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Roc Marciano “76”
Download: Roc Marciano “76”
Two years ago, the veteran Long Island rapper Roc Marciano released the great self-produced solo album Marcberg, which took classic New York headknock rap and made it something weed-infused and inward. His follow-up Reloaded is coming in a couple of months, and the first track we’ve heard from it is “76,” on which Marciano raps hard-ass free-association over a still piano loop.
Oh No & Chris Keys “Let’s Go”
Download: Lets Go Edit (clean)
Producer Chris Keys hails from the bay, but cut his teeth at the Lamont School of Music in Denver, where he studied jazz piano. Oh No’s reputation is virtually certain to precede him – but that’s only part of the story. The real story lies in the breadth and depth of Oh No’s own work, his precision as a producer and his versatility as a rapper. And now, for the first time, Oh No has relinquished total control of the desk and focused squarely on rhymes, and both men point to an almost instantaneous creative chemistry that arose when they first started to work together. The end result is Ashes, a deeply musical album that balances gritty yet musical production against heavier themes in Oh No’s writing. Ashes which also includes features from Guilty Simpson, Big Pooh, Montage One, LMNO, Declaime, Roc C, Lyric James, DJ Romes, Killah Priest and Wildchild , was released on October 23rd via Heavy Keys Records.
Brother Ali “Mourning in America”
Download: Brother Ali “Mourning in America”
Despite Hip-Hop having hundreds of torch carriers with an outlet to speak on our ill surroundings, Brother Ali is one of the few that has the gonads to actually say something.For the latest leak from his upcoming album Mourning In America And Dreaming In Color, the Rhymesayers MC paints a dreary picture of our current state of affairs in the good ol’ US of A, aiming to make listeners second guess their surroundings and stop giving in to a system that’s failing us. While he may want us to reach for more, there isn’t much most fans can ask for from Ali beyond “Mourning,” as this type of brutal honesty is not only exactly what the Minneapolis veteran is known for, but just what the genre needs every once in a while.
Also, make sure you check out Ali’s flip on the Rick Ross posse cut ‘3 Kings’ produced by Jake One.
“This title track off of my new album is an observation on the culture of murder and death and our society. It’s also a critique of our hypocrisy as it relates to the taking of innocent lives. Power to the peaceful…” – Ali – Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color LP dropped on September 18th.
The Alchemist ft Danny Brown & Schoolboy Q “Flight Confirmation”
Download: Flight Confirmation
Heavy lidded, conceptual ambition personified, Los Angeles producer The Alchemist has announced his next project, Russian Roulette, dropping on record label/production house/idea shop Decon . A collection of 30 tracks woven into a tapestry of insanely obscure samples and jaw-dropping verses from the top names of indie-rap’s recent resurgence (Danny Brown, Schoolboy Q, Action Bronson, Evidence, Roc Marciano, Mr. MFN. eXquire, Boldy James, and more) The Alchemist creates a cinematic musical experience interwoven through a continuous soundscape demonstrating the vast array of his musical palette.
The latest notch in the belt of one of rap music’s most prolific enablers, Russian Roulette is the third official release this year from the producer responsible for hits from Rick Ross, Eminem, Mobb Deep, and myriad others. Gangrene, his collaborative project with Oh No, generated critical praise in January for Vodka & Ayahuaska, their grimy, prismatic shroom-bap opus, and his ongoing Rapper’s Best Friend series continues to serve instrumentals to aspiring spitters regularly. Not content with merely placing beats on records by rap’s elite and remaining in the shadows, 2012 is proving to be the year that The Alchemist is separating himself from the crowded pack of beat smiths.
Download: P.O.S. “FYF”
On We Don’t Even Live Here, P.O.S. steps away from his noisy past in favor of futuristic beats fit for a Berlin nightclub. Though his hip-hop foundation is firm the album brings banging new sounds from dance-oriented collaborators like German DJs Boyz Noise & Housemeister, Gayngs’ Ryan Olson, and Innerpartysystem’s Patric Russel and sees him collaborating with members of his Doomtree crew and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Check out the first single off the new album, “FYS.”
