Monthly Archives: December 2012

New Joint – Roc Marciano

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Roc Marciano – “Bally Belts” (@RocMarci / 2012)

Self-produced Strong Island fly ish from Mr. Marcberg.

There Is Only Today (The Remixtape) Download – Muneshine

muneshine remix cover

Canada’s Muneshine drops a remixed version of his brilliant album “There Is Only Today” featuring production input from the likes of Soundsci, Jorun Bombay and Slakah The Beatchild – download here.

New Joint – F.L.I.P.

F.L.I.P. – “Cold World” (FlipLifeRecords.BandCamp.Com / 2012)

New visuals from the UK crew’s “Merry Flipmas” EP.

New Joint – Mordan Words

Mordan Words – “Scar’s The Curse” (@MordanWords / 2012)

Title track from the London emcee’s forthcoming mixtape project.

52 Best Albums & EPs Of 2012 (Part Two) – Vinnie Paz / Ka / GrindHouse Project etc.

Luv NY – “Luv NY” (Ascetic / Red Apples 45) – Enlisting a crew of iconic Rotten Apple emcees that most producers could only dream of working with, Bronx-bred music man Ray West blessed AG, Kool Keith, Kurious etc with a hypnotic selection of his minimalist, piano-driven production, allowing each of the featured lyricists plenty of room to breathe as they celebrated the bright lights and shadowy back-streets of New York City.

luv ny cover

Joker Starr – “Blood-Ren” (Flukebeat Music) – Not afraid to standout from the pack, UK emcee Joker Starr ensured every track on this project was packed with personality, utilising his individual rhyme style to pay homage to Michael Jackson, impress the ladies and show the British rap scene some tough love.

joker starr album cover

Vinnie Paz – “God Of The Serengeti” (Enemy Soil) – Picking up where his brilliant 2010 solo album left-off, Philly rhyme animal Paz’s second shot for delf upped the hardcore ante even further than its predecessor, with the Jedi Mind Tricks frontman collaborating with heavyweights such as Scarface and Tragedy Khadafi over thunderous production that could rattle the gates of hell.

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Beat Bop Scholar – “Authentic Minded” (BeatBopScholar.BandCamp.Com) – Proving the old saying that age really ain’t nothing but a number, Los Angeles-based teenage producer Beat Bop Scholar lived up to his name on this mainly instrumenal project, channelling his love of golden-era Hip-Hop into a nice selection of drum-heavy, sample-laden head-nodders with legends Percee P, Sadat X and Craig G on-hand to offer vocal support.

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Ka – “Grief Pedigree” (Iron Works) – Achieving a nearly impossible balance between rugged street rhetoric and elegant sonic sophistication, veteran Brooklyn lyricist Ka cast a watchful eye over his Brownsville neighbourhood on this self-produced album, delivering pearls of hard-knock wisdom with an understated been-there-done-that flow which only made his observations of the world around him hit home even harder.

grief pedigree album cover

GrindHouse Project – “GHP Is Like…” (GrindHouseProject.BandCamp.Com) – Comprised of producers Futurewave and Astro Mega with emcees Trace Motivate and 360, this Toronto-based quartet’s debut project sounded like it had been recorded by a crew who’d locked themselves in a dark basement for six months with nothing but a sampler, some broken mics and a stack of old vinyl. Uncompromisingly hardcore, “GHP Is Like…” was all about the essential foundations of quality Hip-Hop; sharp verbal skills and quality beats with instant-rewind appeal. Music to stomp your Timberlands to.

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Phoenix Da Icefire – “The Quantum Leap” (PhoenixDaIcefire.Com) – An affiliate of London’s Triple Darkness camp, this labour of love from Phoenix Da Icefire took nearly five years to complete, but judging by the quality of the beats and rhymes heard here it was definitely time well spent. Almost entirely produced by the talented Chemo, the UK emcee covered all the lyrical bases here, from intense self-reflection and intelligent social commentary to competition-crushing verses.

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Visioneers – “Hipology” (BBE) – Multi-talented London-based producer Marc Mac returned this year under his Visioneers guise, with this brilliantly executed concept album encapsulating a variety of musical styles to highlight the many influences that have shaped the 4hero member’s own personal relationship with Hip-Hop culture, from the Incredible Bongo Band to J Dilla.

