Category Archives: Australian Hip-Hop

New Joint – Jah Monte & Flu

Jah Monte & Flu – “You A Shook One Lord You Not God Body” (@JahMonteOgbon / @FluDust / 2020)

Australia’s Flu supplies talented Ohio-born, North Carolina-based emcee Jah Monte with some captivating, piano-laced production for this quality collaboration.

100 Best Albums & EPs Of 2019 (Part One) – Roc Marciano / Nems / Jeff Smith etc.

Every year this ‘best-of’ list becomes increasingly harder to put together, with 2019 possibly having been the most challenging round-up to compile yet. Not because there haven’t been enough worthy projects released over the past twelve months, but because there has potentially been too many!

I initially sat down with a list of approximately three hundred albums and EPs that had dropped this year which I felt deserved to be considered. Three hundred??!! After plenty of deliberation and arguments with myself, I finally managed to get that list down to the one hundred releases you’ll find featured in this five-part 2019 overview.

Of course, there are going to be artists not included who some heads will feel should have been. That’s the beauty of music – everyone has their own opinion. But if a particular album or EP hasn’t been mentioned, that shouldn’t lead anyone to automatically assume I didn’t rate that project at all. As previously stated, I started with three hundred releases. When scaling that list down I had to really just consider which albums and EPs I’d enjoyed the most. It was as simple as that. No politics. No favours. Just the thoughts of a lifelong fan of beats and rhymes.

As always, huge props to all the talented artists out there (whether included in this list or not) who put their time, effort and creative energy into making music that adds something of value to this incredible culture called Hip-Hop.

Now, like we always do about this time….

Roc Marciano – “Marcielago” (RocMarci.Com) – As one of the most influential artists of the last decade it’s fitting that ten years after the release of “Marcberg”, an album that made an indelible impact on the sound of underground Hip-Hop, Strong Island’s Roc Marci would book-end his incredible run of releases with a project that further solidified his position in the game. Once again proving himself to be a master of his craft (both lyrically and musically),  the NY favourite fused vivid, larger-than-life rhymes with smooth, atmospheric (largely self-produced) beats and loops. Cinematic mood music best heard late at night in a haze of weed smoke.

 

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Nems – “Gorilla Monsoon” (Lyfer Gang) – Brooklyn emcee Nems is no newcomer, having released a string of projects over the past fifteen years. But on this album, the Mayor Of Coney Island appeared to capture Hip-Hop lightning in a bottle, elevating his skills to new heights in the process. Backed by the masterful production of fellow BK resident Jazzsoon, whose beats thumped harder than a heavyweight boxer working a punch-bag, Nems paid homage to the traditional Rotten Apple sound without getting caught up in nostalgia, delivering rhymes that ranged from aggressive, competition-crushing bars to brutally personal and honest life stories. Powerful music.

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Joker Starr – “G.A.W.D.” (FlukeBeatMusic.BandCamp.Com) – The irrepressible UK artist made a welcome return at the beginning of the year with another quality collection of unrestrained lyricism to add to his catalogue, at times sounding about ready to burst out of the speakers like a Hip-Hop Hulk. Largely produced by Micall Parknsun (with input from Anyway Tha God and OphQi), the UK wordsmith mixed social commentary and Black pride with larger-than-life emcee bravado throughout this entertaining showcase of raw hardcore talent.

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Vic Spencer & Sonnyjim – “Spencer For Higher 2” (Daupe Media) – Chicago’s Vic Spencer delivered slick wit and smooth arrogance over sublime production from the UK’s Sonnyjim on this sequel to the pair’s original 2018 “Spencer For Higher” project. A naturally gifted emcee, Spencer dominated the beats and loops on offer here with seemingly effortless skill, sharing a creative chemistry with Sonnyjim that lent the project a satisfyingly seamless and organic feel.

