Lil Nas X Knows You’ve Been Naughty

It is fair to say that this year has forced things into perspective. It’s also fair to say that this year has totally sucked. The “rules” that governed politics and pop culture and our civic and social lives don’t seem like they’ll ever go back to the way they existed before 2020. And maybe that’s a good thing.

This year has certainly helped Montero Lamar Hill see things differently. Hill — better known as the Grammy-winning artist Lil Nas X — got a much-needed break over the past few months that he almost certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed otherwise. With lockdowns around the world all year preventing him from touring and making promotional appearances, it’s the first time in the 21-year-old’s short career that he’s had some shade from the spotlight.

That career began, of course, when his single “Old Town Road” seemingly took over the world for what felt like all of last year but was actually 19 weeks, which is how long it sat at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, a record-breaking feat. Not only did the song launch Hill into the public’s consciousness, but it also took on a life of its own, spawning memes and dance challenges, remix after remix with heavy hitters like Billy Ray Cyrus, Young Thug, and BTS, merch deals and even a children’s book. The follow up, 7 EP, was released at the crest of the “Old Town Road” wave, capitalizing on the buzz, with lead single “Panini” securing Hill’s role as a chart-topper without doing much to signal what his true ambitions as an artist and performer really were.

“I want my fans to know how much I love what I do and that I’m loving myself more too. This is my ‘I’m here to stay’ project.”

While these accomplishments are virtually unheard of for a brand-new artist, examining his trajectory makes clear the unique challenges young Black artists face when hitting the mainstream. There’s a constant tug-of-war between who they want to be and which lens we’re most comfortable observing them through. Black women artists and Black queer artists understand this even more acutely. Hill’s contemporaries, like Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion, are new to fame but face constant scrutiny. And in Hill’s case, being an out, gay man means there’s more untreaded territory to traverse. Even more reason to be careful.


Since March he’s split his time between his home in Los Angeles and with his family in the Atlanta area, where he’s from. He says the downtime was much needed. “I’ve been looking for approval in the wrong places.” he tells PAPER on a Zoom call. “I’m trying to learn to just be thankful for the people that do support me.” That support from his fans has come with its fair share of scrutiny as well.

“I do want to go beyond any other artist’s impact. I don’t want to do what has been done. I want to have a lifelong career.”

Hill’s media narrative has shifted almost as much as he’s traded out his collection of cowboy hats. First he was a genre-bending freedom fighter trying to get on the country music charts, testing the limits of what the genre could be and who had the right to make that distinction. This was replaced with bemusement at how his hit record spread around the world in a way that’s never been seen before, and the internet savvy that he possessed which made it all possible. And finally, his decision to come out last summer earned him even more attention as he was lauded as a trailblazer while also being questioned for his motives. This has been the toughest challenge for him to navigate.

According to Hill, he “planned to die with the secret.” He told the Guardian earlier this year that changed when he hit mainstream success. The new standard for 2020 pop stars is part politician, part artist. Hill is keenly aware of that fact, pausing and thinking long before answering even the smallest questions.

He felt the urge to set an example for his fans, as well as get ahead of the breadcrumbs his history on the internet would have led people down. He wanted it to be on his own terms. Even after this revelation, which came in the form of a tweet last June shocking even the people on his creative team, he’s still been tight-lipped about his dating and personal life. “I definitely dance around whatever I want to say or do on the internet,” he says “I want to get to a point where I can share everything with the world, but I’m not there yet.” This is out of an abundance of caution. He doesn’t like saying the wrong thing.


But this year has allowed him time to give more thought about how he does want to let his fans in. With his next project, which will be his first full-length album, out next year, he promises something more “honest” and less “PG-13.” It’ll be his attempt to wrestle his narrative back into his own hands.

“I definitely dance around whatever I want to say or do on the internet. I want to get to a point where I can share everything with the world, but I’m not there yet.”

On his first single from the project, “Holiday,” which dropped last month, Hill is cockier than he’s ever been. “Man, I snuck in on a horse, I got no remorse/I pulled a gimmick, I admit it, I got no remorse,” he rap-sings on the track. It also features his first explicit reference to being gay on a song. He raps, “I might bottom on the low, but I top shit,” a line he was nervous about including.

“Even saying it in the studio. I was like, ‘Damn, do I want to say this in front of these people?'” he says. The fear started to creep in. Would he alienate his straight fans? Even his queer fans? “Within the community it’s kind of like a taboo in a way to say,” he said. “Which doesn’t make sense because, you know, we’re all gay.” After much thought, he decided to keep it in.

Hill’s greatest strength as an artist and as a personality is his self-awareness, and his ability to bring you in on the joke. He doesn’t pretend to have it all figured out, and he doesn’t ever take himself too seriously, always offering a wink and a nudge that he finds it just as funny as you do that he’s a huge star.


While humour is what has not only made his fans love him so much, and made him such a family-friendly marketing alternative to other Soundcloud rappers who play in similar sonic worlds, it’s also left a question mark over his career. Is there much past the laughs? He thinks with his album, he’ll prove that there is. “I want [my fans] to know how much I love what I do and that I’m loving myself more too,” he says. “This is my ‘I’m here to stay’ project.”

He’s been hard at work this year, getting his hands dirtier in the songwriting process, trying to push the boundaries he previously placed on himself. Before recording “Old Town Road,” he had only just started making music. The song was recorded in under an hour, in a studio he paid just $20 to use. Now he has a lot more freedom. “I’m just taking my time on songs, much more than I did before,” he says. “I would go into the studio and whatever I did with the song that day, that was it.” EP 7 demonstrated how little he is governed by genre, just like all the other music industry traditions that he ignores. He says that’ll be the same on this record.

This go around, he’s less concerned about how his fans will receive the music, and more concerned with making something he’s proud of. Despite saying he has “zero doubt” his fans will love it. “I’m thankful for every single fan of mine, but I feel like it’s very important to me, as an artist, or creator in general, to create what I want to create no matter who’s watching, because I’ll never be happy if I don’t.”

Hill has shown how adept he is at directing your attention where he wants it, which is in part why he loves embodying different characters in his fashion and music videos. He’s hung up the cowboy hat to trade for a cyberpunk Santa getup, which is his new look for the “Holiday” rollout. “Every day everybody, we dress up in drag in a way,” he says. “It’s just so fun, like being able to be a different person all the time.”

Hill’s trepidation with establishing himself as one kind of artist or performer, seems less to do with fear of acceptance and more to do with being pigeonholed. When asked who his inspirations are, he lists off some of the top-selling artists of the past decade: Drake, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, Frank Ocean. He couldn’t land on one. As much as he wants to be thought of as a standalone icon, he just wants to do what feels right.

“I do want to go beyond any other artist’s impact. I don’t want to do what has been done. I want to have a lifelong career,” he says before trailing off. “Unless I decide to do something else.”

Photography: Charlotte Rutherford

Styling: Hodo Musa

Hair: Malcolm Marquez

Makeup: Anthony H. Nguyen

Studio: Hubble Studio

Watch Lav in the Spotlight on ‘Reds’

The first song Lav ever released, “From Me, The Moon,” Billie Eilish wishes she’d written — though this should come as no surprise. The Venice-bred singer-songwriter started her career as a writer, and has penned poetry since she age 11. “From Me, The Moon,” like many things in her life, kind of just happened.

“I made ‘From Me, The Moon’ in my bathroom at 3:00 AM in 15 minutes on GarageBand.” After uploading it to Soundcloud in 2018, and finding out people liked it, she decided to seize the opportunity: “I was like, ‘Might as well make some money off of this. I’m going to upload it to Spotify on TuneCore.’ And then it blew up.” So she quit school and left the residential center she was at in Utah to give music a shot back in LA.

When she found out Billie Eilish, who she considers the “John Lennon of our generation,” liked the song, she couldn’t believe it.

The 22-year-old has released a few singles since then, all of which are leading up to an EP slated to drop in January 2021, on top of maintaining a strong presence on TikTok, OnlyFans and Twitter for her hundreds of thousands of followers — all of whom tune in for her “oversharing” of personal, relatable content.

“My personality is very compartmentalized, and I consistently overshare so I can undershare, if that makes sense. So part of my persona was, I’m going to lay everything out. I’m going to make edgy jokes about my vagina and post nudes. And then part of me also has been writing pretty intimate poetry since I was 11.”

While she maintains a fairly comedic social persona online, ultimately Lav strives to keep her lyrics earnest and vulnerable. “I try to compartmentalize my Instagram, where I don’t make jokes and it’s just very serious,” she says. “It’s been really weird to navigate, because I don’t take myself too seriously, but I would like people to take something intimate away from my music.”

Her latest single, “Reds,” and its music video premiering today on PAPER, shows just how serious Lav is about her staying-power in the industry. “[It’s] probably the most different of my songs,” she says. “I really took inspiration from Methyl Ethel and Still Woozy and really New Age, neo-funk elements with ‘Reds,’ and I definitely want to go more into that direction.” The result is a breezy track that revolves around the sweetness of a summer romance.

The music video for “Reds,” which she co-directed, blends Lav’s love of all things vintage and film. In it, we see the musician switching up wigs, ping ponging between different on-stage personas — a skill, we’re sure, has been well-practiced.

Below, watch the PAPER premiere of the “Reds” music video, and be sure to stay on the look out for Lav’s new EP, which is coming sometime in the new year.

Photos courtesy of Lav

Nova Miller’s Track-by-Track Breakdown of ‘The Passion’

Nova Miller‘s brand new EP, The Passion, just turned back time with a decidedly modern twist.

Though the 19-year-old Swedish sensation may be best known for her mind-blowing vocal range and ardent TikTok fanbase, she’s also a self-described “old soul” — something that’s made clear from the nostalgia-heavy sounds of this referential yet fresh-sounding record. Inspired by ’70s disco and the free-wheeling spirit of the ’60s, it’s an irresistibly fun pop gem that also touches on some extremely relatable themes, including post-split glow-ups, gender equity, and the often rocky road toward true self-love. And so, in honor of The Passion’s debut, we decided to ask her to breakdown the entire 8-track record for us — and what she has to say will definitely flesh out the listening experience and make it that much better.

So queue up the EP and check out Nova’s track-by-track explanation of The Passion, below.

“Girls Like Us”

“Girls Like Us” just wanna have fun (and be paid equally, treated with respect, and be president). We need this right now. We need energy, we need each other, we need support. I wanted to create a feminine bop that slaps. I love this song because it makes me feel so confident. It’s like, ‘I’m in control’ (shout out Janet Jackson). I really wanted to flip the narrative of being a ‘girl in love.’ Like, I’ll call him if I have time.

“Here With Me”

This song is giving me Madonna “Get Into The Groove”-meets-my future sexy self. Sexy has never been a part of my aesthetic, but maybe it’s something I’ll grow into. So there’s this dope artist called Sickick, and we got to do this together. When we were recording it in the studio, we were both imagining singing it live and the whole crowd going, “Ain’t no place.” I cannot wait for that. This is so outside of my normal territory, but I wanted to push myself. I love the airy and vibe-y vocals (R.I.P. Whistle note). If I knew how to drive, I would blast this in my car and drive for hours.

“Do It To Myself”

This song is my Jose Feliciano “California Dreamin'” moment. There is this incredible alternate version of the Mamas and the Papas classic, “California Dreamin'” in the [Quentin] Tarantino film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, and I am completely in love with it. “Do It To Myself” is the song I connect to the most artistically. It’s about self-sabotaging — the worst form of going crazy. This song really made me realize that you are your worst enemy. And if you can acknowledge that, and evolve past it, you become stronger than ever. It’s my most streamed song to this day and one that is close to both me and my fans, so it was important to me to put it on the EP.

