Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 2K11 in Hip Hop Terms?

The Lowdown, 5/31/11

Hmmm... Well, to be honest, there were not a whole lot of hip hop releases from May that really stand out in my mind. May was an excellent month for rap shows, but as far as full length albums go, I'm trying to brainstorm recommendations and am drawing blanks. I still need to hear Destro's "Ill.ustrated" album and Iame's "Lame" jam, both of which are probably dope, but for now I'm just gonna highlight a few titles dropping in June that I haven't heard, but that you might wanna be excited about:

1) Vakill "Armor of God" (Molemen)

Vakill's been putting it down for years with the Molemen and has yet to release a weak joint in my book. His lyrics and metaphors are so twisted and elaborate that he's probably the only rapper these days that can make a song loaded with punchlines and get away with it. I actually look forward to hearing his battle rap verses every time, but he's also known for flipping crazy concepts and dark personal narratives just as nicely. "Armor of God" has been a long-time coming and features beats from the Molemen and Jake One, here's hoping it's worth the wait!

2) Co$$ "Before I Awoke" (Tres)

Official full-length debut from long-time Blu affiliate Co$$ aka Ca$hu$King, with production by Exile, Cook Classics, Chief, and a gang of other talented folks. Given the quality of this guy's free albums, I've got a feeling that his debut is gonna turn a few heads. He's got a nice soulful voice and lots of love for Leimert Park, both of which are a plus. Bet it'll be dope.

3) k-the-i??? "Synesthesia" (Fake Four)

Latest from the almighty Fake Four is gonna be this new instrumental RPM-ish project from hip hop oddball k-the-i??? This guy's projects have generally been interesting and eyebrow-raising, plus Fake Four is on a roll this year and I doubt they're gonna miss a beat with this one. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the beats get pounded out quite a bit with this release.

4) Grieves "Together/Apart" (Rhymesayers)

Grieves has a great understanding of song structure and hook-writing, and his producer Budo has been killing it for the last couple years. Plus, Rhymesayers tends to release the definitive albums by artists on their roster, and Grieves + Budo already have a couple of high quality releases under their belts. The first three leaks have been excellent as well. Count me in.

5) Gel Roc "Beautiful Tragedy" (Abolano)

Can't forget my LA brethren up in heeerre. Gel Roc and EX2's albums have generally been dope, and this new one is produced by the talented Xczircles of Escape Artists. Had a chance to skim through an advance of this and it's definitely continuing Gel's tradition of quality releases, plus it's got a massive posse cut with some really serious verses from Zagu Brown, Neila, Kail and Lord Zen amongst others. Don't miss it.

6) Acid Reign "Diversity" (Uncommon)

More rampant, stylistic LA talent to be on the lookout for. These guys are masters of that energetic "chop shop" style of rapping that tends to breed in the LA scene, and this new album showcases their skills while also offering up some Project Blowed posse cuts for the heads. Features some stellar Myka 9 verses as well.

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