Funky DL – “Life After Dennison” (FunkyDL.BandCamp.Com) – Following on from 2018’s “Dennison Point” project, which captured Funky DL’s memories and experiences between 1992 and 2005 as a resident of Stratford, East London, “Life After Dennison” found the multi-talented UK artist bringing listeners up-to-date with his personal journey in his inimitable warm and witty style, accompanied by his jazzy and soulful trademark production sound.

Pitch 92 – “3rd Culture” (HighFocus.Com) – An album of epic proportions, this project from Pitch 92 fully showcased the Manchester music man’s range as a producer, incorporating Hip-Hop, jazz and soul influences into one smooth and cohesive listening experience, featuring a long list of top-tier UK talent including Jehst, MysDiggi and DRS. An ambitious and thoroughly enjoyable release.

Jeff Smith – “Fear Of A Black Messiah” (GiftedJeffSmithStore.BandCamp.Com) – In today’s divided and troubled times, music from artists such as Virginia’s Jeff Smith is needed more than ever. Following in the footsteps of acts such as Public Enemy, Paris and Kam, the outspoken emcee delivered an uncompromising look at what it means to be Black in Amerikkka today from his own perspective. Dealing with racial, social and political issues head-on, Smith proved that edutainment is still alive and well in Hip-Hop.

The Legion – “Three The Bronx Way” (FBDistribution.BandCamp.Com) – Grounded in memories of 80s Bronx block parties, street-corner ciphers and nights at the Latin Quarter, NY trio Molecules, Chucky Smash and Dice Man (aka Cee-Low) jingle jangled their way through this uncompromising dose of traditional Rotten Apple rap. The BX keeps creating it.

Damani Nkosi and ill Camille – “HARRIETT” (DamCam.BandCamp.Com) – West Coast duo Damani Nkosi and ill Camille combined their talents on this full-length project, determined to satisfy your soul and stimulate your third-eye via an organic blend of smooth, melodic production and uplifting lyrical content which was influenced by the past, grounded in the present and looking towards the future.

Infinite Thoughts – “Instrumentals” (1990SomethingLLC.BandCamp.Com) – Washington’s DJ NOZs and E Boogie delivered a stunning selection of uplifting, soulful beats on this brilliantly crafted project, showcasing not only their passion for boom-bap but also their shared ear for quality musicianship, blending dusty, basement-style drums with melodic keys and horns.

Showbiz x Milano – “Boulevard Author” (DITCEnt.Com) – A shining example of quality now-school Rotten Apple rap, this concise collection of dusty-fingered beats and well-executed, laser-precise rhymes found the Diggin’ In The Crates duo each residing at the top of their game. Milano has been a lyrical force to be reckoned with since his debut in the late-90s and Show’s ear for an ill loop definitely hasn’t faded over time, with this album carrying on DITC tradition and proudly supporting the classic sound of NYC.

Lisaan’dro – “M.A.D.E. (My Allies Died Early)” (Lisaandro.BandCamp.Com) – Gang Starr’s Guru once said it’s mostly the voice of an emcee that sets him or her apart from the competition. If Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal were still here today he would no doubt hold NY’s Lisaan’dro up to prove his point. The Long Island lyricist’s immediately recognizable raspy flow does indeed give his music a unique quality, but aside from that, as showcased on this album, Lisaan’dro also has a real talent for penning verses filled with pimpish slick talk and street-wise observations, which were backed up here by production from the likes of The Custodian Of Records, Leaf Dog, Flashius Clayton and more.

Es – “Social Meteor Vol. 1:Inspired By My Timeline” (EsMusik.BandCamp.Com) – If you were already familiar with Canadian emcee Es before 2019 via previous albums such as “Aspire To Inspire” (2014) and “We Are Only Getting Older” (2017), then you would have already been well aware that this talented wordsmith offers plenty of food for thought in his music. This latest project continued that tradition, with Es tackling the pros and cons of social media and our obsession with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram etc, accompanied by production from Pro-Logic, DJ QVP and Rel McCoy.

