Tag Archives: Klaus Layer

100 Best Albums & EPs Of 2018 (Part Three) – Concept Of Thought / Roc Marciano / Kev Brown etc.

Check Part One and Part Two.

Concept Of Thought – “Misty Blue” (Yogocop.BandCamp.Com) – A truly life-affirming listening experience, emcees Awfew and Illiterate shone some light into the darkness on this beautifully crafted EP. Blessing the jazzy elegance of producer Joe Corfield with a steady flow of positive vibes, the pair delivered verses inspired by both their Brighton stomping grounds and the memory of a friend lost during their youth. Soothing, dream-like mood music.

Ankhlejohn & Big Ghost Ltd – “Van Ghost” (ShaapRecords.BandCamp.Com) – An undeniably good combination, the raspy rhymes of Washington’s Ankhlejohn sat perfectly atop the uncompromisingly raw production of Big Ghost throughout this satisfyingly sinister release. Eerie pianos, unsettling samples and solid drums provided a fittingly atmospheric backdrop for Ankhlejohn’s unique brand of verbal violence.

Fliptrix – “INEXHALE” (HighFocus.BandCamp.Com) –  There was something therapeutic about listening to Fliptrix’ seventh solo album.. The project resonated with a feeling, an energy, a vibration that did more than simply make your head-nod or inspire you to pick-out a few favourite quotables. Possessing a tone, flow and delivery which was as effective puncturing holes in the egos of his competition as it was delivering commentary on aspects of the human experience, all facets of Fliptrix’s artistry were brought together brilliantly on “INEXHALE”, with the project giving a sincere nod of respect to UK Hip-Hop’s past whilst boldly striding forward into its future.

Roc Marciano – “RR 2 – The Bitter Dose” (RocMarci.Com) – Largely self-produced, this sequel to last year’s “Rosebudd’s Revenge” album set off what was an extremely productive year for the Strong Island emcee. Roc’s trademark brand of slick New York pimp talk glided over smooth, old-school soul loops, resulting in an album that sounded like it could be the soundtrack to a yet-to-be-completed “Willie Dynamite” film remake.

Klaus Layer & Figub Brazlevic – “Slice Of Paradise” (FigubBrazlevic.Bandcamp.Com)Featuring an international line-up of collaborators from countries such as the UK, Russia and France, talented German producers Klaus Layer and Figub Brazlevic showcased their shared passion for dusty drums and soulful samples on this impressive long-player.

Skyzoo – “In Celebration Of Us” (First Generation Rich Inc) – Skyzoo’s catalogue is impeccable. Since 2005 the Brooklyn emcee has released project after project which have each seen his writing abilities reach new heights. It could be argued that “In Celebration…” stands as Skyzoo’s greatest piece of work to date. Boasting multi-layered rhymes which reveal new meaning with each listen, plus top-notch production from the likes of Apollo Brown, !llmind and Tuamie, this album found the gifted emcee capturing his life experiences growing-up in inner-city NY with an engrossing blend of subtle inflection and vivid descriptions.

Vinnie Paz – “The Pain Collector” (Enemy Soil / JMTHipHop.Com) – The Jedi Mind Tricks frontman delivered another heavy dose of his trademark righteous rawness on his fourth solo album, balancing punch-you-in-the-face aggression with moments of poignant reflection. This project definitely wasn’t made for the faint-hearted, but if you were expecting the Philly legend to drop anything other than uncompromising, hardcore Hip-Hop then you obviously haven’t been paying attention over the last twenty-plus years since JMT’s debut.

Bumpy Knuckles & Nottz – “Pop Duke Volume One” (BumpyKnuckles.BandCamp.Com) – Bumpy Knuckles (aka Freddie Foxxx) has made a career out of lyrically slapping wack emcees with absolutely no regrets. The man’s place in Hip-Hop’s history books is unshakeable. This collaborative project with producer Nottz found Bumpy fully embracing his OG status, showing the game some tough love in his usual gruff manner, dropping jewels in the process.

WateRR & DirtyDiggs – “Wizard Of The Crystal” (WateRR.BandCamp.Com) – Chicago emcee WateRR delivered slick, swaggering wordplay over the dusty loops of West Coast production outfit DirtyDiggs on this concise EP. Featuring the likes of Supreme Cerebral, Recognize Ali and Nowaah The Flood, this release was all about lyricism and genuine rhyme skills. Show and prove.

Kev Brown – “Homework” (KevBrown.BandCamp.Com) – Clocking in at an ambitious twenty-nine tracks, this welcome return from Maryland-based producer-on-the-mic Kev Brown captured the sound of a master at work. Blending  gritty sample chops with understated wordplay, the talented music man delivered an effective sonic lecture demonstrating how a student can become the teacher.

