Beneficence ft. AG – “Smooth Hardcore” (@IllAdrenaline / 2017)
Jazz Spastiks-produced dopeness from the New Jersey-raised emcee’s “Basement Chemistry” album.
Beneficence ft. AG – “Smooth Hardcore” (@IllAdrenaline / 2017)
Jazz Spastiks-produced dopeness from the New Jersey-raised emcee’s “Basement Chemistry” album.
Check Part One here.
LEX – “Necessary” (LEXNYRE.BandCamp.Com) – This project from Queens, NY wordsmith LEX was an album rooted in the proud heritage of true-school Rotten Apple rap which effectively showcased the talented emcee’s dedication to both his craft and the culture of Hip-Hop.
Ray Vendetta & Calvert – “Calculated Vendettaz” (RayOfLight.BandCamp.Com) – Triple Darkness member Ray Vendetta joined forces with talented London-based producer Calvert for this brilliantly-executed example of intelligent, hardcore Hip-Hop. Packed with potent lyricism that ranged from the gritty to the humorous to the inspirational, “Calculated Vendettaz” captured the natural chemistry between Ray’s accomplished wordplay and Calvert’s sample-based beats, with features from UK heavyweights such as Iron Braydz, Tesla’s Ghost and Skriblah DanGogh.
ChrisJay – “The Day She Ran Away” (ChrisJayOnline.BandCamp.Com) – Canada’s ChrisJay delivered personal, heartfelt rhymes with a captivating blend of strength and vulnerability on this thoroughly engaging EP produced by Die-Rek and Cream Of Beats.
Vinnie Paz – “The Cornerstone Of The Corner Store” (Enemy Soil) – The third solo album from Jedi Mind Tricks front-man Vinnie Paz offered more gritty half-righteous, half-foul anthems from the Philly emcee, with production supplied by the likes of Buckwild, C-Lance and Psycho Les providing the project with an uncompromisingly hardcore sonic backbone.
Cryptic One – “The World According To…” (CrypticOne.BandCamp.Com) – The former Atoms Family member showcased his razor-sharp wordplay and worldly wit over a dope selection of self-produced beats on this succinct effort.
Killer Ben & Twiz The Beat Pro – “Invincible Ben” (DrumsetMusicWorks.BandCamp.Com) – This project from Durag Dynasty’s Killer Ben was one of the finest examples of quality lyricism you were likely to hear this year, as the West Coast-based wordsmith pounded Twiz’s impressive production with a non-stop barrage of high-velocity verbals.
Shay D – “A Figure Of Speech” (ShayD.BandCamp.Com) – Inbetween co-hosting a radio show on London’s Itch FM, running youth workshops and organizing live events, UK emcee Shay D found time to release this well-crafted project, powerfully combining social commentary, personal experience and artistic passion with striking results.
Common – “Black America Again” (Def Jam / ARTium) – Sounding determined, defiant and, perhaps most importantly, more focussed creatively than he has done in recent years, Chicago vet Common dropped this timely album inspired by the racial, political and social turmoil which dominated the US throughout 2016. Striking a balance between realism and optimism, this was music with a message which proved in no uncertain terms that the Windy City emcee still loves H.E.R.
REKS – “The Greatest X” (Brick Records) – With nothing on this epic 35-track project that could honestly be described as “throwaway”, Massachusetts microphone fiend REKS largely succeeded in conquering the double-album format which even icons such as 2Pac and Biggie struggled with. An endless stream of passionately-delivered verses paired with well-chosen production (Large Professor, Statik Selektah, Nottz etc) ensured the listener’s attention was maintained at all times. Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme, indeed.
OC From NC – “The Second Renaissance” (OCFromNC.BandCamp.Com) – Following-up 2015’s impressive “Higher Learning” project, North Carolina’s OC once again called on the services of production partner B Squared for “The Second Renaissance”, a quality combination of intelligent lyricism and soul-drenched boom-bap.
Ras Beats – “Control Your Own” (Worldwyde Recordings) – Featuring appearances from the likes of A.G., Roc Marciano and Sadat X, this project from NYC’s Ras Beats was a strong outing from a gifted producer who clearly wanted to add on to the legacy of traditional New York boom-bap rather than simply try to recreate what had come before him.
Soundsci – “Walk The Earth” (Global Expo) – The mighty Soundsci crew went global on their third full-length release, with the transatlantic troop once again delivering a fine selection of funky, intelligent Hip-Hop grounded in a genuine shared desire to help push the culture forward to a better place.
Beneficence – “Basement Chemistry” (Ill Adrenaline Records) – New Jersey representative and Ill Adrenaline co-founder Beneficence took it back to the golden-era with this solid boom-bap-driven album featuring appearances and production from the likes of Masta Ace, Chubb Rock, Da Beatminerz and more.
