*I will eventually include a monthly, curated mix of songs from many of these same mixtapes since there are a lot of stand out singles from each of the albums listened to. I’ll be compiling that into a monthly installment aptly entitled “In Steady Curation”.
What To Buy
Cunninlynguists “Strange Journey Volume 3”
And if there’s cash leftover…
- Ratking “So It Goes“: Gritty, grimy, sharp, self-deprecating, at times nonsensical–basically all of the adjectives that you’d use to describe both the metaphorical and physical underground– but still an incredibly unique and refreshing listen. Let the hip-hop trio suck you into a rarely seen and intensely dark underbelly of New York that’s far different than the other hip-hop coming from the boroughs these days. Purchase It Here.
- SZA “Z”: A haunting and genuine introspective of the 24 year old artist’s experiences navigating romantic letdowns and heartbreaks. Think the female version of JMSN with better guest appearances from the likes of Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar. Purchase It Here.
What To Download:
King Mez “Long Live The King”
I first listened to Raleigh, North Carolina emcee King Mez when I stumbled across a music video for one of his singles entitled “Reign” on Potholes in my Blog. Needless to say, I was blown away. The lyrical content was beautifully balanced with stellar production (over a Beatles-sample no less) that kept the ol’ noggin, noddin’. After downloading the rest of his album “My Everlasting Zeal“, it became apparent that Mez is on a quest for a unique and lesser sought-out strand of greatness that rarely manifests itself with other emcees. After all, who drops a line like “I know I just want that throne/ it aint gonna be the main one/ just long as aint nobody livin’ got the same one.” Drilling deeper, I managed to also download “King’s Khrysis“, which was on some levels even more impressive to me than “My Everlasting Zeal”. And such has been my joy listening to King Mez during the last two years.So you can imagine my surprise when out of the clear blue I was perusing Soundcloud and found a ton of new tracks from “Long Live The King”. “Morris” has probably been the album’s stand-out track, with other tracks like “You Up” also achieving a powerful and haunting resonance for me. King Mez, apart from having mastered the art of incredible beat production (he now has his own studio in Raleigh), has also matured into a more intellectual, humble leader within the hip-hop world. He still excels at the craft of storytelling, as witnessed through his tracks discussing romance and major life transitions, but also seems to have evolved in his understanding of his role in the hip-hop game. King Mez seems to be most effective through his passion, introspection and self-consciousness; if up-and-coming hip-hop music were “Lord of the Flies”, King Mez would probably assume the role of Simon, occupying the space of creative outsider and charismatic artist. In many ways, Mez also seems to be a product of millennial hip-hop, frequently mentioning his college loans and education, and even his generational position in the game. Despite these burdens, it’s apparent that King Mez is trying in many ways to be the hip-hop king that rules through an even-handed conscience and knowledge-hungry wisdom. There are of course filler tracks on the album, but overall, Mez has put together an incredibly solid piece of work on “Long Live The King”, and one that will continue to grow on you. Truly looking forward to hearing him as he continues to hone his craft.
And if there’s room left on the hard drive…
- Matt Ford “Dwelling”: A surprise find for me (again, many thanks Potholes!), Matt Ford hails from the land of Philadelphia hip-hop. Much like Grande Marshall or Asaad, Ford definitely captures the dark grit of the city, but also seems to do so in a more whimsical way. His rhymes are constantly changing up, and even the production varies on a significant scale. Definitely worth your time! Download it here.
- Goldlink “The God Complex: You’ve probably never heard of Future Bounce, and I know I hadn’t. But when this DC duo dropped their much anticipated album, I was pleasantly surprised by the fun, raunchy and upbeat nature of the tape. The rhymes are punchy, the beats are funky, and overall it’s a short but solid listen. Download it here.
The Full List
|Cunninlynguists||Strange Journey (Volume 3)|
|Locksmith||A Thousand Cuts|
|Analogic||The Booth Shall Set You Free|
|Bop Alloy||Another Day in the Life Of|
|Ratking||So It Goes|
|Blueprint||Respect the Architect|
|Rome Fortune||Hip, Thighs & Lies|
|Gold Link||The God Complex|
|Pete Sayke x ThatKidMyself||Forever|
|Leather Corduroy’s||This Shit Fuckin Raw|
|Small Professor & Arcka||Hancock|
|King Mez||Long Live The King|
|Sean Rosati||Round 1|
|Bas||Two Weeks Notice|
|Jetpack Jones||Shades of Mary|
|Stik Figa||The Poogey Tape|
|IshDARR||The Better Life|
|Paris Jones||April EP|