Skepta is possibly the most talked-about grime artist on the circuit, and this is his debut artist album proper. No ordinary street mixtape; this is the real deal, a full album project. By the time of this CD's original release, Skepta had already been featured on MTV Base About to Blow, graced the pages of magazines from i-D to Dummy to RWD to Blues & Soul, and performed the world over, spreading his sound across Israel, Russia, New York, and Europe, with stops at such UK festivals as Glastonbury and V -- all before releasing an album. Here, the producer, MC, and stage-show master treats fans of Boy Better Know and club anthems like "Doin' It Again" and "Single" to 15 tracks of unadulterated grime. Skepta's perfectionist streak ensures that these are full songs, a combination of party lyrics and concepts that, while drawing from the underground, stands firm among the commercial.
10th anniversary reissue of the hugely successful collaborative album between super producer Danger Mouse and Underground rap legend DOOM. The album features notable guest spots from Talib Kweli, Ghostface Killah and pre Gnarls Barkley, CeeLo Green. The album also features skits and contributions from Cartoon Network's Adult Swim characters Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sea Lab 2010, Space Ghost and more. The album was a critical and commercial success and the iconic UK version of the vinyl designed by longterm Lex collaborator EHQuestionmark has been long sought after. The outer sleeve is made from thick translucent textured plastic with DOOM's mask printed on cover, and mouse ears on each side of the mask forming a pattern that looks like a Rorschach test (a technique reused in another Danger Mouse project six months later). The inner sleeves, visible through the outer at first glance pattern based on an Ishihara test, but inside the circles in the pattern are tiny icons depicting a different disasters - climate change, acid rain, holy war, nuclear leaks. "The Mouse and the Mask" was produced by Lex super-producer Danger Mouse and masked supervillain MF DOOM. The album features Cee-Lo Green (also of Gnarls Barkley), Talib Kweli, Ghostface Killah, Money Mark and the cast of cult cartoon show Aqua Teen Hunger Force and ten years on remains DOOM's best selling album to date. The reissue is presented in the exact same spec as the original double vinyl including the custom made frosted plastic outersleeve, spot flouro and metallic pantone printed inner sleeves. The album originally debuted at #2 on the Billboard independent albums charts. Subsequent releases from Danger Mouse include Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz and Broken Bells, as well as production work for Beck, A$AP Rocky and the Black Keys. DOOM is, of course, the legendary producer/MC behind the Special Herbs series, Madvillainy (with Madlib) and collaborations with Jneiro Jarel and Bishop Nehru.
Dre's first album in almost two decades, now available on CD.
What happens to the victorious army when they've won the war but lost the Peace? How does a prophet continue to refine the message when its truth is so widely understood and accepted that it's changed the world around it? Can a band maintain its position at the vanguard of a musical revolution when everyone who came up with them thinks the fight is over? Ask Chuck D. For 30 years, Public Enemy have not only been first to the barricades to defend the community they're part of and the culture they helped shape - Chuck and his band have written the rule book on how to stay two steps ahead. In 1985 they bum-rushed the rap show and turned this new musical art form from a curiosity to a powerful political tool. At the end of the 20th century they wrested control of the means of production, helping to consign the music industry's business model to history's digital dustbin. So it's no surprise that in 2015, the noise the band is bringing rings loud and with clarity on matters their competitors and contemporaries haven't even started to think about. Chuck and PE led the fight for the rights of the artist against the corporation, and by any reckoning they scored a significant victory. But the win came at a cost. Today, anyone can make a hit that's heard and loved around the globe: but it's still the corporations that are making the money. Those who know, know who: where it was once about CBS, RCA and EMI, today's music-biz corporateplantationopolies are Apple, Google and Facebook. The pigs are walking as tall as the men, but it's impossible to say which is which. God certainly laughs at anyone who makes plans, particularly if those plans involve music and technology. And the law of unintended consequences applies equally to the rebel as to the oppressor. Public Enemy changed the world, and they helped change the music business. With this record, they remind us that revolutions never end - that for every victory to savour there's always someone new to fight. One of those targets includes what Chuck calls 'corplantations.' On 'Those Who Know Know Who,' Chuck bellows: "Flipping the news got the people confused/Abusing all the rhythm, leaving us with the damn blues." Chuck says, "I feel like the government controls the media and the people are not being