Tag Archives: Washington Classics

DEF Album Stream – Funky DL

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London-raised producer-on-the-mic Funky DL expands his trademark jazz steez on this quality seven-track release, swapping dusty samples for crisp live instrumentation, resulting in sterling cuts such as the Hackney tribute “Memories Of Old” (featuring the mighty Klashnekoff) and the soulful, Sounds Of Blackness-inspired “2 The Sky”.


100 Best Albums & EPs Of 2017 (Part One) – Melanin 9 / Roc Marciano / J Scienide etc.


So here we are again. Another year has come to an end. Time to look back over the last twelve months and give my traditional round-up of the beats and rhymes I had in heavy rotation throughout 2017.

It’s never easy putting ‘best-of’ lists together. Regardless of how many releases are included, it’s impossible to compile something like this without always feeling like you’re having to leave something out. But this year has been particularly difficult, given the sheer amount of quality Hip-Hop that has been released over the past 365 days.

In addition to the albums and EPs that actually made it into this five-part overview, there was approximately a further fifty included on my initial short-list, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

So, whilst there will no doubt be projects not featured here that some will feel should have been mentioned, those that made the cut have been selected based purely on being one of the releases I listened to (and enjoyed) the most throughout 2017.

That being said, huge props to every emcee, producer and deejay out there making music that comes from a genuine place of creativity and artistic integrity – your efforts are appreciated by Hip-Hop heads across Planet Rock.

But now, like we always do about this time….

Melanin 9 – “Old Pictures” (Red Snow Records) – A decade after the release of his debut project “High Fidelity”, Triple Darkness member Melanin 9 delivered arguably his best body of  solo work to date. A personal, introspective walk through the experiences, struggles and memories of the London-based lyricist, “Old Pictures” found M9 matching his impressive verses with fittingly mellow, laidback soundscapes from producers such as Ohbliv, Wun Two and Anatomy. Timeless beats and rhymes.

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O.C. – “Same Moon Same Sun: 1st Phase” (D.I.T.C. Studios) – One of the greatest emcees of all-time, Diggin’ In The Crates legend Omar Credle personified the term ‘grown man business’ on his seventh solo album, offering an assured blend of social commentary, life observations and lyrical bravado, proving that truly talented artists never lose their importance or relevance in the rap game.

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Trauma 74 – “The God Given Image” (Evil Twin Records) – The result of a life-long passion for Hip-Hop that began in the early-80s, this debut album from UK emcee Trauma 74 was clearly a labour of love. Grounded in true-school traditions and creative integrity, “The God Given Image” was packed with accomplished wordplay and soulful boom-bap beats, resulting in a project that any fellow Hip-Hop junkie could appreciate and relate to.

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Strizzy Strauss – “The Art Of Summarising Life” (IAmStrizzyStrauss.BandCamp.Com) – The upcoming Leicester-based lyricist definitely made his mark on the homegrown scene in 2017 with this impressive EP, full of personal, heartfelt verses delivered with street-savvy sensitivity and a sharp social awareness. Honest, life-affirming and inspirational, “The Art Of…” showcased the voice of an artist clearly keen to inject his music with substance as well as style.

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Milano Constantine – “The Way We Were” (Different Worlds Music Group) – A tribute to the New York of yesteryear, Diggin’ In The Crates affiliate Milano utilised the top-notch, drum-heavy production of DJ Skizz and Marco Polo to reminisce about old-school fashion trends, graffiti-covered subway trains and wild nights at the Latin Quarter throughout this release, drawing on both the youthful energy of 80s Hip-Hop and the volatile Rotten Apple environment of the time for inspiration.

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Roc Marciano – “Rosebudd’s Revenge” (Marci Enterprises) – The Strong Island representative gave the game yet another back-handed pimp slap in the form of his fourth solo album, a cool-but-deadly collection of cold-blooded, elegantly-delivered rawness, evoking images of 70s Blaxploitation flicks and golden-era NY Hip-Hop in equal measures. Fresh, fly and bold.

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Brother Ali – “All The Beauty In This Life” (Rhymesayers Entertainment) – Long-established as one of Hip-Hop’s most inspiring and warm-hearted artists, Minneapolis’s Brother Ali dropped a truly fitting Ant-produced soundtrack to today’s troubled times, drawing inspiration from both personal situations and global issues as he encouraged listeners to find meaning and purpose in their lives, despite the struggles and hardships we each face on a daily basis.