O The Great – “This Art Is Real” (OTheGreat,BandCamp.Com) – NY’s O The Great swung a heavy lyrical sword throughout this project, which bristled with a true passion for the art and culture of Hip-Hop. Mixing contemplative rhymes and observational jewels with raw bravado, the skilled emcee (who also produced the majority of this release) held the listener’s attention with ease via his sharp delivery and down-to-earth attitude. The album also featured worthwhile appearances from the likes of  Supreme Cerebral, BanishHabitual and Supreme Magnetic.

Benny Diction & Able8 – “Oak Dreams” (MillenniumJazz.BandCamp.Com) – Recapturing the creative chemistry heard on their brilliant 2013 collabo album “Life Moves”, UK emcee Benny Diction and Australian producer Able8 joined forces once again for this EP on the Millennium Jazz label. A concise collection of honest, thoughtful lyricism and forward-thinking soundscapes, “Oak Dreams” was yet another worthy addition to Benny’s already impressive catalogue.

WateRR & The Standouts – “The Honorable” (WateRR.BandCamp.Com) – Chicago emcee WateRR appeared to have found the perfect sonic backdrop for his swaggering, forthright rhymes in the form of Texas production duo The Standouts, who supplied the Windy City wordsmith with a strong selection of attention-grabbing loops and samples on this impressive long-player.

Finale – “62” (FinaleDet313.BandCamp.Com) – Longstanding supporters of Detroit’s Finale will already know he is an emcee determined to fill his verses with substance, honesty and integrity. This latest album from the Motor City wordsmith continued in that tradition, with Finale offering personal rhymes about family, relationships and fatherhood over a well-chosen selection of soulful production.

Otis Mensah – “Rap Poetics” (OtisMensah.BandCamp.Com) – Unique, refreshing and possessing an undeniable mastery of words, flow and language, UK rapper-slash-poet Otis Mensah packed this six-track EP with a seemingly effortless stream of vivid imagery, stimulating lyricism and magnetic energy, all delivered over a nice selection of crisp, jazzy beats.

Super Duty Tough Work – “Studies In Grey” (SuperDutyToughWork.BandCamp.Com) – The idea of a live band making Hip-Hop is nothing new, but it is a concept that takes real skill to execute effectively. At the top end of the scale, groups like The Roots and the UK’s Mouse Outfit have consistently released incredible music based around the live band format. But when done badly, the end product can sound limp and bland, lacking the thump and grit many Hip-Hop fans demand. Based on this EP, it would appear that Canadian band Super Duty Tough Work are definitely masters of their craft, balancing head-nodding beats and nimble rhymes with smooth instrumentation, incorporating vibrant keys, lively bass and punctuating horns.

Asun Eastwood & Onaje Jordan – “Danger My Ally” (AsunEastwood.BandCamp.Com) – Canadian artist Asun Eastwood has steadily built himself a reputation over the last couple of years as one of the nicest emcees making noise in the underground. This latest release (produced by Chicago’s Onaje Jordan) offered more of the raw, uncut wordplay that supporters have grown accustomed to, reflecting the darker side of Toronto’s streets.

Part Two coming soon.

1995 EP Stream – Jazz One

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Smooth, mellow instrumental flavour from the Australian beat-maker.

New Joint – Timepiece / O The Great

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Timepiece ft. O The Great – “Zeus Bolts” (@TimepieceTracks / 2019)

Australian producer Timepiece links up with talented NY emcee O The Great for this piano-laced blast of hardcore action.

New Joint – Traz & Phil Gektor

Traz & Phil Gektor – “Three Sheets To The Wind” (CrateCartel.Com / 2019)

Moody, atmospheric vibes from Australia’s Crate Cartel camp.

100 Best Albums & EPs Of 2018 (Part Two) – Kamanchi Sly / Ocean Wisdom / Westside Gunn etc.

Check Part One here.

