COMMODO's been making music of massive intrigue and suggestiveness for some time now, culminating with last year's awesome 'Volume 1' on Deep Medi with fellow freaks Gantz & Khan. He's got a new album about to drop called 'How What Time' available on tasty-looking vinyl here and also available on on iTunes here. An essential for late night drives and despair which I've been doing alot of of late.
Been banging on about CULT MOUNTAIN for a while now, after being hipped to Trellion & Sniff a few years ago and loving last year's debut self-titled tape - they've been busy smoking that Mambo and toying with charcoal-suicides ever since by the sounds of the sequel, 'Cult Mountain II'. Utterly twisted, utterly perverse, utterly compelling music from the edge of everyday UK life. Absolutely essential.
While on a UK rap tip LOVING this from JEHST & LEE SCOTT & STRANGE U . . . .
and make sure you've copped yourself the new albums from OCEAN WISDOM
and this slab of Bristolian brilliance from the stupendous SPLIT PROPHETS
Fucking love the icey darkness of this one from SULLY. Chilling like your first childhood glimpse of the Cybermen/Cylons (depending on your vintage). And when, a minute in these robots start grinding against each other well garsh, you don't know where to look but you can't take your appalled gaze away. Unsettling.
JOKER STARR , MICALL PARKNSUN & SI PHILLI provide the verbals. Parknsun produces Genesis Elijah made the video. Love it when UK rap doesn't wait for recognition or crossover, just GETS ON AND DOES IT. 'No Comparison' is a tough, weird track, beats and bass so big they could dominate but MP threads this weird, woozy bontempi-loop throughout that's jazzy and odd as fuck and totally unhinges you by the time the track ends (if anything, an instrumental of this would sit neatly next to Boards Of Canada). Hope that more tracks and maybe an album are forthcoming, cos this is beautifully spontaneous rugged genius from front to back. Keep an eye open.
In the month in which broke the devastating news that The Enemy are calling it a day, Coventry music fans can console themselves that a young MC from round our ends, MUGUN is making some darkly engrossing, tough yet ferociously insular grime right now. Wipe away that tear mishkin. Maybe one day, we can pick up the pieces and carry on with our lives.
SONANCE's mighty 'Blackflower' I wrote about here. Avail yourself immediately. Then once you've burrowed your way back to the surface of the earth get plunged back into earth's core with this, a simply stunning split single with Torpor that sees the Bristolian genii hit new depths of molten heaviosity and stellar reach. **STOP PRESS** a brand new full-length album too! Haven't dug into this yet but fuck, it's Sonance, it's gonna be awesome.
Totally re-energised towards ROYCE DA 5'9" after his work on the Prhyme album, so this tasty teaser for (but not from) his new album 'Layers' already has me onside. It doesn't stick around for long. It doesn't make any grand statements or power moves for its duration, but for about 170 seconds it absolutely clamps onto you; walks you down its streets, pouring scorn on pretty much everyone; skewering ego and arrogance and other targets currently narrowing hip-hop down to nothing. Great production from Nottz that has little in it bar a nice fat bass hum and loose beat, but adds some picky harmonics that keep the intrigue high. The tracklist for 'Layers' reveals that he's kept all but two cameos out (GOOD), has Nottz producing on a new track (VERY GOOD) and in general it seems focused, and with trajectory, rather than aimless; overstuffed with names/producers and overlong. Looking forward to it and this mixtape is making me drool . . . .
Brave of Brick to make the first preview from REKS' soon-dropping 'The Greatest X' set, which includes a stunning roster of production talent, to be a track produced by relative unknown Streetrunner. Streetrunner is clearly young, has heard a lot on his headphones and hence the harshness of 'Hands Up' might be initially shocking — but once you realise that what Reks is delivering here is nothing short of thee most stunning look at 2016's political situtation as you've heard from hip-hop thus far this year, you realise that the harshness is there for a point and actually suits the words brilliantly. Tantalising stuff but more importantly, truthful and timely stuff too. Diggit.
