Category Archives: Midwest Hip-Hop

New Joint – Pseudo Slang

Pseudo Slang – “Penetrate” (@PseudoSlang / 2014)

The Chicago-based crew drop some jazzy Paw Cut-produced vibes to prepare heads for their upcoming global tour dates.

New Joint – 13Five / Hell Razah

13Five ft. Hell Razah – “Full Of Lies” (13Five.Com / 2014)

Taken from the Detroit producer-on-the-mic’s album “13th Amendment”.

New Joint – JW Hype

JW Hype – “Get Hype” (@JW_Hype / 2014)

The Chicago producer-on-the-mic takes it back to a time when Hip-Hop heads spent almost as much time trying to replicate the dance moves seen in videos on “Yo! MTV Raps” as they did learning the rhymes of their favourite emcees.

New Joint – Willie The Kid & Bronze Nazareth

Willie The Kid & Bronze Nazareth – “The Guilt” (Embassy Entertainment / 2014)

Taken from the Michigan-based duo’s forthcoming collabo album “The Living Daylights”.

New Joint – Qwel & Maker

Qwel & Maker – “Abracadabra” (Galapagos4.Com / 2014)

New visuals from the Chicago duo’s impressive 2013 album “Beautiful Raw”.

New Joint – Clear Soul Forces / Kooley High

Clear Soul Forces ft. Kooley High – “Freq Freq” (Fat Beats Records / 2014)

Ilajide-produced collabo taken from the Detroit crew’s album “Gold PP7s”.

New Joint – Young Giftz / Boldy James

Young Giftz ft. Boldy James – “Game Of Chess” (@YoungGiftzFOC / 2014)

King Thelonious-produced street politics from the Chicago artist’s 2013 project “Position Of Power”.

New Joint – Common

Common – “War” (@Common / 2014)

Passionate verses from the Chicago veteran’s forthcoming No I.D.-produced album “Nobody Smiling”.

52 Best Albums & EPs Of 2013 (Part Five) – Life MC / The Doppelgangaz / K-Def etc.

Benny Diction & Able8 – “Life Moves” (Boom Bap Professionals) - UK emcee Benny Diction teamed-up with Australian producer Able8 for this quality collection of insightful rhymes and boundary-pushing beats. Able’s swirling synths, thick bass and dense drums provided an unpredictable soundscape for Diction’s unique view of the world around us.

benny diction cover

Wyld Bunch – “Unbreakable” (Effiscienz) - Backed by the soulful boom-bap production of France’s DJ Brans, the Brooklyn-based Bunch effectively captured the essence of golden-era East Coast Hip-Hop on this eight track EP which also featured the lyrical skills of  Masta Ace, Torae and Roc Marciano.

wyld bunch cover 1

Life MC – “Gift Of Life” (LifeMC.BandCamp.Com) - Having remained a staple of the UK Hip-Hop scene since his 90s debut as a member of Phi-Life Cypher, Life continued his successful musical chemistry with producer DJ Nappa, dropping another worthy addition to his solo catalogue which was packed with his usual blend of poignant social commentary and emcee bravado.

life mc pic 3

DJ Format & Phill Most Chill – “The Foremost” (Project Blue Book) - Taking it back to the future, UK producer Format and veteran Philadelphia-based emcee Phill Most Chill delivered an uptempo blast of true-school b-boy flavour celebrating dusty breakbeats, lyrical agility and a shared love of Hip-Hop culture.

dj format cover

Truth Universal – “Invent The Future” (Truth Universal Music) - At a time when many would argue that lyrical substance has been lost in Hip-Hop, New Orleans emcee Truth Universal dropped some serious edutainment on his latest project, tackling issues such as urban violence, health and poverty with insight and authority over dope beats from the likes of P.U.D.G.E., Kev Brown and Khrysis.

truth universal cover

Esoteric & Stu Bangas – “Machete Mode” (Man Bites Dog Records) - Not content with having already dropped a quality album in 2013 as one third of CZARFACE, Boston mic icon Esoteric joined forces with Stu Bangas to spit sharp lyrical barbs over the producer’s trademark sonic aggression on this hard-hitting project.  Well-placed guest appearances from the likes of Ill Bill, Vinnie Paz and Celph Titled kept the hardcore levels of “Machete Mode” peaking throughout.

