• British Hip Hop History (according to me)

    Feb 25 2014, 23:48

    With plenty of releases I am still to hear and probably have never heard of - so please feel free to comment with releases you don't see here. Either put it in the shout box below this page or put it on my main profile page.

    Cookie Crew - Born This Way (1989)

    Braintax - Fat Head (1992)

    Blak Twang - Dettwork SouthEast (1996)

    Lewis Parker - B-Boy Antiks ( 1996)

    Lewis Parker - Rise (1996)

    Mud Family - The Mud Files, Vol. 1 (1997)

    Braintax - Future Years (January 1st 1997)

    Blak Twang - 19 LongTime (Live From The Big Smoke) (1998)

    Lewis Parker - Masquerades & Silhouettes (The Ancients Series One) (December 2nd 1998)

    Jehst - Premonitions (1999)

    Roots Manuva - Brand New Second Hand (March 1st 1999)

    Mr. Scruff - Keep It Unreal (June 1st 1999)

    Task Force - New Mic Order (June 14th 1999)

    Braintax - The Travel Show (September 1st 1999)

    Phi-Life Cypher - Millennium Metaphors (April 15th 2000)

    Task Force - Voice Of The Great Outdoors (June 1st 2000)

    Mark B / Blade - The Unknown (October 2nd 2000)

    Braintax - Biro Funk (January 12th 2001)

    Task Force - Music From The Corner, Vol. 1 (February 1st 2001)

    Various - World Lab 2: The Next Chapter (September 9th 2001)

    Out da Ville - Notts Property ( 2002)

    The Streets - All Got Our Runnins (March 18th 2002)

    The Streets - Original Pirate Material (March 18th 2002)

    Blak Twang - Kik Off (April 15th 2002)

    Jehst - The Return Of The Drifter (October 1st 2002)

    Lewis Parker - It's All Happening Now (The Ancient Series Three) (October 1st 2002)

    Phi-Life Cypher / Task Force - The Chosen Few (October 21st 2002)

    Lowkey - Key To The Game, Vol. 1 (January 1st 2003)

    Life Mc - Everyday Life (March 1st 2003)

    Task Force - Music From The Corner, Vol. 2 (October 13th 2003)

    Jehst - Falling Down (October 19th 2003)

    Phi-Life Cypher - Higher Forces (November 9th 2003)

    Champions Of Nature - Champions Of Nature ( 2004)

    Klashnekoff - The Sagas Of... (June 14th 2004)

    Akala - The War Mixtape (August 2nd 2004)

    Task Force - Music From The Corner, Vol. 3 (August 3rd 2004)

    Skinnyman - Council Estate Of Mind (August 9th 2004)

    The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free (May 18th 2004)

    Rodney P - The Future (October 18th 2004)

    Task Force - Music From The Corner: Volume 4 (January 12th 2005)

    3 Amigos - Lost But Not Forgotten (April 30th 2005)

    Black The Ripper - Black Is Beautiful (August 15th 2005)

    Lowkey - Key To The Game, Vol. 3 (October 5th 2005)

    Klashnekoff - Focus Mode (October 10th 2005)

    Life Mc - Realities Of Life (February 13th 2006)

    The Streets - The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living (April 10th 2006)

    Akala - It's Not A Rumor (April 15th 2006)

    Akala / Ms. Dynamite - A Little Darker (July 7th 2006)

    Phi-Life Cypher - Playback (September 4th 2006)

    Stig Of The Dump - The Homeless Microphonist (September 25th 2006)

    Devlin - Tales From The Crypt (October 2006)

    Braintax - Panorama (October 23rd 2006)

    Black The Ripper - Holla Black (December 6th 2006)

    Plan B - Paint It Blacker (February 1st 2007)

    Klashnekoff - Lionheart: Tussle With The Beast (February 12th 2007)

    Children Of The Damned - Tourettes Camp (June 1st 2007)

    Durrty Goodz - Axiom (July 2nd 2007)

    Dr Syntax - Self Taught (August 3rd 2007)

    Akala - Freedom Lasso (October 1st 2007)

    Chester P - From The Ashes (November 15th 2007)

    Devlin - Devz EP (January 29th 2008)

    Life Mc - Outside Looking In (February 21st 2008)

    Braintax - My Last And Best Album (March 10th 2008)

    Rhyme Asylum - State Of Lunacy (June 15th 2008)

    Devlin - The Art Of Rolling (June 30th 2008)

    Black The Ripper - Afro Samurai (August 19th 2008)

    The Streets - Everything Is Borrowed (September 15th 2008)

    Akala - The War Mixtape, Vol. 2 (September 24th 2008)

    Durrty Goodz - Ultrasound (January 26th 2009)

    Children Of The Damned - Just Drink E.P. (June 8th 2009)

    Chester P - New Mic Order - The Mix Tape Part 1 (Survive Or Die Trying) (September 9th 2009)

    Scorzayzee - The Starter (December 12th 2009)

    Dan Le Sac / Scroobius Pip - The Logic Of Chance (March 15th 2010)

    Rhyme Asylum - Solitary Confinement (April 23rd 2010)

    Akala - DoubleThink (May 3rd 2010)

    Scorzayzee - Raging Bull (May 12th 2010)

    Durrty Goodz - Born Blessed (July 3rd 2010)

    Klashnekoff - Back To The Sagas (July 26th 2010)

    Stig Of The Dump - Mood Swings (October 112th 2010)

    Devlin - Bud, Sweat And Beers (November 1st 2010)

    Life Mc - Life Beyond Rap (November 25th 2010)

    The IRS - The Offcuts (November 9th 2010)

    Leaf Dog - Lost Leafs (December 25th 2010)

    The Streets - Cyberspace And Reds (January 25th 2011)

    The Streets - Computers And Blues (February 7th 2011)

    Ghostpoet - Peanut Butter Blues And Melancholy Jam (February 7th 2011)

    Akala - Knowledge Is Power, Vol. 1 (May 28th 2012)

    Plan B - Ill Manors (July 23rd 2012)

    Life Mc - Da Throwback (November 18th 2012)

    Shortz 1 - Elevation (January 13th 2013)

    Black The Ripper - 420 (April 19th 2013)

    Akala - The Thieves' Banquet (May 27th 2013)

    Shortz 1 - Elevation 2 (August 2nd 2013)

    Micall Parknsun - I Should've Done This Time Ago (January 31st 2014)

    Manage - The Memory Hole (February 26th 2014)

    Dr. Syntax & Pete Cannon - Killer Combo! (March 3rd 2014)

  • 2013 Releases.

    Dic 18 2012, 18:06

    Releases Ranked: (Heard: 75)

    ★★★★★ = Dope as fuck.
    01. The Thieves Banquet - Akala (Album)
    02. 12 Reasons To Die/The Brown Tape - Ghostface Killah (Album)
    03. Sound The System - Alborosie (Album)
    04. Yessir Whatever - Quasimoto (Compilation)
    05. INDIGOISM - The Underachievers (Mixtape)
    06. The Grimy Awards - Ill Bill (Album)
    07. The Psychic World of Walter Reed - Killah Priest (Double Album)
    08. Saaab Stories - Action Bronson (Mixtape)
    09. The Maven - K-Rino (Album)
    10. Truly Yours - J. Cole (EP)
    11. Ringside - Smoke DZA (EP)
    12. Hark! - The Doppelgangaz (Album)
    13. Damare Shizukani - Ethelwulf (EP)
    14. The Lost Scrolls Vol. 1 - J Dilla (EP)

    ★★★★ = Good, replayable.
    15. Doris - Earl Sweatshirt (Album)
    16. Jungle Revolution - Congo Natty (Album)
    17. Extended Play - Statik Selektah (Album)
    18. ESGN (Evil Seeds Grow Naturally) - Freddie Gibbs (Album)
    19. Legends Never Die - R.A. the Rugged Man (Album)
    20. The Kitchen - Hieroglyphics (Album)
    21. Stolen Youth - Vince Staples (Mixtape)
    22. Black Chamber - Black Chamber (Instrumental)
    23. IV - The Bronx (Album)
    24. Legend Remixed - Bob Marley (Remix Album)
    25. New Jet City - Curren$y (Mixtape)
    26. Born Sinner - J. Cole (Album)
    27. Run The Jewels - Killer Mike & El-P (Free Album)
    28. Rise As One - Jah Sun (Album)
    29. Lil Ghetto Boy - Fiend (Mixtape)
    30. Westcoast Gangsta Shit - Daz Dillinger & WC (Album)
    31. Dirty Slums 2 - Slum Village (Mixtape)
    32. Keep It Hood - MC Eiht (EP)
    33. In Concert - Ziggy Marley (Live Album)
    34. VERSES - Mike G (Compilation)
    35. The Dream Begins - Nebula (EP)
    36. Ralphies Forgotten Children - R.F.C. (Compilation MIxtape)
    37. Happy B-day J D!lla - Illmind (Instrumental)
    38. Caligula Theme Music 2.7.5 - Lee Bannon (Instrumental)
    39. Game Room - 183Rd (Instrumental)
    40. CZARFACE - Czarface (Album)
    41. Prisoner Of Conscious - Talib Kweli (Album)
    42. Set Up Shop Vol. 1 - Various Artists (Compilation)
    43. Fre$h Outta Favor$ - Chris Ward (Mixtape)
    44. Elevation - Shortz1 (EP)
    45. The Keynote Speaker - U-God (Album)
    46. Foreign Oil - GNETICZ (Album)
    47. Tru 2 Tha Phonk - Amber London (Mixtape)
    48. The Dark Knight - Buddha Monk (Album)
    49. Operation Bloody Valentine (The Lost Weapons) - Teraban (Mixtape)
    50. Thrive - Big Twins (Mixtape)
    51. Hannibal The Great - Hanz On (Album)
    52. Drumlord Skillionaire - Inspectah Deck (Mixtape)
    53. Elevation 2 - Shortz1 (EP)
    54. Long.Live.A$AP - A$AP Rocky (Album)
    55. Lords of Flatbush - The Underachievers (EP)

    ★★★ = Average.
    56. K.R.I.T. (King Remembered In Time) - Big K.R.I.T. (Mixtape)
    57. The Answer - Mathematics (Album)
    58. High Tide - Harry Fraud (EP)
    59. Wolf - Tyler, the Creator (Album)
    60. Lost Jewlry - Raekwon (Mixtape)
    61. The Great Conjunction - Beretta 9 (Mixtape)
    62. The Man The Myth - Paper Pablo (Album)
    63. Jewelz - Juellz (Digital Release)
    64. Watching Movies with the Sound Off - Mac Miller (Album)
    65. Limitless - Eric Dingus (Instrumental)
    66. Admission of Guilt - Torae (Mixtape)
    67. It's Game Involved - Gangsta Boo (Mixtape)
    68. 420 - Black The Ripper (Mixtape)
    69. The Nacirema Dream - Papoose (Album)
    70. Deer Guts - Verbal Kent (EP)

    ★★ = Most likely wouldn't bump again.
    71. Summer Knights - Joey Bada$$ (Mixtape)
    72. Young Legend - Durrty Goodz (Mixtape)
    73. #MAD - P-Money (Mixtape)

    = Terrible, not recommended.
    74. Truly Yours 2 - J. Cole (EP)
    75. Yeezus - Kanye West (Album)

    Below is my thoughts on each album released this year that I've heard in order of hearing them.

    Long.Live.A$AP - A$AP Rocky

    Definitely not as good as his debut mixtape Live.Love.A$AP but it has plenty of redeemable qualities that make it good. Most of the beats stay in tune with Live.Love... such as the beat here from Soufein3000 ("Pain"), but then there are songs like "Fashion Killa", Hell" and "Wild For The Night" which both have terrible beats and are both fucking terrible songs. Luckily though, songs like "PMW" featuring ScHoolboy Q (Produced by T-Minus), the tighest song on the fucking album "1 Train" (Produced by Hit-Boy) featuring the fucking tightest line up of all time if you take out YelaWolf (Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Big K.R.I.T., NEED I SAY FUCKING MORE?!), aswell as the single "Fuckin' Problem" featuring Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar (Produced by Noah "40" Shebib). After "1 Train" the album fluctuates between bad and good, luckily great beats from Danger Mouse ("Phoenix", absolute banger) and up-and-comer Joey Fatt$ ("Jodye", an absolutely fucking demonic beat) salvage the final quarter of the album. Another qualm I have is A$AP's lack of use of his fast flow, he uses it on a few songs but I always liked his songs better when he switched it up from slow to fast.

    Lost Jewlry - Raekwon

    Always good to hear something new from the Chef but I'm always disappointed when he doesn't go with in-house Wu-Tang producers, the beats on this short EP come from the likes of Scram Jones and Buckwild among others and I have to say that some of the beats do fall short. Despite that, Rae's flow is still murderous and he can still craft a very dope song. Overall, I liked it with the standout song being the collaboration with Freddie Gibbs, "New Day". Not something that will be spun constantly by me, but it's listenable.

    The Bronx IV - The Bronx

    Much more upbeat songs than their previous three records, the long awaited fourth album from The Bronx is giving me shivers. Not as good as their first two records, not many are from any punk band, but a great album that - for rock music - will be a tough one to beat this year.

    Dirty Slums 2 - Slum Village

    Coming up alongside J Dilla, there's no question that you have to be nothing but dope and Baatin (R.I.P.), T3, Illa J & Young RJ are all that. They all come equipped with incredibly positive and inspiring rhymes with heavy beats (mostly by Young RJ) obviously inspired by Dilla. Nothing like their earlier wok but it's dope to see that they can still do what they do best even without their head. Favourite tracks: "No Mas" and "Gangster Bitch" featuring The Action Figures and Denmark Vesey. Also good to note how much the featured Guilty Simpson, Black Milk and Big Pooh go the fuck in on their verses. Very dope mixtape.

    Indigoism - The Underachievers

    Those of us who have already BEEN fans of this East Coast duo have been anticipating this mixtape for over six months now and every time they dropped a new track every single one was better than the other. So naturally the mixtape was bound to be a fucking modern classic, and it is. Heavily intelligent and spiritually influenced rhymes are spat over dreamy and somewhat surreal beats. A tape that has already been spun more than twice by me and will continue to be. Bring on the fucking next one!

    Jewelz - Juellz

    I actually did enjoy this short 11-track release a lot, but it wasn't for the main featured artist. It was more for the incredibly dope beats and features. Features come, most notably, from Has-Lo, Vakill, K-Rino, Reks and Kurious - all of whom I am already huge fans of so to see them all on one tape collectively by some random unknown artist was a revelation. The main featured artist, Juellz, has a very dreary flow that's hard to follow despite even his dope lyricism.

    In Concert - Ziggy Marley

    Very entertaining live record from Bob Marley's eldest son.

    New Jet City - Curren$y

    Dope beats but I have to admit I wasn't liking much of Spitta's rhymes here - saying that, I do like his flow though so that's why I thought it was a dope mixtape. Jadakiss is featured on "Clear" - my favourite song off the tape. I also like the first and last songs, they both have the same beat and the outro features Young Roddy - who doesn't really fit the beat - but the beat has a classic feel to it. "Mary" samples a song previously sampled by Madlib among many others, but the producer flipped it in a slight bit different way.

    The Lost Scrolls Vol. 1 - J Dilla

    Unreleased Dilla beats? Yes please. Unreleased Dilla rhymes? Yes fucking please. Dope as fuck EP, need MORE of this shit.

    Drumlord Skillionaire - Inspectah Deck

    Despite looking hella unofficial, this official mixtape was pretty dope. All freestyles, as the artwork suggests, Deck goes in over beats by the likes of araabMUZIK, Agallah and more and pretty much destroys them all. His "Nasty" freestyle is pretty old but regardless it's a dope take on Salaam Remi's beat. Eagerly anticipating Deck's collaboration with 7L & Esoteric.

