Download: Knifefight—”Knifefight”

New York rapper Beans a.k.a. Knifefight teams up with Ghostly producer Mux Mool and Los Angeles based record label Anticon to release Knifefight, the EP. Although it’s a certified art-rap album that lives up to the alternative standards of its record label, Knifefight also has a crossover appeal that speaks to listeners that may not be familiar with the history and repertoire of Anticon. Beans is by no means a newcomer to the rap game which shows in his capacity to deliver sharp and synchronized lyrics effortlessly. However, he also flaunts his mastery over verse by including off-rhyme lyrics that value message over sound. Mux Mool holds his own with beats that are original and just plain dope. It comes as no surprise that such talent is signed to Ghostly International, but it’s also nice to know that he has the chops to produce beats that make for good rap albums. All his beats are up-tempo and as colorful as Beans’ lyrics. The album features guest artists such as Cities Aviv, Kool AD, and Sub Con. Listen to Knifefight below and go to the Bandcamp page to download the “name-your-price” album. Also, look out for a future project by Beans under the Anticon label titled Wolves of the World. Continue reading

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Watch: Hodgy Beats ft. Left Brain—”Karateman”

Odd Future’s Hodgy Beats adds visuals to his track “Karateman” from his EP Untitled 2. The song features a spaced-out, bass-heavy beat that’s more than pleasant to listen to. It also features fellow MellowHype member Left Brain who delivers a cool verse in the middle of the track. The video was directed by Rob Haffey & Etienne Maurice and involves Hodgy Beats and Left Brain doing the kinds of things you would expect from Odd Future affiliates at a classic Los Angeles kick-back. Why the track is called “Karateman” is unclear considering that neither the video nor the lyrics refer to anything involving karate, but I guess it shouldn’t be surprising either. Watch the video below and stream the EP via the SoundCloud player that follows. Continue reading

Download: J’Von & Ackryte—”Aqua”

If J’Von and Ackryte’s album Aqua doesn’t already belong to your music library, it should, not only because it’s free (link below), but also because it’s that soulful hip-hop that you have to throw on every once in a while after you get off work/school and need something to relax to. The jazz-like atmosphere of the album is created in part by Ackryte, an up-and-coming producer out of Minneapolis. His solo album, Overly was released via HW&W Recordings and is a testament to both Ackryte’s interest in music production and his abilities in making funky electronic music. His beats possess a highly-refined sensitivity to drums and melodies that’s comparable to producers such as Ta-ku or Sango.

J’Von is the lyrical equivalent to Ackryte which is why the two come together so harmoniously in Aqua. He’s based out of Seattle and displays an intelligence in his raps that others should be envious of. J’Von also has a natural and comfortable approach behind the mic and apparently in front of the camera as well—as evidenced by the visuals for “Go.” For what looks to be his first full-length album, he does well to provide diverse and high-quality lyrics. One thing to note about J’Von’s raps are his ad-libs which, at times, come off sounding like something from a Quasimoto album. Not sure if this is intentional or purely coincidental, but as a Madlib fan, I’m perfectly okay with it especially since he does it rather well.

Below is the video for “Go” which was released last week and is from Aqua. It features professional quality visuals, a well-developed storyline, and even an impressive fight scene. After watching the video, take a listen to the album via the Bandcamp music player below. If you like what you hear, click on the respective link below to download Aqua for free.  Continue reading

Listen: Jaisu—”A Short Album”

He might be from Edinburgh and this might be his first album but Jaisu has some of the rawest beats out right now. His debut work A Short Album is exactly what its title insinuates: an album filled with sample-based production that evokes all the feelings one can expect to experience from a heart-wrenching short film. It plays exactly as a score would—paying little attention to the length of what a normal beat should be and placing more emphasis on moving the listener when the timing is appropriate. For this reason, you may find three different sounding beats all under one title in A Short Album. One of my favorite tracks from the album is “Whiplash Trash” which begins as a deconstructed beat but then quickly becomes a cerebral instrumental of sorts only to evolve into something else entirely towards the end. However, “Suite In D Minor League” and “Apollo’s Theme” are equally stunning in their own rights. The latter two are available to listen to via the Bandcamp player below. “Whiplash Trash,” which may or may not be a cultural reference to a local clothing shop in Edinburgh, can be found by clicking on the link below the player. Jaisu will release A Short Album via the newly founded Astral Black label on September 7 and can be purchased through his Bandcamp page. Limited Edition Red Jelly Cassette Tapes are also available for newly converted die-hard fans. Check out Jaisu’s music below and pre-order his album for an immediate download of “Suite In D Minor League” and “Apollo’s Theme.”  Continue reading

