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The Half-Way Report of 2008: 10 EP's You MUST Hear

by Travis on July 9, 2008

Can you believe that we are half way through the year 2008? Seems like just yesterday I was cussing under my breath as I was diggin’ off the drive way for the third day in the row after a big snow storm. Now I’m sweating my ass off in 100 degree weather. Go figure. What do you all think about 2008 so far musically? Personally myself, I thought we got off to somewhat of a slow start, but it has picked up nicely since our 1st quarter report that dropped back in April. Nothing that has totally amazed me like “Below The Heavens” did last year, but still some damn solid offerings that have been served up warm dish style.

If you know me and have read this blog for any amount of time, you know I’m always looking for a reason to put up a list of some sort. I have some sort of list fetish, so a half way report is as good of any reason to do a list as any. The next few days, we’ll be going over my favorite songs, mixtapes, instrumental releases, and albums. Notice I said MY favorite, not what I think was the best,although, I’ll always say my opinions are among the best of the batch, because my tastes are so impeccable…ease up, I’m just kidding, plus I’ve been looking for a reason to use the word “impeccable” for awhile now.

Today we’ll cover 10 EP’s that I think people should hear. A top 10 list of sorts. You are probably saying to yourself right now, “EPs? What the hell is this cracker smoking now?” Well, in this age of shortened attention spans and the heavy promotion of music on the internet, EP’s have really taken off this year so far. In compliling my list of EPs worthy of consideration, I had 19 projects that I felt were good enough to be included on this list. One, Joe Beats & Blak’s “Strategy”, I would later find out was dropped in 2007, which is unfortunate, because it was dwindled down into the top 10 list, until I found out it was released over a year ago. I still recommend tracking it down, especially if you are a Joe Beats fan. A lot of this EP’s were free releases, so I’ll be including links for them as well. There is enough dope listening to keep you guys going for a day or two.

10 MUST HEAR EPs: The Top 10 EPs of Jan-July 08

10. Baje One – Weightless

Sounds Like: Those Junk Science cats, minus one dude….oh, and maybe Iller Than Theirs, Cool Calm Pete….but not your typical Def Jux music.

Summary: Junk Science is a group I’ve pushed on this site before. They bring a different sound and vibe to the game. They are not the most lyrical, nor the hottest beats, but the whole package is something that I’ve been able to relate to. This is EP, Weightless, is from Junk Science’s Baje One, the MC, for those of you not on the up and up. It’s a short little six track EP, that serves as Baje One’s vehicle for his own music without having to check in with a group member. This is some grown folks music, and the track, Mission Statment, has my favorite verse of the year.

From the start, from the jump, from the get go grabbed the micphone, swore I’d never let go when I was sixteen, woulda gotten a tattoo like, this is not a stage, not just going to pass through In the middle of the rottenest apple Kings of hip hop sat on top of the castle dayum, I was barely a rapper then came with good intentions on the train with a pad and pen and that kid, I don’t know where he went to and truth, I can’t remember half the shit he went through I see the pictures and all that I think is its not me I ran from that person, buck naked and scott free (?) He and I, we don’t share the same vision the same spectrum, the same prism He was black and white friction and non fiction I understand now life is contradiction Like life is wonderful, but life will punish you life is beautiful, sometimes there is funerals……

And it goes on. It’s not necessarily the lyrics themselves, but the meaning behind them. The love/hate relationship with hip hop and life in general. The lyrics have been my “soundtrack” for the year. “Mission Statement” is easily one of my favorite tracks of the year. The rest of the album is very good as well, worth checking out.

Favorite Tracks: “Mission Statement”, “I (No) O U”


9. Solo X aka Solo For Dolo – Black September EP

Sounds Like: A Rhymesayers MC met up with a female version of Chino XL and had children, the offspring would be SoloX.

Summary: Every so often, listening to something you see posted on a forum pays off. I found SoloX’s, Black September, on the Philaflava forum (which really does have some talented musicians on it) and felt they were five strong tracks found on the EP. SoloX is a hungry MC, and you can tell by the way he attacks to tracks on this EP. Most of it is just him flexing his lyrical skills, but the beats are also quality as well. Nice first impression, the kid is on my radar for the future.

Favorite Tracks: “Just To Let You Know”, “Black September”


8. Pillowtalk Politiks – Pillowtalk Politiks

Sounds Like: A midwestern version of a poorman’s Tribe. Not saying Pillowtalk Politiks are like Tribe, but they got that same vibe, mellow, smooth, jazzy shit.

Summary: I’d rank Pillowtalks Politiks self titled EP right up there of favorite things I had sent to me this year. This Minneapolis crew sent me this unmixed version of their EP back in January, and it’s held on to get played every other week or so still. The beats are laid back, on the mellow tip, it’s a great EP to sit back and relax to. I’m waiting to hear more from this crew in the upcoming future.

Favorite Tracks: “Ezer Is Never Was”, “Not Preaching”.


7. Blueprint – Blueprint Vs. Funkadelic

Sounds Like: The Funkadelic Monster puked all over Blueprint’s studio…don’t worry, it’s a better thing than it sounds.