    CZARFACE - Czarface

    This would be five stars if it wasn't for the godawful MC that is Esoteric (I won't say another word about him because he's the worst thing about this shit). Luckily though, Inspectah Deck goes fucking hard on EVERY song, and 7L's beats, as per usual, are fucking fire. Very dope concept and lyricism from Deck. Incredible samples, everything from George Carlin stand up specials to WCW commentators. Such an awesome album. Every guest is fucking dope too, and so epically picked: Action Bronson, Ghostface Killah and Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire.... can't ask for any more than that... well.... except for an instrumental version.... or a version without Esoteric.....

    The Dark Knight - Buddha Monk

    Buddha Monk has been in the game for a very long time - coming together with the Wu-Tang Clan affiliate group spearheaded by the Ol' Dirty Bastard. the Brooklyn Zu - making his first appearance on wax in 1995 on ODB's debut album. Since then, Buddha Monk has dropped a few albums and many compilations of tracks recorded over a time period of '95 up until now. This is another compilation with no clear indication of when the tracks were recorded only when the album was released - in 2013. The album is full of unorthodox beats which do not best help Monk's flows or rhymes, but having said that there are many good beats that stick out aswell as Monk's dope lyricism and flow in itself. Plenty of features (as always) most of them come correct but I would never have the inclination to seek their stuff out. Dope release from a rapper who has long been in the game.

    The Grimy Awards - Ill Bill

    Ill Bill puts shame to any rapper trying to come up in the game. Much realer than his brother Necro (who only seems to rap about fucking and murder), Ill Bill once again comes correct with this album. With a production list worthy of any classic album (Psycho Les, DJ Premier, Ayatollah, Moss, DJ Muggs, Pete Rock and Ill Bill himself) aswell as guest appearances by legendary rappers such as Lil' Fame of M.O.P., Shabazz The Disciple, Q-Unique, O.C., Cormega, El-P and Jedi Mind Tricks aswell as newcomer Meyhem Lauren and an appearance from H.R. of legendary punk band Bad Brains. Yet another dope album from Ill Bill, no complaints whatsoever here. Stand-out tracks: "How to Survive the Apocalypse", "World Premier" and "Acid Reflux".

    The Psychic World Of Walter Reed - Killah Priest

    Wu-Heads have been anticipating this Double CD for a very very long time. Nevertheless, Priest kept to his word and FINALLY dropped the shit, and it is a fucking banging double CD. Both discs flow so fucking well and every track makes you think. It takes you straight back to the days of "Heavy Mental" when Priest was at his peak. Songs like "The Black Market", "Brilliantair" and "Salute" show off the typical Wu-sounding beats aswell as Priest's ever-clever wordplay but songs like "Currents of Events" and "Super God" showcase beats that sound like they were plucked from outer space. Most of the production comes from Godzwrath Productions aswell as a few select beats from RZA, True Master, Ayatollah, the legendary 4th Disciple (who regrettably only has one beat on here, wtf Priest?) aswell as Priest himself. Overall, this is an incredible album. Undoubtedly his best since "Heavy Mental" - but that's not to say he hasn't put out dope stuff since because believe me, he has. Stand out tracks are undoubtedly: "Think Priest (Good Thoughts", "Salute", "Devotion to the Saints" featuring Ghostface Killah and Inspectah Deck and "Anakims Dream".

    Set Up Shop Vol. 1 - Various Artists

    Dancehall is going in a very weird direction and sadly it involves autotune. Despite this, many of the artists at it's core who are still making music still manage to put out plenty of soulful music. There are many examples of that on this album, but it's clearly the roots reggae songs that stick out - "My Conclusion" featuring Stephen Marley, Buju Banton and Akon is the best song on here with "In Dependence" by Damian Marley, Wayne Marshall, Tarrus Riley & TOK a close runner up. The rest of the album is compiled of up and comers - my favourite song of which is "Samson Strength" by Black Am I, the guy has a great laid back flow and dope lyrics. A dope listen, but I'd much rather a full album from any of the Marley brothers.

    Game Room - 183Rd

    One of the best new producers, 183rd been putting in his grind making beats for the likes of Smoke DZA, Freeway, Big Sant and Fat Trel. Now he finally decides to drop a beat tape and it's hella dope. Obviously inspired by various video games, the sounds are smooth as fuck. Definitely worth the cop.

    Admission of Guilt - Torae

    A short concept release from Torae which I just copped over on DJBooth for free (Props!) The few tracks I liked featured Pharoahe Monch, Skyzoo and Bun B, but for the most part I didn't really like any of the beats. That said, the last two tracks are both dope... "Hustler's Prayer" is my favourite joint on the tape which will definitely get replayed - The Notorious B.I.G. sample is dope. Though I didn't like the beats, I appreciate the story and the bars, especially from Torae - a dope MC who I should probably hear more of. I've only heard this and some old features.

    The Great Conjunction - Beretta 9

    Beretta 9 was never the best in Killarmy but he's definitely worked the hardest. He's dropped a few mixtapes over the past few years but I never bothered to check for any of them, but I downloaded this free mixtape and I have to say it wasn't too bad. The beats and features were all well placed aswell as the dope Full Metal Jacket samples, but sadly the CD is pretty horribly mixed. I'm sure if it was I'd have appreciated this tape much more. "Problems" and "Shell Bomb" (Produced by Wu-Tang legend 4th Disciple) will undoubtedly get replay from me.

    Operation Bloody Valentine (The Lost Weapons) - Teraban

    Dom Pachino, Chapelz and Bugsy Da God put this tape out on Valentines Day but believe me this is full of grimy bangers, not one tune for the ladies. Props to these guys for staying true to their roots. The beats, mostly from Falling Down and Lord Beatjitzu, are all hype as fuck. Very dope mixtape.

    Black Chamber - Black Chamber

    A very soulful and relaxing release from an improvisational jazz trio. Very easy listening.

    Young Legend - Durrty Goodz

    When your favourite MC releases a bad mixtape or album, it's really disheartening. Why Goodz? Why? Full of terrible "trap" beats, Goodz has clearly changed his style to try and become accessible to the masses yet he still talks about staying real and not being blinded by money. Three years ago he dropped Born Blessed, an absolute classic and an album that sits atop a list of greatest hip hop albums to come out of this country... and now he gives us this, a free mixtape which is really hard to sit through. "Shottas" featuring Spragga Benz is the best song on here but, like many of the other somewhat listenable songs on here, it is bookended by skits that ruin the flow of the tape. Hopefully his next release won't be so convoluted.

    The Man The Myth - Paper Pablo

    Competent beats and features, it's just very underwhelming having to hear Pabs' lame flow.

    Wolf - Tyler, the Creator

    Tyler is actually very talented, but his childishness and immaturity get in the way. As much as he just wants to be "different" and "controversial" he makes very very good beats (just see "Bastard" and any older OFWGKTA releases to see that) - most of the beats here are good but the four or five songs that are depressing and boring to listen to ("Answer", "Colossus / The Bridge of Love" - the worst song on the album is "Partyisntover / Campfire / Bimmer" even though the beat on "Bimmer" goes hard). Best songs are undoubtedly "48", "Pigs", "Parking Lot" and "Rusty". The features from Mike G and Earl Sweatshirt (the two best rappers in OF) had me heated before even hearing them and they both delivered. Another favourite song is the "Treehome95" with Erykah Badu, the beat is so relaxing and if anything that is my favourite song on the album. Take out the slow depressing songs and you have a really good album. Much better than "Goblin", fuck that album. If I was rating this out of 10, it would be a 7/10 but I'm hesitant to give it four stars as there are plenty of songs that I WON'T be bumping as opposed to the four or five that I WILL be bumping. It's hard to gauge, but three stars is still good.

    The Nacirema Dream - Papoose

    Prior to listening to this I didn't rate Papoose's skill as a rapper at all so I'm not gonna lie, I skipped quite a few songs on this album but not without due cause - the skits were irritating and some of the others used autotune which I just don't want to listen to. I was impressed by some of Pap's one-liners aswell as some of the stories he's trying to tell and the beats were all top notch especially "Cure" by Buckwild and "Motion Picture" by Dame Grease. Overall, average.

    The Maven - K-Rino

    Yet again, the South Park Coalition leader - 30 years into the game - drops another absolutely banging album. Last year, his two albums were among the most highest rated by me and this is the first by K to be put out this year. While some of the beats are questionable, with a K-Rino release the most important thing is his lyricism and his storytelling. For me, as long as the beats are tolerable in a K-Rino album that's all that matters and this is no exception. As with any Rino release though, there are some hench beats such as "Gone Away" which is a heartfelt song about love - an emotion we all encounter. Will be bumping this constantly because of how intricate Rino's rhymes are, one listen just isn't enough.

    Lil Ghetto Boy - Fiend

    I've always been a big fan of Fiend, although I'd heard some of his tracks from his No Limit days back in the '90s it was only when he appeared on tracks like "Notorious" by Smoke DZA and "O.G...(The Jar)" by Curren$y that I started paying attention. He has such a smooth flow but still spits aggresive bars. Totally expected this to be whack but I was pleasantly surprised when almost every track banged. Some of the more laid back songs broke up the flow of the album but on a whole I can't really complain. Highlights are the two features from the two aforementioned artists aswell as "Just Groovin'" featuring Devin the Dude and "Violent Violins".

    Ringside EP - Smoke DZA

    Smoke DZA evidently grew up watching the same wrestlers I did and with tracks like "New Jack" and "Big, Bad And Dangerous" (which features his tag team partner Action Bronson whose love for wrestling you can hear on "Savage From Sarasota", "Intercontinental Champion" and "Ron Simmons") his adoration for wrestling clearly shines through, aswell as in other select lyrics from plenty of his other songs. And now, finally, DZA and his frequent producer 183Rd (whose "Game Room" compilation needs more love) come together yet again to put out this EP, the release of which coincided with WrestleMania 29, that samples wrestlers theme tunes such Hulk Hogan, the Undertaker and Chris Jericho aswell as audio clips of classic wrestlers Eddie Guerrero and Razor Ramon and if you listen closely you'll hear good ol' Vinnie Mac aswell. I just cannot hate on this in any way shape or form because DZA is one of my favourite rappers out and this is just propelling him further up that list.

    Deer Guts - Verbal Kent

    The beats are fucking dynamite, but this is one MC that tries way too hard.

    Happy B-day J D!lla - Illmind

    An instrumental release from dope producer Illmind, who has worked with the likes of Heltah Skeltah, King Tee, Pusha T, Kanye West among others. Released on J Dilla's birthday this year, the release is a soulful mixture of songs that sound like something Dilla would've made. A great tribute to a great producer whose legacy lives on in the few guys left still making incredible beats like this.

    Keep It Hood EP - MC Eiht

    Be honest, what oldhead MCs have still got it? Not many, but Eiht does.... and this proves it. "Let's Do This" is a fucking certified BANGER. Can't wait for the album if it drops this year.

    Truly Yours - J. Cole

    Slept on this release for way too long... Every song is beyond heartfelt and Cole spits only the realest lyrics over some of the best beats I've heard all fucking year. My interest in Cole goes up and down with every new song I hear from him but after hearing this.. my eyes and ears are now fucking wide open for this guy.

    K.R.I.T. (King Remembered In Time) - Big K.R.I.T.

    So so disappointing. I was expecting another raw as fuck tape just like K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, Return Of 4Eva and 4Eva N A Day (all of which get five stars from me) but instead I was met with a slow burning mixtape full of songs that are boring and absolutely appealing to no one. Sure there are songs like "Banana Clip Theory", "R.E.M.", "W.T.F." and "Meditate" that are actually enjoyable but for the most part this just does not pack a punch as hard as any of his previous releases. The song I was looking forward to the most, "Only One", features Smoke DZA and Wiz Khalifa - sadly DZA doesn't sound very good on the track at all and raps completely out of time with the beat, saying that though the beat was dope. Near the end of the tape, "Life Is A Gamble" comes on with a heavy pounding beat by 9th Wonder and a dope feature from soulful crooner BJ The Chicago Kid. I expected so much more from K.R.I.T. with this one but I was just disappointed, it's sad too because of how much I love all of his work leading up to this.

    UPDATE: After a second listen my rating remains the same. This time around my appreciation for K.R.I.T.'s lyricism crept back in and this time I could understand many of the stories he tells on the tape much more than on the first listen. My favourite songs off the tape are now "My Trunk" and "Serve This Royalty" with "R.E.M." being a close contender. Still, it's much much weaker than all of his previous releases and most of the problems I addressed upon my first listen remain intact.

    VERSES - Mike G

    Along with Earl Sweatshirt, Mike G was always my favourite out of the Odd Future clique even though most of them suck (granted some have improved over the past few years but still they're not very consistent at all). Anyway, this was a nice compilation of tracks from Mike G - who seems to drop off the map for years at a time... alas, I'd heard "LIVE", "3 Commandments", "Swiss Army" and "Seasons" before and there's not a bad song on here. Will definitely be replaying songs off this. Doesn't touch on "ALI" though.

    Damare Shizukani - Ethelwulf

    Now HERE is a rapper to look out for. Incredible dreamy production laced with a dope as fuck flow and great lyricism from a new young MC. Really loved this one.

    Yessir Whatever - Quasimoto

    Madlib is easily in my top two producers of all time along with DJ Premier - the point is that the man is a genius and that this compilation, five out of twelve of which I've already heard before, is still an enjoyable piece of work. Sadly it's only half an hour long but that's definitely not a hindrance. I just blazed up a fat zoot and we were on our way. The sound of Quas' voice is just so trippy. Great compilation.

    Truly Yours 2 - J. Cole

    How funny.... "Truly Yours", one of the best releases of 2013... "Truly Yours 2", one of the worst..... don't even bother with this one, but the first is essential listening.

    420 - Black The Ripper

    Was digging this until the autotune song came on. No thanks, Black.

    Elevation - Shortz1

    A fairly new UK MC but a fucking dope one nonetheless. One that has appreciation for real music and one that isn't blind to the reality of life in the streets. Such a hard MC and definitely needs to get more recognition. Dope EP.

    #MAD - P-Money

    Disappointingly full of trap beats and tiringly boring dubstep beats. Sure, P can still flow like he did back in the day but damn if this wasn't tiresome to listen to.

    12 Reasons To Die - Ghostface Killah

    A great story drives Ghostface's new album and it's backed by Adrian Younge and his band Venice Dawn who made the soundtrack for Black Dynamite from 2009 and all of their music so far has been mesmerising. This collaboration is brilliantly paired and Ghost and the fellow Wu-Tang compadrés all bring the heat as per usual. Killa Sin from Killarmy, Masta Killa, U-God, Cappadonna and Inspectah Deck all make appearances aswell as executive producer RZA's casual voiceover appearances.

    I just also listened to "The Brown Tape", which is a different mix of Ghostface's vocals done by dope producer Apollo Brown. The difference between the two being Apollo's sampling, and Younge's live band. Both of them are very dope but it is my pleasure to say that I do prefer Apollo Brown's mix. It sounds so much more grimier, of course with no offence to the band which I loved and admire, and the drum loops and beats are so snappy just like they were back in the day. Nuff props to Apollo Brown on this.

    Hannibal The Great - Hanz On

    His first mixtape "Out of Chef's Kitchen" was a breath of fresh air - Hanz came up on the Wu-Tang sound and is affiliated with them while still managing to maintain his own style which is very hard to do for any of the Wu-Tang affiliates. Features on this tape come from Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Killa Sin among others and the whole album is banging. Not one that will get constant replays but definitely full of dope tracks and beats.

    Legends Never Die - R.A. the Rugged Man

    Definitely a dope release. No complaints whatsoever. Rugged has always brought the heat consecutively on every album I've heard from him and it really is no surprise that his newest album is no different. Heavy beats and incredible guests that lace the beats with fire. Talib Kweli, Tech N9ne, Masta Ace, Brother Ali, Vinnie Paz and Sadat X to name but my favourites. Favourite song is: Learn Truth ft. Talib.

