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NYC’s Rebounder Tap Billy Lemos for Dance Remix of “Lovers”
NYC’s Bodega Bad Boys are back with a fresh remix of their latest single, “Lovers,” bringing Chicago multi-instrumentalist Billy Lemos into the fold. Unlike a typical remix that adds a guest verse or simply puts their own take on the production over the same vocal track, Lemos fully reimagines “Lovers” and turns it into an upbeat, dance-version of itself and omits the vocals entirely.
What’s left is a synth-poppy dance groove that sounds like a nod to early Louis the Child. Whether the Chicago-bred duo actually inspired Lemos is unknown, but the DNA is certainly there.
Give the song a listen and check out the lyric video below:
Interview: The Effortless Flow & Style of Justin Rarri
A year ago today, no one knew who Justin Rarri was – he had just 17,000 Spotify monthly listeners and his single “W2Leezy” hadn’t yet caught the attention of music listeners and platforms around the globe. Fast forward to today, and the 17 year-old Rarri has collected over 50 Million streams across his catalogue with more than 600,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. The Bronx artist has firmly supplanted himself as one of hip-hop’s most exciting rising stars, as the genre continues to dominate the charts in this new decade.
Tracing back the origin of when he decided he wanted to pursue a career in music, Rarri credits the first time he heard A$AP Rocky’s “F**kin Problems” with Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar, at age 11. “I just remember I fell in love with the beat, so I found out how to find beats through YouTube, and from there it clicked. I fell in love.”
From there, his eyes were set on rapping, unlike his friends who were content with the normal affinities of adolescence. “Growing up, all my homies was playing video games and I was the one that was always writing. That was my play for the day, just writing and listening to beats.” Having grown up in a non-musical family, the process of becoming a musician was a path that he took on his own, day-after-day, crafting a melodic-trap sound derived from and inspired by some of Rarri’s favorite artists as he grew up, especially Kodak Black and Young Thug. “Those were they guys I kept on my phone and my speaker. I grew up singing to melodic shit, and I listened to other artists, but a lot of my shit is influenced by the South.”
The grind of writing and working in the studio paid off just five years later with Rarri’s first viral hit, “W2Leezy,” produced by SumYunGhai. The success of “W2Leezy,” in Rarri’s eyes, came as a result of their collaborative process in the studio.
“Most of the time, I’m with my main producer (SumYunGhai) and we start from scratch and both get into it. With “W2Leezy,” I was very into that, I wanted the guitar, and I kinda picked the 808s on that. Me and my producer are in tune together. After I get it, though, I make my song, I don’t take too long. Like 30 minutes max. I be freestyling. That comes to me easy. A lot of engineers in the rooms always be surprised at how fast I work.”
Out of nowhere, the infinitely smooth song caught fire on Spotify and YouTube, putting Rarri on the radar of major record labels around the U.S. as the song racked up more than 20 Million streams by the end of summer. The attention of top label executives did little to distract Rarri, though. “To be honest, when that came out, I realized everything was coming together…that felt good, but I was still focused on working. I was still worried about the next move, making a bigger song and moment than that.”
Ultimately signing to Interscope Records in the Fall, Rarri released his debut EP “4EVARARRi,” in late 2019. In 2020, Rarri has continued his momentum with “Strong,” his February single that hit more than a million views on YouTube in less than four weeks, and “RICCHEZZA,” his new single and video that dropped everywhere today. Both are expected on an upcoming 12-song EP that’s slated for later this year.
“Strong” is packed with lyrics as Rarri barely takes any breaks over the production, similar to a lot of the music he’s released thus far. Rarri views his extensive, smooth flow as a key to his success so far. “A lot of my fans view that as my thing. They realize how good I am with flows and lyrics. That’s one of my signature strong points. Any song, even if it’s lit, speaks real shit. My fans, they pay attention to what my lyrics I say. Also my versatility – I can go from straight singing to some real trap shit.”
That versatility is nowhere more evident than today’s release, “RICCHEZZA,” perhaps Rarri’s most dynamic song to date. Over an uptempo flow laced with Rarri’s effortless, constant lyricism, the song heats up quickly just like a New York spring, as the cold wears off and we head toward a summer that will include plenty of new music from Lil Rarri.
