ANTHM-The Fire Next Time EP

anthm
So, this happened. With very little prior announcement (or at least, that I’d seen), ANTHM attempts to keep his unrelenting pace of releases up with another brand new free EP- he’s clearly got intentions of forcing his way through that glass ceiling to wider recognition, and this 8-track release will likely prove another strong addition to his underrated back catalogue.

It’s a huge show of confidence when a relatively underground act can drop off an EP with little-to-no promotion beforehand. Given the heavy promotion and disorienting marketing tactics of certain mainstream rappers, this actually comes as a welcome break from that public posturing, and the self-assurance continues through the tracklisting-no features are listed, and after the assist from Blu on (and simply having Blu’s name associated with) his last EP, it’s clear ANTHM wants to strip it all back a little and work this one solo. Credit to him for that, and given the consistency of his previous work, I’m sure this will be a good EP from start to finish. Stream and grab below.

ANTHM-The Fire Next Time EP

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

ANTHM-Manhattan Music, Vol. 1 (Mixtape)

anthm
Most of y’all know me for Handful of Dust, Joy & Pain, and to a lesser extent When We Were Kings. I did this mixtape back in 2010 that never got it’s just due. Called Manhattan Music, Vol. 1, hosted by DJ Whoo Kid, it was never formally released. I was mad hype about it at the time. Feels so long ago. I decided I want to release it now to share my beginnings.

A unique release from ANTHM, as he drops off the project that was originally intended to be his debut release. Of course, a big Whoo Kid co-sign would have made for an impressive debut, and whilst he’s since taken a longer route to success, I’m sure that the more arduous journey has allowed his hunger and passion to come forth on the mic a little more. Stream and download below.

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

ANTHM-Double Excel (Video)

When ANTHM dropped this remix of Eminem’s Role Model, it certainly caught the attention and made for an excellent refresh of that classic track. It also came as part of an onslaught of material he’d thrown out around that time, and that flurry of work has continued since, with this video being the third he’s released in as many weeks.

It was great to hear such fire in ANTHM’s voice on the audio, and he brings that to life with a relatively simple video that just focuses on him delivering the work. That’s after a fun opening, whereby he crashes the Rap Genius offices to ‘subpoena their database of whack rappers’, and it’s actually quite amusing to see the once-Wall Street banker suit up and play a faux-corporate role here. Of course, that’s juxtaposed well with his rougher street performance that makes up most of the video, with his body language used well to enhance the intense raps. Worth a quick watch, and most definitely worth a listen/download above if you don’t already own this.

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

ANTHM-Be Still (Video)

Though the Joy & Pain EP landed almost a year ago, ANTHM heads back to it for his latest visual. It was a project that was very strong from start to finish, and became a great introduction to an artist I’ve championed heavily in the intervening months.

With atmosphere in abundance, the production’s a fantastic medley of slow, powerful percussion hits, airy synths, gentle melodies and plenty more; it’s a busy, thickly-packed backdrop, and yet manages to remain relatively mellow and introspective, facets which extend to his lyricism. The verses are part-biographical, part-inspirational and wholly thought-provoking, with plenty of emotional content wrapped into a deliver full of desire and hunger. Credit to his hook work too, which has him singing a delicate chorus that works smoothly as a ‘cool down’ from the lyrically intense verses, whilst helping emphasise the production’s aura.

The video is unfussy and fits the sound of the track to near-perfection. ANTHM raps in an isolated beach environment that enhances the track’s atmosphere, with the relatively desolate and expansive scenery giving physical space for the track to grow into, whilst the additional backdrop of seemingly destroyed houses throws in a gritty realism to capitalise on the reflective lyricism. Big fan of the track, and the chosen video has been executed well. Grab the EP now.

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

ANTHM-Double Excel (Role Models Freestyle)

anthm
With his Handful of Dust buzz still rolling along nicely, ANTHM takes to the booth to blow off some steam, with his provocation clearly being XXL list-related based on this thinly-disguised title.

Most who’ve heard ANTHM’s material would probably share his sense of injustice, given some of the terrible names that made the XXL list, and that anger fuels his raps nicely here. Grabbing Eminem’s Role Models beat (arguably, one of the more underrated productions in Em’s back catalogue), ANTHM gets progressively more heated throughout this track, injecting his watertight flows and good lyricism with a good hit of intensity. It’s a nice job over a production that deserved a bit of a modern refresh, and another good ANTHM release.

