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No Pain, No Fame

Se'von

Kids who grow up on the streets of Detroit face their fair share of temptations. Some of them, like Se’von, dodge the dealers, boosters, and thugs through music. The rapper lets the streets inform his hip-hop, without letting them define him as a person. His songs are infused with ‘80s rock and R&B, like on “Greater” where an electric guitar wails into a motivational jam. “I’m just like everybody else,” the rapper insists. “From the gutter, no coat.” Sometimes to follow your dreams you’ve got to fly the coop. Se’von uses auto tune and a simple piano line to detail his departure on “I’m Gone,” rapping, “Love me while I’m here.” On the shimmering “Heaven,” he follows up that request with another: “Let my words be an epidural.” We’re not convinced of the power to cure labor pains through rap, but if it’s possible, Se’von’s laid-back methodology might do the trick.

Kid Vicious

Vicious Corleone

Before he became Vicious Corleone, Terance Williams was just a kid with a thing for Atlanta rap, who happened to have a dad with a thing for Queen, The Eagles and Journey. You can hear the convergence of those two schools in the rapper’s self-described “Southern rebel music.” Vicious mixes ‘90s hip hop with up-tempo, bass-heavy hooks and rock riffs—an intentional departure from both the dance hits and trap music that rule the Atlanta rap scene. On “Shots Fired (Reload)” snippets of sirens and 8-bit audio come in lashes, whipping up the audience. “M.P.B.” (that’s “Music, Party, Bullshit”) combines scraps of different beats, over which Vicious delivers his manifesto: “We don’t want to be doctors or lawyers / We ain’t Huxtables.” But don’t think that the rapper doesn’t have ambition. In “100 Miles and Running” he sets his sights high, saying, “I’d settle for Kelly Rowland / Ms. Knowles is taken.” Atta boy.

 


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