fed the truth. The subtitle for Yo! Bum Rush The Show was 'The Government's Responsible.' Today, it's like 'The Governments Are All Responsible.'" And speaking of album titles, Chuck says Man Plans God Laughs was inspired by a comment that the legendary Dr. Julius Erving made in a documentary for which Chuck provided the voiceover. "When Dr. J said it, he was referring to all his plans for him and his brother, and then his brother passed away. "That spoke volumes." Chuck says, "The message I got from that was, 'Stay humble.'" He adds that "the sonics on that track were inspired by Run The Jewels, Yeezus and Kendrick Lamar's latest works." It's a good bet that the track Mine Again will resonate with PE's African-American constituency. It stands as one of the album's most powerful jams. Chuck agrees that Mine Again is about an African-American having a conversation with himself about his African roots and sounding conflicted about his identity. "I wrote the song a decade ago after experiencing Africa and getting a handle on all the turmoil going down in the motherland. Yes I'm conflicted because it's been a continent of conflict." The jam was co-written and performed by James Bomb of the S1Ws who has written a few poems over the years, he says. "I guided him to write within the context of a conflicted person going back to his roots. To claim the motherland for the soul to provide service of helping folks in a war ravaged nation was the core of the song." Inside a reinvention of the PE sound - the result of the latest collaboration between the band and long-time producer/musical innovator Gary G Wiz - this album nods back to the anthems of the past as it constructs analyses of the present that can help shape our understanding of the future. Once again, Chuck and his band reassure us that there's nobody else we can count on to stand up for those values - political, personal, creative - that separate the conscious from the consumptive; no band better placed to keep on fighting the powers that be.
Abel Tesfaye has transitioned expertly from shadowy R&B trailblazer to full-blown pop presence. In the wake of his deeply influential trilogy of 2011 full-lengths and his addictive contributions to 2014’s Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack—“Earned it” and “Where You Belong”—the Weeknd mastermind unveils another gorgeous collection of electrifying melody and brooding atmosphere. Beauty Behind the Madness features the Michael Jackson-like vocal moves of ”Can't Feel My Face,” the hypnotic thump of “The Hills,” and the psychedelic serenading of “Often.”
With close ties to Wu-affiliated acts such as Bronze Nazareth, Hell Razah, or Kevlaar 7 (R.I.P.), the critically acclaimed debut solo album by NY area located emcee and producer Zagnif Nori finally gets proper worldwide distribution. “The Meridian Gem” (officially released in 2013) sounds like an old Wu-Tang record - raw, dusty, and grimy, combined with sharp and intelligent lyricism. Guest appearances on this 17-track strong boom-bap banger include all artists of Nori’s Noble Scity collective: Crucial The Guillotine, Danamic, Illy Vas, Kaotny & Sleeps. The album also features Kevlaar 7 and Heaven Razah [aka Hell Razah of Sunz of Man] and contains soulful and hard-hitting production courtesy of Crucial The Guillotine, Illy Vas, Kevlaar 7, and Zagnif Nori himself.
The words “lost classic” get thrown around from time to time, but KMD’s sophomore album, Black Bastards, truly fits the bill. Originally scheduled for release in the spring of 1994, Elektra Records unceremoniously shelved it at the eleventh hour due to controversy over the provocative cover art. Surviving group member MF Doom (then known as Zev Love X) – as fans know, his younger brother Subroc was killed in 1993 – tried to release the album on other labels, but met more dead ends. Sadly, it languished in hip-hop purgatory until six years later. Even then, the album had only a limited release via small indie labels. Beyond the fact that the controversy surrounding the cover – featuring the group’s long-standing mascot being hanged by a makeshift gallows – was unfair, the group’s fans being denied access to this album only compounded the injustice. Because musically and lyrically, it was a truly amazing record, full of youthful creativity, tinged with the stress of growing up as Black men in urban America. Unlike on the group’s 1991 debut, Mr. Hood, Subroc had fully come into his own as both a producer and an MC on Black Bastards, and his untimely death made the album’s shelving that much more tragic. Heavily influenced by the mind-bending spoken word album Blue Guerrilla by Gylan Kain (from 1970), songs like “What A Nigga Know” (the only single released of the album), the slippery, bass-driven “Get U Now” and the album’s title track explore black consciousness viewed through young-but-experienced eyes. Musically alternating between bouncy and raw – many times both concurrently – the tracks gave both MCs the springboard they needed to express themselves clearly, whether on the catchy, more lighthearted “Sweet Premium Wine,” the psychedelic, abstract “Suspended Animation” or the intricate mash-up of television samples heard on the instrumental “Garbage Day #3.”
