Moderator - Midnight Madness

Moderator is a producer from Αθήνα, Greece, who has been releasing music for nearly a decade now. He really made the jump to the next tier on the international scene when he made his Cult Classics debut in 2014 with Escape. Since that time, he’s given us some truly enjoyable instrumental albums that have further solidified his status as a producer. He most recent project came two years ago, when he gave us the enigmatic The Mosiacs.

Clover Hope - The Motherlode\:\ 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop

Clover Hope is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn that has written for everyone from Vibe to ESPN The Magazine to The Village Voice. For her first book, she sought to give us an overview of all the women who have contributed to hip hop over the years with The Motherlode: 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop. There have been other attempts at putting together a history of women in hip hop, but Hope’s book stands apart in a couple of ways.

Scuare - Phenomenal

Scuare is a Brazilian American artist born in Oklahoma, but he has been based in Austin for years now. If you’ve been to our SXSW showcases, there is a good chance you saw him performing either as a solo artist or alongside no1mportant. He’s certainly been keeping busy performing and working on different projects, such as last year’s EP with KB and Rav, Skin. With all he’s done in recent years, though, it’s actually been eight years since his last full-length solo album, Alphabet Soup.

Awon & Phoniks - Nothing Less

Awon is an emcee from Newport News. In the decade-plus he’s been at it, he’s collaborated with artists like Dephlow, Linkwrust, and Kameleon Beats. His most consistent collaborator, though, has been Phoniks, a producer from Portland, Maine. Over the years, they’ve given us a lot of great classic hip hop, so it’s only right that they started writing together under quarantine. They now have given us their first album in three years, Nothing Less.

Nappy Nina & JWords - Double Down

Nappy Nina is an emcee originally from Oakland, but now based in Brooklyn. She’s been releasing music for about six years now, with her latest release, 30 Bag, coming in May of last year. Now she’s teamed up with Jersey producer JWords to release a new album, Double Down. It’s always nice when an artist pairs up with a producer and you get a new, distinctive sound. Not that I haven’t enjoyed her previous work, but if Nina wanted to make a second volume of 30 Bag, she could have called everyone from that project and ran things back.

Deadpan Darling - Deadpan Darling

Deadpan Darling is the collaboration between Ceschi and Blue Sky Black Death. The twist here is that this isn’t a new collaboration, rather one that took place in 2005. All involved had thought that the album was lost to the ether after a fried hard drive erased everything that they had recorded, but recently Televangel discovered that he did in fact have enough salvageable material that they could touch things up and finally put the album.

MC K-Swift - Pottery Class Volume 2: Ceramics

MC K-Swift is a New York artist and educator that has been laying shit down since 1994. He started off this year with a full-length album called Pottery Class Volume 1: The Clay. Now he’s back with a follow up EP, Pottery Class Volume 2: Ceramics. When you’re a skilled veteran like K-Swift, you don’t always need a lot of space to say everything. With Ceramics, we only get six songs, and only one of those approaches four minutes, so it might appear on paper that you’re getting something slap-dash and unfinished.

LATASHA - Meds by Tasha Vol. 1: Codes of Desire

LATASHA, fka Latasha Alcindor, made a splash in 2016-2017, when she made an appearance on Sammus’ Pieces in Space, and then released her own solo album, Teen Nite at Empire. Since that time, she has relocated from New York to L.A., but she had been relatively quiet, musically speaking. She emerged last year to drop a collection of older material called PAST LIFE. Now she’s back with a new hybrid project, Meds by Tasha Vol.

Serengeti - Jeremy C

Serengeti had a busy 2020, with multiple releases including two stellar albums, AJAI and With Greg From Deerhoof. As we work our way through 2021, Serengeti has been going back into the vault, releasing what a day, some of his very first recordings, in February. Now he’s back with another lost session, this time from around 2010, Jeremy C. The Jeremy C in question is Jeremy Cox, musician/producer from Chicago who has released a lot of solo material and worked on projects with Arthur Friedhoff and Craig Bravo Miller.

Donwill - Space

Donwill is of course one half of the duo Tanya Morgan, alongside Von Pea. It was two years ago when he gave us his last solo album, One Word No Space. At the beginning of the pandemic last year, Donwill gave us an EP called SAFE. Now, a year later, he’s giving us something of a companion piece with a new EP called SPACE. SAFE saw Donwill taking more and more of the helm of production duties, getting a couple of assists along the way, but overall the project was balanced by Donwill and guests on the mic.