With his eyes on making a career rather than a moment, Justin Rarri isn’t phased by growing expectations following his 2019 viral hit. Rather, he continues to keep his eyes forward to what’s next: “My music, it keeps getting better. “W2Leezy,” was some chill shit that I made that in ten minutes. I’m not a person that can’t catch the songs – every time I’m in the studio, I got hot shit. Now I’m at the point where I’ve gotta release more, faster. I’ve got a whole bunch of hits. My fans know too, I already got big songs that’s ready to come out, and I already know they’re gonna do bigger numbers.”
We think so too.
Must Listen: Lastlings Debut “Take My Hand” via Astralwerks
Aussie-Japanese brother and sister duo Lastlings announced their signing to Astralwerks Records with their debut single “Take My Hand,” their first release of 2020. The sound of Amy and Josh Dowdle’s shared project of nearly five years seems to be evolving, now sharing a sonic identity similar to electronic acts like Camelphat, Lane 8, and Rufus Du Sol. “Take My Hand” showcases a darker, more house-leaning approach to their production while maintaining the pop-sensible indietronic sound that has drawn attention to Lastlings from around the globe.
Check out the perfectly futuristic music video, conceptualized by Amy and Josh alongside Jonty Bell, and executed by Director/Producer duo Marcus Butler and Alicia Rashleigh Butler. The video themes around love and loss, particularly focusing on re-united those who aren’t ready to be separated by the confines of time and space.
Highlights: Audrey Mika @ Mercury Lounge (16 Photos)
Photos by Jim Michaels (@jmichaels.jpeg) © 2020 Early Bird Music
On Friday night, Mercury Lounge’s walls were packed with teens ready to see rising star Audrey Mika perform her first-ever NYC show. Sold-out for weeks in advance, the YouTuber-turned-recording artist has been building her fanbase over the past few years covering popular hits from today’s biggest artists.
In October, she inked a recording deal with RCA Records, and her sound has fittingly evolved, demonstrating more emotional and lyrical depth than ever. Songs like “Fake Heartbreak” and “4712,” which she wrote on long drives from her native San Francisco down to recording studios in Los Angeles over the course of 2019 demonstrate her keen ability to describe how she’s feeling as her whole life has been changed in front of her eyes.
Now in the midst of her first headline tour, she’s finally getting to prove herself on the road and in front of her earliest fans across North America. Her New York stop at Mercury Lounge was an impressive debut in one of music’s most critical markets – she delivered far above everything you could expect from someone who is still so relatively new to the scene and only has a handful of live performances to her name.
Audrey’s energy was all the way up from the start as her New York fans chanted her name proudly, anxious for her to kick off the night. From the outset, Mika was comfortable on stage, taking the microphone with her as she engaged with fans and paraded around the stage with confidence. With such an important show, it would be understandable if nerves ever threw her voice off, but it rarely happened as she sang each note like a seasoned pro. She engages fans easily while singing
Along with performing her latest new music and a taste of her next single, Audrey surprised one lucky concert-goer in the crowd by singling her out, bringing her up on stage and announcing her as one of Audrey’s earliest fans that she could remember. That’s the type of move that endears true fans, and makes everyone realize that Audrey Mika is a true artist with a long career ahead as long as she keeps up this signature enthusiasm and fan interest along the way.
Audrey Mika is from the new breed of internet-native artists who come into the music industry with a developed brand identity along with hoards of fans who are already sold on the product, and because of that she’s in a far more advantageous place early on than most new acts who step onto the scene, trying to crack into the spotlight.
Highlights: Chelsea Cutler with Alexander 23 @ Terminal 5 (Photos)
Photos by Jim Michaels (@jmichaels.jpeg) © 2020 Early Bird Music
On Tuesday night, the internet’s most beloved Tomboy, Chelsea Cutler sold out her second night at the 3,000 cap Terminal 5 in NYC in support of her debut album “How to Be Human,” which came out in January.
Along with killer visual production, Chelsea brings a ton of energy to the stage when she performs, helping liven up her somber and mellow tunes in a way that makes them easy to sing along and enjoy.
It’s not an easy task to do, but Cutler’s rabid fanbase has bought in to Chelsea’s brand of honest and open songwriting, and are some of the most involved fans I’ve seen at live shows, dating back to when I first saw her live in 2018 opening for Quinn XCII. Even back then, if you didn’t know it, you would’ve thought the crowd packing Irving Plaza was there just for Chelsea. Of course, that’s amplified by about 10X now that she’s able to pack Terminal 5 to the gills and has the entire stage production geared toward her own music.