esoteric cover

Qwel & Maker – “Beautiful Raw” (Galapagos4 Records) - The Chicago duo journeyed through a myriad of emotions on this multi-layered project which took the listener from the pain of struggle to the joy of success and everywhere in-between. Qwel’s passionate verses were a perfect match for Maker’s masterful musicianship, resulting in an album that will no doubt stand as an enduring body of work for years to come.

qwel cover

The Doppelgangaz – “HARK” (Groggy Pack Entertainment) - NY’s Matter OV Fact and EP continued to promote the Black Cloak Lifestyle on their latest shadowy opus, mixing hypnotic, drum-heavy production with off-centre rhymes about questionable substances, personal hygiene and the finer points of the fairer sex. Like a good liquor, the ‘Gangaz once again proved themselves to be sonically dark, intoxicating and addictive.

doppelgangaz cover 2

K-Def – “One Man Band” (Redefinition Records) - Taking inspiration from the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, 24-Carat Black and DJ Premier, the gifted New Jersey producer gave a new lick of musical paint to some familiar grooves on this ambitious instrumental EP, mixing the old with the new and adding another dimension to K-Def’s already impressive skills behind the boards.

k-def cover

Heavy Links – “Heavyweight” (HeavyLinks.BandCamp.Com) - UK trio Habitat, El Tel and Donnie Propa dropped another quality EP  in 2013 that was packed with speaker-busting beats and vivid wordplay, providing further proof that Heavy Links are one of the most promising crews currently making music in the British scene. Heavyweight champs, indeed.

heavy links cover

John Robinson & Kyo Itachi – “The Path Of Mastery” (Shinigamie Records) - Making his name in the 90s as a member of NYC’s Scienz Of Life, longstanding wordsmith John Robinson continued to prove that true talent is timeless on this collaborative album with France’s Kyo Itachi. Mixing his usual brand of lyrical positivity with Itachi’s jazz-influenced beats, Robinson proved, once again, that the creative path he’s on is the correct one.

john robinson cover

Ryan Proctor

Check Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four.

52 Best Albums & EPs Of 2013 (Part Four) – Verb T / Ghostface Killah / Ugly Heroes etc.

Verb T – “I Remain” (High Focus Records) - The UK lyricist reconfirmed his status as one of the most consistent talents to be found within the British Hip-Hop scene with this impressive self-produced project. Mixing the mundane grind of daily life with a creative imagination, “I Remain” offered another vivid look into the world of Verb T.

verb t pic 5

Ka – “The Night’s Gambit” (BrownsvilleKa.Com) - Painting more detailed images of NYC’s darkside, Brooklyn’s Ka dropped another understated opus of haunting brilliance that stayed with the listener long after the final track faded into silence.

ka cover

CM Jones – “Perfect Hand Off” (Ascetic Music) - With the power of technology at their disposal, French producer Creestal and New Jersey-based emcee MoShadee didn’t let thousands of miles prevent them from building a musical chemistry that ensured this multi-layered mix of soul, jazz and boom-bap sounded like it had been recorded by a pair of Hip-Hop heads who’d known each other since childhood.

cm jones cover

Hannibal Stax & Marco Polo – “Seize The Day” (Soulspazm Records) – As one of the most recognisable voices of the Gang Starr Foundation, the debut album of Crooklyn lyricist Stax might have been years in the making, but it definitely arrived right on time. Backed by the thunderous, neck-snapping beats of Marco Polo, Hannibal took it back to a time in Hip-Hop when gimmicks were frowned upon and emcees relied purely on skills and mic presence to keep a listener’s attention. Brooklyn’s in the house!

hannibal stax cover

Cyrus Malachi – “Black Athena” (First Son Records) - The Triple Darkness emcee continued to build on his brand of intricately written, mind-expanding Hip-Hop with this latest collection of intense bangers produced by the likes of 7th Dan and HellzEcho that could shake the foundations of the pyramids.

cyrus cover 1

Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge – “12 Reasons To Die” (Soul Temple Music) - Backed by the soulful live instrumentation of Adrian Younge, the Wally Champ dove headfirst into this brilliantly-executed cinematic concept album based on an outlandish plot that made the average kung-fu flick seem straight forward.  Joined by Wu swordsmen such as Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna and Masta Killa, Ghostface navigated his way through betrayal, love and murder in this musical martial arts thriller.

