Back once again with some hidden gems, some gems that have been around awhile and gems that you’ve undoubtedly heard and don’t need me bringing them up, but I am anyway. Hip hop has been kind of weird for me this first quarter of ’10. I’ve been bitching about it, but when I actually look at what’s been released, it looks better than last year did. Not saying last year was excellent by any stretch of the imagination, but it had it’s good albums. I guess I’m at some kind of crossroads with the music. I’ll listen to hip hop ’til the day I die, and thanks to hip hop, I’ve been branching into Soul, Funk, Afrobeat, American Psychedelic and some Brazilian Funk/Psychedelic. I can also thank the vinyl addiction that I’ve been afflicted with the past 18 months for opening my ears up to other genres. After listening to basically one type of music for twenty plus years, I’m exploring other avenues. What this holds for me in the future, I don’t know, we’ll see. I’ve still listened to some 40-50 new hip hop albums this year so far, but not much has made me listen to it pass the obligatory one or two listens. There are some, but not a lot. A lot has been regulated to a few songs I find on albums that make me listen, so in that way, I’ve been listening to a lot more individual songs than I have been the past couple years. Which leads to why I like doing this (hopefully to become) weekly post. ‘Nuf of the chit chat, one with the show…..
Our boy Hus of Tha Connection goes on the solo creep with his EP Amaeru. In typical Tha Connection fashion, he crafts a song that provides that hazy shade of music that sounds like you’ve smoked a couple bowls of the sticky ickey with your boys. The piano sample almost sounds like something found on the “Beaches” movie soundtrack, yet it works remarkably well in this instance. While Hus and Smoovth are both more than capable emcees, Hus always grabbed my attention the most and he is on top of his game on the track. At least I’ll say that until there is a Smoovth solo project, then I might go the other way. Regardless, just a great, mellow track that is getting those digital spins.
Reason – Paid Bills
The dude Reason and producer Falside from the Poorly Drawn People camp are back at it again. Reason is of the Poorly Drawn People fame, a group of cats that I’ve been the proverbial johnson since first hearing their first mixtape, Nothing Stays Gold. The young cat Falside keeps getting better and better as is evident on the first single from Reason’s upcoming Landlords and Lullabies album. Falside provides a funky piano break that is funky, fresh and fly all rolled into one…..
IDE & Skavenger’s Addicted to the Vision is one of those CDs I got unexpectedly in the mail (the “real” mail). I’m not entirely sure who sent it, there is promo materials with it, but I’m not familiar with the PR people. I threw it in my CD book that I take with me in my car and forgot about it for a couple of days. I have a bout a 45 minute commute each day to work, so from time to time, I’ll throw some off the norm CD that I get in the mail, and on this particular day, it happened to Addicted to the Vision. Going through it, it wasn’t bad, some good stuff. Then I got to “Deep Thought”, track number seven. It was one of those tracks that caused involuntary head nodding. You know what I’m talking about, your head starts nodding without you even knowing it. I didn’t have the CD cover with me, so I didn’t know who it was. I got back home and searched through my empty CD cases and found that the emcee was Shabaam Shadeeq. I’m not the biggest Shadeeq fan in the world, but dude sounds as good as I’ve ever heard him on here. Of course the beat is a good reason behind that. Combine the two together, and this has the potential to be one of my favorite songs of the world. Needless to say, I haven’t made it past this song yet on that CD. I need to get back to it again one of these days.
Roc Mariano - Snow
Yes, I know “Snow” has been out since ’07, but I slept on it something terrible. I should have known better after Roc Marciano teamed up with the P Brothers to bring “Outta Control”, which was my favorite song from 2008. Those sparse, knocking drums and a light key sample is a perfect backing for Roc Marciano to bring his illiotic type flow to the mic. I know Eric has already trumpeted the greatness that is Marceberg, but after a slow first listening session, I can’t stop playing it now.
Da Goldminerz - Mr. Softy
This was one of those things that appeared in my email box that almost got a quick delete. There wasn’t much information included, other than basically a link to check out a group called Da Goldminerz and their music. I had some time and in all reality, I was going to check the link out just to see how far off my site was from their target audience. Low and behold, I was in the wrong. The first song was “Mr. Softy”, and it sounds like some classic golden age shit. In fact I would swear it was from ’94. Some cat’s might bitch about the retro sound (I prefer to call it the “authentic sound”) but to me there is still a place for some good old fashioned boom bap hip hop.
Saukrates – Soarin To Heaven Pt. 2
That cat Saukrates is back in the mix. To be honest, I don’t remember Part One of “Soarin To Heavin,” but if it’s as *ahem* uplifting as this Part Two, then I might have to track it down. Saukrates is riding a melodic, smoke inducing beat that is sure to be the bong jam of the summer. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Red & Meth’s “How High” in nature, but I ain’t mad, since Saukrates adds his own twist on the subject matter.
Statik Selectah feat Lil’ Fame, Saigon, and Sean Price - Critically Acclaimed
Who the fuck said New York was dead? It what could be considered a NYC Hip Hop lovers wet dream, Statik Selectah continues his hot streak with his latest album, 100 Proof: The Hangover. That album is a collection of hip hop goodness, as is evident with “Critically Acclaimed”. I mean, seriously? These three one on album is like getting a meatball sandwich with a triple helping of meatballs. All three bring that heat as they are known to do. Lil Fame gets my nod as the best verse, but of course, the guest appearance king Sean P isn’t too far behind. And the beat, whoa….the beat is just perfect for these three fire spitters. NY hip hop isn’t dead, not with these three emcees still around.
Front Porch Poets – Blood, Sweat & Tears
If I told you where these cats were from, you wouldn’t believe me anyway. So we’ll just skip by the fact that these cats are from overseas and concentrate on the fact that the Front Porch Poets, which consist of Dave Redi and Mr. Ramble, are dope as any group found in the lower 48. The track “Blood, Sweat, & Tears” is a perfect sound of what you’ll find on their FREE album, For The Record. It’s got that authentic hip hop sound, in which a string sample dominates the music. Throw in some scratching over the chorus, and you’ve got one of the better tracks of the year.
Arabesque - Caravan of Love
Certain songs just have that “sound” that just automatically grab me. They could be rocking the ABC’s, but if it sounds cool, both vocally and audibly, I’m going to gravitate to it. Not saying that Toronto’s Arabesque’s “Caravan of Love” is just a song full of nonsense, far from the truth. But it’s not everyday that I’m going to rock a joint with some an Indian music sample nestled in it. Just from what I’m reading, this song is part of a concept EP that Arabesque has coming out in the coming months, so I imagine it works even better in that capacity, but dude has my attention now.
Brothers of Another - Candy
Sometimes, a sample used really helps set a songs tone. Brothers of Another use a sample that is reminiscent of a throwback Frank Sinatra inspired jam that really makes “Candy” shine. It’s kind of bubblegummish in it’s sound (no pun intended) with it’s muted brass sample and it’s easy vibin’ jazz sound to it. It’s a love song of sorts, but it works quite well. It’s one of those rare jams that comes from a project I really didn’t care all that much for, but this jam caught my attention and had to go into the folder of “good tracks”.