    Prisoner Of Conscious - Talib Kweli

    Relatively dope, there are a few weaker songs that are much below the par of the best songs here but it's a heavily soulful album from one of the wisest cats in hip hop.

    Limitless - Eric Dingus

    Only know this guy through his work with Raider Klan. Beats are sometimes OTT but it's a fluent release.

    Rise As One - Jah Sun

    Dope reggae album in the vein of Alborosie who Jah Sun has collaborated with. Features come from Sizzla, Richie Spice and others rounding out a heavily spiritual and fluent reggae album - something you don't hear much these days.

    Foreign Oil - GNETICZ

    Gneticz, despite this being my first time hearing of him, has been in the game since the early 2000s. He has in fact previously worked with artists like DJ Premier and Warcloud. This short digital release, is a dope one. Production comes from Wu-Tang affiliates such as Bronze Nazareth and 4th Disciple among others. The beats are all dope and Gneticz' rhymes and flow are dope as fuck too. Definitely worth picking this one up.

    High Tide - Harry Fraud

    Very hard to rate this correctly. Three out of five songs are hench, the other two are horrible. So on that basis, I give it three stars. All the beats are hella dope of course, thanks to beatmeister Harry Fraud, but Mistah F.A.B., Troy Ave. and Tech N9ne need to go home. Props to Earl Sweatshirt, Riff Raff, Action Bronson and Smoke DZA for bringing their A-Game. Fraud is one of the dopest producers i the game right now.

    It's Game Involved - Gangsta Boo

    A lot of questionable beats and songs (including a song that features an autotuned Big K.R.I.T. on the hook) but for the most part I dug this. Only checked it out really because of the Raider Klan features (Ethelwulf, Chris Travis, Amber London) and none of them disappointed.

    Hark! - The Doppelgangaz

    Very surprised at how good this is. A mix of instrumentals and straight boom-bap, this is one record that will undoubtedly be getting regular re-spins from me. Sounds so much like that classic shit out of the East Coast but it's coming straight out of the west coast.

    Thrive - Big Twins

    Big Twins came up alongside the QB group Infamous Mobb - which were heavily affiliated with Mobb Deep - so it's no surprise that he goes hard and talks about the usual things such as guns, money, jewellery and the like... so even though this is a very dope mixtape, there are many songs which are lyrically below par. Still though, it is a cohesive mixtape with dope beats and great features from MCs like Freddie Gibbs to Agallah.

    Caligula Theme Music 2.7.5 - Lee Bannon

    Very dope instrumental release from one of the most promising and prolific producers from the new wave of hip hop out right now. Despite being a dreamy instrumental release there are three MCs on this project - all from the Pro Era crew: Rokamouth, Kirk Knight and Chuck Strangers. All three of them bring the heat. Go fucking cop this. Now.

    Born Sinner - J. Cole

    Being both a producer and MC, there is always going to be a crowd that you cannot please. Sadly, Cole will suffer because of this. It's just the case with people like Big K.R.I.T. and even to some degree, Tyler, the Creator - being both an MC and a producer usually means that you will have much more artistic desire to do more than what is expected or anticipated. With his new album, J. Cole has done just that - after hearing the two "Truly Yours" EP's I was excited to hear this and he has gone on the strength of those and exceeded them. Songs like "Forbidden Fruit" (which utilize a sample which Cole probably heard from Madlib's Shades of Blue album - another indicator of this is the Quasimoto-like voice at the end of the track) and "Villuminati" are hench tracks with fiery beats. But songs like "Power Trip" and "She Knows", Cole flexes his incredible lyrical ability. My favourite songs are "Ain't That Some Shit", "Niggaz Know" and "Forbidden Fruit". Definitely a dope album that will grow more with time. Don't sleep.

    Saaab Stories - Action Bronson

    Absolutely KILLER EP. Fuck. With Harry Fraud on the boards, there was no way this could go wrong. Features from the likes of Wiz Khalifa (who surprisingly does well alongside Bronson on the track), Wu-Tang Clan legend Raekwon and Prodigy of Mobb Deep who grace the best beat on the album alongside Bronson himself. As per usual, Bronson's lyricism stretches further and further with every release. Such a dope tape. I await whatever he drops next.

    Yeezus - Kanye West

    The egotistical and insanity-ridden Kanye West drops another album. Doesn't even compare to his last album - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy which was an actual classic. Songs like "I Am A God" and "Blood on the Leaves" showcase his egosticial side, while a song like "I'm In It" showcases his love for his new bitch Kim Kardashian. Up until this point I really believed he was a good rapper and a producer, but after hearing this and Cruel Summer (which was also awful) I've turned my back on him again. Some pro's about the album? Numerous reggae samples of Beenie Man and Capleton aswell as the last track "Bound 2" which takes you straight back to his College Dropout days... when he was actually good. I appreciate that he is trying to do something new and innovative but all he has really done is make something for the mainstream.... which he claims to vehemently be against. So why'd you put Chief Queef on here?

    Watching Movies with the Sound Off - Mac Miller

    Mildly entertaining album with many depressing songs that are very hard to sit through. Highlights: "I Am Who I Am" and "Red Dot Music" featuring Action Bronson. Not gonna lie though, he has definitely improved lyrically and as a producer too.

    The Thieves Banquet - Akala

    Akala, alongside the now-retired(?) Lowkey, is undoubtedly the most conscious English rapper to ever grace the mic. He has been active in the scene since around 2003 and he has challenged the norm and expanded his knowledge with every new release. His new album, however, showcases his skills moreso than any of those previous efforts. Even the bold and ambitious DoubleThink doesn’t touch this. The album opens with a very fitting sample of a speech by the French Marxist revolutionary Thomas Sankara, who was assassinated three months later. These words, though spoken in 1987, completely reverberate with the situation we see ourselves put in in 2013. The album is a slow-burning philosophy lecture and should be listened to as one. "One More Breath", which rounds out the middle of the album is a pivotal moment in the album. My personal favourite song on the album is "Maangamizi" on which Akala tells the real story of the mass slavery of Africans - the one you don't read in the history books. Akala has unleashed an unbelievable masterpiece with this album. This is the kind of music I want to hear. TRUTH not lies and yapping about guns. There are no flaws that I can hear in it, lyrically or with the tight instrumental production. The guests all compliment Akala's flow very well and make for great hooks. The lyricism is just so incredible and it is merely a reflection (his personal reflection) on the society that we see in front of us in 2013. He touches on so many different subjects - but I understand his plight. It's hard not to talk about everything you know when you know so much. And when the planet you live on is full of darkness and corruption, how can the music created in this society be nothing but dark? The best tracks for me are Old Soul and the titular track which is eerily reminiscent of K-Rino's title track off his new album The Maven. Absolutely incredible album. Bring on the next one.

    Westcoast Gangsta Shit - Daz Dillinger & WC

    Two west coast legends from two legendary groups (Tha Dogg Pound and Westside Connection) come together to drop a very dope album. The duo manage to capture the fun sound of Cali hip hop back from the '90s but with plenty of subliminal references, such as the name-dropping of Christopher Dorner, they remind us on every track that we're not in the '90s anymore. Very dope album that's gonna get more spins from me undoubtedly.

    Extended Play - Statik Selektah

    From the tracklist alone you know that this is going to be hard. And it doesn't disappoint. A few filler songs but for the most part a fucking heavy album. Best song: "Bird's Eye View"

    ESGN (Evil Seeds Grow Naturally) - Freddie Gibbs

    Gibbs got bars for days.... this proves it. 20 tracks of straight fire. ESGN is the name of his clique so it was natural they would be all over this - sadly I wasn't feeling most of them so that put a downer on some of the album.... but aside from that..... God damn..... And that collabo with Spice 1 and Daz Dillinger? Fuck.... Very fucking dope album.

    Stolen Youth - Vince Staples

    Better than Shyne Coldchain and definitely challenges Winter Prague as Staples' best release. After first coming up alongside the likes of OFWGKTA (appearing on the stand-out cut from Earl Sweatshirt's debut) it's no surprise that since they've blown up he's tried to distance himself from them. Sadly though, for Vince's fans.... he puts out quality over quantity - but we want more of this dope shit! What is surprising about this tape though, is Mac Miller's beats which ALL go heavy as fuck... completely unexpected. Very dope tape.

    Tru 2 Tha Phonk - Amber London

    Raider Klan's leading lady finally drops her long-awaited full length and it's not too bad. The '90s south influence is easy to spot in all of BRK's work but this is one of those which shows it off most flamboyantly. Favourite tracks "Servin' Fiendz 1994" and "Willin' 2 Die".

    Run The Jewels - Killer Mike & El-P

    Another dope release and for free no less! The duos collaboration from last year R.A.P. Music was undeniably a great album and while this one isn't as good it still showcases the talents of both individuals - lyrically (both Mike and El drop rhymes on this album) and production-wise (El-P). Some of the beats really go far out and aren't what you expect but somehow Killer manages to pull some shit out of the bag and produces bangers. There are a few lesser cuts on here, but for a free release and with only a short 10-track playlist it was better than I expected.

    Ralphies Forgotten Children - R.F.C.

    Smoke DZA's crew (which consists of mastermind producer 183Rd, Al-Doe, NymLo, Chase N. Cashe, Nakim and Den10) finally drop their collaborative mixtape. They are all established solo artists (and producer) and have put out at least a mixtape each to their name (apart from NYMLo and Den10 who I'm not sure have dropped anything except features). The tape, backed mostly by 183rd beats, bangs hard as fuck. Some tracks drag on for longer than they should but for the most part it's a very cohesive release that doesn't stop pumping.

    Legend Remixed - Bob Marley/Various Artists

    A very ambitious electronic remix project in which a producer takes each track from Bob Marley's best-selling greatest hits album "Legend" and remixes it. On the album we have plenty of well-known producers in their respective fields such as Photek, Z-Trip, RAC, Roni Size and more. Ziggy Marley and Stephen Marley, two of Bob's sons have their own remixes. Stephen has four, Ziggy two. There is also a small feature from reggae legend Lee "Scratch" Perry who actually worked with them a lot during their early career. Ambitious as it is, for the most part it works... highlights are the remixes of Stir It Up, I Shot The Sheriff, Exodus and Buffalo Soldier.

    Summer Knights - Joey Bada$$

    As a fan of Joey and his Pro Era crew previously I have to say that ever since he started dropping tracks from this I was very disappointed in the new direction he decided to go. For some reason he switched his flow up and now he just screams on every track instead of flowing like he previously did on his tapes "1999" and "Rejex". The one track on the entire tape that he flows normally is "Reign" a slow-burning track produced by in-house producer Chuck Strangers.... sad thing though is that that beat is lacklustre. Funny though because the rest of the tape features his newfound fast flow and hella dope beats.... a strange tape no doubt, but his weakest release so far. Strongest tracks are the posse cuts "47goons" and "Sorry Bonita".

    The Dream Begins - Nebula

    Considering I thought drum and bass was largely dead, this was a great surprise to find and like. "Starfield" is bliss.

    Jungle Revolution - Congo Natty

    It was a delight to find out that drum and bass legend Congo Natty aka Rebel MC was still putting out jungle in 2013 almost 25 years after first coming on the scene! The only full-length jungle/dnb releases I've heard are from Goldie ("Timeless") so I wasn't sure if it would work if there wasn't a sort of concept behind it - as is the case for Goldie's work - but it's a great album. Sampling everyone from Peter Tosh to Franco Rosso's 1980 film "Babylon". Really loved this.

    Sound The System - Alborosie

    Alba has done it yet again. His last three albums were all revolutionary in the way that they revived the classic roots reggae style while still maintaining elements of it's off-shoot genre dancehall. Alborosie, yet again, provides all of the beats, instrumentation aswell as mixing the final record... for any one to do that in any genre, let alone reggae in which every sound needs to be precise and on point, is a massive feat in and of itself. Alborosie provides us with a beautiful summer record to blaze to in the sun. Stand-out songs are: "Zion Train" featuring Kymani Marley and "There Is A Place". The album, aswell as featuring a Marley descendant on a cover of one of Bob Marley's own songs, also features reggae legends The Abyssinians. Insane album, but I didn't expect anything less.

    The Keynote Speaker - U-God

    Fair play to U-God for still going this long even after not gaining as much success as any of the other members of the Wu-Tang Clan. The album has quite a few skits on - which always let down an album - and then there are a few questionable songs that are barely tolerable, such as the track with Kool Keith "Journey" and "Stars". Luckily, beats by RZA help perk up a lot of the album ("Be Right There" is song of the year material) aswell as such tracks like "Keynote Speaker" and "Mt. Everest" featuring Inspectah Deck and Elzhi.

    Fre$h Outta Favor$ - Chris Ward

    One of the later members of the Screwed Up Click returns with a dope mixtape that sends direct throwbacks to the '90s era of classic southern hip hop that came out of Texas. Features from Big Pokey, Lil' Keke, H.A.W.K. and Z-Ro all come fully on point and the tape overall really is a perfect homage to that era.

    Doris - Earl Sweatshirt

    While not the epic sophomore release that most were probably expecting, the album is full of bangers and features more great verses and beats than any other Odd Future release since in the last couple of years. Songs like "Hive" (featuring Vince Staples and Casey Veggies) "Hoarse" and "Chum" are all full of brilliant rhymes from all involved... but then you have songs like "Molasses" (featuring and produced by RZA) and "20 Wave Caps" (featuring Domo Genesis) which show a side of the crew that we are more familiar with. My favourite song on the entire tape however is likely "Knight" featuring Domo Genesis - the final song on the tape which utlises a sample I've heard on many songs before and in this case is flipped like never before. Very dope release, if he can stay on point his next one will be even better.

    Elevation 2 - Shortz1

    Another dope EP from the UK's best up-and-coming hip hop artist. A lot of prospects but still a lot of growing to do. His first full-length hip hop release is going to be full of bangers I've no doubt about it.

    Lords of Flatbush - The Underachievers

    Love the flows, love the ideals and love the beats... but the attempts at lyricism is wearing off now. Literally spitting the same thing on every track. Hope they move away from this on the next release as it's getting boring.

    The Answer - Mathematics

    Unfortunately this isn't as good as any of Mathematics' previous albums. A few lame attempts at the southern hip hop style which don't suit Wu-Tang or Math either at all. Fortunately every MC comes hard from the likes of Redman, Inspectah Deck, Method Man and more. A hook from Ol' Dirty Bastard was a great surprise - loved it.

    The Kitchen - Hieroglyphics

    Unsurprisingly, the Hiero crew band together yet again to craft another great release. Of course it doesn't touch on their incredible debut album but it is a great return to form considering some lackluster solo releases. Dope, will definitely get respins.


