Long Beach, Cali rapper Vince Staples debuted his seven-song EP, HELL CAN WAIT late last year. The release of HELL CAN WAIT followed Vince s 3-week, 13-city Paisley Summer Tour headlining stint, which wrapped up at Hard Rock Live in Las Vegas. Vince has contributed tracks to dozens of today's hottest artists, including Earl Sweatshirt's first and second albums to Dilated Peoples' Directors Of Photography to Jhené Aiko's The Vapors (on her Sail Out debut, the biggest-selling EP in Def Jam history) and Common's latest album, Nobody's Smiling, on his single Kingdom, performed live by Common with Vince at his side on Jimmy Kimmel Live and at the 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards. As Common stated in XXL, "He's cold on the mic... This dude can really rhyme. It made me want to write." With HELL CAN WAIT, Vince turned the microscope on himself and his family for some of hip-hop s most remarkable music. Ain't nothing realer than the truth, he explains. Ain't nothing better than the truth, like I really did all that. I really seen all that. I really been around that my whole life. Vince's debut album, Summertime 06, set to drop this summer, will be no different. Vince describes Summertime 2006 as the summer that started it all. He looks back in time to tell a story of how his budding career came to be; this album will provide insight into who Vince is and why he does what he does. The countdown to Summertime 06 is on!
Joell Ortiz is 1/4 of the legendary crew, Slaughterhouse which is signed to Eminem's Shady Records. As a solo artist Joell has made his name by being one of NY's and Hip-Hop's top MCs. !llmind is a seasoned producer and has worked with the likes of Kanye West, 50 Cent, Erykah Badu, Ludacris, Lloyd Banks, and more. He gained notoriety by releasing a remix album to Jay-Z's Black album called, The Black and Tan Album. Joining forces, Joell Ortiz and !llmind deliver a project that will have rap heads snapping their necks and reciting the lyrics.
Much has changed since Tame Impala first emerged with an EP of dusty home recordings in 2008. By and large Kevin Parker’s approach to recording has not, though the sound coming out of his home studio has vastly expanded, as has the number of people anticipating the fruits of his labour. Tame Impala’s third album is titled Currents, and on it Parker addresses a blindingly colourful panorama of transition in the most audacious, adventurous fashion he’s yet to capture on record. Dense with heady lyrical introspection, musically the most playful, bold and varied Tame Impala record to date, Currents is Parker putting down his weapons and embracing change as the only constant - sonically, thematically, and personally.
Bilal on his new album, In Another Life: 'I always try to paint pictures with my music I like telling stories, stories you can see. With this album, I take a step back. I am moving away from the surrealism in my last album to explore the reality of the time.' The first single 'Satellites,' has a late 60s/early 70s sound that takes listeners on a journey of reflection in regards to today s social and political climate. In this track, Bilal views the world as an outsider crooning, as evidenced by the lyrics: 'Just another day in another life. I'm a satellite, watching the world watch people as they do what they do to people. So what did we do and what can we do and how did this happen.' The statement strikes a powerful refrain. It is further reinforced by Bilal's vocals, which range from soft and inquisitive to harsh and angry as he tries to get people to remember their love for humanity. The album features the likes of Big K.R.I.T., Kimbra and Kendrick Lamar and was produced by Adrian Younge.
Many wonder: “Whatever happened to Ilyas of Tanya Morgan?”, “Why’d he leave the group?” “What went wrong?” Around the time of the Tanya Morgan breakup, Ilyas started recording an album venting about the struggles and emotions he was dealing with at the time. That album is Transformation. Broken into two separate albums, Transformation answers many questions. Produced by Quintessence James, the album harkens back to Tanya Morgan’s original sound from their Moonlighting and Brooklynati days, but just a tad darker and more insightful than the carefree Tanya Morgan music fans all know and love. Transformation listens as an audio diary of sorts as Ilyas speaks of his breakup with the group, breakup with his girlfriend of 6 years, and struggles dealing with substance abuse, fatherhood, and the world in general. Transformation 1 & 2 document his struggle from depression to joy, inadequacy to fulfillment, and ego to soul.