K-Sly – “Me And My SP” (KamanchiSly.Com) – Kamanchi Sly is a legend and pioneer of the UK Hip-Hop scene, but the Hijack emcee hasn’t been prepared to simply rest on his laurels, with “Me And My SP” being the London mic vet’s third album in six months at the time of its release in May 2018. A rambunctious mix of true-school attitude, classic breaks and raw rhymes, this release was powered by the undeniable and infectious energy generated by Sly’s unwavering love for the culture of Hip-Hop.

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Crimeapple & Big Ghost Ltd – “Aguardiente” (GourmetDeluxxx.BandCamp.Com) – Backed by the dramatic and ominous production of the mighty Big Ghost (Ankhlejohn, Ghostface Killah etc), New Jersey’s Crimeapple demonstrated throughout this project why he has grown to become one of the most revered rhymers of rap’s new generation, with a sneering confidence in his rugged verses that evoke images of the bearded lyricist holding the mic in one hand and a wack emcee by the scruff of his neck in the other.

Poisonous Diggs – “Volume 84” (IAmKillaKali.BandCamp.Com) – A short-but-effective barrage of fly beats and razor-sharp rhymes from the Gold Chain Music / Poison Ring Regime camp, this collaborative EP from Dirty Diggs and Killa Kali was the type of Hip-Hop that made you screw your face up, adopt an old-school arms-folded b-boy pose  and pledge allegiance to the culture in no uncertain terms.

Big Toast & Jack Diggs – “Call It On” (RevorgRecords.BandCamp.Com) – Opening with the line “I don’t want to listen to your whinging…”, it was clear from the outset that this project from South London blood brothers Toast and Diggs wasn’t about pandering to the masses, with the pair instead offering blunt insight into modern-day life, taking verbal shots at the self-righteous of the world with a heavy dose of  acidic wit and quality self-produced boom-bap beats.

Raashid Aariz – “Knowledge, Wisdom & Understanding” (RaashidAariz19.BandCamp.Com) – Virginia-based producer Raashid Aariz delivered music to meditate to on this refined instrumental project, mixing his love of soul and jazz with the influence of 90s Hip-Hop, ranging from mellow, late-night electric relaxation vibes to sax-heavy, Wu-Tang-sampling workouts.

Ocean Wisdom – “Wizville” (HighFocus.BandCamp.Com) – An artistic triumph in every sense of the term, this sophomore project from Brighton’s Ocean Wisdom confidently blended genres, bridged generation gaps and cracked the Official UK Album Charts in the process (a massive achievement for an independent homegrown Hip-Hop artist). Easily holding his own on tracks with long-established artists such as Rodney P, Method Man and Dizzee Rascal, Wisdom’s clever, rapid-fire rhymes shone throughout. Welcome to Wizville, indeed.

AG – “The Taste Of AMbrosia” (AGofDITC.BandCamp.Com) – Diggin’ In The Crates member Andre The Giant has remained consistent on wax for almost thirty years now, with the NY emcee managing to balance his old-school Bronx rap roots here with a desire to step forward artistically and not simply retread old ground. “The Taste…” was the sound of a legacy artist who is as passionate about his craft today as he was when he first picked a mic up all those years ago.

Philmore Greene – “Chicago: A Third World City” (PhilmoreGreene.BandCamp.Com) – Talented emcee Philmore Greene took listeners on a sonic tour around his Windy City stomping grounds on this captivating, hard-hitting project, tackling the impact of street violence, social conditions and politics on the people of Chicago, with the soulful soundscapes of Rashid Hadee adding further poignancy to the lyricist’s earnest, heartfelt verses.

Royalz – “Live 95” (GrhymeProductions.BandCamp.Com) – As its title suggests, this well-crafted project from Australian producer Royalz wore its 90s influences on its sonic sleeve, with the likes of SmooVth, Conway and Dialect blessing a strong selection of raw-yet-refined beats.

