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It should be obvious to readers, by now, that hip hop truly is a global phenomenon. That said, there are still many, many places that I haven’t heard from personally, and they might not be getting much attention outside of their area. The good news is that we live in the age of the Internet, and while some areas of the world aren’t as well connected as others, there’s still this hope that we can all share thoughts, ideas, emotions, and music with each other. This is all to say that I was very happy to find in my inbox and beat tape from SufYan, and young producer from Khartoum, Sudan.
In 2011, Baltimore emcee Substantial spent some time in hospital facing a possible cancer scare. While recovering from preventative surgery, he started playing around with remixing some Jill Scott songs, one of his favorite artists, to keep his mind occupied. As it turns out, this became more than just a way to keep himself busy while facing a health scare. The result is the perfect outcome of a tribute project - we get to appreciate the immense talent that is Jill Scott, while also getting to know Substantial as an artist as well.
Sankofa is an emcee from Fort Wayne that’s been releasing music since 1999. As of right now, Sankofa is releasing this album as a farewell to fans, as ‘fatherhood and the rest of life [is] taking up enough of my energy.’ I wish him the best, but hopefully this won’t be the end, since he's never really gotten the exposure that he deserves.
It’s been a while since Kimya Dawson and Aesop Rock first announced that they were working on a full length album together, and now it is finally available in the form of Hokey Fright. Both have unique voices, coming from distinctly different backgrounds. Dawson comes from the anti-folk scene with the Moldy Peaches, and Aesop Rock helped lay the foundation at Definitive Jux.
A Tribe Called Red is the Ottawa trio of DJ Shub, DJ NDN, and DJ Bear Witness. The three talented deejay/producers (Shub is a two-time Canadian DMC champion) also share a heritage as Native Americans. They came together to develop a style of music that mixes hip hop, dancehall, and house music with traditional pow wow drumming and singing, which they’ve taken to calling “Pow Wow Step.” They made their debut last year with their self-titled album, and are already right back with their sophomore effort.
Toronto emcee/producer and Backburner member More or Les has released several albums over the years, including last year's exceptional Mastication. During SXSW, he sat down with us to discuss his music, and of course, brunch.
Scratched Vinyl: The new album, Mastication, is all about food, but it’s not the first time you’ve done food raps. When did you first start doing the food subject matter?
More or Les: The food thing?
SV: The food thing.
The Toronto/Halifax production duo of Fresh Kils and Uncle Fester have returned to drop their sophomore album, roughly two years after their debut album, The Mint Condition. The original project stemmed from Fester gaining access to a lot of CBC jazz session recordings and getting permission to make hip hop records from them. It also signaled the first time that Fester and Kils would steer the ship and be in the forefront as producers.
Over the past decade-plus, Talib Kweli has remained a constant for hip hop fans.
Thaione Davis has been a veteran of the Chicago hip hop scene for years. The Joys of Life & Pain marks his ninth full length album, right on the heels of his last album, Seventeen, which came out last August. He’s been remarkably consistent over the course of his career, and this album is no exception.