanted to give something to my fans that felt personal.

Was the creative process for "Bad Mind" different or similar to your experience with "Runaway?"

I feel like "Bad Mind" and "Runaway" were both pretty similar when it came to tapping into a more personal experience. As I made "Bad Mind" I was going through a very recent breakup and I truly felt that the girl was just in her "bad mind." She was doing things that she wouldn't normally do and it really inspired the whole song and the visual. In the video, you can see that she ends up talking to someone else and we get into a little fight and I feel like there was a lot more that I went through personally but I kept it simple and to the point as far as visuals go. I was just really excited to work with Ronald Reid! I had been dying to work with him and he was the one that directed the whole video. I was just so excited to see what he could add to the picture.

That's awesome! How did y'all meet each other?

He was actually working with a couple of people that I had worked with before, like Justina Valentine and IV.JAY. After looking at their visuals I was like, "Damn, we definitely have to work together." I did reach out to him via social media on Instagram and we just kept in touch ever since.

How does it feel to go from performing in malls in New Jersey and becoming a local celebrity, to making that big move to LA and taking on a much larger audience and scene?

So it was definitely a big change, but I love the challenge. The challenge of having to make it all over again is just a thrill. I get a thrill out of working. I work really hard. In the space where I was at, I didn't see much happening further than what I was already doing, so I felt like I had to make a name for myself elsewhere. That's where I'm at right now and where I've been at for a while. It's taking some time, but I'm getting a kick out of the ride itself.

What have been some of the struggles and successes that you've experienced while trying to make a name for yourself in a new environment?

Definitely meeting new people. When you move across the country, it's a new environment, so becoming accustomed to the new environment and the people and getting to know who your new circle is and what it can become and just getting comfortable. It's really hard to get comfortable when you just move somewhere else. But I work hard, I think my work ethic is undeniable. I do question some of the people I surround myself with sometimes. It's hard to trust people, especially since I've been in a bad deal before. I finally found a great team that I feel comfortable with. I love those guys. It's really just about finding your team and who you're gonna work with. Who's gonna help you keep your head on your shoulders. Us creatives, we go crazy if we don't feel like we're doing enough or we're working so hard but we don't see enough happening.

Could you shed some light on how your work ethic has paid off? I know you've been able to work with H.E.R on her single "Focus," can you tell me about the experience? How did that happen?

I'm gonna tell you this right now, it was God.

It was God??

I blame God for that. I wasn't in the right mental headspace at the time. I was so mentally stressed and I went to New York City for the day. I was talking to a homeless man and I continued walking and what not, and then I hear my name being called in the distance and someone was yelling, "Justin! Justin! Justin!" It was someone from H.E.R.'s management team that actually stopped me and told me that she was upstairs and recording. At that time she wasn't H.E.R., she was going by another name and the woman from her management told me "Oh she's upstairs. You should come up and check out some of her stuff." As I said, I wasn't even doing anything that day. I was just stressed as hell. I went upstairs and listened to her and she was just amazing so the next day we scheduled a session and we went into the session and wrote two or three records that day. I actually found a photo today as I was looking through my photos, I actually wrote the song on a piece of paper and I found the paper that I took a photo of. It was so amazing. We wrote two or three songs that day, "Focus" being one of the three and before I knew it the song was on the radio and—man. I had a good feeling about the song, but I never knew it would become what it became. Just working with H.E.R was amazing. She's definitely god-gifted.

Is there anybody else that you'd like to work with in the future?

Chris Brown, Justin Beiber, Miguel, Usher. I have a few more people just off the top of my head. Ty Dolla $ign, Jeremiah. Female artist wise I'd love to work with Ella Mai and Beyonce for sure! Cardi B would really cool too. I feel like we'd have really good chemistry.

Are there any last words you want to share about what you hope fans take away from the music videos? Is there anything you'd like to say about where you hope your career goes from here?

My final words. Here is some inspiration. Don't focus on any of the hate. If you're focused on your career path, then you need to focus on what you need to do next. You need to focus on your work and what you're doing. Don't change what you're doing for anyone. That's one. As far as where my career is heading, my career is heading to a more truthful place.

What do you mean by that?

I used to create just to create and I would say anything and create anything. Now I'm starting to understand my brand and understand where I want my career to go. It's going to go to a more genuine place within the next three to four months and I want to create with more intention.

Check out Justin Love's latest music video for "Bad Mind" below!


Rico Nasty Drops One of the Best Albums of 2019 So Far: "Anger Management"

The Maryland rapper's newest mixtape, a collaboration with producer Kenny Beats, is a caustic celebration of anger, catharsis, and Rico herself.

"Aren't you tired of the same old thing?" a disarmingly calm computer voice asks—right before Rico Nasty gleefully shatters that same old thing with a sledgehammer.

Rico roars in her signature yowl, and a wall of jaw-breaking sound surges right behind her: "No it won't fade away, shots like a fade-away / Smile in a hater's face, watch what the fuck you say." Anger Management, her latest mixtape, sets its savage pace with opener, "Cold," and never slows down. Co-headlined with producer and frequent Rico collaborator, Kenny Beats, Anger Management is a mad-science experiment in cathartic rage, and the Maryland rapper has never sounded more at home than she does here, her punk sensibility and jagged flow staking out real estate in Beats' patchwork-banger production.

Following in the footsteps of Vince Staples' FM!, Earl Sweatshirt's Some Rap Songs, and Tierra Whack's kaleidoscopic Whack World, Anger Management barely scrapes twenty minutes in length, a brevity that demands a charismatic efficiency. Rico and Kenny Beats elect to fill out that time with bruiser after bruiser, rolling mosh-pit immediacy into a tight sonic discipline. Kenny Beats gives a cohesive edge to each track without sounding one-note, employing everything from John Carpenter-horror-gone-rap on "Cheat Code" to an irreverent jangle on the tongue-wagging "Big Titties." And it works: Anger Management's controlled rowdiness enhances Rico's eclectic personality, giving her bars room to grow into the sound.

Rico's clearly writing and rapping her ass off on Anger Management, to the point where the mixtape feels like the clearest expression of Rico Nasty to come out yet. Her cadence and vocal control are at their sharpest, but her skills as a narrator in the center of a sonic storm becomes the project's biggest pull: "Bitch, I got a family, everybody gotta eat / So keep that shit in mind when you thinkin' about tryin' me," she raps on "Hatin," a powerful threat wrapped in a loving fist. Rico tries on a few different registers during the album's breakneck tempo, spitting machine-gun acid and syrup-thick braggadocio alike (even some Juice Wrld-Drake sing-song warbling on album closer, "Again") and nails them all, but her point on Anger Management isn't just to flex, the album serves as a reminder that she's not going anywhere. "The kids stay around even though doors let out / 'Cause they just wanna tell me about how I helped them out / I won't let them down," Rico promises on "Sell Out," one of the most reflective songs she's released to date. Rico's made it, and life is good, but she's still defending her own—her talent, her hustle, the kids who hear those things in her music and pack into her shows looking for something they recognize. Rico Nasty is staying in the game for them as much as she is for herself, and she refuses to give anything up along the way.

Anger Management

Matthew Apadula is a writer and music critic from New York. His work has previously appeared on GIGsoup Music and in Drunk in a Midnight Choir. Find him on Twitter @imdoingmybest.

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