While we can’t congregate in the name of our favorite artists just yet, supporting your favorite artists is still an option, folks! Buy their records. Buy their merch. Pay for their content on Bandcamp. Or fork over some coin to watch a virtual or streamed performance. Our sister paper the Portland Mercury Music Series’ presents one such opportunity this month, featuring the solo talents of singer/songwriter/producer Amenta Abioto. (Read more on that and get your tickets here.) Until then, here are five new releases from world famous and locally based artists that are worth adding to your queue.
“Up,” Cardi B
Collaboration or not, it seems like Cardi B just can’t miss lately when it comes to dropping hot singles with viral music videos. “Up,” the latest from the Bronx-born rapper, is fierce. Cardi relentlessly talks her shit over an ominous, uptempo beat, and it all makes one want to gyrate. It’s also hard to focus on the lyrics while watching the video, because it’s loaded with wild costume changes, hair, and trippy visuals. But after watching that three times in a row you’ll want to immediately look up the lyrics and learn them, from the chorus (“If it's up, then it's up, then it's up, then it's stuck”) to the refrain, to the stellar verses: “I'm forever poppin' shit, pullin' up and droppin' shit/Gotta argue with him 'cause a nigga love a toxic bitch/Niggas out here playin', gotta make 'em understand/If ain't no ring on my finger, you ain't goin' on my 'Gram.” The song ends with her delightful, adorable cackle.
The always rollicking, often shirtless rapper Youngshirtmayne just dropped a super solid seven track EP, Luke, that’s loaded with Portland references (to Williams and fellow scene stalwart Mat Randol) as well as features from a slew of Portland-based artists like KayelaJ, Bocha, Scooty, and more. Overall, the project is a high-energy offering, and feels like the type of work you’d want to hear in a live setting, with a couple drinks in your system. In addition to the saxophone-laced album opener featuring Bocha, another standout track is the following track “Bounce” featuring KayelaJ; it’s a raunchy shit-talker’s anthem about when one needs to “bounce,” and KayelaJ slays her verse with masterful delivery. One of my favorite lines: “You’re fucking up my energy/You fucking up my chakras and shit/If I open my third eye/It’ll be all on your bitch. She’s fine as hell, she better not call me ‘sis.’/ If I pull out these TTs and she don’t wanna see these, she gonna have to bounce like a disc.”
Crystal Lettuce Lullaby, Cardioid
Cardioid, AKA the main solo project by Lizzy Ellison of Radiation City, has a new project called Crystal Lettuce Lullaby. Kicking off with the effervescent “Cool for the Day,” all the sounds on the seven-track EP definitely embody Ellison’s self-described “fantasy metal” distinction, with the songs remaining fluid, shiny, and not abrasive in the least. Each song is excellent, and the contrast between tracks make it an extra pleasing listen. Highlights include the calming “Beginning,” as well as the emotive “Sake,” and the hopeful, bass-driven “Party Time.”
“Pick A Side," Steveoh
Portland-based emcee Steveoh, formerly known as Stevo the Weirdo, is celebrated in Rip City for making some of the scene’s best 4/20 anthems and vibe-out party singles over the years, like 2015’s “Wake Up” featuring Myke Bogan and last year’s “Hella Baked.” His latest offering, however, is a response to the country’s racism problem building up to the murders of George Floyd. “You hate me because I’m Black/How much do you think a group of people can take before they snap?” He begins. The new single also comes with a sweet black-and-white music video shot and directed by Frey Visuals. Watch below.