Seven years since MR LIF's last transmission, 'I Heard It Today', and in today's incessant turnover of mixtapes and rush-releases and leaks that's an eternity in hip-hop. Of course, Lif's been waiting until he actually has something to say, and his new opus 'Don't Look Now' is a stone-cold masterpiece of which this is my current highlight. Yes, Edan on the mix, so you know you're in for absolutely stellar, mind-melting production. On 'Whizdom', the sound most clearly recalled for me is that freaky mix of Middle-Eastern sounds and old-skool rawness that Alchemist hit on 'Israeli Salad' last year — the cameo from Blacastan only seals the deal on an inspirational return for one of underground rap's most compelling voices. Hear it, hear the album, dig deeper.
Oh man, been waiting what seems like aeons for new shit from ELZHI and this teaser from his new opus 'Lead Poison' doesn't dissapoint — murky lyrics and beats under a gorgeous dappled textural riot of guitar and womb-like bass that seriously recalls Joni Mitchell circa 'Hissing'/'Hejira'. Remedy to US rap getting shittier? DON'T LISTEN TO THE SHITTY STUFF! SIMPLE!
ODDISEE has made great albums for the indefatigably ace Mello Music Group but I really do think this free mixtape is the best thing he's ever done. Won't get love on Datpiff or HotNewHipHop and that should be all you need to know. This is sublime, lyrical, lush, smooth, gritty, hip hop for those who know.
Somewhat inevitable that when ONOE CAPONOE met High Focus the results would be somewhat unhinged, but prior knowledge of both won't prepare you for just what a staggering slab of schizoid menace 'Ghosts In Ma Hallway' is. A track in three parts, the first a dungeon-esque straight-up horrorcore slam of slo-mo broken beats and refracted dialogue, the second a weird harpsichord-laden slew of diseased trap-beats and humming brown-note bass over which OC streams his customary extraterrestrial consciousness, Lord Pusswhip on the mix dubbing out every last word. Then, finally, the beat nearly absconds, this strange psyche-folk vocal starts dominating and OC is reduced to a burbling mess, just about clinging on. Until that 'Cold Mountain II' vinyl pops through your letterbox consider this an essential transmission from Britain's alternate reality and strapo yourself in for the stunning album about to drop, the psychedelic masterpiece that is 'Spells From The Cyclops'. Superb.
Welcome back SCHOOLBOY Q you nutter. TDE can do no wrong at the moment. STILL WAITING for the new Isiaah Rashid but new Q will more than fill the gap.
If you've worn out your copy of Alchemist's 'Israeli Salad' make sure you pick up JAKE ONE's wonderfully monikered 'PrayerHandsEmoji' mixtape - hip hop instrumentals that paint supercool super-8 mini-movie matiness in your mind. You can also dl this from HotNewHipHop, 2DopeBoyz and all the usual places. Oh, and if you're jonesing for something fresh from the Alch check this, it's ace.
S'funny — we're conditioned to accept retroism in rock music, mainly because looking back is all it's been doing for the best part of 40 years. Hip-hop, now 40 years old, feels a pressure to look forward, but what's wrong with the odd bit of hip-hop that unapologetically looks back? JUNGLE BROWN has that '90s boombap sound down-pat; not just the usual suspects but a real Native Tongues freshness and brightness of sound, as showcased on his brilliant new 'Flight 314' mini-album. 'Keep It Movin' is a good pointer towards the bouncy, warm, infectious grooves on offer here — hold it tight until summer and then let it work its magic on parties, BBQs and anywhere where you want the vibe tight but nice. Check it.
Speaking of retroism — as soon as I heard that PF Cuttin from Blazhay Blazhay was involved in this Brooklynite's debut LP 'From Ashes To Kingdom Come', I knew I'd have to hear it. And that while it might touch on '90s golden-age goodness, it'd also be sufficiently weird and populated with genius touches to safely keep it away from pure '90s dress-up. I was partly right — over the course of the whole album, TRUTH's committment to eliminating all modernity from his sound becomes a little forced, but here and there it takes off; hits you up with pure pleasure. 'Genuine Article' is one of those moments; incredibly dope beat from PFC — lean, lo-slung, heavy, stalked with simmering atmosphere and a building sense of dread. O.C coming more than correct with a blistering cameo. Check the album out now.