Rapture & Verse #26

The latest hip-hop happenings, rounded up, for your pleasure…
Eminem and Rick Ross

Rapture & Verse’s Question Time roundtable starts with the obvious: how about that wee Kendrick Lamar chap, eh? Flaming all and sundry on Big Sean’s ‘Control’ with claims of NY and A-list ownership that has had the great and good (as well as the desperate and out of work) attempting answers back and explanations for rare hot-headedness on wax. Never mind the fact it made ‘Control’ far less mundane. You’d like to think Lamar has the goods to back the bravado that won’t come back around and bite him on the bumcheeks, but naturally he’s now a sponge for scrutiny (or battle rap benchmark, depending on how you look at it) until his mic gets packed away.

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Donuts, juggles, twerks, dreadlocks... it’s Murder...

The DMC DJ Festival, including the World Final, Battle for World Supremacy and DJ workshops, takes control of The IndigO2 on October 5th for another night of needles and spins. From fast fingers to limber lumbar, Juicy J’s claims of throwing down a $50,000 college scholarship for the winner of a twerking contest are one way to avert student loan jeopardy. 

J Dilla is to be further immortalised with a Detroit doughnut shop called Dilla’s Delights, while Busta Rhymes is looking to re-grow his trademark hairdo in a Samson-ite, return to the source of his powers-type situation. If news of Ja Rule and Ashanti re-joining forces doesn’t send you dizzy, future teams picking Freddie Gibbs alongside Madlib and Bishop Nehru versus DOOM, a new Eminem (pictured) album produced by Dr Dre and Rick Rubin (also pictured), Cage returning to Eastern Conference, and Latyrx prepping their first LP for 16 years, should set you straight.

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Single syllables: From A(sher D) to Z(ygote)...

Mr Mitch’s ‘Suave’ EP, an instrumental half-dozen of digitally wacked-out dilapidation, glitch soothers and Down South space visits via south London, goads off-the-wall rhymers to take a stab in the dark. Rodney P http://www.clashmusic.com/tags/rodney-p is on his usual mettle with Harleighblu and the Renegade Brass Band with the toast-worthy funk of ‘Success’.

From Seattle’s left, Grayskul prepare to hit indie heights with ‘Zenith’, a high-powered yet introspective take of the bull by the horns. Black Milk’s ‘Perfected On Puritan Ave’ recalls hoop dreams jolted by street life, over a wistfully fitful catnap hurried awake by a clatter of funk drums. Meanwhile, Deltron 3030, masterfully led by Del, boldly re-enter the stratosphere as town-criers for the ‘City Rising From The Ashes’ – look for an interview with Del The Funky Homosapian on these pages, soon.

Dr Zygote is currently round-the-clock, the ‘Haze/Maze’ EP a lot less creepy than the recent ‘Grupo Zygote’ experience as six instrumentals show aptitude in getting necks craned, although you can still detect the devil’s footprints on his shoulder. Raw Product and Jehst’s ‘Choose Your Weapon’ would probably pick the pitchfork as well.

If you’re after some retrospective blood and thunder, head for the epochal assemblies of DJ Spatts of The Criminal Minds thudding into Asher D and Daddy Freddy’s ‘Ragamuffin Hip-Hop’, and The Criminal Minds themselves dropping a nine-ball of aggression on ‘The Droids You’re Looking For’, putting down pussyfooters with pleasingly old-skool direction. 3 Knights’ ‘Burial...’ is another ‘90s-forged slice of roughneck vengeance reintegrated and revitalised, as the Music Of Life label’s resurrection starts coming on strong.

Solidly boosting playlist minutes are the boom-bap of Skanks and El Gee’s ‘In My Mind’, Rediculus letting Blaq Poet get corrosive with an ‘Iron Fist’, Angel Haze doing the business on ‘Echelon’, and No Malice and Pusha T throwing up Hail Marys on creeper ‘Shame the Devil’.