Ron Jon Bovi – “Neaux Mursi” (Elevation Nation) – Satisfying the appetite of lyric lovers everywhere across Planet Rock, this Unjust-produced collabo album from Hieroglyphics member Casual and Detroit’s Phat Kat found the pair sharing a chemistry that suggested the two lyricists had been rhyming together for years instead of merely the time it took to put this release together.
Loopwhole Beats – “Newyorkism II” (LoopwholeBeats.BandCamp.Com) – Atmospheric, 90s-influenced boom-bap from the NY producer featuring appearances from Brainsick Mob, Roc Marciano and Eastkoast.
The Cornel West Theory – “The T.A.B.L.E.” (TheCornelWestTheory.BandCamp.Com) – The Washington D.C. crew quickly followed-up their impressive 2015 opus “Coming From The Bottom” with an equally rewarding and intense listening experience in the form of “The T.A.B.L.E.”. Powered by a revolutionary spirit and anti-establishment attitude, this album went against the grain both sonically and lyrically, with the end product sounding all the better for it.
Libretto – “Gangsta Jazz Volume Two” (Liquid Beat) – As its title suggested, this long-player from Liquid Beat Records found the Watts, Los Angeles-raised Libretto mixing street-related rhymes with melodic loops, resulting in a project which boasted a throwback feel without getting lost in nostalgia.
King Draft – “Live Forever” (TheKingdomMusic.BandCamp.Com) – Effortlessly blending classic influences with contemporary flavours, North Carolina-based emcee King Draft delivered clever wordplay and verses of substance over the accomplished production of fellow Kingdom member Jerm Scorsese throughout this solo project.
Mr. Kinetik – “The Colors” (MrKinetik.BandCamp.Com) – Indianapolis-based artist Mr. Kinetik dropped dusty jazz vibes and intricate rhymes on this short-yet-impressive self-produced EP.
DSOTM – “The Echo Chamber” (DSOTM.BandCamp.Com) – Menace Mendoza, FlowTecs, Joey Menza and the rest of seven-man crew Dark Side Of The Moon spat raw rhymes over atmospheric production from the likes of Beat Butcha and Ringz Ov Saturn on this uncompromisingly hardcore UK opus.
Part Three coming soon.
Beneficence ft. The Legion & Dres – “Make It Hot (Jingle Jangle 2.0)” (@IllAdrenaline / 2016)
Quality posse cut flavour from New Jersey emcee Beneficence’s new “Basement Chemistry” album.
Following 2011’s “Sidewalk Science” and 2012’s “Concrete Soul”, New Jersey’s Beneficence drops his third album for Ill Adrenaline Records, with “Basement Chemistry” being another solid slice of quality Hip-Hop featuring input from the likes of Inspectah Deck, DJ Spinna, Dres and more.
Beneficence ft. Masta Ace – “When The Sun Comes” (@IllAdrenaline / 2016)
Uplifting boom-bap flavour produced by KON Sci and taken from the New Jersey emcee’s forthcoming “Basement Chemistry” album.
Beneficence ft. MC Eiht – “Anyway It Goes” (@IllAdrenaline / 2016)
East-meets-West on this KON Sci-produced track from the New Jersey emcee’s forthcoming album “Basement Chemistry”.
Beneficence ft. Masta Ace – “When The Sun Comes” (@IllAdrenaline / 2015)
Vibrant, uplifting KON Sci-produced boom-bap from the New Jersey-raised lyricist’s “Basement Chemistry” album, featuring Inspectah Deck, Dres, El Da Sensei and more.
Beneficence – “Concrete Soul” (Ill Adrenaline Records) – This veteran New Jersey emcee’s latest album boasted enough featured golden-era talent to make true-school enthusiasts think they’d woken up back in the 90s, with the likes of Lord Tariq, El Da Sensei and Da Beatminerz all making solid contributions to this impressive release. But Beneficence didn’t allow himself to become a guest on his own project, ensuring his forthright lyricism kept him centre-stage throughout.
Brother Ali – “Mourning In America And Dreaming In Color” (Rhymesayers Entertainment) – The Minneapolis-based Ali has long been one of Hip-Hop’s most interesting and inspiring emcee’s, with this fifth full-length project finding the lyricist teaming-up with Seattle producer Jake One to delve into politics, economics and spirituality, resulting in a rousing soundtrack for society’s everyman to struggle to.
Juga-Naut – “Battle Of The Bulge” (Juganaut.BandCamp.Com) – The talented UK emcee delivered some serious verbal darts on this self-produced EP which also featured fellow Nottingham wordsmith Vandal Savage, with the pair expertly wielding vivid imagery and metaphors to paint potent pictures of lyrical excellence.
