Thick As Thieves marks the second full length collaboration between emcee 2 Dash Tone and producer Audio Games in as many years. Both artists are still striving to make a name for themselves, and they had somewhat grand ambitions going into the album, describing the effort as “designed to play like an audio-movie, and it takes you on a journey from our debut album, The Anomaly, through our artistic growth, all the way to our plans for the future.” It doesn’t always come together in quite this fashion, but it is an album and pairing that displays plenty of potential.
It may have been seven years since the last proper solo album from former anticon. emcee Sole, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been extremely busy. He’s spent most of the time in between working with the Skyrider Band, forging a sound that is somewhere between gangsta rap and electronic post-rock, culminating in the fantastic album Hello Cruel World, released last year. Since then, when not butting heads with the authorities by participating in the Occupy Denver movement, he’s been working on A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing.
Wes Pendleton is an up-and-coming producer from Philadelphia. He's already got one album under his belt this year, Nebulous*, a mixture of instrumental and vocal tracks. His latest project, Love*, is completely instrumental, and is much more connected thematically.
The Blackhouse is the latest project from one of the most prolific and talented musicians working today, Georgia Anne Muldrow. This effort finds her in collaboration with DJ Romes, who you might know as the deejay for Lootpack. They have teamed up to form The Blackhouse, an instrumental duo producing a mix of house, hip hop, and electro-boogie.
The concept behind Mark’s Wild Years is a tricky one, a concept that could either lead you to the worst thing you’ve ever heard, or it could challenge and reward you beyond your expectations. The concept in question is a hip hop Tom Waits tribute album. It's not simply a collection of covers, but a re-imagining of material, built off of samples and lyrical themes, which are then transformed into new songa. This is no easy task, especially when the artist being paid tribute is such a unique and iconic cult of personality like Tom Waits.
Mikal kHill of ThoughtCriminals is a nerd’s nerd, and so when he went to write and record a zombie-themed hip hop album, he wasn't going to coast on the novelty of it. Instead, he sought to pay tribute to his favorite storytellers in the genre, namely George Romero, Max Brooks, and The Walking Dead comics, whose title he borrows for the album. In doing so, he imagined a scenario taking place with his friends and family in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Coup are certainly one of the more unlikely success stories in hip hop, in that on paper you’d never think that a group led by self-avowed Marxist like Boots Riley could be this popular in the States for as long as they have. However, one of the magical elements to The Coup is the way that Riley, Pam the Funkstress, and others have been able to package their radical politics in a musical style that marries a danceable funk and rock energy that will draw people in before a lot of listeners realize just how far left they stand.
Writer Dye is a concept mixtape that Dallas emcee Playdough first delivered to his fans in 2010. The idea behind the project is to take lyrics from some popular music, usually from the chorus, and to use them as starting points for subject matter to make entirely new songs. After delivering the excellent original album Hotdoggin’ last winter, he’s back again with another round of Writer Dye for his fans, this time taking on the likes of Coldplay, Modest Mouse, Queen, Led Zepplin, Bob Dylan, and others.
Zion I have been prolific throughout their twelve year career, so it should come as no surprise that after a busy 2011 that saw the release of Heroes in the Healing of the Nation with The Grouch and producer Amp Live teaming up with Eligh to release Therapy at 3, they would come right back with a new album this year, ShadowBoxing.
I had the good fortune this past weekend of seeing my sister from another mister, Miss Manners, host of Hip Hop Hooray on KOOP Radio in Austin. Naturally, we quickly began talking about what records we were listening to, which quickly transitioned into a discussion about not only how good the new P.O.S. record is, but how excited we both were to listen to it. When you listen to a large volume of records and keep up with new releases, it can become difficult to get genuinely excited about a particular album.