Themselves - CrownsDown

While they never really spent any time apart, both working together in Subtle, this is Jel and Doseone’s first album as a duo since 2002’s The No Music. After the promise of the freeHoudini mixtape gave us a glimpse of things to come, it feels great to finally have the album. While their work is Subtle was extremely interesting, and incorporated a lot of different sounds, Themselves is more stripped down and raw, much more immediate and forceful.

Greenhouse - Electric Purgatory Part One

Way back when, Greenhouse Effect was Inwell, Blueprint, and Manifest. These days, they are just Greenhouse, and it’s a collaboration between two of Columbus, Ohio’s finest, Blueprint and Illogic. Blueprint handles the production duties, and brings his usual fare of spaced out down tempo beats. Both Illogic and Blueprint share a similar delivery that is slightly slow but clear and strong that gives an extra emphasis to their lyrics. The only glaring misstep on this EP is the use of auto-tune R&B hook on “The Next Generation,” which just seems strange and out of place.

Prefuse 73 - Everything She Touched Turned to Ampexian

On Scott Heron’s fifth full-length Prefuse album, we get what might be his most interesting album to date. While One Word Extinguisher still holds up as one of the great breakup albums of all time, I believe this one is destined to become the undiscovered classic of his career. It doesn’t have a clear theme, the title makes you scratch your head, and we zoom through 29 tracks in under 50 minutes as they all blend together into one long sweeping album.

Brother Ali - Truth is Here

First thing first - Brother Ali is one of the best all around emcees working in hip hop today. His swagger on the stage and on the microphone, combined with his smart and emotional wordplay, along with a great musical sense, and a soulfulness steeped in what’s true to himself combine to make great music that can really touch the listener. This is not to say Ali is perfect, but it is to say that his music is capable in touching me in ways that few can.