D-Sisive - Run With The Creeps

Having released Jonestown 2: Jimmy Go Bye Bye earlier this year, Toronto emcee D-Sisive is already back for another round. Run With The Creeps makes for a pretty natural follow up album, in part because he enlists the help of producer Muneshine again. Others contribute as well, though, including Bird, Pigeon Hole, Techtwelve, The Dirty Sample, and Metty the Dertmerchant. If you’re already a fan of D-Sisive’s dry, self deprecating sense of humor and penchant for pop culture references, you won’t be disappointed.

JNaturaL x DJ Tramlife - Love Lapse Mixtape

After releasing her strong debut album earlier this year, Love is on Hiatus, JNatural has spent a lot of time on the road. In anticipation of her tour this fall, the Project Blowed emcee got together with DJ Tramlife to create a bonus mixtape. They went the more traditional route with it, making one continuous stream of music as songs blend into each other. There are remixes of JNaturaL, along with songs about love that she and Tramlife felt kept with the theme.

Sadistik & Kristoff Krane - Prey for Paralysis

In April of this year, St. Paul emcee Kristoff Krane found himself on tour with Seattle’s Sadistik. The two quickly realized that they had great chemistry together. When Krane turned on Sadistik to the work of experimental noise rock drummer/producer Graham O’Brien, the pieces began to fall into place, and they knew they needed to record together, and they needed to work with O’Brien. One listen to Prey for Paralysis, and you’d think these guys have been working together for years.

Doomtree - No Kings

Now in their tenth year, the Minneapolis collective Doomtree have really been stepping up the game the past few years. Since their first full length as a group in 2008, they’ve seen their notoriety grow through a combination of constant touring and a string of incredibly strong solo releases. Not only are they all inventive albums, but they are also varied and helped define each member’s identity within and without the group.

The Plot Against Hip Hop by Nelson George

I need to preface this review by saying that Nelson George is one of my favorite music writers. He began covering hip hop in the early ‘80s for Billboard Magazine, and he has written some wonderfully comprehensive books on the history of popular music, including The Death of Rhythm and Blues and Hip Hop America. They are must reads for anyone invested in the history of African American music. That said, up until this point, I had not read any of his works of fiction.

Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma

So I avoided Flying Lotus for a while, in large part because I didn’t like the name. It was only through working with artists that I liked that I was forced to acknowledge his beat-making ability. While I’m still not crazy about the name (it sounds too much like a hardcore punk act I wouldn’t listen to), I’ve come around on the music. Cosmogramma is definitely worth the listen. Taking inspiration from his aunt Alice Coltrane, he created a flowing musical journey that journeys through a wide range of emotions and genres.

Mega Ran - Mega Ran 10

It’s been a few years since Philly emcee Random first introduced his alter ego, Mega Ran, based on the classic video game series Mega Man. Mega Ran 10 is based on the latest game in this series, but that’s really just the starting point for the album. Using samples from the game’s soundtrack to create his sound, Mega Ran been embraced by the nerdcore scene. However, he’s managed to take this extremely nerdy premise and make hip hop that appeals to a much wider fan base, thanks to some inventive production and lyrics that transcend the original premise.

Milo - I wish my brother Rob was here

While I’ve only been in Wisconsin a short while, I’ve enjoyed discovering some of the great hip hop hidden up here. The most recent artist to catch my attention is a talented emcee by the name of Milo. The youngster has recently dropped his debut, I wish my brother Rob was here. On the opening track, “Omar Don’t Scare,” we get introduced to a nerdy wordsmith with an awkward sense of humor.

Grand's Sixth Sense - Grand's Sixth Sense

Early bedroom recordings are usually an area to tread lightly. With rare exception do we ever get anything better than a poor quality recording of a talent that hasn’t yet developed. However, with the untimely passing of Micheal “Eyedea” Larsen, I can understand the desire to dig through his unreleased material. Grand’s Sixth Sense was made with Abilities when they were young teens, around fourteen to sixteen years old, recorded on a four track.

Hovatron - Hovatron

On their third release, the Dutch label Lowriders Recordings reached out to a Canadian artist, Montreal’s Hovatron. The youngster is part of a burgeoning scene there, one which I’ll have to learn more about based on the strength of this EP. He’s working with a range of influences that brings in the synthesized glitches and melodies of skwee and other European electronic styles and the bass and drums of Bay Area hyphy hip hop.