The title was me trying to sound out that classic Prodigy line from Mobb Deep. I’m too lazy to look up the song title, you know what I’m talking about, right? So, over the past two or three weeks, I’ve been listening to a steady dose of hip hop which is a nice change of pace from my increasingly indie rock playlist. Big ups to Cheech for sprinkling me with a BUNCH of new music to keep me entertained at the Kid Dangerous Head Quarters. Most of these guys are pretty under the radar and have little to no chance of ever blowing up, but so much great hip hop never does. You gotta dig in the crates a little bit to find some gems. Of all the songs I’ve heard, these ones have stood out the most:
Skyzoo- Rap Like Me (album: the Great Debater)
Never heard of this dude before I got his CD and a couple things jumped out at me about the album. Sick, sick beats. Solid voice and solid flow. That’s all you need for a good hip hop CD. Here’s a thumper to get us started:
Curren$y & Alchemist- BBS (album: Covert Coup)
I’ve heard a lot of Curren$y and while I respect his game, it never got me hooked. This collabo with Alchemist is different though. Alchemist has been around forever and is responsible for countless Mobb Deep / East Coast underground rap anthems. I feel like he’s kinda fell off lately and I always wish he got a chance to work with some bigger rappers because he deserved the shine. Well, it’s good to see he’s back on this song and on the whole album. This song is so fucking gangster it’s a joke. Makes me want to roll around LA in a drop top bumping this shit while smoking a blunt and I don’t even smoke weed.
Evidence- The Red Carpet feat. Raekwon and Ras Kass (album: Cats & Dogs)
Cheech loves this album, I like it. Evidence is from Dilated Peoples and while he doesn’t have the best raps or flow ever, he’s pretty good at both. This beat, which happened to be made by Alchemist, is so hot it’s a joke.
J. Cole- Nobody’s Perfect (album: Cole World)
I fucking Love J. Cole. Love him. Have every mix tape he’s ever made and I listen to all of it religiously. I feel like he’s the next great rapper in the vein of naS, Tupac and Jay-Z. He can go from top 40 to gangster to introspective in a way that truly separates him from the pack. This approach might limit his immediate mass appeal (even though he’s doing pretty damn well already) like a Drake or a Lil Wayne, but he’s built for a long long career. He’s gonna go down in the history books. I love this jam. I actually like Missy Elliott when she sings and even though her lyrics aren’t great, the hook is catchy as shit.
Game- Born in the Trap (album: The R.E.D. Album)
So the Game isn’t exactly underground but he has fallen off quite a bit. I had basically written him off until being very pleasantly surprised by this album. Lot of great west coast bangers but it was this track with the legendary DJ Premier that caught my ear. Dope Primo beat and Game rips it like he was from the Bronx or something. Great combination here:
Blu- What if I Was (album: Jesus)
I fucking love Blu. If you’ve never heard the Below the Heavens album with Blu & Exile, download that shit and enjoy. He’s got a great voice, great flows and a great style. He’s candid about how broke he is, mixes in the topic of love really well and can even sing a bit. He’s been dropping these weird, kinda half ass EPs ever since Below the Heavens though, so I’m not sure exactly what’s happening with his career. If I ever get the chance to work on producing some shit, which is a dream of mine, I’m going to drive to his house in LA and get him to work on it with me. This song has a sick beat and shows you what I’m talking about rap wise. It’s definitely rough around the edges but still a banger:
Skyzoo- Test Drive (album: The Great Debater)
Another jam from this album. Enjoy.
Evidence- Late for the Sky (album: Cats & Dogs)
Featuring my boy Slug and Aesop Rock, this is such a jam. Be patient, the beat doesn’t drop until the 50th second but when it does, it’s totally worth it.
J. Cole- I Get Up (album: The Warm Up)
This song is a bit older than the rest but really shows J. Cole’s lyrical range. He hits racial, socioeconomic and gender topics in a way that I could only compare to Tupac. The dude is the truth and this song shows he’s more than just a top 40 rapper.
