Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 2K11 in Hip Hop Terms

The Lowdown, 8/31/11

Couple of very notable releases in the rap world this month... I haven't had a chance to peep Flash Bang Grenada's full length or Knives & Gasoline's album yet, but they'll likely be in next month's write-up if they live up to my lofty expectations.

1) Candy's .22 "A Girl And Her Gun" (Grimm Image)

At long last, the new full length collabo between Existereo and Barfly sees the light of day. Granted, a lot of the songs on here are fairly old, dating back to the duo's tour CD "On the Roadkill Again," but it's great to hear these tracks professionally mixed and packaged, plus their new songs deliver as well. For those of you not familiar with Stereo13 and Barfloco's twisted brand of hip hop, these two stylistic madmen make what might be described as "Drunken Americana Rap." Their niche market is clearly the drugstore cowboy and chip-toothed gypsy woman crowd, but there's plenty that you picky underground hip hop heads will appreciate on this album as well. Existereo is one of the more underrated MCs out of LA's massive scene in my book, with more than a few stolen posse cuts under his belt and the Shapeshifters at his side. He's one of those rappers who you expect to only be good in a group setting, but who impresses in a major way every time he drops a full length project, both stylistically and lyrically. Barfly is a member of the ever-prolific Oldominion collective out of Seattle, and stands out as perhaps the least conventional rapper in that legendary clique of strange rap talents. He kicks his verses as if he's perpetually drunk, and makes it sound impressive while dropping some seriously clever lyrics veiled under a mask of inebriation. Listen and you're likely to find more interesting quotables from this guy in a song than some MCs will give you in an entire album. One great part about Candy's .22 is that it doesn't sound like your average Existereo or Barfly album. Instead, these guys have taken an interesting direction with their collaborative music, embracing the strange country-ish aspects of their lyrics and styles and developing a very original sound in the process. With producers like Deeskee, Smoke, Coley Cole and Foundation backing them up, you know the music side of things is going to be solid. Hats off to the homies Self Advocate and Rob Rush for their impressive beat contributions here as well. But enough of my banter, listen to the song "Berkowitz" below and decide for yourself:

2) Prof "King Gampo" (Stophouse)

This one sort of came out of left-field and impressed the shit out of me. I've noticed Prof through his touring ethic and affiliations, as he's been listed on flyers next to the likes of Atmosphere, Mac Lethal, or more recently Grieves. His last free album, "Recession Music" with St. Paul Slim, was fairly good but not really enough to make me actively want to check for new music from the guy. Well, after listening to "King Gampo," I think it's safe to label me a fan. Everything from the rapping, to the hooks, to the production, to the cover's homage to "Gummo" is quality. Prof's music is very fun to listen to, as he's clearly having a great time making it without sacrificing a bit of style. His bouncy party hooks and comedic lyrics may seem a bit immature on the surface, but there's definitely a strong stylistic edge to his music, as he's constantly manipulating his voice and switching cadences in the most impressive of ways. He can also get serious with the lyrics and concepts when he feels like it, as tracks like "Myself" and "Karma" demonstrate. I will without question be checking out this dude's live show the next time he passes through my neck of the woods, as judging by the songs on here I'm sure that his set is off da meatrack. I paid 10 bones for a physical copy of the album on CD and was very satisfied with my purchase, but for those who are trying to go the cheaper route, Prof is offering the whole shebang for free on the Stophouse Bandcamp Page Download it there, or stream it in it's entirety below and see what you think:

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