Listen: JMSN—”Love & Pain” EP

The lead-single for JMSN’s album Priscilla, which was later accompanied by visuals, is getting the red-carpet treatment with the release of an EP which features nine tracks, each of which is a remix to the original “Love & Pain” song. It’s truly a star-studded event with remixes by big names such as Ta-ku, Kaytranada, Sango, and Dpat, just to mention a few. And you know they’re doing something right when you can listen to the album the whole way through without feeling like you heard the same song twice. Each one of the producers takes a unique approach in the dismantling and reconstruction of the emotionally charged single by JMSN. Check out all the different remixes on the Love & Pain EP below. My favorite—in case you were interested—is the remix by Ta-ku.  Continue reading

Watch: Bryant Dope ft. ANTHM—”NNY”

There are a number of things occurring in New York hip-hop right now and unless you’re paying close attention it’s easy to lose sight of some of it. One of those things is the Harlem Renaissance scene involving, most notably, the A$AP Mob, but more specifically, A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg. Lesser known, but equally part of this scene are Vinny Cha$e and Kid Art and their whole Cheers Club camp. Then you have their offshoots or contemporaries such as The Underachievers and Flatbush Zombies in Flatbush, Joey Bada$$ in Brooklyn, and then Action Bronson in Queens. But there appears to be a new movement emerging out of the Big Apple that happens to be lurking deeper within the shadows of the city’s skyscrapers despite its more buoyant and straight-forward approach. One member of this new wave is Black Dave who recently dropped his single “Taking It Back” for his mixtape Black Bart being released September 17. Another member—and who this post is dedicated to in weird and indirect sort of way—is Bryant Dope who released his appropriately titled mixtape New New York in May. Today, Bryant Dope dropped the visuals for his latest single “NNY” which features fellow New Yorker ANTHM. The beat for NNY was produced by Hannibal King and the video directed by both Bryant Dope and Max Goodrich. In it, Dope and ANTHM can be seen New Yorkin’ it up on rooftops and neglected neighborhoods with cool and charismatic flows that we have all come to love and expect from rappers from where the art-form originated. Bryant Dope even has another level of New York-ness to him(as if the Queen’s native needs any more), that is, his voice (or maybe just rhythm), which can be likened to that of AZ. Also, Bryant Dope may be sporting the same red bucket hat that Black Dave wore in “Taking It Back” but sources have yet to confirm this. All-in-all, “NNY” has that jazzy New York hip-hop beat and flow that makes you want to throw it on in the morning and get your day started on a good note. Check out the visuals above and download his album New New York below. Continue reading

Listen: Bambu—”Son Of A Gun”

What is Los Angeles hip-hop? Before engaging in this discussion, it’s important to draw a distinction between L.A. hip-hop and L.A. rap. L.A. rap most often falls within the category of gangster rap, of which Los Angeles has a long history beginning with Eazy-E and N.W.A and stretching all the way to The Game (this lineage, of course, includes Snoop Dogg & The Dogg Pound, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Tupac). Kendrick Lamar and Black Hippy may be the latest contenders for the title, but that’s debatable considering their personas and deviation from traditional gangster-rap tropes, however slight it may be. Then you have artists like OFWGKTA, which includes Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt. It’s safe to say that despite their aggressive nature and rough edges, Odd Future rappers and affiliates are not gangster rap, however, their rejection of widely-accepted mediums of hip-hop also excludes them from being categorized as traditional L.A. hip-hop. Tyler the Creator and other artists of that ilk occupy more of a grey-zone than anything, which brings us to the other end of the spectrum. Continue reading

Swordplay & Pierre the Motionless—Tap Water

— In a parallel universe where Anticon rappers from the turn of the century became the hallmark for following generations of Hip-Hop, Swordplay & Pierre the Motionless’ Tap Water would have already gone gold, perhaps even platinum. Unfortunately, that tangent was … Continue reading