What I’ve been waiting for.
My favorite rapper, Shad K. will be joining another one of my favorites, K-OS on his US tour. I’ll be sure to see him in LA in October for the first time. I was starting to doubt I would get a chance to see him out here and then I saw this and was blown away. I never thought I would get to see K-OS and now both of the top MC’s from Canada in one show. Below is a standout track and a great video from each of them.
Here’s a quick West Coast hip hop update. DC producer, Oddisee recently released a mixtape of West Coast inspired beats as a prelude to his forthcoming collaboration album with California rapper, Trek Life. The album provides some pretty stereotypically California sounding beats but that doesn’t make it uninteresting. For a short mixtape, it delivers what it should.. an easy listen for everyone especially those waiting for a uniquely California movement in sound to take place. This isn’t the album to make that movement happen but I don’t expect something like that from a producer not from here. Despite that, I’m sure many of you will find this mixtape enjoyable. The new project is their followup to New Money, a favorite among Oddisee fans. You can download the mixtape here Oddisee.bandcamp. Be sure to check out the album, Everything Changed Nothing out now on iTunes.
Below is one of the different forms of artwork for Madlib’s recent edition of his monthly Medicine Show series. High Jazz is yet another jazz album from the California mega-producer. I’m always ready for new Madlib music but I’m getting anxious waiting for the new Madvillian but we’re just going to have to wait. Every snippet I’ve heard has sounded pretty dope so I’m excited. Its slated for this year so we won’t have to wait very much longer. In the mean time, enjoy the copious amount of material Madlib is providing this year. He continues to make even the most prolific artist look lazy. Above is a track from the new album.. listen and enjoy.
Here’s the new video from the final Slum Village album, Villa Manifesto, that dropped on the 27th. So far I’m liking the album despite my hesitation on it being the final album. I think I was hesitant because I was disappointed with Little Brother’s final album. I just felt they should have gone out with a bigger bang. On the contrary, so far I feel like Villa Manifesto is a good enough album for the already legendary group to end their run. Though Elzhi is one of my 5 favorite rappers of all time, it was Baatin’s verses that got my attention the most. His unique style and introspective lyrics are what I miss the most of the old crew. Elzhi and T3 deliver on their end, however, and put SV in a position to continue their legacy. I suppose I’m not as upset about this breakup as I was with Little Brother but I think it makes sense because I feel that LB is greater whole than seperated. SV on the other hand, I feel can survive as solo artists. I’ve been waiting for another Elzhi album since I got a hold of his mixtape, The Leftovers. Villa Manifesto offers everything I need to enjoy an album… an MC like Elzhi and producers like J Dilla, Hi-Tek, and Madlib. Give it a chance to win you over and I’m sure it will.
I haven’t done of these posts for a while and I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to go back to some of my original post series. Anyway here’s a video from the Wallstreet Graffiti Meeting.
You might know the producer, Exile from his highly acclaimed collaboration album with California rapper, Blu. Exile released his instrumental LP, Radio, last year and it was very well received by not only California fans but underground fans from around the country. This adaptation of the album includes remixes from some of the top up and coming producers. Some of my favorite remixes on the album are produced by Teebs, Kan Kick, Marco Polo, and Dibiase. I haven’t given the album the appropriate amount of rotations to give a complete value judgement but I will say by first listen that I found it more interesting than the original album.
I have an odd feeling that in the past I came across this album and passed it up. I don’t know if that’s really the case but if I did I must have not known who Oddisee was or didn’t know he was in this group. Ave.To released their debut album, Three Way Intersection in 2008. I must be honest and say that I wish there were MCs on the tracks so I can enjoy some good lyrics along with the amazing beats. Anyone familiar with Oddisee knows he is one of the hardest working producers in the underground scene at the moment. That’s not to say that he’s been slacking on the creativity tip because he is most definitely bringing his own sound to the genre. More of a live instrument, heavy layered, swing kinda sound. Its difficult to explain but I think if you listen to the track above and look into more of Oddisee’s extensive material, you’ll see what I mean.