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

ANTHM-5am In Toronto Freestyle

anthm
My praise of Drake’s original was plentiful, and it’s good to have the recently-buzzing ANTHM take the instrumental for himself and deliver a great version of his own.

His work is slightly different to his most recent releases too, with his natural affinity for smart, grounded lyricism being accompanied by a nice dose of confidence and arrogance. Both styles suit the production well, whilst his consistent flow rides smoothly along the beat to add clarity to his lyrics, something many rappers overlook. A good remix, and worth adding to your playlists alongside the original. Handful of Dust available now.

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

ANTHM and Blu-A Handful of Dust (EP)

anthm-handful-of-dust
With his relentless releases in recent weeks, ANTHM’s built up quite the storm for this EP, and with the production helmed solely by Blu (as GODLeeBarnes) there’s familiarity included to help further that buzz.

We’ve already caught two of the tracks from this name-your-price EP (yes, the miserly among you can get it for free), both of which have demonstrated not only the diversity in Blu’s offerings, but the versatility of ANTHM. The latter is something his more long-term fans are certainly accustomed to, and hopefully this works as a platform to project that quality out to a wider audience. In any case, this is likely to be 7 tracks of good, diverse hip-hop, available to stream and/or download below.

ANTHM and Blu-A Handful of Dust EP

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

ANTHM-Debbie

anthm debbie
I picked this as my second release to celebrate my sister on her birthday. She turns 11 today. Anyone who has ever been close to me knows that we have a special relationship. It runs deep. I hope this record remains as timeless in her life as our bond will be. Happy birthday, Debbie.

ANTHM has been relentless these past few weeks, and follows up the first release from Handful of Dust rapidly with this strong effort. A much more bouncy and upbeat track too, with Blu’s production comprising uplifting keys, quick and sharp percussion and a sprinkling of additional samples and effects for a deep production that’s enjoyable on many levels. It’s every bit as summery as Nina, but clearly comes from a much different, more positive angle that suits ANTHM down to the ground: he’s regularly demonstrated his range of flows, and here his quick flow keeps pace with this vibrant production. It’s a solid performance throughout, capped off nicely by his vocalised hook section, which makes for a smooth and necessary break from those relentless raps. Another good all-rounder, and that EP’s shaping up very well.

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

ANTHM-Nina

anthm-handful-of-dust
He’s been on a tear with remixes in recent weeks, and finally lets loose some brand new original work. Taken from his highly-anticipated Handful of Dust EP, released on 4th March and set to be entirely produced by Blu, a prospect with much potential given their previous success when working together on the Joy & Pain EP.

The backdrop is trademark Blu: soft, summery melodies and crisp percussion combines for a warm, mellow production with an easygoing quality that makes it instantly replayable. ANTHM rides along that drum line nicely with a slick, sharply-delivered flow that once again packs in those ambitious, relatable and desire-laden raps, which themselves contain a few smart tricks and memorable lines. A strong release ahead of the EP.

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

ANTHM-Black (Waves Remix)

anthm
Given the plethora of excellent beats on Joey Bada$$’ 1999 mixtape, it’s either lazy or downright odd that more rappers haven’t grabbed a couple for their own use. ANTHM’s not in either category though, and comes through with a remix dedicated to Malcom X.

Whilst he rides the beat with consumate ease and of course delivers plenty of memorable lines, what’s really notable here is the passion in his voice. ANTHM’s generally displayed a good command over melody and emotion in his tracks, particularly compared to some of his more monotonous colleagues, but here it’s a little different: as the track grows, his intensity and anger audibly grows and that frustration bleeds into his lyricism, which grows more aggressive in tandem with those emotional deliveries. Culminating with a short spoken word section, this is a thoughtful, intelligent turn with the instrumental that’s most definitely worth a listen.

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

ANTHM-1 Train (Remix)

artworks-000041052520-cecekp-t200x200
As far as I’m aware, pretty much no-one has put out a good remix of this track, which is not altogether surprising given the track’s original lineup contains many of hip-hop’s best talents.

ANTHM didn’t quite make that cut (though he made his way into my 13 for ’13), so he’s grabbed the production for himself and let loose with a few decent rhymes. He throws forth a couple of likeable flows here, riding along with the production with seeming ease and comfort, whilst his lyrical output packs plenty of the desire and hunger rightfully expected of an upcomer in his position. Just shy of 2 minutes, so it’s a quick listen (unlike the original!) with enough replayability.