“Man’s World”

If a boy don’t make it better, why [do] they say it’s a “Man’s World”? I wrote this song right before I had one of the most emotional conversations of my whole life. My fitness mentor — Daryl from the Dungeon of Discipline (Yeah, they don’t play around) — looked me in the eyes and said, “You better work harder, Nova. This is a man’s world.” It stuck with me, and it really shook me up for days. It gave this song so much meaning, and so, so much passion. I’m not gonna be okay with being underestimated for being a woman, or young, or ambitious. I needed to hear this when I wrote it. Like, Nova, you don’t need a man to validate you. You can tell yourself you are amazing. I’m gonna do my thing until someone comes along and makes it better. We gotta meet in the middle, I’m not settling anymore.

“Mi Amor”

“Mi Amor” was born when I was in Sweden listening to ABBA constantly. I remember being in the studio and when we found the guitar riff and bassline, it felt powerful. I wanted to channel the power of the music and tell a story about evolving into your better self, especially after a breakup. There’s nothing more satisfying than when an ex wants you back. It’s all that “He’ll regret it, I’ll forget it” kinda stuff. It’s full of confidence, and that’s how I hope people feel when they listen to it.

“Timing”

“Timing” is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever made! I wrote it right when I moved to L.A. from Sweden, which was over a year ago now. It’s about meeting the right one at the wrong time. I had this one friend I really liked, but when I moved away, they got in a relationship. And it was so frustrating because I just knew we would’ve been great if we had better timing. I think this is super relatable for a lot of people and am so happy to finally release it. I’m in love with that dry bassline in the chorus. I wanted to do a sort of Michael Jackson “Thriller”-meets-Jon Bellion production.

“Talk To Me”

I was in a session and we started discussing the norm [of] “guys should make the first move.” Like, why not just take the chance and walk up to person that you like? What are you waiting for? If you don’t do it, you might have missed out on some great moments. This song is basically just me reminding you to not be afraid and to do whatever you want again. But hey, what else is new?

“Cry Baby Cry”
“Cry Baby Cry”

I love this song so much. This is my ballad moment on the EP. I really relate to this song in many ways, because I am a very giving person: If I care about someone I will prioritize them, give them all my trust, and time and care. But if someone mistreats that, it’s nice to see karma do its thing. I can’t wait to be able to play this live. I have so many ideas about how to twist it around, which I love doing in my shows.

Photos courtesy of Nova Miller

Left at London Writes ‘Perfect Songs About Imperfect People’

Back before TikTok was turning teenagers into social media stars and causing international controversy, there was once upon a time a little app called Vine. A gem of a social media platform with a life that was tragically cut way too short, Vine’s legacy still lives on in the generation of creators it fostered. Odds are if you’ve stumbled upon a “best of” Vine compilation at any point in the past couple of years you’re probably seen some of Nat Puff’s instructional clips on “How to Make a Frank Ocean Song.” But to pigeonhole her as just a Vine star would be selling Puff short.

A Seattle-based indie pop artist, poet and comedian, Puff’s work under her stage name Left at London is quickly, if not already, eclipsing her early internet fame with hits like “Revolution Lover,” “I DONT TRUST U ANYMORE,” and writing credits on Alice Longyu Gao’s “Dumb Bitch Juice.” As a songwriter, Puff wears her heart on her sleeve, tackling topics ranging from mental health to relationships to navigating today’s political climate as a queer person with a refreshing openness and honesty.

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Off the highly anticipated second volume of Transgender Street Legend, Puff is now back with her latest cut off the EP, “Safety First.” Thoroughly bedroom pop, with stylistic nods to mid-2000s indie rock like Beck and The Strokes seen through a more contemporary lo-fi lens, “Safety First” is ultimately a song about getting hurt. Lyrics like “I don’t know if I can love again/ But the crowds want a love song” run counter to a refrain of “I would like to kiss someone and cry,” relishing in the irrational set of contradictions that lost love puts us through. Puff is candid and emotionally raw with a bittersweet optimism that feels like seeing the sun poking out from behind the clouds after being thoroughly soaked in the rain.

Ahead of the PAPER premiere of “Safety First” off the upcoming EP Transgender Street Legend Volume 2, we caught up with Nat Puff to talk influences, comedy and the importance of prioritizing mental health.

How did “Safety First” originally come about?

“Safety First” was an interesting song to make because the beat for the first half came first, but I didn’t know what I wanted the song to be about. Originally it was much faster, and it was basically the opening riff to “Japanese Candy” by Little Teeth with a mid-2000s fast alt-rock feel. (Like Franz Ferdinand or something like that.) Didn’t like it, so I slowed it down and added a bunch of pitch and volume effects and the rest of the beat came from that. I posted it in a groupchat for members of the group FROMTHEHEART (which Vera and I are a part of) and Vera just made a verse for the intro. I really liked the idea of making the song about romantic love, but if it was any indication by my first single this year, “Blacknwhite,” I hadn’t been feeling all too optimistic about romance lately.

I wrote the chorus and believe I came up with the last two lines first, “I write for no one in particular/ I sing for someone I may never meet/ But I would like to smile again/ I would like to kiss somebody and cry.” I like the first part of the chorus is because of the contradiction; I can’t write for a particular person because I’m not in love with any particular person but the verses are very clearly about a particular person, they’re just not positive things. The second half was very much a fluke because the “I don’t have energy anymore” refrain was built as a different song about depressive tendencies. I didn’t like how it was sounding, so I scrapped it, went back to “Safety First,” and made some simplistic piano chords loosely based on the first half. Immediately I rewrote the “But I don’t have energy anymore” refrain to be specifically about putting energy into relationships and self improvement instead of literal physical energy. I rewrote the last two lines last minute to change the atmosphere of a self-pitying tone to an accusatory one, which I figured was a perfect representation of the lack of growth and self-improvement I felt like I hadn’t given myself enough of. It’s a perfect song for and about imperfect people. Not to toot my own horn, but like. Y’know. 🎺🎺🎺!!!

What do you hope comes across for people listening to the song?

It’s okay to be angry when you mourn as long as you also reflect on why specifically you’re angry. You find a lot about yourself when you question your motives.

What were some of the influences you were working with for this track?

“You Get What You Give” by New Radicals was a huge influence in the tone I wanted. I basically took the same vintage drum break feeling from “MARCH” by BROCKHAMPTON and applied it to my song. You can only find that song publicly on YouTube and stuff, but it was off of the bonus disc in the Saturation box set. Genuinely my favorite song by them. The fact that it’s essentially the emotional feeling of both combined was a huge influence in the emotions I had recording it. Not gonna lie, I don’t think I’ve been that involved during recording since “Blacknwhite.”

Are you optimistic about love in the time of corona?

Clearly I was not at the time of writing! BUT I have reasons to be optimistic now. It’s hard to be patient, but life rewards you when you are. That’s what I got to say about that.

How would you say your music’s evolved since Transgender Street Legend Vol. 1?

Drastically. For one thing, I’m now strictly bedroom pop on this EP (except for “6 Feet” which was written, recorded and produced in Dylan [Brady’s] studio in LA) TSLV1 was written and semi-produced in my bedroom except for the vocals for the first two songs which were recorded professionally in a studio. It took a while, but I finally set up my mic to sound good isolated and now I’m unSTOPPABLE !!!!!! But like genuinely, I feel like I’ve learned more about production in this pandemic than I ever have before in a concentrated span of time. I’m really proud of myself for that.

What was it like being a vine star, once upon a time?

It’s funny cause honestly I only had like three or four viral vines that got a resurgence in popularity after Vine died because they were featured in a lot of vine comps. I have like, 10 times the followers on TikTok now than I ever did on Vine. That being said, it was my first real taste of internet virality being attached to my face. Looking back it was weird. I was telling somebody that I had just met about the experience and the year I started to blow up. They responded “So you’ve been internet famous for your entire adult life?” I did the math, realized I blew up around age 18, and then realized how none of my adult life has been away from a spotlight. Shit was surreal to realize so many years after.

What sort of lessons did you take away from that experience?

The most important thing I’ve learned from myself and others is that fame in any form will stifle your sense of self, traumatize you in small ways, and stunt your emotional growth. I advocate for anyone to go to therapy, but especially content creators because they’re the type of motherfuckers to most likely refuse it despite having resources. People make assumptions that because somebody is popular on the internet that they’re rich and happy. Like yeah, I’m living my dream job, but it’s admittedly so different from how I imagined it. It can fuck with your ego in the sense that I’ve seen people go, “I have my dream job but I’m not happy… maybe I need to be better at my dream job.” It starts diverting into this really capitalist mindset that you need to get more money doing what you love in order to be happy, which is not true. I’ve met people at all levels of success and the common thread is that they’re thankful but hungry for more and let it eat away at them (including the particularly successful ones).

Therapy helps a lot, reminds me that I’m not disposable, that I’m a real person beyond my career. Makes the relationship with the fans stronger too because I have the ability to be happier and make better content. Even when I’m not happy, I feel more able to talk about it via music because of that. That’s why it’s important to focus on yourself and your community more than your career; art (whether its comedy, music, or whatever) is based on life experience. If your entire life experience is chasing fame, your art is gonna make you out of touch with what the modern everyman wants, because it lacks sincerity. A lot of people will hear that type of opinion and assume, “Oh so you’re talking about rap?” which, first of all, no, because I’m talking about all forms of art, not just music, and not just rap. Second of all, while rap definitely has its share of out of touch people, the narrative is usually either a “rags to riches” story, or a cautionary tale about being unsatisfied after blowing up and processing why. Sure, they’re balling, but they’re bawling too, y’know? It’s not a rap song but “Super Rich Kids” (by Frank Ocean) was a great song because it presented itself as a character study on the exact type of stifling of one’s emotional growth that fame can do, rather than a “I’m so rich, pity me” type view. It’s perfectly possible to make art about that phenomenon, you just have to know why you’re making it.

What informs your sense of humor? Your musical taste?

It’s like asking a chef what the right spice to put in every dish is; not only are most spices going to improve a meal (especially when combined), but different meals require different spices. Like it’s possible to put oregano in a pb&j, but you better know what you’re fucking doing. But I honestly just make whatever I’m in the mood for. Instead of seeking out a sound from another person for example, I make the song I want to hear. That’s kind of why my taste in music that I listen to is somewhat unorthodox for someone who’s writing style is very indie and pop, I know I can’t make that type of music at the level I’m currently at. Like I could try and make a Death Grips song for example, but it’s gonna sound insincere & tasteless. I’d rather just listen to the real thing. Humor’s the same. I make jokes I think are funny. Sometimes it’s parody, sometimes it’s wordplay, sometimes it’s surrealistic. But I honestly barely calculate what I’m going to say.

Photography: West Smith


Here’s What Audrey Mika’s Up to in Quarantine

Much like everyone else in quarantine, 19-year-old Audrey Mika is stuck inside, lounging in her sweats, streaming Netflix and watching as the days run together. As a singer/songwriter, Mika has also been able to use this time to focus on her music.

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If you don’t know the rising musician, you can follow her through YouTube, where she started in her room with a toy microphone making cover songs. She rapidly rose to popularity (with now 1.5 million subscribers) through her Billie Eilish covers and her simplistic, sometimes comedic videos to accompany them.

