Al Rogers Jr.
Al Rogers Jr. has never been afraid to be himself, and his heart-on-his-sleeve authenticity has allowed him to make some of the best hip-hop in the city. But as earnest as the local rapper might be, his true talent lies in his ability to surprise, from 2015’s Outkast-inspired Luvadocious with Blacksage’s Drew Scott to the star tracks on this brand-new second record. Now, Rogers stands alone, more confident and deliberate than ever, with tight, measured rhymes and a few standout melodies. “Sayno” might be our favorite song of Al’s thus far—a cantering Spanish ballad that tells the story of love lost through hushed lyrics, rhythmic finger snaps, the quivering heartache of violin, and a final flutter of piano. To all of that, we say yes.
Micah E. Wood
These days, between dating apps and ex-stalking on social media, people are pretty obsessed with modern romance. Are our communication skills ruined? Is chivalry officially dead? On this new album, local songwriter Micah E. Wood tackles these love-struck conundrums head on, splaying out his heart and rolling through his emotions with honesty and humor to describe the highs and lows of love. In the poignant “Match,” he candidly delves into the brutal honesties of online dating. In his first single, “Without You,” his anthemic chorus sums up the jubilant feeling of finally getting over a breakup. In the buoyant “Something,” his bubbly beat embodies the beauty of letting your guard down and liking someone again. Through tender electronic melodies and his trademark talk-sing, Wood reminds us of all the missed connections and second-guesses. He makes our hearts feel human again.