The summer is never an easy time to be in Dallas, but the tragedy that rocked the city in July makes it one month that most likely aren't sad to see go. All the same, there was some great music released by local artists over the course of the past 31 days, and some of it — like Erykah Badu's collaboration with Nas and Paris Pershun's collaboration with Jack Freeman — met the turmoil head on. As 2016 stretches into its second half, it's time to stop and take stock of the best local releases from July.
The Outfit, TX — Green Lights: Everythang Goin’
The prolific ambassadors of Dallas hip-hop (they were featured in Vice and picked for Mountain Dew's Green Label rappers to watch list in the last week alone) returned in July with a follow-up project to the locally-acclaimed Down By the Trinity, one of the best local releases of 2015. The EP marks the first time the trio used tracks produced outside of the group and the result is a reinvigorated sound and new energy reflective of the ambitious title.
Nas and Erykah Badu — “This Bitter Land”
Erykah Badu’s 2015 was a year spent making headlines, whether it was for her "one human" theater production, off-the-cuff comments to Iggy Azalea or the tremendous piece of work that was But You Caint Use My Phone. 2016 has been a bit quieter, but last month Nas released a song for the soundtrack to feature film The Land, which features Badu as the female lead, titled “This Bitter Land.” Badu features on the track as well, and we hear her in a way we haven’t heard her in years: haunting and powerful.
VVOES — Get Your Life
A couple months ago, we wrote about VVOES’s rebranding and lineup change when they released “Days Are Numbered.” That all-too-short, reverbed track from the group had us eagerly anticipating their debut EP, and last month it finally arrived. VVOES has quickly proved they’re one of the best up-and-coming North Texas bands and Get Your Life does a perfect job of demonstrating why.
T.Y.E. — “La La Land”
It might seem like an overstatement, but its not: T.Y.E.’s “La La Land” is epic. The grand, three-part song is an ambitious piece of storytelling, which has its own, visually stunning music video to match. On the track, T.Y.E. shows off his versatility and creativity. For all its grandiosity, there isn't a second wasted in "La La Land's" six minutes of music.
Crown the Empire — Retrograde
Crown the Empire is one of the biggest bands from Dallas that no one talks about. Stars in the Warped Tour and mall punk scene, Crown the Empire have grown to become headlining juggernauts and after a slew of music video releases this year the band has released Retrograde. The album is available on iTunes and Apple Music.
Jack Freeman — “What Do You See?" (ft. Paris Pershun)
On this powerful track with Memphis rapper Jack Freeman, Paris Pershun — formerly one half of popular duo A.Dd+ — tackles the frustrations of police brutality. The track is topical in its own right due to the subject matter, but it’s also noteworthy for being one of the first verses from Pershun, who's now contemplating a solo career, since his old group broke up over the winter.
Devy Stonez - "Slow It Down" (ft. KissedKilled)
Party Static - "Wasted Waster "
Bobby Sessions - “Black America”
Rat Ríos - “Contact”
Bellacarmichael - “All Tied Up”