Underground Hip Hop

My Favorite Albums of 2014

tumblr_mbqr1xlqx71r2e4eh

Yup. Try not to wet your little Hip Hop panties too much.  It’s that time of the year again.  I usually do a year in review by just posting a bunch of shit I liked from this year since making a list and weeding out albums is like picking your favorite child to me.  But I also got some requests to put it on the blog sooooo here you go my little Hip Hop heads… My present to you.

Now, lets get this one thing straight.  This is NOT, I repeat, NOT a ranking list or top anything.  All albums are listed at random.  This is simply the albums I’ve enjoyed this year.  So before you ask me “What about ____?”  Well, I didn’t care too much about it enough to put it on here. So yeah.  Lets do this shit…

Heavy Links – “Natural Disasters”
Heavy Links is a three man team coming from the UK consisting of Habitat (MC), El Tel The Dopeness (MC) & Donnie Poppa (DJ). HL came correct with their sounds on their 2014 release. Even if you don’t care for UK Hip Hop, you can still enjoy this.  Free download HERE

Mindsone & Kev Brown – “Pillars”
The reunion of these three didn’t disappoint heads this year. Legendary producer Kev Brown & dynamic emcees Tronic & KonSci gave us a solid release this year. To that salute and support HERE.

Royce Da 5’9 & DJ Premier PRhyme – “PRhyme”
I really wanted to hate this. Ask favorite person ever @HipHop_Essentials. I really wanted to talk shit about this after seeing the tracklist. But I can’t. Royce’s solid delivery has always impressed me. And now he’s on a Preemo production… pshhhhh…  It’s easy enough to find so fuck a link.

Ghostface Killah – “36 Seasons”
As one of my favorite heads @__kurrby_puckit__ would say, “Wu’s 15 lb abortion” “A Better Tomorrow” was Wu Poo Poo.  So yeah, this was a breath of fresh air. And yet again proved why I love this mother fucker so God damn much yo. I’d place a link but again, y’all ain’t retarded.

Hassann Mackey & Kev Brown – “That Grit”
I can’t say enough good things about this.  The approach of this album between these two gave that gritty east coast shit we’ve been craving.  Check it HERE

1978ers – “People of Today”
All I’ll say is… DMV represent.  Support HERE

Run the Jewels – “Run the Jewels 2”
Alright this honestly had to grow on me.  It didn’t impact me the way the first one did. But honestly after a couple of spins… I like it.  I know a lot of heads that don’t like it.  I know a lot of heads that do.  So, you decide.  I rock with it.  Support HERE

Von Pea & The Other Guys – “To: You”
Tanya Morgan’s Von Pea & DMV’s The Other Guys come together for this fucking gem. I tried not to expect much out of albums lately. But this, this was beautifully constructed. I really think the DMV has been calling my name.  Support HERE

Brous One – “Beats, Beer & BBQ”
By ways of Santiago, Chili & now residing in Germany, Brous One gives us some of the illest shit I’ve heard in a while.  Fuck you if you don’t like it.  Support HERE

Epidemic & Tantu – “The Solution EP”
If you’re not on Epidemic by now get the fuck off my blog.  Seriously. Get the fuck off of here and never return.  Because they have been over saturated by every head on IG and well deserving of it.  So here we have Epidemic with Tantu’s melodic beats.  Just take it in fuckers.  Support HERE

String Theory – “String Theory”
Sweet baby Jesus in his little crib.  This project has to be my favorite from this year.  Like undoubtedly even though I said I wouldn’t rank them if I had two seconds to answer it would probably be this one.  And even though asshole out there are calling it an Epidemic album, it is actually the genius offspring from Epidemic’s HexOne & BBZ Darney.  Support HERE

Jiggy Tone & Funk Tous – “For the Record”
University of New Hampshire graduates Jiggy Tone & Funk Tous bring us the vinyl jazzy funk that heads like myself eat for every meal.  This album surprised me.  If you wanna peep, support HERE

Intention – “A Slow Separation”
California emcee Intention has been making small rumbles below the basement.  It’s not for everyone. Can be an acquired taste.  But definitely worth peeping.  Support HERE

John Robinson & PVD – “Modern Vintage”
John Robinson teams with infamous drummer/producer PVD for this organic Hip Hop album.  Peep and support HERE

Jazz Spastiks – “The Product”
Jazz Spastiks, two Scottish underground producers Coconut Delight & Mr. Manyana bring us a solid ass album yo.  These producers provided a phenomenal foundation for these emcees.  Also check out “The Product Remixes” that almost replaced this post for this piece.  Peep & support HERE

