Tag Archives: Decon Records

New Joint – Boldy James

Boldy James – “What’s The Word” (Decon Records / 2014)

New visuals from the Detroit lyricist’s brilliant Alchemist-produced album “My 1st Chemistry Set”.

52 Best Albums & EPs Of 2013 (Part One) – Spit Gemz / Lewis Parker / Boldy James etc.

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With 2013 reaching its inevitable end, it’s about that time to take a look back over the last twelve months and give some well-deserved props to those artists who ensured we all had some quality music to listen to throughout the last year.

Whilst many continue to argue that Hip-Hop doesn’t have anything left to offer fans creatively, 2013 once again proved there are emcees, producers and deejays all over Planet Rock  who are still crafting beats and rhymes with both passion and integrity as their main motivation.

As always, the releases listed in this year’s round-up don’t represent the only albums and EPs that were worth checking out, but they are the projects that spent the most time blasting from my headphones and speakers.

So, once again it’s on…

Spit Gemz – “End The TV” (SpitGemz.BandCamp.Com) – Emerging from the galaxy of Queens with a razor-sharp delivery and a good ear for rugged beats, NYC’s Spit Gemz continued to carve out his own niche in the rap world with this latest full-length project. Backed by production from One-Take, Don Producci and Stu Bangas, the Outdoorsmen affiliate wove intricate verses throughout this album that encompassed everything from street knowledge and conspiracy theories to religious beliefs and old-school nostalgia. With the likes of Timeless Truth, Shabaam Sahdeeq and Ill Bill also sharing mic duties, “End The TV” stood as one of the year’s most potent doses of true-school Rotten Apple rap

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Efeks – “Contemporary Classic” (Revorg Record) – Having spent the last decade as the lyrical half of respected UK duo Prose, talented wordsmith Efeks stepped out of his creative comfort zone on his first official solo album with memorable results. Digging deep into his life experiences to give listeners a further insight into his personal world, the South London emcee utilised soulful, boom-bap-driven soundscapes from Jack Diggs, Keith Lawrence and Steady Rock to drop gems on a number of topics including fatherhood, technology and the struggles of an underground artist.

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Roc Marciano – “Marci Beaucoup” (Man Bites Dog Records) – Living proof of the old adage that sometimes less is more, Strong Island’s Roc has turned crafting lo-fi beats and brilliantly understated rhymes into an artform. If last year’s “Reloaded” took a sidestep around the heavy drums of its predecessor “Marcberg”, “Marci…” stripped the production down even further, with the UN emcee and allies such as Ka, Knowledge The Pirate and AG rhyming over minimalist, pimped-out loops that hung in the air like fresh blunt smoke. The result was a unique, atmospheric album that sounded like the Hip-Hop soundtrack to a never-before-seen 70s blaxploitation flick.

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Kid Tsu – “The Chase” (Headbop Music) – Teaming-up with NYC’s Headbop team, Australian-based producer Kid Tsunami was finally able to release his long-awaited compilation project in 2013 featuring an impressive list of golden-era greats such as OC, Percee P and Kool G. Rap. Clearly determined not to be outshone by his own guests, Tsunami ensured his production remained consistently dope throughout, balancing melodic samples and classic breaks with a natural, organic energy that kept everything cohesive.

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Lewis Parker – “The Puzzle Episode Two: The Glass Ceiling” (King Underground Records) – The veteran UK producer-on-the-mic returned with another sonic Hip-Hop espionage thriller of epic proportions packed with flawless, dusty-fingered production, cinematic concepts and appearances from the likes of $amhill, Mista Spyce and John Robinson. Masterfully executed, “The Glass Ceiling” further cemented Parker’s reputation as one of the nicest producers in the game.

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Gore Elohim – “Electric Lucifer” (Supercoven Records) – The former Non-Phixion member proved that he definitely hadn’t mellowed with age on this gritty follow-up to 2004’s cult favourite “The Art Of Dying”. Sounding like it had been recorded in a secret underground bunker somewhere in Brooklyn, “Electric Lucifer” found Goretex immersing himself in a shadowy world of government corruption, alien abductions and Illuminati conspiracies. As the man himself said, it’s that sinister s**t.

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Boldy James – “My 1st Chemistry Set” (Decon Records) – Detroit’s James has been bubbling on the underground for a few years now, with 3rd Bass’s MC Serch being one of many early supporter of Boldy’s brand of raw, unapologetic street-hop during his time on Motor City airwaves. But whilst the low-key rapper’s previous material was definitely noteworthy, pairing James with the brooding, hypnotic production of Alchemist for this album was a match made in a dark, D-Town back-alley.

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CZARFACE (7L & Esoteric / Inspectah Deck) – “CZARFACE” (Brick Records) – With its brilliant Marvel-inspired cover art and WWF vocal samples, this full-length collabo from Boston’s 7L & Esoteric and the Wu’s Rebel INS tapped straight into the memory banks of anyone who grew-up as a kid in the 80s discovering Hip-Hop, collecting comics and watching Saturday morning wrestling. The fact that the beats and rhymes contained here were equally as dope as the album’s artwork was almost just a bonus.

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Supastition – “The Blackboard EP” (Reform School Music) – Returning off a self-imposed hiatus from the music business that began in 2010, North Carolina’s Supastition gave fans everything they were hoping for and more on this hard-hitting release. Getting back to making music purely on his own terms, “The Blackboard EP” bristled with passion and energy as Supa demolished beats from the likes of Marco Polo and M-Phazes whilst exorcising personal demons, re-evaluating his place in the game and re-igniting his love for making quality Hip-Hop. Welcome back!

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Klaus Layer – “The Adventures Of Captain Crook” (Redefinition Records) – German-based producer Klaus Layer definitely did a thorough job of showcasing his seemingly effortless mastery of the MPC on this largely instrumental release. Bursting with full-bodied beats drenched in echoing horns and soulful samples, “The Adventures Of…” took the listener on a sonic voyage that was as therapeutic and relaxing as it was entertaining.

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Ryan Proctor

Check Part Two here.

New Joint – Notes To Self

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Notes To Self – “Popular Music” (Decon / 2013)

Any track that begins with a Guru vocal sample is good with me – moody dopeness from the Toronto crew’s forthcoming album “Target Market (Recoil)” featuring Evidence and Fashawn.

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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

New Joint – Roc Marciano

Roc Marciano – “76” (DeconRecords.Com / 2012)

The Strong Island emcee roams the NY streets in this Jason Goldwatch-directed clip from the “Reloaded” album.

New Joint – The Alchemist / MidaZ The Beast

The Alchemist ft. MidaZ The Beast – “Don Seymour’s Theme” (Decon Records / 2012)

Taken from the West Coast producer’s recent album “Russian Roulette”.

New Joint – Gangrene

Gangrene – “Vodka & Ayahuasca” (Decon Records / 2012)

The Alchemist and Oh No drop some alcohol-influenced visuals for the title track from their new album which was released this week.