A Little Longer- Charlie Hussle
Charlie Hussle delivers with his latest single/video release "A Little Longer"
The satisfying visual directed and edited by Huw Messie boasting feel good production by Hudson Havenhill and clothing and art pieces by Lorenzo Buchhalter sprinkled through the video tying it all together. A little Longer comes in at 2 minutes 37 and doesn't disappoint, check it out!
Mysterious Shit Review
By: Rocky Falleti
The Pittsburgh rap eclectic is tired of local rappers
Nobody likes a poser and neither does Tribe Eternal. The Pittsburgh rap collective’s latest project, Mysterious Shit, comes in loud with its message and isn’t holding anything back.
The project is a collaboration Tribe Eternal members Clara Kent, Bilal Abbey, and Pharaoh Lum, and longtime collaborator, NVSV
In September, the group teased the album with the release of “Local Celebrity,” a bruiser of a song calling out “fake” local rappers and half inspired by DJ Khaled’s remarks about Tyler the Creator’s newest album is “mysterious shit” after it.
It addresses the question many are faced in local music scenes, are you in this for simply the potential fame and attention that may follow… Or are you in this for the honest love of creative output?
“Local celebrity tweakin’, fishin’ for fame for the weekend you can see a real one start leachin’,” Abbey raps. “You see a real ones start acting like you were right there from the start. Me and my family built this from the heart fake as you is, you was never involved.”
Kent’s verse echoes similar frustrations, “Do you live to create or validate?”
“Local Celebrity” explores the darker side of that and the lengths people will go to remain relevant. People are quick to claim the city they lived in without doing anything to actively promote or help grow that community.
It’s more status and less of genuine love or appreciation and Tribe Eternal is tired of you pretending you are something you aren’t.
Immediately following is the booming trash talk session, “Plastic.” Sure, they’re not down with people claiming their stake in the Pittsburgh rap scene to boost their agenda, but you best believe they are the best at what they do.
“Give a fuck about ya clout n****, play ya role! N***** lost in the sauce ain’t no spice involved,” Kent raps. “How you claim you hard body, but you plastic, how you gon’ say you gon’ step, but you don’ say shit.”
And can we talk about Kent’s verses on this album for a second? Largely known for her work as an R&B vocalist, Kent spends the majority of this album rapping shining on tracks like “Clara’s Mad” and “Fool.”
Although at times she still does flex her voice ever so effortlessly on tracks like “Strawberry Moonlight”, really comes into her own as an MC on Mysterious Shit.
The project is an honest reflection of the group’s tight-knit bond they share for both each other and their art. Each artist has their moments and the four “superheroes” donning the album artwork complement each other perfectly.
Though Mysterious Shit has its fair share of honesty and as NVSV added in a recent interview with Pittsburgh Current, “music that hurts feelings,” the album offers some sound advice and encouragement as well.
Whether that be getting your mind right and ridding yourself of negativity (“Level Up”) or not hiding from your insecurities and shortcomings (“Masked”).
That overall message is boiled down to an Abbey chorus on “Masked,”
“Don’t you try and hide your soul, the mask we wear will swallow you whole, regret will creep inside you.”
And what a fitting message for us all.
Key tracks: Plastic, Masked, Strawberry Moonlight
Artist Spotlight: Bilal Abbey
By Rocco Falleti, Contributing Writer
Bilal Abbey// Gremlins
Review by Rocco Falleti, Contributing Writer
Gremlins offers a first-hand account into the highs and lows of Pittsburgh MC Bilal Abbey’s life
Bilal Abbey has probably close to 100 songs of his own created. Though he is quick to admit a good portion of those songs may never see the light of day, his latest release Gremlins provides seven of Abbey’s most personal pieces of work to date.
Abbey started writing lyrics in fifth grade using through a low quality USB mic with the laptop given to him for school work in high school. and eventually started recording his verses over SoundClick beats
He recalls attending The Clubhouse, an after-school program for students to learn about technology. Through the program, Abbey was exposed to the recording studio and would write rhymes and compete for studio time.
“I became thirsty for experience and knowledge on how to mix and what equipment yielded what results,” says Abbey. “I’ve definitely put in my 10,000 hours since then.”