Summary: Weightless Records is kind of like QN5 for me, they always provide dope releases nine times out of ten. Blueprint has always been pretty dope, whether he does his own solo thing, or he was rhyming over RJD2 beats, ‘Print is one of the better MC’s out there that probably doesn’t get his just due. I’m a BIG fan of funk production, like the old Redman, Keith Murray, and Erick Sermon albums from back in the day. Blueprint’s Blueprint Vs. Funkadelic is like those, but on GHB, Anabolic Steriods and heroin. It’s supercharged, but it’s funkin’ dope. Sorry pun on words, but for free, you can’t go wrong with this release.

Best Songs: “The Day To Day”, “Don’t Make Me Laugh”


6. Little Vic – Each Dawn I Die (no Link)

The Exorcist (Prod By DJ Premier)
The Evil That Men Do (Produced By Buckwild)
Caked Up feat Kool G Rap

Sounds Like: Vic sounds like someone that would have been in the Mobb Deep crew about 10 years ago. He comes with the classic, raw NYC sound.

Summary: I wouldn’t have called “Each Dawn I Die” an EP if Little Vic himself said in an interview with WYDU earlier this year that he calls it an EP….or an shortened LP? We’ll save face, and since three of the tracks were already released, we’ll call it an EP, and a damn good one at that. I slept on this initially, until I had to interview him. After that, I listened to this EP/Shortened LP quite often for the next couple months. Dude stepped his game up and I look forward to more from this NYC MC, New York hip hop isn’t dead yet.

Best Songs: “Sister Morphine”, “The Exorcist”


5. Atmophere – Sad Clown Bad Spring 12

Sounds Like: Sounds like Slug & Ant

Summary: Bring your hate, I could care less. Slug and Ant drop their fourth of four EP’s, spanning the four seasons. I would give my nod for the best with Sad Clown, Bad Summer, but Bad Spring might be my second favorite of the batch. The beat for the lead off track, “Less One”, is more than just a bit ill and would have sounded great on ….Paint That Shit Gold. The EP sounds a lot more like some of the material found on that full length release, the same sound, the same mood and the same style. A nice companion EP.

Best Songs: “Less One”, “Carry Me Home”.


4. Analogic & Rashid Hadee – Serenade For The Moment (sorry, no link)

Sounds Like: Rashid Hadee sounds like….I can’t really compare him to anyone. Not that he is truly original, but he does have his own sound. Analogic sounds like a cross between M-Phazes and Khrysis of JL and another New Jers producer, K-Def .

Summary: I’ve long been aware of Rashid Hadee from his appearances with his group, Chapter 13 and his Neblina Records releases. His not the most lyrical MC, but he is a entertaining MC, one that can hold my ADD attention span fairly well for an MC. This pairing was a great idea, as these are some of the best beats I’ve heard Hadee over. Analogic is a newer producer on the scene. In the vein of soul producers, but he has grown beyond that in my opinion. A very talented producer and one to keep your eye on in the future. Serenade For The Moment contains seven dope tracks, that will appease hip hop fans.

Favorite Tracks: “Explode”, “Serenade For The Moment”.


3. Has-Lo & Small Professor – Fuck Has Day: Remixed But Still Fucked

Sounds Like:
Has-Lo sounds like Elmer Fudd on the mic and Small Professor’s beats sound like Howler Monkeys trapped in a garbage can being beat with a baseball bat…otherwise, download it and find out for yourselves.

Summary: What do you get when you combine WYDU’s favorite “new artist” with our favorite “new producer”? You get Remixed But Still Fucked. Small Professor first made noise last year with winning our “Best Free Album” of the year award with his version of Jay-Z’s American Gangster, better known as Crooklyn Gangster. I wrote all about the original and the remixed version earlier in the year, so I won’t rehash it. I will say that I look forward to hearing a lot more from both of these artists, and hopefully this won’t be their only co-effort together. Something tells me it won’t be. Something tells me this won’t be the last we see from either artists on these lists this week as well.

Favorite Tracks: “Hands”, “Molotov Cocktails”

Myspace: Has-Lo -,
Small Professor:

2. Kooley High – Summer Sessions EP (Sorry, no Link)

Sounds Like: They got that North Kakalak sound…..(See Interview Coming Tomorrow)

Summary: One of the guys, or associates of Kooley High (I’m still not sure which one or who…haha) sent me this EP back in February or so. It’s still getting play four months later. That should say something about the quality of this EP. If you are into the Justus League sound and the overall sound coming out from North Carolina, then you should be checking out this EP. Consisting of six members, including a female MC, Kooley High should be the next thing to come out of North Carolina when they drop their full length later this year. Y’all been warned.

Favorite Tracks: “There You Go”, “Water”


1. Has-Lo – Fuck Has Day

Sounds Like: A dash of Wu-Tang, a smidgen of Prodigy (pre-50 Days), with a sprinkle of all raw east coast MC’s.

Summary: There is no favoritism going on here. Yes, Has does some work at WYDU, but I’ve been trumpeting the greatness of the his Fuck Has Day EP before that ever came down. This EP brings quality raw hip hop to the table. Has’ slow, drawn on rhyme style fits well over his somewhat sparse, yet complex beats. It’s proof that you can hip hop can sound both old school, with a new school spin on the sound. Has’ rhymes encompass everything from humor of “Fuck Has Day”, to an ill concept on “Hands”, in which his hands take over. He even touches on lost love on, “All’s Fair”, for all the grown folks that have been through that same shit. It’s an excellent EP and I’ll keep telling everyone that hasn’t heard yet to get off their ass and give this a listen.

Favorite Tracks: “The Usual Way”, “Prelude”


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