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Funky DL – “Marauding At Midnight” (Washington Classics) – Multi-talented UK artist Funky DL paid tribute to the musical genius of A Tribe Called Quest with this inspired instrumental remake of the Queens crew’s classic 1993 album “Midnight Marauders”. Achieving the difficult balance of staying faithful to ATCQ’s jazzy, low-end aesthetic whilst allowing his own musical personality to shine through, DL proved himself to be both a student and master of the production game throughout this ambitious release.

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Saipher Soze – “Godbody” (SaipherSoze.BandCamp.Com) – Rough, rugged and raw flavour from the Toronto emcee packed with razor-sharp rhymes and quality beats, this Finn-produced album found Soze cementing his position as one of the most skilled microphone fiends to have emerged from the Canadian underground in recent times.

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Dillon & Diamond – “Black Tie Affair” (FullPlate.BandCamp.Com) – Successful in their promise of crafting “sophisticated rap music”, Atlanta-based emcee Dillon and Diggin’ In The Crates giant Diamond D mixed the rough with the smooth on this five-track EP, resulting in a polished listening experience which still bore the musical marks of dusty fingerprints.

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Sons Phonetic – “Deloreans” (SonsPhonetic.BandCamp.Com) – Atmospheric, captivating beats and rhymes from Ireland’s mighty Sons Phonetic crew, with “Deloreans” proving once again why the multi-faceted collective can lay claim to being one of the most consistent groups in the game.

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The Almighty $amhill – “The Epilogue” (LowTechRecords.BandCamp.Com) – Bronx native $amhill delivered more of his unapologetically raw street-smart lyricism on this quality EP release, a potent dose of gritty NY flavour direct from the birthplace of Hip-Hop produced largely by the talented Preservation.

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Es – “We Are Only Getting Older” (EsMuzik.BandCamp.Com) – Canadian lyricist Es followed up his brilliant 2014 album “Aspire To Inspire” with the equally impressive “We Are Only Getting Older”, a concept-based project dealing with Hip-Hop’s generation gap, featuring production from IV The Polymath, Rel McCoy, Kelpi Nine and more.

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Eloh Kush & BudaMunk – “Fly Emperor” (AnglezInc.BandCamp.Com) – Backed by the melodic, drum-heavy production of Japan’s BudaMunk, New Jersey’s Eloh Kush mixed streetwise attitude with vividly creative wordplay on this impressive long-player.

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The Cornel West Theory – “The T.A.B.L.E. Too” (TheCornelWestTheory.BandCamp.Com) – Washington D.C.’s Cornel West Theory continued to go against the grain on their fifth album release, a collection of radio-unfriendly soundscapes and challenging, thought-provoking lyrics.

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Creestal – “Differences” (MunchieRecords.BandCamp.Com) – Talented French producer Creestal (of CM Jones fame) dug deep in his crates for this sample-driven collection of dusty flavours featuring Roc Marciano, Conway, Torae and more. Blending together raw drums, obscure loops and random film dialogue, “Differences” was a masterclass in sonic creativity.

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J Scienide – “The Actual Heat” (JSciende-OfficialCrateMusic.BandCamp.Com) – Washington D.C.-based artist J Scienide delivered his highly-anticipated album “The Actual Heat”, an accomplished collection of sample-based beats and intelligent, witty wordplay, with the likes of Grap Luva, Kev Brown and Nolan The Ninja making notable appearances on what was easily one of 2017’s best releases.

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Da Buze Bruvaz – “Adebisi Hat” (Grilchy Party) – Run and DMC. Rae and Ghost. Billy Danze and Lil Fame. The key to a great rap duo is chemistry. Philly’s Him-Lo and Clever One can add themselves to that list. The Lo-Life-affiliated pair have dropped plenty of worthwhile material over the years, but this full-length effort upped the hardcore ante, with the true-school twosome verbally bullying top-drawer production with their trademark brand of boisterous, politically-incorrect punchlines.

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MC Eiht – “Which Way Iz West” (Blue Stamp Music / Year Round Records) – Approximately two years after West Coast legend MC Eiht announced his next album would be backed by DJ Premier, the project finally saw a release. Thankfully, “Which Way…” lived up to expectations. With Eiht solidifying his OG status throughout, this long-player deservedly found itself being heralded as a standout dose of Cali attitude. Compton’s still in the house. Geeah!

