All Rap 8track: XANAKIN SKYWOK, One Line to an Angle, The Letter Noon, Mouse Sucks & Cranklin, Blazin Jayne, Ricky Wolfe, 3ple B, Wes Phili

8track is a new COUNTERZINE feature where we review 8 tracks by 8 artists and arrange them in sequence like those old 8-Track tapes (the WCW of portable analogue audio media you don’t remember). This edition, Program 1 includes tracks by XANAKIN SKYWOK, One Line to an Angle, The Letter Noon, and Mouse Sucks & Cranklin, while Program 2 features music by Blazin Jayne, Ricky Wolfe, 3ple B, and Wes Phili.

 

Program 1

 

A1: XANAKIN SKYWOK – “Macho!”

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XANAKIN SKYWOK

Don’t ever let anyone tell you COUNTERZINE is in good taste. However, we recall the John Waters quotation there is such a thing as good bad taste and bad bad taste” when considering Bay Area rapper XANAKIN SKYWOK’s single “Macho!”. Riding a “SUPER CATCHY MEXICAN BEAT” of jazzy trumpets and hi-hats that hit so hard you could call this track “Chancla Flocka Flame”, SKYWOK raps on nachos, tacos, and a “booty shakin’ like it was a broom”. It’s relentlessly dumb, but it’s also relentlessly fun. And relentless is the key word here: SKYWOK’s delivery is pure unbridled energy that’s nearly impossible to not get swept up in. His vocal chords may be completely shot five years from now, but SKYWOK is unconcerned with what ifs and all the better for it. It also opens with “damn, my stepmom got the fattest ass” and closes with “shout-out Ariana Grande, she got no tits”. God-tier idiocy right there. You can listen to more XANAKIN SKYWOK via his SoundCloud(socials: Twitter, Instagram)

 

A2: One Line to an Angle – “Break In/Out”

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One Line to an Angle

Shifting gears to something a bit more ‘tasteful’, we have “Break In/Out” from London rapper/producer duo One Line to an Angle. A compelling fusion of conscious hip-hop, grime, and industrial, “Break In/Out” sees David provide a murky and neurotic beat that backdrops the frenetic urgency of Costi’s flow. It’s an operation: in the shadows, while everyone’s sleeping, One Line to an Angle set out to break in and be a disruptive force to your imaginary peace until they break out from the oppression you won’t acknowledge. The duo list a wide array of influences from Metallica and FKA Twigs to KRS-One and The Doors, but the one that really rings true to us is Kate Tempest. We’re also hearing a bit of clipping., which is of course never a bad thing. You can listen to more One Line to an Angle here. (socials: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

 

A3: The Letter Noon – “New Design Order”

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The Letter Noon

Next up, we have the product of a meeting in Italy between Iranian producer Shirman and Miami rapper Emma Effers, The Letter Noon. And what would you know, the product of the product is about products! The project’s recent single “New Design Order” touches on the marketing and production obsessed world we live in, the effects of outsourcing, as well as the shift from physical to digital marketplaces. We don’t usually like to play favorites on these, but hell, if you ONLY have 3:35 to listen to music today, we’d advise this one: think Aesop Rock with less lyrical obfuscation and better hooks, or A Tribe Called Quest in a digital-era Trojan horse. Check out more The Letter Noon here. Seriously, it’s good shit. (socials: Facebook, Instagram)

 

A4: Mouse Sucks & Cranklin – “Eugene”

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Mouse Sucks

Wrapping up our Program 1 is our third rapper/producer combo, Canadian rapper Mouse Sucks and Brooklyn-based producer Cranklin. “Eugene” is the resident ‘sad boi’ of this 8track, opening with a hazy instrumental and Mouse Sucks singing “You held my hand by the lake / you told me things weren’t so great”, bursting into a hip house section of repeated “Why can’t we ever do something for free? / Why’s it always feel you want something from me?”s, and then finally calming back down. It replicates the feeling of a burst of anxiety amidst what should be a peaceful moment well, and fans of Tyler, the Creator’s recent work should find a lot to like. You can listen to more Mouse Sucks here and more of Cranklin’s production work here(socials: Mouse Sucks; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Cranklin; Twitter)

 

Program 2

 

B1: Blazin’ Jayne – “Bad Too”

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Cover art for Blazin’ Jayne’s ‘Sagittarius Season’

Alright, now it’s time for some real southern “fuck you, pay me” sexual ass club rap courtesy of Houston’s Blazin’ Jayne and her Sagittarius Season single “Bad Too”. “Where we from they sip lean and bang, screw”, “Don’t ever get your ass beat over weak strokes”, and “Bout to put this pussy on him like an outfit” are just select few choice bars from this money and dick-oriented banger, but more than anything, I’ve been saying the “I’m a bad bitch, my bitches bad too” hook out loud far more often than you should hear from a scrawny white boy. Also “I’m the GOAT, bitch I’m Stevie Nicks”. Basically, good bars. Very good bars. You can check out the rest of Sagittarius Season here, but regrettably, we could not find her Cash App. (socials: Facebook, Instagram)

 

B2: Ricky Wolfe – “This Is Ricky”

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Ricky Wolfe (photo credit: Laura Davis)

Hello. Hi. This is Ricky. No, not me. Him. Up there. With the dual ping pong paddle action. Ricky Wolfe’s “This Is Ricky” introduces us, the listener, to Ricky as he raps about himself and his motivations over a soulful beat composed of gospel vocal samples (“This song started as a challenge to myself–could I make a dope beat from just these vocal samples and flow for 2 minutes straight?”). Our early impressions? Ricky seems like a very nice man with a very nice flow. If an introduction alone just won’t do, you can get to know Ricky better by listening to his new EP RICKY here(socials: Twitter, Instagram)

 

B3: 3ple B – “John Wick Interlude”

3ple B
3ple B

Next up is a track from South African rapper 3ple B, and make sure you pronounce her name “Triple B” and not “Threeple B”. Based on “John Wick Interlude”, she does not seem the type to put up with shit. While the “interlude” portion of its title feels misleading given how fully realized it is, the “John Wick” is entirely apropos: 3ple B is out to murder kill annihilate, in particular other female rappers who’d rely on a man to rise rather than forge their own power and take what is owed (“I taught you how to be the man so you don’t depend on ’em”). 3ple B projects an incredible strength on this diss, and you can find further strength within the rest of her Verification EP. (socials: Twitter, Instagram)

 

B4: Wes Phili – “Shady Gentlemen”

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Wes Phili

Lastly, we have “Shady Gentlemen” from Philadelphia rapper Wes Phili (who we’d gather has a personal connection to his hometown). “Shady Gentlemen” is about as pure and undiluted as rap gets: once Wes gets going after the brief “burgers and fries” intro, it’s nonstop straight bars, no hooks over a jazzy lo-fi instrumental that crackles and pops. This one’s for old heads, as Wes cites a love of and influence from artists such as Black Thought, Nas, and Mobb Deep. If want to learn more about Wes Phili you can check out this 2017 interview courtesy of Broadtube Music Network and if you want to hear more, you can check him out on Bandcamp(socials: Instagram)

 

I don’t know how often we’ll do this in the future, but for this one, it made too much sense. We’ve compiled this 8track into a short Spotify playlist that you can follow below:

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