Welcome to another edition of Saturday Spotlight. Every week we review submissions from around the world, selecting the best of the bunch to highlight at the end of the week. If you’re a budding rapper, a producer wanting to create buzz, or a singer looking to show off your talent, Saturday Spotlight is dedicated to finding the next star. This week we received over 45 submissions, here are the two picks!
Whether it’s your latest single or a new beat you’ve created, all upcoming artists can submit music to us for Spotlight on Saturday on this link.
From Newport News, VA, mynameisntjmack is an artist whose thoughtful lyrics, laid-back flow, and gritty tone are reminiscent of artists like Isaiah Rashad and Tyler, the Creator. On ‘New Brass Knuckles’, mynameisntjmack tackles a soft lo-fi rhythm, adding a dimension of depth with his baritone voice. Most notable outside of his flow is how his bars are so pocketed. “Tryna dodge the primadones with them Prada and them dollars/Go ga-ga for the commas/Money matters to these women but don’t matter to my mama” is how the prolific entertainer begins the track , creating an effortlessly soft vibe that belies an assured confidence in its measurements and subject matter.
After hitting the bars, mynameisntjack introduces us to a singing flow with a melancholy tone that makes the listener ask the artist again for this style: “I don’t feel safe inside my home/A couple Thousand fans a couple friends I’ m always alone.” It takes a specific skill and talent to convey such heavy emotions with such elegant simplicity. It’s what makes mynameisntjmack so relatable without being outdated or predictable. melodies by mynameisntjmack, stacked with harmonies and doubles that give the hook an eerie chorus effect.
All in all, “New Brass Knuckles” is the song you listen to for comfort, when you don’t want to feel as alone as you do. It’s there for rides home and night drives on empty roads. Listen to “New Brass Knuckles” below.
Originally from Atlanta, [g]illes (pronounced “Jeeills”) is an artist who knows exactly what he wants and how to get it. It’s not just his artistry that claims his deep knowledge of hip-hop – it’s the way he maneuvers the tricks and pitfalls of the industry, demonstrating a studied understanding of how to do it as a independent artist. Working as an entertainment lawyer alongside his music career, [g]Ille’s multi-faceted background is clear in her attention to detail in both her music and her promotion. Urging fans to buy his music and projects rather than stream it, he commented in a recent interview with The Gray District that streaming music has almost rendered the possibility of his longevity obsolete. A project that took 6 months to create airs over 2 weeks – and fans are already wondering what’s next.
After a string of successful singles and projects, [g]illes is back by popular demand with their latest single “RNS,” featuring Big KRIT and Jade. Running over four minutes, the song is a deep dive into the complex artist’s troubled mind, detailing family struggles with mental health, the weight of personal burdens and political pressure, as a black man, to stay strong even in the face of adversity from all sides.
The piece begins with soft piano chords, giving a melancholic tone that [g]illes of course follows with the first punchy bar: “On God, I swear life is hard / High chance the same n***s too scared to climb wishing I could fall”. In these two bars alone, you can see the talent [g]they own. His syllable breakdowns are counter-intuitive, his flow shakes piano chords. But that’s what conveys the discordant pain behind bars. “Therapy reveals high trauma, past mistakes turn into my karma, it’s on Mama”. [g]illes continues in this fashion, slowly and intentionally laying the groundwork for the song’s heavy subject matter in anticipation of the beat drop. The piano crescendos with the backing of harmonic female background vocals, all rising in high suspense until the rhythm drops like a heartbeat to reveal the hook: “Heart on my sleeve, real n* shit on my chest”. Shortly after the hook, Big KRIT arrives with his own take on the theme: “I’m sitting back trying to spit something worth saying/God knows all my prayers ain’t worth saying pray/Life is a field of dreams, I’m always playing.
Overall, ‘RNS’ is a hard-hitting track that seeks more to provoke thought and reflection than to be of great commercial value. It’s art, it’s real, it’s honest – and vulnerable without being exhausting to hear. The musical definition of “shed a thug’s tear”.
Listen to ‘RNS’ here.
– by Nadine & Navjosh
Via our artist discovery platform Spotlight on Saturday, we’ve discovered some amazing talent in the past including Russ, Ty Dolla Sign, Mez, IDK, Victoria Monét and Trap Beckham to name a few. In most cases, the coverage on HHNM was their first look among the media. Find the submission guidelines here.