Seasoned professionals in the world of RAP MUSIC, the Brooklyn duo of rapper M.I. and producer DJ Cutt, prove themselves very much at the top of their game on ‘Avant Garde’. Their new album, is like a boomerang, ricocheting from twenty years ago, coming back to scoop up some more right-minded cats. Of course, there’s the boom-bap drum foundation sensibility - the main ingredient, but Constant Deviants constantly surprise on how they ice their production cake. Tracks such as the title one, “Standards” and “It’s like That” have intricately laced melodies that gives the tracks a multi-dimensional dynamic. They also make for compelling listening. Subjects such as their relationship to the media (‘Side B’) a day in the life of Constant Deviants (‘It’s like That’), a setting goals and aspirations (‘Standards’), are complemented by production that conjures up a multitude of vibes and moods. The sitting on the dock of the bay, blunts and booze anthem ‘Breathin’ ‘ recalls calm, closed eyes, running through a memory bank of memorable moments. ‘Whatever You Call It’ is a jazzy ode to the Constant Deviant way of living, way of approaching things. Lovely scratching of (BDP’s ‘My Philosophy’) ‘U Know What’ rasps over an uptempo beat. ‘I’m Still Up’ is an ode to ghetto death, a life cut far too short. It’s the album’s most reflective moment. It’s also the most simplified, but effective use of drums, with a discorded xylophone mournfully criss-crossing the record’s sad lament. Avant Garde is a street-crafted solid slab of GOLDEN ERA substance. Maintaining one foot in the past and one in the present/future, they keep their relevance because they understand their genre’s legacy, not to mention their own contribution to the art form.
Wu-Tang founding MC Inspectah Deck and veteran Boston duo 7L & Esoteric – isn’t concerned with the glitz and the B.S. that modern consumer culture is pushing. And neither are the group’s fans. In 2013, the trio appeared relatively unassumingly with their self-titled debut, which was chiefly produced by DJ 7L and included guests ranging from Ghostface Killah and Cappadonna to Vinnie Paz, Action Bronson and Roc Marciano. The soon-to-be acclaimed group found out quickly that there was a groundswell of hip-hop fanatics thirsting for the lunchpail, lyrics-above-all-else rap they fell in love with in the ‘90s. Several pressings of the album on CD, 2-LP and even cassette later, they are back and ready to up the ante. This time around the group is the same, but it’s fair to say that all three men have stepped up their game. “We knew how we felt about the last album, but weren’t sure how it would be received by listeners,” explains MC Esoteric. “But people really responded to it, even more than we had hoped. That gave us the confidence to really spread our wings and let loose on this one. The chemistry is even tighter this time around. We know exactly what lanes we are cruising in and what weight class we are fighting in for Round 2.” Inspectah Deck adds, “Czarface is like the Danger Room for the X-Men, I can use all my weapons on there. When I’m in Wu-Tang, I have to come a certain way because we have a certain style of fan, when I’m here doing the Czarface projects, it allows me to actually be an MC, it allows me to actually just spit…I love that. I love when i can just spit freely and just be an MC.” The fighting analogy – whether drawn from pugilism or ‘80s wrestling, both which figure into Every Hero Needs A Villain – is an apt one, considering the unrelenting lyrical attacks that Deck and Esoteric unleash on track after track, each trying to one-up the previous verse. Best of all, it is friendly camaraderie, based around a loose theme of renegade mutant MC talents running wild. DJ 7L explains, “All three of us are influenced by comics, sci-fi movies, TV, wrestling. Czarface encompasses all of that, and it helps with the visuals as well.” On the production side, 7L shows yet again – as he did with the group’s debut – that he remains a formidable yet underappreciated musical force, constantly providing hard, funky and alternatingly ominous backdrops for the assembled MCs to use as lyrical luge paths. Standard, jewel case issue of Czarface's new album.
But this time it's more the beatmaker than the emcee that we discover even if he's featured on a few tracks. This new album is the result of the partnership between Camden's finest emcee/beatmaker and Queen's notorious Starvin B. Fel delivers minimalist soulful beats that perfectly fit Starvin's devastating flow who drops precise and technical rhymes effortlessly all over the project. This new album is the result of the partnership between Camden's finest emcee/beatmaker and Queen's notorious Starvin B. Fel delivers minimalist soulful beats that perfectly fit Starvin's devastating flow who drops precise and technical rhymes effortlessly all over the project. But Fel doesn't abandon the mic and gives his fans a few reasons to nod their heads with his caracteristical flow resonating like a burst of an AK47. Dirt Platoon's Raf Almighty, a long time partner of Fel is also featured on the project as well as Nutso who's a close friend of Starvin, Queens connection ! Here's a new album you can't miss on which Fel proves you have to remember him not only as a rapper but also as a gifted beatmaker. This emcee/beatmaker combination works perfectly and they complete themselves fully to deliver a soon to be classic album that you will never get enough of...