    Deltron Event II - Deltron 3030 (17 September)
    Wise Up Ghost - Elvis Costello & The Roots (17 September)
    Defend Yourself - Sebadoh (17 September)

    Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action - Franz Ferdinand (26 August)

    Age Against the Machine - Goodie Mob (27 August)

    City Rising From the Ashes EP - Deltron 3030 (30 July)

    Believers - ¡Mayday! (16 July)
    My Name Is My Name - Pusha T (16 July)

    The Big Dream - David Lynch (15 July)

    The Piece Maker 3 (50 MC's Reunion) - Tony Touch (9 July)

    Trap House 3 - Gucci Mane (2 July)
    Revolution Cocktail - Reks (2 July)

    KCRW Session - Jimmy Cliff (25 June)

    Green Tape Instrumentals - Evidence (21 June)
    Newport Authority 2 - Marco Polo (21 June)
    The War Within - Wrekonize (21 June)

    Acid Rap - Chance the Rapper (18 June)
    Won't Stop - Mitchy Slick (18 June)

    Quarantine: Prelude to Terminal Illness, Pt. 2 - Endemic (11 June)
    Operation Restore Lyricism (O.R.L.) - Murdoc (11 June)
    Albert Einstein - Prodigy (11 June)
    The Ghetto is Tryna Kill Me - The White Mandingos (11 June)

    13 - Black Sabbath (10 June)

    Rock Konducta 45 - Madlib (7 June)

    Sign of the Times: Return to Oceania - Chris Stylez the Shadow Figure (4 June)
    Super Collider - Megadeth (4 June)

    Like Clockwork - Queens of the Stone Age (3 June)

    Don't Fuck Up The Base - Big Narstie (2 June)

    Leanin' On Sick - Aceyalone (28 May)
    The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here - Alice in Chains (28 May)
    False Idols - Tricky (28 May)
    Ugly Heroes - Ugly Heroes (28 May)

    Sôl austan, Mâni vestan - Burzum (27 May)
    The Messiah - Sizzla (27 May)

    At Wirl Records - Lee "Scratch" Perry (22 May)

    Golden Era Music Sciences - Tragedy Khadafi & Tragic Allies (14 May)

    13 - Havoc (7 May)

    Voices In My Head - Dot Rotten (6 May)

    Handle Your Business - PMD (5 May)

    No Wising Up No Settling Down - Sole (1 May)

    Piece of the Pie - Junior Kelly (30 April)
    Authentic - LL Cool J (30 April)
    Everybody Loves Sausages - Melvins (30 April)
    Ancient Power - Meta and the Cornerstones (30 April)
    Ready To Die - The Stooges (30 April)

    Indicud - Kid Cudi (23 April)
    Funky Man: The Prequel Instrumentals - Lord Finesse (23 April)
    Planet Earth: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Greatest Rap Hits - Public Enemy (23 April)
    El Negro Guerrero (The Black Warrior) - WISE INTELLIGENT (23 April)

    Munich '59 - Art Blakey (20 April)
    Demosexual - Atmosphere (20 April)
    Synth or Soul - Black Milk (20 April)
    Thelonious King - Blu (20 April)
    Live: Volume 1 – Selections From Adrenaline - Deftones (20 April)
    Newport '61 - John Coltrane (20 April)
    Kind of Blue Sessions '59 - Miles Davis (20 April)
    Animal Demos - Soundgarden (20 April)
    Float - Styles P & Scram Jones (20 April)

    New Day Dawn - Gentleman (19 April)

    Rat Farm - Meat Puppets (16 April)
    Student of the Game - N.O.R.E. (16 April)

    Mosquito - Yeah Yeah Yeahs (15 April)

    Dilla Lost Tapes: Reels + More - J Dilla (10 April)

    Rebirth of Detroit: Instrumentals - J Dilla) (9 April)
    Divide and Rule - Mystikal Revolution (9 April)
    Paramore - Paramore (9 April)
    Welcome To The Goondox - Snowgoons, PMD & Sean Strange (9 April)

    English Electric - OMD (8 April)

    Vanishing Point - Mudhoney (2 April)

    You Remember - Gentleman (29 March)

    Daytrotter Session - Bloc Party (27 March)

    The Return Of The Backpack - Casual (26 March)
    The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil 4, 5 & 6 - E-40 (26 March)
    Comedown Machine - The Strokes (26 March)

    Change Becomes Us - Wire (25 March)

    Pretty Young Thug (P.Y.T) - Lil B (24 March)

    Beautiful Death Machine - Swollen Members (19 March)

    Meltdown - Ghostpoet (18 March)

    Mystic Power - Alpha Blondy (15 March)
    Rebel Massive - Dubmatix (15 April)

    Free the Universe - Major Lazer (12 March)
    Tripolar - Z-Ro (12 March)

    The Next Day - David Bowie (11 March)

    Journey - Ken Boothe (6 March)
    Walk with Me - The Skatalites (6 March)

    Avant Garde - Ayatollah (5 March)
    Abrasions - Gensu Dean & Planet Asia (5 March)
    Respect - Frankie Paul (5 March)
    People, Hell and Angels - Jimi Hendrix (5 March)

    On the Ground in Dub - Black Roots (4 March)

    KILLmatic - The Demigodz (Apathy, Celph Titled, Esoteric, Blacastan, Motive & Ryu) (3 March)
    One Man Band - K-Def (3 March)

    Eyrth, Wynd & Fyre - Cappadonna (26 February)
    20 In - Trinity (A.G., Sadat X & Dj Jab) (26 February)

    The Underground Resistance - Darkthrone (25 February)

    The Burgundy EP - Madlib, MED & Blu (19 February)
    Flowers For My Father - Sadistik (19 February)

    Louie V Mob: New World Order - Master P, Fat Trel & Alley Boy (14 February)

    Elevate EP - Chamillionaire (12 February)
    Rage Is Back - Shawn J. Period (12 February)

    7.1.3D - Lil' Keke (9 February)

    Everything's Nothing - Krondon (8 February)

    SAYYOUAINTKNOW: The Software - Mic Handz (7 February)

    Lion to Zion Dub Wise - Junior Marvin (6 February)

    Mannibalector - Brotha Lynch Hung (5 February)
    Intelligence & Ignorance - ED OG (5 February)
    Fast Life - Young Noble & Deuce Deuce (5 February)

    Pink Flame - Lil B (3 February)

    A Moving Picture - Devlin (1 February)
    Without A Net - Wayne Shorter (1 February)
    C'mon Get Happy - Jimmy Cliff (1 February)

    Married To Marijuana - Black The Ripper (31 January)

    Hello - Gappy Ranks (29 January)
    Astroworld - Beat King (29 January)
    Misfits - Blanco & The Jacka (29 January)
    Black on Blonde - K-OS (29 January)
    Disrupted Ads - Oh No (29 January)
    A Space Iliad EP - Vast Aire (29 January)

    Wrath of Caine - Pusha T (28 January)

    Premro 2 - Eightball (25 January)
    Di Captain - Freddie McGregor (25 January)

    K+ - Kilo Kish (24 January)

    Grown Man Hip Hop Pt. 2 (Sleeping With the Enemy) - DJ Kay Slay (23 January)
    PV$$Y RICH - Wais P (23 January)

    Life Changes - Casey Veggies (22 January)
    Classified - Classified (22 January)
    Let The Right Ones In - Moe Pope & Rain (22 January)

    The Honorable Mixtape - Hannibal Stax (20 January)

    True North - Bad Religion (18 January)
    Banana Skank - Roots Manuva (18 January)

    Milo Turns 50 - Various Artists (17 January)

    A Portrait Of Donnovan - Dyme-A-Duzin (16 January)
    Al Capone - Master P (16 January)

    The Winter Tape - Audible Doctor (11 January)
    Broken Beats - Horace Andy (11 January)
    Lost Sirens - New Order (11 January)

    Signed & Sealed in Blood - Dropkick Murphys (8 January)
    RoseGold - K. Roosevelt (8 January)

    Berberian Sound Studio - Broadcast (7 January)
    Lady From Shanghai - Pere Ubu (7 January)
    Basement Musik - Yung Simmie (7 January)

    Southern Flame Spitta 5 - Short Dawg (6 January)

    Welcome to the Detroit Zoo - Phillie (1 January)

    Release Date To Be Announced:

    Street King Immortal - 50 Cent
    Back 2 Back - A$AP Ant
    Unit 6 - Ab-Soul & JMSN
    Mr. Wonderful - Action Bronson & Tommy Mas
    Doe Or Die 2 - AZ
    Country Cousins - Big K.R.I.T. & YelaWolf
    The Chessmen - Black Knights
    Art Of War III - Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
    Penitentiary Chances - C-Murder
    Pilot Talk III - Curren$y
    CTM - The D.O.C.
    Old - Danny Brown
    The Diam Piece LP - Diamond D
    Directors of Photography - Dilated Peoples
    EarlWolf - Earl Sweatshirt & Tyler, the Creator
    Cocaine Pinata - Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
    Eastside Slim - Freddie Gibbs
    Blue & Cream: The Wally Era - Ghostface Killah
    Dark Matter - GZA/Genius
    Liquid Swords 2: Return Of The Shadowboxer - GZA/Genius
    Spiritual Kung Fu - Hell Razah & Tokyo Cigar
    El Raziel - Hell Razah
    Lean On Me - Killa Kyleon
    T.R.I.L.L. - Killa Kyleon
    The Elegant Elephant - Killer Mike
    Ludaversal - Ludacris
    Tetsuo & Youth - Lupe Fiasco
    The Crystal Method - Method Man
    Gold - Mike G
    Here Comes The King - Morgan Heritage
    The Godfathers - Necro & Kool G Rap
    The Hangover - Obie Trice
    Prince Fatty Meets Winston Francis in King Cool - Prince Fatty & Winston Francis
    The Last Zulu - Q-Tip
    FILA (Fly International Luxurious Art) - Raekwon
    Muddy Waters 2 - Redman
    ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin - The Roots
    The First 48 - Scarface & Beanie Sigel
    Oxymoron - ScHoolboy Q
    Manchild 2 - Shyheim
    No One Can Do It Better - Warren G & Nate Dogg
    Untitled 20th Anniversary Album - Wu-Tang Clan

  • 2011 Releases

    Apr 24 2012, 16:27

    01. ReturnOf4Eva - Big K.R.I.T.
    02. Section.80 - Kendrick Lamar
    03. Crazy Clown Time - David Lynch
    04. Exmilitary - Death Grips
    05. Rolling Stoned - Smoke DZA
    06. Setbacks - ScHoolboy Q
    07. Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme - Reks
    08. Bad As Me - Tom Waits
    09. Dr. Lecter - Action Bronson & Tommy Mas
    10. Mariachi El Bronx II - The Bronx

    11. LiveLoveA$AP - ASAP Rocky
    12. Random Axe - Random Axe
    13. Cold Day In Hell - Freddie Gibbs
    14. 2 Times Revolution - Alborosie
    15. Revelation Part 1: The Roots Of Life - Stephen Marley
    16. Well Done - Action Bronson & Statik Selektah
    17. Wild & Free - Ziggy Marley
    18. Riches, Royalty & Respect - Kool G Rap
    19. Blaq Poet Society - Blaq Poet
    20. Overall - Durrty Goodz

    21. Blvcklvnd Rvdix 66.6 (1991) - SpaceGhostPurrp
    22. Sparta - M.O.P. & Snowgoons
    23. W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) - Pharoahe Monch
    24. Sugar Daddy Live - Melvins
    25. Cats & Dogs - Evidence
    26. In Case I Don't Make It - Has-Lo
    27. Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang - Raekwon
    28. SweetBabyKushedGod - Smoke DZA
    29. 24 Hour Karate School Pt 2 - Ski Beatz
    30. Rappin' Ass Nigga . - frankenstein.

    31. Monumental - Smif-n-Wessun & Pete Rock
    32. State Of Grace - Slaine & Statik Selektah
    33. Covert Coup - Curren$y & The Alchemist
    34. Legendary Weapons - Wu-Tang Clan
    35. The Cold Corner 2 - Lloyd Banks
    36. Thuggin' EP - Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
    37. Shyne Coldchain Vol 1 - Vince Staples
    38. Medicine Show #9: Channel 85 Presents NittyVille - Madlib & Frank Nitty
    39. Longterm Mentality - Ab-Soul
    40. Statik Free EP - Freeway & Statik Selektah

    41. T.H.C. (The Hustler's Catalog) - Smoke DZA
    42. Medicine Show #12: Raw Medicine - Madlib
    43. Lyrical Workout - Bumpy Knuckles
    44. Lost In Translation - Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire
    45. Stoned Genius - Roc C
    46. Lord Giveth Lord Taketh Away - Freddie Gibbs & Statik Selektah
    47. Death Grips - Death Grips
    48. Classic - MED
    49. Medicine Show #11: Low Budget High-Fi Music - Madlib
    50. The Terrorist Advocate - Bugsy Da God
  • 2012 Releases

    Feb 1 2012, 18:10

    My top 20 of the year so far:

    01. Into The Future - Bad Brains
    02. 4Eva N A Day - Big K.R.I.T.
    03. Blue Chips - Action Bronson & Party Supplies
    04. Control System - Ab-Soul
    05. The Man With The Iron Fists OST - RZA/Various Artists
    06. MA_DOOM: Son Of Yvonne - Masta Ace & MF DOOM
    07. good kid, m.A.A.d city - Kendrick Lamar
    08. Knowledge Is Power Vol. 1 - Akala
    09. P.E.E.P.: The aPROcalypse - Pro Era
    10. Attack The Block - Talib Kweli

    11. Rugby Thompson - Smoke DZA & Harry Fraud
    12. Vodka & Ayahuasca - Gangrene (The Alchemist & Oh No)
    13. Habits & Contradictions - ScHoolBoy Q
    14. K.O.N.Y. - Smoke DZA
    15. I.M. 4-EVA - Big Shug
    16. Ichiban Sound In 3D - Willie B
    17. 80 Minute Eternity - K-Rino
    18. Live From The Underground - Big K.R.I.T.
    19. Russian Roulette - The Alchemist
    20. Gigantic Vol. 1 - Small Professor

    Below is my thoughts on each album released this year that I've heard in order of hearing them.

    ★★★★★ = Dope as fuck.
    ★★★★ = Good, replayable.
    ★★★ = Average.
    ★★ = Most likely wouldn't bump again.
    ★ = Terrible, not recommended.

    Unexpected Victory - Raekwon ★★★★

    Raekwon always brings the heat and this is no different. All I can expect now is Cuban Linx 3 to drop by the end of the year.

    The BDP Album - KRS-One ★★

    Disappointing. The lead single "Do It" was a banger but the rest of the album was a letdown. The electronic beats put me off and didn't suit KRS' flow at all.

    Habits And Contradictions - ScHoolboy Q ★★★★★

    Another banging album from the Black Hippy clique. ScHoolboy is on some next shit with this.

    Ten$ion - Die Antwoord ★★★★

    Rap rave straight from South Africa. Perfect music to wild out to.

    White Flame - Lil B ★★

    Lol, the Based God has always been a gimmick and will always continue to be. That said, this is listenable like the rest of his shit but I doubt I'd play it again.

    Mink Rug - Metro Zu ★★★

    Spaceghost Purrp's homies from the Raider Klan dropped this and I was taken aback by how decent it was.

    God Of Black Vol. 1 - SpaceGhostPurrp ★★★★

    Spaceghost himself's first tape (hopefully of many) of the year. Great follow up to Blackland Radio and I definitely prefer this to his lo-fi shit. He needs to stay away from the lo-fi because he is a dope rapper and that doesn't showcase his talents at all.

    Vodka & Ayahuasca - Gangrene (The Alchemist & Oh No) ★★★★★

    Alchemist & Oh No brought the heat with Gutter Water a few years back and now they return with this. An album of banger after banger after banger. Peep it asap.

    Evolve Or Be Extinct - Wiley

    Wasn't expecting much at all with this so I wasn't disappointed. There are a few grime tracks on here, but it's way too long and the whack tunes outshine the good tunes.

    Here EP - Curren$y ★★★★

    Spitta is one of my favourite MCs in the game right now and when he dropped this I wasn't sure what to expect but he brought fire and it didn't stop. Shame it's short but I'm sure we'll see more from him this year.

    Transformers N The Hood - FKi ★★

    Dubstep and hip hop? Never thought they'd go together at all and sadly it doesn't really work all that well. There are a few dope tunes but overall it's pretty weak.

    Twilight - Ski Beatz ★★★★

    Ski has been rising up in the game ever since making beats for Jay-Z's debut album back in '96 and in the last five years he's really come out of his shell. His beats for DZA & Curren$y have all been some of the best beats I've heard in a long time. This album showcases his beatmaking talents aswell as a host of new MCs who we will come to know later on.

