Listen: Alt-J—”Breezeblocks” (RZA remix)

No, seriously, RZA remixed Alt-J’s “Breezeblocks” and it’s awesome. It substitutes all of the deep bass and synths for more intricate drum patterns and a more uplifting ambience, in general. It’s not a drastic remix by any means, especially considering the fact that the original vocals are untampered with, but it’s definitely fun and enjoyable. And let’s be real, apart from Phoenix and R. Kelly, this has to be one of the best collaborations of 2013 so far. I welcome and encourage more RZA remixes of Alt-J any day. Listen to the remix below.

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Listen: Machinedrum—”Gunshotta”

After releasing his hugely successful and wildly entertaining video for “Eyesdontlie,” Machinedrum drops another single in preparation for the release of his upcoming album Vapor City on September 30. This track, “Gunshotta,” although just a tad bit more tame than the previous single, is every bit as engaging sans the visuals. The real highlights of this track are its drum-breaks which are fast-paced and get your heart racing in rhythmic fashion. They have both an industrial and jungle sound to them and are executed perfectly throughout the whole of the track. Interestingly enough, they’re contrasted by somber and near-hypnotic voice samples that, at times, are transformed to adapt themselves to the multiplying speed of the drums. Listen to Machinedrum’s “Gunshotta” below and look out for his album Vapor City later this month. Also, do yourself a favor and watch his video for “Eyesdontlie”—if you haven’t already done so—right here on Rhizome.

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Watch: Will Brennan ft. Jenny Reynolds—”RNR 2.0″ (Prod. EthniKids)

Perfectly melding together the worlds of hip-hop and electronica, Will Brennan releases the visuals for his song “RNR 2.0.” The “2.0” comes from the fact that this is a reproduction of the original which was released over a year ago. The genius behind this track is Will Brennan’s outstanding ability to rap like one of the best in the industry, but with a sharp sensibility and attention to the soulful, electronic beat produced by EthniKids. It also doesn’t hurt that Jenny Reynolds, who sings the hook, is a very attractive young woman with a lovely voice. Will Brennan is a rare breed on his record label Dim Mak which is owned by Steve Aoki and primarily promotes electronic music, but he seems to use it to his advantage by appropriating the genre into his own work. Check out the Florida rapper flex his lyrical muscle alongside Jenny Reynolds in the video above and, should you feel so inclined, download the more electronic version below. Continue reading

Listen: Jonwayne—”Reflection”

Jonwayne just dropped his third mixtape in a series titled Marrion Morrison via Stones Throw Records and he’s already coming right back at you with a lead-single to his forthcoming debut album appropriately titled Rap Album One. The track, titled “Reflection,” is something drastically different from his previous work and significantly better. In it manifests Jonwayne’s gifted ability to vocalize deep, introspective sentimentalism with unparalleled fashion. He shows a voracious appetite for verse and a superior command over meter and rhyme. A favorite lyric of mine is the following: “I’m a hundred years of torture with a bullet in his hand.” With so much talent, it’s no wonder that he’s signed to Stones Throw and has been receiving tons of support from them in promoting his work. Jonwayne is an artist to definitely keep on your radar until the release of his album on October 29. Disregard the strange cover art for the single which presents itself as a direct contradiction to the contemplative beat and raps of the artist and take a listen to “Reflection” below.

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Listen: Ryan Hemsworth ft. Lofty 305—”Against A Wall”

Ryan Hemsworth breaks away from doing remixes for artists such as Migos and A$Ap Rocky to working on a full-length album, Guilt Trips. “Against A Wall” is the lead-single for the album and is made up of choppy synths and hearty drums that quickly induce rhythmic head bobs and pleasant thoughts. Lofty 305 helps to set the tone with his soft vocals and his repetition of “love you.” It’s a really enjoyable track to listen to and get lost in. You can expect Guilt Trips on October 22 via Last Gang Records. Listen to “Against A Wall” below. 

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Listen: L’Orange & Stik Figa—”Blind Tiger”

Mark your Google calendar for the release of The City Under The City on October 15. It’ll be the debut album from producer L’Orange and rapper Stik Figa. Information about these two artists is scarce as they appear to be operating under a heavy cloak of secrecy, but one thing that we do have available to us as is their latest single “Blind Tiger.” It’s a single that’s as intoxicating as the mystery the surrounds the two. Take a listen below.