After high school, he moved to Atlanta and attended Clark Atlanta University to study audio engineering. In Atlanta, Abbey linked up with like-minded people all with one common goal based around music.
“Everyone was thirsty for knowledge and willing to spend all their free time doing something musical,” recalls Abbey. “I learned more and grew into the engineer and artist that I am today.”
Tribe Eternal Music Group
Abbey is one- fifth of the Pittsburgh based independent record label Tribe Eternal Music Group consisting of Abbey, Pharaoh Lum, Luxo, Arian Jones and the incomparable Clara Kent.
“We are a core group of people that are closer than just the music,” Abbey says. “Tribe Eternal started as a way for us to seriously pursue music the same way in which we dream.”
Tribe has been going strong since 2007. Most notable in Pittsburgh, they were responsible for the Flow Lounge Art Gallery.
“That really put us in a broader scope in Pittsburgh on people’s radars,” recalls Abbey. “We had performances but never flooded people with them. We just wanted to give people a space to have fun.”
Abbey is focused on the upcoming push for Gremlins release and looking to do more intimate shows backed by a live band. His first show is on April 13 at Full Pint Wild Side in Lawrenceville (5310 Butler st). He will be apart of the third edition of Sierra Sellers event Words & Sounds .
“Even though I rap, I take an acoustic artist approach to how I do my music live,” Abbey says. “I prefer using a live band or even rapping over an acoustic guitar… I’m addicted to that feeling. It’s really personal.”
Gremlins is an honest reflection of different moments of realization in Abbey’s life. The LP comes shortly after his work as the audio engineer for Clara Kent’s latest project Aura.
Whether it is dealing with the frustrations of his surroundings (“Peace War”) or growing up and realizing you can’t always be there for your friends (“Inside You”), there’s a lot to unpack in these seven brief yet impactful tracks.
Tracks like the opener, “Rise”, offer a subtle reminder of sticking to your guns and not embracing the inner demons that feast on our own life ambitions.
“I’m a make this toast but I know that I still have a long way to go, so I’ma keep it low man/ They don’t need to know how a n**** move, where a n****go on my rise,” the rapper exclaims.
The track is followed by the lead single from the project, “Aesthetic”, which echoes the previous forewarnings.
“For me, it’s watching how the industry unfolds for people, it kind of gives you this false sense of limitations,” says Abbey. “You see them in age, different styles and I feel like people kind of just fit themselves into whatever box is going to be most beneficial.”
It’s an introspective look into the myriad of shortcuts people will take to achieve a certain status of “success”. He presents his own vision of triumph from a much more personal approach.
“Inside You” gets deeply personal and wrestles with the struggles of growing apart from close friends as Abbey recalls the story of a hometown friend dealing with legal troubles, who then loses his mother and eventually becoming addicted to drugs.
It’s a difficult spot for anyone to be placed in and Abbey speaks on his regrets of not being there for his friend as he was in another state focused on school and his own life, (Maybe I could’ve saved my n***** life// maybe I should’ve been a better friend).
“We tend to let things weigh so heavy on us that we basically mutilate ourselves whether its physically or spiritually,” says Abbey. “Drug abuse is a form of self-mutilation whether you think about it like that or not.”
“Cleanse” becomes the most ideal bookend to Gremlins, a project all about realizing those negative forces in your life and the damage it can do to your own well-being.
With the final track, Abbey is ready to wash himself of the negative energy surrounding him and start anew.
“Cleanse is for those people who feel guilty about people in their lives that they should’ve been there for,” Abbey says. “We have to cleanse ourselves of our guilt because at the end of the day… if you tried your best, sometimes you can’t always be there for everyone.”
Gremlins as a whole feels like a spiritual victory. Throughout Abbey’s introspective and observant flows and storytelling, the rapper finds the truest thing we can all do in life is to never lose focus of our own personal stories and aspirations.
Key Tracks: Aesthetic, StillAintChange, Cleanse
Gremlins is available for purchase on Bandcamp, which includes free stickers as well as a bonus track “Local Celebrity.” It is also available where all music is streamed---
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