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Large Professor – “Professor @ Large” (Fat Beats) – The legendary live guy with glasses and former Main Source member continued to demonstrate his loyalty to the 90s NY golden-era sound he helped influence with this no-frills collection of five-borough flavour featuring the likes of Busta Rhymes, Grand Daddy I.U. and Action Bronson.

large pro cover

Blacastan – “The Master Builder Part II” (Brick) – The Demigodz / Army Of The Pharaohs wordsmith’s latest release contained plenty of the gruff Connecticut emcee’s cautionary street tales and conspiracy-laced wordplay over longtime collaborator ColomBeyond’s hard-edged production.

blacastan cover

Ryan Proctor

Part Three coming soon – check Part One here.

New Joint – Knightstalker

Knightstalker – “If I Were You” (@StalkinSeason / 2012)

Romeo-produced track from the German emcee’s album “Knighttime”.

Hustle & Flow – Jay-Z

Vintage 1996 BlacksInActionTV interview with Jigga on the verge of his classic debut album release “Reasonable Doubt”.

Wreck Sessions – Phoenix Da Icefire / J The Exodus / Doc 4

Latest episode of FWD360.Com’s “Wreck Sessions” series featuring intense performances from UK emcees Phoenix Da Icefire, J The Exodus and Doc 4.

Livin’ Large – AG

D.I.T.C.’s Andre The Giant drops some powerful Bronx bars to make wack emcees think twice about picking up the microphone.

52 Best Albums & EPs Of 2012 (Part One) – Roc Marciano / Mystro / House Shoes etc.

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With 2012 almost out the door, it’s about that time for magazines, websites and blogs to take the customary look back over the last twelve months to highlight those releases most worthy of recognition for really hitting the sonic bullseye during the course of the year.

Whilst the usual debates concerning the state of Hip-Hop have continued to rage on street corners, social media sites and everywhere else music fans may congregate, inbetween the vast amount of mediocre and downright terrible music that’s come from the mainstream / underground rap worlds during 2012, there’s also been a decent number of impressive album and EP releases from various corners of Planet Rock which have all delivered in terms of quality, creativity and overall dopeness.

As I always say when putting a list like this together, the projects and artists included in this 2012 round-up aren’t the only names and releases that were worth checking over the last year, but they are the ones that spent the most time booming out of my headphones and speakers.

So, in no particular order…

Roc Marciano – “Reloaded” (Decon) – With the release of 2010’s “Marcberg” album transforming Strong Island’s Roc Marciano from respected underground emcee to Hip-Hop cult hero, the former UN member refined his Rotten Apple sound even further on this sophomore solo shot, delivering a relentless barrage of vivid wordplay over melodic, minimalist production.

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Nas – “Life Is Good” (Def Jam) – Arguably Queensbridge’s favourite son’s most cohesive and consistent body of work since 1994’s timeless “Illmatic”. Nas might not have chalked-up another universal classic with his latest album, but he did sound more comfortable in his own skin on this project than he has done in a long time, as he reminisced about 90s New York, dealt with parental responsibility and reflected on his recent marriage problems.

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Mystro – “Mystrogen” (Don’t Bizznizz) – Having started 2012 amidst rumours of retirement, veteran London emcee MysDiggi laid any such talk to rest with the release of his long-awaited debut full-length, lacing a varied selection of up-beat production from the likes of Mr. Thing and Black Einstein with his witty verses, leftfield life observations and sharp humour.

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DJ Premier & Bumpy Knuckles – “Kolexxxion” (Gracie Productions / Works Of Mart) – The infamous Freddie Foxxx teaming-up with hardcore composer DJ Premier for a full-length project was always going to result in something memorable and “Kolexxxion” definitely lived up to expectations. Bumpy proudly displayed his OG stripes, schooling upcoming artists on the rules of the game and giving his opinion on the state of the culture, whilst Premier crafted an impeccable selection of thoroughbred bangers tough enough to crack concrete.

kolexxxion cover

Keith Science – “Vessels Of Thought Volume II” (Central Wax Records) – A polished collection of instrumentals from the New Jersey-based producer, this album encompassed a number of different musical vibes and emotions, ranging from jazzy optimism to aggressive boom-bap, with each track maintaining its own unique sonic personality thanks to Science’s mastery of true-school Hip-Hop production.

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Apollo Brown & OC – “Trophies” (Mello Music Group) – Having built himself a solid reputation as the go-to man for drum-heavy underground production, Detroit’s Apollo Brown tested his talents to the limit by joining forces with legendary D.I.T.C. emcee OC, resulting in a quality concept-driven album full of head-nodding beats and lyrical jewels that contained enough creative chemistry to make the uninitiated think the pair had been recording together for years.

