Rapture & Verse #35: The Hip-Hop Latest

BADBADNOTGOOD, Hawk House, Shabazz Palaces...

Azealia Banks has decided to mend some fences with some Twitter apologies. Flavor Flav thinks his next step should be as the frontman of a rock/funk cover project called The Flavortronz. Tyler, the Creator has admitted he’s bored with rap and its pigeonholes… what, you wanted something juicier? Come off it, there’s been a World Cup going on.

Opening this month’s tour bus timetable and offering better returns than the England supporters’ club coach, Pusha T will be over here for Reading and Leeds festivals in August. Talib Kweli is at London’s Jazz Cafe on July 24th, and the same venue hosts Jehst on the first Saturday of the month, Black Milk in late August, and Boot Camp Clik on July 13th, as part of The Doctor’s Orders’ on-going birthday celebrations.

The Boom Bap Professionals will be popping up all over the shop, rocking Cambridge’s Boom Bap Festival, Norfolk’s White Noise Festival, and numerous other spots throughout the coming months. For the more anti-social, hoarders of collectibles types, the deluxe reissue of Non-Phixion’s ‘The Future Is Now’ is ready to be gorged upon, the Premium Edition giving you a glut of conspiracy theory extras.

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Single syllables: “food for the mind, my bars are nutritional”

Extra EP pressure begins with Skillit hanging out ‘Dirty Laundry 2’: silkier than saucy undies and with plenty of balls from the ‘Bang’ man. If you want something blunt, go for Late’s typically indisputable ‘Innovator’, where synth skirmishes have quotable coming down like an executioner’s blade. Raw Product are found ‘Supplying The Demand’ with the help of Cappo, Micall Parknsun and Jehst – a good deal all round, especially when they’re quite capable of squeezing the life out of mics and dredging boom-bap to snap vertebrae by themselves.

Kneading grey matter with late-night South London therapy, Hawk House’s dry and dusted ‘A Handshake To The Brain’ twinkles as a neo-soul, boho rap huddle. Tough dustiness from Taraach plays a ‘One Two’ for 12 minutes of weathered ghetto gold, and DSK & Gobshite’s ‘Check Out the Technique’ is applied UK biz, reinforced by Mystro, Jurassic 5’s Akil, remixes, instrumentals and a cappellas, and headlined by putting a trainer twist to Eric B and Rakim. Give Charles the Kid his dues – his quintet of instrumentals both casual and cheeky on ‘FTLOR’, is crowned by a delicate chop-up of one Foreigner’s finest.

Hawk House – ‘Chill Pill’

Freshwater hip-hop-soul hatched between Black Thought, Arinze, Rav P and Queen Ella has ‘Achievements’ heading for the roadster showroom, with Statik Selektah’s ‘Carry On’ with Freddie Gibbs and Joey Bada$$, and Sparrow The Movement’s bear-poking ‘Amazing’ not far behind. J-Rawls and Masta Ace are far chipper and funkier than the worry of paying ‘Bills’ suggests. BADBADNOTGOOD are only issuing Chelsea smiles though with the creeping ‘Six Degrees’, implicating Ghostface Killah and Danny Brown.

What’s in a letter? There’s D-Lux, spinning the soulful trap flutter of ‘Instant 7’, S-Type taking a maximalist approach to the theatrically neon ‘Lost Girls’, and A-Laz bringing violence to violins and throwing fiddler’s elbows on ‘Don’t Know’ with Crooked I and Rittz.  As plucky with the plucks, Planet Asia and TzariZM’s ‘All Jokes Aside’ is a gunslinger to get you ducking and weaving.

Ghostface Killah and BADBADNOTGOOD feat. Danny Brown – ‘Six Degrees’

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ReaLPolitiks: highest orders, modern vintages and Denver road rage

Kid Vishis announces ‘Timing Is Everything’; hence why his debut brawl out of Detroit clocks in slim. Big brother Royce da 5’9” pops in, with Hippie Sabotage alumni Chase Moore dealing with the bulk of sensationalised stockiness providing KV’s punch-bag and pyrotechnics. Times are when the lyricism can be mediocre, but at his cocksure best it’s a rampage that’ll catch you off balance.

Kid Vishis – ‘Talk Behind My Back’

Shabazz Palaces’ inter-dimensional wig-out, ‘Lese Majesty’, cuts cloud rap and trap with magic mushrooms, floating angelically, geometrically over the wrong side of the tracks. Palaceer Lazaro and Tendai Maraire paint their funk-disabling mainframes in gleaming psychedelics, yet are able to switch fluidly to a rundown, keep-it-real mode for when the wooze starts to overheat. Divvying it up into separate ‘suites’ is chakra-targeting nonsense; otherwise it’s a good look for the summer.  

