1. CUZ – “Return Call”
Little Rock expat S.L. Jones left for Atlanta several years ago, collaborating with Killer Mike, impressing XXL et al. and generally making a career out of being the most visible representative of Arkansas rap in the national media / internet conversation. He was a good delegate, too, bringing attention to people like 607, Errol Westbrook and Kari Faux when few people outside the state knew who they were. For whatever reason, whether personal epiphany or high-level PR wisdom, he’s renamed himself CUZ and reemerged with a new single this afternoon, “Return Call.” It was premiered by Pigeons & Planes, who didn’t mention his earlier identity and career, nor did they credit DJ Burn One (except to say he might be an influence), though as far as I know, he’s been working with Jones on this project.
2. Mark Edgar Stuart – “We Were In Bloom”
Another expat: Stuart is from Memphis by way of Pine Bluff. This is something off his new album, “Trinity My Dear,” the follow-up to his 2013 debut, “Blues for Lou.’ Buy it off iTunes, because as he explained on Facebook, “I’m not Beyonce, I need you bad.”
3. Keshawn Smith – “Nino”
4. Spineless – “Tapping Your Cheek”
Ghostly new demo from Conway’s Spineless, who says he’s working on a full-length. His description is “sadsack bedroom folk,” which will work for our purposes.