Now, she’s ditched the toy microphone for the real deal, going on tour earlier this year with her 2020 5 A.M. EP. In early May, Mika also released her newest single, “Just Friends,” and a week later premiered the track’s music video.

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PAPER checked in with Mika to see how she spends her days in isolation. From dressing for absolutely nobody to hanging out with plants, Mika’s photo diary is extremely relatable.










Stream Audrey Mika’s 5 A.M. EP, below.

Photos courtesy of Audrey Mika

Three Internet Producers Align for Supergroup

Formed under mysterious circumstances in the shadowy corners of the internet, not much is officially known about OCD. Some say they met “backstage” at a URL show while others insist they are a sleeper cell activated after the conclusion of an obscure reality game buried deep within YouTube’s archives. What we do know is that the mysterious cabal of producers is comprised of rising musicians Himera, Murder Club and Cole Longanecker, and they’re just about ready to unleash their creation into the world.

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Their debut EP as OCD, Alignment, is almost upon us (out May 9th to be exact) and the trio was kind enough to give us a taste of what to expect with their first track off the release, “Confirmed.” Full of heavily filtered breaks, booming kicks and ominous synths, “Confirmed” feels like the soundtrack to a rave thrown on the dark web. Sounding like a cross between Special Request and Amnesia Scanner if the two grew up on a diet of Soundcloud and deviantArt, the track straddles the line between being experimental and club viable. It may just be the beginning for OCD, but they already have us excited for more.

Ahead of the PAPER premiere of “Confirmed” and the trio’s debut at Club Cringe tonight alongside umru, Dorian Electra, Machine Girl, Kane West, Juliana Huxtable and more, we caught up with the members of OCD to find out what they are all about and get the low down on their new EP, Alignment.

How did you all first meet?

Himera: Oliver was always part of the same circle of Soundcloud producers that I’m friends with, but I never really talked to him until Cole forced us into a groupchat to work on visuals for his first EP.

Murder Club: I first met Cole after stumbling across his Laura Les remix late 2018, and later asking him to play a set at this bi-monthly URL event I used to run (Which also led me to becoming mutuals with Himera.) For about half a year after that we didn’t talk much until Cole asked me to make him a few videos for his upcoming release with art direction/design from Himera, he added me to a group chat and we just evolved into a team/group from there and never really stopped talking.

Cole Longanecker: Last summer I commissioned Himera to make artwork for my first EP, and then I commissioned Oliver to make music videos. Oliver made a group chat so we could all talk about it, and we just never stopped talking. I think they both randomly found me on Soundcloud or Twitter.

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Why “OCD”?

OCD: “OCD” is an acronym for our names: Oliver (Murder Club), Cole (Cole Longanecker), Dan (Himera). Cole also has OCD, so the name feels oddly fitting and personal in a sense.

How would you best describe your sound?

Himera: It’s really a direct reflection of anything we all find inspiring at any given moment. We send music and art to each other all the time and draw inspiration from any weird shit we see on Instagram or find in the deepest crevices of Soundcloud.

Murder Club: Personally my section of the sound comes from really just emulating anything I am listening to at the time, so when Cole or Himera send a demo to work on and I listen to it on repeat, I will end up making something OCD worthy alongside it.

Cole Longanecker: OST FULL Torrent DOWNLOAD 96kH, Kingdom Hearts Saddest Moments, NintendoDS, 3G, 2008 HQ FOREST DESKTOP WALLPAPER BACKGROUNDS, iPod nano 4GB, Original Character (do not steal

Alice Longyu Gao Gives Us a Refill of ‘Rich Bitch Juice’

Last December, self-professed manifestation queen Alice Longyu Gao introduced us to the champagne and lime salt concoction known as “Rich Bitch Juice,” and we’ve been living luxe ever since.

As her debut single for Dylan Brady’s Dog Show Records label, the rubberized trap anthem became an underground hit overnight and even got a nod from Lady Gaga on her “Women of Choice” playlist. Since then, fans haven’t been able to get enough of “Rich Bitch Juice,” and luckily Alice Longyu Gao is spreading the wealth with a lavish, new remix EP that’s sure to quench anyone’s thirst.

Related | Drink Up! Alice Longyu Gao Is Swimming in ‘Rich Bitch Juice’

Featuring remixes from both halves of 100 gecs, Laura Les and Dylan Brady, the EP covers a wide range of sounds and styles: Count Baldor’s donk-filled flip, Dog Show labelmate Gupi’s bright rave rework, a dark techno remix from HANA and a bouncy disco-house rendition from Blu DeTiger. The selection of artists that Gao called upon for this EP truly reflects some of the most exciting, forward-thinking names in hyperpop right now. So if you weren’t already stanning all of them, these remixes would be a good place to start.

“My musician friends used their special sauce to give ‘Rich Bitch Juice’ more complex flavor,” Gao says of the release. “For example, Dylan showed me this new synth he got right before he made his remix. He said to use this synth you must download a special software, read a special handbook and there are no buttons on the synth. This synth is used to make big sounds like a comet attacking the Earth in huge movies like Star Wars or something… I could hear he used some sounds from his new ‘toy’ in his remix.”

Stream the full remix EP for “Ritch Bitch Juice,” below, and follow Alice Longyu Gao on Twitter and Instagram for all the latest updates.

Photo courtesy of Alice Longyu Gao/ Dog Show Records

Isaac Dunbar Interviews Isaac Dunbar About Isaac Dunbar

At only 17 years old, it’s safe to say that Isaac Dunbar is a verifiable wunderkind. Known for his sparkly brand of bedroom pop and his ability to craft ballads lush and fanciful in their dreamy harmonies, he’s already caught the attention of Beats 1’s Zane Lowe and girl in red, who he opened for on tour last year.

Needless to say, he’s on the verge of hitting it big. So in honor of the release of his new isaac’s insects EP, we had Dunbar interview himself from his bedroom in Cape Cod, Massachusetts about everything from his most toxic trait to who he would love to be marooned with on a desert island — and, obviously, had him throw in a few selfies for good measure. Get to know this artist on the rise, below.

Isaac, what pushes your buttons? What makes you want to implode and dissolve and disintegrate?

Wow, Isaac, first of all, I must say you look so good right now. Anyways, I would have to say getting in bed then having the urge to pee, Aries, cow’s milk, bad lighting, overly happy people and hoodies with hoods that don’t fit my head right.

If you had to be trapped on an island with five people, dead or alive, who would you be trapped with?

Stevie Nicks, Bhad Bhabie, Thom Yorke, Finn Wolfhard and Doja Cat.

Related | Doja Cat: Reloaded

If you had the chance to have any question you had about literally anything answered, what question would you ask?

I would want to know if all the random hot strangers I’ve seen out and about have ever noticed me too. Like I’m so curious if one of them was like the love of my life and now I’ll never see them ever again.

If you had to live off of one food, what would you eat?

Açai bowls, periodt. They’re so good and you can put whatever you want on them, and get all the nutrients you need I’m pretty sure.

Where do you see yourself in 50 years?

I can’t think that far ahead. But hopefully married and getting botox to get rid of my wrinkles because I don’t wanna look old. I wanna have a cat and live in Malibu with my future beautiful photographer high vibrational empath hubby.








What celebrity do you think would be the best fit for presidency?

None of them. celebrities are insane.

What is your most toxic trait?

I don’t be texting people back. I forget to and I recently came to the realization that it probably hurts people’s feelings, so I’m working on that.

Isaac, you are so stunning and your skin is so glowy. Overall, you just look like an iconic trap god. What’s your skincare routine king? Wig…

Omg thanks king. I don’t really have one, I just use this gentle Cetaphil bar soap on my face and drink 3,983,985 bottles of water.

Related | Welcome to Isaac Dunbar’s ‘Makeup Drawer’

What is something weird that you do that you think nobody else does except for you?

One day when i was like five, I put my ear lobes in my ear because they were cold and it felt so good. And now I can’t stop. It’s so weird, but so satisfying. If you have attached ear lobes, I don’t know if you can do it though. You gotta make sure you have dangly ones. I know y’all judging me from behind y’all’s screens, but once you try it there’s no going back periodt.

Finally, King Isaac, If you were an omnipresent being with control over all things, what would you do first?

I would give Gen Z natural-born superpowers and as they grow up, their powers get stronger and they unlock new aspects of themselves at random points in their lives. Little would they know, when most of the generation has heightened their powers, I would then send a huge legion of aliens to attack earth and see if the super humans can beat the aliens.

Stream Isaac Dunbar’s new EP, isaac’s insects, below.

Selfies by Isaac Dunbar


Inside Benee’s Supalonely World

It’s no coincidence that a song called “Supalonely” is one of the most popular songs on TikTok during an era of self-isolation and social distancing; it’s also no coincidence that 20-year-old New Zealand breakout star Benee wrote it. The second track on her most recent EP Stella & Steve, “Supalonely” is a clicky pop song that fits squarely into the elevated bedroom pop sub-genres that have emerged as victorious among Gen Z listeners in recent years.

Related | Social Distancing TikToks: How Gen Z is Coping With COVID-19

“I’m a lonely bitch,” Benee says, punctuating her post-chorus la-la’s with a type of blasé and self-deprecation that points to a concealed yearning for connection. Between the daydream runs that bookend the chorus, however, is the crux of the TikTok dance trend that the likes of Charli D’Amelio and Emma Chamberlain have indulged in this past month. Shoulder pops, pearly smiles and hip rolls are hallmarks of the cheery viral dance — a clear alignment with the bright acoustics, but not the lyrics.

Benee is just naturally attracted to sad songs, though, she says. Funk guitars, tambourine claps and all, she’s still able to hone in on and perfect the making of a “sad banger,” an increasingly popular category of songs catapulted into the mainstream by artists like Mark Ronson on Late Night Feelings. Similar to her contemporaries, Benee admits to wanting to write from experience, so her tracks often sound like glimpses into depressive episodes rather than celebratory bops.

Related | Gus Dapperton’s Dancefloor-Ready EP Benefits Queer Youth

For someone who began her career doing covers on SoundCloud and writing in her bedroom, the intimacy isn’t stunted. Songs like “Blu” (“Don’t look pretty when I cry/ Do you feel bad when you lie?”) and “Find an Island” (“Find an island far away from me/ A shipwreck lost at sea”) feature the same sort of uptempo melancholy. It’s surround-sound honesty, another prime example of pop-gone-wild as we head into the new decade; for a genre that’s propped up to be widely palatable, artists like Benee are subverting it to be hyper-personal.

Continue on to read about Benee’s journey from bedroom songstress to studio maven, the blurred lines of pop in the new decade, and the viral success of “Supaloney,” exclusively for PAPER.

I’ve been in an amazing rut of downtempo electro-pop lately. Is that how you would typify your music?

I go through phases — a little of a mix, which is most likely indie-pop. I’m really into making music that I’m interested in, but then also trying to convey R&B with pop melodies. I’m trying to do a mix of it all.

It’s very of-the-moment too, because nobody’s really making one genre.

Exactly. It feels like a cross, like I’m crossing over.

Is there an artist who stands out for you that does this perfectly, this crossover of many different Gen Z genre blends?

I feel like James Blake is someone who has been an inspiration to me for a very long time. I do like the electronic elements, and kind of giving them to trap and like hip hop now, collaborating with big rappers and stuff. I feel like he’s done a pretty good job of mixing genres.

For Stella and Steve, what were you looking to distinguish it apart from the first EP?