LA abrasions from clipping. bring the noise, then gag it in the name of maverick West Coast order. After a detonative opening on ‘CLPPNG’, the trio strips back to electronic emptiness and calculated, near non-production – ‘Dream’ is conspicuously vacant, ‘Get Up’ rips a mic over an alarm clock going off – and realise surprise beds for their range of smarts bent left. Check their UK date at London’s Jabberwocky in August.

The Herbaliser’s ‘There Were Seven’ is redecorated with remix medals, extensions of funk triumphs and hip-hop statesmanship pinned by 2econd Class Citizen, Gigabeatz Bonson, The Legendary Danny K and more. Clued up when singing the blues, True Thought Muzic’s ‘Re-Cognition’ is a leafy, in the flesh effort from a London three majoring in the must-haves, shoving aside any stage hoggers and demonstrating fine, subtle variations to their routine.

‘The Highest Order’ of Confucius MC tags some of Keor Meteor’s finest, soul-blushed production, with a cop show funk keeping suckers and narks in its back pocket, and an informant’s flow sounding like Roc Marciano’s parched demeanour passing through Klashnekoff. Slender, but packing more for its minutes, gentlemanly misconduct handsomely rolls from speakers exposed by a soft-top roof; invest in this and a humidor immediately.

S Kalibre nicks the keys to the city of golden era bangers, swiping at 37 stone colds to make ‘The Return Of The Boom Bap’ a no-sugar snack for the attention deficient. Habitat and DJ Severe boast more defensive solidity than Roy’s lot – ‘Empire Building’ shows staunch loyalty to drum disciplines and rhymes flying from under the brim. A punchy album taking its craft very seriously.

The same can be said of Mississippi burner 7even Thirty, providing answers to ‘The Problem’, doing pistols at dawn with Sean Price on the jump-off ‘Hook Heavy’, and owning all of Gensu Dean’s head targets with a swagger-making twang and an underground aqualung. With Adrian Younge at the controls and converging on their keys-driven vibes in the sun, Souls Of Mischief are well set to rock cloaks with sharpened daggers on ‘There Is Only Now’.

Mild blows are landed by Buckshot’s traditional set with P-Money on ‘BackPack Travels’; a knapsack whose pockets aren’t particularly deep, though it’s not found rummaging for what it needs either. Canibus labours to make his point about world fraudulence, ‘Fait Accompli’ stacking rambles amongst too many talk radio/news feed samples. His global address is acerbically to his credit, but you’d rather his technicality boast about his hand being “quicker than the eye, quicker than the five-speed Jamiroquai drives.”

John Robinson, his slightly strained vocal chords doing Capone meets J Cole, is naturally as unfussy as his name, and ‘Modern Vintage’ can’t be flapped. Beats from PVD (no, not that one) simply cross from hard to soft, which means you can shuffle for when conditions dictate. Respect for the pro-wax ‘Vinyl Is Forever’, which shows skill and scope amongst a slick of neo-soul. Result? A tip of the hat to JR.

Apathy repping the ‘Connecticut Casual’ is an LP full of niggle; known for high standards of cutting through BS – and there’s still room for an XL-sized beatdown – the Demigod spins surly narratives, debunks urban legends and hits with spitballs from a bitter taste in his mouth. And there’s nowt bitterer a lyrical exhibition than when you’re spilling blood over George Michael’s ‘Careless Whisper.’

Apathy – ‘Curse of The Kennedys’

“Sometimes a little mud is good for the skin” – so says the summit of Sole and DJ Pain 1. A quaking indie rap rant, ‘Death Drive’ urges you to join their march, or end up as roadkill if you don’t. White-hot, White House aggression leaves scorch marks on beats skilfully turning champagne bottles into bayonets, though needless to say, it comes with a lump sum of rock-shocked, unappreciated underground mouthpiece shtick as well.

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Tape measures

Stick on ‘Authentape’ from Ayar and Rageouz and you’re transported to a coast-to-coast barbeque serving British beef. If thug rappers do have meditation rooms in their grossly overdone cribs, Blue Sky Black Death’s ‘Euphoric Tape III’ would be their in-house guru; another lush set of instrumental magic tricks.

Mac Miller fans can stuff their faces with ‘Faces’, an extensive portrayal of shrugged wit and talent wiping the sleep from its eyes within a life less ordinary. For something more chest-banging and shoutier, Kay Slay’s ‘The Last Hip Hop Disciple’ reels off a real mishmash of guests in his usual street-sweeping juggernaut.

Moving pictures: see RA the Rugged Man channel hop (1), Pharoahe Monch picking up the pieces (2), Sage Francis’ food for thought (3), Jurassic 5 as piste artists (4), and Dilated Peoples are outta here (5).






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Words: Matt Oliver

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