Wasiu – “ArtBeat Cypher” ft. Lou Phelps & KNLO


By Jack Barnes

A prodigious rhymesmith with an excellent ear for beats, Wasiu is one of Montreal’s premier underground heroes. The dedicated scenester is a frequent collaborator with creative people from his hometown, going in on the innovative instrumentals by the city’s acclaimed producers. On “Artbeat Cypher,” Wasiu’s latest single, the rapper pays tribute to the scene and shines a spotlight on some of the town’s lesser-known talents. Beginning with a quote from a KAYTRANADA interview at Red Bull Music Academy, “Artbeat Cypher” is first and foremost dedicated to ArtBeat Montreal, a society that gathers Canada’s best producers to show off their best beats. Produced by Shash’U, the track is a spacey, bass-heavy banger, tailor-made for blasting at full volume on great headphones. Enjoy this audio stream below after the jump.

Featuring appearances from Lou Phelps (KAYTRANADA’s brother) and KNLO (whom Kaytra shouts out in the opening statement), the track is a loose, punchline-filled effort that mirrors the best moments at Artbeat–creative people letting loose, engaging in friendly competition, and making dope music. The HipHopDX-premiered track is the latest single from MTLiens 2, Wasiu’s upcoming album.

“This song is a tribute to everyone who was a part of Montreal’s pivotal PIU PIU movement,” explains Wasiu. “It’s me, Lou Phelps and Montreal Legend producer/rapper KenLo in the crowd at an ArtBeat show spitting in a cypher over one of Shash’U’s cuts. For those who don’t know, KenLo and Shash’U are two OG’s who influenced many local Montreal producers. Kaytra did a special on BBC Radio for Benji B explaining how they both inspired him. Obviously, Lou Phelps and I are part of the new generation of this Montreal rap stuff, so it’s like a dope mix of OG’s and youngins on this track. All in all, it’s a tribute to the movement that started at ArtBeat, with producers and rappers showing off and creating buzz for themselves and the city.”

Earlier this month, Wasiu sharedCigarettes & Poutine,” another Montreal-themed single, premiered by Highsnobiety. In the wake of his hero Jay-Z releasing his new album 4:44, Wasiu doubled up Jay-Z’s classic “22 Two’s” into 44:4 (44 Four’s) using 44 variations of the words “for” and “four” in two and a half minutes. The video, premiered by Mass Appeal, playfully brings the concept to life, with the Afro-Canadian rapper emceeing in a large amphitheater, generating a clone of himself every time he says a variation of “4.” Earlier this Summer, Wasiu released Snow Mexican, an accomplished, politically charged EP. Inspired by a fake (yet believable) Donald Trump tweet and stuffed with innovative electronic production from the likes of Tommy Kruise, Dear Lola, and others, Snow Mexican finds Wasiu exploring what it means to be an outsider–approaching issues from the perspective of an African in Canada, an English-speaker in a French-speaking city, and a Canadian trying to make it in the American rap industry.  In the past year, Wasiu performed at SXSW, The Montreal Jazz Fest, POP Montreal, and Canadian Music Week, and opened for Little SimzJazz CartierBADBADNOTGOODGrandmaster FlashDead ObiesSean Leon, and others. Watch out for MTLiens 2, Wasiu’s next full album, coming later this year.

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Previously: Wasiu – “44:4 (44 Four’s)” (prod. by jåmvvis) [Video]

Wasiu - "ArtBeat Cypher" ft. Lou Phelps & KNLO


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Thu Oct 5 , 2017
BIG K.R.I.T. By Jack Barnes Today, lyrical heavy-weight and mastermind producer, Big K.R.I.T., releases a new visual installation titled “Keep The Devil Off [Take 1].” The Alex Nazari directed visual reveals a static and very stoic silhouette clip of Big K.R.I.T. chanting a message of positivity, sanctity and perseverance –  “keeping the devil off!” Enjoy this video stream below after the jump.