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Download: MC Zulu and Kush Arora "Lose Control"

Most people would rather forget the taunting and name-calling they experienced during adolescence, but not Dominique Rowland. After moving to a mostly white neighborhood in Chicago as a school child, Rowland heard some ignorant classmates call him "Zulu." Rather than try to avoid the name, he embraced it, and also took inspiration from the Zulu freedom fighters of South Africa and Afrika Bambaataa's Zulu Nation. These days, Rowland uses the moniker to perform as of the hottest ragga MCs in the U.S. This track is a collaboration with San Francisco-based bhangra-ragga DJ Kush Arora. Wyatt Williams To read more about MC Zulu download a pdf of XLR8R 118.  

Average: 7.8 (113 votes)
 
 

Download: 3 Is A Crowd "Take It Back"

The Milan, Italy-based trio of Albi, Froz, and Giga like to crowd their tracks with heavy beats and genre-crossing influences designed to make dancers sweat themselves into a dehydrated frenzy. Often known as 3 Is a Crowd, the group has captivated the blogosphere with edits and remixes of fellow Italians like Crookers and Congorock. We like the fact that Northern Italy seems to be listening to Baltimore these days (and vice-versa); notably, this house track features some of the Maryland inspired flavor. Wyatt Williams To read more about 3IAC, as well as other Italian artists, download a pdf of XLR8R Issue 118. 

Average: 6.3 (22 votes)
 
 

Download: Dante "Tucker Stomp"

Label: Havoc

Indie rapper Dante LaSalle Dauminque Tucker, who goes by the name of Dante when performing, has steadily gained popularity in the underground hip-hop scene since his first stage appearance in 1998. Now, Tucker is gearing up for a stint on the Vans Warped Tour as well as the release of his debut solo album, Roaming Empire, which is out July 15 via his own Havoc Pro imprint. "Tucker Stomp" is off the new album. 

Average: 7.7 (139 votes)
 
 

Download: C.R.A.C. "Buy Me Lunch"

Label: Tres

The SoCal duo of Blu and Ta’Raach, otherwise known as C.R.A.C., favor hip-hop comprised of leftfield beats and distorted soul, and, if asked, will tell you there really is no genre you can pin their debut album, The Piece Talks into. "Buy Me Lunch," the album's lead single, features vocalist Noni Lamar and features a strange amalgamation of the MCs shouting "revolution" over some lighthearted acoustic guitars. A couple swear words and some references to AKs ensure some grit stays in the mix as well. 

Average: 7.3 (23 votes)
 
 

Download: Fulgeance "The Revenge Of The Nerd"

Label: All City

Mike Slott gave us the inaugural track in Dublin-based imprint All City's 7 x 7 Beatstrumental series, and the self-proclaimed schizophrenic producer Fulgeance delivers the next. The 28-year old beatmaker and showman delivers a rough hip-hop number here that calls to mind the work of Dabrye, Prefuse 73, and Ammoncontact. 

Average: 7.7 (29 votes)
 
 

Download: Qwel & Kip Killagain "Agape Rain"

Label: Galapagos4

Chicago-based underground hip-hop label Galapagos4 keeps a steed of worthy talent in its ranks, including the prolific Qwel. The New Wine is Qwel's sixteenth release since his debut in 2000 as Typical Cats. From his early days rapping on a weekly radio show during college, Qwel has built an admirable group of devoted fans. Collaborating producer Kip Killagain brings some interesting sounds to the album, including the notable live violins and sick basslines on this track, "Agape Rain." Wyatt Williams 

Average: 7.8 (35 votes)
 
 

Download: Yelle "Je Veux Te Voir (Club-Club Version)"

The 25-year-old Julie Budet comes from a sparsely populated patch of countryside in northwest France, but her alter ego, Yelle, has risen from the Parisian nightclubs into the florescent-lined world of pop music. "When I'm Yelle, I like to wear more colorful clothes and be sexier," she told XLR8R in Issue 118. Her first track, "Short Dick Cuizi," took a jab at TTC rapper Cuizinier and also caught the ear of Source Etc. With a production team of Tepr and Grand Marnier making bubbly electronic beats, Yelle released a debut full length, Pop-Up, for the label late last year. The group will be touring nonstop for the foreseeable future, playing dates across the EU and, later this summer, a festival in the pop-loving metropolis of Tokyo. Wyatt Williams  

Average: 7.7 (32 votes)
 
 

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