Mark R. Villegas - Manifest Technique: Hip Hop, Empire, and Visionary Filipino American Culture

Mark R. Villegas is an assistant professor of American Studies at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Previously, he co-edited and contributed to Empire of Funk: Hip Hop and Representation in Filipina/o America in 2014. Now he has gone even further in those studies with his new book, Manifest Technique: Hip Hop, Empire, and Visionary Filipino American Culture. Outside of Oliver Wang’s excellent 2015 book, Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews in the San Francisco Bay Area, there hasn’t been much published to document the specific ways in which Filipino Americans have contributed to hip hop history and culture over the years.

heir MAX - The Moment 2-0

Heir Max is an emcee from Fort Worth, best known as one half of the duo Alligator Food alongside producer Sixo. They dropped their first album together, Even Petals, back in 2016. They had been working on their sophomore album when Sixo tragically died from heatstroke in 2018 during a motocross race. After taking some time to regroup and recover, heir Max is ready to mark a new chapter in his career as a solo artist with his EP, The Moment 2-0.

The Council of the Gods - Trilogy

The Council of the Gods is a hip hop group out of Kingston, Jamaica, consisting of emcees Five Steez, Nomad Carlos, and The Sickest Drama. They released an album four years ago under the name The Council called Nothing Else Matters. After working on various solo projects and other collaborations, these three have gotten back together for a brand new project, Trilogy. To make Trilogy, The Council of the Gods enlisted the help of producers Sawandi, Time Cow, and Son Raw.

Damu the Fudgemunk - Conversation Peace

Damu the Fudgemunk is a producer from D.C. who has been releasing music since the mid-‘00s. Over the years, he’s released a lot of solo material, but he’s also collaborated on projects with the likes of Insight, Raw Poetic, Blu, Flex Matthews, and Archie Shepp. His most recent release came in April of 2020, when he dropped Moment of Change with Raw Poetic. Now, for his newest project, he’s teamed up with London label Def Pressé to launch a new series with Conversation Peace.

Dug, CKPITS, Sicksmith - So It Gose

Some time ago, Columbus artist Dug (of Happy Tooth & Dug fame) made connections online with Minneapolis artist CKPITS and Welsh artist Sicksmith. Since that time, the three have worked on different projects together in different capacities, but the time finally lined up for all three to work on a project together as a trio, the EP So It Gose. There are times for big, ambitious projects, and there are times for deeply personal solo projects.

L'Orange - The World Is Still Chaos, But I Feel Better

L’Orange is a producer from North Carolina who has worked with everyone from Stik Figa to Mr. Lif to Jeremiah Jae to Kool Keith to Solemn Brigham, along with maintaining a steady solo career. Most recently, he teamed up with labelmate Namir Blade to make the album Imaginary Everything, which came out this past May. Now he’s back with a new solo album, The World Is Still Chaos, But I Feel Better.

Brandon Isaac & Free Mind - The North Star

Brandon Isaac is an emcee from Cincinnati who has been releasing singles and mixtapes over the past couple of years, working with artists like Devin Burgess along the way. Now he’s finally ready to release his debut album, teaming up with Los Angeles producer Free Mind to drop The North Star. Many times, when an artist is dropping their debut album, they’ll look for big singles or a lot of fun songs or material that goes hard, all in the interest of making a name for themselves and opening up the door.

santpoort - ocean tales

Julien Mier is a producer from the Netherlands who has been releasing music for over a decade, working with labels like Cascade, Project Mooncircle, and the Lowriders Collective along the way. Since 2019, when he dropped his album, Industries in the Trees, which concluded a run of environmentally inspired projects, he’s been working more and more under his alias, santpoort. The last santpoort release came just about a year ago, when he released the EP Loon Society.

Akil Pratt & OZU8LACK - AkileeZ Heal

Birmingham emcee/producer Akil Pratt has been on a tear in 2021, having already released collaborative projects with fellow Bham artists K1NG ELJAY and Phrasure. Showing no signs of slowing down, he’s now teamed up with 729 emcee OZU8BLACK to release a new full-length album, AkileeZ Heal. Sometimes you see a title with a clever twist on a word or phrase, and you might smirk or knowingly nod and then move on.

Emapea - Bees, Trees and Flowers

Emapea is a producer from Poland who started releasing music in the mid-2010s, with a great run on Cold Busted Records. Stateside, he’s probably best known for his 2020 collaboration with L.A.’s Kid Abstrakt, Jazzy Vibes. Now he’s back with a solo instrumental album, Bees, Trees and Flowers. If you’re not already familiar with Emapea, don’t worry, because Bees, Trees and Flowers is a great place to dive in and get started.