Rome Streetz & Farma Beats – “Street Farmacy” (RomeStreetz.BandCamp.Com) –  This transatlantic collaboration from NY emcee Rome Streetz and London producer Farma Beats supplied Hip-Hop fiends with plenty of that uncut dope, as grimy, project-building poetry was laid over an eclectic collection of samples and loops.

Dabbla – “Death Moves” (PotentFunkRecords.BandCamp.Com) – Another blazing display of rhyming agility from Dabbla, this follow-up to 2016’s “Year Of The Monkey” album further cemented the UK emcee’s reputation as a naturally gifted talent, with the Problem Child member putting a lyrical leash on a wide-ranging selection of beats, from futuristic, bass-heavy wave twisters to straight-up, sample-based head-nodders.

Westside Gunn – “Supreme Blientele” (Grisleda / Daupe.BandCamp.Com) – The Griselda Records family continued to stamp their dominance on the rap game throughout 2018, with this immediate cult classic from Gunn just one of a handful of quality releases from the camp over the past twelve months. Backed by heavy-hitting producers such as Pete Rock, 9th Wonder, Alchemist and (of course) frequent collaborator Daringer, WG masterfully utilised his distinctive delivery to offer more of his captivating insight and perspective on both the street life and the rap game.

Napoleon Da Legend & Giallo Point – “Coup D’Etat” (FXCKRXP.BandCamp.Com) – It’s always good to hear a full project from an emcee and producer who are truly on the same page creatively. This release from NYC’s NDL and the UK’s Giallo Point definitely hit that mark. Clever, intricate, street-savvy rhymes were coupled here with smooth, atmospheric production, resulting in an album that sounded both familiar and individual at the same time.

K Zorro – “Winnie’s Passion / Bernard’s Legacy” (NewGuardzOnline.BandCamp.Com) – With so much of today’s popular culture dominated by image, hype and empty posturing, it’s always refreshing to hear music from an artist who appears determined to genuinely let the listener into their world, capturing life’s struggles, hopes and regrets along the way. Enter London-based emcee K Zorro with this well-crafted album, which found the New Guardz member getting up-close-and-personal as he spilt his soul over the fourteen tracks on offer here.

Da Flyy Hooligan – “Roman Abramovich” (GourmetDeluxxx.BandCamp.Com) – Possessing a moniker that truly captures his lyrical approach, London’s Da Flyy Hooligan effortlessly elbowed his way through the stripped-down-yet-sublime production of D’Lux Beats on this short-but-satisfying EP. Offering both style and substance, DFH once again proved himself to be a formidable force in the microphone booth.

IceRocks – “Live From The Bunker” (IceRocksDXA.BandCamp.Com) – Following up his 2016 instrumental project “Bunker Beats”, DXA producer IceRocks once again showcased his dope brand of NY boom-bap throughout this album, adding some talented lyricists into the mix this time around, with the likes of AG Da Coroner, Meyhem Lauren and Spit Gemz lending lyrical support. A project best listened to whilst wearing Timberlands and a hoodie.

C.A.M – “Persian Rugs” (CAMOfficial.BandCamp.Com) – The London-based emcee followed-up his impressive 2017 EP “The First Move” with this second collection of sharp, intelligent lyricism superbly produced by Hashfinger. Combining a quick-fire delivery with an attention-grabbing vocal tone able to penetrate a beat like a razor-blade through rice paper , C.A.M’s latest project was immediately captivating, demanding to be revisited again and again.

King Draft – “Two Eyes” (KingDraftMusic.BandCamp.Com) – As both a member of The Kingdom and a solo artist in his own right, King Draft has been on my radar since 2014. The talented North Carolina-based artist added to his already impressive catalogue with this ambitious release, an eclectic blend of organic live instrumentation and concept-driven lyricism.