Extra Notes: You could tell Chelsea’s stage setup found inspiration from her good friend Lauv’s setup when he played at Terminal 5 back in October. Check out those photos here.
Fans of Cutler have crossed polinated as fans of Jeremy Zucker, Cutler’s close friend, label-mate and Brent EP co-collaborator. Zucker, also a New Jersey native like Cutler, has made appearances at her last few NYC shows and once again came out on Tuesday night to sing “you were good to me” alongside her. Chelsea was also quick to point out it was Zucker’s birthday, and got the entire 3,000 fan crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” back to him.
Alexander 23 played his heart out on stage in support of Cutler as the opener, and was a thrill in his own right. His relatable lyricism about love and heartbreak, combined with his jovial, at-ease attitude helped loosen the crowd up before Chelsea, and undoubtedly earned him a host of new fans at the same time.
Gallery: SAYGRACE @ Mercury Lounge (10 Photos)
On Thursday night, Aussie singer-songwriter SAYGRACE performed in front of an intimate crowd at Mercury Lounge in NYC. Her performance comes three weeks after the release of her debut album The Defining Moments of SAYGRACE: Girlhood, Fuckboys and Situationships, a relatable pop album that shows off her soulful voice and transparent personality.
Check out the album on Spotify:
Review: Trippie Redd Rocks Terminal 5 (17 Photos)
Photos by Jim Michaels (@jmichaels.jpeg) © 2020 Early Bird Music
It’s pretty common knowledge that a show on a Sunday night is the least desirable slot of the week, and a hard sell. Such was not the case this past Sunday when Trippie Redd came to New York on his 2020 Love Me More Tour in support of his 2019 album A Love Letter To You 4.
Sold out weeks in advance, resale tickets were going for $112 up until show time on third party selling sites, and Terminal 5 was a reflection of that the second you arrived. Typically, a crowd files in right around time for the headliner, but Trippie Redd’s atypical crowd showed up two hours early for the full ticket that included Kodie Shane and Blocboy JB as openers.
Fans waited later than usual for Trippie to finally grace the stage at 9:45PM, but what they got was an immediate dose of Trippie’s signature energy. Even with a simple, acoustically driven song like “Leray,” his opening song, when you add Trippie’s sing-yelling style with the stimulating production setup and flashing strobe lighting, every song feels like it’s electric and stadium-ready.
The entire set was full of two things: energy and smoke. Throughout the show, a blazing Trippie Redd screamed and sang his way all over the stage as compressed air cannons erupted toward the crowd at the drops and choruses of each song. As far as performing, Trippie Redd can do it all, displaying the diverse talent that his fans have come to expect from him through his continued rise over the last three years.
Even if you’re unfamiliar with his individual songs, the Ohio native’s live performance is an experience worth seeing and feeling for yourself, as he lights up a stage and crowd with passion and energy that’s hard to find in someone who hasn’t even turned 21 years-old yet.
The sound and energy that Trippie Redd brings to the show is a paradox, combining the emotion and avant-garde attitudes of punk rock over street rap in one moment, only to turn around and deliver a soulful melody only moments later. Through the harder, rap-focused songs like “1400/999 Freestyle,” “Death,” “Grinch” and “Dark Knight Dummo,” fans screamed atop each others’ shoulders and moshed in the packed crowd, throwing everything from shirts and drinks to Air Force Ones. During his more melodic songs, fans sang each note and waved their arms left and right to the beat.
The near 20-song set also included performances by special guests including New York native Lil Tecca, who performed “How I Was Raised” alongside Trippie before rapping his breakout hit, “Ransom,” and special guest Lil Yachty, who rapped along to his collab “M’s.”
One of the most intriguing points of the night came after the midshow break that included a quick spin of “Welcome to the Party” by deceased Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke, in his late honor. Trippie came back out and immediately roused the New York crowd by literally screaming at them and asking them to scream right back, after which he covered XXXTentacion’s “Fuck Love,” which they created together in 2017.
Originally breaking through the “Soundcloud Rap” scene, Trippie Redd’s unique and wide-ranging vocal talent, his contagious energy, and his keen grasp of internet meme culture have already netted him over 5 billion audio and video streams in the U.S. alone, nearly 15 million Spotify monthly listeners, and 10 million followers around the world on Instagram.
