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Baltimore’s music community is familial in the truest sense of the word. And within that community, you’ll find unofficial teams of artists who understand that their best material tends to comes from working together rather than going solo.
Hands Up! is the latest of these Baltimorean collaborations. And they’ve delivered the most stunning team effort releases we’ve heard come out of Charm City since Scottie B, King Tutt & Shawn Caesar’s Chavy Boys records nearly a decade ago. Hands Up! is the double barrelled powerhouse of Michael J.R. and Mighty Mark, but their debut KXNG feels far bigger than two producers.
KXNG captures the city’s frustration, swagger, beauty, and hope. All through a narrative that permeates thru four stunning songs. And, in true collaborative fashion, every song on KXNG enlists various artists of Baltimore’s seemingly endless pool of talent.
With the optimistic opener “Superstar”, Hands Up! immediately flips any preconception that KXNG is just another a Baltimore Club record. Lor J.R.’s luscious R&B hook is perfectly accentuated by Corie Little’s lyrical witticisms that punctuate each verse. Next comes the club monster that is “KXNG” — a barrage of club horns and 808s booming beneath the roaring vocals of Baltimore party starter, Mike-Mike ZOME.
The industrial-meets-club style of “Blaze The Floor” shows just how far Hands Up! and TT the Artist can take this city’s style. KXNG closes beautifully with a the club-influenced track introspective entitled “Free”, which offers a silky, sexy sound that could only have come from the clubs of Baltimore. And could only be narrated by the lovely, talented Miz Jaxxxn.
This EP will certainly satisfy those itching for the progressive Bmore Club sound that Mighty Mark has become known for — and that Michael J.R. has quietly been establishing. But, make no mistake, now that these two powerhouse producers have teamed up, there’s no telling where they’ll push the genre. Watch out world, Hands Up! has arrived.