It’s time to kick back and relax. Sans a few remaining finals and pre-summer job drug tests, you’re a man of leisure, and you need some killer tunes to comprise the soundtrack of your summer. Here are some dudes who’ll make great summer companions. Or at least their music will:
Over the past few months, I’ve had my friends suggest a lot of DJs and producers that I might like in an effort to expand my taste range and out of all the names thrown at me, (KCV) is one I always seem to come back to. I’ve been consistently impressed with his ability to assemble superb mash-ups, a talent that seems to elude so many self-proclaimed DJs these days. He’s currently working on the next installment of “Parentheses Are Mandatory” (his mash-up series), not to mention his original production. This dude hasn’t even been making music for a year, and he’s a freshman in college, so I can’t wait to see what he puts out this summer once he actually has some free time to utilize the experience he’s acquired.
2. Quiet Luke
Formerly known as “botTABOOm”, Quiet Luke released his first mixtape last year to little fanfare, and it was hands down one of the most slept on projects of the year. The renamed emcee impressed with his recent release, “The Feel”, though he said it was actually recorded a year ago, giving me high hopes for whatever he has up next for us, since presumably there’s been a year of improvement between then and now. I should also mention that he produces the majority of his own tracks, allowing him more detailed creative control, which is always a good thing in my eyes. Definitely stay tuned for whatever Quiet Luke has in store for this summer.
3. Cameron Matthews
Every bro needs some solid country tunes to play in the background while he drinks with his buddies - like in those manly lifestyle commercials where you don’t even know what they’re selling. And if you’re going to be drinking to country music, the twangier, the better. Cue Cameron Matthews, a 20 something songwriter who splits his time between Nashville and Clemson. This dude is twangy, yet smooth, and he’s young enough that though overall his tracks may sound old-school (a very good thing), his lyrics are a little more up to date, making for a great crossover.
4. Jayme Dee
For better or for worse, Jayme Dee is what I imagine Taylor Swift would have sounded like had she not been born in Tennessee. Her music is unapologetically poppy and upbeat, and her voice is absolutely enchanting. Dee is a straight up California girl, and her music reflects it. Every track, whether it’s about heartbreak or love, sounds like it should be listened to under a blue summer sky, preferably with speakers next to a pool with some sort of food being grilled. She’s set to release her EP sometime in the upcoming months, and until then, she’s got a steady stream of imaginative covers to keep us entertained. Oh, and she’s a knockout.
5. Chris Borelli
A lot of musicians will try to convince you that their music is different from that of every other musician out there, but very few have the actual tunes to back it up. Enter Chris Borelli. A newcomer to the rap game with the perspective of someone on the outside looking in, his sound is catchy, and his bars are clever. But most importantly, they’re honest. He knows he’s black. He knows his rap is very different. And he gives zero fucks. As he says, “ I will not entertain the motives of the majority sound. I create with the determination that I will change the game. I create for the love of music. For that, I am free in my own way. If you wish for the same, pick up a pen and free yourself.” See what all the hype is going to be about before he blows up.
6. Andy Grammer
Andy Grammer has been a personal favorite of mine for a while, but it’s time to share him with the class. You may have heard a couple of his singles on the radio, but literally everything this dude has put out is fantastic. He’s got a great acoustic pop vibe happening, with upbeat sounds, and I swear his music is like an infectious good mood. This is the guy to listen to when you’re with the ladies but you’re not trying to take things to the bedroom just yet, or if you’re just cruising around with the windows down, doing absolutely nothing.
7. Bronze Whale
Yeah, that name caught your attention didn’t it. I know it caught mine. The production duo is based out of Austin, TX, which is home to one of the best party schools and music scenes in the nation, and these guys fit in perfectly with both. Their tracks contain fantastical landscapes that quite frankly made me feel like I was flying when I heard them. And I was dead sober. Fly Bronze Whale airlines with them.
8. Chance the Rapper
Anyone who follows the underground rap scene has probably seen or heard the name “Chance the Rapper” quite a bit, and for good reason. Chance’s mixtape, “Acid Rap”, leaked ten minutes early, ten minutes, mind you, and the demand was so high that before Chance actually posted the tape, it was trending worldwide, and multiple sites had already gone down from the insanely high traffic. But I get it if you don’t want to take the word of others, I would expect nothing less than incredulousness from such discerning readers (jokes). Check out Chance…. The Rapper? (You’ll get that joke after you listen to him)
Summer means partying. Partying means bass, and bass means this next guy. The dude’s “About” blurb on Facebook thing says it all: “ill.GATES is a bass droppin', educatin', oscillator modulatin' space genius from the future.” You gotta respect that kinda confidence, but if for whatever reason you don’t, check out his tracks, and then realize that he’s not being weird, he’s just being up front. This dude is the truth. Honest.
10. Dylan Owen
Dylan Owen is the messiah, in my opinion. Compare him to just upcoming rappers, or frat rappers, or whatever type of rapper you like to listen to, but I’m comparing him to all of them – past and present, when I say that this kid is one of the best I’ve ever heard. Every line he drops bleeds of poetic depth, and every time I re-listen to his work, I’m blown away by how easily Owen has ingrained such wide ranges of emotion so strongly in his tracks. This is the kind of music to appreciate a calm summer night to, the kind of stuff that plays in the background while you wonder whether or not to sit by the campfire with that girl you don’t know yet but want to.
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beach babe pic via shutterstock