Clash’s Matt Oliver writes words about hip-hop. Clash nods approvingly from the back, like the daddy it’s become – too old to rock, too old to stop. We'll never stop.
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Paris Hilton signs for Cash Money. Tim Dog may have faked his own death. Eazy-E and ODB are back, in hologram form on the festival circuit. Naughty By Nature have had a right falling out, with Treach dissing Vin Rock with the track ‘Tall Midget’. Lil Kim is to play this year’s Lovebox festival. Anticon’s Sole does bass-heavy trap on his latest LP (actually, that one is true). Paris Hilton signs for Cash Money.
This is Rapture & Verse.
In the real world? Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch had a Brooklyn park named after him, one year on from his passing, prior to being honoured at the next Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, while Mike D and Ad-Rock will be sharpening pencils and dipping quills for their forthcoming memoirs.
As he uses the mic as a big-assed swat to flay naysayers with, Big Cakes’ ‘It’s All Love’ has got a lot for going for it; namely sound advice, a little roadman’s tenderness, but mostly courage under fire and using pluck against provocation. Combining the last two as well – ‘The Realness’ is a nailed-on paper-chasing boast that oddly rouses as a you-can-too rooter – beats pop into the club when producer Geo’s not providing all-seeing understanding for the likes of ‘African’. Plenty of cherries on this here gateau gospel.
Gold nuggets get mined when Quasimoto’s ‘Yessir Whatever’ clears up a dozen years’ worth of adenoid abstracts, out of print doped-down funk and unreleased R&B smears. The best ones are always when Quas and Madlib face off to add a touch more confusion, with some of the best drum breaks going for vibes that are often as bunged up as the furry dude and master mason tootling over them. Will do a favour to Madlib legions that are done detoxing, and tips newcomers off nicely while also telling them they’ve barely scratched the surface.
Slick is the mantra of Minneapolis’ Botzy. ‘Buck Fotzy’ is his EP: the beats and performance bump and strut with a live and communicative appeal, taking over jazz watering holes, and are skilled in the ways of the Midwest underground. Old Money’s ‘Fire In The Dark’ adds another two cents to the state of NYC debate, spinning fast-paced, global-crossing club beats and fibre-optic bars, and rhymes and reasons circling the outer limits, plus Chris Rock’s best about medication.
The animated cackle of Chance The Rapper shapes the ‘Acid Rap’ mixtape. The Chicagoan can bring it all swinging and dancing and then graphically on the creep, entertaining from first word to last.
Going back to Sole, ‘No Wising Up No Settling Down’ is full of fed-up, state-of-the-world addresses (the chest-airing ‘People Piss Me Off’), damning history lessons, muted seethes and lots of intelligent complications. Suggesting he’s the “rap game Saddam Hussein meets Lil Wayne” while wondering ‘Who’s Gonna Save Me From Me’, it plays with a straight-ish hip-hop bat, still defiantly adjusting the microscope.
‘The Lighthouse’ shows the power of two from husband and wife Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dudley Perkins, hip-hop tilted this way and that by shots and swirls of psych-funk, soul and boogie and some of Declaime’s personal grog. Back to the front are Slum Village talking ‘bout an ‘Evolution’, a short, occasionally forthright but overall good value visit from the Detroit team’s current version of wooze traders.
Leaving tracks strewn all over your bedroom floor, Dr Octo-Tron, aka kings of the wig-flip Kool Keith and Del, can be found doing the business on Kutmasta Kurt’s latest. DOOM, whose King Geedora LP ‘Take Me to Your Leader’ is being prepared for re-release, takes his time on Clams Casino production ‘Bookfiend’, with synths happy to be sleep-deprived.
Zion I’s five-track roll-up ‘The Vapors’ passes around bong bubbles, bleary time-keeping and coolly slouched conduct – that is until ‘Party In The Ghetto’ freaks out and calls for an Outhere Brothers reunion. Chuck Inglish of The Cool Kids makes sure everyone knows how big his in-car speakers are on the super low crawler ‘Drops’, and Mississippi burner K-Hawk scavenges similar tyre-scorched terrain on three tracks of dragster drawl.
Mykki Blanco’s ‘Betty Rubble: The Initiation’ keeps it unreal through an eight pack of gritty fidgeting around NY’s underbelly. Despite the finger-wagging sweetness of ‘Ace Bougie Chick’, it’s a victory of WTF personality. ‘Somn’Wrong’ asks Bumpy Knuckles? Freddie Foxxx drops an EP taster that’ll typically to wind you with its boom-bap gruffness.
If you happen to be passing Alix Perez’s ‘Chroma Chords’ album, look out for Foreign Beggars and Jehst adding to the demolitions in dubstep. Endemic continues to leave sicknotes in aid of his ‘Terminal Illness 2’, with two more ‘Quarantine’ bangers featuring Tragedy Khadafi and Phoenix da Icefire. Part two of Ty’s ‘Kick Snare and An Idea’ is just as lovely and wise as its predecessor, and Dream McLean’s ‘The Weatherman’ EP (stream on Clash) is as cocksure as any Essex emcee should be, ruling dark skied storms with a daggers-giving glower pinning ears back.
For a thick re-up of east London dub as soulful as it is scrappy, The Skints’ ‘Part and Parcel’ hones skanking basics with a hip-hop handover that should rule flatbeds this summer. K9, who you may remember helped spell out Blak Twang’s ‘GCSE’, feels ‘Emancipated’ enough to drop plenty of front (‘Beast’ has a case of rap rabies), one mammoth UK posse cut and have Tony Rotton on board for the fearsome ‘Ikyabwai’, as a storming prelude to new long player ‘The Re-Education of King 9’.
Marco Polo’s been a busy boy, flexing boom-bap IQ for Hannibal Stax’s street empowerment ‘Seize the Day’ – the Gang Starr foundation member taking the weight and throwing it around in a deadly one-on-one just like you-know-who – and issuing the ‘Newport Authority 2’ mixtape, which is just as heavy in its trust of up and comers delivered next to two spectacular guest picks in Rakim and Big Daddy Kane.
In the same vein, Statik Selektah’s latest gathering ‘Extended Play’ tells a heaving bundle of phonebook entries to go for their lives and knock themselves out. Flatbush Zombies and Mac Miller are two claiming mates rates. If you’re feeling particularly gluttonous, Funkmaster Flex jacks up the old ’60 Minutes of Funk’ formula and has 56 varieties to choose from on ‘Who You Mad At? Me or Yourself?’ Long story short, everyone who’s anyone drops in.
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Visually speaking this month, we have Pro Era getting extracurricular and Dizzee Rascal & Bun-B pouring H-town hotsauce.
Talking of Roll Deep, here’s Joell Ortiz...
And then... Action Bronson pulls up, The Last Skeptik tucks you in, and of course, the finest moment of the late Chris Kelly...
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