Glenn Gamboa writes about music for Newsday.
The spotlight has been deservedly shining on Long Island's hip-hop scene, thanks to Public Enemy's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and their upcoming "Kings of the Mic" tour with LL Cool J and De La Soul.
But there also is plenty of new hip-hop talent here to discover. Hoodie Allen made his new single, "Make It Home," featuring Kina Grannis, available on iTunes because of fan demand, and it immediately crashed the Top 20 on the hip-hop singles chart for his second hit of the year. It's no wonder, considering the laid-back groove, produced by Something Silent, and Hoodie's clever lines. ("I ain't a movie star, I ain't a ballplayer. I got these girls going wild like I'm John Mayer -- and I don't need a damn guitar.")
Syler's new single "Dusk Till Dawn" (Syler Music), featuring Nitty Scott and DJ JS-1 from the Rock Steady Crew, got support from Vibe and The Source as it hit iTunes this month. Inspired by a Bootsy Collins groove, it's the Plainview native's most radio-friendly song yet, with a solid inspirational hook.
"It's about making it through the storm," Syler says. "I made the track myself. It's me playing the piano and doing the vocal."
The song is creating a life-imitating-art situation, as it connects with hip-hop fans, especially through college radio, where it was one of the most-added songs earlier this month.
"It's starting to get a lot of traction," says Syler, currently working on another single to continue the momentum of "Dusk Till Dawn" before he sets to work on finishing the follow-up album to last year's "Labours of Lost Love." "It's great to see perseverance paying off."