Armand Hammer - Shrines

New York artists billy woods and ELUCID have put out a lot of great and challenging hip hop as solo artists over the years, and they’ve been part of a lot of interesting projects as collaborators as well. With similar approaches to their art, it only felt right that they came together as Armand Hammer, who released their first project back in 2013. While they’ve certainly been busy since their last album, Parafin, which came out in 2018, we finally get a new album in Shrines that couldn’t have been more timely and needed.

Timbuktu & Ollie Teeba - Million Pound Note

Timbuktu is an emcee/producer from the Backburner crew, which means that his is also part of a million subgroups, such as Swamp Thing and Tongue Helmet. For his most recent project, he teamed up with Ollie Teeba, the deejay and producer from the UK that co-founded the groups The Herbaliser and Soundsci. The origins of the album go back to 2013, when Teenburger (Timbuktu & Ghettosocks) was touring France with The Herbaliser, who in turn produced all of Teenburger’s second album.

MC Homeless & HaplogroupX - Duress

MC Homeless and HaplogroupX (Bernichus & Transplant) all met after crossing creative and social paths after MC Homeless moved to Austin in 2011. After crisscrossing and working on each other’s projects, they are now officially teaming up as a trio to release an EP on Milled Pavement Records, Duress. For the project, Transplant is handling production duties while Bernichus and Homeless trade duties on the mic. As a producer, Transplant is throwing down these dark, spare, psychedelic jazzy beats, often heavy on disparate elements, such as bass and flute, to provide the outline for Bernichus and Homeless to flesh out with their lyrics.

The Other Guys - Spring in Analog

The Other Guys are a production duo out of D.C. that has worked with such acts as Substantial, Tanya Morgan, and Rob Cave, just to name a few, as well as releasing plenty of solo material. Just last summer, they launched a series of EPs with Summer in Analog. Now that we’ve cycled through the seasons, we’ve finally reached the final release in the series, Spring in Analog. Things start off strong with “Window,” featuring too stellar verses from Skyzoo and Von Pea, who both sound inspired and add some fire to a really beautiful and melancholic midtempo beat from The Other Guys.

R4PC4MP - TR4PC4MP

Back in 2018, Portland, Oregon emcees Lucas Dix and Blake Ambrose teamed up to form the group R4PC4MP, releasing an album called Somebody Gotta Hold The Balloons, which was produced by Brass Clouds. Now they’ve come back together, folded another emcee into the mix, Dru Lapointe, and they’re working with a different producer, i like animals, as they present their sophomore album, TR4PC4MP. Well, if Somebody Gotta Hold The Balloons was an abstract title that made you wonder what the album might sound like, TR4PC4MP is telling you up front what to expect from their sophomore effort, at least sonically.

Shrimpnose - Before Its Too Late

Shrimpnose is a producer from the Twin Cities that has been releasing music for about the last five years. In that time, he’s worked with artists like K.Raydio and CRASHprez, along with his solo material. Now, a little over a year since his beautiful full-length album with K.Raydio,…And The World Weeps, he finally delivers his first full-length solo album, Before It’s Too Late. In the short time that Shrimpnose has been putting out music, he’s made a name for himself by making some really experimental downtempo lo-fi beats, the kind that defy easy categorization.

Little Simz - Drop 6

Last year, London emcee Little Simz had a bit of a breakout moment when she dropped her third album, Grey Area. Now she comes back as not just an emcee, but also a producer with a new EP made in isolation, Drop 6. Perhaps the best sign that Little Simz was ready to step out as a producer is that if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear this was just an EP of songs left over from the Grey Area sessions.

Dirty Art Club - Gardens

Dirty Art Club is a production act from Charlotte, who started as a duo with Madwreck and Matt Cagle collaborating on beautiful instrumental albums such as Heavy Starch and Vermillion. Madwreck left the group around 2015, but Cagle carried the name onward with releases like 2017’s Basement Séance, and 2019’s Mystic Drive-Thru. Now he returns with a new expansive beat tape, Gardens. Dirty Art Club isn’t necessarily doing anything new with Gardens.

s.al - SAFARI AL FORTNITES AT THE SCALLOPS HOTEL: The First Orange Tree Has Been Planted in My Room

s.al, aka Safari Al, is a nomadic artist originally from Wisconsin and part of the Ruby Yacht crew. He has been releasing music at a steady pace since 2012, with his latest effort, I Steel of Radiance, I Feel So Action, coming out exactly one year ago. Now he returns with a new full-length, SAFARI AL FORTNITES AT THE SCALLOPS HOTEL: The First Orange Tree Has Been Planted in my Room.

Nate Patrin - Interview - 5-4-20

Nate Patrin is a music critic that has written in publications such as Spin, Bandcamp Daily, and his hometown Twin Cities’ alt-weekly City Pages. For his first book, Bring That Beat Back: How Sampling Built Hip-Hop, he has taken a look at how a specific element of hip hop, the sample, has developed and shaped the music and culture over the course of its history. He recently took the time to talk to us about his book and how sampling has developed over the years.