Kydd - Missing Elements
Rapper Kydd really taps into the subconscious regions of the brain with this tune. The hypnotic beat is best enjoyed with headphones on or submerged in a bath (but not both for obvious reasons!). The unorthodox offbeat bassline and percussion add to the mysterious feel of the track.
The video is also incredible. The concept clip depicts life and death while flirting with mystic symbolism.
Download - Missing Elements
Binary Star - Thumper aka The Caped Crusader aka The King James Diversion
Anyone familiar with Binary Star will know of One Be Lo and Senim Silla, the two emcees who bonded over music after serving time in prison for armed robbery.
After their release from prison, the group quickly recorded Waterworld and rereleased many of the tracks, plus some new ones, for wider distribution on the Masters of The Universe LP which is widely regarded as an underground hip hop classic. Twelve years after MOTU, the two artists finally decided to collaborate as Binary Star once again to release a self-titled EP. While it was a breath of fresh air to hear the two friends at it again, the standout track for me was the epically titled Thumper aka The Caped Crusader aka The King James Diversion, which contains raps from only One Be Lo.
Listening to just the first verse will set your mind boggling. The wealth of knowledge One Be Lo displays regarding Christianity, Hebrew and Islam is truly amazing. His wordplay and intricate double entendres reflect why One Be Lo is known as the emcee’s emcee. I guarantee after listening to this song a few dozen times, you will continue to find meaning that you missed previously.
All Summer Long
Horrorshow - All Summer Long (Live)
And i still think of your face everytime it rains and I wonder
In a different time and place could we find our way to one another?
Solo MC from Horrorshow really crystalised the sentimental feeling of chance encounters and forlorn teenage infatuation when he penned All Summer Long from the group’s 2008 debut album The Grey Space.
On an album that features some heavy topics, such as depression, losing loved ones and finding hope, All Summer Long brightens the corners of The Grey Space and makes the listener feel what it’s like to be 16 and in love again.
To reward their fans on the four year gap since their last studio full-length, Horrorshow have decided to release a free live album, Live At the Spiegeltent. The generous act is also a calculated move to excite old fans and win over casual listeners before the group release their third album later this year.
Download - Live At the Spiegeltent (album)
RJD2 - Since ‘76
I might just be speculating here - but I’m a little bit confident that RJD2 has taken samba and South American music on this track and chopped them up to make Since ‘76.
The track was a single on RJD2’s second album Since We Last Spoke and it has definitely retained playback value for me after all these years. Hopefully it will do the same for you. Enjoy.
You Can't Go Home Again
DJ Shadow - You Can’t Go Home Again
The king of sampling DJ Shadow is often known for his standout debut album Endtroducing which obliterated the arguments of anyone still seriously contesting the legitimacy of sampling as an art form. But his second full length studio effort The Private Press tends to be brushed aside from public consciousness despite it being equally as strong as Endtroducing.
What The Private Press lacks in breaking new ground it makes up for in innovation and further experimentation. It is hard to pinpoint what it is that makes the album so incredible; perhaps it is the experience of being transformed to an unpredictable and exciting new soundscape with each track. This is definitely not 3 minute pop song territory, and DJ Shadow challenges the listener’s expectations by shifting focus and pushing boundaries with every new sample he uses.
Photo of DJ Shadow and fellow Quannum artist Chief Xcel in 1995.
Download - You Can’t Go Home Again (control-click, save as)
Aceyalone - Grand Imperial
Freestyle Fellowship broke new ground in 90s west coast hip hop and since then, I truly can’t name another group that have blended the fludity of scat jazz in hip hop as successfully as them. Perhaps one of the more famous rappers in the crew would be Aceyalone.
He is not your average lyricist and listening to a few verses from Aceyalone will allow you to catch a glimpse of his unconventional style.
But style and wordplay aside, the beat on the title track of Aceyalone’s eighth solo album Grand Imperial is the true standout in this instance. I could easily listen to the laid back sample on repeat for hours.
Download - Grand Imperial
Ain't The Blues
Intuition & Equilibrum
Intiuition & Equilibrum - Ain’t The Blues
Californican emcee Intuition is no stranger to the ill chill pill, having come to our attention back in 2011 when he released his free mixtape, I Ruined These Songs For You Too.
He recently released this new track with Equilibrium presumably on production duties and the subject matter is melancholic, introverted and thought-provoking. Check it out and enjoy.
K’naan, J. Period & Bob Dylan - Don’t Think Twice (Messengers Remix)
Not often does heartfelt folk and hip hop cross paths like this, which is why this version of Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice is so special. When Somali/Canadian artist K’naan teamed up with mixtape extraordinaire J. Period in 2009 to create a mixtape, it soon became evident that the emcee/singer would draw on influences ranging generations, genres and continents to promote his message of peace.
Bob Marley and Fela Kuti join Bob Dylan as artists that have influenced K’naan’s musical pursuits. In turn, he pays homage to all three musicians on The Messengers mixtape project, where this song appears.
The Messengers version of Don’t Think Twice transcends age groups and musical preferences to appeal to people from all walks of life, and in doing so, enables the timeless music of Bob Dylan to be rediscovered by a new group of fans, while giving K’naan some well-deserved recognition.