I don’t know. I just know that I’m constantly trying to make a different-sounding song. When it comes to making EPs, for these last two, I wasn’t really thinking about how the EP would come to be when I was making the songs. When I’m making a body of work, I like the idea of being able to pick songs of mine that I already checked and build them up and arrange it again. I think of it as like a puzzle, how it all fits together. I like the idea of being able to put “Supalonely” and “Blu” together. They’re written about the same thing, but with very different ideas.

Do you prefer the EP structuring, where it’s succinct? Or has a full-length album always been the pinnacle of creation for you?

Sometimes doing the EP is a lot of work, but I want to make the album. I’m looking to make an album now, I think. I’ve done my EP, I’ve done that, and now it’s kind of a bigger “something” to work towards.

It mirrors from where you started, with GarageBand and the SoundCloud releases, to now these sort of mastered track worlds and new wealths of resources.

It’s been wild. To be honest, when I was making my SoundCloud stuff on GarageBand, I had no idea what working in a studio would be like when I was with a producer and recording my vocals properly, but it’s been awesome. Being able to work in a studio, I love it, it sounds so much bigger than doing it at home.

Were you familiar with a lot of the larger production tools, or is it all still a learning process for you?

No, I’m still terrible at working with Logic and stuff. My producer, Josh Fountain, kind of taught me how to navigate myself around it all, but someone could tell me how to produce a song and it would not really work out very well.

Are there sounds or genres that you want to explore that you feel like you’re still learning how to craft. A lot of writers find it a bit harder to resist pop structuring.

I always lean towards making more pop-y songs because they’re a lot easier for me. The more indie and sad songs I really enjoy making, and I think that making a song like “Blu” was like nothing I had ever done before. I’ve always wanted to make a rap song, but I can’t rap. I really want to make a cool hip-hop song. I’ve trial’d a bunch, but it just doesn’t work, but it might in the future. I really want to experiment with different genres.

What attracts you to making these songs that are lyrically sad, but sound happy.

I just love sad songs. They flow so easily. It’s so easy to pause and feel these depressed and sad emotions and just to write about them. I prefer writing these sad songs, which is kind of weird.

Where does that comfort come from, because you were a bit more isolated in your songwriting process prior to getting into a studio?

It’s very much me becoming more comfortable in the studio. I don’t think when I first got in there, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do “Supalonely.” It’s about becoming comfortable, forming this relationship, telling the producer what’s going on in your life and what you’re going to write about. I think I’m just drawn to the bridge, being super sad and just writing songs about it.

What was it like getting Gus Dapperton to have a feature on that track [“Supalonely”]?

I heard the song, already written. I thought that it was finished. Me and my guy Dan from the Republic, he’s my A&R guy, he’s mates with [Gus]. He had lunch with him and showed him the song and he was just like, “What would you think about Gus coming in and building something on here?” I was just like, “Oh my gosh, what about a bridge?” and it just happened. I’m a big fan of his work, and had been for a while.

Do you find that you and Gus match up from time-to-time in terms of occupying a similar pop sound space?

There isn’t always a big difference. I feel like he’s also kind of experimental in the way that he’s playful with his work and he’s got pop elements and an indie vibe going on. Overall, it’s just a fresh sound. He brought a lot to the song.

You also seem to have a very solid aesthetic vision for yourself and your videos. Do you see style and sound as going hand-in-hand?

I think that style has become something that is more experimental within music. I think there’s a line, and it’s also just another way that you can express yourself. It adds to the sound — it adds to the movement.

Have you seen your style change as you’ve been putting out the EPs? Or is your fashion sense pretty core to you?

A little bit. To be honest, working with stylists — they’re kind of like a teacher, telling you about all these like brands you’ve never heard about before. I’ve found out about all these different kinds of designers. Same with the “Supalonely” video, I’d been working with a stylist named Sarah, and my style has definitely changed.

The way you come up with ideas for your videos, is that similarly collaborative?

Definitely. It does change depending on who I’m working with. With the “Glitter” music video and the “Soaked” one, which is an old one, I was super hands on. I made a Pinterest board, where I had this idea in my head of what I wanted it to be. For the “Supalonely video, I talked to the director, ROME, and I told him exactly what the song was about, gave him other contexts about it as well. He got to see what it was all about, but I have gotten more creative control.

Do you enjoy the filming process? That’s a whole new experience compared to making songs at home.

It’s very hard work, especially the “Supalonely” video, and for some things we’d be up til 4 AM doing stuff and we’re very tired, but you do it and it ends up being cool.

One of my favorite questions to ask is what an artist’s favorite song to play on their setlist is. Do you have one?

I think it might’ve changed. I recently toured Australia, and “Glitter” was going off of TikTok, and it used to be my other song “Find An Island,” that when I played that everybody went crazy, dancing wild. Now it’s “Supalonely.”

How crazy has that TikTok-ification of your songs been? People just have your song at their fingertips to use.

It’s crazy, man. I didn’t even know it! I didn’t actually completely understand the app until a few months ago. I’d be getting people on Instagram DM’ing me, and scrolling and seeing all the dance videos, seeing that Emma Chamberlain made a video to it. I used to watch her YouTube videos, it’s crazy! It’s really weird, but a treat.

Stream Benee’s Stella & Steve EP, below.

Photography Charles Dennington
Direction and styling: Sarah Pritchard
Makeup: Joel Babicci
Hair: Rory Rice
Photography assistant: Nick Bannehr

Special thanks: Debra Stubbings and BlueBreeze Goldens

Here’s How ‘Isolation’ Has Been Treating John the Blind

In light of COVID-19’s social distancing, while some artists are enjoying a stretch of much-deserved time off, John The Blind, a musician whose debut EP released last year, is not. Following a creative burst of inspiration, John created a new six-track EP, called Isolation, and has more music scheduled for later this year. In doing so, John is true to the story behind his name, having spent years writing for top artists ranging from John Legend to Katy Perry, but knowing he always had more of his own music to share.

Related | Emerge From Quarantine as a Musician


“I go in, I am blind to the creative process and then an hour or two later there’s just this song there,” John says. In just a three-day period of social distancing, after watching episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and playing video games (FIFA to be exact) John’s Isolation was born.

“I didn’t want to be precious,” he says. “I wanted to be as free as I could and create. No thinking, put it out, and on to the next.” The entire process of making Isolation, plus livestreams with Teddy Geiger and Niall Horan have all been documented on John’s Instagram.

Naturally, PAPER slid into John’s DMs to learn more:

@christinadecon: Hi John! I listened to your Isolation EP and already sent it to a few people it’s SO awesome. First off, did you always plan on doing this when you found out about the quarantine? Where did the inspiration come to start making the EP in just 3 days?

@johntheblind: Hi!!! was not a plan at all haha. After the initial “STAY AT HOME” I basically watched Curb [Your Enthusiasm] and played FIFA for two days str8 (haven’t touched a video game in years). Then day 3 I was like alright… I need to do SOMETHING. And what better inspiration than being literally isolated, home alone in my own head haha. I didn’t want to be precious, I wanted to be as free as I could and create. No thinking, put it out, and on to the next. Once I hit the 6th song I was like “alright Jesus this is enough for a sec.” Didn’t wanna oversaturate people that might be listening. As an artist as well as a songwriter/ producer you’re always saying “damn, I wish I could just jam and make shit!!!” But you can never find the time.

John The Blind on Instagram: “#togetherathome #livefromhome #livefromhere”

@christinadecon: I really think it’s the perfect length and treat for people to receive right now. I also saw you were doing some livestream concerts! How have those been?

@johntheblind: LIVE went ok haha. Obviously all the songs r brand new so I fucked up a lot of chords and lyrics doing them acoustically. People have been giving me a lot of love and I’m so very grateful it’s insane. When the idea of “not talking to, touching or even seeing” someone sets in, a lot of emotions come up. The only place to go is inward. I used a few different situations to draw from. Also my mom was supposed to be visiting all week but had to cancel her trip which bummed me ouuuutttt

@christinadecon: Yes!! I know a lot of your career has been very collaborative, and now with more of your new music set to come this year, how do you see the rest of the isolation period going for you? Do you intend on making more Isolation records, relaxing a bit or just taking it day by day?

@johntheblind: guna take it hour by hour haha I don’t know. Def took yesterday and today to just chill. Might get back in the studio tomorrow and get weird, have to just see how I feel. I plan on making a lot more music, at least in this first week or two. Then I’ll go back and finish some projects/work stuff I need to do. Maybe read a book or two. Some FIFA again. Then repeat! I zero plan. I’m just trying to stay healthy, mellow and do whatever the fuck I feel in that exact moment. Musically or not.

Photo courtesy of John the Blind

Alice Longyu Gao Shares Some ‘Violent Pop’

With icy, piercing vocals, clashing synthesizers, abrupt key changes and the use of silence, Alice Longyu Gao’s music embraces unpredictability and constant surprise.

Today, the Chinese-born, New York-based artist releases two new tracks from her upcoming EP, Violent Pop. One of them, “Yung Piece of Shit Shut Up,” was co-produced by Jack Laboz and Gao’s longtime collaborator, Dylan Brady. “You still ask your daddy for his cash,” Gao sings to her subject, who she calls “universal trash.”

In an Instagram post announcing her new singles, Gao writes that she must release “these intense emotions and jokes, through this fresh musical arrangement and songwriting” she is “experimenting with.”

Alice Longyu Gao on Instagram: “[Violent Pop by ALG release 1]⭐️Link in Bio!! i feel beyond wild to release these songs. Would u be scared if u r on a journey of ur own, u…”

The second track, “U Think U Can Fuck with Me Dont Ya,” highlights Gao’s abilities to stretch her voice to its limits, ranging from screaming, screeching and delicately chanting. Her voice joins pulsating beats, sudden electric guitar solos and claps as she repeatedly sings the song title. The track was also produced by Laboz and Chris Greatti.

Alice Longyu Gao on Instagram: “[Violent Pop by ALG] release 1 pt.2 “u think u can fuck with me dont ya” prod. by @jacklaboz & additional production/guitar from…”

In the post announcing that song, Gao writes that at first, she thought no one would like this track, but that she ultimately felt that “kids needed” to hear its confident message.

Gao has long been on the radar of electronic music fans. The artist has been associated with everyone from Dorian Electra to CHAV and even created an immersive pop-up that served as an ode to Harajuku culture.

