I’m a little late on my “Happy Madden Day” post, which will instead be tittled WYDU’s 2nd Annual, that hopefully will dropping later this week (you might have gotten a sneak peak of it when it accidentally went up last Friday for an hour or two). Football season means fantasy football starts as well. Yes, I’m a fantasy football geek as well. My man A-One over at Know Good Music suggested we start a fantasy football league. I said it sounded like fun, so here we go, a couple weeks before the season, getting a football league together. We already have four contestants, including myself. CH Commish from Slushy Gutter Summer, A-One from Know Good Music and Antone from Hip 2 Da Game. I’d like to get at least 10 teams and no more than 12. So if you want to join in on the ruckus, let me know at email@example.com. Right now, the draft is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, Aug 31st as a live online draft. That could be changed if it effects enough people though. I’m ready for some football…..
12. Ras Kass – B.I.B.L.E. (from the Institutionalized Vol 2
If I had to pick a favorite west coast MC, it’d be Ras Kass. Fuck it, he is one of my favorite MC’s, east, west, north or south. The Institutionalized Vol. 2 mixtape has some nice cuts on it, and this happens to be one of them. Over a slow gospel piano track that slowly picks up into a full fledge congregation type of track, complete with the gospel being sung along with the track in places. Topic wise, he tackles one of my favorite, religion. If you’ve followed along with Ras’ career, you know what his stance on it is. This track shows the world that Ras hasn’t lost it. Now, can we get an album?!?!
11. Doomtree – Drumsticks (from the Doomtree LP)
For those of you unfamiliar with Doomtree, it’s five MC’s and four producers, with it’s most popular face being P.O.S. of Rhyme Sayers fame. I’m a sucka for bangin’ drum tracks (which you’ll soon see more of on this list. A little organ like sample over hard, slammin’ drum track gives it that “rough” shit flavor as the crew spits over the track and is backed up by a great vocal sample on the hook.
10. Grynch – Good Morning (from the Second Wind LP)
We dropped Grynch with a New Artist Spotlight a couple weekends ago, so if you slept on the tracks then, here is another one. Over a smooth, mellow track that is equipped with a mellow synth sound that allows Grynch to ride the beat with an aerostreamed delivery as the Grynch gets a little personal. For fans of that “grown folks music” (I hate labels, but it is what it is), this track should appeal and conquer that thirst.
9. (TIE) Invincible – Sledgehammer (from the Shapeshifters LP)
Buff1 – Tear The Speakers Up (from the There’s Only One LP)
Detroit goodness is being dropped with these two tracks. The tracks remind me a lot of each other. Maybe it’s that “Detroit sound” that they contain (and yes, Detroit really is starting to get a defined sound), or just the fact they both contain hard beats that Buff and Invincible just rip to shreds. Invincible dropped an incredible album last month, one that is still in my rotation on the norm. The beat contains a flute type sample that is chopped up and laid down over a heavy kick drum laced with snaps and claps. Invincible is one of the best females going in the present day. She could hold her own with any of her male counterparts any day.
Speaking of hard drums, Buff’s song lives up to it’s name as the drum track truly “tears the speakers up”. Again, the D-Town sound is evident as drums knock harder than a Mike Tyson uppercut. A little guitar like sample accompanies it as the track turns into true beauty. As far as the album itself, I must speak on it….If you were around last summer, you should know I was a big fan of Buff’s Pure LP, well, his latest album, There’s Only One is an even better album that that one. The album is a nice range of hard bangers, thought provokers and mellow smooth joints. Truly one of the better albums I’ve heard this year so far, so support the man and pick up a copy..
8. Canto I feat Has-Lo – Touch The Sky (from the While You Were Sleeping LP)
Hip hop from Nevada? Who woulda thunk it? Only a few acts seem to come from Nevada, which usually consists of Vegas, but this brother duo, Canto I, is coming out of Reno via Vegas and have dropped a solid LP that deserves some attention. On this track, they team up with resident scribe and WYDU favorite, Hassy-Lo, the Lo-Assassin for a upbeat and excitable track. It’s fun to hear Has on a track that is a little different from his normal sound as he drops memorable lines and shows his humorous side. Great track and I hope to have more of Canto I in the future on the site.
7. Kooley High feat Halo & Chaundon – Burnin
Kooley High is another group/artist that I’ve tried to push a lot this year. I’m a fan of the J League as it is, and these cats bring the best of that flavor to the table. I’m not on the up and up on this song, but I found it on both Halo’s and K-High’s myspace pages. It’s got that old school feel to it (the sample used gives it that), but it’s just ill. You have the new cool cat of NC, Halo aka Ben Ready (more on him to come in the very near future), Chaundon, who is among my favorite members of the Justus League and my girl Rapsody who does her damn thing as well. Be on the look out for a full featured Kooley High album to be dropping in the forth quarter.
6. DXArmy – Progression (from the Progression LP, link to the MYSPACE page)
You might not have heard about this crew outside of the NY area, but you soon will. Armed with an ILL bassline, horns and a groovy drum track, the lead single from DXA is sure to remind you have some golden age area music. I’ve played this track over and over the past week or two and it reminds me of something that should have been released in ’94 (and that’s NOT a bad thing). It just reminds me of a classic track such as “Time’s Up” or “How Many MC’s”, it’s that damn good. You’ll be hearing more about this group in the upcoming days. You can already pick up their album by clicking on the advertisement in the upper left hand corner. Well worth your hard earned dollars.
