An October feast for this month’s Rapture & Verse, so chug a lug to the goss that Timbaland and Missy Elliott are back in the old routine with new single ‘9th Inning’ – hard to believe Misdemeanour hasn’t released an album for seven years, a wrong she is about to put right – and that regular Ruff Ryder on the wrong side of the tracks DMX has done the right thing and created instant pun-hung headlines by becoming a church deacon.
Inspired by the shy and retiring lifestyle of Hunter S Thompson, Jehst lays down road-trip/roadman trippin’ boom-bap for the unmistakably ever-active imagination of Kashmere, enjoying the feel of the clouds closing in as the pair storm the ‘Kingdom of Fear’. ‘Live Without Love’ urges the powers that be to puff-puff-pass so world peace can prevail, ‘Memorise’ cherishes a floating-on-air feeling, ‘Sir Digby Chicken Caesar’ props up the bar...there are no bad trips until doom starts chiming through the noxious ‘Love N Hate’ and ‘Panic!!!’ has the toxins spiking into a paranoia. Essential one-rapper-and-his-producer spark-ups.
The reliable sense-talker POS, primed for “scuffing up your Nikes, spitting on your whip” on ‘We Don’t Even Live Here’, is coming off spikier than you may remember, on some do it right or don’t do it at all manifesto like he’s serving up soul food as track-bullying roughage. There’s even a Boyz Noize collaboration with half an eye on that EDM money, though pointing that out is likely to get you a wedgie and a half. Want proof of his vitriol? Click here. Equally not backward in coming forward is Kreayshawn’s freakishly low-selling ‘Something About Kreay’; if you like your hip-hop garish, there’s nowt much gaudier.
Big Sean’s ‘Detroit’ mixtape is pretty ignorant – some of his guests, excluding Royce da 5’9” are even worse. The man continually referring to himself as B-I-G is a confident boy, seldom showing he has more to his game than that smooth, occasionally sing-song cadence plastered in R&B and self congratulation on getting his share of hip-hop payday. It’s as if he’s just acquired a limited edition Natwest piggy bank, all while rolling a never-ending joint; a bit auto-piloted throughout. Pete Rock’s Delicious Vinyl mix, celebrating the label’s 25th anniversary, is what your mouse should be straining at the port for, collecting the best of The Pharcyde, Masta Ace, Young MC and a bunch more of yesteryear pearlers. Continuing classic material, you can now get Raekwon’s ‘Only Built for Cuban Linx’ as a stupendously classy special edition, re-presented on purple cassette (as per the original fabled incarnation) with its own presentation box and the usual bumf of extra sleeve notes, artwork etc. The Chef is one of a cast of millions Ice T collars for his ‘Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap’ documentary, a not entirely insightful breakdown of hip-hop’s Hippocratic oaths that travels pretty much in a straight line from East coast to West via a quick Detroit detour. Immortal Technique, Nas, Ras Kass, Grandmaster Caz and KRS-One offer insights above the average, and while nicely shot and stuffed with raps to camera, it finds itself far from being a history lesson despite the interviewing of genuine legends at every turn.
Student union-friendly drum & bass with old skool rhymer Greg Nice, a tinny reggae pop song with Boy George, hook ups with grime’s Virus Syndicate in a weird gringo/love song concoction... DJ Yoda’s funfair of beats is not exactly crowing from a cut and paste pedestal. You can’t deny the anything goes opportunism on ‘Chop Suey’, taking from the spirit of his mixtapes that made B-boys headspin to ‘The Final Countdown’. Sway, Roots Manuva, Action Bronson (‘Big Trouble in Little China’ being the purest hip-hop you’re gonna get), Scroobius Pip (for the entertaining console commentary ‘Sega RIP’) and MoP get amongst the madness. As for Action Bronson, take a peek at how he rolls here.
West London’s Jae Mann, who after lopping off ears with two hyper-tongued grime spits, declares he’s the ‘Mic Man’ with a coolly smoked out head-nodder from Telemachus. The producer also rocking as Chemo lets you know at the same time ‘My Mate Does Beats’, a love-sharing heads-up featuring instrumental A-games and almightiness from Paul White, Pete Cannon, Zygote, Jon Phonics and Beat Butcha. Heavy Links, the two of El Tel the Dopeness and Habitat with Donnie Propa on the cut, handle ‘The Essence’, half a dozen buttered bumps cushioning straight-ahead rhymes that could just do with a little loosening. Skillit, whose forthcoming album is inevitably a pun on a well-known household cleaning product, previews with ‘Don’t Doubt’, a banging swinger, or swinging banger, featuring and produced by Iron Braydz, and the cheekier ‘Look at Me’, courtesy of Loudmouth Melvin. A pleasant surprise is the reissue of ‘Correct English’ by Aspects, a 2001 bumper of fun and fundamentals with an impish West Country geezer shine (‘Bristol Fingers’ is a B-boy cracker) that comfortably makes the grade for a second time.
DJ Scientist’s ‘For Better, For Worse’ is an instrumental LP of a stately, imperial vibe, as if your head-nods to live drums and folk tableaux are locked in a 24-carat choker, mixed with some B-boy/rock & roll grappling (‘The Death of Hip-Hop’ will be well received down the moshpit or skatepark). Very rarely not on-edge, the trip hop tempos and theatrics from the German make premium material to batten down the hatches to. Funk and hip-hop from live stage claimers Lazy Habits puffs out classy brass and vibes for the back porch and barbeque ‘Bulletin’ – they’re touring the UK as we speak, so go see if they’re rocking a jazz hut near you. Quick mention also for the newest Herbaliser album, doing what they do best with some fine investigator funk hustles and sneakily good hip-hop on ‘There Were Seven’, with plenty of cult referencing from Jake and Ollie’s customary picks of rhymers under the radar. Funk for the rebel faction comes from the return of The Coup, Boots Riley doing his usual hugely effective march of not giving a monkeys about the status quo while leading an all singing all dancing, peace love and unity spectacular, with bonus kazoo bumps on ‘Your Parents’ Cocaine’. The album’s called ‘Sorry to Bother You’, and you won’t mind at all.
Fulgeance is back with more blip-hop and electro shapes on ‘Step Thru’, the follow-up to last year’s super ‘To All of You’, with first listens rebalancing the funk in Technicolor 3D and beyond. 9th Wonder has got more albums ready to go, another hook-up with Murs for ‘The Final Adventure’ and coming up with ‘The Solution’ alongside Buckshot. If you’re reached the end of your stein, refill with Vinnie Paz giving a heads-up to new LP ‘God of the Serengeti', strong words coming from Confz, Homeboy Sandman taking his time, and Mystro taking a hands-on approach. 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 -
Photo Credit: Marie Chatard
Words by Matt Oliver