As the musician told PAPER last December, the release of these two singles means that her 2020 EP is well on its way. Until then, stream “Yung Piece of Shit Shut Up,” and “U Think U Can Fuck with Me Dont Ya” below:


Photo via Instagram

Yung Lixo – Sake Lyrics

[Refrão]
Sake, sake, mano, cê não sabe
Estilo Kimosabe, dando tiro nos covarde
Então, não vale, vale, mano, cês nem vale
Te dei muito tempo, mas agora já é tarde, mano
Sake, sake, mano, cê não sabe
Estilo Kimosabe, dando tiro nos covarde
Então, não vale, vale, mano, cês nem vale
Te dei muito tempo, mas agora já é tarde, mano

[Verso 1]
Quer burrice? Vou te dar porrada, burro
Cês é tudo vagabundo, num ‘guenta nem dez segundo
Gira o mundo e gira a bolsa, mano, vai lavar a louça
Sai da porra da internet, han, e vê se cala a boca
Cês não sabe de nada e eu já tô cansado
Fica falando merda pa’ ganhar seus dez centavos
Fala, fala pra caralho, faz porra nenhuma
O tempo que tu gasta dava pa’ tomar na bunda
E nunca, nunca mais olha no meu olho
Confiança é pra poucos, pros tolos
E todos que cruzarem teu caminho vão sofrer
Porque tua falsidade te impede de crescer
Yeah, yeah, yeah

[Refrão]
Sake, sake, mano, cê não sabe
Estilo Kimosabe, dando tiro nos covarde
Então, não vale, vale, mano, cês nem vale
Te dei muito tempo, mas agora já é tarde, mano

[Verso 2]
Sua gang é cheia de membro, mas todos tem dez anos
Irmão, já tô sem tempo, não me atrasa falando
Muito foda suas roupas, muito foda seu inglês
Mas pelo amor de Deus, não lança mais nenhum EP

[Pré-Refrão]
Pulo, levanto meus pés
Chute na boca pra tu ver qualé’
Engole seus dente chamando os gambé
Pra te salvar quando a gang vier
Pulo, levanto meus pés
Chute na boca pra tu ver qualé’
Engole seus dente chamando os ‘gambé’
Pra te salvar quando a gang vier

[Refrão]
Sake, sake, mano, cê não sabe
Estilo Kimosabe, dando tiro nos covarde
Então, não vale, vale, mano, cês nem vale
Te dei muito tempo, mas agora já é tarde, mano
Sake, sake, mano, cê não sabe
Estilo Kimosabe, dando tiro nos covarde
Então, não vale, vale, mano, cês nem vale
Te dei muito tempo, mas agora já é tarde, mano

Cadell – 17 Lyrics

[Verse 1]
I don’t care who you think’s the best in grime
Cause I ain’t no rival for a title, I’d rather be next in line
I can see mouths moving but really can’t hear no one
Godfather, my big brother’s the Robert De Niro one
I saved the grime scene, no hero one
Where should I start from? Zero? One?
He took many a flow, tried to use me
Till I got over one, like two, three
And I’m bored of the sword fights
I lock down the rave, no 45s
On the front line, you won’t get lemon
I’ll give him a dead Q, six, seven
Wrote this bar and I had to rate Grimez
I want two boxes, that’s eight nines
I’m a devil, I wanna go to heaven
Nearly a new day, ten to eleven
21+, that’s helping me
Lost my virginity at twelve, thirteen
Plus, didn’t wanna miss me
Write like fourteen to fifteen 16s

[Hook]
You was like seventeen, filling job applications
I was like seventeen, chilling with Truss, we got entertainment
And yeah, I might lose my friend, I don’t want no replacement
Cause me and my circle’s family, I ain’t lost fam in ages
You was like seventeen, filling job applications
I was like seventeen, chilling with Truss, we got entertainment
And yeah, I might lose my friend, I don’t want no replacement
Cause me and my circle’s family, I ain’t lost fam in ages

[Verse 2]
At sixteen, I’d tell girls I’m eighteen
Guess what? They still believed me
Born in 19 How Long, 20 man deep
When I ride out, it’s easy
In America, you’ve gotta be 21 to be able to do
22 of the 23 things we do in 24 hours
25 man wanna beef me
Might not reach 26, if I don’t, I’m pissed
I can say that it’s worth a try
My team’s success might hurt your eyes
Two sevenths, two eighths, two nines and 30 guys
I know you wanna be one
Got the fans like “this ain’t the free one”
And I’mma end the count at 32
Make sure that you get the EP too
And I’ve been a problem
But I don’t admit it often
And I’m anti, ain’t got a million friends
Me riding alone’s like a million men
Spent 2014 giving ’em pebs
2015’s gonna make a little more sense
So business, stay inna yours
Me, I can’t lack inna war
Man think that they’re Modrić, new to the field like Livermore
I’m old school, front liner, Robbie Keane
f**k twerking, if I let it tweak
You’ll know what Bobby means
But enough about Bobby, though
Cause they already knew we was on the road
This my honour roll
I’ve heard too many man say they’re onto me
Dem man are ghost busters like they shot a ghost

[Hook]
You was like seventeen, filling job applications
I was like seventeen, chilling with Truss, we got entertainment
And yeah, I might lose my friend, I don’t want no replacement
Cause me and my circle’s family, I ain’t lost fam in ages
You was like seventeen, filling job applications
I was like seventeen, chilling with Truss, we got entertainment
And yeah, I might lose my friend, I don’t want no replacement
Cause me and my circle’s family, I ain’t lost fam in ages

DMing With Cowboy Black, R&B’s New Queer Heavyweight

For the past four years, 20-year-old Cowboy Black has been writing music from his teenage bedrooms between small towns in North Carolina and California. He’s reflected on many complicated experiences navigating sexuality as a young, queer person, from isolating encounters on hookup apps to the inevitable challenges of sex work. All these “heartbreaks and failures,” as he describes them, have been transformed into seven different songs for his debut self-titled EP — an electronic R&B effort that perfectly captures the melancholy of sexual discovery.

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Cowboy Black opens with the pianos, rainfall and glitchy vocals of “Proem,” as Black quickly warns, “I’m a living confrontation.” This declaration leads into “Fine,” where the singer offers his relentless love to a man, complete with the EP’s most relatable statement: “I’m a broken motherfucker with my arms wide open.” Black admits he’s feeling “hopeless” and “wasting his breath on a dream.” Then on “Feed” he reclaims his power like a syrupy seducer (“I feed you so good”), and on “Needs” demands the attention he deserves. “Hosting” is Cowboy Black’s centerpiece, and explores unrequited love in the context of fleeting queer hookup culture, while “Lamb” slips briefly into a moment of pure innocence. “Several Open Fields,” a painfully beautiful bookend to Black’s EP, builds and drops, lamenting “love behind a curtain.”

rodeo king on Instagram: “…it’s been literally years in the making, the heartbreaks and failures i’ve had to experience to allow me the opportunity to process…”

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An independent release, Cowboy Black is one of 2019’s most mature, confident efforts to date. Black’s vocals oscillate between falsetto flutters and low, soothing tones, as he sings clearly about confusing, erotic love. The production throughout — with contributions from several different artists — manages to distill chaotic emotions into slow, comforting palettes of layered synths. It’s sensual and battered, horny and bruised — a collection of scarring memories generously released so that Black can be relieved of the trauma.

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Below, I caught up with Cowboy Black over Instagram DMs to talk about his debut EP, queer hookup apps and 2020.

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@justintmoran: Ok hi!

@cowboyblacks: Hello!

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@justintmoran: Where are you rn?

@cowboyblacks: Sitting on the balcony outside my house in some wet chairs.

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@justintmoran: Wet chairs? Where’s home?

@cowboyblacks: I live in Orange County, actually. We’ve been getting some heavy rain on and off for the past couple weeks and my patio is soaked.

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@justintmoran: Oh! I didn’t realize you’re a Cali girl.

@cowboyblacks: Oh, absolutely. Born and raised here in California, but my mom loves moving so I’ve also lived in North Carolina for a few years. I’ve got some southern charm embedded in my brain.

rodeo king on Instagram: “track four: needs you would leave me here— hunched over, crying a new mold for my skull— huh? spilling something wet across a dry pallet.…”

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@justintmoran: Yeah, for some reason I thought you lived in a smaller town. NC + Cali adds up, though. You live just you and yr mom?

@cowboyblacks: Actually, my mom has moved on to a new state. I am living with my dad right now. And to be fair, I am from a smaller town in Orange County— my friends from LA have literally referenced it as “the middle of nowhere,” although that’s probably a stretch.

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@justintmoran: There’s something very intimate sounding about the new project, both lyrically but also in its format. Like it was created out of the need to describe your fantasies or maybe out of pure boredom. Did you make it all at home?

@cowboyblacks: Yes, the entire project was made in the bedrooms I’ve spent my young adult life in. I don’t think I realized when I was writing the EP how these spaces made me feel more comfortable and natural, allowing me to feel much more careless painting very vivid pictures of these very real traumas from my life. I always had the intention of *someone* hearing what we made, but it doesn’t quite hit you the same until a stranger is asking “who hurt you?” Ahaha. It’s very much autobiographical, hence the self title!

rodeo king on Instagram: “track three: feed about constantly giving yourself up to/for somebody and not feeling them give anything back. developing a physicality…”

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@justintmoran: It definitely sounds as vulnerable (and comfortable) as you feel in your own bedroom growing up. Kind of an innocent quality, too. How old are you now? When did you start making these songs?

@cowboyblacks: I’m 20, now, but I’m an Aquarius so I’ll be turning 21 soon. It’s interesting you mention it, because “Needs” was actually written and recorded when I was 17. I’ve written poetry all my life, but hadn’t necessarily put it in a real song format until I was graduating high school. “Needs” was only the second ever song I had finished— as in, wrote, recorded and finalized. I think a couple years later when Calico Jack was adjusting the mix, I had sent some more vocals for layering. But yeah, that would date the Cowboy Black EP to having been started almost 4 years ago.

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@justintmoran: I’m listening to “Needs” rn. 4 years is a long time to have lots of different sexual experiences, both good and bad. This EP seems to cover it all… sometimes the bad is good. Addictive even! Maybe “good” isn’t the right word.

@cowboyblacks: Well, the bad can certainly be exciting! It would be dangerous for me to start calling it “good” because then I might not ever break my bad habits. The EP was actually originally titled Hosting because before some of the later tracks developed, it really was a documentation of my sexual experiences from this beginning of my adult life.

But “Hosting” is one of the more recent songs I’d written for the EP. When i sent it to Calico Jack I hadn’t expected it to develop into this, big echoing piece of R&B butter… Lyrically, I’m playing with my perception of queer romanticism (or maybe the lack thereof) in my life. “Hosting” is a popular term used to communicate on gay hookup apps that you can have the “date” at your place. In the song, I find myself hosting more often than not. I am using this as an analogy to explain my feelings of having an open heart for someone to embrace, influence, rest, etc but not being able to find that home in someone else. I don’t know if it’s an effect of queer men’s inability (or rather, fear) to love openly and honestly because of past traumas, or if I myself find the faults in other people to protect myself from intimacy. Either way, I’m always left with these fleeting, hyper-sexualized partnerships that end quickly. This theme is the centerpiece of the EP for me.

rodeo king on Instagram: “atheists be like”

None

@justintmoran: “Hosting” is also something that has specifically emerged in the digital age of queer hookups, which is the only experience that young people like us have been a part of. I really love that this project captures queer isolation in a way. Like sex culture on your phone, on apps. It’s exciting, but it’s also lonely. There’s a loneliness to the way you sing and tell these stories. “I’m a broken motherfucker with my arms wide open.” Like… same.

@cowboyblacks: Ahahaha it IS lonely… And it’s a shame that it’s such a similar experience for so many queer men. I think that these apps could be a good way of communicating amongst each other and integrating different parts of the community, but we don’t seem to use them that way. I mean, everybody likes to have sex, right? But when that sex is not moderated and is constantly being promoted to you, right in the palm of your hand… it becomes this mode of instant gratification. It becomes a way to escape into a world where queer sexuality isn’t inaccessible. It’s a nice fantasy, but it’s also just a fantasy. I may have been ranting, I’m not positive that reads sensical.

None

@justintmoran: No, this makes perfect sense. It’s instant gratification and it’s in your control, but life outside apps takes time and it’s definitely out of your control… which is mostly a toxic imbalance.