Lone Ninja – “Wave of Carnage”
Holy fuck man… this album.  If you’re not familiar with Lone Ninja, the Brooklyn emcee and member of Twin Perils with June Marx brings us an album produced exclusively by Texas producer JBL The Titan. I’m a serious fan girl of this album, deadass… go support HERE

Locksmith – “A Thousand Cuts”
Man, I’ve seen a few heads talk shit about Locksmith but this California emcee has been making waves for sometime with his freestyle talents.  Very lyrically inclined this emotional packed album hit some scars for me.  So it’s worth peeping… Support HERE

Diamond District – “March on Washington”
Joining together since 2009, DMV artists Oddisee, yU & X.O. bring us a solid album.  A lot of heads didn’t care for this.  But for me, after a few spins Oddisee’s production was able to sink in a I got the whole flow of this album.Also the recently released “Redux” album.  So go and support Mello Music Group’s artists HERE

uMaNg & B.B.Z. Darney – “The Black Rose Certificate”
Alright lets get this straight, one of my pet peeves is when heads don’t credit the producers.  Get your fucking facts straight and say it from yo chest.  But yes, this New Jersey emcee teams up again with Swedish producer B.B.Z. Darney once again to bring us this album.  Man Ill Adrenaline is bringing straight heat to the culture … Peep & Support HERE

J-Live – “Around the Sun”
Underground vet brings us his 10th album.  I don’t even need to go into this one.  Being an avid indie head you should already know of this man and his genius… Support HERE

DJ JS 1 – “It is What it Isn’t”
Holy fucking shit.  Holy fucking shit.  This album was one if I had a ranking list would be very high up there.  Shit got me doing the Harlem Shake as I type.  I’ve been a fan of JS 1 for as long as I can remember.  This amazing DJ & graffiti artist brings us this gem with a slew of amazing emcees.  Check it and support HERE

CunninLynguists – “Strange Journey Vol 3”
I’m seriously having another “holy fucking shit” moment.  Alright, anyone who knows me, you know I’m a complete fan girl for Kno. Not it a weird put your dick in my mouth way, but in a let me just sit with your collection and see you make beats kinda way.  But anyways, I’ve been a long standing fan and supporter of all QN5 artists and CunninLynguists didn’t disappoint with this.  I still spin it daily like the fan girl I am.  But I wrote a piece on this album so I’ll just leave this here… And go and support HERE

Dag Savage – “E&J”
Exile teams with California emcee Johaz to bring us this amazing album.  Most are familiar with the Dirty Science’s Exile’s production you were probably more than satisfied with this album.  And Johaz didn’t fail. Peep & support HERE

L’Orange – “Orchid Days”
A lot of people just were put on L’Orange this year.  I like seeing a good producer getting some shine. His sampling of a past era, this is truly a piece of art.  His “After the Flowers” EP released for free this year is also a gem.  Like, light some scented candles & touch yourself, 40 Year Old Virgin style.  Go & support HERE

Klaus Layer – “For the People Like Us”
If you aren’t familiar with Klaus Layer’s work please start now.  This album is still in regular roation.  Peep & Support HERE

Halfcut – “From Dungeons to Rooftops”
I can proudly say I was able to put a lot of heads onto this back in May when this was released.  Just discovering him myself, this is the kind of shit that stresses me out.  Knowing that there are amazing artists out there that I have yet to discover.  But that is the beautiful thing about our culture.  But anyways, I have nothing but amazing things to say about this humble yet amazing emcee.  Truly below the basement underground, this emcee is worth supporting.  Go check this and previous work from this emcee HERE

Fel Sweetenburg & DJ Brans – “The Invisible Garden”
This album fully produced by DJ Brans & emcee Fel Sweetenburg with cuts by DJ Brans was a beautifully constructed album coming from the Effiscienz camp.  Well worth a listen and one of my favorites this year.  Still in regular rotation.  Check it & support HERE

Soul Pete – “Soul Raw”
Soul Pete after two years quietly released this gem with a slew of indie artist.  Check it and support HERE

Tunnel Movement  – “Overlooked”
By ways of Chicago, Kwote1 & Noah being us a very dope album.  Peep & Support HERE

Your Old Droog – “Your Old Droog”
With assholes all over claiming he sounds like Nas, fuck yourselves but first peep & support that ol’ East coast shit HERE

Ivan Ave & Mndsgn – “Low Jams”
Ivan Ave by ways of Norway & LA Beat maker Mndsgn brought us “Low Jams” this year.  My old complaint: “Why the fuck only 4 joints son?”. Peep & Support HERE

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – “Pinata”
Yeah, I wrote about this on here so…yeah.  Support HERE

Pete Flux & Parental – “Traveling Thought”
Emcee Pete Flux teams with producer Parental for this amazing piece of work.  I don’t feel like speaking too much on it.  I’d rather you embrace this yourselves. Support HERE

Skyzoo & Torae – “The Barrel Brothers”
I was kind of hesitant on this album at first.  You can read my piece on it on here.  So google that shit cause they aren’t that underground.  But still dope.

