As I start to slowly get back into the hip hop routine (I spent most of the past couple months checking out the Brazilian Tropicalia movement), I’m starting to catch up things I have missed. All in all, this is turning out to be a good year for hip hop, with some dope tracks dropping on some impressive releases. As you’ll notice, my “Bump” list isn’t full of up to the date type of stuff. It’s things that I played while I was in South American coupled with a few things that have caught my ear these last couple weeks home as I try to listen to as much of the new stuff as I can. This of course leads to missing a few things, but hopefully when it slows down toward the end of the third quarter as cats ramp up for the fourth quarter onslaught, I can go back and relisten to some stuff. None the less, here is my list for ummmm the last week, give or take 6-8 weeks…..
The girl Rapsody, of Kooley High fame, is getting set to drop Return of the B-Girl on 9th Wonder’s Wonderful Life/Jamla label here in the very near future. A lot of us got our introduction to Rapsody by hearing her spit in between songs on 9th’s Dream Merchant 2 2007 release. And most of us were like, “Who the fuck is that?!.” Then of course her contributions to the Kooley High success has been important as well. “Every,” which 9th produced himself, has been stuck in my subconscious for the past week or so. Rapsody takes her style back to female emcees used their skills instead of their sexuality, ala MC Lyte, with an on point, razor sharp delivery. Her ability to deliver a song with a subject and story shines through. The beat incorporates a familiar sample, but 9th puts his own spin on it, and it’s the beat that lends a dark tone to really push the song into the “DOPE!” level.
Gutter Water Music alum, Castor Pollux, comes correct over a driving DJ Vadim beat. I’ve been pushing Castor’s music for a couple years now, wanting to see him go to the next level in the underground hip hop scene and if this doesn’t wake up some sleeping cats like a pot of coffee, I ain’t got nothing for you. Castor Pollux sounds right at home over the boom-bap, bass line rumbling beat as he flows effortlessly over the bars. DJ Vadim can be hit or miss for me, but when he hits, he hits that shit 500ft over the center-field fence. The Mos Def sample for the hook is close to classic.
Detroit is simply killing it on the regional/city playing field the past few years. The talent coming out of the “D” has been insane. Just when I thought we’ve heard all the talent the city has to offer, in comes Chanes and his DJ Houseshoes assisted album, An Experiment in Instrumentation. It was one of the albums I was able to download while I was in South America and it ended up getting quite a bit of play. While I’m not as deep into the instrumental scene as my blog brothers Dart and E, I do like a good instrumental joint to play while I’m doing shit. The only problem with this dark song is it doesn’t let me get shit done as I usually sit down and listen to the deep, layered strings and keys. I know artists hate comparisons to other artists, but this reminds me of some Blue Sky Black Death type of shit, very mood influencing.
Speaking of cities, don’t count the hip hop Mecca lang, NYC, just yet. Rozewood brings the essence of New York hip hop on his track, “Undertaker.” I’m not going to lie, this sounds like some straight up throwback mid 90′s hip hop. So if you are looking for the new and “improved” sound, with all the synthesizers and shit, then the dark menacing sounds found on “Undertaker,” probably aren’t going to be for you. If you long for the sounds of yesteryear with straight up raw hip hop vibes, then Rozewood’s music is the kind that you will get down with.
I’m a Junk Science junkie, really man, I am. Just listen to these two songs, “Really, Man” and “Fire Drill”, and you see the diversity in their music. One (“Fire Drill”) finds Baje One spitting rapid fire lyrics over a quick paced beat supplied by Snafu. The other (“Really, Man”) is a more laid back and introspective joint. Baje One is a thinking emcee and has a lot to see, a lot in which I can relate to fairly easily. That’s probably my attraction to the Junk Science duo. Plus the music is just dope to me. Snafu is the king of the “Lo-Fi” sound, with dusty drums and samples.
Coming from my favorite “Out of nowhere” album of the year so far, “Prosperity” is from the young and up & comers from Washington DC (another region making some serious noise these days), emcee Obii Say & producer Sinitus. There have been many a morning the past week that I’ve had this beat playing in my head. It’s rather catchy with it’s light keys and snares kickin’ to ya. Obii has kind of a nasal like delivery that reminds me of someone, just can’t place it. I can see this kid improving with time, but he makes from an enjoyable song all the way around.
Although I’m still getting acquainted to the somewhat new style found on Brand New Old Me, the track “Good Riddance” is probably the closest thing to the music found on First of All… It’s on jams such as this that Shawn Jackson is in his zone, showcasing his skills as a top flight emcee. Beat wise, while I don’t know who did the production, it’s a top notch beat. Light horn hooks dot the music as a head nod inducing drum track really lets Shawn Jack do what he is best at.
I’m not ashamed to say that WYDU was one of the first sites to push the NC (now NYC) group Kooley High. Their EP, Summer Sessions from 2007, got a lot of play from me and the site. The six person crew is back, and their first single from their upcoming EST album promises to be a banger. The lead single, “Ya Times Up,” has a ridiculous beat by Foolery that could be one of the best beats of the year. The emcees come with attitude that matches the slammin’ beat. All I got to say, if the rest of the album is like this track, whooooaaaa, watch the figgidy f*ck out….
Yes, this song has been out since May, and yes, I’ve been playing it since May. Son of Bazerk returns like they never left as “I Swear On a Stack of Old Hits” is just as good as anything they released in 1991, and I was a BIG fan of their ’91 release. It was actually J-Zone that originally sent me the track, and him and I couldn’t tell if it was a new track or some kind of “from da vaults” type of thing. You can’t tell, but damn, this track has everything I loved from SOB. That raw type of rhymes, the No Self Control backing them up. The production comes in the form of Johnny Juice, who does it just as good as the Bomb Squad, with some raw, funky, bangin’ type of shit. All this has me excited for an upcoming album, which Johnny says is coming soon, very soon. It looks like they will be one of the rare old timers to come harder than they did back in their day.
Yes, I’m aware of the mythical album that Eric has been pumping up since late last year from the Detroit group, The Left. Hell, I’ve heard it. And yes, it’s all that and a big bag of chips, WITH the dip. This cut here, “Real Detroit” found on producer Apollo Brown’s The Reset album, is just a glimpse of what to expect. The beat makes me going into an involuntary head nod mode. I can’t help it, the bass line, the drums, the vocal chops, it’s all freakin’ amazing and hard as sandpaper on the surface of a new benz type of shit. We’ll just say this is what you can expect this winter when the album drops. No, really, it’s that fuckin’ good.