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Listen: Mick Jenkins—”The Water”

With so many rappers coming out of the Chicago right now it’s kind of hard to keep track of all of them. Chance the Rapper has definitely made a name for himself, but not too far behind is Mick Jenkins and his latest single “The Water.” Upon first listen, however, you’ll quickly notice how the Chicago emcee sets himself apart from the rest with grounded lyrics and a well-controlled flow. The melancholy nature of Mick Jenkins’ verses are further reinforced with a deeply somber beat produced by High Klassified and Da P. On this single, the artist goes deep against the grain of mainstream hip-hop culture with lyrics such as “water more important than the gold,” but also performs acrobatic lyricism with bars like “niggas talk shit I hock ether/ Stephen Hawking, no need for talking/ got a hawk’s eye, but I can hardly see ya.” This latest release will be on his upcoming, semi-eponymous album The Water[s]. Listen to the track below.

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Download: Cage—”This Place”

I can’t begin to express the amount of respect that I continue to grow for New York rapper Cage and his forthcoming album Kill The Architect. He’s only put out two singles so far and I’m already hooked. His first single “The Hunt” is a raw and haunting track with graphic lyrics such as “I cut my heart open for you so I can feel it bleed/ fuck who you like I’m the only rapper that you really need.” His second single, “This Place,” builds upon the dark and introspective theme created by the first with a chorus that begins “every day people die in this place/ maybe it was you who should’ve died in this place.” It appears as if Cage is exploring an ugly side to himself that he has yet to reveal to the public which results in something deeply personal and strangely beautiful. As inspiring as the lyrics may be, however, a lot of the credit must also go to Mighty Mi and his contribution to the hard-hitting beats on the last two singles. On “The Hunt” he provides a slow and eerie beat that meshes really well with Cage’s vocals. On “This Place,” which was co-produced by Slugworth, the two come up with a drum-break beat that contains a chorus that is paradoxically noble yet tragic sounding, if that makes any sense. This version of “This Place” appears to be an alternate version of what will be on the album, which means that the album version has to be like ten times better, right? The two singles that Cage has released so far provide strong insight into what the new album as a whole is going to sound like: It’s going to be rugged, it’s going be deep, but above all, it’s going to be really dope. Kill The Architect is not set to release until October 22 so let’s hope that he keeps the singles coming in the meantime. Listen to and download the single via the SoundCloud player below.

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Listen: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib—”Deeper” EP

In anticipation of their long overdue album Piñata, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib release an EP titled Deeper. Interestingly enough—just as they did with their previous EP Thuggin’—this album only features two tracks with Freddie Gibbs on the vocals. The other four songs are either instrumentals of the vocal tracks or bonus beats. In general, this shouldn’t be an issue, but the fact that they’re charging $12 for six songs, two of which are really just duplicates, is highly questionable. Don’t get me wrong, I love Freddie Gibbs and Madlib just as much as the next person and I believe in supporting artists who make good music, but I find it hard to justify the price for such a product [end rant]. The song “Deeper”—not to be confused with the eponymous album—lives up to its title’s expectations. The beat is up there with some of the best that Madlib has come out with in his career. It features a violin that immediately begins to pull on your heart and a bass that you feel deep inside your gut. Freddie Gibbs capitalizes on the beat by delivering top-notch lyrics that address the complications that often result from romance. His verses are profoundly personal and span nearly the entire three minutes of the track, without a hook. The Deeper EP will be available September 24, but you can listen to the single below. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until February 4 to hear Freddie Gibbs and Madlib’s full-length album Piñata. Continue reading

Listen: August Alsina ft. Iamsu! & Problem—”Numb”

New Orlean’s most promising new R&B singer, August Alsina, recruits two of California’s best up-and-coming rappers, Iamsu! and Problem, to bring you “Numb” produced by DJ Mustard. The beat has a bay-area feel to it despite DJ Mustard’s being from Los Angeles. Although Iamsu! is the only bay area native on the track (Richmond), both August Alsina and Problem also ride the beat exceptionally well. Being that he’s the principal artist, August Alsina dominates the track with two verses that stretch over 24-bars in addition to a 10-bar chorus that’s worthy of play in the best of clubs. Of course, the track wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable as it is without the appearance of either of the two rappers. Iamsu! sets the tone by opening up his verse with an adaptation of Trinidad James’ “All Gold Everything.” Problem adds to the track with his signature metaphors such as “let’s make one thing understood/ you nothing without paper like books.” Although August Alsina just dropped his EP Downtown: Life Under The Gun a little over a week ago, “Numb” doesn’t form part of it, but may belong to something bigger in the future. Until then, listen to “Numb” below. Continue reading