Sense One & ADBeats – “Natural Selection”
By ways of RI, this duo brings us that raw underground sound. Peep & Support HERE

Black Milk – “If There’s a Hell Below”
A lot of heads had mixed feelings about this album.  Personally, I dug it… so be the judge for yourself.  Support HERE

Hex One & 5th Element – “Hologramz”
I’ll wrap this bad boy up with an album that hasn’t even released yet.  Yup, I already know I’m going to love this so wait for it.

 

 

 
So there y’all go.  You might not like it.  You might have questions.  You might be like; “Well, what about ___?”.  If you have those, make your own damn list.  This is just shit that has stuck to me this year.  My present to you.  Merry Christmas fuckers.  I love y’all though.

 

Peace.

“For the Cratediggers”

200

 

 

Cratediggers.  A title loosely used but some.  They like to call themselves this because they swing by a record shop and pick up the latest Blu on vinyl.

54669107

This is for the CRATEDIGGERS the ones who have spent countless hours sifting through dusty records.  Flipping covers to inspect the instruments & producers.  Inspecting the records for warped wax and scratches.  Wearing masks to avoid dust irritating the ever living shit out of your allergies even more. The ones who have dealt with tight backs, sore asses (and not the fun kinda sore) and dusty fingers in order to find that hidden gem.  Spending an entire day going from record store to record store in order to come up on everything and anything.  The record hoarders.  This one is for you…

My love for vinyl was instilled in me at a young age.  My grandfather was an avid music lover.  Some of my earliest memories was sitting with him playing Fania and other salsa records.  He taught me how to handle the records “like a baby mija“.  The soothing sound of  static when the needle hit the record became my lullaby.  It was what comforted me while my mother was working graveyards and my father, being my wild child father all the time, was not around.  But not only my grandfather, my father, was heavy into classic rock.  So Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd records were also shot up in my veins.  Cooked in with my uncle’s Michael Jackson and my aunts Latin freestyle records.  Then my mother’s soul records became the cut to the drug in my life called “wax”.

All these records filled my early developmental years.  But people don’t always talk about the positive effects of drugs.  Doesn’t Excedrin take away your headache?  I mean, vinyl gives me that high and relief.   But when I became a full fledged addict is when Hip Hop was introduced.   It happened.   When my mother was playing the Charmel’s,  I figured out “C.R.E.A.M.’s” sample.  I suddenly became fixated on figuring out samples.  Yes, pre-WhoSampled and all that cheating shit.   It was like freebasing wax.  So my “dig” habit was born.  When I dig, nothing else exists.  Every problem, worry, care in the world disappears for those hours and all that exists is me and the smell of old records.  The dig.  The hunt.  I become fixated on searching every nook for that record.  This became my dragon.

I remember having $40 to get me to the end of the week.  I would eat a dollar cheeseburger and chips & dip once a day to make sure that I was able to swing by the record store to get something… anything.  Addict huh?  So, if my therapist were to read this right now, she would tell me that it is my “addictive personality, inherited from my father is what causes me to become fixated on things”.  Yeah, she’s right.  But better this than coke right?  Better this than gambling right?  But both hit the pocket book for sure.  But we keep on keeping on.  Cause nothing beats the high I get when I find that gem.  That one that I have been looking for.  So this is my mother fucking therapy.  Some seek comfort in a bottle, I find comfort in my records.  Plus my records don’t lie.

I recently read, J57 was quoted saying, “I think a lot of the younger kids that are learning to make beats may not have the same love for samples that somebody from my generation or older has.  They’re probably ripping stuff off YouTube 99 percent of the time, so they kind of aren’t connected to the record.  It’s not even a real thing; it’s not physical.  Think about this: when they were little, guys like Lil’ Wayne were really big at the time, and a majority of what they were doing was sample free.”  Even Audible Doctor was quoted, “I can understand why there’s a [decline] in the culture of digging.  It’s easy not to, especially when there’s no real cultural upbringing surrounding vinyl.  [Younger producers] don’t understand the importance of how special vinyl is. They never bought it.  They were never around it.”  So we have two, which I feel will be legendary, underground producers stating that there is a lack of digging in today’s producing.   Which made me question if the cratedigging culture is really endangered?  I must write!

