Kid Cudi - Passion, Pain, & Demon Slayin'Kid Cudi's "comeback" album after SBTH was released.. He works with some of the same producers that brought the sound of his Man On The Moon albums to life. Aside from contributing to production himself, he also teamed up with Plain Pat, Mike Dean, Dot Da Genius, Pharrell, Mike Will Made It, & J Gramm. Cudi called upon Pharrell Williams and Andre 3000 to both be separately featured TWICE on the album. Travis Scott and Willow Smith are some other popular artists who blended their sound with the magic Cudder provided for fans this time around.
The Land (Movie Soundtrack)Pusha T, Nas, Kanye West, and French Montana, The Land‘s soundtrack also includes a handful of Cleveland’s local talent. Alina Baraz, Jerreau, Stalley, Machine Gun Kelly, and Ezzy all make contributions to this project.
*We cover 3 of Lorine's projects from 2016
Lorine Chia - Introduction To Sweet NoiseBillboard exclusive. It's made up of 7 tracks, and has some very noteworthy features from The Game & Wiz Khalifa. The Cleveland-singer takes listeners on a groovy, funky, and authentic ride throughout the full-length of the project. Needless to say, these vibes are something you can't pass up on.
Blended Babies - Lorine ChiaLorine Chia put out a collaborative project with Los Angeles production duo, The Blended Babies. What’s the big deal, you may ask? The Blended Babies are a duo who have produced for established artists such as King Chip, Anderson .Paak, and Asher Roth! The Lorine Chia EP is a four-track project that’ll have your feet tapping and your head bobbing start to finish. The mixture of Blended Babies production and Lorine Chia vocals could not sound any more perfect together.
Lorine Chia - When Morning ComesRomero Mosley‘s live instrumentation.
Ray Jr. - Gold PacksDJ Scream hosted project. But honestly, what's new here? Ray Jr. has been killing the game ever since he entered it, and he proves his dominance continues to reign with this 12-song project in 2016. Pyrexxz, Clockwork, & Earl St. Clair are among the Cleveland producers who made contributions. Ray got features from Bankroll Fresh, Young Dolph, Dej Loaf, Machine Gun Kelly, Troy Ave, Kirko Bangz, Lil Cray, and more.
Ripp Flamez - DayOne ForeverRipp Flamez lived up to the anticipation his project DayOne Forever built up prior to its release. A few singles from the tape such as “Lebron Flamez“, “PayBack“, and “Shine Light” had been released before the tape (accompanied with visuals). The project is nothing short of amazing and sticks to that signature sound that Ripp has created for himself. Ripp worked closely with Mitch Mula, who nearly produced every track which really helped harness and solidify his wavy sound.
Alex Angelo - Stay Like ThisAlex Angelo surprised fans with a 5 song EP titled Stay Like This. Almost immediately after the project was available on iTunes it began climbing the charts. After a solid year of releasing music and videos, Alex ended the year with an absolute bang by giving his fans this holiday gift.
NicX - Tryna Get Home
NicX had a chip on his shoulder returning from a slight hiatus. Although he hadn't been releasing music, he was working on it the entire time. "Tryna Get Home" is the perfect length of 6 well-produced tracks with no filler songs on the EP. He keeps it exclusively NicX, including no other features.
Shawn K - SKAD
Lil Cray – The State Vs. CrayFlame
"Indicted" made a legitimate run for the best single in Cleveland, and it is not slowing down in popularity. That song makes an appearance on Lil Cray 's mixtape The State vs Lil Cray alongside some other notable tracks. Doe Boy, Ray Jr., & P The Artist are some other Cleveland artists make contributions to this tape.
Lil Cray released many mixtapes during the year. We chose to highlight The State vs Lil Cray, but you can check out all of his other projects here.
Tezo & Freshie – On The Humble EPCleveland rappers Tezo & Freshie put together an entire EP together. It is only 3 tracks, but On The Humble is an amazing project nonetheless. As a listener, I wish you would have made it longer! All 3 songs are produced by Springz. 55bagz, another rapper from Cleveland who has a lot of buzz right now, is the only feature.
Bankie iZ - Josh White100BandXan, Givtyd, Goldfacemoneywatch are all the producers that created the sounds for Bankie iZ‘s 10 track album Josh White. This project is super nice. It’s pretty much what you would expect from Bankie. There’s a lot of straight rapping, auto-tuned singing, and other unique techniques he uses to define his sound. All of this is done over beats that are spacey, trippy, and catchy. He also released a project titled The Fall.