5. Emilio Rojas – That Time (from the upcoming Nouveau Slick project)
I’ll be the first to admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Emilio Rojas’ last project. I can’t pinpoint an exact reason why, maybe it’s because he seemed to sound like so many other artists out there. I’ll also be the first to admit, I could’ve been wrong to dismiss him so quickly. After checking out the video for “That Time”, I quickly went on a mission to find an mp3 for the track. Emilio laid some silky smooth lyrics over an soulful M-Phazes track. It all adds up to one of the better singles I’ve heard this year. I’ll be the first to eat my words when I’m wrong, and Emilio might just make me do that.
My man Has brings some emotion to the game, something that lacks in a lot of hip hop songs. If you been dumped recently, throw this song on and hide the knives. Has reminisces over forgotten love of yesterday that did him wrong. Over an ill sample (that I should know where it’s from), the mood is one of somberness and self pity, which is great. The tracks last line sums it all up the best: “You’re my psycho, I’m your victim”. True dat.
3. N’Telligence – Let Me Run It (feat Preach) (from the Black Boy Lost LP)
It was this track that smacked me in the face and really made me attention the the N’Telligence album. For one, it features a guest appearance from Preach, who is an MC that I’ve been a fan of even before I started this blog. I always check anything his name appears on. But it’s not just Preach that makes this song a severe head nodder. An uptempo beat aides N’Telligence as he runs ramped over the the music, his flow matching the intensity of the beat stupendously.
2. Common Market – Winter Takes All (from the Tobacco Road LP)
I was one of the few cats that didn’t jump on the Common Market bandwagon after they released their Black Patch War EP earlier this year. It wasn’t that it was bad music, it was just nothing really stood out to me. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure to hear the Tobacco Road LP and I can say there is plenty that stands out on that release. This is my favorite joint from it so far, “Winter Takes All“, which has a soft piano sample that Sabazi is starting to become known for. The track sounds like something that could’ve been made for the Blue Scholars release last year, but Scion makes it his own.
1. Shawn Jackson – Fix Ya Face (First Of All….)
This album has been one of my favorites over the past month or so. Shawn Jack just brings the flavor to the masses, and that’s exemplified on the track “Fix Ya Face”. It’s going to come off to some as “Grown Folks Music” (whatev
er the fuck that is), but if that means good music, that it is. A mellow track serves as the backdrop as Shawn Jackson demonstrates that he is a nice MC, dropping some great lines. I could listen to this jawn day and night right now and not grow tired of it.
Fuck the fourth quarter, give me the summer time releases any day over the big name releases that usually equate into major disappointments. After a slow start to the ’08 year, it’s picked up in the past few weeks. Dope EP’s by the Jazz Addix and Supastition have been getting a lot of play, but didn’t quite make this list as well as well constructed albums by L.E.O. (produced by Large Professor, which is all the bit as good as the somewhat disappointing solo Extra P album) and N’Telligence that I wish I could somehow mention as well, which, I guess I just did. I don’t want to hear anyone bitching about the slow year, because the past month or so has more than made up for it. Hip Hop is like Elvis Presley, y’all say it’s dead, but there is still sightings of it all over the place.
1. Buff 1 – There’s Only One
Last summer, when I was actively trying to do these list every week, Buff 1′s Pure, was named through out the summer as one of my favorite albums that I was giving a lot of play to. This summer, Buff is back, with his There’s Only One album. And I must say that this album is even better than his debut album. Those of you familiar with Buff will know that his Lab Technicians crew supplies him some magnificent beats that can either bang the speakers, or create sweet melodies, suitable for playing on a lazy Sunday afternoon. If you were a fan of last year’s album, this one should please you even more.
2. Elzhi – The Preface
Detroit is KILLIN it lately. Elzhi is the next in line of strong D-Town MC’s and producers that shines brighter than the sun. You should know Elzhi as one of the MC’s in Slum Village. Dude is nice on the mic, as he is an MC’s MC as he just comes at you with lyrics. Then you put him behind some Black Milk and other dope beats? You have no chance. You put him on a track with Royce? Fuuuuuuck, it’s over!
3. DXArmy – Progression
I know what you are thinking….”Trav is just listing this new group because they got an ad on his blog” eeeeeeerch, put your breaks on! This album would be getting this mention regardless if I had never talked to these cats. It’s nice to know that some artists in New York remember where they came from. It’s that old New York boom bap. Killer basslines abound on the Progression release and the production is top notch, especially if you miss that New York sound. This album will give those cats that think hip hop is dead some hope.
4. Common Market – Tobacco Road
Repersentin’ the northwest, Common Market brings that knowledge and beats! This is thinkin’ mans hip hop, but wait, they actually got beats to drop the knowledge over??? This is what I was hoping the Nas album would sound like, but I guess we’ll have to settle for Common Market. Sabazi is that dude on the boards. He definitely has a “sound”, that defines his production. If you like that sound, then this album will not disappoint in the least. Scion is one of those MC’s you want to hear what he has to say, and he has a lot to say.
5. Canto I – While You Were Sleeping
This album so far is slipping under the radars, but hopefully not for long. Canto I drops a hellva sophomore release and proves dope music can come out of Nevada (Reno via Vegas). The two brothers, Effect & Joe Fury, crafted a well rounded album that is along the same kinds of melodic albums you find me listening to quite often, something they dub “headphone music” and that it is. I’m still just getting into the full digestion of While You Were Sleeping, but I can this getting a lot of play in the next few months. Find it and check it out.