J.R. and PH7 released a new project, The EP. Not sure what future album this material is alluding to but hopefully its full-length. I need a long album to listen to before I get a good feel of their music. The track above is from their past album and features Guilty Simpson and Black Milk. If I’m not mistaken, these guys are from Germany. I’m not sure how these guys hooked up with so many American artists so soon in their careers but I’ll try to do some research.
I came across a huge list of reggae artists the other day and there were a lot of names I wasn’t familiar with. So.. I went on a downloading spree and this Jacob Miller track is a result of that. Make sure to look out for a lot more reggae posts now that I have a bigger variety or artists to pull from.
It isn’t often that I post music that isn’t hip hop, reggae, or trip hop but there are occasions when a band’s sound strikes me and I’m intrigued to find out more. With Local Natives that was the case and if you haven’t taken the time to listen to their album, Gorilla Manor, you’re plain fucking up.
By now its obvious that Conscious hip hop is my favorite sub genre of rap. I like artists that appreciate knowledge and those that concentrate on saying something important. If people are taking the time to listen to you I feel like you should try to talk about more than girls taking off their clothes, getting money, getting famous, cars, jewelry, mansions, parties, clubs, drinking, and everything else ‘uhhh na na na na.’
So this post is basically just a sample track from some of my favorite conscious rappers. Each one of these rappers use some of my favorite rhyme schemes and styles from the golden era.. Multi-syllable rhymes and verses that mean something. I just want to hear something I have to think about instead of silly punch lines from immature pop sensations..
Here’s something I was debating with some of my friends about the other day. Is conscious the same as third-eye hip hop? Are they the same genre? I thought about it for a while and now I feel confident that they are independent subgenres because a third-eye rapper can be someone who isn’t necessarily a conscious rapper but who stresses the importance of knowledge and philosophy. Conscious hip hop is about being aware of the status quo and questioning it, third-eye hip hop is more about the topics like, philosophy, wisdom, enlightenment and spirituality.. its more abstract and experimental and it focuses on thinking on a higher level.
You can’t mention conscious hip hop without talking about the Canadian-born phenomenon, Shad K. I admittedly only found out about his greatness recently… maybe last year or so. He quickly became one of my favorite rappers of all time, however, because of his obvious and undeniable talent. His most recent album, TSOL, is amazing as I expected and it seems that Shad is beginning to get the recognition he deserves as he was just signed to American record label, Decon. He joins artists like Haiku D’etat, RjD2, Black Milk, and Jurassic 5 on a
Black Thought is another artist that needs to be mentioned in every conversation about conscious hip hop. The Roots are truly one of the best hip hop groups ever and Black Thought has a lot to do with making that happen. I stopped waiting for him to run out of rhymes because I don’t think its possible. He spits ridiculous lines on every track he’s on and his style has been copied but never duplicated. He relies on his talent more than his image which is more than I can say for more than half of the rappers out there. There’s just no arguing about who’s more talented when Black Thought is in the equation.
I could be trippin’ though, that’s why I gotta ask. Ain’t nothing wrong with asking.
This album came out last year but I just came across it a couple days ago. So far its pretty perfect for driving around when its hot as hell’s basement out here. I’m not surprised Grayboy is from the West Coast really and that’s a good thing. It’s rare that I hear good music and think West Coast but this is one of the exceptions. He has a pretty impressive discography that I haven’t dived into yet but after listening to the beats on this album I’m going to have to.
Evidence was right when he said that Fashawn is a beast but he’s being presented like a kid cudi type rapper. This track is not one of those tracks, this is a beast one. I was listening to his mixtape, Ode to Illmatic, today. I don’t usually like that sort of thing.. remixes of classic albums, or remixes or rap songs in general really but Fashawn pulled it off on that tape and he deserves some credit for doing those beats justice with some dope verses.
This is one of my favorite tracks off this album. Erykah Badu’s music is so smooth. I was worried she was going to become more pop when her most recent album came out. I was wrong of course.. her new music is just as smooth and funky as her old stuff. I’m still waiting for that supergroup that she is a member of to come out. Something tells me it won’t see the light of day but who knows. There’s too many rumors going around this year and too much hype is being spread by artists that can’t live up to it. For instance, Murs.. what was he thinking when he said he was going to come out with 10, 10 track, albums? I thought he was joking at first (and now) but he said it in more than one interview so I was a little thrown.
