Benaddict – “The Garden Of England” (Yogocop.BandCamp.Com) – This debut album from UK emcee Benaddict was a brilliantly crafted collection of down-to-earth, observational rhymes delivered over impeccable, boom-bap-influenced production from Mr Slipz, Ded Tebiase, Gonza and more.
Molecules & Showbiz – “A Bronx Tale” (Legion Records) – The Legion’s Molecules dropped an uncompromisingly hardcore example of traditional Rotten Apple rap in the form of this Showbiz-produced EP. With a respectful nod to NYC’s Hip-Hop heritage, this release contained everything you’d expect from a D.I.T.C.-associated project – dusty, thunderous beats, true-school rhyme skills and an unwavering hometown pride. The Bronx keeps creating it.
Logic Marselis & Illien Rosewell – “Wally Renaissance” (MagnetikMoments.BandCamp.Com) – Virginia producer / emcee combo Logic Marselis & Illien Rosewell showcased their undeniable creative chemistry over five tracks of neck-snapping, sample-driven beats and confident wordplay on this short-but-impressive EP.
VVV – “Bozo Boyz” (JugaNaut.BandCamp.Com) – Nottingham microphone masters Juga-Naut, Cappo and Vandal Savage flexed heavyweight rhyme skills over an eclectic selection of beats on this entertainingly unpredictable project.
Kesper – “Beautifully Ugly” – Queens, NY representative Kesper delivered a strong, full-length dose of Rotten Apple attitude with this project, which was rooted in the traditionally rugged, sample-driven sound of East Coast Hip-Hop.
Spider Jaroo & Pro P – “Photons” (ProPProducer.BandCamp.Com) – Bluntskins producer Pro P teamed-up with fellow Northern England-based Hip-Hop head Spider Jaroo for this fine collection of jazz-flavoured samples, knockin’ drums and everyman lyricism.
Von Poe VII – “The Hype” (VonPoeVII.BandCamp.Com) – Talented West Coast wordsmith Von Poe VII continued to elevate his artistry with this well-crafted collection of personal, introspective rhymes delivered with natural skill and ability.
Daniel Son & Giallo Point – “Remo Gaggi” (GialloPoint.BandCamp.Com) – Once again displaying the chemistry showcased on their 2016 release “The Gunners”, Canadian wordsmith Daniel Son and UK producer Giallo Point dropped another high-calibre batch of razor-sharp rhymes and sample-driven beats.
Bub Styles – “Long Nights, Cold Winters” (BubStyles.Com) – The gruff Brooklyn wordsmith teamed-up with producer Ace Fayce for this standout collection of Rotten Apple rawness, evoking images of street-corner crews, scuffed Timberlands and late-night bodega visits.
Tha 4orce – “Setting Standards” (Tha4orce.BandCamp.Com) – UK Hip-Hop vet Tha 4orce delivered his long-awaited production album “Setting Standards”, featuring lyrical heavyweights such as Ray Vendetta, Dubbledge and Arise King David all living up to the project’s title as they dropped accomplished wordplay over a stellar selection of beats.
Therman Munsin – “Sabbath” (Hard Times Records) – The highly-anticipated album from New Jersey’s Therman Munsin arrived in 2017 following an effective blog-assisted build up, produced entirely by Strong Island’s Roc Marciano and featuring appearances from AG Da Coroner, Big Twins and Guily Simpson.
PhybaOptikz & Giallo Point – “Voynich Manuscript” (CrateDivizion.BandCamp.Com) – A quality batch of atmospheric, suspenseful beats and rhymes from the ever-reliable Crate Divizion camp, featuring Daniel Son, SmooVth and Task Force’s Farma G assisting London’s PhybaOptikz as he embarked on a new Hip-Hop mission.
Allstar Stacks – “BodybagKing – The Reaper’s Alliance” (AllStarStacks.BandCamp.Com) – Moody, atmospheric late-night vibes from the North London-based New Guardz member, with appearances from Ray Vendetta, Flowtecs and Honours Tea adding further lyrical weight to this well-crafted project.
Crimeapple – “Metralleta” (FxckRxp.BandCamp.Com) – New Jersey’s Crimeapple spent 2017 consistently leaking impressive free music across the internet. But this official EP release was undoubtedly the grimy rhymer’s crowning achievement of the year. Produced entirely by Buck Dudley, this release found Crimeapple weaving his sharp, street-influenced verses around minimalist, stripped down beats.
Muja Messiah – “Saran Rap” (ManBitesDogRecs.BandCamp.Com) – The veteran Minneapolis microphone master was blessed with production from NY’s mighty Roc Marciano throughout this short-but-satisfying EP. Engaging rhymes and suble, mellow loops were combined here with memorable results.
Phat Kat & DJ Dister – “The S.O.S. Project” (BelowSystem.BandCamp) – Veteran Detroit emcee Phat Kat (aka Ronnie Euro) teamed-up with Berlin-based producer DJ Dister for this solid selection of true-school cuts, full of confident, self-assured rhymes and speaker-rattling beats.
Doc Brown – “Stemma” (DocBrown.Co.UK) – Before he became known as a comedian and actor, London’s Doc Brown spent some years establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in the UK Hip-Hop scene. Returning to his rap roots, “Stemma” found the talented emcee demonstrating that his passion for music still burns strong, dropping both personal verses and boisterous braggadocio over an eclectic mix of genre-blurring production.
Sean Price – “Imperius Rex” (DuckDown.Com) – This posthumous project from the late, great Sean P was as impressive as it was bittersweet. A quality showcase of the Brooklyn emcee’s unique skills and irrepressible personality, the album was also a poignant reminder of the talent the rap world lost following Price’s untimely death in 2015. That being said, Dru Ha and the Duck Down camp did a sterling job here of ensuring “Imperius Rex” was a worthy addition to both the man’s discography and legacy. Ruck Down lives on. P!!!
Da Flyy Hooligan – “S.C.U.M.” (22Entertainment.BandCamp.Com) – The artist formerly known as Iron Braydz came correct in no uncertain terms on this dope full-length effort, cutting through the mellow, hypnotic production of Agor with his razor-sharp wordplay and bold delivery. Fresh like a pair of brand new sneakers.
Apollo Brown & Planet Asia – “Anchovies” (ApolloBrown360.BandCamp.Com) – It was clear from the outset that only good things could come from a collaboration between Detroit producer Apollo Brown and West Coast vet Planet Asia. Both masters of their respective crafts, Brown’s minimalist production style on this project gave PA’s heavy-mental verses plenty of room to breathe, which allowed the listener to really digest the content of the rhymes on offer here. Once again, another Mello Music Group sureshot!
Fifth and final part coming soon.