Music Track-off — 27 February 2013

It’s been a while since I’ve done the track-off, that magical competition I created while at the Tribune RedEye.  My intention was to showcase the best MCs, singers and rockers operating on the indie scene.  I focused on Chicago because, hey, that’s where I reside.

But now I’m working with a national outlet and I’m cooking up a new way to bring the concept back, but bigger and better.  In the meantime, I can’t keep the great music I’m sent via to myself.  Just so you understand what I mean by “great,” here’s the Kyles Files criteria:

(1) Clean/edited (Because the Wu-Tang is for the children) but above all, no n-words, whatsoever.  Ever. I hate that term. Don’t make me cut ‘cha.

(2) Creative.  Yeah, I’ve heard about your whips, dips and clips.  Let’s talk about something else.  And if you must traffic in the mundane, make it pop.  (See GFK’s entire career as a reference.)

(3) Quality.  True, new technology allows almost anyone to make music.  But some of us shouldn’t.

So, with no further delay, let me debut the two songs that I’m putting the Kyles Files stamp on right now.  And keep sending me more.  I promise, I’m listening.

Shanara the Mouthpiece

Why I Like It: Cooler than lake effect snow, this jazz-infused jam tells a story of infatuation and love.  And I’m definitely co-signing for the lyrics.  Hit “play” and see what I’m talhmabout…

Want more, check out more of Shanara’s style at

Ben Official, “Kiss Affair”

Why I Like It: Stripped down, simple with visuals to match, this track features a slippery Lothario trying to justify his infidelity. (Fellas, don’t try this at home.) But whether or not I agree with Ben Official’s lyrical logic here, I am enjoying this sound, which resides on the much more creative edge of R&B where Miguel, Frank Ocean and other innovators have taken up residence.


You want more?  Get some:

Alright, that’s it for this session.  Got that hot fire for me?  You confident of that? Send it to




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