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Along the way I lost faith in Portland’s hip-hop. Too many people in my scene stumble off the beat and path of rapping for purpose, or making music because they love it. Instead, they get lost in the thought of fame, attention and money. You know, the stereotypical ‘bad rap’ evaluation: lazy rhymes where the only consistency seems to lie in the subjects: cars, bitches, and money. For most kids I’ve heard around the Portland area, it seems that hip-hop is more of a shortcut to fame than it is an art form.

Seamus Kilbride, AKA Kila, restored my faith. The 19-year old rapper, currently situated in the Bronx, released his debut Mixtape, 93 Til this past week. The sense throughout the 19 tracks is that Kila doesn’t care about the status – but rather he is rapping because….. he loves to rap. That’s refreshing.

93 Til is raw hip-hop; no gimmicks or catchy hooks. Kila speaks with passion, soul, and relief. With 19 tracks, it seems like the young MC has been working diligently while waiting for the right time to drop his content. 93 Til is the result of such patience. Instead of pumping out multiple, mediocre mixtapes, he waited until he mastered his delivery. By no means is it a perfect project, but it’s a strong debut.

Every song was packed with energy. Kila reeled off line after line. The rhymes seemed infinite. Kila used beats from 9th Wonder, Dilla, & Doom amongst other lesser-known producers. Nearly every track featured a different producer. Check out all the tracks I posted, then go download his tape if you like it. Kila – 93 Til – Mixtape Download

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorites that aren’t on here: “A Glimmer” & “Look of Love”. Go check ’em out.

@codymarcroft

 zaya pd2

(Image courtesy of Zaya, from facebook.com/Zayamusic)

If there were any thoughts of up-and-coming rapper Isaiah Taylor, known as ‘Zaya,’ moving further away from his potential, the MC’s second installation of ‘Pipe Dreams’ has squandered such beliefs. Pipe Dreams Pt. 2, which dropped on March 12th is a leap in the right direction.

While flow was not an issue on Pipe Dreams Pt. 1, there was growing concern the young rapper lacked content variety. The majority of the songs were limited to bragadocious rap. Money, women, success, fame and dismissing ‘haters’ were common occurrences. Taylor has matured significantly since his debut tape.

A healthy dose of brag rap remained in Part two. The tape opens with ‘Chasing Dollar Signs (Intro)’ where he raps,

“Mother f*** you hatin’ N****s, you probably pissed off  /

‘cause I’m hitting everything, and they saw you miss all,”

with commanding delivery over a thumping beat. The confrontational attitude remains, but unlike Pipe Dreams Pt. I, Taylor balances Pt. II with more introspective lyrics – the main difference between the two projects.

On ‘The View,’ Taylor invites the listener into his personal life with mention of his hometown. He raps, “I’m at The View with my girl” – ‘The View’ being a park on top of Munjoy Hill overlooking his hometown, Portland, Maine. He continues a few bars later:

“It’s crazy, this view just got me thinking ‘bout the past again /

No regrets, just reflect, Good with my life as it is.”

He also makes a clever reference to Nick Caner-Medley, a Portland native who spent time in the NBA, showing that Taylor has become more in-touch with his surroundings.

On the title track, ‘Pipe Dreams’ reflects on the meaning of his work, digging deeper into his own intentions:

“These n****s ask what a ‘Pipe Dream’ was /

Does he smoke? ‘Cause he might mean blunts /

Or is the pipe his pipe, ‘cause if it is then he might need sluts /

It might even be random n**** – just because /

F*** that, dumb n****s with their ears all closed /

I don’t smoke and I don’t need hoes /

Pipe dreams are the goals, it just might not happen /

The only f***in’ reason that I might stop rapping.”

Taylor’s ability to conceptualize appears on ‘Tell Me,’ the fifth track on the tape. Over an electronic-influenced, more buoyant beat, Taylor details a failed relationship – one he is attempting to mend. The hook sums up the message:

“You’re always on my mind /

I need you by my side /

Tell me, what do I have to do to keep you?”

While the positives are apparent, there is certainly room for improvement. Despite stepping up his content and displaying greater detail, there are still vague spots throughout the tape where the term “show, don’t tell” would apply.

On ‘Pipe Dreams’ the rapper claims, “I’ve been working hard just to get here,’ leaving the listener wondering what ‘work’ consists of.  This raises a transparency flag. Without clarity, credibility is hard to keep afloat.

In the same song, the rapper illuminates race issues: ‘I guess I really am lucky, ‘cause I’ve seen n****s with no dreams / black on black crimes, these n****s scoring for the wrong team.’ These are powerful lines, but it begs for elaboration. I was left feeling empty; provoked, then left curious by lack of detail. It kept me at a distance. Taylor had something in mind when he wrote these lyrics, and I would loved to have been enlightened.

In the song ‘Friday’ he states, “This song may sound simple but it’s way deeper,” again, raising the question, ‘what Zaya is thinking?’ At these parts in the mixtape there is a deficiency. I didn’t feel surrounded by Taylor’s situation. I felt like I was standing at a distance.

Overall, Taylor has taken forward strides, and Pipe Dreams II should be seen as nothing less than great improvement. A perfect mixtape, no. But at eighteen-years-old, Taylor is off to a solid start, and has much time to flourish in the rap game.

Buy Pipe Dreams Pt. II

Free Download – Pipe Dreams Pt. II

Free Download – Pipe Dreams Pt. I