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end-of-year-2015

This year, FACT Magazine offered me the opportunity to compile a “25 Best Club Tracks Of 2015” list and after weeks of agonizing over the selections, it went live last week to many readers’ consternation. Unfortunately, a good deal of tracks that I would have liked to include didn’t fit in to the feature’s scope, which was more of less limited to club-focused material and original works (a self-imposed limitation). The following 25 tracks either aren’t aimed at the dancefloor, fit the club-theme or just didn’t quite fit the rubric for the column. Like the FACT list, we’ve kept this one in alphabetic order and considering that these songs come from across a ridiculously wide spectrum we felt there was no need to order them otherwise. Hit the links below to listen to each respective track and enjoy. Big thanks to anyone and everyone who has stuck with us, enjoyed our releases and/or followed the FACT column.

Acre – Always Crashing

Acre x Justine Skye – Never Physically Leave (Prince Will Edit)

Angel-Ho – Yah Cunt

DJ Haram & Mhysa – No Ordinary Love

DJ NJ Drone – Banger (Fools)

Elysia Crampton – Lake

Faro – Hold U (Hi Tom Edit)

Fis – Kal

GAIKA – Sodium

Haleek Maul – Medicine (ft. Kit) [prod. Haleek Maul & Shy Guy]

Iglew – Urban Myth

Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf – Spirit

Joey Labeija – Euphoria

Kadahn – Arc Eye Matter

Kuedo – Cellular Perimeter

Lotic – Heterocetera

Mechatok – Mass Appeal

Mr. Mitch – Dru (Peace Edit)

Rabit & Myth – Lonely Backseat Love

Pan Daijing – DISEASE 疾

Pitcheno – K1. 不明白” (feat. Organ Tapes)

Smurphy – Missing2MyBB

Strict Face – Into Stone

Teeflii x Mr. Mitch – 24 Hourz x Feel (Rabit Blend)

Tim Hecker – Stab Variation (SHALT Edit)

Deniro Farrar’s sound has always been more akin to West Coast artists like Main Attrakionz and Schoolboy Q than his East Coast and/or Southern counterparts and the Kill Or Be Killed tape sees the Charlotte native matching bars with Green Ova member and East Oakland representative Shady Blaze. The tape is essentially an expanded version of last month’s DESTINY. altered and features an drool-worthy list of producers ranging from Green Ova mainstays Ryan Hemsworth and Friendzone to Sines and Lunice’s 808s driven take on Bass music. Like the title suggests, Farrar and Blaze are mainly concerned with street realism and their contrasting lyrical styles mash surprisingly well. Astral Plane favorite Haleek Maul features on the desolate Hemsworth produced “Cold Blood” and contributes one of the tapes best verses. Stream Kill Or Be Killed below and head here to download it (name your price).

Since we interviewed Haleek Maul back in May, the young Barbadian has been on an absolute tear. In June, Maul’s debut Oxyconteen EP put his tattered mental state on blast, giving fans new and old one of the rawest listening experiences they’ll have in a long minute. What we’ve really been waiting for though has finally emerged today. Back in May, Maul spoke on an upcoming mixtape with Chicago production duo Supreme Cuts who are leading the back when it comes to viscous hip hop bangers. Chrome Lips finally emerged today, featuring 17 originals from one of the most uncouth minds in contemporary music. Maul’s eclectic, dexterous flow allows Supreme Cuts to dip and dive from the airiest peaks to the dankest dungeons of their production dichotomy. Verses from Deniro Farrar, MondreMan and Squadda B offer short respites from Maul’s often severe flow, vastly improving the overall flow of tape. Mishka is giving away the tape for free as they’re known to do and you would be making a mistake not to snatch this one up right now. Another high profile mixtape dropped today, but Chrome Lips is the one that people are going to remember (no shots). Stream and download Chrome Lips below.

After a slight delay, one of our most anticipated releases of the year has hit the web. Haleek Maul let loose his debut Oxyconteen EP through Merok Records earlier and oh what a debut it is. Macabre in subject matter, production and aesthetic, Oxyconteen is a beautifully disturbing introspective into the mind of the 15 year old MC. Some might be quick to label it horrocore or another similarly disparaging label, but a quote from our interview with Haleek illustrates the EP far more aptly:

Whether or not I should be the good guy or the bad guy, the addict or the straightedge, etc. goes on forever. I kind of realized it was stupid to subscribe to a title. You usually let yourself down anyway by setting those types of goals that restrict your personality. All of that is in me and it makes me the unique person I am.

Haleek projects his insecurities into his music and therefore into your mind. Like he says on “Gully”, “I am not a person, I’m just voices stuck inside your head.” You won’t find a more self-aware release than Oxyconteen this year. Combine that with production from Supreme Cuts, King Britt, EPLP, The-Drum and Strat Carter and this debut will stay in the deck for many months to come. Just give this shit a listen. It’s free. You really don’t have an excuse. Stream below and grab the whole EP right here.

Everyone and their mommas love to predict who the next big MC is going to be. In New York, that usually goes along the lines of predicting the next Nas, Biggie or Jay. I’m not going to fall into the prediction trap, but I will say that Bardados by way of Brooklyn MC Haleek Maul is making waves. I spoke with the 15 years old via Gchat last week and I can honestly say that he is one of the most intelligent, self-aware teenagers I have ever met. More than anything Haleek wants to be influential as an interview and not in the sense of being the most outspoken or most wealthy. We dished on uncomfortable topics like break ups and homosexuality in hip hop, as well as the role of performance and music video imagery. Haleek is set for a massive summer with the Oxyconteen EP due on June 14, a mixtape with Chicago duo Supreme Cuts on the way as well as several undisclosed projects in the wings. Read on to get inside the head of on an artist who I hope to see influencing the masses (although he only needs an audience of five) in the coming months.

