Lt Headtrip is an emcee/producer originally from Ohio, but it was in New York where he really started his career and where the group of artists known as The Karma Kids coalesced about fifteen years ago. During his tenure in NYC, he found a place in Queens on Steinway Street where he built his studio and home. For his latest release, Headtrip is taking us back to that place and time with a bunch of previously unreleased material recorded in that studio, giving us an album simply titled, Steinway.

Normally, when you come across an album called Steinway, you might be expecting a reference to the piano company, and for the music to be either jazz or classical. In this case, however, Headtrip is referring to a much different Steinway, and the vibe not that of a Carnegie Hall performance – far from it. This is raw, underground New York hip hop shit. Each track is produced by Headtrip, and each track fucking bumps. This entire album is one that you need to listen to with the volume turned way up. Over the course of the album, you’re getting a ton of appearances from the Karma Kid extended family, including Samurai Banana, Gruff Lion, Jules Baxter, Googie, Uncommon Nasa, Blastmaster Baker, Tim Lee, Beach Craft Bonanza, Duncecap, Khalil Halim, Big Breakfast, and Old Self. Outside of the opening track, “An Open Letter to my Landlord,” which is exactly what it promises, most of the tracks are just posse cuts with loose themes. What this project is really about, though, is just an atmosphere of fun and creativity, where everyone is just feeding off the energy in the room, trying to outdo each other in the spirit of good natured competition. As a result, you get an album that is a lot of fun to listen to at all times, and one where you keep coming across absolute gems every couple of moments that you missed the last time through. So while this is technically a Lt Heatrip release, this really feels more like a label mixtape type of compilation, raw and playful and showcasing a tone of talent. This isn’t about finished products with hooks for big singles, this is about a bunch of artists coming together over a love of hip hop and just taking in the creative energy of a certain time and place.

Steinway is an album for the heads that long for the days of crew albums, posse cuts, and mix tapes. Headtrip not only showcases his ability for producing some bangers and rhyming with a lot of energy and charisma, but for cultivating a space where creative people could coalesce and thrive and all push each other to make the best hip hop.