Minecraft: Volume Alpha is the work of German composer and musician Daniel Rosenfeld. Using C418 as his moniker, Rosenfeld crafted the sweeping soundtrack and vibrant sound design which helped breathe life into Minecraft's voxel-based universe. Fans and critics were universally enamored with his beatless, nuanced electronic pieces upon release. Popular gaming site Kotaku named it among The Best Game Music of 2011, calling the music "remarkably soothing," and The Guardian has compared Rosenfeld's delicate piano and sparse ambient motifs to legendary artists Erik Satie and Brian Eno. In an interview feature with C418, Polygon distilled Volume Alpha to its essence: "It's not bound by the retro aesthetic of Minecraft's graphics. It transcends them. The album is an attempt to uplift the combined game/music experience into the sublime."
Former automotive engineer for The Big Three, and Morehouse drop-out, FInale has worked alongside some of the best producers in the game. From Black Milk to Nottz, and Apollo Brown to J Dilla, Finale is known for picking some of the best production in the business. For his new album Finale handed all the production duties to rising star Oddisee. Building on the raw Detroit template, Finale brings a modernist revision of the industrial foundation laid by the city's premiere lyrical foremen.
Fresh off the heels of compiling a musically diverse compilation for GTAV's Welcome To Los Santos, the Alchemist and Oh No are back, bringing their Gangrene noise on a whole other level with the release of their long-awaited third full-length record, You Disgust Me. You Disgust Me begins where Vodka & Ayahuasca left off, with Al and Oh lyrically vandalizing the minds of the masses over gritty psychedelic jazz, rock and fusion-tinged beats. The double LP vinyl album and CD packaging is a grimy as the music itself, including a lyric and photograph booklet.
It's been nearly a decade since the world was treated to new official music from celebrated rapper and pop-culture icon, Method Man. The Wu-Tang Clan's most successful member is getting back to music with his new album 'The Meth Lab' via Hanz On Music / Tommy Boy (Ghostface Killah / Sheek Louch). Recorded in Staten Island and featuring lifelong cohorts and SI residents Redman, Raekwon, Hanz On, Streetlife, and Inspectah Deck, along with Uncle Murda, Cory Gunz, and Mack Wilds. The album features production from Ron Browz, Allah Mathematics, J57, and 4th Disciple and is exactly what his fans have been craving - 17 new and gritty tracks dripping with Mef's lyrically imaginative, deliberate and laid-back style.
Michigan native DJ Soko is part of a long line of great technical DJ’s, musical innovators, curators and those who broke key artists and introduced acts that forever changed the landscape of the music scene. Soko’s ear and ability to put emcees in position for them to shine over the perfect production is never more evident than it is on his debut project released on his imprint Left Of Center. DJ Soko uses his years coming up in the Detroit scene, his experiences DJ’ing in his current home (the planet of Brooklyn, NY) then blends both of those worlds together seamlessly. The end result is a gritty, boom bap Rap album that is equally as soulful and introspective as it is rooted in a blue collar lyrical Hip-Hop aesthetic. “Domino Effect” is ultimately brought together by Soko’s deft cuts and scratches which elevate each composition and make them resonate with listeners even further. DJ Soko picked from the best and brightest among his immediate circle of associates, including his crew members The Left (Apollo Brown & Journalist 103). Soko reached out to groups like Clear Soul Forces and Ugly Heroes in addition to heavy hitters and veterans like Guilty Simpson, Finale, Marvwon, Kaimbr, Hassaan Mackey and Rasheed Chappell all the way down to up and comers like Nolan The Ninja, Stryfe and Jae Musick then matched them up with production harder than frozen over sidewalks in February provided by Apollo Brown, Def Dee, Newstalgia, Slimkat78 and NAMELESS amongst others. “Domino Effect” refers to when an event sets off a chain reaction of events or by-products that grow progressively larger and larger in scope over time. Each beat sets the stage for the emcees. Each verse sets up the next verse and ramps up the level of lyricism. Each one of DJ Soko’s scratches push the beat and lyrics forward even further. This happens song after song over the entire project until the final product stands out amongst an era of disposable music. “The Domino Effect” is about seeking to make timeless art in hopes that propels the next project then another thus creating a much larger domino effect which spreads until it results in better quality music being released across the board. Just press play and watch what happens next…