Offwhyte and KK’s tight ‘GO’ wraps arenas in electrified fencing and blasts with overwrought indie denseness, amidst the Chicago-Japan exchange trying to convince they can also kick back. Harvey Stripes and Jadakiss present the ultimate in ostentatious ignorance on ‘Bought A Boat’, to be countered by Blitz the Ambassador’s ‘The Warm Up’ EP as way of regaining reality with a healthy dose of funk.    

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ReaLPolitiks:  Neverland pimps and Bundersrepublik boozehounds

Almost anticipating the bitterness of winter is London’s Apex Zero, with ‘Reality Provoking Liberation’ announcing itself as a society-hardened, Stig-sounding grinder, slogging where tracks mourn and gaining strength through pain. F-the-world renegades in training, this is your opus, whether you want distorted realities ironed out or need help binning a bad day.

Simba and Milton Gulli’s ‘The Heroes – Tribute to A Tribe’ takes the El Segundo trippers to their home of Mozambique. Part fan fiction, part genuine tribute, it’s an interesting borrow and rebuild project marbled by the rustic, the exotic and the brave (which you have to be if you’re trying to make ‘Scenario’ your own).

Digging into your headphones, conceptualist Will C steers his ‘Runaway, Train’ through a jigsaw of beats and sampled dialogues, made for flicking through a storybook in your mind. If you don’t wanna follow the plot, as the man helpfully explains himself, it gains by drifting as an instrumental set of dusty daydreams.

Akir’s ‘The Plan’ is an album loving the feel of sidewalk under its feet. A better tomorrow sounds right up his alley, enjoying the lounging lean of certain tracks, but the passion of what he spits and builds will always take him back to the street corner, particularly with Immortal Technique in his ranks, on a more well-rounded record than you might think.

J-Zone’s welcome return to the fore, after retirement and entering the ‘real world’ of 9-5ing, is a realignment of sorts for Captain Back$lap. The deliciously disparaging, fur-clad ignorance/intelligence stays, but is held over a cracking set of funk breaks rather than his signature chopped-up hops and bumps. The album’s called ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’, and will easily dislodge the Sir Cliff compilation from your tape deck. 

The Doppelgangaz’s ‘Hark’ is like awaking blissfully to the glint of the reaper’s scythe in the corner of your bedroom. Matter Ov Fact and EP are the duo casually perched like henchmen at the end of the mattress, squeezing the pressure in and out as if in possession of a boulder-sized stress ball. A top-ranking twin threat. Shouting you rounds of instrumental tipples are Germany’s Betty Ford Boys, with ‘Leaders Of The Brew School’ opening a chiller’s worth of beat miniatures. You’ll be willing the sun to stay put, once the trio starts happily start slipping in some West Coast olives and guiding samples into your glass.

Abstract Butta Fingas’ sandpaper engineering lubed with honey-glazed sweetness...that’s ‘The Experience Deluxe’ for you, parcelling up extremes in just over twenty minutes. Defiance and dissonance sprays over Jel’s ‘Late Pass’ like one of Anticon’s specialist gravel jet-washes. Walls of sound mould a trail of B-boy scuzz with postmodern soldering and eye of the apocalypse shivers, and Jel’s charisma-chiding delivery includes occasions of swimming against the tide and achieving discipline despite being up to his neck in it.

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‘Tape measures

From the ATL, ForteBowie’s ‘Vice Haus Deluxe’ can talk shit, talk game and hit a decisively soulful mark. Trinidad James’ ’10 PC Mild’ is probably for fans only, Lil Wayne’s ‘Dedication 5’ hits in fits and starts, as does Fat Joe’s ‘Darkside 3’, though at least the latter has a reasonable running time. Stu Bangas and Vanderslice’s ‘Brutal Blends’ writes its own rules on remixes and underground battery, with Prodigy, Action Bronson, Copywrite, Evidence and Vast Aire providing notes. 

Rolling VT this month, in top-to-bottom order: Malkovich drops in the forest to make noise; heading a Quasimoto hallucination; Dizzy Wright’s recipe; Dead Players aiming for the jackpot; and the symphony of Talib Kweli

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Words: Matt Oliver

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