rap video

Ab Soul - Empathy ft JaVonte and Alori Joh

Ab Soul takes a break from rapping about pills and dirty Sprite to channel the spirit of OG Nate Dogg. The Black Hippy grooves while ringing a booty call, tries his best to look like Wish Bone and wears sunglasses in the dark. With help from TDE affiliate JaVonte, Soulo sings a mellow tune and proves he’s more than a drug rap visionary.
He briefly adds a few double-time bars to “Empathy” but mostly sticks to surprising you with smooth vocals. This isn’t an R&B croon-fest though. Brief psychedelic visuals and hypnotic repetition of the track title makes the song a little more unsettling than Chris Brown without handcuffs. This slow jam also comes with an important message: let Ab Soul hit it and he might spend that $700 a show money on you.
Empathy also features Ab-Soul’s close friend Alori Joh, who passed away a few months ago. She was 25, attractive and appeared on several TDE releases. RIP Alori. If you’re chilling with Nate Dogg, can you tell him to swap places with French Montana?

Deniro Farrar - Play No Games

By Jimmy Ness

Smashed buildings, muddy water and sledgehammers. “Play No Games” is rugged imagery on a gritty and grey specrum. Deniro Farrar locks eyes with the viewer and rhymes about poverty. It’s an overused subject, but he speaks without a trace of pretentious bravado or corny consciousness.

No witty punchlines, no preachiness, no swag. Just compelling rhymes. Farrar wears a weathered sports cap and dirty boots as he raps about alcohol addiction and death. “Sick and tired of funerals and going to these wakes. Killing off each other, while they laugh in our face.” His raps are straightforward and his intentions are clear: he simply wants to tell his story.

Halifax producer Ryan Hemsworth’s thumping minimal beat is something you’d expect The Weekend to wail hipster drug tales over. Yet it somehow works for Farrar’s precise delivery. A haunting How To Dress Well sample repeats itself and the song reeks of hopelessness. As “Play No Games” ends, Deniro throws his hands in the air and walks away, having experienced the track’s despair personally in Charlotte’s housing projects. It’s struggle rap at its finest.