ghostface cover

Ugly Heroes – “Ugly Heroes” (Mello Music Group) - Comprised of producer Apollo Brown alongside emcees Verbal Kent and Red Pill, Ugly Heroes provided a poignant soundtrack for people everywhere pushing their way through the everyday struggle, dealing with the pressures of day-jobs, family responsibilities and the unexpected knockout blows thrown by life. One of the year’s most sincere and heartfelt albums.

ugly heroes cover

7 G.E.M.S. – “Golden Era Music Sciences” (Ill Adrenaline Records) – Massachusetts-based Tragic Allies members Purpose, Estee Nack and Code Nine joined forces with Queensbridge legend Tragedy Khadafi for this collabo project that was best described by its own title. Full of rugged, boom-bap beats and street-influenced god-body lyricism, “Golden Era Music Sciences” combined all of the correct elements from Hip-Hop’s periodic table for this true-school experiment.


Jack Diggs – “Dirty Finger Nails” (Revorg Records) - Deeply autobiographical and sublimely produced, TPS Fam member Diggs dug into his personal history as well as his record crates on this quality album which showcased the talents of an individual who clearly lives, breathes and sleeps the culture of Hip-Hop.

jack diggs cover

The Mouse Outfit – “Escape Music” (TheMouseOutfit.Com) - The Manchester-based crew of live musicians, deejays and emcees offered listeners a diverse melting pot of musical styles on this infectious album covering Hip-Hop, reggae, jazz and soul in the process. Highlighting the distinct lyrical flavour of veteran UK emcee Dr Syntax whilst introducing the likes of Sparkz and Black Josh to a wider audience, “Escape Music” was honest music made for all the right reasons.

mouse outfit cover

Ryan Proctor

Check Part One, Part TwoPart Three and Part Five.

New Joint – Ugly Heroes

mello music group

Ugly Heroes – “Pay Attention” (Mello Music Group / 2013)

Apollo Brown, Verbal Kent and Red Pill drop a new track featured on the forthcoming Mello Music Group compilation “Mandala Vol. 2 – Today’s Mathematics”.

New Joint – Lord Jessiah / Scrooge McJus / All-Wise

Lord Jessiah ft. Scrooge McJus & All-Wise – “Grounds Of Detroit” (@Black7Pro / 2013)

Gritty Wizzard-produced title track from the Motor City microphone fiend’s album released earlier this year.


New Joint – Lord Hakim / Vast Aire / Phizz Ed

Lord Hakim ft. Vast Aire & Phizz Ed – “Brass Knucklez” (@LordHakim614 / 2013)

New visuals from the Ohio emcee’s forthcoming album “Born With A Determined Idea” featuring Lord Jamar, Bronze Nazareth, Dom Pachino and more.

The Bootleg Sessions Album Download – The Highest Low

bootleg cover

The Chicago crew drop an unpredictable mix of creative rhymes, varied production and true-school ethics on their latest project featuring Black Logic, Omega Red, Rendition Beats and more  - download here.

New Joint – Lord Jessiah / Alius Pnukkl / 01

Lord Jessiah ft. Alius Pnukkl & 01 – “Sharp Shootaz” (Black 7 Productions / 2013)

Grimy Motor City beats and rhymes from the album “Grounds Of Detroit”.

New Joint – Boldy James

Boldy James – “Moochie” (Decon  / 2013)

One of the many standout tracks from the Detroit lyricist’s Alchemist-produced album “My 1st Chemistry Set”.

New Joint – Jamal Science / Scheme / Astonish

Jamal Science ft. Scheme & Astonish – “Smoov Criminal” (Molemen Records / 2013)

Taken from the Chicago emcee’s Panik-produced EP “Simply Amazin’”.

New Joint – Kenautis Smith & Black Spade

Kenautis Smith & Black Spade – “The Greatest Of All” (All Natural Inc / 2013)

Soulful vibes off the collabo album “Motivational Tool” from the Chicago-based producer and St. Louis-bred emcee.

New Joint – Epidemic & Dreamtek

Epidemic & Dreamtek – “Test Mine” (Mic-Theory Records / 2013)

Double Lyfe-produced track from the Florida duo’s project with Chicago’s Dreamtek entitled “The Bassment Tapes Vol. 1: Write To Remain Violent”.

New Joint – Yancey Boys / Common / Dezi Paige

Yancey Boys ft. Common & Dezi Paige – “Quicksand” (Delicious Vinyl / 2013)

Soulful Dilla-produced vibes taken from the Illa J / Frank Nitt album “Sunset Blvd”.