Bold new hip-hop sounds from Orlando's Elsha; Milk Carton Superstars get bleak

click to enlarge Elsha - Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

It’s been a very productive year for bilingual Orlando rapper-producer Elsha. Across a handful of releases, he’s already dropped about 20 songs so far this year. The latest batch of five constitutes the recently released Hope 4 EP, and they’re some of his heaviest tracks yet.

Thematically, Hope 4 is rap from an expressly indigenous perspective. Elsha is multiracial, with roots in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, two places emblematic of the Caribbean’s cultural complexity. Hope 4 is a social and personal examination into the struggle of sorting through one’s history. Considering the Atlantic slave trade highway that ran through the Caribbean, there’s a lot to unpack.

The music, like the subject, is appropriately somber. The lyrics are first-person excavations of history, delivered in rhymes that trudge with the weight of the world. The moody production swirls with brooding drama on lonely hooks of piano, strings and flute.

Hope 4 may not bang, but it’s a well-done and welcome expansion of the hip-hop voice. It’s now streaming everywhere.

Oh, what a time to be an American, amirite? Well, at least Orlando band Milk Carton Superstars put these vexed feelings to some hot guitar licks on their new single “An Abundance of Rubes.” Lyrically, it’s a timely and needed address to much of American society right now. Oh, but if they’d only listen.

Anyway, this garage-rock burner is one of the Superstars’ best looks yet. “An Abundance of Rubes” is the first glimpse of a new MCS album due out in December. Besides the music video on YouTube, the song’s only available on their Bandcamp until the full album is released.

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