@cowboyblacks: Exactly. Not to mention the *human being* you are communicating with has their autonomy and their own will and desires and isn’t just a toy that you ordered off a screen. It’s a dangerous game to start seeing your queer brothers and sisters as (mainly) sexual objects, from my perspective. And these apps line all of us up so that we can be judged and picked through like pieces of candy ahaha. It’s odd, really, and I contribute to it!

rodeo king on Instagram: “i am your body to host every sin”

None

@justintmoran: We all do. Damn… Ok so, who all was involved in this EP? You worked with collaborators, right?

@cowboyblacks: Yes! I worked with three lovely producers on this project. Deepfake produced “Proem,” Peter Taylor produced “Fine,” and Calico Jack produced everything else. I don’t think a single track would sound the same without the entire tracklist being what it is. I’m so grateful for their hard work and their willingness to listen to my very oddly specific visions, or my shitty demos with the wobbly piano synths.

None

@justintmoran: So you’d work on the skeleton of the song, lyrically and melodically, from your bedroom, and then take it to one of them to develop? For being your first major release, it has such a confident, mature quality to it. Definitely one of the strongest independent releases this year!

@cowboyblacks: Oh wow, thank you so much. That’s high praise. I write everything I sing, yes, so it makes me feel special to hear someone resonate with it the way we intended. I think the EP sounds very… intentional. And I love that. All the little details, the false glitter of “Hosting,” the pitched down vibrato of “Needs,” or the wide folding over space of “Several Open Fields”… all of it was crafted with purpose. I’m so thankful for Calico Jack to have deeply related with the content I was giving him. He’s always so kind and supportive, even when I’m giving him a demo way late or switching up concepts all together. I write all the lyrics, the melody and sometimes the progression. And then Jack and I go back and forth on finalizing it with last vocals, maybe little lyric changes, etc.

rodeo king on Instagram: “bet you want some of my face time, boy”

None

@justintmoran: “Fine” is my favorite. That chorus is a perfect pop hook. Do you feel connected at all to the community of queer artists making pop music on the internet today?

@cowboyblacks: Yes and no. I think the pop community online, especially in the queer scene, is still very derivative of the mainstream when it could be a much greater counterculture. I think there are super talented indie queer creatives who deserve more recognition, like Tama Gucci or Auden, but unfortunately the gay world is still very saturated by whiteness. Most times, the people who are exalted in our scene are white or lightskinned. It’s very disheartening to me, and even more so when I think that a lot of the publications aren’t doing much to alleviate this issue.

None

@justintmoran: So your work is not only relatable, but completely vital in 2020!

@cowboyblacks: Ahahaha I wouldn’t say Cowboy Black is necessarily vital. I myself am lightskinned, but I do have the bigger picture in mind and I want to see my people start doing bigger and better, that’s all.

None

@justintmoran: Do you see your Instagram grid as an extension of your music?

@cowboyblacks: I wish I didn’t have to see my instagram grid at all, really! But yes, I try to keep it tied into the music. I think every way I present myself should be derivative or representative of the art I release. It makes me as a person a little easier to process for strangers, I think. Everything comes back to a central theme.

rodeo king on Instagram: “♡*(ू•‧̫•ू⑅)♡⋆*ೃ:.✧”

None

@justintmoran: Listening to the music and looking at some of the images you’ve created it all seems to have a through line. It’s provocative, but tells a familiar story. Especially for queer people!

@cowboyblacks: Yes, I’m happy you noticed! I think my Instagram feed tells a story of sexualization from a young age. That morphs into lack of intimacy and then THAT morphs into a full dive sexual performance. I have a huge fascination with “performing sex,” by the way. Not just in porn material, but in everyday life.

None

@justintmoran: What do you think informs your “performed sex”? Both on Instagram and in your music?

@cowboyblacks: l don’t want to say too much, but I am very much informed by real life experience and trauma with sex work. It’s unfortunate that there’s not a lot of education on the topic because of the stigma. I went into it almost blindly, but I am happy for the experience because it provides an entire new context to sexuality in my life. I feel so much more liberated now to be able to not just say, but sing “I feed you so good,” knowing that was something I said to a past client who had harmed me deeply. Ugh I keep using the word “trauma,” but I don’t know what other name to prescribe my demons.

None

@justintmoran: Thank you for your honesty! Honesty is hard… do you find it easier to be honest through music?

@cowboyblacks: Yea… I think it’s a cycle. I find it easier to talk about after I’ve written a song about it. I think that’s something a lot of artists feel, maybe, after singing something so many times. I think when it’s on my brain for so long while I’m writing the song, and even after when I’m singing to it, listening to it, talking about it with a listener… It allows me to arrive at a place where it’s not so bad talking about the issue.

rodeo king on Instagram: “dirty boy 4 lyfe”

None

@justintmoran: Is it scary knowing all these experiences are available and open to anyone who cares to listen?

@cowboyblacks: Yes! It is, because even with the little amount of attention I’ve gotten, I’m already receiving really negative messages and comments. It reminds me that not everyone is listening to understand your experience. There will be many who listen to critique or criticize it. And I think I’m okay with that, ultimately, but it is off putting sometimes because the music really is just an extension of me, and some people can be harsh.

None

@justintmoran: Where do you want to take things in 2020? Do you want music to be your full-time project?

@cowboyblacks: Absolutely! This has always been what I want to consume all my time. I wish I could live in the middle of an evergreen forest somewhere suspended in time writing albums for all the valley creatures. Being an indie artist is hard work, but I like that. And I want to make it happen for Cowboy Black in 2020.

None

@justintmoran: I see it for you! I’ve been sending the EP around to my friends.

@cowboyblacks: King! I assume you’ll leave that invoice for promotional work to the forest nymphs.

None

@justintmoran: Yes ma’am! Also I was just looking in your comments and someone suggested an OnlyFans visual album… that would be genius and iconic

@cowboyblacks: Right!? I mean, at this point I’m just scared someone is already doing it!

rodeo king on Instagram: “i wrote a song about sex today so i’m feeling like sex, today. what are you feeling?”

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@justintmoran: But they wouldn’t do it like you! What’re you doing the rest of today?

@cowboyblacks: Would you believe me if I said I’m going to work 8 hours in a book store tonight, slaving for corporate America?

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@justintmoran: Noooo. Have you watched You on Netflix? Speaking of book stores… Idk why we’re all so forgiving of/obsessed with a man who has murdered and stalked so many people, but here I am!

@cowboyblacks: I watched the first couple episodes with my sister last year! I’ll admit, I was very intrigued but I was curious of the writer who was trying to convince us that a man stalking a woman and committing extreme acts of violence was likable. But, here we are! I see posts about him online and I think it might just be that the actor is hot.

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@justintmoran: Oh for sure. All so fucked up! What’re you doing for NYE?

@cowboyblacks: Probably gonna get really drunk with some friends and watch cartoons. I know that sounds lame, but it’s my perfect holiday.

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@justintmoran: There’s too much hype around these holidays anyway, sounds perfect. I’ll be somewhere drinking too much tequila and making bad decisions! Ty for letting me DM you for an hour+ haha. Is there anything we missed?

@cowboyblacks: I don’t think so, thank you so much Justin I didn’t expect it to feel so natural!! You didn’t have to take the time but you did so I appreciate it. Also be safe!! Ahahaha.

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Photo via Instagram











Cardi B – Outro (Skit) lyrics

(feat. Lisa Evers)

[Announcer:]
New York City, welcome to Street Soldiers. The hottest talk on radio, hosted Lisa Evers

[Lisa Evers:]
I’m so glad you’re joining us for this episode of Street Soldiers. With us is Cardi B.She also has a new EP called Gansta B. Cardi, thanks for being with us

[Cardi B:]
Yeah thank you very much

[Lisa Evers:]
We really

[Cardi B:]
Thank you for having me

[Lisa Evers:]
We really appreciate it. What do you want people to know about Cardi B? Last words

[Cardi B:]
Be you. Be you. If you wanna be a hoe, be a hoe. If you wanna be a teacher, be a teacher. If you wanna be gay, be gay. Be you

Mist – Game Changer

[Intro]
Steel Banglez
Sickmade

[Verse 1]
Live life on the edge, won’t topple
Like when I’m on a bike, full throttle
Step in the dance, kop bottles
MIST from the ends is the kids role model
New whip soon land, looking like a space shuttle
Black-on-black, yeah, I call that subtle
My dargs dem a bark, no muzzle
Beef get solved real quick, but it’s long like puzzles
I just wanna watch money double

[Chorus]
I’m getting hot like Nelly
Legend in the game, Machiavelli
Glastonbury, yeah, yeah, you see me on the telly
I’m a very calculated nigga, never miss a penny
I’m getting hot like Nelly
Legend in the game, Machiavelli
Glastonbury, yeah, yeah, you see me on the telly
I’m a very calculated nigga, never miss a penny

[Verse 2]
Just gimmie health, health and wealth
Fear no one but God himself
Got P from my EP and weren’t selling on the shelf
I remember hustling for Ralph
These day I hustle for a house
Stepped in the dance, shut down, bounced
Came through stinking of ounce
Yeah, I came through stinking of ounce

[Chorus]
I’m getting hot like Nelly
Legend in the game, Machiavelli
Glastonbury, yeah, yeah, you see me on the telly
I’m a very calculated nigga, never miss a penny
I’m getting hot like Nelly
Legend in the game, Machiavelli
Glastonbury, yeah, yeah, you see me on the telly
I’m a very calculated nigga, never miss a penny

[Verse 3]
Game change like weather
Yeah, I changed, but I changed for the better
Diamond in the dirt, yeah, you know that I’m treasure
So far gone, dem boy can’t measure
Having no dough brings pressure
When you get dough, don’t go broke, yeah, that’s clever
Sickmade on my chain and my sweater
Yeah, the game got changed with pleasure

[Bridge]
Sickmade
MIS to the fucking T
Just gimmie health, health and wealth
Just gimmie health
Just gimmie health, health and wealth
Just gimmie health

[Chorus]
I’m getting hot like Nelly
Legend in the game, Machiavelli
Glastonbury, yeah, yeah, you see me on the telly
I’m a very calculated nigga, never miss a penny
I’m getting hot like Nelly
Legend in the game, Machiavelli
Glastonbury, yeah, yeah, you see me on the telly
I’m a very calculated nigga, never miss a penny

Reo Cragun – Balance (Growing Pains Album)

Fuck all that lovey-dovey shit
Yeah we’re growin’ up
My mama and auntie done rose me up

My dad was locked up
Ain’t no cryin’ no river no, yeah
Shit happened like it was supposed to
I always heard a greater purpose calling
I was always duckin’ trouble it’s been that way
Nigga M.I.A, I been rollin’ dice like a pro, BSA
I am sure to play, nigga ain’t no way, no way
I’ma turn my EP into a mixtape now
And this ain’t no love song
I gotta do it for the damage, yeah
I see through the static, no panic on me
You can read it in my face
I’m balanced, balanced
I hold my composure, like I’m poster
I ain’t playin’ no game
I’m balanced, balanced

Balance, I thought you knew that that was key
Please, yeah, yeah, yeah
Balance, got it written over me
Sheets, yeah, yeah, yeah

Who’d’ve thought I almost quit
Ain’t that shit ’bout a bitch
Wrote a record ’bout our ex shit
Recognition spreadin’ quick
Twenty records in a single week
Every one of them was out the list
MIley’s tie around my neck
I don’t ever wear a necklace
It’s been that way
Nigga NBA
I hit the bucket like a pro, BPA
Get up out my space
Plastic niggas actin’ bro
I’ve seen that, come here
You done fucked up now