    Muscle Car Chronicles - Curren$y ★★★

    Disappointing, really. The beats are heavily rock-oriented and it was a let down to be honest. Spitta brings dope lyrics and his flow is unstoppable but the beats were below par for me.

    Gigantic Vol. 1 - Small Professor ★★★★★

    Well, damn now this was a fucking dope album. I'd only heard one Small Pro beat before and that was on Has-Lo's Conversation B from last year and that was tight, but this album really blew me away. Incredible beats and all the MCs bring the heat. Seriously dope album.

    Ghost Reporter - SELA. ★★★★

    Abstract instrumental hip hop from an up and coming producer from the Bay Area who I know from Tumblr. As dope as it is, it really needs an MC to spit over it.

    Sightings EP - SELA. ★★★

    Would surely be as good as Ghost Reporter if it was a little longer. Still, more dope beats on offer here.

    LA State Of Mind - I Self Devine ★★★★

    A very dope mixtape. Devine can really flow and a lot of the beats compliment that very well. All but "Bastards of the Party" my least favourite track on the tape. Still, a great tape.

    The Upliftment Struggle - I Self Devine ★★★★

    Damn, this was even better than LA State Of Mind. Much better lyricism and flow on this and the beats are much more on point. Can't wait for what else he's putting out this year.

    Little Monster EP - Madchild ★★★★

    My first foray into Madchild's work and I'm impressed. Beats are old school and the dude has a mad flow, like a mix of Necro and Action Bronson (I'll probably get shit for that but who gives a fuck). Heavily anticipating his album Dope Sick which is coming later this year. Can't wait.

    West Coast Avengers (Wca D-Funk Limited) - Del Tha Funkee Homosapien ★★★★

    Del has always been one of the best in the game and 20 years into his career he is somehow still managing to drop sick shit. Lyrically he remains at the top of his game, futuristic raps and slick metaphors have always been his style and it cuts sharp on every track. The beats are on point too, the jazzy samples intertwined with electronic sounds spin at you every single second of the tracks - very creative production.

    Machine Language - Tajai ★★★★

    A mix of collabos, aswell as old and new tracks from the man himself all scratched mixed and strung together by the DJ crew SleepRockers. It's a great idea and it succeeds very well. It's been a while since I heard scratching on a new record so props for that. Tajai's flow remains militant after all these years. Another solid release from the Hiero camp.

    The Arrival - Planet Asia ★★

    The mixtape precursor to PA's upcoming album Black Belt Theatre. It was decent enough to get me even more pumped for the album but Doo Wop's annoying DJ adlibs on every track are tiring and I really just want to hear the damn album.

    UCLA - Blu

    *Review and rating to be renewed.*

    Untitled EP - Hodgy Beats ★★

    Hodgy never was my favourite of the OFWGKTA clique but he's dropped a couple few dope verses here and there. When he announced this I creamed at the producers and they all come sick with beats (Flying Lotus, Thelonious Martin, Juicy J and The Alchemist bring their usual fire) but Hodgy's flow stays weak throughout this. Lyrically it's the same but there's one or two good one liners, that's about it. "Lately" is probably the whackest song I've heard so far all year. Shame about the length too, way short - all the tracks are less than 2 mins each.

    L Corleone - Big L ★★★★

    A compilation of tracks an L fan will undoubtedly have already heard. Clearly the people who compiled his last few albums have aimed them at the people who've not heard some of his harder to find joints but I'm a die hard L fan so I've heard most of his shit and from what I hear there's not much left to be released (if anything). But you know, Big L is my favourite rapper of all time so I had to rate this high. Unlike two of his last posthumous albums the tracks here retain their original beats - something I give it more props for than the other albums.

    Black Belt Theatre - Planet Asia ★★★

    Sadly not as good as I was expecting but still a decent release. The barrage of features are really what let it down, Raekwon, Ras Kass and Talib Kweli do their best to kill the tracks their on and they do as they usually do. The beats are great, Oh No's two beats are clearly the two stand-outs. Asia remains as lyrically on point as ever but overall it just falls short.

    Le Voyage dans la lune - Air ★★★★★

    My first non-hip hop listen of the year so far. I was suprised to find that this was actually very good. The title and cover are taken from one of filmmaker Georges Melies' short films and this is a tribute of sorts to it. The album is scarce of vocals but the instrumentation is space-bound and very bluesy. Very well put together and each track sounds incredibly cinematic. Very good album.

    God Save The King - Copywrite ★★★★

    Not heard any Copywrite prior to this, only the lead single "Love" which was produced by Bronze Nazareth. None the less I was anticipated by the quality of the single. I wasn't disappointed too much. I'm not a fan of autotune regardless of how it's used so the hooks where it is used... I didn't feel them at all. The lyricism is on some next level and the beat selection was very well done. Loved the track with MHz, "Union Rights". Some very great samples too managed to spot a few I was familiar with.

    #The1st28 by Curren$y & Styles P ★★★★

    Curren$y is one of my favourite MCs out right now and Styles P has an even better rep for his work with The Lox. This Free EP consists of five tracks of both of them going back to back over dope beats. Hopefully more tracks from the two MCs surface because this was a dope taster.

    Vultures Wisdom Vol. 2 - Opio ★★★

    While not as good as Volume 1, #2 is still an okay predecessor, and for any artist to still be making decent music 20 years after they first came out is a brilliant feat especially in the hip hop game with the ever changing state of commercial "rap". Nonetheless, Opio remains on point here. The beats are psychedelic and futuristic like everything Hiero have put out for the last six or seven years or so. While some tracks do drag on, overall it's another great addition to the Hieroglyphics discography.

    4Eva N A Day - Big K.R.I.T. ★★★★★

    Big K.R.I.T. is easily one of the hardest working MC/producers in the game today, and unlike most other artists who are both an MC and a producer K.R.I.T. stays true to his roots and consistently puts out dope hip hop. This tape is another dope release from him. I'd been anticipating this for a while like most of his fans and it does not disappoint at all. The beats are fucking smashing and K.R.I.T. stays on point with every aspect of this. 17 tracks and not one guest, name another MC who can do that in this day and age. You can't.

    God's Father - Lil B ★★★★

    Lil B does have talent and he can actually rap good when he wants. This is an example of that. His second tape of the year is his best of the year so far. The beats are all straight hip hop and for a Lil B release that's something to take note of. Yes some of the lyrics are whack and yes his flow is terrible but there's a lot of wisdom just bursting through the seams and you really have to see through the appearance to get to the heart of his music.

    Blue Chips - Action Bronson ★★★★★

    This guy is undoubtedly one of the five best MCs to come out in the last ten years and it's so refreshing to see that he isn't in the mood to stop dropping shit. Dr. Lecter and Well Done were among my favourite albums to drop last year and this is high up my list this year so far. Bronson's flow is just crazy and his lyricism is tight as fuck. Beats are all next level shit, straight 90s shit aswell. No autotune, no whack MCs trying to sing over hooks. Just straight raw ILL shit. And a fucking Glen Johnson sample? Jesus christ, "9-24-11" is one of the best songs I've heard in a long fucking time.

    The Bulls & The Bees - Melvins ★★★★

    The Melvins are one of my all time favourite bands and to hear them still putting out sludge like this as aggressive as it was back in 1986 when they first came out is beyond awesome. A decent EP release (for free might I add) and I can't wait for their full length (Freak Puke) which is coming later this year.

    Watch The Chrome - Obie Trice ★★★★

    Heavily anticipating "Bottom's Up" so I had to grab this as soon as it dropped. Mostly Watch The Throne beats as you'd expect from the title but there are more than a few non-WTT beats too. I wasn't a fan of WTT overall but the beats are dope as hell I have to admit and Obie kills them all. Very dope mixtape and it's nice to hear that he's still got it. Can't fucking wait for the album.

    The OF Tape Vol. 2 - OFWGKTA

    I've been checking for OF since 2010, before the entire of white suburbia started riding their dicks. Back then they were making decent music, sadly as they started getting more attention and the fan count started rising... the quality of their music decreased drastically. Tyler, the Creator's Goblin was proof of this, a horrible album of a teen-angst ridden black male screaming over prolonged beats with his prolonged verses. This tape just confirms the group have fell off. The group have now just turned into a very terrible attempt to blend multiple genres together. You know what I'm going to say now don't you, the only part of this worth listening is the last three minutes of the last song, for Earl Sweatshirt's brand new verse << easily the best in the whole crew and he's got one verse on the whole tragic tape. Some tracks on the tape are tolerable ("Hcapd" and "Sam Is Dead") but apart from that the rest merely hurt my head.

    The Block Brochure: Welcome To The Soil Vol. 3 - E-40 ★★★★

    E-40 is a Bay Area legend, no disputing that. This release is his 16th or 17th album overall and his seventh in the last three years. I chose to bump this first as opposed to the other two parts of the release (all put out on the same day might I add) because of the features. Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Daz Dillinger, Kokane and Hieroglyphics are al featured artists on this - they all bring their A-game and the legends from the west coast, who all appear on "What You Smokin On" all make the track one of the best on the album. I was never a huge E-40 fan but I do recognize the impact he's had on the music that has came out of the Bay since his arrival on the scene back in the late 80s. E-40 is still slick with the metaphors and his flow has aged well over time in comparison with some other rappers who's flows have deteriorated over time. The beats aren't too bad either, notably "Sidewalk Memorial" and "40 And Hiero", but a few are hit or miss.

    Bottoms Up - Obie Trice ★★★★

    Few weeks ago Obie dropped "Watch The Chrome", a dope mixtape (you can read my thoughts on it above) and that was a great prelude to this. Since 2009 Obie hasn't put anything out, he was shot in the face and has been recovering from that since, so it's definitely great to hear Obie back and over original production. The Dr. Dre beat on the intro is tight as fuck and most of the other beats are dope aswell. Obie's flow has always been great and his setback hasn't affected that whatsoever. Also great to hear MC Breed's verse, RIP to Breed. A dope release and I look forward to hearing more from him now that he's back on the scene.

    #1 Bitch - Lil B ★★★

    It was no surprise that Lil B would be putting out another 600 mixtapes in 2012. IMO he's still yet to top his "Blue Flame" mixtape but he's getting closer and closer with every new tape. His flow gets funnier every time I hear him rap. You can't listen to B's shit without laughing, it's impossible. Beats here are all on point and B brings the Based rap as per usual. Sadly, although as you would expect, this tape gets tiring about halfway through. I mean come on, 105 minutes for a mixtape? Lil B be trippin'. Better than White Flame but not as good as God's Father.

    Good Sense - Young Roddy ★★★★

    Wasn't quite sure what to expect with this but I was glad I listened to it. I've enjoyed his verses all over Curren$y's shit and this Jet Life alumni didn't disappoint with his first mixtape. Beats are chilled as fuck, sick for laid back listening. The selection of beats is dope, a lot of originals but there are beats from Wu-Tang Clan, Nas & The Notorious B.I.G. in there. It's hard for any MC to spit over any beat already mastered by these artists but Roddy does his best and doesn't disappoint. Lil B tried to spit over Nas' "Mastermind" beat on his recent "#1 Bitch" mixtape and he didn't do so well, good job Roddy didn't go down that route. Good features too, Smoke DZA kills his track. The last track is my favourite though, the HiiiPower beat from Kendrick Lamar is one of my favourite beats in a long time and Roddy fucking kills it. Props, this was a great tape.

    Cuz I Felt Like It EP - Smoke DZA ★★★★

    DZA is undoubtedly my favourite rapper out right now. His wrestling and movie references keep me interested with every rhyme he spits. This EP is short yes but also sweet and incredibly tasty. Also interesting to hear DZA go in over dubstep aswell as the "Hands On The Wheel" beat.

    California Republic - The Game

    Disappointing to say the least. Having said that, I was regretting downloading it as soon as I saw the tracklist. Having a feature or six one every single track is never good be it an album or a mixtape but it really doesn't help here. A lot of terrible features, a lot of awful beats and the use of autotune will never go down well with me. Just bad all over really, the only stand out tracks are "Skate On" with Lupe Fiasco and "They Don't Want None" with Shyne and Pharrell.

    The Money Store - Death Grips ★★★★

    After the power of Exmilitary I assumed their debut studio album would only go harder. Sadly, it doesn't go as hard as their first mixtape at all but their sound does remain abrasive and powerful. Opting for a more approachable sound with less samples and more upbeat instrumentation; songs like "Get Got" and "Punk Weight" keep the aggressive sound previously heard on Exmilitary while songs like "I've Seen Footage" and "System Blower" take Death Grips' sound in a whole new direction. Being signed to a major label is usually a burden on most artists but it's good to see they haven't lost the core elements of their sound. To be brutally honest, I would buy this new album but I'd much rather just get a hard copy of their mixtape Exmilitary - easily one of my favourite experimental releases in the past five years.

    Fxck The Hype - Uno Hype ★★★★

    I found out about this free release through the Smoke DZA feature and I wasn't disappointed upon listening to the whole tape. Hype has a decent flow, not aggressive and not too laid back. The beats, all provided by DJ Black Diamond are smooth as fuck. I expected the DZA feature to be the highlight but the whole thing really is dope. Great feature from up-and-comer Joey Bada$$ too. Interesting to hear DZA go in over something different, so much bass on the "Chips Ahoy" beat it's unreal. Definitely worth a peep.

    Black Boy Radio - Actual Proof ★★★

    While I do give this album props for the incredibly dope lyricism, I just couldn't get into it. The majority of the beats are lacklustre and considering that 9th Wonder and Khrysis are two of the primary beatmakers here, that's saying a lot. 9th's production seems light years away from his work with Little Brother and Khrysis' is the same, light years away from his work with the likes of Sean Price. Having said that, the album does have it's high points, one of which is the track "Fonk It Up" produced by Hi-Tek aswell as Tek's other beat "Why You Wanna Pass Me By" and "We Gon' Continya'" which is probably my favourite song on the whole album. Love the OutKast sample - and I can't hate on "Many Microphones", the sample is a personal favourite that I've heard on other tracks most notably from the RZA. Overall though, the album is really nothing special.

    Pluto - Future

    I don't even fucking know what I was expecting with this I'm just sorry to my ears for actually listening to the whole of this album. The shit is mostly whack beyond belief. Autotune on almost every track... weak ass beats that sound like you're stuck in the top 40. Once "Same Damn Time" drops the album takes a drastic turn. That song and "Long Live The Pimp" are heavy tunes that will definitely get heavy rotation from me. It soon drops back down in quality though. Regardless of the track itself, Snoop Dogg goes the fuck in on "Homicide". Overall, it's a terrible album save two or three songs. Having said all that, you can just tell by listening to this that Future is going to be very big in the coming year(s).

    Straight, No Chaser - Reks ★★★★★

    Last year Reks' put out "Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme" with production from legends such as DJ Premier and Pete Rock with this album he went back to his old buddy Statik Selektah and the two produced this. "Straight, No Chaser" is another banger-after-banger album from Reks, who has continued to put out classics in the underground while not getting the respect he deserves. Tracks like "Regrets" and "Parenthood" are soulful and express Reks' emotions straight from the heart and tracks like "Ruggs & Murtaugh" and "Cancel That" go straight raw and are rugged as fuck. The beats are all on point and Reks continues to bring the fire lyrically and with his flow. Dope album.

    WCA Limited II Fela - Del Tha Funkee Homosapien ★★★★

    While WCA 2 isn't as good as the first, nor is it as good as some of his earlier work, Del brings some splendid production and lyrically stays on point. Decent mixtape.

    Seriously Trippin' - Devin the Dude ★★★★

    Although I haven't heard much of his solo stuff I've always been a Devin The Dude fan and this EP is a great snippet of his talent. Great laid back flow and seriously chill beats. While most rappers rap about their chains or their money, Devin has some seriously positive lyricism, "Excercise" is quite frankly just a hilarious song. I eagerly anticipate his LP later this year.