Listen: The Foreign Exchange—”Call It Home/Pity”

The R&B, electronica, and hip-hop duo consisting of American rapper/singer Phonte and Dutch producer Nicolay, better known as The Foreign Exchange, release back-to-back singles titled “Call It Home” and “Pity,” respectively, for their upcoming album Love In Flying Colors. The first is a lovely track on which Phonte exclusively sings and features a really funky bass in addition to heart-racing drums. The latter is a more laid-back yet equally powerful song where we get to hear Phonte deliver a love-sick rap-verse in-between a sung chorus that goes “don’t look for pity ’cause it’s not fair/ don’t look for logic ’cause it’s not there.”  Make sure to listen to “Pity” all the way through since the beat experiences a radical transformation towards the end that increases in intensity and includes a cool voice-box effect on Phonte’s vocals. Love In Flying Colors is expected to drop September 24. Listen to “Call It Home” and “Pity” below.  Continue reading

Listen: M.I.A.—”Come Walk With Me”

There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding M.I.A.’s newest album, Matangi, such as threats from the artist herself to leak the album and changes to the release date. Not really sure what it’s all about, but amidst it all comes a preview, that is a minute-and-a-half long, of a song titled “Come Walk With Me.” It should get a lot of plays on the radio considering how catchy the tune is, but it’ll still be nice to know what the song, in its entirety, sounds like. Preview M.I.A.’s “Come Walk With Me” below.

UPDATE: Below is the full-length version of the song, which was released on September 2, and it’s safe to say that it shattered the expectations of anyone who heard the preview. Although this version may not be the same as the album version, it has been dubbed the official single version and is available for purchase on iTunes. Listen to “Come Walk With Me” in its entirety below.  Continue reading

Download: GoldLink—”On & On” (Prod. Kaytranada)

One thing that you can’t hold against Virginia rapper Goldlink is that he doesn’t have great production behind him. With songs featuring stellar producers such as Ta-ku, Sango, and in the case of this song “On & On,” Kaytranada.  This particular beat is so good, in fact, that it doesn’t necessarily need a rapper to accompany it which is probably why GoldLink doesn’t show up for about a minute after it begins. It even features its own beautiful vocals by Snakehips who sings the moving chorus “Oh my love, just set me free, take away the leash that ties me on to you./
Oh my love, why won’t you leave? Take away your hand so I can leave untouched from you.” Clearly, the beat wasn’t produced exclusively for GoldLink, but instead was just appropriated by him—still, it’s worth commenting on and listening to if not for anything else. However, GoldLink is worth mentioning as well. Although his voice and lyrics may be a little jarring initially—they seem to strongly juxtapose the warm beat by Kaytranada—they have a way of growing on you and eventually fusing really well with the music. GoldLink may sound a little like Chingy (if you can remember that far back into the annals of Hip-Hip) but his content and beat selection provide a great alternative to that of his contemporaries. Listen to and download “On & On” below. Continue reading

Download: JMSN x Ab-Soul—”You’re Gone” (IAMNOBODI Remix)

IAMNOBODI brings together JMSN’s lofty sounds with Ab-Soul’s corporal lyrics to produce a solid remix for “You’re Gone”. For those who may be unfamiliar with these artists, JMSN is a highly respected producer and singer who recently released an album titled Priscilla and has previously worked with artists such as Kendrick Lamar on his good kid, m.A.A.d. city album. Ab-soul is a rapper from Los Angeles, who’s also a member of Black Hippy—a collective of artists from L.A. including Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, and Jay Rock. “You’re Gone” was just released about an hour ago and appears to be part of a project that has yet to receive much attention, but is sure to be amazing. The album will be a collaboration between JMSN and Ab-Soul and is titled Unit 6, which can be seen in the artwork for this single. A release date for Unit 6 has yet to be made public. Listen to and download the remix to “You’re Gone” by IAMNOBODI below.  Continue reading

Listen: MØ—”XXX 88″ (Prod. Diplo)