Killer Mike ft Scar “Untitled”
Download: Killer Mike Untitled (Feat. Scar)
How many times have you heard someone complain that contemporary rap music lacks its modern day Public Enemy equivalent? Youʼve probably said it yourself. But we need to stop. Yeah, Public Enemy is inviolate and irreplaceable, but Killer Mikeʼs R.A.P. Music is the closest weʼre going to get to an ideal soundtrack for a Do the Right Thing remake. Itʼs no surprise that the beats come from Brooklyn, courtesy of El-P, a hip hop artist, producer and entrepreneur who is the boroughʼs resident laureate of urban apocalypse. R.A.P. Music stands on its own as a stark document of the socio-economic discrepancies and racism that still plague America in 2011. The acronym in the title stands for “Rebellious African Peopleʼs Music” and it operates as a catchall container for Mikeʼs rage at everything from corporate chicanery to the fallout from the Reagan era. Even if youʼre apolitical, R.A.P. Music operates ﬂawlessly on that most basic rap level; it bangs hard out of any boom box, car stereo, or MP3 player. Itʼs the sound of a man stealing the remote control, kicking the TV down, and saying “Get up, go the f*** outside and see the world for real!”
Mayday “Death March” ft Pharaohe Monch & Stat Quo (Remix)
Wrekonize (MC/Vocalist), Bernz (MC/Vocalist), Plex Luthor (keyboards, guitar, production), Gianni Cash (bass, production), L T Hopkins (drummer) and NonMS (percussion) are one of rapʼs few legitimate bands. Take Me To Your Leader features the sinister “Badlands,” the apocalyptic “Death March,” the tense “TNT” and the macabre “Due in June.” Guests on the hard-hitting collection include Tech N9ne (whose Strange Music imprint is releasing the album), Ace Hood, Dead Prez, Murs, Krizz Kaliko and others.
Brother Ali “The Bite Marked Heart” (Rhymesayers)
Download: Brother Ali “The Bite Marked Heart” EP
Brother Ali just dropped a FREE 7 song EP called The Bite Marked Heart. The project features Phonte (Little Brother, Foreign Exchange),Stokley Williams (Mint Condition), Singer/songwriter Nikki Jean and Aby Wolf. Beats provided by Jake One and Ant.
Immortal Technique “The Martyr” ((album/mixtape))
Download: Immortal Technique “The Martyr”
Born in a military hospital in South America, Immortal Technique was brought to the United States in the early 80’s while a civil war was breaking out in his native Peru. The US supported puppet democracy and Guerilla factions were locked in a bitter struggle which ended like most do in Latin America, with the military and economic aid of the State Dept. through channels like the CIA. Although he had escaped the belligerent poverty and social turmoil of life in the 3rd world, he was now residing in Harlem which had its own share of drama. Growing up on the streets of New York, the young man became enamored with Hip Hop culture, writing graffiti and starting to rhyme at an early age. Although he frequently cut school and ended up being arrested time and time again for his wild behavior, the kid still managed to finish high school and got accepted to a state university. Unfortunately the survivalist and aggressive attitude that was the norm in New York City caused him to be involved in more violent altercations at school, whether it was with other brothers, false flaggers or the relentlessly racist population of an uncultured Middle America.
Blu ft. Sene “Avenge of the Cheap”
Download: Avenge of the Cheap
L.A. hip-hopper Blu is most known for his rapping talents, but he’s putting his beats on full display with his new production album Open. On his new single “Avenge Of The Cheap” (one of two Open songs featuring vocals from Blu), Johnson Barnes trades verses with frequent collaborator Sene over his own funky, dusty production. The moral of the story? Life is like a cheap-ass merry-go-round.
Icebird (RJD2 & Aaron Livingston) “Going and Going. And Going”
RJD2 and Aaron Livingston have combined to form Icebird, an explosive new collaborative effort bringing together the detailed, complex production stylings of the former with the raw, soulful voice of the latter. Hailing from the city of brotherly love and a mecca for soul and jazz music, the duo draws upon the history of psychedelic soul music that groups like Rotary Connection, Funkadelic, and TV on the Radio both pioneered, and continued. While working in a one singer-one producer format, the album covers far more ground than your average group even could. “Going and Going. And Going” is the first headbangin’ single off of the upcoming full-length ‘The Abandoned Lullaby.’
Verbal Kent “Take” (prod. Pete Rock)
Download: Verbal Kent “Take” prod. Pete Rock
In an Internet Age where billions of people are at an artist’s fingertips, it’s easy to forget that connecting wholly with 10 people is often better than touching 10,000 on the surface. Chicago emcee Verbal Kent never forgot. Verbal Kent’s sixth solo album, Save Yourself, is released boasting many of his real hip-hop connections which have flourished. With production from Pete Rock, !llmind, Marco Polo, and M-Phazes, as well as guest spots from Sadat X, Edo G, and Masta Ace, Verbal Kent has made a record with artists that he respects and admires in the way that he wants to be respected and admired. Save Yourself is Verbal Kent’s most accessible record, without sacrificing an ounce of the hard-bodied and heart-felt hip-hop classicism that fans around the world have come to expect. From the gritty neck-breaker “Dinner Party” to the timeless bounce of the Pete Rock-produced “Take”, Verbal Kent continues to find new ways to express himself within rap’s formula.