anime-girl-writing

So on social media I see a handful of serious collectors.  Ones who collect more than just Hip Hop records (even though those do hold a very high percentage in my collection).  I see fucking vinyl everywhere… at Urban Outfitters.  Shit we went into Barnes & Nobel the other day and were surprised they had a small selection of wax.  For fuck sake, I see a bunch of assholes looking through vinyl when I’m digging.  So how can vinyl be on the decline?  Technically it’s not.  It has actually increased.  But speaking to a few old school vinyl collectors, this increase we feel is more for nostalgia.   Not for practical use or production.  Why else who they be selling vinyl frames?  My grandfather saw a vinyl in a frame I received once as a gift.  He told me, “Take that shit off the wall.  Records were made to be played not hung.”  Word.  Okay, yeah if you have a signed Freddie King record, then okay.  But seriously, why do you have a framed Dilla record unless he cried on it  or spooned with that mother fucker?

Then I turned and looked at myself.  Why do I collect?  I mean, I’m not a producer.  I don’t make beats.  Then I realized, yeah, I am an educator.  I have recently put someone on to digging for samples.  I am a collector of origins.  So one day, my children can see where the music I loved came from.  Unlike your when hard-drive is fried or the fall of civilization occurs and ITunes and digital music isn’t at your disposal, vinyl will still be played.  The same echos of drums, horns, strings, and melodic voices that carried through the air into my ears as a child will flow into the ears of my children and children’s children.  Generation to generation.  Vinyl to me, is forever.

So have your children put music into their hands.  Have them hold a record.  Have them look at the covers.  Teach them the physical connection to music.  Just like hands to drums.  Keep everything as organic as possible. Get them off the Guitar Hero and and their IPod for a moment.  Teach them young.  It’s our responsibility to carry on tradition.

 

Peace.

 

Rebecca – Live Elements

My Two Cents: Skyzoo & Torae “Barrel Brothers”

skyzoo-torae-Barrel-Brothers-cover

 

Okay, so I waited a little while to even cop this album.   Mainly because I heard “Blue Yankee Fitted” a while ago when looking into possibly posting it on IG and I wasn’t really impressed.  I was just like ehh whatever…  and honestly like

giphy

 

Bet ya’ll yawned.  Anyways, my interest was revived when I saw two serious heads talking about it on IG.  I know they don’t like bullshit so when I saw that they were being fan boys about it, I figured I’d give it the old college try.

First, let me say that we all have our “tastes” and “preferences”.  I never really dug Skyzoo’s shit.  I don’t know why, just not my cup of tea.   But again, seeing that Torae on this project, I had a little more hope that Skyzoo would come harder.

Again, I’m not like most of these “review” sites that are going into a long winded review of the album saying the same old shit.  I give you the real.  For real for real.

So some may be asking now, ‘Well bitch?  Do you like it or not?”.   I like… I really, really like it.  This shit truly surprised me.  Not like if Rihanna came out and said she had a penis this whole time, cause I would’ve been like, “Ya, I can see that”.  But this, was expecting closet weed and actually getting  a high grade hybrid sativa dominate strain.  Moment of silence.  *Bows Head*

To some it up, Skyzoo and Torae were able to bring a dope dynamic that we don’t see with many emcess these days.  One didn’t outshine the other.  And yes, I now I have an a different outlook on Skyzoo.  A new found respect for this emcee.  Bar for bar, this album is dope. And with some of the illest production from Oh-No, Premier, and Apollo Brown, shit knocks.  I believe that Barrel Brothers found a happy medium with this new generation flavor with an old school sound.   Although, I feel like some tracks could have been left out, over all … yes.

So if you ask me, this shit is definitely vinyl worthy and will be added to my catalog.  Also will serve as a comfortable way to introduce and transition people stuck in the 90’s to indie hip hop.  Kinda like taking Shemar Moore for a spin before you Wesley Snipes it up  if you get my drift.

Now go get it.

giphy (1)

 

 

 

Quelle Chris feat Black Milk & Denmark Vessey – “Rap Coke War Game”

 

If you don’t know of Mello Music Group’s Quelle Chris, please check it.  The production of this whole album is dope.

 

Oh yeah, I have been getting a lot of questions on some of the music I feature on IG.  I decided to move the videos on here also for your viewing pleasure.  So if you like the snippet you hear on IG, you can always come here and check out the whole video.  Yeah, I know I’m too good to you guys.  🙂  You’re welcome my little pinga faces.  (Don’t know what a pinga face is?  Ask your friendly neighborhood Spanish person)

 

Peace!