I think the posts this week might have too much hip hop (if that’s really a thing), so to clear your palate before you get to the long posts here are some starters. Enjoy.
This series will spotlight music that isn’t what I would usually like or music that I was surprised I enjoyed. I’ll also post music here that I wouldn’t consider hip hop but is definitely influenced by hip hop elements. I’m not sure how well this will go, you might all just think it sounds like hip hop but I’ll try to explain myself.
This is Machine Drum. Get familiar. Don’t listen to this album if you expect to stay in your seat. This track is one of my favorites from the album, Want To 1 2?. It’s definitely made with a drum machine but the samples, and rough transitions sound more electronic than hip hop.
This whole album was inspired by old spy films. That sentence alone was enough to get my attention. The instruments and samples are definitely arranged in a way that sounds much like the layered hip hop tracks of producers like Oddisee but the tracks as a whole are way too free flowing to rhyme to.. well maybe it would be difficult but not impossible. Still its meant to be instrumental and deserves to be a soundtrack unto itself of a 70’s spy movie.
I’ve just started getting into this artist, Gonjasufi. He seems more shaman than anything else. He puts most of his focus on his lyrics and what kind of message he’s putting out to the world. He seems like a very aware person but he is very humble. Some of you might just be thinking its hard for me not to like someone with dreadlocks but its not so! He is worth a look if you find his style and delivery palatable. A track by produced by one of my favorite artists, Flying Lotus, is the most I can do to offer a good example of Gonjasufi’s work.
I like Ratatat but they need to pick their collaborators more carefully. Just because you make party music doesn’t mean you’re pop. I’m not saying they should work with underground rappers but if you are making music contrary to what is usually on the radio anyway, you might as well work with artists that will appreciate your music.
Just got familiar with this group, The Strangerz, that consists Hus & Smoovth of Tha Connection and Marvelous Mag. Tha Connection is already a staple on most of my playlists so I’m always excited to hear more of them. I’m just a fan of the way they ride every beat their on with such a smooth delivery. I believe this is their first album as a group and it seems to be an interesting match, however, I don’t want to be fooled into not expecting new Tha Connection material soon.
*Advanced Listeners Warning* This is a track off of Vinnie Paz’s much anticipated album, Season of the Assassin. As a member of the acclaimed underground group, Jedi Mind Tricks, he brought more clout to Philadelphia’s hip hop scene. I don’t like hardcore or gangster rap too often but I’m not one to deny talent or be blind to it. Vinnie Paz is definitely way too underrated but I’m not surprised seeing how the industry is set up now. You have to put in the effort and hunt for the good shit because the meal that’s handed to you is probably poisoned.
Alright here’s some more easy listening hip hop. I just heard about this guy a few days ago and I’m liking his style. I honestly can’t say enough about this album’s production.. Nuclear Ambition showcases great beats, I mean the beats trump everything else I can say. But it does help when there is talent behind the mic that can do the great production justice and deliver a verse that rides the beat perfectly. Arabesque succeeds in this, I feel. When I’m more interested in the production of an album, I expect less from the rapper. As long as he doesn’t do anything to throw me off while I’m listening or say anything ridiculous, I’ll probably like him.
It was difficult for me to pick a track off this album to spotlight because there are so many I could have chosen. Not to say they aren’t unique unto themselves. Thought the tracks obviously hang together the way a cohesive project should, they individually take a certain direction in music. It may be easy for you to understand after listening to the track and hearing the samples. I wouldn’t be able to picture a whole album with latin inspired samples, and to my delight that is not what the album is like at all. Rakaa’s Crown of Thorns proved to be a great introduction to his music.
This time our foreign music comes from Polish production duo, Skalpel. Their new EP, Polish Jazz is sure to be an easy listen for most audiences, whether you like jazz or not. I felt like this album was more exciting than a lot of modern adaptations of jazz made by contemporary producers of hip hop. Maybe most producers favor jam session sounding jazz like Madlib’s project, Young Jazz Rebels. Maybe I just get easily bored if there isn’t a discriminate rhythm to the music.