Lauryn Hill made her return the stage at the Rock the Bells festival recently and from what I hear, her performance was the highlight of the show. Besides the return of one of the greatest female hip hop artists of our time, I also heard that people were chanting “fuck drake, fuck drake..” when they played that fool’s songs between sets. That put a smile on my face; its good to know there are some fans out there with some sense.
Oxnard, California-based producer, Kan Kick first got my attention with his use of jazz samples but after listening to more of his music, I can see he definitely has a more of an experimental influence than I first thought. His new project, Full-time Work, Part-time Pay, was released under his alias Kanzulu. I’m always looking for new and talented artists from California and this a case where I liked the artist before I learned he was from here. I should have known..
I just got this album when it leaked not too long ago and I’m liking it so far. Dapakote definitely has a style that I’m not used to but I like how unique it is. Be sure to check out this track and his new release, The Gummo Album if you’re a beat head like me.
I’m a new fan of Comfort Fit, who I think is from Tokyo. He’s in that perfect place in music between electronic and hip hop. That type of music makes hip hop instrumentals more listenable because the loops change so often.
Paul White is producer from London. This track might sound a little more like hip hop than the one above but from hearing his other albums, I know he is actually more closely related to electronic music. His new album, Sounds from the Skylight, is an easier listen fore me at least. You can hear the obvious hip hop influence that keeps me interested.
Some classic 90’s hip hop right here. A guy I used to work with put me up on these guys. Boogie Monsters put out two dope albums in the 90’s but have since broken up. I really like the balance between lyrical ability and style that these guys have. If you like golden era hip hop you’ll like this.
Here’s some older Canadian hip hop from rasta-inspired group, the Rascalz. Barrington Levy helps out with some vocals and K-OS contributes a dope verse on this track. I don’t know if the group is still together but I know that member, Red-1 and fellow Canadian rapper, K-OS are close friends. I think I remember hearing Red-1’s last solo album and not being that impressed but this post has given me the urge to revisit it so an update could be coming soon.
A dope dub song from Thievery Corporation’s new album, Radio Retaliation. Great name for the album and great music inside. I wasn’t too familiar with this group until I started hearing dub tracks like this around. I’ve noticed a lot of blogs calling tracks like this ‘downtempo’ which doesn’t make too much sense to me. It sounds more like white boy dub.. downtempo is like chill electronic as far as I know which isn’t much considering I’m new to the genre.
One of my favorite reggae groups, Rootz Underground released this album, Gravity, earlier this year. I just got it and haven’t really given it a good listen but I’ve heard this track a few times and I’m liking it. I don’t expect Rootz to disappoint especially when they have that unique sound of modern dub and a singer with a voice that’s pure roots. By now its quite obvious that I’m a huge fan of reggae and hip hop is probably the only genre I love more. Reggae is great for easy listening
New album from Japanese DJ/producer, Vee. This track has C.L. Smooth as guest MC. C.L. finds himself on a lot of tracks from foreign producers for some reason. I’m not complaining.. he’s a great MC and I’m glad he’s still making quality music. This was definitely one of my stand-out tracks from the album.
Another new album I came across recently from MC, Versis. Pretty chill album and I thought this track would be a good hook to get some of you to look into his music. I’m not sure where he’s from but I’ll do some more research and give y’all an update soon.
I’ve been inspired to make this series of posts. I’ll post something everyday for a couple weeks on top of the weekly larger blog updates. I’m kind of merging the two strategies of a daily post and a big weekly update. I’ve tried either and now both. We’ll see how it goes, its an experiment for now.
The track below is perfect in more ways than one. Shad, perfect. Oddisee, perfect. I wouldn’t have begun to imagine if this collab could ever happen but I’m glad someone knows who to work with from Canada.. After that K-OS and drake fiasco I was a little put off but after deleting that track and listening to the rest of the album, I have to say I enjoyed it. However, I recently saw an interview and K-OS praised drake for putting hip hop in a good place. -If you know he sounds like lil wayne why make a track with him???- After vomiting and weeping a little, I got over it and I’m just going to pretend I never saw that video. But back to this great track and the artists that know what they’re doing. I don’t know who contacted who but however it happened it needs to continue. But don’t get me wrong I think for this track the original is better but thats how I feel about most remixes. I just hope these two artists start making fresh music soon.
These 14 over the next 2 weeks won’t be anything too special, I’ll keep a lot of the best new music for the big weekly updates. Here’s another dope track but maybe a little bit of an easier listen. You have to try to catch everything Shad says because there’s no filler in his verses. Dennis Brown is a legend and this beat is a little funky. Smooth rhythm though and Brown’s voice is pure roots.