As if Diplo’s résumé wasn’t already impressive enough, the L.A.-based producer has now teamed up with Danish singer/songwriter MØ to add yet another hit-record under his belt. The new track, which is titled “XXX 88” highlights MØ’s mesmerizing voice with Diplo’s insanely awesome beat. The synths and bass jump out at the listener in perfect harmony with MØ’s deep-resonating vocals. There’s a graceful build in the track to the three-minute mark when everything gets really intense, but the subtle yet gripping opening lyrics are what really grab your attention. You can expect to hear more from MØ in the coming weeks as she prepares for the release of her EP on October 20, which will include “XXX 88.” Until then, remain content with the fact that this song (below) is enjoyable to listen to over and over again.  Continue reading

Download: Drake ft. Sampha—”The Motion” (Sango Remix)

Someone should have seen this coming from a mile away. Sango’s sultry beats are a perfect match for Drake’s heart-felt lyrics. So much so, in fact, that I could virtually hear Drake singing over the majority of Sango’s album North, which was recently released on July 23. On this track—”The Motion” which will be featured on Drake’s upcoming album Nothing Was The Same—Sango perfectly reconfigures the beat by adding a bass and drum-kick that were desperately lacking from the original as well as inserting a hi-hat and clap that help give the beat more structure and the illusion of a faster tempo. We don’t really hear much from Drake, or Sampha for that matter, except for a distant repetition of the chorus, which is fine by me since the beat is more than satisfying on its own. Sango is a producer that you definitely want to be on the lookout for in the future. Listen to and download his remix to “The Motion” below. Continue reading

Listen: Lucki Eck$ ft. Monster Mike—”Whole Stain”

Lucki Eck$ isn’t your traditional type of rapper and the production backing him aren’t your typical kinds of beats. It makes sense considering the title of his last mixtape Alternative Trap which was released July 25. Although other fellow and newly emerging Chicago emcees such as Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa don’t neatly fit within the parameters of what we’ve come to expect from rappers, Lucki Eck$ is still more subversive. He has a very slow flow that gives the listener the impression that he’s perpetually high off promethazine, yet the fact that he never talks about it leaves you looking elsewhere for answers. Whatever the reason may be for his slow motion raps, if given the opportunity, Lucki Eck$’ unique style has a way of growing on the listener in a lulling and hypnotic manner. His latest track “Whole Stain” featuring Monster Mike isn’t any different. The beat, which was produced by Plu2o Nash—who played a principal role in production on Alternative Trap—does an especially good job of complementing Lucki Eck$’ style with a minimal, bass-heavy beat that can be likened to trap, but really isn’t. Listen to “Whole Stain” below. Also, take a look at his visuals for “Everything Out$ide” which belongs to Alternative Trap and if you like it, download his album here.   Continue reading

Listen: Natasha Kmeto—”Dirty Mind Melt” (Sweatson Klank Remix)

Leave it to Alpha Pup affiliate Sweatson Klank (shown below), formerly known as Take, to take a track such as “Dirty Mind Melt” by Natasha Kmeto (shown above), who is from Portland, Oregon, and transform it into the lovely beat-oriented remix that it is. There’s something about the lofty synths and romantic vocals that bring to mind smooth jazz and 80’s R&B, but with a Hip-Hop twist, which of course should be expected from the Los Angeles beatsmith. The intro to this song, with its profoundly evocative piano keys, is exceptionally mesmerizing and immediately draws the listener in. Also, Sweatson Klank’s drum selection and pattern couldn’t be any better—it’s a subtle yet much appreciated dimension for beat lovers. Without anything negative to say about Natasha Kmeto’s remix and without anymore accolades left to give to Sweatson Klank, there’s nothing else left to do but listen to “Dirty Mind Melt” below. Enjoy.   Continue reading

Listen: A$AP Rocky—”(Untitled)”

A$AP Rocky goes two minutes without a hook on his latest track which got leaked from the forthcoming GTA V soundtrack. In it, he addresses just about everything one would find appropriate for the highly anticipated video game: guns, drugs, and flashy cars. He starts off the verse by saying “Niggas pistol poppin’ like it’s 1999” which should give you pretty a good idea about how the rest ensues. Considering that the theme for GTA V basically parallels, if not embodies, the life that rappers have made standard in their lyrics, this untitled song from A$AP Rocky should fit in pretty well with the rest of the tracklist for the soundtrack, which has also been leaked and can be seen in the link below. This is the second leaked song from the album—the first being Tyler the Creator’s “Garbage.” It would be nice to know who produced the synthy, looped beat, but we’ll probably have to wait until the official soundtrack for GTA V is released to figure that out. Until then, satisfy your A$AP Rocky needs below. Continue reading