I said it ain’t no love song
I had to do it for the damage, yeah
I see through the static, no panic on me
You can read it in my face
I’m balanced, balanced
I hold my composure, like I’m poster
I ain’t playin’ no game
I’m balanced, balanced

Balance, I thought you knew that that was key
Please, yeah, yeah, yeah
Balance, got it written over me
Sheets, yeah, yeah, yeah

Balance, I thought you knew that that was key
Please, yeah, yeah, yeah
Balance, got it written over me
Sheets, yeah, yeah, yeah

P Money – Keepin’ It Real

[Verse 1: P Money]
I just wanna make music
Hit the studio, create music
My fans purchase, download and play music
Seek melody, metaphor and rave music
That chill on the sofa and play music
Don’t want a beat, just wanna play music
Who am I kidding? I’ll beat when I play music and
If her boyfriend is talking smack
I’ve got that lead your girlfriend away music
I’ve got that wild, you’ve got that tame music
I’ve got that real, you’ve got that lame music
I’ve got that cosign, labels wanna sign the work of art
Belong in the Tate music
Grime, rap, UK bass music
That real easy to embrace music, and
Any MC that is thinking they’re rough
I’ve got that punch a man in their face music
That serve you [?] ace music
Black, white, don’t watch race music
Still here, kept my faith music
Ten years, never made no fake music
Man have been making that great music
You need to make that stay in your lane music
Cuh 2016, I’ll be touring Australia
Second time round like

[Pre-Hook: P Money]
I’ve been killing shows with no deal
I always keep it down to earth, I’m so real
I’m ready, I’m itching to go, can’t sit still
They’re so fake, they don’t even know how it feels when you’re

[Hook: P Money]
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, they don’t even know
How it feels when you’re
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it

[Verse 2: Stormzy]
If you’re gonna send then send for the top
Look, trust me, I get it (calm)
I’ll take that shot and I’ll take that shot
Yeah, I’m photogenic (calm)
But when I spray back and I ended careers
Don’t tell me to dead it (‘llow it)
Bare of these MCs hate me
But they still see me and beg it (pussies)
And I still came back with the game on my lap
Like “nobody move” (no one)
Tryna take care of my Gs
Ain’t tryna see nobody lose
But man try come for my team, I’ll dun him off
My man thought he’s a G, stop running off
I’ve got a crown and you’ve got a crown
But rudeboy, this crown here ain’t coming off (‘llow it)

[Pre-Hook: P Money]
I’ve been killing shows with no deal
I always keep it down to earth, I’m so real
I’m ready, I’m itching to go, can’t sit still
They’re so fake, they don’t even know how it feels when you’re

[Hook: P Money]
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, they don’t even know
How it feels when you’re
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it

[Verse 3: P Money]
Yo, I was one of the youngers that you couldn’t send shop
Yeah, I was a mummy’s boy, but never soft
I boxed man that thought they couldn’t get boxed
Topped MCs that thought they couldn’t be topped
When I flow on the riddim, I never get lost
When you flow on the riddim, you’re told “get lost”
Labels wanna know how I keep going hard
Thought I took a pill cuh my ting never went flop
Complete control, I could never get dropped
There was never a show that never went off
Milking it for so long and it never went off
Don’t know why, maybe it’s cause I never went pop
Helped out the game, man did that a lot
Bring us down to festivals, did that a lot
Man can chat shit about me doing dubstep
Told grime police man never bread cops
So I still spray on dubstep now, and what?
Wait, cut the beat out, let me talk to these lot
Let’s talk P, I’m on about me
First grime act packing at Wireless? Me
Spraying on “Eskimo” at Wireless? Me
Five years straight and still tireless? Me
When everybody got a deal and did what they feel
Who was here releasing grime CDs? Me and Jme
Grime tracks on every single EP? Me
Young MC that was duppying pirate? Me
Big MC still duppying pirate? Me
Doing shows worldwide, play a man’s vocal
Showing their country that it’s not just me
Who was doing that at the time? No one, me
There was more but I can’t fit it in a sixteen
Man just better respect me

[Pre-Hook: P Money]
I’ve been killing shows with no deal
I always keep it down to earth, I’m so real
I’m ready, I’m itching to go, can’t sit still
They’re so fake, they don’t even know how it feels when you’re

[Hook: P Money]
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, they don’t even know
How it feels when you’re
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it

P Money – Keepin’ It Real Lyrics

[Verse 1: P Money]
I just wanna make music
Hit the studio, create music
My fans purchase, download and play music
Seek melody, metaphor and rave music
That chill on the sofa and play music
Don’t want a beat, just wanna play music
Who am I kidding? I’ll beat when I play music and
If her boyfriend is talking smack
I’ve got that lead your girlfriend away music
I’ve got that wild, you’ve got that tame music
I’ve got that real, you’ve got that lame music
I’ve got that cosign, labels wanna sign the work of art
Belong in the Tate music
Grime, rap, UK bass music
That real easy to embrace music, and
Any MC that is thinking they’re rough
I’ve got that punch a man in their face music
That serve you [?] ace music
Black, white, don’t watch race music
Still here, kept my faith music
Ten years, never made no fake music
Man have been making that great music
You need to make that stay in your lane music
Cuh 2016, I’ll be touring Australia
Second time round like

[Pre-Hook: P Money]
I’ve been killing shows with no deal
I always keep it down to earth, I’m so real
I’m ready, I’m itching to go, can’t sit still
They’re so fake, they don’t even know how it feels when you’re

[Hook: P Money]
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, they don’t even know
How it feels when you’re
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it

[Verse 2: Stormzy]
If you’re gonna send then send for the top
Look, trust me, I get it (calm)
I’ll take that shot and I’ll take that shot
Yeah, I’m photogenic (calm)
But when I spray back and I ended careers
Don’t tell me to dead it (‘llow it)
Bare of these MCs hate me
But they still see me and beg it (pussies)
And I still came back with the game on my lap
Like “nobody move” (no one)
Tryna take care of my Gs
Ain’t tryna see nobody lose
But man try come for my team, I’ll dun him off
My man thought he’s a G, stop running off
I’ve got a crown and you’ve got a crown
But rudeboy, this crown here ain’t coming off (‘llow it)

[Pre-Hook: P Money]
I’ve been killing shows with no deal
I always keep it down to earth, I’m so real
I’m ready, I’m itching to go, can’t sit still
They’re so fake, they don’t even know how it feels when you’re

[Hook: P Money]
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, they don’t even know
How it feels when you’re
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it

[Verse 3: P Money]
Yo, I was one of the youngers that you couldn’t send shop
Yeah, I was a mummy’s boy, but never soft
I boxed man that thought they couldn’t get boxed
Topped MCs that thought they couldn’t be topped
When I flow on the riddim, I never get lost
When you flow on the riddim, you’re told “get lost”
Labels wanna know how I keep going hard
Thought I took a pill cuh my ting never went flop
Complete control, I could never get dropped
There was never a show that never went off
Milking it for so long and it never went off
Don’t know why, maybe it’s cause I never went pop
Helped out the game, man did that a lot
Bring us down to festivals, did that a lot
Man can chat shit about me doing dubstep
Told grime police man never bread cops
So I still spray on dubstep now, and what?
Wait, cut the beat out, let me talk to these lot
Let’s talk P, I’m on about me
First grime act packing at Wireless? Me
Spraying on “Eskimo” at Wireless? Me
Five years straight and still tireless? Me
When everybody got a deal and did what they feel
Who was here releasing grime CDs? Me and Jme
Grime tracks on every single EP? Me
Young MC that was duppying pirate? Me
Big MC still duppying pirate? Me
Doing shows worldwide, play a man’s vocal
Showing their country that it’s not just me
Who was doing that at the time? No one, me
There was more but I can’t fit it in a sixteen
Man just better respect me

[Pre-Hook: P Money]
I’ve been killing shows with no deal
I always keep it down to earth, I’m so real
I’m ready, I’m itching to go, can’t sit still
They’re so fake, they don’t even know how it feels when you’re

[Hook: P Money]
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, they don’t even know
How it feels when you’re
Trill, keeping it real
Trill, keeping it

Trettmann – Adriano (Kitschkrieg, Vol. 3 EP) letras

[Intro Ricky Trooper]
Some bwoy a run up dem mouth and a gwaan
Wait till later, wait till later
Leggo tune…

[Bridge]
Tu was ich immer mach, mach was ich immer tu
Wenn nicht jetzt, wann dann? Einfach weil ich’s kann

[Hook]
Ich zieh’ an meinem Vapo, lieg auf dem Piano
Ihr seid mir egal, Adriano Celentano
Driano Celentano, Driano Celentano
Ihr seid mir egal, Adriano Celentano

[Verse 1]
Mach die Tür auf, knall sie dir vor deinen Kopf
Wunderst dich, warum hab ich nicht geklopft
Dich und mich wirft man nicht in einen Topf
Adriano Celentano, du sprichst mit dem Boss
Jaja, big pimpin Trinidad
Die Frauen und den Champus und das Good-Life, gimme dat
Alles echt, alles jetzt, ungestreckt, kein Imitat
Hatte grad’ zwei Lobster, doch bin immer noch nicht satt
Hab die Melodie und den Skill
Sing Balladen oder töte, wenn ich will
Die Versatility, du bleibst’n Mini-Me
Ich sing Balladen und ich töte, wenn ich will
An meinem Fuß der neueste Ultra-Boost
Blätter einmal um, mein Foto in der Juice
Dich und mich wirft man nicht in einen Topf
Adriano Celentano, du sprichst mit dem Boss

[Hook]
Ich zieh’ an meinem Vapo, lieg auf dem Piano
Ihr seid mir egal, Adriano Celentano
Driano Celentano, Driano Celentano
Ihr seid mir egal, Adriano Celentano

[Verse 2]
Keine-Keine-Keine Bitch tötet heute meinen Vibe
Pull-Up vor’m Club, Ornella Muti auf mei’m Bike
Sie sagt, jeder andere Artist lässt sie kalt
Und ich hab mehr Vielfalt, als der Regenwald
Jaja, die Kammer voller Indo
Deine Frau nimmt’n Zug und tanzt mir den Limbo
Pscht, spar dir deine Lingo
Hier ‘n Schein für die Bar, komm mal klar Bruder, stimmt so
Ich zelebriere, brauch’ keinen Grund
Unter mei’m Guinnes und dem Herb und dem Rum
Die Versatility, du bleibst’n Mini-Me
Ich zelebriere, brauch’ keinen Grund
Und glaub mir, mir hat keiner was geschenkt
Was du auch denkst, ich bin nur konsequent
Dich und mich wirft man nicht in einen Topf
Adriano Celentano, du sprichst mit dem Boss

[Hook]
Ich zieh’ an meinem Vapo, lieg auf dem Piano
Ihr seid mir egal, Adriano Celentano
Driano Celentano, Driano Celentano
Ihr seid mir egal, Adriano Celentano

Trettmann – In Meinem Leben (Kitschkrieg, Vol. 3 EP) letras

[Hook:]
Tut mir leid, du liegst daneben
Will mir das alles, nicht mehr geben
Hab keinen Platz dafür, nicht in meinem Leben
Hast du gehört ey, nicht in meinem Leben

In meinem Leben, nicht in meinem Leben
Nicht in meinem Leben, hmhm nicht in meinem Leben
Das ist meine letzte Nacht, in dieser Stadt
Vorhang auf, Schlussakt, U – Turn, Neustart