    Enigma Theory - Young L ★★★★

    The fact that Young L is a member of the same group as Lil B (The Pack), will turn them off of L straight away. I suggest if you're one of those people you turn right back around. "Enigma Theory" is full of sick beats and suave rhymes. I'm seriously hard pressured to find a bad track here.

    R.A.P. Music - Killer Mike ★★★★★

    The look and sound of hip hop changes every day in these times and a lot of artists, both young and old, fail to keep up. Killer Mike has been in the game for over a decade now and with RAP Music he manages to keep up with the times while staying true to where hip hop came from. Backed with splendid production from El-P (who provides all the beats for this album aswell as producing the whole of his own record "Cancer For Cure" which came out earlier this year). Lyrically, Mike is brilliant - great metaphorically and some dope political rhymes too. Brilliant album, I'll definitely be peeping some of his older stuff after this aswell as looking out for his next joints.

    Control System - Ab-Soul ★★★★★ (Originally ★★★★)

    The second release from the Black Hippy clique this year and a much welcomed one. Ab-Soul is unquestionably the most underrated in the group and this release backs up that statement (so does all his other shit too make sure you peep those). Soulful instrumentation and deep lyrics are a mainstay in the BH releases I've heard so far and this is really no different. Great album.

    EDIT: After a few re-listens this has become one of my fave albums of the year. Powerful and moving, Ab-Soul bares all for his debut album. So good.

    2012 - 1982 ★★★★

    Never was a big fan of Termanology, but I've always been a huge fan of Statik Selektah ever since I first heard his beats. This album, the follow-up to their excellent self-titled album from 2010, is brilliant. Statik's beats always take you back straight to the 90s, but with this album they take you back to the 80s. Slick beats and dope lyricism (although they could've been delivered a little better). Dope album.

    Fort Apache - Camp Lo ★★★★★

    Camp Lo been doing their thing since the 90s and to hear them hook back up with Ski Beatz is incredible. Only six tracks, but fucking dope as fuck. Really hope they put out another album together.

    The Lost Tape - 50 Cent ★★★★

    Save the slow and soppy R&B tracks on here, the tape is a dope release. Full of bangers, most notably "Remain Calm", "Riot Remix ft. 2 Chainz)" and "Complicated". I recognize the "When I Pop The Trunk" beat - my favourite song on the tape - although I'm not sure where from, !llmind's beat rocks hard as fuck. Fif has always brought the fire on both tapes and albums so I'm sure when 50's long-awaited next album drops it will be full of songs like the ones on here regardless of the fact that this is just a mixtape.

    Mysterious Phonk: The Chronicles Of SpaceGhostPurrp - SpaceGhostPurrp ★★★★★

    Purrp been on his grind for a hot minute. His following has grown rapidly ever since he started out with his lo-fi shit. Blvcklvnd Radio is a tape and a half I must admit. He signed to a label sometime in the last six months and drops his debut album, remastering a selection of his old tracks along with some new tracks. The only qualm I have here is that he got rid of the Godzilla samples but I knew that was coming seeing as there have been sample issues in the past with other artists using samples from the Godzilla films. Either way this is a dope album and a great start... so good to hear Purrp in high quality, ahah. I can't wait to hear what the fuck he does next.

    Live From The Underground - Big K.R.I.T. ★★★★★

    I've already praised KRIT enough in these short reviews and he comes so correct with his debut album it's unreal. Gathering features from Bun B, Ludacris, Devin the Dude, 2 Chainz, Eightball, MJG and the blues legend B.B. King, KRIT has assembled a masterclass in southern history and every track is as good as the next. Singles "I Got This" and "Money On The Floor" were very appropriately chosen but any of the songs here could've been a single and any of these songs can be bumped in the whip or in the club. A 100% soulful record straight from KRIT's heart. Regardless of the fact that his mixtapes are better, you can't deny that KRIT's record label debut is a beast and you can guarantee that on June 5th I'll be digging deep in my pocket and buying the physical of this to add to my CD collection. Thanks again Krizzle, when's the next one coming?

    Knowledge Is Power Vol. 1 - Akala ★★★★★

    Akala is easily one of the top 5 MCs from the UK to ever grace the microphone and with his new mixtape he further proves this. Political rap has never been commercially accepted, but he has a very strong fan base and that can only be expected because he is a very wise man and is an incredible wordsmith. Standout tracks are Behind My Painted Smile featuring fellow UK wordsmith Lowkey and Who's The Gangsta? Another of my favourite UK MCs has a feature on here too, Durrty Goodz. The opening track "Fire In The Booth" is 8 minutes of pure fire and wisdom which can be viewed on YouTube. Brilliant mixtape, absolutely brilliant.

    Zoot Break EP - Footsie ★★★

    Footsie has been much better and seeing as the grime scene is pretty much deadout I wasn't expecting much. Decent tunes but just not on par with anything he's done previously.

    The Stoned Immaculate - Curren$y ★★★★★

    Curren$y is one of my top 5 MCs in the game right now, no question. I'm sure I said that somewhere on here before about him, but it still rings true. His latest release, The Stoned Immaculate (much like Big K.R.I.T.'s major label debut "Live From The Underground" which was also released today - June 5tth) is a slight step away from his previous work - but you can only expect that because both artists have recently been signed to major labels and both artists have been thrust into the spotlight with extensive tours and the fact that hip hop is coming back in a big way right now. The album, while great, isn't as good as Pilot Talk II. The stand out track is undoubtedly "Fast Cars Faster Women" featuring west coast legend Daz Dillinger. Even though it's not the best effort of his career, it's an incredible album for a major label debut in 2012 when you compare it to those of huge "rappers" Nicki Minaj or Big Sean for example - two whack rappers with big followings and whack releases. The production is big, but I was disappointed to see a lack of Ski Beatz or The Alchemist, regardless all the beats are superb and it's good to see Curren$y reaching out of his usual camp.

    Rugby Thompson - Smoke DZA ★★★★★

    Ohhhh maaaan.... Harry Fraud has been on his grind working with French Montana and Action Bronson, and is easily among the best of the new class of producers coming into the rap scene. DZA has been in my favourite MCs of the last few years ever since I heard Rolling Stoned which I still bump to this day. When I heard they were doing an album together (DZA & Fraud) I went crazy. Knew this would be a smash and it is. DZA doesn't change for no one with this record, he's still rapping about the same shit he was rapping about three years ago... and he's still killing it with every verse. Features here come from ScHoolboy Q (absolutely destroys "Ashtray"), Domo Genesis (not so much), Sean Price (Boot Camp 2012? Yes please...), ASAP Twelvy (one of ASAPMOB's finest MCs), Action Bronson (one of my favourite MCs on the scene right now), aswell as underground legend Thirstin Howl III and some of his goons.... it's a well-rounded release albeit only 12 tracks/40 minutes. Regardless, this met my very high expectations and I love it.

    Rebirth Of Detroit - J Dilla ★★★★

    Dila is a legend of the hip hop game, that goes without saying and the fact that he's still revered six years after his death and that his music is still heavily sought after just goes to show that. This album sends 21 dope beats straight to your dome one after the other. Sadly there are a lot of MCs whose flows and lyricism I just couldn't get into (Boldy James and Ketchphraze are two examples) but mostly I enjoyed all of the rhymes. Most of, if not all, of them do hail from Detroit which gives the whole project that feeling of togetherness. Good to hear The Almighty Dreadknaughts and 5ela again, haven't heard from them in a hot minute. Overall, a very good release that could've helped with a few better MCs.

    Russian Roulette - The Alchemist ★★★★★

    With Vodka & Ayahuasca already under his belt, 2012 is definitely Alchemist's year. "Russian Roulette" is not a step away from his production skills but more a step forward into showcasing it rather than, like his past solo releases, focusing on MCs. No track is longer than three minutes, and there isn't an MC that spits more than one verse. That said, every MC brings his A-game especially Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire and Guilty Simpson. Dope release that will definitely see respins from me.

    Shame EP - Madlib & Freddie Gibbs ★★★★★

    Another dope EP release from these two guys. Can't WAIT for the album.

    Haha I'm Sorry EP - Kitty Pryde

    Great beats, intolerable rhymes. Avoid.

    H.N.I.C. Part 3 - Prodigy ★★

    A very long way away from anything he's done before, HNIC 3 is quite the letdown especially after the dope Mobb Deep Black Cocaine EP from last year. While I will give Prodigy props for at least trying to move with the times (a feat even more admirable considering he just did three years in jail) I can't really rate this album very highly. There are quite a few dope as fuck beats here ("Without Rhyme Or Reason" [The Alchemist], "Slept On" [The Alchemist], "Make It Hot" [Young L], "Skull & Bones" [Beat Butcha]) but more often than not Prodigy's flow is just really tiresome. Regardless of that, being in jail clearly gave him a lyrical edge. He seems to be on top of his game in that respect because, despite his flow, there are lot of rhymes here. The album actually starts off and ends (deluxe version) with some great tracks but overall it's poor. One star for effort and lyricism, another for beat selection.

    Royalty - Childish Gambino ★★★

    Don't let this guys following fool you, he is a whack MC. His flow is stale and his whole rap career is straight off a terrible TV show. Regardless of that, he can sure make a beat (scratch "Toxic" off the record, save Danny Brown's electric verse). Great beats and splendid features. It just starts sucking when this fool starts rhyming. Don't quit your day job, bitch.

    One Crazy Weekend - Young Zee ★★★★★

    If anyone can adapt to the times, it's Young Zee. One of the most underrated rappers in the history of the game, Zee has consistently dropped gems since the mid 90s and has stayed relatively unknown. Even a track on the 8 Mile soundtrack didn't propel him to the stardom he rightly deserves. Regardless, with his latest release One Crazy Weekend he kills every track. Every beat is awesome, and Zee has some of the best one-liners ever on here. So sick.

    Cigarette Boats - Curren$y ★★★★

    Another short offering from Spitta and another example of how versatile producer Harry Fraud is. Great EP.

    Life Is Good - Nas ★★★★

    Not as good as I was hoping. Nas isn't as young as was when he was spitting lyrics for Illmatic but he's still got the knowledge and wisdom that's been growing all these years. As a result of that he's produced a much more grown-up rap album (to put it strangely) and some of the tracks are completely different styles so it's nice to see Nas mix it up. Dope overall regardless. Just not a classic.

    Respect The Fly Shit - Meyhem Lauren ★★★★

    Dope mixtape but I think it suffers from the overflow of features. Luckily a lot of the features are the same cats (Ag Da Coroner & Action Bronson) so it gives it a much more familiar feel plus they're both dope too (just like Lauren). I do think that Meyhem could've benefited much more from less features and more solo tracks. Having said that, three solo tracks here are dope as fuck. Sick release.

    MA_DOOM: Son Of Yvonne - Masta Ace ★★★★★

    A lot can happen in 45 years and Masta Ace takes the time to tell us his stories and his mishaps in this album backed with beats taken from MF DOOM's "Special Herbs" instrumental series. DOOM also has a feature on here alongside Ace's fellow Juice Crew MC Big Daddy Kane - that track alone is reason enough to buy this CD and believe me you will not be disappointed. With "Son Of Yvonne" Masta Ace has crafted an album just as good as any of his previous albums and all in the name of his mother, something I am positive he is proud of. The album is also hilarious because the skits are 100% class - usually skits slow down an album, but this flows so goddamn well. An incredible album that is undeniably one of the best albums in recent years.

    Most Of My Heroes Still Don't Appear On No Stamp - Public Enemy ★★★★

    Comparing this to any of their previous albums is just a bad move on my part so I won't do that. Just the fact they're still making records is enough to grant this a listen. The boom bap beats take it straight back to it's roots, where hip hop should always be. Great record.

    V6: The Gift - Lloyd Banks ★★★★★

    Banks always kills it whether it's his mixtapes (Cold Corner, Boy Wonder, etc) or his albums (Hunger For More, Rotten Apple, etc)... he always smashes it. V6, which I've been looking forward to for ages.. is just the same. He comes correct as always and the beats are on smash. Love the ScHoolboy Q feature too. Dope tape...

    1999 - Joey Bada$$ ★★★★★

    Knew this was going to be dope after hearing some songs from this guy on YouTube and a few features here and there but I didn't expect it to be this dope. All the beats taken from other artists (including MF DOOM and UK beatmaking legend Lewis Parker. For a teenager, this guy is dope... dope flow and dope rhymes. Really admiring the new school of rappers coming out and this is just another one of them. Dope tape will undoubtedly be spun again by me.

    Deeper Elevation - K-Rino ★★★★

    Rino has been on the scene for over 30 years and he hasn't changed his style at all with this new album (just one of over 20 he's put out collaboratively and as a solo artist since 1986). His metaphors, his storytelling and his lyricism are just as good as they were on his debut album back in 1993 and the beats (save for a few ballads) are all top class. The SPC founder clearly isn't giving up any time soon. Can't wait for his next album later this year, I'm sure it'll be just as good.

    No Idols - Domo Genesis & The Alchemist ★★★★

    Usually Alchemist picks much better artists to work with, but sadly he chose to go with one of OFWGKTA's least lyrical. Regardless of the fact that this is a Domo Genesis release, the beats were absolutely fucking insane. Great features from Smoke DZA, Freddie Gibbs, Earl Sweatshirt, Action Bronson and SpaceGhostPurrp .... just a terrible shame about the main attraction here.

    Key To The Cuffs - JJ DOOM (Jneiro Jarel & MF DOOM) ★★★★★

    Finally, some new DOOM. Easily one of the best MCs of all time, lyrically and flow-wise. Plus his storytelling is off the charts, and now he's adding numerous British references to his craft? That just pleases me to no end. Great album that I had to bump twice to fully take in. Will undoubtedly be bumping this regularly. Great production from Jneiro Jarel

    Lord$ Never Worry - A$AP Mob ★★★★

    A very clear continuation from A$AP Rocky's debut release "LiveLoveA$AP", which was a great tape full of laid back beats influenced by the southern style of rap straight out of Houston Texas and for a Harlem MC to come out with that style a lot of people didn't like it but I was feeling it. This continuation is just as good, not better but just as good. The beats are all on point, some of them sound like the producer is pouring a bottle of lean into your cup rather programming the drums into the track haha. My favourite tracks are Coke & White Bitches Pt. 2 which features an all-star lineup of Danny Brown, Fat Trel and Gunplay - three other rappers who are coming up in the game alongside A$AP Mob and their affiliates - Y.N.R.E. by A$AP Twelvyy and Full Metal Jacket, which features the whole mob over an intense 183Rd beat. Can't mention favourite tracks without mentioning the great Raekwon feature probably my favourite guest appearance on the whole tape. Great stuff right here.

    Tha Blackprint - Trae ★★★

    Dirty south music has never really come off the ground in the last five years, for me at least anyway... I can usually only listen to it in moderation. While this tape has more than it's fair share of tracks I'd never bump again there are a handful of songs that are incredible. "Fucked Up World" featuring Z-Ro and Young Noble is by far one of my top 20 songs of the year. Good to see Trae connecting with the younger generation though (or the other way around, paying respect to a legend deep in the game) - Waka Flocka and Meek Mill feature aswell as the monster posse cut I'm On 2.0. Overall, meh, but there are plenty of tracks that will get constant replay.

    Attack The Block - Talib Kweli ★★★★★

    One half of Black Star does it again, and this is just a free fucking mixtape! I can only imagine what the album is going to be like. I like that he left off the cut featuring Kendrick Lamar and Curren$y, the track is way too good for a free tape but saying that this tape is full of bangers. Sample flips like R.E.M.'s Losing My Religion ("The Corner" featuring Jay Rock) completely took me off guard but fit the mood of the tape so well. Even the songs with my least favourite rappers of all time Lil Wayne and Mac Miller are moderately listenable. The obvious highlights are: "So Fresh", "Congregation" featuring Black Thought of The Roots and Ab-Soul and "Solid Gold" featuring Grafh and Planet Asia. So dope.