Craig G – “Ramblings Of An Angry Old Man” (Soulspazm Records) – Irrespective of the actual music contained on this project, the former Juice Crew member would have still gotten props for one of the year’s best album covers. The ever-reliable Queensbridge emcee did, however, also have the beats and rhymes to add extra weight to the sentiment expressed in said artwork, with Craig executing non-stop lessons in timeless lyricism over production from the likes of Marco Polo, Jake One and Da Beatminerz.
George Fields – “From The Sticks” (GeorgeFields.BandCamp.Com) – With influences ranging from Pete Rock to D.I.T.C., this young producer from Dorset, England concocted a soulful mix of heavy drums, filtered basslines and floating horns on this instrumental release which only appeared to hint at the quality to come from Fields in the future.
Soundsci – “Formula 99” (Crate Escape Records) – Combining the transatlantic talents of UK producers Jonny Cuba (Dynamic Syncopation) and Ollie Teeba (The Herbaliser) with Stateside emcees Audessey (Mass Influence), U-George (Hemisphere) and Oxygen (Sputnik Brown), this polished underground gem was packed with quality beats, entertaining rhymes and all-round good vibes, with the group’s far-flung members clearly proving themselves to be on the same sonic page throughout.
The Doppelgangaz – “Beats For Brothels Vol. 2” (Groggy Pack Entertainment) – Fresh off the cult success of their 2011 “Lone Sharks” project, NY duo Matter Ov Fact and EP returned with this largely instrumental project, compiling a head-nodding selection of atmospheric, dusty-fingered tracks perfect for late-night strolls shrouded in one of the Ghastly Duo’s trademark black cloaks.
Murs & 9th Wonder – “The Final Adventure” (Jamla Records) – The Living Legends emcee and Little Brother producer ended their successful musical partnership on a high-note with this final release in their series of collaborative albums. Choosing the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it route, the project contained typically soulful production from 9th matched with Murs’ own unique brand of personal reflection and entertaining story-telling.
Meyhem Lauren – “Respect The Fly S**t” (L-R-G.Com) – Having spent recent years building a reputation via various mixtapes and collaborations with homie Action Bronson, 2012 will go down as the year Queens, NY’s Meyhem Lauren truly stepped into the spotlight in his own right. Recorded in a Texas hotel suite over two days during the SXSW music conference, this spontaneous Tommy Mas / Harry Fraud-produced project contained plenty of Lauren’s obligatory clothes and food references over a choice selection of samples, with the likes of Roc Marciano, Thirstin Howl and AG Da Coroner bringing new meaning to the term ‘room service’.
K.I.N.E.T.I.K. – “The Kinesis Thesis Vol. III” (Kinetik.BandCamp.Com) – A shining example of an artist who has consistently striven to perfect his craft, this latest intalment in his “Kinesis Thesis” series found London emcee K.I.N.E.T.I.K. delivering his finest creative moment to date, wrapping up his positive, thoughtful rhymes in melodic soundscapes which perfectly matched the emotional tone of his subject matter, which ranged from the plight of inner-city youth to pondering the responsibilities of fatherhood.
Timeless Truth – “Rock-It Science” (RTTNC) – Having kick-started 2012 with the brilliant “Brugal & Presidentes” EP, NY duo Solace and OPrime39 ended the year by making good on their promise to release their official debut long-player. A punchy collection of boom-bap bangers, the pair evoked images of graffiti-covered subway trains, Timberland boots and Polo gear as they travelled back-to-the-future, bridging the gap between the Rotten Apple’s Hip-Hop golden-era and the present day. Queens get the money.
Beneficence ft. AG & DJ Kaos – “All Real” (Ill Adrenaline Records / 2012)
Produced by 6th Sense and taken from the New Jersey emcee’s new album “Concrete Soul”.
Take a vivid subway ride with the East Coast trio on this mellow K-Def-produced track from the New Jersey emcee’s forthcoming album “Concrete Soul”.
Presto-produced head-nodder from the New Jersey emcee’s forthcoming album “Concrete Soul.”
Beneficence ft. Masta Ace & Total Eclipse – “Reality Vs. Fiction (Rock On!)” (IllAdrenalineRecords.Com / 2012)
Weirdo-produced track from the veteran New Jersey emcee’s forthcoming album “Concrete Soul”.
Evidence – “Cats & Dogs” (Rhymesayers Entertainment) – With over a decade of credible music already under his belt as both a member of Dilated Peoples and as a solo act, West Coast wordsmith Evidence could easily have churned out a collection of standard underground bangers and still received praise from his cult fanbase. Yet the weather-obsessed emcee attacked his sophomore set like he was introducing himself to the rap world all over again, using the album as an opportunity to dig into some personal issues (not least the loss of his mother) plus go line-for-line with heavyweights such as Raekwon, Ras Kass and Roc Marciano.