[Verse 1:]
Gab dir mein Bestes wie Anita
War für dich da, lagst du im Fieber
Ich hab’ so lang auf dich gewartet
Heut hoff’ ich, ich seh’ dich nie wieder
Hab nicht hingeschaut, wenn du die Pfeife rockst
Dir nie geglaubt, dass du die Steine stoppst
Schlaf ein, wach wieder auf, nur mit dir in meinem Kopf
Geh bitte raus aus, raus aus meinem Kopf

[Hook:]
Tut mir leid, du liegst daneben
Will mir das alles, nicht mehr geben
Hab keinen Platz dafür, nicht in meinem Leben
Hast du gehört ey, nicht in meinem Leben

In meinem Leben, nicht in meinem Leben
Nicht in meinem Leben, hmhm nicht in meinem Leben
Das ist meine letzte Nacht, in dieser Stadt
Vorhang auf, Schlussakt, U – Turn, Neustart

[Verse 2:]
Seh’ das Bild heute noch vor mir, wie du damals vorfuhrst
Sagst, dass du mich magst, deine Lippen glänzen Purpur
Crush ohne Zukunft, du kennst keinen Futur
Nur ein Leben ohne Limit, immer auf der Überholspur
Mir doch egal, wen oder was du abziehst
Zückst ‘nen Schein aus’m Bündel, zahlst das Taxi
Taub für Komplimente, wenn ich fluche, lachst wie
Halbblut Apanachi, schenk dir Herb zum Abschied

[Hook:]
Tut mir leid, du liegst daneben
Will mir das alles, nicht mehr geben
Hab keinen Platz dafür, nicht in meinem Leben
Hast du gehört ey, nicht in meinem Leben

Trettmann – Wie Du (feat. Carsten Chemnitz) (Kitschkrieg, Vol. 3 EP) letras

[Intro]
Ich wollte nie sein wie du
Auch vor 10 Jahren – nie sein wie du
Du kannst jeden fragen in meiner Crew, nie sein wie du
Hier ahnt keiner wer du bist, keiner, keiner, keiner

[Hook]
Ich wollte nie sein wie du
Auch vor 10 Jahren – nie sein wie du
Du kannst jeden fragen in meiner Crew, nie sein wie du
Hier ahnt keiner wer du bist, keiner ahnt was du tust
Ich wollte nie sein wie du
Auch vor 10 Jahren – nie sein wie du
Du kannst jeden fragen in meiner Crew, nie sein wie du
Hier ahnt keiner wer du bist, keiner, keiner, keiner

[Verse 1]
Das Jackett von Luther Vandross, das Können Stevie Wonder’s
Der Look deines Tumblr’s, war für mich nie ein Anlass
Wollte nie sein wie deine Helden oder wie jemand anders
Auch nie sein wie du, hab eigene Standards
Eigene Standards, du bleibst ein Fantast, ich bin hier Stammgast
Hier weiß jeder wo er herkommt und wo er hin will, brauch keinen Kompass
Wenn ich du wär’, wär’ ich lieber ich, mal in aller Freundschaft:
Du bist kein Designer, eher Made in China, egal was du anhast
Bin taub für deine Floskeln, dreh dich leise wie n’ Gospel
Mute den Apostel, du hast Swag wie Gerd Postel
Wer hat hier die Hitze – du? nicht das ich wüsste
Bigup Uchenna, streich dich von der Liste
"Bitch, don’t kill my Vibe", ich mach KK3 und die Kids ballern’s
Wie Lil Kim und Sean Combs, "No Time For Fake Ones", halte die Balance
Pull Up vorm Club, pump Tyron Tayler "Cottage In Negril"
Scherz’ ma’ im April, wollte nie sein wie du, also chill

[Hook]
Ich wollte nie sein wie du
Auch vor 10 Jahren – nie sein wie du
Du kannst jeden fragen in meiner Crew, nie sein wie du
Hier ahnt keiner wer du bist, keiner ahnt was du tust
2 x

[Verse 2 Carsten Chemnitz]
Ich hab mit deiner Scheiße nix zu tun
Tut mir leid, ich wollte nie so sein wie du
Ich identifiziere mich mit meiner Crew
Und du mit deinen Schuhen, wie gesagt:
Ich hab mit deiner Scheiße nix zu tun
Ich steppe in die Cypher
Und dann stepp ich aber gleich wieder raus
Wow, die Männer hier sind ziemlich breit gebaut
Nur ist leider hier leider weit und breit mal wieder keine Frau
Pow Pow Pow! Früher hab ich RTL geschaut
Pow Pow Pow! Heute geht das deutlich besser
Pow Pow Pow! Ich mach einfach Facebook auf
Und schäme mich für deutsche Rapper
Interview’s, Premium Box, wer spricht mit Polizisten
Wichtige Statement’s von Hip Hop- Journalisten
Wie gesagt, ich hab mit euerer Scheiße nix zu tun
Für mich ist Savage nur dieser Partner von Naidoo

[Hook]
Ich wollte nie sein wie du
Auch vor 10 Jahren – nie sein wie du
Du kannst jeden fragen in meiner Crew, nie sein wie du
Hier ahnt keiner wer du bist, keiner ahnt was du tust
2 x

Trettmann – Ehrenrunde (Kitschkrieg, Vol. 3 EP) letras

[Verse 1]
Kein Spass man, bis der letzte es gerafft hat, hier ist nichts lustig
Habs allen gesagt: 2Null16 gehört uns, Übernahme, Schlussstrich
Aus’m Nichts in die Championsleague Hombre, nie wieder Schlusslicht
Alle überrundet, Transformation abgeschlossen, alles gut, alles richtig
Und es fühlt sich so leicht an, als ob ich fliege, fernab vom Schwarm
Gönn’ mir ‘n Blick in die Tiefe und ein KitschKrieg- Tattoo auf’n Arm
Für meine Fam so viel Liebe, Fiji Kriss geht auf Eins mit Denyo und Jan
Fizzle zieht am KK- Costum- Vapo, mit eingraviertem Namen

[Hook]
Ich mag Frau’n, die bubblen zu KitschKrieg Beats
Und wenn meine Songs vorbeifahrn im SUV
Während ihr noch überlegt, warum ich euch überrunde
Mei’m Kram neue Namen gebt, lauf ich die Ehrenrunde

[Verse 2]
Awhodat – alle wolln deine Bilder, schwarz- weiß ohne Filter
Hut ab, Haiyti und UFO, ich bin ein Berliner, Megaloh Moabiter
Big Up, Felix und Samy, How many mics? Me say many many many
Pull Up, 187 Co Sing, die Strasse feiert’s, alles muss genau so sein
Stimmt’s Teka, hier um zu gewinnen, scheiss auf Major Deal
Und auf die, die sich nur melden, wann ma’ was geht, ihr seid mir zu viel
Shout Out HHV, KK1 – 2 – 3 kommt auf DoppelVinyl
Dann Album, Trettmann, lauf’ locker durchs Ziel

[Hook]
Ich mag Frau’n, die bubblen zu KitschKrieg Beats
Und wenn meine Songs vorbeifahrn im SUV
Während ihr noch überlegt, warum ich euch überrunde
Mei’m Kram neue Namen gebt, lauf ich die Ehrenrunde
2 x

Trettmann – La Dolce Vita (Kitschkrieg, Vol. 3 EP) letras

[Hook]
Wir tun es an ‘nem Dienstag, 2 Flaschen Moet 1 Bag Sativa
La, La Dolce Vita, das hier ist ‘ne andre Liga
Wir tun es an ‘nem Dienstag, der Himmel färbt sich lila
La, La Dolce Vita, das hier ist ‘ne andre Liga

[Verse 1]
Aye, lass uns Wolken essen
Du neben mir, sehn’ mich schon wieder nach dei’m…
Mach dass, es nie aufhört, wir sind wie besessen
Gehören nicht zusamm’, der Sommer lässt es uns vergessen
Schwarze Outlines, braune Haut, goldene Kette… in ‘ner
Einer dieser tropischen Nächte, falls ich
Das nur träume, mach dass ich nicht mehr aufwache
Dich zum Kotti bring und deine Nummer wieder lösche
Glaub nicht, dass das schon alles ist
Zeig mir nochmal, nochmal womit du arbeitest, Mhmm
Ich weiß, dass diese Nacht die Wahrheit ist
Pull up & come again
Ich link dich gern, komm vorbei
Schreib dir ‘n Song, auf den Leib
Nur wir zwei, sag kei’m Bescheid
"On The Down Low" – Brian McKnight

[Bridge]
Du bist ein Pro und keine Hoe, alles is’ so perfekt
Zwischen den Laken, hör’n Balladen, every thing set
Musst jetzt nicht geh’n, hast mein OK, sippen Rose im Bett
Du bist ein Pro und keine Hoe, alles is’ so perfekt

[Hook]
Wir tun es an ‘nem Dienstag, 2 Flaschen Moet 1 Bag Sativa
La, La Dolce Vita, das hier ist ‘ne andre Liga
Wir tun es an ‘nem Dienstag, der Himmel färbt sich lila
La, La Dolce Vita, das hier ist ‘ne andre..

[Verse 2]
"Gal flex…" , wie Cobra
"Time to have…", du bist wie ich ein Stoner, hmhm
Teste das Aroma
Du erinnerst mich an "All My Girls Do Yoga"
Der Real Deal
Gib mir mehr davon, gib mir viel, viel
Du musst wissen, dass ich, dass ich dich fühl, fühl
Kein Spiel spiel, for real real

[Hook]
Wir tun es an ‘nem Dienstag, 2 Flaschen Moet 1 Bag Sativa
La, La Dolce Vita, das hier ist ‘ne andre Liga
Wir tun es an ‘nem Dienstag, der Himmel färbt sich lila
La, La Dolce Vita, das hier ist ‘ne andre.

Troy Ave – Narcos letras

[Hook]
Tendo la cocaína para la vela vida
Yo Tengo la cocaína para la vela
Tendo la cocaína para la vela
Si tiene dinero potemo hashima cosillas

[Verse 1]
Fat girls having me like papi
Let’s go RIP to Gustafi
Fuck those cheap looking horror
I riding through the town with narcos
Cops see me in the street with them clipping
I’m just a young nigga with ambition coming soon
Taking turns out of town extra mission
How you niggers only making cases if you snitching
How many hoes you fucking here
You don’t want say when they getting laid
Waking young still having
I’m El Patron, real jefe
[Hook]
Tendo la cocaína para la vela vida
Yo Tengo la cocaína para la vela
Tendo la cocaína para la vela
Si tiene dinero potemo hashima cosillas

[Verse 2]
BSP nigga period
I came up from the slums but i do that
I hate gettin money true that I got a bg of it
I was in miami too bad
They say they want war we can do that
It’s killing whatever on first sight here we go
Riding by spraying ozzi on the speed bike where’s my boy
You never bite the hands that feed you God no
You niggers too fake I’m a gangster you feelin me
To my enemies I’m a menace
Cops want to slay me down south
But I’m a be a legend when I’m finished

[Hook]
Tendo la cocaína para la vela vida
Yo Tengo la cocaína para la vela
Tendo la cocaína para la vela
Si tiene dinero potemo hashima cosillas

[Outro]
Imagine without a due we made it out
You feelin me and uhm what I’m
Is dropping these for the people
This shit free you know download it
You know am saying Spread the word
And then we going to drop mother fucking uhm
Brakes in my backpack for
On december the fourth and in that one
That one is for you to go out and buy
You know this is going to be EP on album
The pain I feel in it I’m a double right back
I’m a get up in these white christmas tree
Like a real one