Sujatha Fernandes - The Cuban Hustle: Culture, Politics, Everyday Life

Sujatha Fernandes is a Professor of Political Economy and Sociology at the University of Sydney. She has written a lot over the years, including books like Close to the Edge: In Search of the Global Hip Hop Generation, and contributed to edited collections like Home Girls Make Some Noise! – Hip-Hop Feminism Anthology. Her latest book is The Cuban Hustle: Culture, Politics, Everyday Life. The Cuban Hustle is a compilation of essays and articles, some of which are unique to the book, and others that have previously been published in places like the New York Times, The Nation, and NACLA Report on the Americas.

Serengeti - KDXMPC

Chicago emcee Serengeti has certainly had a busy 2020. He returned to his Kenny Dennis character in April with Ajai. He followed that up with Ajai Epilogue in July, and then dropped the wild With Greg From Deerhoof album in October. Now he’s back and once again returning to the story of Kenny Dennis and Ajai in KDXMPC. If Ajai Epilogue was the postscript to the story told on the Ajai album, KDXMPC feels like the prologue to the next chapter in Ajai’s life.

Chico Mann - Double Life

Chico Mann is the alter ego of Marcos Garcia, co-founder of such groups as The Daktaris and Antibalas. A few years back, Mann moved from New York to Los Angeles with the intention of starting an Afrorock band, Here Lies Man. While that project didn’t pan out the way Mann intended, he knew that the material that he had written was worth saving, so he went to work re-arranging the material to fit a slightly different style of music and ensemble.

Zilla Rocca & Chong Wizard - Midnight Sons

Zilla Rocca is an artist from Philadelphia who is part of the Wrecking Crew. On top of his solo career, he’s been part of such collaborative projects as Career Crooks with Small Professor and Grift Company with Curly Castro, just to name a couple. For his latest project, he’s teamed up with Vancouver producer Chong Wizard to release a full-length album, Midnight Sons. The nice thing about Midnight Sons is how it works on multiple levels, and rewards based on how much you want to interact with it.

Sons of the James - Everlasting

Sons of James is a new group featuring Rob Milton on vocals and DJ Harrison on production. Rob Milton is a vocalist from Atlanta that has been releasing music since 2012. Harrison is a deejay/producer/multi-instrumentalist from Richmond who not only plays keys with Butcher Brown, he also has released some solo material on Stones Throw. Together they are releasing their debut album with Portland label Fresh Selects, Everlasting. For Everlasting, Milton and Harrison drew inspiration from the Soulquarians, the neo-soul/hip hop collective of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s consisting of D’Angelo, Questlove, J Dilla, Erykah Badu, Roy Hargrove, James Poyser, Bilal, Pino Palladino, Q-Tip, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Common.

Love Moor - Motions

Love Moor is a vocalist from Birmingham who has been releasing music for the last five years. Her last album, Simp Girl, came in 2017. Since that time, she’s released a couple of singles, and played live a lot (back when we still could), but now she’s finally back with her new full-length album, Motions. One of the true joys in life for someone like myself is the chance to watch an artist grow and improve in real time.

Ivy Sole. - Southpaw

Ivy Sole. is an emcee from Philly that has been making her voice heard over the last four years, including a couple of great EPs in EAST and WEST, and then her debut album in 2018, Overgrown. She released a live version of the album back in March, but now she’s back with all new material in the form of the EP, Southpaw. The EP opens with a short intro skit, in which a trainer is encouraging Ivy Sole.

Equipto & Big Shawn - Outrange

Equipto is an emcee and activist from the Bay Area that has been going strong for over two decades. Over the years he has teamed up with such collaborators as Otayo Dubb, Brycon, Opio, and Dregs One, just to name a few. For his latest effort, he’s teamed up with Big Shawn (no, not that one – the producer from The Bay) to make an album called Outrange. Outrange is an interesting album, mostly in the way that the first song, “WTF,” hits you hard with this big, bangin’ beat that sets up your expectations in one way, only to have the rest of the album subvert those expectations and reveal itself as a more laid back and introspective project.

The Visionaries - V

Twenty five years ago, in Los Angeles, the artists known as Key-Kool, Dannu, Lord Zen, LMNO, 2Mex, and DJ Rhettmatic came together like Voltron to form a group known as The Visionaries. They released four stellar albums between 1998 and 2006, but then went on hiatus as careers and life pushed them all in different directions. They never officially broke up, though, and they’ve kept up with each other this whole time, so that when everything finally lined up again for them, they were ready to pounce on the opportunity and make another album.

Pink Siifu & Fly Anakin - FlySiifu's

Los Angeles emcee Pink Siifu first came on our radar back in 2016, when he collaborated with producer Swarvy on wothousandandnine. He’s been building upon that foundation since then, and released his solo album, Negro, in April of this year. Now he’s teamed up with Richmond emcee Fly Anakin to release a concept album of sorts, FlySiifu’s. One of the most interesting things about FlySiifu’s is the way in which this album sounds both like a modern album and a throwback album at the same time.