Vic Spencer & Sonnyjim – “Spencer For Hire” (Eat Good Records / GourmetDeluxxx.BandCamp.Com) – Chicago’s Vic Spencer joined forces with the UK’s Sonnyjim to drop this smoothed-out selection of lo-fi liveness, featuring Quelle Chris, Hus Kingpin and Chris Crack. Spencer’s swaggering, self-assured steez meshed perfectly with Sonnyjim’s supreme stash of soundtrack-style loops.

EvillDewer – “Apocrypha” (EvillDewer.BandCamp.Com) – Boston-based producer and self-proclaimed Crown Chakra Rocka EvillDewer showcased his musical imagination on this instrumental project, steering clear of typical boom-bap beats and pushing his creative boundaries, drawing the listener deep into an intricately-crafted collection of inspired, sample-driven soundscapes.

Part Three coming soon,

New Joint – DJ Evi Denz / Kinetic 9 / Apex Zero / DZL

DJ Evi Denz ft. Kinetic 9, Apex Zero & DZL – “Left For Dust” (@DJEviDenz / 2018)

Raw banger featuring talent from the UK, the US and Australia.

 

New Joint – Royalz / SmooVth

Royalz ft. SmooVth – “Deuce Trey” (@GrhymeProduct / 2018)

Australian producer Royalz joins forces with Strong Island emcee SmooVth for this cut off his “Live 95” album.

New Joint – Royalz / Tornts

Royalz ft Tornts – “Slum Brain” (GrhymeProductions.Com / 2018)

Intense beats and rhymes from Australian producer Royalz’ new album “Live 95” featuring Roc Marciano, Conway, SmooVth and more.

New Joint – Royalz / One Sixth

Royalz ft. One Sixth – “Live 95” (GRHYMEProductions.Com / 2018)

Drum-heavy title track from the Australian producer’s forthcoming album featuring Roc Marciano, Conway The Machine, Dialect and more.

New Joint – Nelson Dialect & Must Volkoff

Nelson Dialect & Must Volkoff – “Storm Boy” (PangProductions.BandCamp.Com / 2018)

Hauntingly atmospheric beats and rhymes from the Australian duo’s forthcoming album “Magnetism”.

New Joint – Nelson Dialect & Must Volkoff

Nelson Dialect & Must Volkoff – “Get It” (PangProductions.BandCamp.Com / 2018)

Two talented giants of the Australian Hip-Hop scene drop some mellow vibes off their forthcoming album “Magnetism”.

New Joint – Royalz / Conway

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Royalz ft. Conway – “Bundles” (GrhymeProductions.Com / 2018)

The Australian producer teams-up with The Machine for this dark blend of ominous keys and gritty beats – lifted from the forthcoming album “Live 95”.

New Joint – Starvin B & Discourse

Starvin B & Discourse – “Shark Tank” (CrateCartel.Com / 2018)

Australian producer Discourse supplies NYC’s Starvin B with an understated-yet-dramatic soundscape for this brilliant collabo dropping on limited-edition Crate Cartel vinyl for Record Store Day 2018.

The Megamixes EP Stream – DJ Bacon

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Australia’s DJ Bacon pulls together four of his epic previously-released megamixes on this quality EP celebrating the work of Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and Ice-T,  with each mix containing over 100 samples painstakingly pieced together to create an eventful journey into sound.

New Joint – Dros / Crimeapple

Dros ft. Crimeapple – “Chameleon” (DrosMusic.BandCamp.Com / 2018)

Australian producer Dros asked talented New Jersey emcee Crimeapple to jump on a cut off his recent instrumental project “Nature Of The Beat Vol. 1”

100 Best Albums & EPs Of 2017 (Part Two) – Leaf Dog / Spit Gemz / Talib Kweli etc.

Check Part One here.

Leaf Dog – “Dyslexic Disciple” (High Focus Records) – The Four Owls member went for delf on this thoroughly entertaining long-player, with the UK artist showcasing both his production skills and lyrical abilities over sixteen tracks, fuelled by a larger-than-life personality and an unshakeable love for the culture of Hip-Hop.

