Color: Blue & Red – Maxwell

20 year old Kent State rapper Maxwell has released his first drop of his newest project, Color. The full project will include 7 tracks, all with different vibes matching colors of the rainbow. Maxwell will be releasing a series of videos over the next few weeks introducing new songs and visuals.


Like what you hear? Tell me what you think and follow Maxwell!


Twitter: @440MAXWELL

Instagram: @maxwellrileyw


Streaming Services: A New Giant In The Music Industry

Remember just a few years ago when any time you wanted to listen to your favorite songs you had to carry around that huge CD player and those clunky headphones? Let’s all take a minute and appreciate the advancement of technology for allowing us to be able to access any song at any minute without having to worry about the hassle of carrying all the right things around. Thanks to streaming services, we can listen to just about anything we want at the blink of an eye. It has taken a few years but this new digital way to access music has taken the music industry by storm. Check out the rise of the streaming industry over the last year.

Music Streaming in 2016

Artists On The Rise: SZA


Source: SZA’s Instagram

An artist I think everyone needs to be on the lookout for is Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) songstress, SZA. As of now, the artist isn’t as recognized as she should be yet, but with the upcoming release of her new album CTRL, my guess is that SZA will be noticed for her amazing voice and talent and will rise to fame in the near future.

Affinity Magazine wrote that, “Her soothing sounds of R&B are soft yet strong, and her words cut deep with passion.” I don’t think there’s any better way to describe SZA’s art. The way she chooses her vocal ranges for each song shows off her incredible voice and in a way that takes you by surprise. You can really hear this in the song “Consideration,” which  comes from Rihanna’s latest album Anti.


Source: SZA’s Instagram

The New Jersey singer was signed by TDE, a dominant independent label in the hip-hop world, in July 2013 becoming the first and only female on the label’s roster. Being part of such a huge, successful label like TDE shows how great of an artist she really is and how much potential she has to become a hit like other TDE artists such as Kendrick Lamar.


Starting in 2012, SZA has put out various EPs such as See.SZA.Run and S. In 2014, just under a year after being signed to TDE, she released her first project for sale, Z. The EP includes 10 tracks and features with Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper and Isaiah Rashad.

SZA will hopefully soon be putting out her newest album CTRL sometime this year. Early this February she released an interactive website, which includes a teaser video for the new album with short clips of new songs.

I have high hopes for this album and know the TDE artist will not disappoint. Check out and follow my Spotify playlist to hear more!

The Importance of Free Music Grammy Nominations


Christopher Polk | Getty

The 2017 Grammy Awards marked the first year with nominations for streaming only recordings. According to an article posted on CNBC, in December 2016 Chance the Rapper and his newest album Coloring Book became the first ever, streaming only album to be nominated for a Grammy. The independent artist won three Grammys including Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Album.

Let me just say, it’s about time that free music is being recognized. A huge role in Chance the Rapper’s success is because he doesn’t charge for his music. His free streaming music also made a big impact on his career by helping him create a large, loyal fan base.

When you really think about it, every artist that makes it big, started by making free music. In the old days, artists would put their music on a tape or a C.D. and pass it around. Today, with the help of technology, artists can put their music on websites, such as SoundCloud, and can be accessed across the globe, instantly.

The use of websites like SoundCloud has helped to put artists on the map and allow them to create their own fan base. A SoundCloud success story is the 2016 Grammy Nominee for Best Urban Contemporary Album, Kehlani. In August 2014, the artist uploaded the self-released mixtape “Cloud 19.” The next year she was signed to Atlantic Records and became a Grammy Nominee for her album You Should Be Here. According to an article by The BoomBox, the nominated album had over a million plays on SoundCloud within the first 24 hours of being posted.

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Another perk about free music is that it introduces new, innovative genres and gives anyone the freedom to create their own sound and make a project fit their personality and brand. As an independent artist, there isn’t any outside force giving direction on what kind of vibe they should or shouldn’t go for, giving artists 100% freedom to produce exactly what they think fits their sound. With the growth of free music platforms and artists using such sites, it calls for extreme creativity and new ideas to make them stick out and be memorable.

So many popular artists today have made a name for themselves through free streaming platforms. Previously, Toronto rapper Drake released three mixtapes; the third being So Far Gone, which put him on the map. A$AP Rocky also blew up after his release of the mixtape Live.Love.A$AP. Even after various artists made it big some continued to release projects through free streaming platforms. Lil Wayne had already made it to fame and continued to release projects for free including the “No Ceilings” series mixtapes. Each song on these mixtapes would be a new original rap over popular song samples, many even featuring the chorus from the original songs.

Without selling a single song or album, Chance the Rapper paved the way for the music industry and was nominated for seven Grammys, three of which he won. When asked if the artist had thought about signing with a label, the artist claimed that the industry is dead and there’s no reason to, reported The Rolling Stone.

“I’ve never wanted to sell my music because I thought putting a price on it put a limit on it and inhibited me from making a connection,” said the Chicago rapper according to Vanity Fair.

Free music and free streaming platforms are creating new vibes and trends and is contributing new, raw ideas to the music industry. Websites like SoundCloud are bringing out these creative artists and help them to make a name for themselves. These platforms are contributing to the incredible growth of the music society and being recognized by the Grammys is such a positive change for the industry, bringing a multitude of creative new talent.

“The victory this morning isn’t about me, it’s about all the SoundCloud albums that may now be recognized for excellence,” said a very humble Chance, according to Complex.

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