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

13 for '13

2013 v3(2)

Year after year, we change the format of the end-of-year OTU round-up (routine is boring), and this year I’ve opted for a forward-looking feature rather than reflecting on what was a rather disappointing year in the music world. Many are desperate to have their tastes for 2013 dictated to them by either the BBC Sound of 2013 or MTV’s Brand New for 2013, but the interesting thing is we’ve been championing some of the acts they’ve thrust upon you this past week for quite some time. The rest of them we probably don’t care about.

So, here’s a chance to get clued up with some genuine upcoming talents that I expect to release more fantastic material this year and break through that next barrier of success, whether it’s into mainstream consciousness or slightly wider underground appreciation. Note that I didn’t say commercial success. Whilst some will certainly find that and it is a facet of their potential growth this year, it’s far from essential, and each selection here deserves to be so on quality and potential more than anything. Regular reader or not, you’ll have heard of several of these selections before and be assured those acts are here on merit, not because a label asked us to do so; something the aforementioned 2013 ‘predictions’ from the mainstream outlets can’t honestly claim. Let’s go. → Continue Reading

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

ANTHM-Late Night Tithes


It’s been a great few days for music from many established acts, and now one of our favourite upcomers in ANTHM drops off some solo material to follow up last week’s successful feature on JMSN’s Somewhere.

Sampling Little Dragon’s Precious, the production is a blend of electro and alternative, giving ANTHM a diverse and thickly-packed set of layers to work with. The percussion has a good sharpness about it, combining with the deep, booming synths well, whilst the various small samples thrown in sporadically add a little flavour and variety. ANTHM’s raps tread that line between being ready for wider acceptance and remaining appealing to hip-hop heads, whilst his flows are once again very much on point. A solid release from ANTHM, and I’m sure there’s more to come soon.

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

JMSN-Somewhere (Remix) ft. Gilbere Forte, ANTHM & Deniro Farrar


ANTHM and Gilbere are definitely two of OTU’s favourite upcoming rappers, and this remix has probably just added two more into the mix with Deniro and JSMN.

An introspective track with a reflective production, each rapper comes through with verses that are about as meaningful as any in recent weeks, though each approaches the track in a distinct manner: ANTHM impresses with his flow, Gilbere’s intensity is excellent, whilst Deniro’s deep and rough voice is very memorable. JMSN’s done a great job supporting each of these guys with a detailed production that effectively utilises a range of vocal samples and effects, sprinkles an eastern-style percussion in sparingly, and creates an atmosphere that’s conducive to fully appreciating the lyrical work on show. Great slice of hip-hop that’s got a ton of longevity.

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

ANTHM-Amen Freestyle


Freestyle probably doesn’t do this one a whole lot of justice, as ANTHM’s grabbed the track and fully reworked the vocals, hook and all. He’s become one of my favourite upcoming rappers in the game in recent weeks (thanks to the excellent Joy & Pain EP, and the When We Were Kings mixtape), and this is another to add to his impressive catalogue.

The raps are in keeping with the uplifting, positive style of the production for the most part, ensuring his remix stays relatively true to the plus points of the original, whilst the slick flow and clever wordplay adds ANTHM’s own touch to the track. Redoing the hook was a great move to really stamp his authority on the production, and this is a remix that’s definitely worth grabbing if you enjoyed the original.

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.

ANTHM-Joy & Pain ft. Freddie Gibbs


I caught one of ANTHM’s tracks, Life Imitates Art, a while back and thoroughly enjoyed it, and having recently stumbled on another gem from him I’ve got good hopes for the rapper.

Grabbing a nice Freddie Gibbs co-sign (plus a Blu feature on the full Joy & Pain EP), this track boasts a superb production that seems to constantly change. The first verse utilises minimal percussion to enhance the intense synths, before switching to a quicker pace in a hook that samples the beat from Jesse Boykins III’s I Can’t Stay. Towards the end of the hook and for Gibbs’ verse however, there’s a prominent electronica-style melody that brings a real atmospheric vibe to the track, whilst the final verse brings the aforementioned sample to the forefront. It’s a dynamic beat that’s seems to grow in stature as the song develops, a feature compliment by raps that begin with introspection and end with positivity. Sadly, I’m out of space to do justice to the raps, but I’d wholly recommend this as essential hip-hop listening. You can grab the track as part of the full free EP below.

ANTHM-Joy & Pain EP

Share this post or we'll inflict pain on you.