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Timeless Truth – “Brugal & Presidentes” (Timeless Truth) – Steeped in Rotten Apple heritage, Queens, NY brothers Solace and Oprime39 paid homage to their city’s traditional boom-bap sound on this EP unleashed at the top of 2012 without sounding like they were simply chasing the musical ghosts of a lost era. The duo’s intense, sample-heavy style and ferocious verbal artillery kept heads salivating all year for the release of their recent full-length “Rock-It Science”.

timeless truth ep

Del The Funky Homosapien & Parallel Thought – “Attractive Sin” (Parallel Thought Ltd) – Ice Cube’s cousin has faced criticism in recent times for being just a little too off-the wall on some of his solo material, but whether it was a conscious decision or just natural creativity, on this Parallel Thought-produced project the Hiero emcee sounded more focused than he has in a long time. Backed by beats ranging from anthemic West Coast funk (“On Momma’s House”) to breakbeat-driven old-school flavour (“1520 Sedgewick”), Del delivered a potent lession in lyrical excellence that recalled the brilliance of his early critically-acclaimed work.

del album cover

DJ Format – “Statement Of Intent” (Project Blue Book) – A rejuvenated Format returned to burn on his third album, pulling together musical influences that ranged from old-school New York block parties and 80s electro to golden-era greatness, creating a diverse but ultimately-satisfying musical mosaic featuring the likes of Edan, Mr. Lif and Phill Most Chill holding down microphone duties. An entertaining sonic journey back to the future.

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House Shoes – “Let It Go” (Tres Records) – A close friend of the late, great Dilla and a talented producer in his own right, Detroit’s House Shoes pulled together an impressive line-up of Motown talent such as Black Milk and Guilty Simpson plus a few out-of-towners (Roc Marciano, The Alchemist etc) to ensure his official debut album was something to remember. Clearly feeling he had something to prove to the non-believers out there, “Let It Go” wasn’t just the sound of a producer putting together a typical compilation-style album, this was the sound of a man on a musical mission.

house shoes album cover

Ryan Proctor

Part Two coming soon.

Sayin’ Somethin’ – Edo.G

NEHip-Hop.Com interview with Edo.G at the 25th Annual Boston Music Awards with the veteran emcee discussing his forthcoming album “Intelligence & Ignorance”.

Rap It Up – Mystro

Behind-the-scenes footage of London’s Mystro putting together this year’s “UK Rap Up” which will be released to the masses on January 1st 2013.

New Joint – Babars & SaintCharlez / Percee P / Leftfield

Babars & SaintCharlez ft. Percee P & Leftfield – “OG MC’s” (Rhyme Disease Productions / 2012)

Taken from the West Coast duo’s album “The Legendz Almanack”.

New Joint – Labba / Sean Price / Meyhem Lauren

Labba ft. Sean Price & Meyhem Lauren – “World Famous” (@Labba / 2012)

PF Cuttin-produced East Coast stomper from the Brooklyn duo’s album “Blunts Bongs B**ches”.

New Joint – V3rb

V3rb – “Streets Talk” (V3rb.BandCamp.Com / 2012)

The West Coast highlights the importance of upcoming artists working to develop their craft on this 83 Sound-produced track from the “Standing Ovation” album.

New Joint – Neak / Dave Bovyn

Neak ft. Dave Bovyn – “Slander” (Neak_Undefined / 2012)

Tenth video from the Chicago artist’s album “Love Greater // The Prequel” – the king of purple funk himself Prince would probably be proud of the quality guitar solo on this.

The Tributes Beat Tape Download – Byrdversion1

tributes cover

Philadelphia producer and Pragmatic Theory member Byrdversion1 pays homage to some of his inspirations both in and outside of music (including Marvin Gaye, Darth Vader and Isaac Hayes) on this soulful concept-driven instrumental project – download here.

12.21.12 EP Download – Keor Meteor

keor cover

Paris-based producer Keor Meteor uses the global economic crisis as creative inspiration on this dope jazz-infused instrumental EP – download here and also look out for the French music man’s upcoming 2013 EP with Confucius EP on the YNR label.

New Joint – AG / Aslan

AG ft. Aslan – “Worldwide – Aslan Remix” (IBMC.Org / 2012)

US / UK collabo from the forthcoming “IBMCs Worldwide Remixes Vol. 7” EP.

New Joint – Jon Humble

Jon Humble – “What If There Is No God?” (TXNProductions.Com / 2012)

Taken from the Phoenix, Arizona emcee’s “Holy Genocide” project.