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Hello loyal readers. We regret the lack of action over the past week, but two thirds of the team has been at George, WA at Sasquatch. We learned a few things over the weekend; slow and steady wins the race; Jack Black shouldn’t be allowed near children; and most importantly, you should all learn to do the Larry David. In all seriousness, Sasquatch is an incredible festival in one of the most breathtaking natural settings one could imagine. Before we get to our coverage of the festival though, we have to catch up. It was an incredible weekend for bass/beat music so I’ll just get right into it.

Everyone and I mean everyone has eagerly been anticipating the release of the TNGHT (Hudson Mohawke x Lunice) EP on July 23, but before we bestow the duo with the crown, another Lunice side project needs to be fairly recognized. Nouveau Palais, made up of three Montreal-born beatsmiths, Lunice, Ango and Prison Garde, entered our airspace yesterday with the Avant Gang EP. Despite being named after a  Montreal comfort food eatery, the trio’s music is far from cozy as it coyly bounces from futuristic takes on garage to hip hop to house. As an added bonus the EP features remixes from Canblaster & Sinjin Hawke, Salva, Monolithium and more. Oh yeah, it’s free courtesy of Red Bull Music Academy. Don’t sleep, pick the EP up right here.

Jonwayne has made quite the name for himself as an outspoken internet critic, sparring with fans on his various social networking profiles. He has also made a name for himself by unexpectedly releasing quality material via those same social networking profiles. The verbal diarrhea can get tiring at times, but then he’ll release something like Jonwayne Fucks Disney. Crafting using only an “SP-404 SX, an iPad used to access Youtube videos, and a Zoom H2 to bounce sounds to”, the 8 track beat tape is a testament to the La Habra producer’s dexterity behind the boards. Straying from his usual palette of 8-bit samples, the tape gets weird with a number of Disney samples from DumboAlice In Wonderland and more. This one is not for the faint of heart. Also, a free download. Get it here.

Everyone and their mommas (us included) have had their panties in a bunch over a new school of MC’s  made up of the likes of Danny Brown, the Black Hippy crew and A$AP Rocky. Nacho Picasso is another member of what SPIN called the “New Underground”, but has inexplicably received less praise than his compatriots. Exalted is Nacho’s third album of this year in collaboration with Blue Sky Black Death and it might just be their best output yet. It’s blunt music for the party. A hip hop take on The Weeknd in some sense, investigating the emotional gaps between the party and the after party, the dose and the overdose. Nacho’s lyrical output has improved with every album and Exalted is no different. Production-wise, BSBD has never been better, outgrowing their roots in instrumental hip hop long ago and growing into one of the premier forces in hip hop. This one isn’t free, but I can’t imagine you’ll find a better way to spend five dollars. Cop it here.

Haleek Maul, learn the name Internalize it and wait for his rise. The 15 year old Barbados via Brooklyn MC has been making some waves on the internet recently and “88”, produced by Chicago duo The-Drum, further solidifies himself as one of the most exciting MC’s to come out of the woodwork in a long, long time. My words aren’t a proper testament to this track so just give it a spin.

Only because of lack of time, I’ll speed through these last few. New Daedelus Fact Mag mix. Dark Ages EP on Salva’s Frite Nite. Jacques Greene did a mix for oki-ni. Hopefully this makes up for our lack of activity. Check back in a few hours for the first few installments of our Sasquatch coverage.

Diamond Rings, Shiny Things

Chicago has been the center for innovation in American electronic music for the better part of three decades at this point. From the origins of house in the early 80’s to the emergence of juke in the 90’s, the Windy City has more often than not been the hub of the newest dance craze. More recently though, the city has been known for its hip hop megastars. Whether you prefer Yeezy, The Cool Kids, or more recently, Chief Keef (oof), the city has consistently churned out notable MC’s over the past decade. Over the past year, Chicago production duo Supreme Cuts (Austin Kjeultes and Mike Perry) have managed to bring the old and the new together. The duo broke out with the Trouble EP late last year on Small Plates and have been making headlines ever since. Comparisons to Mount Kimbie and Clams Casino have been abundant and Austin and Mike have noted influences ranging from the local noise scene to post-rock mavens Godspeed You! Black Emperor to UK Garage vocals. When it comes down to it though, Supreme Cuts make hip hop beats (Mike cites 90% of their influence comes comes from the genre). That much is apparent while listening to their latest effort, “Gully”, featuring Brooklyn by way of Barbados MC Haleek Maul (only 15 years old!). Cascading drum patterns allow faint, haunting vocals to weave in and out of the track, creating the perfect canvass for Maul to spill his guts in impressive fashion for such a green artist. Think RVIDXR KLVN meets Lee Bannon (a great idea by the way). This set of artists is not one to sleep on and we can only hope this collaboration is not the end of their relationship. The track is off of both Haleek’s upcoming Oxyconteen EP and the Supreme Cuts debut full length, Whispers in the Dark, set for a June 12 release. The duo also has a mixtape slated for a summer release. Stream and download “Gully” via Mishka below.

Update: “Gully” is off of Oxyconteen, due June 14, and an upcoming Supreme Cuts/Haleek Maul mixtape called Chrome Lips via Mishka.