I’ve been overloaded with new music lately and it’s been quite the treat. Nothing like discovering new bands, hearing new albums and bumping that hot shit driving around LA. Here’s a list of some amazing new tracks I’m listening to:
Black Tequila- Ghost Face Killa feat. Cappadona and Trife
Ghost Face has got to be the hardest working dude in rap outside of Lil Wayne. The dude just keep dropping albums year after year and his body of work has to put him on a relatively short list of best rappers of all time. Here’s a banger off his new album Apollo Kids. The track has a great beat and features Cappadona and Trife. Cappadona is very thankful for Ghost Face breathing new life into his career. Apparently, he was driving a cab a few years ago and he sounds like he’s gained 50 pounds. Trife has been on a bunch of GFK’s tracks and while he will never be a household name, I think he’s pretty underrated.
Have you guys heard of Twin Shadow? I just found out about a them a couple of weeks ago and I can’t stop listening to their debut album, Forget. Seriously, I’ve listened to it probably 60 times and I’ve got them circled on my Coachella schedule already. This whole album is amazing but I’m going to feature two songs that are a great primer for what they’re all about. They got a great lead singer, great background music, a nice electronic element, great melodies, lyrics, the list goes on and on. Without further adeiu
This is not their music video but it works pretty well with the song!
When We’re Dancing
I can’t find the album version but this live one is pretty damn sexy. Go get the album people.
You Only Live Once- The Strokes
I love the Strokes. Always have and always will. I recently found this little gem that’s a demo they recorded now being featured in some move with Steven Dorf. I love the last name Dorf. Anyway, it’s so slow and so nice that it makes me warm and fuzzy inside.
Blow Up- J. Cole
So J. Cole is the most anticipated rapper since Drake. the first signing on Jay Z’s new record label Roc Nation, he the next chosen one in the rap game. Or at least that’s what everybody thought. I love the guy, just not 100% sure he’s as marketable as a Drake or Lil Wayne. All he talks about is blowing up and I hope it happens for him or he’s gonna feel kinda dumb.
Matt & Kim- Northeast
So, I gotta admit, I’m starting to get over Matt & Kim. Their new album is a lot of the same and this time around, I find myself tuning out more and more. That being said, they provided me with this little ditty that I truly enjoy. Nice and slow.
I Need a Dollar- Aloe Blacc
Anybody who watched How to Make it in America (and apparently there weren’t many of you since it didn’t make it through a full season) have been hypnotized by this song which was in their intro. I tracked down the artist and it turns out this guy Aloe Blacc went to USC when I was there and was in a rap group called Emenon with Exile, an amazing DJ who has flourished since his days in south central as well. This whole CD is great if you love that soul shit, which I do.
The Decemberists- June Hymn
I think the Decemberists catch a lot of flack for being a soft, which they totally are and I have no idea where their lead singer Colin Meloy comes from. He talks like he was raised in victorian era of great brittain (there was such a thing right? I’m too lazy to google that shit). Regardless, I love them for one thing and one thing only: their slow songs. They’re so lovely and every time I hear them, I cry like a little girl.
Christian Dior Flow- Kanye West Feat. John Legend, Kid Cudi, Pusha T, Lloyd Banks & Ryan Leslie
By Now the Kanye West comeback is official. His new album is by far and away my favorite rap album of the year and even though he’s still a total jerk, he’s america’s jerk. Weeks leading up to his album dropping, he did this thing called Good Fridays where he dropped a new track every week. There’s a bunch of bangers that never made the album. I don’t know how he didn’t put this track on. With an all star cast of John Legend, Kid Cudi, Pusha T and the artist formerly known as Lloyd Banks from the G-Unit, it’s amazing. Something to put on full blast and drive fast to and pretend you’re way bigger of a gangsta than you really are.
First Aid Kit- Sailor Song
I typically don’t like folky bands with female lead singers. Not being sexist here, just being real. I started listening to this band First Aid Kit, and they totally won me over. Great voices and melodies and I like the lyrics too. Here’s a video of them performing one of my favorite songs at South by Southwest.
That’s all for now. Hope you enjoy the tunes and happy monday. people.