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Gatecrasherz – “Uninvited” (Revorg Records) – This album from the UK super-crew consisting of Oliver Sudden, Big Toast, Jack Diggs, Gee Bag and Downstroke pulled together rowdy microphone bravado, sincere personal recollections and relatable social commentary. The end result achieved the goal of sounding like a genuine collaboration between like-minded individuals rather than a collection of unconnected verses from four solo artists stitched together simply for the sake of throwing an album out.

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Must Volkoff – “Aquanaut” (Pang Productions) – Australian producer Must Volkoff showcased his passion for dusty drums and obscure, atmospheric samples on this lengthy album featuring Jehst, Nelson Dialect, Sonnyjim and more. With each cut sounding like it was painstakingly crafted thanks to Volkoff’s obvious attention to sonic detail, “Aquanaut” stood as an impeccable example of subterranean Hip-Hop.

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Asun Eastwood – “Nimbus” (AsunEastwood.BandCamp) – 2017 saw this Toronto emcee leave his mark  on the rap game as one to watch, taking his place amongst the current crop of upcoming artists who’re ensuring lyricism remains alive and well, as evidenced by this debut EP which featured Eastwood dropping confident, street-orientated content over solid, full-bodied beats.

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Magno Garcia – “Chandelier Shining” (MagnoGarcia.BandCamp.Com) – Boston wordsmith Magno Garcia delivered an underground masterpiece in the form of his “Chandelier Shining” album, calling on the likes of Conway, Estee Nack and Paranom for verbal assistance whilst ensuring his own jewel-filled verses remained the focus of the project.

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Koss – “Born To Live” (BelowSystem.BandCamp.Com) – Production wizard Koss dropped a fresh new batch of Belgian boom-bap, following-up his impressive EP releases with a full-length album featuring golden-era greats such as Masta Ace, Large Professor and Craig G demonstrating that true skills are timeless.

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SmooVth & Giallo Point – “Medellin” (Fxck Rxp / Crate Divizion) – Strong Island’s ever-impressive SmooVth and talented UK producer Giallo Point crafted a quality collection of stripped-down, suspenseful crime sagas for this brilliant collaborative project, with “Medellin” gaining immediate cult classic status upon release whilst boasting a supporting cast which included Vinnie Paz, Milano Constantine and Hus Kingpin.

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Juga-Naut & Micall Parknsun – “Six Bricks” (JugaNaut.BandCamp.Com) – Nottingham’s Juga-Naut is one of the nicest emcees currently gripping microphones. London’s Micall Parknsun is one of the dopest producers currently punching MPC pads. So any collaboration between the two was bound to impress and “Six Bricks” lived up to expectations. Grounded in a traditional boom-bap sound, but with a slightly futuristic flavour, this EP showcased two gifted individuals at the top of their game.

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Da Villins & Skizz – “Cashmere Dice” (DJSkizz.BandCamp.Com) – Sean Price protégés and Brownsville representatives Da Villins did both their mentor and borough proud with this DJ Skizz-produced collection of raw-yet-refined Rotten Apple flavour. Blending the duo’s Crooklyn attitude with Skizz’s smoothed-out beats, “Cashmere Dice” captured the soulful, organic sound of two native New Yorkers who just want to rhyme and be heard.

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Spit Gemz – “The God Who Forgot Himself” (SpitGemz.BandCamp.Com) – NYC’s Spit Gemz solidified his reputation as one of the game’s illest wordsmiths as he devoured emcees like a rhyming Galactus throughout his latest project, with assistance from Chino XL, Big Twins, Apathy and more.

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K. Sparks & Es-K – “Urban Couture” (KSparks.BandCamp.Com) – Backed by the sublimely soulful, jazz-influenced production of the talented Es-K, NYC’s K. Sparks waxed lyrical about the highs and lows of city life throughout this release, drawing on personal experiences and life observations to craft a project full of emotion and feeling.

