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Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, James first developed a passion for music when a woman from his father’s job gave his family an antique player piano, the type of old-school piano that can play itself. James would spend hours following the notes the piano played, in effect teaching himself how to read music. His father’s friend from work also left stacks of books of music, tomes James read repeatedly. When he learned how to play “Amazing Grace,” a new world presented itself. “Once I started learning how to play songs,” he says, “it really inspired me to make my own songs.” By 2012, James’ music made its way to Rich America and John Monopoly, the veteran manager and talent scout who has worked with Kanye West, No I.D. and Shawnna, among others. James says that John Monopoly’s guidance has been invaluable. “I’ve learned from him how to make sure everything is complete and to fill up my tracks,” James states. “He and his team, they’ve shown me how to add the missing pieces and make sure that my music captivates people the whole way through.”
If The Last Great, the debut album from MaLLy, was meant to be a chest-thumping, boastful, and triumphant effort that finally broke MaLLy to the masses, The Colors of Black is the direct result of what would have been the end result if The Last Great never came into existence. Throughout the duration of The Colors of Black, MaLLy uses it as a vehicle to present the pressures of race, acceptance, and the politics, or lack thereof, in current day Hip-Hop and himself. It allows MaLLy to utilize his sharp wordplay to paint vivid depictions of what would've came to be of Malik Watkins, or what already is. Last Word's production provides MaLLy with a dark, ominous, and bleak sound to take MaLLy's dark imagery and expansive wordplay to new heights, like graffiti on pissed-stained walls of abandoned complexes that once housed hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the past. Right from the opening of the intro, "Child of America" draws the listener in to an eerie and unsettling fear like static blipping on a rusty television set. Then the umbrage of cellos carry in "Two Worlds," as MaLLy starts bringing in the quickfire imagery of a future that is all too much of a reality, and one that is almost too desolate for the average kid to even fathom or stomach, as he states "lord forgive me, my skin is my sin." The laser-like guided synths and pulsating 808s and claps of "Innervisions," almost plays like an audible version of the movie "Predator" when MaLLy says "I feel like the blind man with beads," traversing through the journey of life's ills. Meanwhile you have other tracks like "Hold My Tongue," feat. Slug of Atmosphere and Rapper Hooks, all three trading verses as equals, over guttural guitar strums and synths which ooze on the border of chaos and disorder, while "All of My Life (Part 2)" which features the vocals of K.Raydio, has MaLLy over somber keys, telling tales and fantasies of the hustlers and gangsters he aspired to be, and how the fast life might not be able to let him go. The Colors of Black stands as testament to what might not have been had MaLLy not introduced himself to the audience at large, and came for his destiny hand over fist. It may be his strongest and most stark statement to date, as it daunts and details with several themes that exercise disdain of the current status quo in Hip-Hop and the world at large, but MaLLy stands above it all, seeing it from a birds eye view, and making sure the truth, seedy and grimy as it may be, is known to the rest of the populace, regardless of the consequences.
Lyric Jones is hard to miss; always smiling and with her “girl next door” aura she is all things music. It should come as no surprise that she has a diverse range of influences that encompass many different genres, as writing and rhyming only displays one aspect of her many talents. Originally from Boston, MA, Lyric began singing & playing drums first, at a very young age and honed her talents while joint enrolled at Boston’s legendary Berklee College of Music during her High School years. “Why not do it all!?” Lyric asks. “Music is music, I love Hip-Hop, Jazz & Soul, so the world is going to see it, know it and hear it” she asserts. Love’s Trail Mix is Lyric’s second official release and she came up with the title as a way to paint the picture of how multi-faceted love is. Lyric states “love can be complicated, happy, confused, beautiful, angry, disappointing and magical all at the same time. Trail Mix has a lot of different flavors and textures—but it is still an appealing snack.” Love’s Trail Mix tells stories of love from various perspectives, but it is short and sweet and parallels the “Trail Mix” metaphor. Lyric has already worked with a Grammy Award winner, as she previously collaborated with Esperenza Spalding for Lyric’s “Loss On Repeat” (2012) and also Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest who also made a appearance on her last album “Jones St.” Lyric continues that trend on Love’s Trail Mix, as she collaborates with Grammy nominated and renowned Jazz trumpet player Russell Gunn on “Tired” and also worked with Earth, Wind & Fire collaborator Daniel “SkyHigh” McClain on “Tall.” Further displaying her versatility, Lyric makes her production debut (“Tall” & “Magnetic”) on Love’s Trail Mix and recreates her undeniable chemistry with Raydar Ellis on “Spectacle’ Today, Lyric releases the second official single, “Magnetic” from Love’s Trail Mix. Lyric co-produced the track with Illastrate and it includes cuts by DJ Wayne Ski.
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