Fresh local hip-hop from Man Mantis, Fly 4 Ward, ILL Silla, DGirl the Bombshell and more

A new year is here, and from the looks of this week's new batch of music, it's going to be a good one for local hip-hop. We're off to a good start, anyway. We've got new beats from Man Mantis off his label's new comp, a fresh joint from production duo Fly 4 Ward, a new cut from ILL Silla, a new freestyle from SP Double, a new radio-ready single from DGirl the Bombshell's upcoming mixtape, Mascara Music 2, and a swan song from old-school Denver spitters the HighTops. Continue on for some fresh hip-hop.

See also: - Fresh hip-hop from Pries, SP Double, Myke Charles, Molina Speaks, AG Flux and more - Fresh hip-hop: A Broncos anthem, plus new cuts from Billy Lipz, Young Doe and more - That's a Rap archives

Man Mantis - "Raised to Do the Zapping" Man Mantis makes an appearance on his label's latest free compilation, We Are World Around. Vol. 3, with "Raised to Do the Zapping," a beat exactly as quirky as the title suggests. With emotive sounds that are almost vocal but decidedly alien interjected over rickety percussion and driving bass, Mantis creates a feeling that is uniquely different and evocatively familiar all at once.

Fly 4 Ward (Babah Fly and Fast 4 Ward) Denver hip-hop production duo Fly 4 Ward (Babah Fly and Fast 4 Ward) steps into the otherworld of cloud rap with this beat. The sound seems to drift on almost formlessly, the light wailing of the guitar sauntering by as if you were walking past a jazz club after midnight. The track doesn't seem to end, or ends before it really begins; it's almost as if this is the introduction to something more, and, in fact, the duo has hinted at releasing some material with Mike Wird in the future.

ILL Silla - "This Me" On "This Me," the first single from ILL Silla of TME's mixtape Through My Eyes, the rapper strings together tightly constructed multisyllabic rhyming patterns against an impeccable complementary drum composition and over a mesmerizing synthesizer loop. With his lyrics, Silla challenges traditional conceptions of realness in hip-hop, encouraging his listeners to "do you," regardless of what it entails, "because if you ain't real to yourself, how can you expect to be real with anyone else?"

SP Double - "Life or Life" Against painfully expressive guitar and vocal samples, SP Double delivers an appropriately reflective freestyle for the new year. The track is brutally personal and honest, "the realest words I ever wrote," Double claims. The titled question, "Life or Life," is rhetorical (note the lack of a question mark), and the answer is somewhat of a dead end, but it's freeing at the same time -- a long, tangled web of frustration finally let free.

DGirl the Bombshell - "Connected" You could call DGirl the Bombshell's subject matter somewhat shallow; her boasts of money, high fashion and the like are meant to project a rather superficial image. Her rhyme schemes, however, are deeply interwoven and layered, and her is style is assured (bordering on cocky) and on point. While many Denver rappers are content in the underground, Dgirl makes no qualms about her aim for mainstream success. She hopes to deliver that with her sophomore mixtape, Mascara Music 2.

The HighTops - "SWAN SONG" "SWAN SONG" is like a sample plate of styles: Babah Fly and Panama Soweto bring their distinctive but complementary styles to a beat that itself shifts between something light and ethereal and something heavy and kind of dark. Still, each sound has a common undercurrent that allows one to bleed into the next. Plus, the rhyming is in tip-top form, so even though you've got essentially four different tones on one track, it all flows together seamlessly.

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