At this point, we should all know who Dice Raw is. However, we most likely don’t know who Rone is. That is about to change thanks to Dice and his record label, Raw Life, who recently released The New Sound Presents: America’s Next, a compilation of eager beaver up and comers from Philadelphia. Rone is the star of the show.
The thirteen track compilation bounces back and forth between hip hop, sugar pop and dance pop and features local acts Patty Crash, Les Professionals, Mike Taylor and the label’s patriarch himself. This is a showcase compilation and meant to shine an equally bright light on all of the artists that appear on it- which for the most part it does. But it’s Rone who not only points the light solely in his direction, but steals it and sells it for spare parts.
Rone has an incredibly confident sounding voice that reeks of swagger. He has two tunes on the album- one is “200 Miles to Philadelphia” that is frankly smooth as shit. It’s lighting a girl’s cigarette smooth. The track was produced by Philly producer and member of Drgn King Ritz Reynolds and is the kind of head-bobbing hip hop that has that ever valuable widespread appeal. It’s catchy and real, not to mention informative if you find yourself driving around the city while listening to it. Bonus. Rone’s other tune, “New School” is quite a bit different than “200 Miles to Philadelphia.” The production makes it different- not as much of a summer groove as it is a club or skate groove and lacking the timelessness of the “200 Miles.” It’s still a banger though and showcases Rone flexing his muscles a bit, delivering his rhymes with a more fast paced and Eminem-influenced flow.
I’m going to be singing the Mike Taylor jam “Boxes” for the rest of the day and convincing friends it’s not cheesy, but solid. It’s just a damn good song. Not everything awesome has to be revolutionary. It’s just an honest jam from what sounds like an honest dude. The Les Professionals’ jam “Move!” makes me wish my office had better lighting and the other Mike Taylor song “My King of Girl” kind of makes me want to run out of here, slide across my car’s hood like a bad ass cop and hit the open road.
Those tunes are definitely the strongest of the bunch, but in reality, there isn’t really a weak link on the whole album; just some songs I’d be more inclined to listen to less than others. Dice Raw shows up at the end with “15 Minutes,” a song I’d almost describe as sweet. It’s definitely not the strongest song on the album, but still a solid entry.
Ultimately this is all some good stoop-chilling music- a totally acceptable soundtrack to the unseasonably warm weather that we’ve been enjoying lately here in Philly. You should keep an eye out for all the artists on this album, but focus your efforts mostly on Rone. Like another promising young rapper in the city, Mic Stewart, he has a unique style and is producing some hip hop you can be proud of.