    AmeriKKKan Korruption - Capital STEEZ ★★★★

    STEEZ is one of the many rappers in the Joey Bada$$-led collective Pro Era, and this tape - just like Joey's - is BADA$$. Dope beats taken from the likes of MF DOOM, Madlib, Tommy Mas, DJ Premier and J. Rawls among others - any young rapper who can pay respect to their hip hop elders before them gets my vote and this tape is a testament to that. I think that STEEZ could use some work on his rhymes, but he's still young there's still a lot to learn. A good tape, still.

    The Secc$ Tape - Pro Era ★★★★

    Wasn't as good as I was hoping, but it's an enjoyable tape. These MCs have a lot of growth to do, and they're already half way there.

    Rejex - Joey Bada$$ ★★★★★

    Leftovers from his 1999 project, the tracks span two years back (according to Joey himself) so despite the fact it's mere leftovers it's a pretty good look at how his style has changed since and where he's at now. His talent and lyricism are both unquestionable and I really can't wait to hear him come up even more and get the recognition that is clearly in store for him at some point in the future. So far, Joey has picked out the best beats possible to suit his flow, as a result it's interesting to hear him over in-house production from the likes of Chuck Strangers and Kirk Knight - producers whose styles you can hear the progression of underneath the voices of Joey and his Pro Era camp brothers and sister(s?). Roll on the next project.

    Da Leak - Lil' Keke ★★★

    Sometimes the OG's of the game need to step back and the let the new cats do their thing, for some of the older southern rappers.... that time is now. I'm not hating, god no KeKe is undoubtedly a legend in the game but this tape was hella disappointing - let's hope his album is better and without that whack auto-tune.

    Pain Is Love - Big Narstie ★★★★

    The grime scene went pop a good few years ago and in order to find an actual good UK rap release you have to dig for days. Big Narstie has been in the scene for a long time and has been raping YouTube with hilarious videos and freestyles but despite the fact he's an absolute comedian - as he says himself - he's got bars for days and this mixtape proves it. Dope lyricist, fat as fuck, and not a single disappointing track on here. Killed it.

    Salute Me Or Shoot Me 4 - Waka Flocka Flame ★★★

    As much of an advocate I am for real hip hop I really can't front on this, the shit bangs.

    Cruel Summer - G.O.O.D. Music

    Just awful. This album is for the ladies and the mainstream. I am neither of those. Stick to making good hip hop Kanye because you're a lyrical genius but this is not your crowning achivement. In fact it's probably your worst.

    Bruiser Brigade EP - Danny Brown ★★★★

    A short but sweet EP from Danny Brown and Bruiser Brigade - the artist of which only Dopehead appears. The two remixes are dope - the Jooky remix being the better one with the dog barks and glass smashing being one of the most original things on a beat I've heard in a while. You can hear the grime influence in Danny's music more and more with every new song.

    80 Minute Eternity - K-Rino ★★★★★

    Intelligent rap is one thing, but then there's K-Rino. The leader of the South Park Coalition has just put out his second album of the year - 80 Minute Eternity. The first, Deeper Elevation, was dope save a few ballads but this album is banger after banger after banger. He asks not to be put on a pedestal but it's hard not to when he spits such raw rhymes with real messages behind them and the best thing about all of it is how he hasn't switched his style up once since he dropped his first solo album back in 1993. Fucking dope. Bring on the next one K!

    Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 - Lupe Fiasco ★★★★

    After the horrible Lasers many of us didn't know what the fuck Lupe Fiasco was doing - the album was commercial and that's that shit I don't like. So when he announces he's making Food & Liquor 2, fanboys started jerking off straight away. I wasn't one of those but I was anticipating it.... lol. And luckily it's lived up to the hype. Lupe continues to spit real shit all the way through the album - even on the ballad songs for the ladies he still spits the truth. The best songs are easily "Cold War" and "Put 'Em Up" while the worst is easily "Heart Donor". Lupe is back and he's here to stay. Bring on part 2.

    E.B.K. (EveryBodyKilla) - Blaq Poet ★★★★★

    Blaq Poet has been killing every song he appeared on since the '90s when he was with the group Screwball so it's really no surprise that his solo career would produce incredible albums. Rewind (Deja Screw) and Tha Blaqprint are both underground classics in my opinion and last years Blaq Poet Society was just as good, definitely not better but the samples and the production were so tight. Luckily he manages to better BPS with his new album. With features from fellow rap veterans like Reef The Lost Cauze, Shabaam Sahdeeq and Ruste Juxx, Poet fails to disappoint here and delivers a splendid album - lyrically and production-wise. The beats are mainly handled by Nickel Plated and Stu Bangas and while it was a shame to not see DJ Premier's name on the tracklist it didn't make a difference at all. Po' still kills it. Best tracks are "No Joke" - a diss to all the whack rappers out there (mentioning Lil Wayne & T-Pain by name - and the Screwball reunion track "Welcome Back Screwball" that features a great unreleased verse from KL who passed away in 2008. Great album, don't miss out and go cop it.

    Thrift Store Halos - ¡Mayday! ★★

    Couldn't get into this. Beats were ehhh, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien and Brotha Lynch Hung fucking killed their verses though. Props to them, but overall this was just eh.

    The Only Number That Matters Is Won - PaceWon ★★★★

    Earlier this year producer Mr. Green dropped a album with Outsidaz member Young Zee which was a dynamite album full of straight bangers and now he's back with another album with another Outsidaz member. This time it's Pacewon, but it's not their first collaboration - "The Only Color That Matters Is Green" dropped in 2008 and it was undeniably an incredible album. Sadly their follow up isn't as good, but that's not to say it isn't dope. The beats are all on point as Mr. Green is a true old school producer, one of the few left trying to bring the real boom bap back into it. Songs like "Be Mine" featuring reggae legend Lee "Scratch" Perry and Elephant Pelican, "Lock Me Up" featuring Snoop Dogg & BURNT MD and "Something To Say" featuring Masta Ace are definitely songs that will get repeat spins... Song after song the album doesn't disappoint until we get to "Champagne" and "Slow"... two songs I never want to hear again.

    Baby Face Killa - Freddie Gibbs ★★★★

    Easily my most anticipated project so far this year (as is anything by Gibbs) it was only right that this would disappoint a little bit after hearing some early leaks from the project. The best songs are no doubt the features - with the likes of Krayzie Bone, SpaceGhostPurrp, Curren$y, Jay Rock, Jadakiss and the legendary Z-Ro none of the aforementioned artists disappoint and neither do the tracks they are on. Sadly, which is unlike all of Gibbs' previous releases, the artist doesn't manage to produce by himself here. There are a few good solo tracks"Stay Down" is a very good song and while all of the songs apart from three do have features on the lesser known features drag the mixtape down a little bit. That's not to say it isn't a dope release, but I know that there are many tracks on here I won't bump again - mostly due to the lame use of autotune which is just unnecessary. No comparison to last year's "Cold Day In Hell" which was straight militant shit. Disappointing but bring on MadGibbs.

    Angel Dust - Z-Ro ★★★

    How disappointing. The previous instalment's in Ro's drug series weren't very good but sadly this one is just throwaways put together by the label so it was never really intended to be good. Features from K-Rino, Lil' Flip and Mike D are more than welcomed but the album just does not gel well at all.

    NO LOVE DEEP WEB - Death Grips ★★★★★

    A much better effort than the overly commercialized "The Money Store". The band put this out for free after the label kept jerking them around with a release date - something I utterly commend them for. Something that I don't commend them for is the cover which features an erect penis with the album title sprawled across it. Despite the awful cover, the album fucking bangs. Tight beats and heavy vocals take the band straight back to their Exmilitary days and totally skip over The Money Store. Just as good as their debut and anyone saying bad about this needs to get slapped upside the head. It's not catchy? It's not listenable? Eat a dick.

    K.O.N.Y. - Smoke DZA ★★★★★

    I think we were all surprised when DZA announced this on the random yesterday, and after being delayed a good four hours today I can safely say that this was undoubtedly worth the wait. Just as good if not better than Rugby Thompson (I'll have to bump again dozens of times I've no doubt), Smoke DZA's latest free mixtape is laced with hypnotic beats from all the usual suspects - 183rd, Harry Fraud, Ski Beatz - aswell as Lee Bannon and J Dilla - and the beats are exactly that, fucking hypnotic. DZA really does know how to make the perfect smoking music but I haven't even smoked this week and I'm loving this shit. For the features its like DZA picked the best MCs out right now and put them on his tape - Ab-Soul, Joey Bada$$ and Big K.R.I.T. are clearly the standout features here - DZA definitely has good taste. Best songs: "Diamond", "JFK", "Fish Tank", "Gotham Fucking City" and "K!NG".

    The Murder Murder Kill Kill Double EP - Necro ★★★★

    Necro still got it! Dope EP, shame about some of the lame-ass hooks but overall this is mad dope. So good to hear that Necro hasn't lost his touch on the boards.

    Winter In Prague - Vince Staples ★★★★

    With the trippy as fuck beats from frequent collaborator michael uzowuru and the laid back flow of the lyricist himself Vince Staples, this tape couldn't really go wrong. The two skits slow the album down and are very unnecessary but they're clearly just filler as the tape is only 25 minutes long in total and despite the fact I've heard four of the songs before the tape was still dope as. I wish Staples was more prolific though, he's a really dope MC - I understand that he doesn't want to compromise his artistic integrity but it's no excuse for leaving your fiending fans waiting and wating and waiting.

    good kid, m.A.A.d city - Kendrick Lamar ★★★★★

    K.Dot is an already established artist, so calling this his debut is really redundant. Regardless it is his major label debut, and in this day and age that statement is a burden because there will always be a change in sound (if only slight) once an artist signs to a label. Signing to Dr. Dre's label really made people shit bricks because some of us thought we'd never get this album. But alas we've got it and it's a very very dope album. After hearing this, there is a clear distinction that this is an album and that his previous releases were simply mixtapes. This is clearly constructed with precision and perfection - I'm not saying that his previous releases weren't. GKMC a heavily story-filled album that, for most people, will just go straight over their heads. The album details many stories from Kendrick's life and the skits tie the lyrics altogether very well and everything he says on the album fits the theme, the title, the skits and the cover. Favourite songs are "m.A.A.d city", "The Art Of Peer Pressure" and "Money Trees".

    The Man With The Iron Fists OST - RZA & Various Artists ★★★★★

    One of the best albums of the year hands down. That is all I need to say, the man is a legend. Now give us the fucking movie!

    Napalm - Xzibit ★★★★

    After a six year hiatus from the solo rap game, Xzibit is back with a bang... and he still got it. As lyrically on point as he's gonna get now, he rapes every track even the metal song with a guy from Slipknot on it. And the features? Bar Wiz Khalifa, they are all epic. From E-40 to RBX to B-Real they all smash it. Best songs: "Killer's Remorse", "Meaning Of Life" and "Louis XIII".

    Gibraltar - Count Bass D ★★★★

    A very dope beat tape from one of the most underrated producers in hip hop. Underground, and with no intention of rising to the mainstream, Count Bass D meshes together plenty of different styles on this beat tape (the final in a five-tape series, of which this is the only one I've heard) and they all flow seemlessly into each other. Highlights for me were "They Shall (Walk & Not Faint)" and "She Seemed A Little Too Gung Ho About Your Name" - as the tape continues, the final quarter begins to switch up into some crazy funk and the samples are just all flipped exquisitely. Nice one, Dwight.

    Ichiban Sound In 3D - Willie B ★★★★★

    Beat tape from one of Top Dawg Ent.'s best producers. Instrumentals for songs like "All I Know Is" by Jay Rock and "Ignorance Is Bliss" & "Rigamortis" by Kendrick Lamar go hard, but even beats that are yet to be laced are fucking heavy. Undoubtedly one of the best up and coming producers in the game right now. But that goes without saying.

    Mic Tyson - Sean Price ★★★★★

    Boot Camp Clik's most prolific, Sean Price has killed it ever since the Heltah Skeltah days and he continues to do so. Here, he gives us his long awaited album that has been talked about for over four years. Backed with production from some of the greats like The Alchemist, 9th Wonder and Evidence and Babu of Dilated Peoples, this album really can't go wrong and it doesn't. Lyrically, there are a few iffy points but overall it's a top album that is up there with the others in his discography.

    Heart Of A Hustla - Lil' Keke ★★★★

    Save some filler tracks, this is dope and a good return to form for the Don Ke of the south.

    Rare Chandeliers - Action Bronson ★★★★

    Despite my adoration for Bronsolini upon first listen this didn't live up to my expectations. It has the dope beats from The Alchemist but I think this one will take a few more listens to truly seep deep into my skin - much like his previous tape Blue Chips which is now my second favourite release this year alongside 4Eva N A Day. Standout tracks include "Bitch I Deserve You" featuring Evidence (whose verse goes hard) and "Demolition Man" featuring ScHoolboy Q aswell as the best solo track "Mike Vick".

    Wu-Block - Ghostface Killah & Sheek Louch ★★★★

    A dope album that could've benefited more from using in-house Wu-Tang producers rather than producers who imitate the Wu-Tang style, albeit quite well. The lyrics are as we were told they'd be, bitches, guns and fighting. Simple, really. And on that note, Sheek and Ghost have delivered. The track with Masta Killa, GZA/Genius and Erykah Badu is off the charts as is "Stella" featuring Method Man.

    I.M. 4-EVA - Big Shug ★★★★★

    A member of the Gang Starr Foundation, Big Shug has been dropping jewels since the early 90s and has consistently dropped dope releases. His 2012 effort, I.M. 4-EVA, comes equipped with production from legends like DJ Premier and Lil' Fame aswell as features from Reks, Fat Joe and M.O.P. So it's no surprise that this album goes hard, the best tracks are undoubtedly the Guru tribute "We Miss You" and "Big Fly Homie" which has a very addictive hook.

    Mandatory Brunch Meetings - Meyhem Lauren ★★★★

    In terms of beats, Meyhem's previous tape "Respect The Fly Shit" is about 800 times better. But with Mandatory Brunch Meetings, Meyhem shows off his songwriting skills and tunes the features down to a minimum while still managing to put his homies in there (Action Bronson, Ag Da Coroner and Maffew Ragazino all feature again). Dope tape though, will undoubtedly only get better upon repeat listens.

    Jesus Piece - The Game ★★★★

    Despite the heavy slew of artists I don't like at all (Rick Ross, Big Sean, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, Trey Songz, Tyga, Future, Wiz Khalifa....) this album overall was very good. Better than R.E.D., his last album. The beats are a mix of trap, straight hip hop and soulful joints for the ladies. Highlight songs are "Jesus Piece" featuring Kanye West & Common, "Name Me King" featuring Pusha T aswell as "See No Evil" featuring Kendrick Lamar and Tank. There is an autotune tacked on near the end which I could've easily gone without. Even some of the songs on The Game's "Sunday Service" releases have been better than some of the lame ones on here. Four stars, but could've almost been three.

    Selling My Soul - Masta Killa ★★★★

    Masta Killa was always the quietest of the Wu-Tang Clan and to date this is only his third solo album (equalling him with U-God who has also put out three) but that hasn't stopped him from being a lyrical wordsmith. Here on this soulful album, which is no shying away from his previous two efforts albeit less "harder" so to speak, MK takes classical producers like 9th Wonder and Mathematics (of the Wu-Elements) and laces their beats with his ever so smooth flow that retains it's trademark sound as it did back in the '90s. A great release, hopefully he follows through with "Loyalty Is Royalty" next year.

