FREE SOUNDs [Volume 1]

Chow Lee Cover Photo By @filmandbandaids

For those who pay any attention to my writing (for which I thank you), you may or may not have noticed that I’ve written much less over the past year or so. It’s a time thing, mainly; while I’d love to write in-depth articles about every release that I find interesting, the time that it takes to get those done is exactly what has hindered my ability to get more articles out there. Which is tough, because I love writing about new artists that I’ve been listening to.

That said, I’ve decided to start a column called ‘FREE SOUNDs.’ Less words per artist, but more consistent and more music being shared. Below is volume 1 of the new column, meant to highlight those out there who are making interesting and true-to-self things that I’ve stumbled upon and enjoyed.

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Houston producer Xjay is a cheat code right now. I originally became familiar with his work through Highway (who is on a run of his own right now), and after falling in love with the sound they built together, have really enjoyed watching Xjay grow his catalog with songs alongside other artists such as Destin Laurel.

Xjay is the type of producer who seems to have found that distinctive pocket that makes him immediately recognizable (both in terms of feeling and sound), and luckily, he’s established it very early on in his career. The best is clearly yet to come.


I just covered Kelz on the site the other day, but this Brooklyn-based talent just made a strong debut with a new song called “Sinner.” This article will give you the details, but his voice, mixed with infectious drums and the simple but effective visuals, have brought me back to “Sinner” again and again. Kelz is kicking things off on a uniquely exciting note with his debut.


Sample drill has taken over NYC and Cash Cobain is inarguably one of, if not the best, doing it. The bounce and taste in his production isn’t being touched right now, and while the rest of the city plays catch-up, Cash is already building out an undeniable new flavor of this sound: sexy drill.

Substituting the hard-nosed, screaming energy of some drill music for something much smoother, Cash and Chow Lee are the main ones running this sound right now. They say that women are the real tastemakers, and sexy drill certainly doesn’t miss this audience.

It’s also worthy of mention that while we already know Chow Lee can rap, Cash Cobain’s abilities as a rapper deserve some attention, too — lines like “I wanna fight every n***a that had it” followed by “[Achoo] Yea I sneezed, but I’m already blessed b***h” are the deeply entertaining one-liners that help make sexy drill so enjoyable.


Coming out of Virginia Beach, Cayo Banks has been around for some time now, but has really peaked my interest with a few recent releases — most notably, “VOICES.” His vocals are getting rawer, more malleable, and thus, more and more exciting, unlocking a new corner of Banks’ sound that really feels like the next level for him.


If you weren’t convinced of Joony already, I think his new album Pretty In Black will do the trick. He doubled down on the melodic deliveries and silky smooth songwriting, making sure that his latest work is the best material yet.

There’s something on here for everyone, but “I’m In Love” and Highs Lows” are my personal favorites right now. Joony’s music has an effortlessness to it that embodies his natural cool, all while he performs at a high level and tries new things out as an artist. These are the qualities that you can’t teach, and Pretty In Black hit the nail on the head in each of these areas and more.


J Dlux is very, very consistent, and I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves for it. From production choices to songwriting, he nails down a feeling with each new release, “On My Mind” being the perfect example.

Sit down with this one a few time, and really pay attention to the writing here. Leenington set the scene with an addictive instrumental, and J Dlux brought this one home with one of his best performances to date.