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Recent music from Ray Dawn and Michael Christopher

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Ray Dawn
En Plane Air
(Self-released)

Ray Dawn is getting out his frustration on this new 26-minute mixtape. The local rapper spends a lot of time on this one calling out fakes, haters and gold-diggers, backed up by sinister beats from Ohini Jonez and Danimal. Time is money, he notes in a couple of instances here — and, on one track, he says, "I'ma spend mine on Tyra Banks." He hits his best flow on "Lately": "Fuck you, pay me / Just how I feel lately / My time be the money and I can't spend maybes." He starts the mix referencing Malcolm Gladwell and insisting that he's paid his dues and his time has come, and closes it out with a track that starts off, "It's 2013, I'm thirsty for dough." Maybe he sounds a little impatient, but maybe he's earned that right — and maybe his big moment is right around the corner.

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Michael Christopher
You and the Open Road
(Self-released)

Full-length from the local pop-country singer. Christopher subscribes to many of the ideals of contemporary country music — wanderlust, women, work ethic — without falling into the trashy mode that much of the genre has taken a turn toward in recent years. A rocker here, a ballad there, well recorded with good vocals; the only thing that could be tightened up is the verbiage, which gets a little awkward sometimes, losing the effortless cool that characterizes much of the record. (I could do without the Buffettesque "Song About the Beach," too, but we can chalk that up to personal preference.) Good stuff from a young artist who's working hard and could become a big name.

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