Listen: Sol ft. Shayhan—”Tomorrow”

I’m chillin’ on the rooftop/I came a long way from the boondocks/and I grew up on that Tupac/so I rock “California Love” in my boombox” is how Sol starts off his new single “Tomorrow” and it only gets better from there. Featuring Shayhan on the hook “Tomorrow,” is an easy-going and inspirational song that places emphasis on one’s goals as opposed to his or her current plight. As always, the Portland, Seattle, rapper uses his skills to tell a story about hardship and success without ever missing a beat. This song is a great contrast to his lead single, “Jump In,” which was released earlier this year and is more fast-paced and light-hearted. Both “Jump In” and “Tomorrow” will be featured on Sol’s upcoming album Eyes Open which will be released on September 10. The beat for “Tomorrow” is also something to take note of, which was produced by Elan Wright. Take a listen to Sol’s latest creation below. Continue reading

Listen: YC The Cynic—”Negus”

Holding true to his name, YC The Cynic takes shots at the society that surrounds him and coming from the Bronx gives him plenty of ammo to work with. Produced by Frank Drake, “Negus” has a smooth and evocative beat that YC The Cynic matches perfectly by painting pictures of ancient Egypt and modern times. An especially powerful verse comes after the first chorus when he says, “Picture langston flipping language dipped in Royal garbs./Marcus Garvey did The Garden in embroidered scarves./Politicians tried to hop the fence and fought the gods./Tossed from Zion all we sighted was a fallen star.” The figures that YC mentions in just these four bars should give you an idea of what kind of cynic he is and the tradition that he follows in. There’s also the title of the track, “Negus,” which has its own implications, but for more on that you should read Dharmic X’s article in the link below. Listen to YC The Cynic’s “Negus” from his upcoming album GNK. Continue reading

Listen: Eminem—”Berzerk”

Ever since the release of “Survival” by Eminem a couple weeks back, fans have been curious to know what the legendary Detroit rapper has in-store for the future. Apparently, it’s the follow-up to his Marshall Mathers LP which is titled, you guessed it, Marshall Mathers LP 2 or MMLP2. “Berzerk” is the first single from the upcoming album, which, interestingly enough, may provide some insight into the way Eminem fans are going to react to it once they hear it—and not necessarily in a good way. Although the new project is to be executive produced by Dr. Dre and the all-too-popular Rick Rubin, its sounds more as if the Beastie Boys sans MCA were behind the mixing boards. The beat has a clear rock sound to it and although Eminem can’t be faulted for his raps which he carries fairly well, as always, it’s difficult to decipher exactly who he’s trying to appeal to or what statement he’s trying to make. Perhaps he’s consciously trying to pay respect to the first white rappers who opened the doors for aspiring artists such as Eminem or maybe it’s something else altogether. Whatever it may be, below is “Berzerk” for your listening pleasure.

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Fat Joe ft. Action Bronson—Your Honor (Prod. DJ Premier)

A new song produced by DJ Premier shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. He’s been active lately infusing young blood into his work with artists such as Joey Bada$$. But a new song by the Gang Star producer on Fat Joe’s mixtape The Darkside 3 is a little puzzling. Over the stretch of their lengthy careers and residencies in New York, when was the last time, if ever, that Fat Joe and DJ Premier have come together to make a track? Perhaps they were awaiting some strange and inexplicable force to come along and combine their fates. If so, that force has come along in the unlikely form of Queen’s Action Bronson—and thankfully so. Although constructed upon a sample many are familiar with, the beat for “Your Honor” is as good as any, if not better, that DJ Premier has procured in his career. And to the satisfaction of his die-hard fans, Fat Joe and Action Bronson do him justice with two hard-hitting and authentic New York verses—they have a modern flow with an old-school charm. Despite the vast differences in trajectories between Fat Joe and DJ Premier, it’s nice to see them come together and make some real hip-hop together with Action Bronson. Listen to and download “Your Honor” below. Continue reading