FREE SOUNDs [Volume 3]

Back with volume 3 of the FREE SOUNDs column, and there’s a lot to discuss this week. Peep the lineup of songs below and if you haven’t already, check out volume 1 here and volume 2 here.

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BEAR1BOSS is, and has been, on another planet ever since I first heard his music — and he keeps getting better. Peep the ATL talent’s new, self-titled album here — a project best visualized as a firework, colorful and explosive in its collaging of sounds while held together by outrageously entertaining personality. “Quit” and “$$$” are favorites, but “Nike!” takes the cake for me. While Bear1 has been a stand out artist from the jump, it goes without saying that on the new project, his ideas are really coming into form. In Bear1’s world, the energy never runs out, and thus, the future is undeniably bright for one of music’s most unique minds.


A friend sent me Lay Bankz a few weeks back, and “Going Down” has been on repeat ever since. It’s a melodic love song at heart, but once paired with the charged energy of a Philly/Jersey club beat, this one becomes sonically undeniable. Lay Bankz is clearly swinging for the fences with a track like “Going Down,” and if her execution is this strong at such an early point in her career, then I can only imagine what’s to come. All I ask is that this one hits Spotify ASAP.

And by the way, if you like “Going Down” then “Boyfriend N. 2” is a must-listen.


Hardrock’s new project 808 SPEAKER KNOCKERZ feels like the foundation point for something huge. 12 songs in length, it’s a massively well-curated tape from front to back — there’s the Linkin Park sample on “in the end“, the atmospheric, world-bending feel of “not chasing love,” and perhaps most enjoyably, the incredible “HYLMN?,” which begins with the line ‘I just don’t give a damn,’ followed directly by what one comment is calling a ‘Kermit The Frog’ delivery that I can’t stop listening to. Then there’s “God’s hands,” which not only speaks to Hardrock’s ear for production, but also feels like the best encapsulation of what this project stands for — it’s a weighted moment, and one that seems to officially bring us to that magic point in time just before an artist starts to explode, but right when they’ve fully found their stride.

Side note – special nod to @whiteturnalltan on the artwork here. In my eyes, the projects that become real ‘moments’ are the ones where the aesthetic lines up perfectly with the music, which is certainly the case on 808 SPEAKER KNOCKERZ.


Southsidesilhouette is moving toward a real moment in the near future, and songs like “Untouchable” show why. While it’s still raw, using a “You’re So F***ing Pretty” sample as the chorus of the song, pressed up against southside’s muddied, melody-driven vocals, is the type of idea that’s massively exciting to hear as a fan. Clearly, the rising talent’s sonic ambitions are headed in a very promising direction, so keep a close eye out for what’s next. And nod to producer reidmd for nailing it on this one.


The West Coast might be lined with talent, but I’m still yet to find many other voices just as distinctive and exciting as SwiftChapo’s. There’s a layer of strength and style to his music that comes from Chapo’s deep vocal tone, which only accents the massively compelling pockets and paces that he seems to find on every release. “What You Want” is an older song, but it’s a perfect introduction to one of LA’s most undeniable talents right now. From start to finish, he doesn’t let up on this one.


MHPG Sound just dropped a new tape called Sound Or Drown, and interestingly enough, they decided to sequence the songs in alphabetical order, inviting listeners to shuffle the project and find their own favorites along the way. “Let Me Hold You” is the one I landed on as a personal favorite, with “NYC” in all of its “Houstatlantavegas”-sampled glory as a close second. The championship ring cover art is fitting here, because MHPG Sound is firing on all cylinders right now with “Let Me Hold You” as proof. Sample drill love songs might just be my favorite genre at the moment.