Tag Archives: High Focus Records

New Joint – Ramson Badbonez

Ramson Badbonez – “Lock Your Doors” (@HighFocusUK / 2018)

Jazz T / Dr Zygote-produced rawness from the UK emcee’s “Friday The 13th”-influenced project “Jason Bonez”.

New Joint – Fliptrix

Fliptrix – “It’s Like That” (@HighFocusUK / 2018)

The talented UK emcee hijacks the airwaves in the first video to be lifted from his forthcoming album “INEXHALE”.

New Joint – Ocean Wisdom / Dizzee Rascal

Ocean Wisdom ft. Dizzee Rascal – “Revvin'” (@HighFocusUK / 2018)

Fast-paced, full-throttle rhymes on this Muckaniks-produced cut from the UK emcee’s new album “Wizville”.

New Joint – Coops

Coops – “Bob Dylan” (@CoopsOfficial / 2018)

The UK emcee drops a live performance of his new High Focus Records release for SBTV.

100 Best Albums & EPs Of 2017 (Part Five) – Ray Vendetta & Giallo Point / Defari / Conway etc.

Check Part One, Part Two, Part Three & Part Four.

Ray Vendetta & Giallo Point – “Sins Of The Son” (PrestigiousRecordings1.BandCamp.Com) – Triple Darkness member Vendetta called on the talents of prolific producer Giallo Point for this epic display of hardcore brilliance, with the London-based lyricist dropping vivid, street-smart rhymes over expertly-crafted loops and beats perfectly suited to the UK emcee’s forthright delivery.

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Showbiz & A.G. – “Take It Back” (DITCEnt.Com) – One of Hip-Hop’s greatest musical partnerships, Bronx duo Show & A.G. dropped this stellar effort some twenty-five years after their first releases appeared on record store shelves. Having lost none of his dusty-fingered touch, Showbiz delivered plenty of that trademark DITC sound here, with Andre The Giant flowing effortlessly throughout.

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Jazz Spastiks & Mellosoulblack – “Midnight Method” (JazzSpastiks.BandCamp.Com) – UK production duo the Jazz Spastiks provided Stateside crew Mellosoulblack with a heavy dose of their full-bodied production sound on this quality collaborative album. Thumping beats, random samples and crafty cuts were blended with witty, freestyle-flavoured rhymes here, resulting in an upbeat, feel-good true-school listening experience.

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Rapsody – “Laila’s Wisdom” (Jamla Records / Roc Nation) – 2017 was a big year for North Carolina’s Rapsody, culminating in a Grammy nomination for this deserving body of work. Truth be told, the talented artist didn’t do anything different here than she’s already been doing since debuting her solo material in 2011, incorporating personal experiences, fierce lyricism and a good ear for strong production into one undeniable package. The increased amount of attention Rapsody received this time around, however, was proof that talent and hard-work can get you to where you want to be.

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Kamanchi Sly – “Slycriminality” / “Ultimate BBoy 92” (KamanchiSly.Com) – Hijack legend K Sly dropped two albums in 2017 and, as much as I tried, I really couldn’t decide which was the better of the two, so I’m giving props to both projects here. A pioneer of the 80s UK Hip-Hop scene, the South London lyricist proved throughout both these self-produced releases that his dedication to microphone dominance hasn’t faded over the years at all. Mixing a true love of Hip-Hop culture with a passion for crushing the competition and some wordly wisdom, Kamanchi Sly injected his 2017 output with the energy of a new artist and the experience of a battle-hardened veteran. Stockwell serves again!

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Estee Nack & Friends – “#MiniMansionDust Vol.2” (EsteeNack.BandCamp.Com) – Tragic Allies member Estee Nack dropped science alongside Daniel Son, al.divino and Mr. Rose on this solid collection of fly underground jewels, with the Massachusetts mic fiend’s gritty delivery and righteous street knowledge hitting the target as always.

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Flashius Clayton & Lisaan’dro – “Money Makin Music” (FlashiusClayton.BandCamp.Com) – The end result of a weekly series of free tracks dropped between September and November, this project effectively showcased the sharp rhyme skills of Cali’s Flashius Clayton and NY’s Lisaan’dro, two distinctly different emcees with a shared passion for the craft of lyricism. Featuring production from Farma Beats, The Historian and Spectacular Diagnostics, “Money Makin Music” marked both these talented individuals as ones to watch in 2018 and beyond.

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Blacastan & Stu Bangas – “The Uncanny Adventures Of Watson & Holmes” (BrickRecords.Com) – The sequel to their 2014 Watson & Holmes project, this album was another collection of raw beats and rhymes from the Connecticut emcee and Boston producer that definitely wasn’t for the faint-hearted. Slashing through your speakers with razor-sharp precision, the chemistry shared between the pair was apparent once again here, with all the elements of a true musical partnership on display.

