PremRock & Willie Green: Reassembled

Emcee PremRock and producer Willie Green have been slowly gaining momentum over the last couple years, trying to find their own space in an always crowded New York scene. However difficult it can be to get that first bit of attention, people will recognize talent when they hear it, and these two have been getting respect from their peers. Nowhere is this more apparent than this remix album. An interesting cross section of producers tried their hand at re-interpreting their music, from the firmly established, such as Blockhead, to the newer voices such as Man Mantis or Has-Lo.

Joules - Equations of Darkness

I was first came across Atlanta producer Joules when he collaborated with Adam WarRock and Tribe One on the EP Paper Cutters & Dangling Headphones last year. This year I had the opportunity to see him deejaying for WarRock during his set at SXSW. Neither of these points of exposure prepared me for the instrumental EP he just released, though, a short collection of beautiful down tempo songs. I’d have to say this is one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.

One Be Lo - K.I.C.K. P.U.S.H.

Less than a year after One Be Lo released his ambitious LABOR album, he’s come right back with another full length effort. Coming out of the recording sessions of his last record, Lo assembled a production team called The Autocons, who then laid down the foundation for this album. While LABOR was grand and ambitious in it’s scope, K.I.C.K. P.U.S.H. (which stands for “Keep It Cool Kid, People Usually Show Hate”), is much more personal and intimate.

s/s/s - Beak & Claw

s/s/s is the collaboration of three artists - Son Lux, Serengeti, and Sufjan Stevens. Five or more years ago I would have never thought to put Stevens and anticon. together, but given the musical directions the label and Stevens have taken in recent years, they’re not as far apart as they once were. That said, this EP still makes for a very unique record, and a very interesting blending of sounds, from the orchestral folk-pop background of Stevens, the wry, sarcastic delivery of Serengeti’s rhymes, and the bedroom ambiance of Son Lux’s production.

Elaquent - The Scenic Route

With all the amazing Canadian hip hop that’s come our way since the beginning of Scratched Vinyl, it was only a matter of time before a good instrumental down tempo record made it across the border to us. Elaquent is a producer from Toronto who has been making beats for a few years now, and his latest effort reflects his recent commitment to make music full time. The title reflects the wandering journey he took to come to that decision, and listening to this album makes me think he made the right choice.

Lee Bannon - Caligula Theme Music

Lee Bannon already dropped one themed EP on us earlier this year, with the ill-fated Gnarlon Brando record. The production wasn’ t bad, but the concept of a soundtrack to a fictional film didn’t pan out. When I saw the title to this EP, I was worried that the same thing might happen again, but Bannon has made it clear that this is EP isn’t directly interpreting or sampling the film score of the movie Caligula or attempting to tell the actual historical tale.

Fraction & Fresh Kils - Extra Science

Fraction has been making hip hop for quite some time up in Canada, but the Kitchener, Ontario emcee hasn’t really made much noise in the States. Hopefully, this will change with his latest album, Extra Science, done in collaboration with Toronto/Halifax producer Fresh Kils. Kils has been on a tear over the last few years, whether it’s his work as part of the Extremities or Backburner, winning Sound Battle Royale competitions, or producing tracks for numerous artists.

Toki Wright - FADERS Mixtape

It’s been a few years now since Toki Wright dropped his excellent debut album, A Different Mirror. He’s kept busy, though, touring, teaching, recording guest spots with other artists, and dropping timely singles discussing topics like immigration reform in Arizona and the execution of Troy Davis. With his sophomore album not too far in the distance, Wright builds excitement with his FADERS Mixtape. While the term mixtape is much harder to define these days, FADERS plays much more like a traditional mixtape than most I come across these days.

Georgia Anne Muldrow - Seeds

If you haven’t been following Georgia Anne Muldrow over the last few years, you’ve been missing out on one of the most creative working musicians today. It’s hard to put a label on Muldrow, as she works in so many facets, as a vocalist, emcee, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. While discussion about the lack of female emcees in hip hop is still relevant, Muldrow takes the discussion a step further. If you’re up on your hip hop and can name several female emcees off the top of your head, challenge yourself and try to name as many female producers or multi-instrumentalists as you can.

DJ Format - Statement of Intent

For some reason, British artist DJ Format never caught on in the States they way I thought he would. He’s certainly respected by other artists, as evidenced by his collaborations with the likes of Mr. Lif, Edan, Chali 2na, and Akil. He also worked with Ruben Fleischer to drop one of my favorite videos of all time. Maybe if Format came up through the L.A. scene, we’d be talking about him amongst contemporaries like Cut Chemist or Z-Trip.