English singer/songwriter/guitarist Lianne La Havas's 2012 debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? provided more highlights in its life-cycle than many artists experience in their entire career. The Los Angeles Times said, "Artists like Lianne La Havas remind us of the power of the artful lyric, the soulful (nonhistrionic) reading of said lyric, and the importance of smart, understated production. With Is Your Love Big Enough?, Miss La Havas vaults right to the big leagues. Repeated listenings only prove how strong and artful this collection is," and the New York Times praised her "voice that hints at Alicia Keys, Amy Winehouse and Erykah Badu but is fully her own…It's rhythm as resilience and life force, an innate sense of confidence that makes even her bitter songs somehow reassuring." That album led to a journey that encompassed more than 120 shows across Europe, North America, and Japan—including two sold-out London shows at the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire. Artists who Lianne had admired soon admired her, to the point where she can call the likes of Prince and Bon Iver friends. La Havas has recently made a succession of guest appearances. There's been another recording with Matt Hales on recent Aqualung track "Egg Shells"; guest vocal on Alt-J's "Warm Foothills" and Tourist's "Patterns"; and even an appearance as a female approximation of her friend in the video for "Where Is My Sex?" by The Kenneths. Most notable of all was La Havas's contribution to Prince's Art Official Age album, which were recorded over the course of a heady weekend at Paisley Park.Blood is an album that was inspired by Lianne’s family heritage, which is part Jamaican and part Greek. Once touring for her debut album came to a close, she headed to Jamaica with her mother for a holiday which evolved into an experience of self-discovery. Lianne enjoyed emotional reunions with long-lost relatives; embraced Kingston’s clubs; and even jammed in front of her family for the first time during a session with legendary dancehall / reggae producer Stephen McGregor.
From time to time a DJ or producer comes along who transcends a particular scene, bridges the gap between disparate movements and unites tribal music fans. Seven has that talismanic quality. His productions have a rawness…a loose-knit, lolloping grove that seduces even the most steadfastly stubborn of hips. Seven is a unifying force and the well of support for his endeavors runs deep, from Mos Def to Four Tet to Julio Bashmore and way beyond. As an intergalactic soul record Universes delivered on all front, admirably showcasing the breadth and depth of SDJR’s productions and the honesty and humour that makes his music so instantly recognizable. Catch him in this cosmos before he jets off to another time and space.
If there’s a secret to time travel, Kool Keith owns the patent. Even a flying DeLorean seems too conventional for the Bronx legend. He’d more logically orbit throughout the galaxy in a gleaming chrome spaceship, teaching the stars and aliens new forms of originality. He is too weird to live, too rare to die, too uniquely ultra-magnetic to be accurately mimicked. Released on Mello Music Group, Time? Astonishing! is the latest dimensional warp from hip-hop’s premiere astral traveler. His union with MMG producer L’ Orange finds him exploring uncharted terrain: choppy volcanic rock planets, ice glacier moons, new surgical procedures, and fresh rappers to toss into the ether. The scalpel remains eternally sharp. The themes aren’t dissimilar from his past opuses as Dr. Octagon and Black Elvis. But L’ Orange’s production appropriately coaxes the most appealingly baffling gonzo vision from Keith since his days collaborating with Dan “The Automator” Nakamura. This isn’t the noir-rap of L’Orange’s previous work, but something atmospheric, ethereal, and absurd. Yet there’s a sense of tradition within the playfulness. The beats glow with radioactive grit. Hard enough to knock from your car speakers, cinematic and plutonium-propelled enough to transport you to strange terra firma. Buck Rodgers movie serials meet boom-bap. And along for the odyssey are a cast of the best underground MC’s of the last decade: Blu, Open Mike Eagle, Mr. Lif, J-Live, and more. But the star is Keith Thornton, offering more ammunition for his spot as the most creative rapper of all-time, offering more amazing adventures in the future. While other veterans often look back, Keith always knew that space ships don’t come equipped with rear view mirrors. Every thought is a different action. He’s easing into new zones, encountering polygonic time travelers, surrounded by enemies, blasting them with radioactive wave forms. L’Orange is the gunner on the flank, lacing the legend with synthesizers set to stun, great wheeling humid organs, and sad exotic jazz riffs. These are space symphonies and occult odysseys, fuel for wanderers, wonderers, and all the a-likes. Welcome to the new world, even more sinister and suspenseful than the last one. We live in astonishing times: abstract, absurd, and indelibly Kool.