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Nicholas Craven – “Craven N” (NicholasCraven.BandCamp.Com) – Canadian producer Nicholas Craven called on the microphone talents of WestsideGunn, Roc Marciano, Planet Asia and more for this well-crafted collection of uncut rawness, showcasing his ability to pair elegantly soulful loops with the hardcore rhymes of the project’s featured artists.

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Various Artists – “The Spacebreaks” (FunkypseliCave.BandCamp.Com) – Quality instrumental compilation from Greece’s Funkypseli Cave label featuring fourteen cuts by producers such as Tengu (Russia), Thelonious Coltrane (Germany) and Devaloop (Austria), all influenced by the drum-fuelled, jazz-tinged low-end theory of 90s East Coast boom-bap.

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DrxQuinnx – “Richard Pryor” (DrxQuinnx.BandCamp.Com) – Chicago-based artist DrxQuinnx combined unique styles and entertaining individuality on his self-produced debut solo album, resulting in a memorable lo-fi listening experience which was as infectious as it was uncompromising.

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Pounds – “Tuna” (Pounds.BandCamp.Com) – Rochester, NY resident Pounds spat rugged criminology and graphic street tales throughout this intense, moody release, backed by the faultless production of Spittzwell, Max Marciano and Griselda Records affiliate Daringer.

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Talib Kweli – “Radio Silence” (Javotti Media) – When he wasn’t busy during 2017 putting Twitter trolls in their place online, veteran BK emcee Kweli still managed to find time to hit the studio to record some worthwhile music. The latest Talib long-player featured the former Rawkus rhymer dropping his usual brand of intelligent, thoughtful wordplay over a diverse selection of production, as he attempted to illuminate and entertain in equal measures.

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Haze & Grubby Pawz – “The Failures And The Glory” (CityYardMusic.BandCamp.Com) – Clearly an artist who takes the craft of lyricism seriously, Massachusetts mic fiend Haze appeared to approach this album as if he’d been told he may never have the chance to rhyme again, with each verse on this project packed with razor-sharp lines which demanded to be heard again and again in order to be fully appreciated. The minimalist, loop-based production of Grubby Pawz gave Haze’s microphone techniques plenty of room to breathe, whilst ensuring the head-nod appeal of this project remained high.

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Meyhem Lauren & DJ Muggs – “Gems From The Equinox” (Soul Assassins Records) – How about some hardcore? Queens, NY’s Meyhem Lauren once again laced up his Timberlands and donned the flyest Polo attire he could find, before pairing his boisterous, street brawl rhyme style with the pounding production of Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs. Raw to the core and sounding all the better for it.

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Precyce Politix & K-Hill – “Stallone & Weathers” (StalloneAndWeathers.BandCamp.Com) – North Carolina’s K-Hill and Brooklyn-raised Precyce Politix demonstrated what real artistic chemistry should sound like on this dope collection of sharp, succinct beats and rhymes.

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Heavy Links – “Step Up To Get Your Rep Up” (MujBeats.BandCamp.Com) – Having proven themselves to be one of the most consistent crews to have emerged from the UK scene in recent years, Lincolnshire’s Donnie Propa, El Tel The Dopeness and Habitat dropped their long-awaited debut album in 2017, a concise collection of true-school homegrown boom-bap flavour.

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Part Three coming soon.

New Joint – Royalz / Roc Marciano

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Royalz ft. Roc Marciano – “Facts” (GrhymeProductions.Com / 2017)

Lead single from Australian producer Royalz’ forthcoming album “Live 95”.

New Joint – Flu

Flu – “Anti Hero” (CrateCartel.Com / 2017)

Moody beats and rhymes from the Australian artist’s new self-produced album “Fludust”.

New Joint – Nelson Dialect

Nelson Dialect – “2 Train With The 7” (@Dialect108 / 2017)

The Australian wordsmith paints vivid lyrical pictures over mellow production from Bronx-based music man Ray West.