Since arriving last Tuesday, Chance The Rapper’s Acid Rap tape has dominated the hip hop conversation, drawing almost universal praise from both critics and fans. Drawing from Chicago’s rich musical history and capitalizing on hip hop’s current predilection for left field flow/cadence(s), Acid Rap is easily one of the most impressive “mixtapes” of the year and will probably be the start of an extended debut album hype tour. “Paranoia” was originally a secret track at the end of “Pusha Man”, but has now been liberated as a solo track via another excellent “Songs From Scratch” collaboration from Yours Truly. With Nosaj Thing behind the boards, “Paranoia” is about Chicago’s gun violence, but that’s a simplification. “Paranoia” is about the ability (or lack there of) to live out a proper childhood. It’s about the disparity between media coverage of black on black versus black on white or white on white violence. It’s about escapism and youthful abandon. It’s about the basic fear of living in a neglected, destitute environment. Nosaj Thing’s floating, California sunset-esque production seems like an odd selection at first, but the spaced out soul makes all too much sense as the beat progresses. It doesn’t happen often anymore, but when”conscious” rap transcends basic political facsimiles and expresses the essence of a situation, it is truly special. There is no download link for “Paranoia” yet, but expect one soon and download Acid Rap in the meantime.
After piquing interest with a Sun Raw remix EP last month, Red Bull Music Academy alum and (apparent) R&B mega-fan Naphta is back with another remix package. This time around, the Polish producer has put forth his oddly slurred take on some of the most critically acclaimed R&B cuts from the last year, drawing from Autre Ne Veut, Shlohmo & Jeremih, and Tinashe. Naphta also draws quite a bit of his sound from regional American staples like Jersey Club and Three 6 Mafia-style, hi hat heavy beat work. The package is highly entertaining, if not spectacular, but few remix packages are at that. Stream two choice cuts from the EP below and download the entire thing here courtesy of Freshmore.
Jersey Ciub and Ballroom are often referenced in the same sentence. Whether that’s due to their geographic proximity, organic development, or relative insularity, I don’t know, but it’s undeniable that both sub-genres have taken off in recent years and are very much in the public eye today. MikeQ is one of the most prominent Ballroom artists having founded Qween Beat Productions and released an EP on Kingdom’s Fade To Mind imprint. J Heat is an up-and-coming Club artist out of Sea Side Heights who’s already getting love from esteemed Pelican Fly boss DJ Slow. Recently, the two got together to meld their respective styles and take on Rocko’s “U.O.E.N.O”, an early candidate for track of the year despite the “controversy” surrounding Mr. Rozay’s verse. To say that the sleepy original is infused with a blast of energy is an understatement as J Heat’s signature Jersey vocal chops are combined with the off-kilter house stylings of MikeQ. It’s brilliant, it’s free and it’s sure to get any and every dancefloor moving.
Ever since hearing DJ Haus’ “Thug Houz Anthem”, we’ve been eagerly awaiting the upcoming Unknown to the Unknown compilation Thug Houz Anthems Vol. 1 and today we got another taste of what’s to come. “Feel It” is a collaboration between UTTU boss DJ Haus and Matrixxman (of 5kinandbone5) and is exactly the pulsating, roughneck brand of garage that we’ve come to expect from each artist. While UTTU generally trends towards the garage realm, their recent output has shown a propensity for hardware-driven house music that has also really hit on a lot of levels for us. If Thug Houz Anthems Vol. 1 combines those two ethos, it’s going to be a special set of tracks.
“Burglar Loops” represents Dro Carey’s (as Tuff Sherm) return to Will Bankhead’s Trilogy Tapes imprint and we could not be more overjoyed that the relationship has been rekindle. Although no release date has been announced yet, a new Tuff Sherm EP is on the way and if “Burglar Loops” is any indication, it will see the man born Eugene Hector melding the grime and hip hop influences present in his work as Dro Carey with the house and techno of Tuff Sherm. Stream below and look out for the Burglar Loops EP in the not too far future.
It’s been quite some time since David Kennedy abandoned dubstep and the London-based musician has been producing increasingly house-oriented music, under both his Pearson Sound and Ramadanman pseudonyms, ever since. On May 13, Kennedy will release PEARS24, a self-released white label that should see him continue to explore sparse, hard-hitting unremitting dancefloor madness. It’s difficult to put a Pearson Sound record into context with short previews like this, but this is the type of preview we just can’t pass up. The B1 track especially, “Figment”, is tantalizing as it’s about as far from the Kennedy’s previous output as one can expect. At the end of the preview, it hints at morphing into something more upbeat, but then it ends. Tantalizing to say the least. Stream previews below and look out for more release info in the near future.
Like much of pop culture, house music moves in cycles, different sounds and styles coming in and out of fashion every few years. In the past 12 months, the cycle has resolutely stopped at the sound that Frankie Knuckles and Marshall Jefferson brought to Chicago in the 1980s. Diva vocals, stripped down jack tracks and the TB-303 are all back in style, largely a rebuke of the aggro “electro” sounds that have come to dominate our airwaves. At the pinpoint of this revival is Wolf Cub of Leeds-based crew/label Transmission Collective), who, as a whole, are doing more than just about anyone else to restore a positive ethos into the genre we all know and love. We couldn’t be happier to have Wolf Cub kick off May right with the latest in The Astral Plane mix series. Here, Wolf Cub puts the vibe first, wringing out as much raw emotion from a number of memorable tracks, both modern and classic, ranging from unforgettable disco sing-alongs to punchy house from producers new and old. Don’t forget to get nostalgic. Stream/download below and hit the jump for the full track list.
Not one to conform to expectations, Harry Fraud’s latest Scion-endorsed heater, “Yacht Lash” is loud, rough, overtly psychedelic and as far from high fanutin’ beats he’s generally produced in the past. It features kindred spirits Earl Sweatshirt and Riff Raff and will appear on Fraud’s upcoming High Time EP (coming next week). For those that don’t understand the gawd Riff Raff, this probably isn’t for you, but it should be. Earl fans will be in for a nice surprise as “Yacht Lash” is one of the toughest tracks we’ve received from Mr. Sweatshirt in quite some time. Stream below and download here.
I find it hard to believe that Chance The Rapper isn’t signed to a major yet, what with the snazzy media campaign for Acid Rap and the way music journalists have fawned over him in the past six months. Chance’s last tape, #10Day was more-or-less ignored by the majority of the music press (everyone except for Fake Shore Drive at least) until earlier this year when all of a sudden, poof, and he’s the next Kanye/Eminem/*insert tenuous comparison here*. Anyways, my point is that I have my suspicions and don’t be surprised if talk of an album on one of the majors comes out in the next month or two. I haven’t listened to Acid Rap yet (damn you internet speed), but this is one of those tapes that deserves to be disseminated pre-judgement. He is the like, the next Kanye after all.
To say that Royal-T brought the party back into grime might be a slight reach, but the Rinse.Fm pickmaster and producer extraordinaire certainly has certainly brought grime to the party. With another EP (I Know You Want Me) coming soon (May 20) via Rinse’s label arm, it doesn’t appear that his fast and fresh roll will end any time soon. Stream a preview of the EP’s title track below and look out for a pre-order on May 6 that will include a VIP remix of 2012 hit “Inside The Ride”.