You can still see Trippie Redd live on tour in US through mid-March – dates below:
Gallery: J.I The Prince of N.Y @ SOB’s (15 Pictures)
© 2020 Early Bird Music / Jim Michaels (Photos 1-11) © 2020 Calvin Schneider (Photos 12-15)
On Monday night, S.O.B.’s announced that Brooklyn-born rapper J.I was the only artist to ever sell out three nights in a row at the venue. The rising rapper’s popularity is at an all-time high after his recent songs “Blame on Me” and “Need Me” have been making waves over the web.
J.I first came into the rap spotlight in 2016 at just 15-years-old, when he was selected as a contestant on the second season of Lifetime’s popular reality TV series ‘The Rap Game.”
Check out his latest EP Hood Life Krisis Vol. 2 below, and follow our Early Bird Radio playlist to stay up to date with new music from J.I and many other rising artists.
Highlights: Camp Superdope! with Matoma and Two Friends (24 Photos)
On Friday night, Matoma and Two Friends brought the house down at Terminal 5 with their shared Camp Superdope! 2020 Tour. Two Friends started the night off hot playing bits of their “Big Booty Mix” mixtapes alongside dance-remixes of rock and pop classics alike. Their infamous energy, jumping off the deck, firing confetti cannons and shooting water guns into the crowd warmed everyone up for the headliner, Matoma.
Matoma took the stage and immediately got things going by playing his own hits, intermixed with the most viral and popular tracks of 2019 and 2020 along the way. With a new light show and energy derived from an already excited crowd, Matoma played till nearly midnight at the newly-renovated triple-decker venue, which now includes more room than ever to dance with your friends and catch a good view of the show.
Highlights: Tate McRae @ Baby’s All Right (10 Photos)
On Tuesday, singer-songwriter Tate McRae packed Baby’s All Right to the brim with her rabid fanbase as she performed songs from her debut EP, all the things i never said along with songs she’d written and shared over the last three years on her YouTube channel prior to her signing with RCA Records. Her debut EP includes three previously released songs and two new tracks as well, “happy face” and “that way.”
The 16-year old Youtubing artist has been singing and writing her whole life, and that natural talent was on display Tuesday as she took the stage full of confidence. Despite being sixteen, McRae sings like a veteran, on pitch with every note and totally unphased by the screaming teens who came from all over the tri-state area to see the show. She led off with her newest fan-favorite, “stupid,” which already has over 23 million streams on Spotify alone.
McRae has been building fans all over the world for the better part of a decade on the back of her YouTube channel, where she continually entertains over two million subscribers with monthly new music and moments from her first-ever live tour. She’s a proper pop star and her rise has been fast – she’s got nearly nine million monthly listeners on Spotify and over a million followers on Instagram – and it’s only going to keep growing as more people become familiar with the relatability of her music.
Not only a singer, McRae is also an excellent dancer, having appeared on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation – however her released music to date has been much more bedroom-pop leaning, not as conducive to choreographed dancing. As she continues to write and her status as a real pop star continues to materialize, it should be interesting to see how McRae’s music evolves as well.
Highlights: SiR @ Brooklyn Steel (Photos)
SiR was chasing Summer in the Winter at Brooklyn Steel on Tuesday night, keeping the crowd engaged with his distinct style of alternative R&B. His energy was palpable and translated well to the crowd, who created an environment of peace and relaxation as they enjoyed his latest songs off of his third studio album Chasing Summer.
The 33 year-old crooner’s bright personality was on full display all night as he engaged his crowd, keeping everyone smiling and singing along with him. During the set, he even brought up one lucky fan to help sing “Ooh Nah Nah” as a duet with him, fulfilling her wildest dreams, and took the opportunity to borrow a few hits of a fan’s blunt directly from the crowd.
He also surprised fans with a few guests throughout the night, first beginning with his brother, rapper D Smoke, who recently was crowned winner of Netflix’s first annual hip-hop talent competition, Rhythm and Flow. If that wasn’t enough, fans exploded to see fellow TDE labelmate and 9-time Grammy nominated singer SZA come out, who danced along on stage during a few late songs before SiR eventually ended the night with crowd favorite jam “D’Evils.”