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Children Of Zeus – “The Story So Far…” (First Word Records) – Manchester’s Konny Kon and Tyler Daley have been blessing a cult following with sonic gems for some time now, but 2017 was the year the talented pair’s unique brand of soulful, Hip-Hop-influenced music started to reach a wider audience and receive the acclaim it deserved. This compilation pulled together both previously-released tracks and new material from the UK duo, paving the way for the official Zeus debut album due for release in 2018.

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Check Part Two here.

Autonomy: The 4th Quarter 2 Album Stream – Funky DL

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Longstanding London lyricist and producer Funky DL adds another full-length release to his already impressive discography, with “Autonomy” once again showcasing the UK artist’s trademark mix of jazzy, soulful beats and down-to-earth rhymes.

New Joint – Funky DL

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Funky DL – “Autonomic” (@FunkyDLHipHop / 2016)

The veteran UK producer-on-the-mic mixes sparse drums with delicate keys on the lead single from his forthcoming album “Autonomy: The 4th Quarter 2”.

Forever Instrumental Album Stream – Funky DL

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The multi-talented London-based Hip-Hop vet drops yet another quality selection of soulful, jazzy sample-laden beats for our listening pleasure.

New Joint – Funky DL

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Funky DL – “Untitled” / “Fantastic” (FunkyDL.Com / 2014)

The multi-talented UK producer-on-the-mic drops the first leak from his forthcoming Dilla / Nujabes tribute project “February” in the form of this brilliant Slum Village reinterpretation.

A Treat To Repeat Album Stream – Funky DL

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Talented UK producer-on-the-mic Funky DL switches to instrumental mode for this latest release covering a variety of musical bases, from the uptempo b-boy funk of “All Grown Up” to the soulful smoothness of “The Full One”, “A Treat To Repeat” once again showcases the veteran London music man as being a true master of his craft.

Cut From The Illest Cloth Album Trailer – Funky DL

After experiencing some technical difficulties with his initial campaign, talented UK Hip-Hop veteran Funky DL has re-launched the Kickstarter page for his forthcoming album “Cut From The Illest Cloth” – more details here.

Jazzmatic (Nas Remixes) EP Download – Funky DL

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Veteran UK producer-on-the-mic Funky DL puts his trademark jazzy touch on a batch of Nas favourites for this free concept-based release including “Life’s A Bitch”, “Made You Look” and “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” – download here.

New Joint – Funky DL

Funky DL – “Napalm” (FunkyDL.BandCamp.Com / 2012)

Smoothed-out jazzy vibes from the producer-on-the-mic’s forthcoming album “NANE”.

New Joint – Funky DL / DJ 279

Funky DL ft. DJ 279 – “Def Lyricist” (FunkyDL.BandCamp.Com / 2012)

Lead single from the veteran UK artist’s forthcoming album “NANE”.

Too Hard To Beat Album Download – Funky DL

The multi-talented Funky DL continues his current run of quality releases with this dope instrumental project which is packed with the UK producer-on-the-mic’s trademark brand of jazz-flavoured, bass-heavy vibes – check it here.

Sometimes I Have To Wonder… EP Download – Funky DL

Veteran producer-on-the-mic Funky DL pays homage to the musical genius of the legendary Stevie Wonder on this free feel-good EP – check the vibes here.

The Lawshank Redemption Album Download – Funky DL

Veteran UK producer-on-the-mic continues with his recent stream of new releases by dropping this collection of previously unavailable instrumentals all remastered to add that extra knock in your headphones – check “The Lawshank Redemption” here.

Nights In Nippon Jazzstrumentals Album Sampler – Funky DL

Inspired by his many visits over the years to Japan, talented UK producer-on-the-mic Funky DL will soon be dropping his new instrumental project “Nights In Nippon” which features an impressive selection of smoothed-out tracks to make you nod your head and zone out – listen to a preview here.

Dedication To The Fairer Sex Mixtape Download – Funky DL / DJ 279

Talented producer-on-the-mic Funky DL has just thrown his 2009 Dilla tribute project “Dedication To The Fairer Sex” up on BandCamp – so if you haven’t already heard DL dropping rhymes for the ladies over Jay Dee instrumentals then you can peep it here, cool out and let your head nod.

Remix Deluxe Album Download – Funky DL

Veteran producer-on-the-mic Funky DL brings his timeless brand of jazz-infused boom-bap to classic cuts from the likes of Jeru The Damaja, The Beatnuts, Big Daddy Kane and more on this essential remix collection – check the flavour here.