MAAAN!! There has been a steady flow of some seriously good music since the last time I talked with y'all This post went from a simple album review to me just spilling my guts on some of what I think have been the best drops to happen in about a month or so. Hopefully, some of these I'm getting ready to hit you with are old news for you. If not, then just sit back and let me fill you in what’s got my ears buzzing something serious as of late.
evitaN – Speed Of Life: This release caught me totally off guard. Sinnamon Love had been talking about this album on Twitter,as well as her Sex, Love and Hip Hop internet radio show(Shout out to the lovely Sinnamon). After doing a little digging on my own, I found out that the evitaN is a collaboration between Jarobi, one of the original ATCQ members, and the one and only Dres from Black Sheep. Both groups were part of the Native Tongues collective that had a strong foothold in the 90’s (Which is where I assume the group based their name from). Listening to these pioneers rip mics like they never lost a step is refreshing. There is also no signs of them trying to reinvent their sounds to appeal to a younger crowd; they are just doing what they know best, and they are doing a damn good job. Truth be told, this was the first time I had heard Jarobi spit. I didn't even know of Jarobi’s existence until the ATCQ documentary dropped a few months back, but trust me, dude’s got flow. This album is a bright spot for those of us that grew up with Native Tongues and serves as an introduction to a new generation trying to learn why we love our pioneers so much. If you want a little taste of what evitaN is blessing you with, jump to the tracks Keep Keeping On, and 3 Kings Feat Sadat X. You can cop this on Amazon or iTunes.
Ground Up – Supernatural: This is one of the crews I told you to keep an eye on a while back and true to form, their latest mixtape does not disappoint. On their 11th mixtape, the Philly crew shows an evolution in both style and production. MC Azar continues to shine lyrically, easily massacring any beat he lays vocals to. MC Malakai has an offbeat flow he seems to perfect a little more with each release and this is evident throughout these tracks. Bij Lincs, the in house producer, is still working magic on the boards on tracks, check the tracks Chinchilla and I Remember. Mike Jerz produced some tracks for this release as well. I don't know what it is when Ground Up and Mike Jerz team up, but the results are always dope as hell. Check their work on 8th Grade and Whenever. Keep an ear out for your boy Jerz too, he has probably laced some of your favorite tracks and you probably don't even know it yet. Follow this jump for the download.
Brother Ali – Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color: If you don't know about this one yet, I feel sorry for your loss. Brother Ali’s latest is best described as funky ass protest music. This album was produced solely by Jake One, who has production credits ranging from: 50 Cent to De La Soul to Vast Aire. This album is a perfect marriage between carefully constructed beats and carefully constructed, powerful lyrics. Brother Ali really is on his Public Enemy mode on this album. Go listen to Gather Round or Namesake and you can hear what I mean. And for real, if you can't listen to the track My Beloved and think of someone you want to dedicate it to, you have some emotional issues you need to address. You can cop this from iTunes or Amazon.
Apathy – The Alien Tongue and Fire Walk With Me: It’s The Bootleg Muthafuckas! Vol.3: Apathy is not a newcomer by any sense of the word. This monster has been ripping mics since the 90s and this double release serves as a crash course in his evolution as an MC. The Alien Tongue is a collection of songs and guest spots from his beginnings. Thick with sci-fi references and other worldly metaphors, these songs are a perfect snapshot of the underground movement in hip hop spanning from 1994 – 1999. Even if Apathy’s abstract style and subject matter was not your cup of tea, there was no doubt he had skill.
Fast forward to present time.
Fire Walk With Me is a collection of freestyles and unreleased tracks from Apathy in more recent years. Listening to Fire Walk With Me and The Alien Tongue as a set, it is insane how Apathy has evolved as an MC. Whether ripping over Jockin' Jay-Z (Jockin' AP) or contributing to an ode to St. Patty’s Day, O’Doyle Rules Apathy proves if you've been sleeping on him, you've missed out on over a decade of good hip hop.
Both of these are available on iTunes and Amazon.
Talib Kweli & DJ Z-Trip - Attack The Block Mixtape: Honestly, there is no reason anyone reading this shouldn’t have downloaded this by now. This mixtape has an insane roster: Ryan Leslie, Ace Hood, Planet Asia, Skyzoo , Black Thought, Ab-Soul and plenty more. Hell, even John Forte and Greg Nice showed out. If you have this already, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If not, then just follow this jump and turn it up.
No seriously.....go download it now.
Skyzoo’s A Dream Deferred is arguably one of the best albums out right now. With production from: 9th Wonder, Jahlil Beats, Black Milk and more, Skyzoo gives a solid follow up to 2009’s The Salvation. Skyzoo has consistently put out quality tracks and this album is no exception. Between The Salvation and A Dream Deferred Skyzoo is definitely cementing himself as one of the best around right now. Two things that really won me over on this album is the track The Knowing; the girl that sings the hook, Jessy Wilson, kills it. My other high point was hearing the track Spike Lee Was My Hero and hearing the sample Stalley used on his 330 track put to better use. This release is available on iTunes and Amazon.
There have been plenty more releases than what I have up here but these are what have been getting the most play in my iPod lately. This year is nowhere near done and with albums coming soon from: Guilty Simpson & Apollo Brown, 9th Wonder & Murs, Talib Kweli, Styles Of Beyond, and a collaboration between Wu Tang and the The Lox due before the year’s out, I'm sure there will plenty more to tell you about. Now go check some of these out, I bet you'll find something you like. Deuces.