Curly Chuck - The Art GalleryCurly Chuck‘s project title Art Gallery is the perfect name to represent this collection of songs. You can tell by the features from the project that Curly Chuck is part of the creatives that are giving Cleveland its own unique sound. Bankie iZ, Nate2xs, LoLifeLane, 55Bagz, and some more all make appearances as guests. Producers that are credited via Audiomack are Riz Leigh, Dirty Vans, Addy Wood$, & Curly Chuck himself.
Shuicide Holla - GOALS
It seems that artists who are considered very lyrical tend to prove themselves by giving as much of they can of themselves. Similar to J. Cole, he delivers an album with very few features. Young Shank, Preme, Francis Sail, & Dre Walton are the only artists who make appearances on the 13-track project. The single "Hit Dem Folks" went viral and was exposed to millions of people.
Doe Boy - Streetz Need Mecame home, Doe Boy has been a force to force to reckon with. He’s collabed with some of Cleveland most poppin’ artists which consist of a visual with Ripp Flamez, as well as a video called “Gang” featuring Machine Gun Kelly. This 18 track project is something that the streets have been waiting for, so the name Streetz Need Me fits perfectly. DJ Esco, Lil Cray, OJ Da Juiceman, Lil Durk, Future, and more make guest appearances throughout. Listen below!
Kipp Stone - Late Xmas
"Late Xmas" was a belated gift Kipp Stone offered to his fans after missing the opportunity of dropping a project during the Holidays. It's only 3 tracks long, so there is no reason not to give this one a listen. The two original songs are produced by Touch Money and Blokhead Johnny. The other is a “Charged Up” freestyle. NicX is the only other artist to get a feature on this EP.
Tae Miles - Curl Pattern
Tae Miles' projects are consistently amazing. His storytelling is the most impressive quality feature about CurlPattern. The Wahoo Village Warrior's harmonies flawlessly flow over bouncing production by Willygotflame, Will C., Mathaius Young, and more!! Throughout the project Michael Turner narrates as “King Akhenaten,” helping Tae tell the story of traveling through space.
BFA Bleed - BleedlandBFA Bleed‘s DJ Ryan Wolf hosted mixtape is 13 tracks long, and produced almost entirely by Clockwork. The project starts off hard with the Ripp Flamez' assisted banger “Payback.” Other features on the tape include Rocko, Lil Cray, Drama, and Ray Cash.
Woulf - Wolves Amongst MenWoulf's mixtape Wolves Amongst Men was a sign that this hungry artist is moving in the right direction. The lead production from Antoine Christopher is sleek as ever alongside OGx50, but so is this feature list. Two tracks feature the ever goofy/ mesmerizing Tae Miles and others include Jimmy Hu$tle, Fat Savage, Joey Heightz, and more!
Young Cap - Mistake on the LakeLil Cray, Ray Jr., and Cartel Kapo. Throughout the entire project you can hear the many different styles Cap has from his flow, word play, and passion in his voice.
Chxpo - Triple 9 (Underwater Nightmare)Chxpo's 9-track project called Triple 9 runs the entire length without a single feature. It's filled entirely with trap beats and concepts. The hood will definitely be bumping this. Production is provided by IsaacBeats, GamerBoomin, HollywoodBangers, Rozey, and more.
Paper Paulk - Power EPPaper Paulk has been hustling for a minute now… This year really helped him become a regular name in the city. The release of his project Power EP can be credited for accomplishing that. The 6-track project has some of Paulk’s best work to date, and even features artists Pusha T and Kissie Lee on it’s lead singles “Deposit” and “Opera.”
Bloodline Harmony - S.T.I.G.Bloodline Harmony is made of 5 members. “There’s Young Bone and Lil’ Bizzy, who are the biological sons of Bizzy Bone. And then there is Goldee, Young Cleve and So Throwed, who are the nephews of Bizzy" (REX). There's no question where the sound of this group is influenced from. The 4 track EP even includes a Layzie Bone feature.
Fly Tye - The ChaseFly Tye has been making some serious noise, and there’s no denying that he’s making his way towards being one of the hottest MCs in the city. This new project, The Chase, has some crazy joints & of course features from notable artists such as Ripp Flamez, Ducky Smallz, & Nautica Mcghee.
Chick Da Flyest - Return of Osiris
Chick Da Flyest is an artist that stands for what he believes in. He makes music so that he can express his emotions and spread powerful messages to his listeners.