Statik Selektah is a renowned DJ and Producer based in NYC, born and raised in Boston. Statik hosts a weekly radio show on Sirius / XM Shade 45 every Thursday from 8PM to 12AM. Statik has produced recent tracks for Eminem (Detroit vs Everybody), Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, Danny Brown, Royce Da 5’9” and Dej Loaf In 2014, Statik Selektah released his album, ‘What Goes Around’ (DDM CD 2375), which has scanned over 10,000 units worldwide. He is now prepping ‘Lucky 7’ for a July 7th release. Lucky 7 features original songs from Joey Bada$$, Black Thought of the Roots, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, Big K.R.I.T., J. Cole, Royce Da 5’9,” Bun B, Hannibal Buress, Sean Price, Smif N Wessun, Buckshot, Young M.A, Bodega Bamz, Skyzoo, Mick Jenkins, A$AP Twelvvy, Your Old Droog, Jared Evan, Elle Varner, CJ Fly and Kirk Knight of Pro Era & more.
Lionel Williams leaves behind the murkier lo-fi production of his 2012 debut full-length, Lemniscate, for the somnambulant pop of Into. The new album—out July 24th on Chaz Bundick’s (Toro Y Moi, Les Sins) Company Records—moves Lionel’s Vinyl Williams alias into a more vivid, multi-colored dream world. Unlike the dramatic film scores of his grandfather (famed composer and conductor John Williams), this 25-year-old Los Angeles-based musician’s songs are far more introspective, effortlessly blending ambient, electronic, Krautrock, psychedelia and shoegaze influences into a uniquely visceral listening experience that often mirrors the surrealism of his own collagebased visual artwork. Like staring at the intricate geometry of a nautilus shell through a rippling aqua lens, Into’s detailed arrangements shimmer across the stereo field with Williams’ breathy, yearning melodies bathed in warm reverb. The gentle, rhythmic percolation of breezy album opener “Gold Lodge” imagines CAN at their most ethereal, as if vying for a release on 4AD Records during the label’s halcyon days. Similarly, Cocteau Twins-esque guitars ring above the pulsing kosmische atmosphere of “Hall of Records” and then later, the 10-plus-minute “Xol Rumi” takes a detour across the Autobahn using Neu!’s motorik precision. Elsewhere, the celestial “Greatest Lives” shuffles through a thick, gooey cloud of synths, while instrumental “The Tears of an Inanimate Object” pays tribute to the spiritually minded explorations of Alice Coltrane and Dorothy Ashby, with astral harp strums guiding the light electronic accompaniment. From the mysterious, nocturnal drive of first single “World Soul” to the gauzy, space-age funk of “Allaz,” Vinyl Williams nicely blurs the line between melodicism and experimentation, his impressionistic song-craft being as inviting as it is beguiling. In this modern era of shuffled playlists and musically short attention spans, Into is that rare album created to be listened to uninterrupted from beginning to end, and one that is sure to reveal itself again and again after each successive play.
Featuring Evidence, Vinnie Paz, Celph Titled, Slaine, Roc Marciano, Ras Kass, Swollen Members, Ill Bill, The Alchemist, Esoteric, Chris Webby, Termanology, Diabolic, Planet Asia, The Doppelgangaz, Blaq Poet, Ryu (Styles of Beyond), Shabaam Sahdeeq, Big Twins (Infamous Mobb), Bishop Lamont, plus many more of the Demigodz and Army of the Pharaohs family. Produced by Apathy, Mike Shinoda, Gem Crates, C-Lance, Snowgoons, Stu Bangas, Vanderslice, DC The Midi Alien, Teddy Roxpin Returning with the fourth and biggest installment of his fan-favorite "It's the Bootleg" series, Apathy brings another double-disc compilation with a whopping 48 songs in total, breaking the record for most tracks included on any of the titles in the series! Most importantly, this vast collection features over 10 completely unreleased songs from Ap's vaults. The rest of the project consists of his recent barrage of guest appearances, rare tracks, exclusive freestyles and lost tracks. All the music here has been painstakingly sourced from their original album or session masters and digitally mastered for this very special release.
