At this point in their career Hip Hop duo “Atmosphere” shouldn’t be sounding this refreshed and inspired with new ideas, but here we are over 20 years after the group’s formation and the two have surprised us all by sonically exploring new territories one with an old worn out cassette copy of Headshots Vol. Se7en would never see as a possibility for a new change in sound. I’ve never heard so many synthesizers on an “Atmosphere” record, let alone synthesizers that evoke the spirit of 80s “Horror.” Producer Anthony Davis drawing influence from “Horror” isn’t completely out of character, considering much of his early work featured samples from classic Horror films such as Night of the Living Dead, Suspiria, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and The Shining, but this deep dive into dark synth-driven Electro is a massive surprise. As for Slug, he isn’t exactly breaking new ground, but he solidifies his status as the ultimate MC who can unsparingly reveal his vulnerability and rap his ass off at the same time. This is the best “Atmosphere” has sounded in years.
Even though this whole year has been a Horror movie, many of us are still celebrating this October as spooky season is here. To commemorate the favorite holiday of us weirdoes, Montreal-based singer/songwriter Maryze has released a brand new single titled “Squelettes,” and it’s her most ambitious track yet. I know I probably sound like a broken record, because every time Maryze drops something I describe it as “her most ambitious yet,” well, that’s because she continues to reinvent herself and experiment with new sounds, some even outside of her comfort zone, and that’s the mark of a true innovator. Meaning “Skeleton” in French, “Squelettes” is her darkest track yet. With hard-hitting production from Margo, and an explosive verse from Backxwash, the track is hauntingly catchy, but instead of delving into the typical “ghouls and goblins” tropes affiliated with Halloween, Maryze speaks on addiction and mental illness, which is far more disturbing than ghosts and zombies. Many of us have been forced to deal with our demons during this pandemic, and a lot of us have used unhealthy coping methods, and Maryze doesn’t sugarcoat this subject. The shouts of “what the fuck are you doing here?!” from Backxwash is all of us as we deal with that inner voice that tries to sabotage us, even when things are going well. It’s a dark yet inspiring track that dives deep into the darkness to trudge through the mud in order to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. “Squelettes” is a taste of what’s yet to come on Maryze’s debut album which is set to be released next year on “Hot Tramp Records.” You can listen to “Squelettes” below:
At this point it’s clear that S. Reidy doesn’t know how to stop making music, and that’s a good thing because you can always expect quality songwriting from the rapper/producer on every release. Today Reidy has shared a brand new single titled “Flowers,” and it’s a soothingly sentimental track with immense introspection and mindfulness. You can watch the music video for “Flowers” below:
Gorillaz continue their “Song Machine” series by dropping another banger of a track titled “PAC-MAN” which features “Top Dawg Entertainment’s” ScHoolboy Q. The music video pays homage to the classic video game which just recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary, but the track itself is a funky groove that shifts once ScHoolboy Q comes in with a fiery verse. You can watch the music video for “PAC-MAN” below:
It’s been three years since Joey Bada$$ released his impeccable album ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$, an album that still remains relevant today, and the wait for new music is finally over. Today Joey has released a three song E.P. titled The Light Pack which features the tracks “The Light,” “No Explanation (feat. Pusha T)” and “Shine.” Could there be a new album on the horizon? Maybe. One thing is certain though, Joey has returned at a time when we need him most. You can watch the music video for the opening track “The Light” below:
Following the release of two brand new tracks “N.S.T.” and “Things Can’t Stay the Same,” both of which have unfortunately been removed, “BROCKHAMPTON” have returned with two more brand new tracks titled “M.O.B.” and “Twisted” featuring Ryan Beatty and Christian Alexander. The two songs have been released on the group’s official “YouTube” channel. You can listen to “M.O.B.” and “Twisted” below:
On this day in 1990 Ice Cube released his debut solo album AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. After his departure from N.W.A. Ice Cube linked up with Public Enemy’s production team The Bomb Squad to produce what became both an iconic and controversial release that found Cube frequently defending his right to freedom of speech after loads of accusations thrown at him due to the graphic nature of the lyrical content. With much fearlessness Cube spoke on topics such as racism, poverty, and the gangster lifestyle, and much like N.W.A. this scared America. Cube saw himself as a street journalist as he uncompromisingly detailed the dark realities of poverty-stricken African Americans, and this was something America needed to hear. This fearlessness is something you rarely see in Hip Hop nowadays, and this album is widely regarded as a classic. Happy Anniversary!
Slowthai has been on a roll this week releasing track after track. The first was “ENEMY,” the second, “MAGIC,” and today he has released another new track titled “BB (BODYBAG)” and like the two preceding singles, the track is a banger. Now of course there’s a big elephant in the room. These tracks follow his shameful actions at the “NME Awards” earlier this year, but one can only hope he has learned from his mistakes. It’s looking like he’s on his way to bouncing back from it all. You can watch the music video for “BB (BODYBAG)” below:
“Run the Jewels” have finally unveiled the release date for their highly anticipated new album RTJ4. It will be released on June 5th via Jewel Runners/BMG, and will feature their previously released tracks “Ooh LA LA” and “Yankee and the Brave.” The album will also feature appearances by Zack de la Rocha, Josh Homme, Mavis Staples, Pharrell Williams, and 2 Chainz. You can check out the album’s tracklist below:
01. Yankee and the Brave (Episode 4)
02. Ooh LA LA (feat. Greg Nice and DJ Premier)
03. Out of Site (feat. 2 Chainz)
04. Holy Calamafuck
05. Goonies vs. E.T.
06. Walking in the Snow
07. JU$T (feat. Pharrell Williams & Zack de la Rocha)
08. Never Look Back
09. The Ground Below
10. Pulling the Pin (feat. Mavis Staples & Josh Homme)
11. A Few Words for the Firing Squad (Radiation)
Just when I was starting to lose faith in contemporary Hip Hop, out from the underground emerges two Hip Hop scholars from the Central Valley to slap me back into reality. The reality being that Hip Hop with true artistry is far from dead, and this is a refreshing realization. With MC Zak Gutierrez A.K.A. Sacrilege and Aidan Lozano A.K.A. USB on production, Grey Skies & Palm Trees is just what Hip Hop fiends unsatisfied with the current Hip Hop landscape littered with generic Trap beats and mumble clones have been yearning for, but by no means does this E.P. carry an overbearing “old head” mentality. Instead, Sacrilege delivers introspective lyricism more focused on confronting his personal demons and past hardships to work toward a better tomorrow than telling us all how dope he is. He doesn’t need to tell us how dope he is. It’s clear the guy can fuck you up on the mic, and what better way to compliment his flow than to back him with “Boom Bap” dominated production that’s immaculately produced with an incredible attention to detail that’s distinct enough to separate itself from dusty old lo-fi beats of yesterday. This is music that evokes the spirit of underground Hip Hop of the 2000’s, but at the same time isn’t stuck in the past, and it’s clear that Sacrilege is on a mission to take Hip Hop back to a place of artistic integrity. This one’s for the culture. This is only the beginning.