DJ Shadow “I’m Excited” feat. Afrikan Boy
Download: DJ Shadow Im Excited feat Afrikan Boy
DJ Shadow (born Josh Davis) is widely credited as a key figure in developing the experimental instrumental hip hop style associated with the London-based Mo’ Wax label. Inspired by hip-hop’s early years, he grew to absorb the heyday of crews like Eric B. & Rakim, Ultramagnetic MCs, and Public Enemy; groups which prominently featured DJs in their ranks. Shadow established his own Solesides label in Davis, CA and later released his ground-breaking debut album ‘Entroducing…’ in 1996. His upcoming album ‘The Less You Know, The Better’ is due out on Verve next month. “I’m Excited” was left off the album- so be sure to download this rare Shadow track!
Zion I & The Grouch “Rockit Man”
West Coast hip-hop stalwarts Zion I & The Grouch return with their sophomore collaborative effort Heroes in the Healing of the Nation. The long-awaited follow-up to the group’s 2006 critically acclaimed Heroes in the City of Dope could not arrive at a more fitting hour. This time around Z&G raise the stakes to expand the playing field from City to Nation, inviting listeners everywhere to join them on their quest in channeling their highest selves. Amp Live provides the bulk of the banging backdrops as Zumbi and The Grouch consciously kill it with a well versed ease. Check out the first single “Rockit Man” which takes fans to another level higher with an unforgettable soulful Silk-E performance.
GLC, Curt@!n$ & Rakaa “The Roadhouse” (produced by DJ Babu)
Download: The Roadhouse
Closed Sessions: ATX is the second release from Chicago based indie label, Closed Sessions in partnership with RubyHornet.com and Decon Records. The album was recorded over the course of four days in Austin, Texas in March of 2010 during SXSW. The album was created in a whirlwind of 24-hour sessions that featured artists like Freddie Gibbs, Naledge, GLC, Shawn Chrystopher, The Kid Daytona, as well as production from DJ Babu, DJ Fu, and Million $ Mano.
J-Live “No Time to Waste” (produced by Diamond D)
After closing 2010 with his latest EP “Undivided Attention”, J-Live sets off 2011 strong with a brand new single “No Time To Waste”. Produced by the legendary Diamond D of D.I.T.C., “No Time To Waste” is the lead off single for the forthcoming album “SPTA Said Person of That Ability” slated to drop later this spring. This first ever collaboration between J-Live and Diamond D is available on 12″ vinyl record with main clean instrumental and acapella versions. The B side features the same compliment of versions for “Home or Away”, one of the stand out tracks on the Undivided Attention EP.
Blueprint “Radio- Inactive”
Download: Blueprint Radio-Inactive
Critically acclaimed mc/producer and Soul Position frontman Blueprint, returns with his highly anticipated sophomore solo release Adventures in Counter-Culture. Experimenting with synths, keyboards, and drum machines, Adventures in Counter-Culture touches on Blueprint’s cynicism with the world, his disdain for pop culture, the state of politics and an apathetic, uninspired society. The album encompasses every facet of music Blueprint knows. It blurs genre lines and connects his hip hop pedigree with his early days in the church choir, to the R&B bands he was a part of in high school, to his new found interest in rock and electronic music.
After a five year musical journey, Blueprint has emerged with his greatest effort to date. A culmination of self discovery and societal critique, Adventures in Counter-Culture is just that.
Wugazi “Killa Hill”
Download link: Wugazi Killa Hill
Wugazi is a labor of love by Cecil Otter & Swiss Andy. A year’s worth of cutting up every imaginable Fugazi record and trying out every Wu-Tang acapella they could get their hands on, resulted in Wugazi: 13 Chambers. Cecil Otter is an emcee & producer, and one of the founding members of Doomtree. He has contributed to over a dozen records. His most recent full length, Rebel Yellow, was re-released by Sage Francis for Strange Famous Records. He’s now recording his solo project, Porcelain Revolver. Swiss Andy is a musician & producer residing in Minneapolis. He has been a contributor to several bands including The Millionth Word, Field Guide and The Swiss Army. He is currently working on a remix of Rebel Yellow.
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