“Footwork”—the very word indicates a movement of the feet that is “work” (as in an effort to achieve). Its joyous social party nature sits within a lineage of African American history that includes the infamous Soul Train dance tunnel and Hip Hop dance circles. However, as Footwork continues to become more popular, we should not forget that at its essence it is a highly evolved battle form. This is the central theme one feels listening to the stunning “Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints,” the second album from RP Boo, the man credited with inventing the Footwork genre with a 1997 track “Baby Come On” (recently re-released on the Planet Mu EP “Classics Vol. 1”). RP Boo is to Footwork what Juan Atkins is to Techno – a source point for a busting out of innovative ideas and new directions. When asked about his role as progenitor of the genre he humbly notes, “It has taken me a while to adjust to. I actually had to think about how it could have come to be by listening to other producers and DJs that were around as it was forming. All of them said, at differenttimes, hey RP you know you created a mean following of people that are inspired by the way you make tracks and get the dancers into a whole new battle stage with energy. It helps me see that I represent a breathing source of sounds.” Dancing is central to RP Boo. If you’ve been lucky enough to catch one of his DJ sets, such as his groundbreaking 2013 European debut at Unsound Festival in Krakow, you’ll have seen him come out from behind the decks and start dancing in and with the crowd, spreading Footwork both sonically and as an evolving set of movements. People who meet RP Boo may note a stark contrast between the intense battle aesthetics of “Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints” and the joyousness of RP Boo as an individual. He says, “I know how to speak battle from being in the circles. Footworkers need fuel and they often say, only you can get us to battle like that. Once outside the turntables, I use the same energy to speak with people. It’s a job and I am strong on giving encouragement to others, I want to uplift people. I have to try and walk that life for as long as I am alive.” Sonically, RP Boo is a modern-day Zatoichi samurai, cutting his samples in unorthodox ways. His sound remains unique. “Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints” contains both tracks made after his acclaimed 2013 debut album “Legacy” (“An album of scorching, scene-defining hits” SPIN) and older tracks. Highlights include “Banging On King Dr.” which sees him cutting up street numbers; the monolithic noir feeling of “Sleepy”; the subtle funk of “Your Choice” which may in some way be inspired by his Dad’s role as bass player for Prince; “Lets Dance Again” whose delicate soulful sound echoes deep streams of Chicago dance music history; the dramatic string-infused “Daddy's Home” and the celebration of achieving dreams that is the closer “B'Ware.” "Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints” is the sound of an innovator reconfirming his place as leader with one of the most essential Footwork albums to date.
Following up on the experimental sounds of LP3 and LP4, Ratatat return to their core guitar-driven sound on Magnifique. Combining the bedrock beats and primordial riffs from their first two albums with the sonic experimentation and production prowess of LP3 and LP4, Mike and Evan arrived at a new plateau with Magnifique.
Thanks to such bone-crushing songs as "L.A., L.A.," "Bloody Money" and "T.O.N.Y. (Top Of New York)," Capone-N-Noreaga established itself on The War Report with a signature blend of gangsterism, lyricism and humor, as well as its own distinctive Middle-Eastern inspired vocabulary and military-heavy lyrics and imagery. This innovative combination, as well as the balance between Capone's gruff, no-nonsense rap style and Noreaga's unorthodox lyrics and flow, made the Queens, New York, duo one of the premier rap groups to emerge in the late 1990s. In an unfortunate turn of events, Capone was incarcerated as The War Report enjoyed commercial and critical success upon its release in 1997. Upon Capone's release, he and Noreaga combined for three more group albums - The Reunion in 2000, Channel 10 in 2009 and The War Report 2: Report The War in 2010 - and enjoyed successful solo careers. Now, almost 20 years later, the group is back on the label where they began their career. Lessons is the first album with Tragedy being back in the CNN fold and helps bring continuity along with his clever style that fans have been anticipating. With features ranging from The Lox, Raekwon, Sadat X, Large Professor and Royal Flush this is a New York street classic album. But beyond the music, Capone-N-Noreaga feels that its bond with Penalty is deeper than rap. With Lessons, CNN proves that being home is the best place to be.