Parallax – “Auditory Vision” (ParallaxOfficialStore.BandCamp.Com) – Delivering on the potential displayed throughout his impressive 2014 EP “Depth Perception”, London lyricist Parallax dropped his official debut album “Auditory Vision”, an accomplished, well-executed project featuring personal, thought-provoking rhymes and quality production from the likes of Ded Tebiase, DJ Nappa and Wickstarr.

OC From NC – “It’s Not You, It’s Me” (OCFromNC.BandCamp.Com) – Having spent recent years proving himself to be an exceptionally consistent artist thanks to a string of quality projects, North Carolina’s OC added another release to his already impressive catalogue, with “It’s Not You, It’s Me” featuring the talented lyricist’s usual mix of boisterous bravado and thoughtful life observations.

Chairman Maf – “Ginger” (ChairmanMaf.BandCamp.Com) – This sixth instrumental album from UK producer Chairman Maf showcased the Sheffield music man’s ever-sharp ear for a soulful sample. Ranging from upbeat quirkiness and sophisticated smoothness to raw boom-bap, Maf proved himself to be a genuine chairman of the board with this masterful collection of dusty-fingered dopeness.

Funky DL – “Dennison Point” (FunkyDL.BandCamp.Com) – Having already dropped the impressive “Blackcurrent Jazz 3” earlier in the year (included in Part One of this list), multi-talented UK artist Funky DL looked back to his youth for the inspiration behind this brilliantly crafted concept album, with the longstanding Hip-Hop vet reminiscing on his time growing-up in East London over his trademark jazzy, true-school production.

Tragedy Khadafi & BP – “Immortal Titans” (FBDistribution.BandCamp) – Having influenced various Queensbridge legends such as Nas, Mobb Deep and Killa Sha, the Intelligent Hoodlum joined forces with producer BP to deliver his timeless brand of project poetry and pyramid wisdom over concrete-cracking beats. Aura check!

Summers Sons – “Undertones” (SummersSons2.BandCamp.Com) – London-raised, Bristol-based blood brothers Turt and Slim showcased their organic, jazz-influenced stylings on this quality collection of mellow head-nodders. The perfect soundtrack to warm, hazy July evenings, “Undertones” was a satisfyingly soothing listening experience. You gots to chill.

Nujericans – “A La Mala” (Nujericans.BandCamp.Com) – New Jersey representatives Sol Zalez and Joey Dynomite dropped their debut collection of raw-yet-funky beats and rhymes, with the pair offering a nod of respect to the 90s East Coast underground whilst maintaining their own flavour and sonic personality.

Shuko – “1996” (Shuko.BandCamp.Com) – German producer Shuko paid homage to the mid-90s with this brilliantly crafted collection of drum-heavy, sample-based instrumentals, respectfully offering a sonic nod to the likes of De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest in the process.

Joe Corfield – “Patterns” (RadioJuicy.BandCamp.Com) – Having already blessed two of 2018’s finest releases with his trademark production sound (Fliptrix’s “Inexhale” and Concept Of Thought’s “Misty Blue”), UK music man Joe Corfield kept the momentum going with this sublime selection of hypnotic, jazz-influenced instrumentals via Germany’s Radio Juicy imprint.

Juga-Naut & Sonnyjim – “The Purple Door” (EatGoodRecords.BandCamp.Com) – Two of the UK’s finest joined forces for this brilliant collection of well-crafted verses and ill beats, with Nottingham’s Juga-Naut proving yet again why he deserves to be mentioned in any conversation regarding the dopest emcees currently gripping microphones, whilst Sonnyjim flexed his production muscle like a true master, flipping some quality samples throughout..

Part Four coming soon.

Slice Of Paradise Album Stream – Klaus Layer & Figub Brazlevic

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Featuring an international line-up of collaborators from countries such as the UK, Russia and France, talented German producers Klaus Layer and Figub Brazlevic showcase their shared passion for dusty drums and soulful samples on this impressive long-player.

New Joint – Klaus Layer

Klaus Layer – “Society Collapse” (@REDEFrecords / 2015)

Drum-heavy title track from the German producer’s forthcoming 2016 album on the Redefinition Records imprint.

New Joint – DXA

DXA – “Get On Beat” (@DXARecords / 2014)

The NY crew get busy over dope production from Germany’s Klaus Layer on the flip of their recent seven-inch vinyl release “Rise Up”.

New Joint – Klaus Layer

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Klaus Layer – “Die Gefahten (The Homies)” (Redefinition Records / 2014)

The German producer follows-up his impressive album “The Adventures Of Captain Crook” with more 90s-inspired instrumental boom-bap on his new EP “It’s Like A Circle”.

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 – DXA

DXA – “Rise Up” (@DXARecords / 2013)

The NY crew team-up with German producer Klaus Layer for this new dose of limited-edition vinyl boom-bap.