Random Axe – “Random Axe” (Duck Down Records) – Obscure cover art aside, this collaboration between Brooklyn rhyme brawler Sean Price, Detroit favourite Guilty Simpson and Motown maestro Black Milk was a no-nonsense exercise in quality hardcore Hip-Hop. Price and Simpon’s chemistry as a duo was undeniable with Milk’s drum-heavy soundscapes providing the perfect sonic stomping ground for the two lyrical bullies.
Action Bronson – “Dr. Lecter” (Fine Fabric Delegates) – Having already set the blog world on fire with his boisterous food-related flows and passion for boom-bap beats, Queens, NY’s Action Bronson began the year by dropping this Tommy Mas-produced collection of raucous rap featuring various members of the Outdoorsmen clique reppin’ the Rotten Apple like ’95 never ended.
Beneficence – “Sidewalk Science” (Ill Adrenaline Records) – With quality production from Diamond D and appearances from Organized Konfusion’s Prince Po, Money Boss’s Lord Tariq and D.I.T.C. affiliates The Legion, this fourth album from long-standing New Jersey lyricist Beneficence appeared on the surface to be a mid-90s musical time capsule. Yet the East Coast emcee’s passion for wordplay and ear for choice beats gave this project an energy that prevented it from merely sounding like a walk down memory lane.
Truth By Design – “Timeless” (TBD Music) – On this extremely impressive EP, Toronto trio Mizery, DJ Lupan and DTKS stuck their flag into the rap landscape and challenged one and all to test their battle-hardened beats and rhymes. Showcasing each members undeniable skills, this release left listeners craving to hear more of the Canadian crew’s correct techniques.
Wu-Tang – “Legendary Weapons” (eOne Entertainment) – Following-up 2009’s impressive “Chamber Music” project, this Wu release once again found various Clan members teaming-up with Brooklyn-based band The Revelations to add another chamber to their legacy with a little help from some well-chosen guests. The likes of Ghostface, Inspectah Deck, Roc Marciano and Action Bronson shot lyrical darts over the dark, atmospheric instrumentation, their choice of subject matter ranging from unforgiving street tales to gritty braggadocio.
Phonte – “Charity Starts At Home” (The Foreign Exchange Music) – As self-assured and savvy as ever, Little Brother’s Phonte effortlessly blended his dual passions for rhyming and singing on this confidently executed project which found the North Carolina emcee reuniting with 9th Wonder on a number of tracks to ponder life, love and relationships.
Jehst – “The Dragon Of An Ordinary Family” (YNR Productions) – Following a brilliant online promo campaign, UK producer-on-the-mic Jehst’s latest album lived up to the hype in no uncertain terms, with the London-based artist approaching obvious subject matter such as racism and the war on terror in unobvious ways. Backed by a tight selection of beats from the likes of LG, Beat Butcha and Mr. Thing, Jehst’s sweeping poetic strokes proved once again why he has long been considered one of the greatest talents to emerge from the UK Hip-Hop scene.
Neek The Exotic & Large Professor – “Still On The Hustle” (Fat Beats) – No surprises, no frills, no gimmicks, this long-awaited full-length collabo between longtime friends Neek and Extra P delivered exactly what fans expected from it – straight-forward ego-trippin’ rhymes over dusty, boom-bap beats with both parties involved wearing their golden-era influences on their sleeves.
Tanya Morgan – “You & What Army” (TanyaMorgan.Net) – Having quietly yet confidently carved out their own niche in the world of underground Hip-Hop with a string of strong releases, this latest EP from TM found the trio cut to a duo with Ilyas leaving Donwill and Von Pea to continue the crew’s legacy. Rising to the challenge, this memorable effort assured fans that a change in line-up didn’t mean a change in quality, with Don and Von rocking entertaining, relatable rhymes over a selection of smooth, funk-fuelled beats.
Timbo King – “From Babylon To Timbuk2” (Nature Sounds) – Nearly twenty years after his debut on 1993’s “Who’s The Man?” soundtrack, Wu affiliate Timbo King finally released a solo album. With assistance from Clan allies The RZA, Killah Priest and Hell Razah, Timbo dropped lyrical science deep in social commentary, political awareness and a genuine love of Hip-Hop culture.
Part Four coming soon.
Behind-the-scenes footage of the Bronx video shoot for Beneficence’s forthcoming single “All Real” featuring A.G. and cuts from DJ Kaos of Artifacts fame.
“All Real” is taken from Beneficence’s forthcoming album “Concrete Soul” which will be released April / May 2012 on Ill Adrenaline Records.
Beneficence ft. Roc Marciano – “Monetary Policy” (Ill Adrenaline / 2011)
Taken from the veteran Brick City emcee’s forthcoming album “Sidewalk Science” featuring Lord Tariq, Rob-O, Diamond D etc.