    The Plug EP - The League of Extraordinary G'z ★★★★

    This southern hip hop group from Texas have been putting material out since 2007/2008 and with this free EP release in conjunction with DJBooth.net they elevate their lyrics and with the beats all coming from one producer the EP is heavily coherent. The best song is "The Piss Test (Smoke It)" which features a sample of legendary comedian Bill Hicks. Great EP that will bump hard in the whip.

    Unite EP - Jahred ★★★

    Laid back debut solo release from the lead singer of (hed) Planet Earth. Wasn't feeling it all that much due to the overuse of autotune but "Unite" is a chilling anthem.

    Into The Future - Bad Brains ★★★★★

    Ever since I heard their self titled debut album from 1982 I was absolutely hooked on this band and have been in love ever since. As soon as I realized they were putting out a new album it sent shivers down my spine. And now I've finally heard it! While it's not as good as, say, their first three albums it is an incredibly fine return to form and I quite prefer it to their last effort, 2007's Build A Nation (which was good too!). Epic album that I can't wait to listen to again and again. Best album of the year, without a doubt.

    B.M.W. (Black Man's Wealth) - SpaceGhostPurrp ★★★★

    The leader of the Raider Klan finally decides to drop a brand new mixtape. Backed by the goons from his Klan, SGP has dropped yet another lethal dosage of heavy and dark Miami funk. While his lyrics aren't especially appealing, his beats are incredible and he has a great flow. This guy can seriously only get better seeing as he's only been getting better since 2010 when he dropped his very first mixtape. Keep it up Purrp.

    Hologram Panda - Riff Raff ★★★★

    Actually a very dope tape, if you look past Riff Raff's absurd appearance he actually does have some lyrical ability. Beats are all dope though, can't go wrong with this. Very dope.

    P.E.E.P.: The aPROcalypse - Pro Era ★★★★★

    Having already reviewed the four tapes put out by Pro Era this year these guys need no introduction whatsoever and anyone who wasn't expecting this to smack you in your face was clearly an idiot. Tape is full of dope lyricism, from a group of teenagers who are undoubtedly younger than half of the cats who are listening to them, aswell as fucking dope beats from half of the same dudes! Stand-out songs are most definitely: "F A Rap Critic" (Chuck Strangers, Kirk Knight, Joey Bada$$), "Bun N Cheese" (Capital STEEZ, A La $ole, CJ FLY, Kirk Knight), "Lawns" (Chuck Strangers, Lee Bannon, Kwame, Joey Bada$$)), "Like Water" (Joey Bada$$, Capital STEEZ, CJ FLY) and "Florists" (Kirk Knight) which is my favourite song on the mixtape. Definitely better than their last effort "The Secc$ Tape" and easily on a par with BADA$$'s "1999" mixtape which has been critically lauded by many. If you don't PEEP this then you really are missing out on the next generation of real hip hop.

    Diamond In The Ruff - Freeway ★★★★

    An excellent continuation of his recent form, Freeway is on fire with this one. Hench beats and hench beards.


    Below is a list of albums scheduled for release in 2012. Some are merely speculation but most of them do have release dates and are due out this year. Either way it's a pretty definitive list of the music I'm looking forward to in 2012.


    Trophies - Apollo Brown & O.C.
    Raw - Blanco, Nipsey Hussle & Cookin' Soul
    Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them - Blu & Exile
    Stoodiotyme EP - Bumpy Knuckles & DJ Premier
    The Kolexxxion - Bumpy Knuckles & DJ Premier
    Respect Game Or Expect Flames - Casual & J. Rawls
    Re-Conversionalize - Curren$y & The Alchemist
    EP - Cypress Hill & Rusko
    Attractive Sin - Del Tha Funkee Homosapien & Parallel Thought
    Iron Chef - Fiend & Cookin' Soul
    Fizzyology - Lil' Fame & Termanology
    Don't Throw Rocks At The Throne - Lil' Flip & Squad Up
    Seeds - Madlib & Georgia Anne Muldrow
    Bridges - Moka Only & Ayatollah
    This Generation - Murs & Fashawn
    REBELutionary - Reks & Numonics
    R.I.D.S. - Ron Artiste (Roc C & Chali 2na)
    Propr Boyz - Ruben Slikk & Mike Dece
    V.I.C. (Victorious Impervious Champions) - Ruste Juxx & The Arcitype
    Preloaded - Showbiz & A.G.
    Terror Tapes 2 - Sick Jacken & Cynic
    As Himself - Stik Figa & Seven
    StereoType - Strong Arm Steady & Statik Selektah
    Diggaz With Attitude - Stu Bangas & Vanderslice
    Guerilla Till I Die - Trae & Z-Ro
    It Still Is What It Is - Trae & Z-Ro
    Welcome 2 The Streets - Trae & Z-Ro

    Group Albums:

    Umskiptar - Burzum
    First Serve - De La Soul
    Monster Man - Devo
    Odditorium EP - Gangrene
    Let It Go - House Shoes
    Masters Of The Dark Arts - La Coka Nostra
    Numbers - MellowHype
    Freak Puke - Melvins
    The Evil Empire Of Everything - Public Enemy
    Quakers - Quakers
    welcome to: OUR HOUSE - Slaughterhouse
    Members Only EP - Strong Arm Steady
    Rize Of The Fenix - Tenacious D
    Doggy Bag - Tha Dogg Pound
    DPGCology - Tha Dogg Pound
    Lex Hives - The Hives

    Instrumental Albums:

    Excerpts From The SP1200 Volume 1 (1994-1998) - DJ Rhettmatic
    Total Breakdown: Hidden Transmissions From The MPC Era, 1992-1996 - DJ Shadow
    Rapper's Best Friend 2 - The Alchemist


    Self Sacrifice - Mello Music Group
    The Minimal Wave Tapes Vol. 2 - Stones Throw Records & Minimal Wave Records
    Selector Vol. 1 - Various Artists

    Solo Albums:

    The Best Of (740) Vol. 2 (Unreleased Classics) - 4th Disciple
    Five (Murder By Numbers) - 50 Cent
    Skelethon - Aesop Rock
    The Laws Of Nature - Awar
    Dross Glop - Battles
    Broad Street Empire Vol.1 - Beanie Sigel
    This Time - Beanie Sigel
    The Symbol - Beretta 9
    Machines That Make Civilization Fun - Big Jus
    Highest Wish - Bill Ortiz
    Holloween EP - Brotha Lynch Hung
    Mourning In America And Dreaming In Color - Brother Ali
    Beaus$Eros - Busdriver
    Hope In Dirt City - Cadence Weapon
    Killa Cam: The Gangster Side - Cam’ron
    More Gunz Less Buttah - Cam'ron
    Customized Greatly Vol. 3 - Casey Veggies
    He Still Think He Raw - Casual
    The Jammington - Chaundon
    Instrumental Mixtape 2 - Clams Casino
    Curb Certified 2 - Consequence
    S.I.N.Y. Poizon Vol. 1 - Dainjamental
    The Plain Dealer - DJ Lord Jazz
    Bass For Your Face - DJ Muggs
    The Weigh In - DMX
    Undisputed - DMX
    Greater Than One - Dwele
    Life's Quest - Eightball
    Cancer For Cure - El-P
    The Mission EP - Eric Lau
    Pay Me In Respect - Fes Taylor
    Stadium Music/The View From The Underground - Frank Nitt
    Freedom Of Speech - Freeway
    Art Of The Freestyle Vol. 7 - General Steele
    Lo-Fi Fingahz - Gensu Dean
    Reports From The Field: In The Trenches - I Self Devine
    The Sounds Of Low Class Amerika - I Self Divine
    The Most Interesting Man Alive - J-Love
    The Consignment - Jadakiss
    No Handouts - JD Era
    Rejuvenation - Juvenile
    More Beautiful Than Silence - K’Naan
    Alone Together - Karriem Riggins
    Random Joints - Kev Brown
    Love And Danger - Kool Keith
    Professor @ Large - Large Professor
    Fantastic Planet - Lee Bannon
    Choices & Flowers - Lil B
    The BasedPrint 2 - Lil B
    Trapped In Basedworld - Lil B
    Rollin' Strapped - Lil' C
    Ahead Of My Time 1.5 - Lil' Flip
    A.B.A. II (Album Before The Album) - Lil' Keke
    Dope Sick - Madchild
    Medicine Show #13: Black Tape - Madlib
    Phazed Out - M-Phazes
    Power & Passion EP - Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire
    Original - Mystikal
    Crack On Steroids - N.O.R.E.
    In My Mind EP - Nottz
    People Hear What They See - Oddissee
    OhNoMite - Oh No
    K.I.C.K. P.U.S.H. - One Be Lo
    Rigmarole - Pep Love
    Days Of Grace EP - Pepperboy
    Background Check - Phesto Dee
    Granite Pedigree EP - Phesto Dee
    F.I.L.A. (Fuck It Loseit All) - Ras Kass
    Spit No Evil - Ras Kass
    St. Fatrick's Day - Red Eye
    Bread and Circuses - Saigon
    Warning Shots 3: One Foot In The Grave - Saigon
    Rooted - Scarface
    Free Floating Rationales - Sixo
    A Dream Deferred - Skyzoo
    Prisoner Of Conscious - Talib Kweli
    EnterMission - The Black Opera
    True Underlord - The Dark Monk
    Rose Island Vol. 1 - Theophilus London
    God Of The Serengeti - Vinnie Paz
    O.N.I.F.C. - Wiz Khalifa
    Holy Water - Woadah
    The Photo Album - Wordsworth
  • Bands/artists I've seen live.

    Dic 2 2010, 18:13

  • 90s' Wu-Fam/Killa Beez Essentials: Pt. II

    Ago 3 2010, 1:44

    La the Darkman - Heist of the Century (1998)

    La the Darkman's debut album isn't exactly overlooked by Wu-Heads but it's most definitely overlooked by the hip hop general population. Released at the height of the Wu-Tang Clan's glory days, Heist of the Century runs for a little over an hour and spans eighteen tracks. La the Darkman's smooth flow is excellent on every single track especially the opening track "Lucci", "Az the World Turns" and "Wu-Blood Kin"

    Production comes from Six July (who has nine tracks on the album), Havoc (of Mobb Deep - two tracks), DJ Muggs (one), 4th Disciple (four) and the RZA (also one). Raekwon co-produces "Spring Water" with Six July. The production is tight, and among the best of the Wu-Tang Killa Beez albums. Six July really knows how to put a good beat behind an MC.

    Guest spots come from, DJ Rogers, JR. Puff, Killa Sin, Raekwon, Shotti Screwface, Tekitha, Maa Campbell, Havoc, Masta Killa, U-God, Ghostface Killah & 12 O'Clock. All of which come well equipped with styles already shown off on previous Clan and Killa Bee albums - all they do here is just prove how tight the Family is.

    Stand out tracks are, for me, "Fifth Disciple", "Love", "Element of Surprise" and "Az the World Turns".

    For a direct link to download the album you can private message me, but you can always cop it direct at Chambermusik.com

    Below is an artist description....

    La the Darkman

    Born Lason Jackson in The Bronx, New York City, La the Darkman is a Wu-Tang Clan affiliated rapper, hailing from Grand Rapids, MI. He considers himself to be the “12th member” of the Clan. Also notable for having recorded several times and developed a friendship with the virtual hip hop pariah Vanilla Ice. La the Darkman is also the older brother of Willie the Kid, who is signed to Aphilliates Music Group, owned by DJ Drama, DJ Don Cannon and DJ Sense. La the Darkman is the vice-president of the company. They released a mixtape called Dead Presidents with AMG in 2006.

    At the age of four La the Darkman moved with his family to Crown Heights, Brooklyn. At 14 he became involved in street life with GJ and EB and got in trouble with the kids at the basketball court. His mother didn’t approve and he was moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan where he finished high school. He released his debut album Heist of the Century in 1998, selling over 300,000 copies independently.

    Since the release of his debut album, La pretty much fell off the map but has since released various mixtapes shying away from the Wu-Tang Clan. In 2006 he released "Return of the Darkman" and the aforementioned collaboration mixtape with his younger brother. In 2008 he returned with "The Notorious LAD" and in 2009 he released "Living Dangerously" - all mixtapes.
  • 90s' Wu-Fam/Killa Beez Essentials: Pt. I

    Lug 24 2010, 17:41

    Might aswell put my journal to some good use I hardly ever use it any more.

    So here's part one of the 90s' Wu-Fam/Killa Beez Essential Albums.

    Buddha Monk - The Prophecy (1998)

    The album runs for over an hour with a total of 19 songs but Buddha Monk's crazy growl is enough to keep you invited throughout the whole album. The highlights are, for me, "Gots Like Come On Thru", "Warrior Chiefs", "Royal Monk", "Life's a Scheme" and "Cuts to the Gut".

    The tight and slick production is mainly oversaw by Buddha Monk, but Y-Kim the Illfigure, Phat Vibe and Marcus Logan also produced tracks for the album.

    Guest spots come from Ol' Dirty Bastard, Popa Wu, Shorty Shitstain and Raison the Zoo Keeper from the Buddha Monk's own group Brooklyn Zu, Shacronz, the Dutch Masta Killa, and the Da Manchuz clique (which features Babyface Fensta, Born U Majesty, Chill Black, Drunken Dragon, Espionage (RIP), G-Note$, Lee Major, Professor King Bean (RIP) & War).

    If you want a direct link for this album you can PM me, but you can buy it at Chambermusik.com and any decent retailer.

    Below is an artist description:

    Buddha Monk

    The Buddha Monk is a Shaolin brother of the Ol' Dirty Bastard and has been a part of ODB's Brooklyn Zu clique since the very beginning. He grew up on the streets of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, hanging with the likes of ODB - who actually gave the Budha Monk his name. They knew each other since childhood as they grew up in the same neighborhood and kept bumping into each other at parties on Franklin Ave. Buddha Monk said on the subject, "I would be DJ'ing and Dirty would show up and start rhyming. Then he’d take the turntables and I’d get the mic. Since we were kids, we knew we were gonna always remain family”.

    One day when ODB was in the studio, Monk gave suggestions on production and the RZA was pleased with his contribution and gave him permission to work with the Clan. He ended up singing backing vocals on CREAM aswell as appearances in several videos including Da Mystery of Chessboxin' and Brooklyn Zoo.

    In 1998, after the proverbial years of struggling in the streets and hopeful records deals gone sour, it was Buddha Monk’s time to shine. The Prophecy was finally revealed to the masses and received both fans and critical acclaim. The album was dubbed hard-hitting without being too self-conscious.

    On the first single, “Gots Like Come On Thru” featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard, Buddha applies the lessons that Dirty taught him: “not to clutter my music, to take my time and breathe, to harmonize and slurf my words” combined with Buddha's own ideas: “to make it swerve and have that extra funk that everybody can enjoy.” On tracks like “Warrior Chiefs” and “Eastside Story”, Buddha collaborates with other Brooklyn talents, such as Da Manchuz, who he's developing as his protégés.

    Years later, we would hear a lot more of Buddha’s Brooklyn Zu family with the release of the Zu-Chronicles series on Chambermusik Special Products. But between those times, the tragic passing of Ol’ Dirty Bastard in 2004 almost put an end to Buddha Monk’s career. Devastated by the loss of one of his closest friend and music compadre, the Crown Heights native thought about quitting the rap game altogether. After taking a hiatus, General Monk returned through the underground circuit with one goal in mind: ensure that ODB’s legacy lives on.

    Throughout his illustrious career, Buddha Monk has toured the world, worked with people from all over the planet, including more than 250 artists in the Brooklyn area alone and produced over 10,000 tracks. He is proud to include singing, rapping, producing, writing & recording to his repertoire. With the release of Unreleased Chambers (a compilation of the best songs from the Zu-Chronicles series) he’s closing down a chapter of his life and ready to continue his music.

    Look out for the next edition, coming soon!