It's that time of year again! SXSW is just around the corner, and Scratched Vinyl will once again be covering all the independent hip hop happening at the festival. First things first, the matter of our own party, put together with Hip Hop Hooray (click image for FB event):
Space is limited, so you'll want to come early and stay late for this one.
In case you missed the explanation with the first volume, Denver producer Man Mantis has decided to follow up his last full length album with a series of four four-song EPs rather than release a traditional album. Each EP will feature three instrumental songs and one song with guest vocals. The first volume was an excellent beginning, and the second volume continues to build and expand upon that release.
Nashville artist Amerigo Gazaway has made his name over the past couple of years by creating some brilliant remix/mashup albums. First was Fela Soul, which combined the music of Fela Kuti and De La Soul. Next up was Bizarre Tribe, which brought together two legendary hip hop groups in A Tribe Called Quest and The Pharcyde. Now he’s back once again, with his best work yet in this subgenre, Yasiin Gaye: The Departure, which brings together the music of Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) and Marvin Gaye.
Sean McPherson is a busy man. The bass player/band leader is best known for his work in Heiruspecs, and most recently as the touring bassist for Dessa. And if you follow Dessa, you know that she and her band have been on the road for the majority of 2013. Somewhere in all of this, McPherson was able to find time to write and record a solo album. And by solo album, I mean a completely different, large scale project with over ten musicians coming in to help realize his musical vision, creating a mix of rock, funk, soul, and hip hop.
Verbal Kent is a Chicago emcee who’s been recording for over a decade. The last time we heard from him was on last year’s Ugly Heroes with Apollo Brown and Red Pill. This time he comes back with a solo effort that is fairly disappointing for someone this far into their career.
When we think of producers, deejays, or beatmakers, we tend to think of them in isolation. Lone geniuses, tinkering with sounds and song structure, flipping samples, on their computers or in their home studios. Occasionally we get the production duo, or collaborative efforts that get passed back in forth. It’s very rare that we get a collaboration between four producers at once, coming together to essentially ‘jam’ on their MPCs. That’s exactly what happened with Cotton Claw, though, the collaboration between French artists Lilea Narrative, Zo aka La Chauve-Souris, YoggyOne and Zerolex.
The Aquarius Tape is the second installment in a series of astrological themed releases by Brussels beatmaker ShunGu, so there should be several more coming throughout the year.
Columbus producer Jon Rogers has been busy lately – in the fall and winter of 2013, he gave us two short collections of music he had been working on, along with contributions to Moka Only’s Martian XMAS 2014. This all worked nicely as something to tide us over until his next big project was ready. Now that project is here in the form of a full length collaboration with vocalist Renee Dion, also from Columbus, and it is more than worth the wait.
U.K. label Collective Resonance is one of our great current resources to discover young producers, and the latest effort from Suede Merit is one such example. The twenty two-year-old producer from Sydney shows some great range and depth on this EP, as well as plenty of potential.
Emcee Longshot has long been a part of the Chicago hip hop scene, although he relocated to Minneapolis a few years back. His latest effort and seventh full length album, Nothing’s Gold, was originally inspired by an interview in which Tupac mentioned that he had the idea to do a project based on children writing and recording songs themselves. Longshot himself has been working as part of a non-profit mentoring and tutoring kids in Minneapolis for a few years, and was inspired to write about his experiences.