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Jay-Z – “4:44” (RocNation.Com) – Jay-Z has always been a divisive figure in Hip-Hop, sparking passionate debates between those who see him as a calculating commercial rapper and others who consider him one of the greatest artists of all-time. To be fair, both camps have valid points, as Hov’s career has contained moments of sonic brilliance and disappointment. This album, however, was his best release in a decade, with the nearly fifty-year-old artist talking about topics a nearly fifty-year-old artist in Jay’s position should be addressing in their music – family, society, personal failures, successes – displaying a different side to the Brooklyn icon than we’d heard and seen before.

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Ankhlejohn – “The Red Room” (Shaap Records / FxckRxp.Com) – The raspy-voiced Washington D.C. wordsmith dropped this cohesive collection of late-night street-hop mixing East Coast boom-bap sensibilities with a no-holds-barred lyrical approach, resulting in a project that was something of an acquired taste but that offered a unique listening experience for those who embraced “The Red Room” in all of its unhinged glory.

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Spnda & Grubby Pawz – “Steel Sharpens Steel” (CityYardMusic.BandCamp.Com) – On point like a knife blade, this Boston duo’s album was an effective lesson in how to craft a project that has the ability to really draw the listener in, with Spnda’s liquid swordplay meshing perfectly with producer Pawz’ loop-based mellow madness, resulting in an album that was both atmospheric and captivating with maximum replay value.

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RSXGLD – “RSXGLD” (RSXGLD.BandCamp.Com) – This album found veteran Michigan representatives RoSpit and 14KT successfully pushing their respective creative boundaries on each track, giving “RSXGLD” a sound that was soulful, hardcore and experimental in equal measures. Ambitious, personal, speaker-rattling Hip-Hop.

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Jehst – “Billy Green Is Dead” (YNRProductions.BandCamp.Com) – Named after a socially-aware 1972 Gil-Scott Heron track, UK producer-on-the-mic Jehst’s first album in six years was a deep musical experience to fully immerse yourself in, offering commentary on today’s modern world which, at times, made for unsettling and haunting listening. A truly brilliant work of art.

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Recognize Ali & Giallo Point – “Back 2 Mecca” (RecognizeAli.BandCamp.Com) – The last of three albums to be released in 2017 by Greenfield Music’s talented Recognize Ali, this project paid tribute to the culture of Hip-Hop and was powered by the typically impressive production of the UK’s Giallo Point, with the likes of Estee Nack, Daniel Son and PhybaOptikz also contributing their skills to this raw collection of subterranean gems.

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Life MC & DJ Nappa – “Audio Bliss” (LifeMC.BandCamp.Com) – One of UK Hip-Hop’s most distinctive voices, Life MC touched on a variety of topics throughout this succinct seven-track EP, with fellow Phi-Life Cypher member Nappa pulling out some top-drawer production to match the Luton lyricist’s passionate verses.

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Ash The Author & Krang – “Two Man Band” (BoomBapPro.Com) – Lively, spontaneous vibes from the UK duo, with Ash’s cleverly cocky rhymes sitting nicely over the jazz-influenced production of Krang, a combination which added another worthy release to the Boom Bap Professionals label catalogue.

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Defari – “Rare Poise” (Fat Beats) – Part of the mid-90s West Coast independent scene and a Likwit Crew affiliate, Defari is no stranger to releasing quality music. Calling on the production skills of Evidence to assist in crafting his first album in eleven years, the Cali emcee proved that he hadn’t missed a beat with this self-assured set which also featured appearances from longstanding Left Coast wordsmiths Rakaa Iriscience, Krondon and Phil Tha Agony.

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Verb T & Pitch 92 – “Good Evening” (HighFocus.BandCamp.Com) – Supported by the brilliant production of Mouse Outfit music man Pitch 92, the mighty Verb T dropped an engaging, down-to-earth mix of life observations, dry wit and personal reflection, proving once again why his stature as UK Hip-Hop royalty is so well-deserved.

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Codenine – “IX” (Codenine.BandCamp.Com) – Backed by the sublime, minimalist soundscapes of producers Kas and Motif Alumni, Tragic Allies member Codenine made sure that not a moment of his time on the mic was wasted here, packing his verses with vivid imagery and a near-cinematic attention to detail that put him head-and-shoulders above much of his competition.

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Conway – “G.O.A.T.” (WhoIsConway.Com) – Buffalo’s master of murderous mood music returned at the end of the year with a fresh batch of  cold-hearted crime rhymes and dark Daringer production, closing off what had been an eventful twelve months for the Griselda emcee and setting high expectations for what 2018 may bring via Conway’s signing to Eminem’s Shady Records.

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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 – Verb T & Pitch 92

Verb T & Pitch 92 – “Everything That You Love” (@HighFocusUK / 2017)

Contemplative vibes from the UK duo’s brilliant collabo album “Good Evening”.