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Reviews: Hip-hop


Review: Del the Funky Homosapien and Tame One Parallel Uni-Verses

Label: Gold Dust

In this Parallel Uni-Verse, that funk you like is back in style—if that funk is the laid-back, loop-heavy beat of '90s hip-hop overlaid with amiable wordplay harking back to Native Tongues and the Pharcyde. Read more » 

Review: DOOM Unexpected Guests

Label: Gold Dust

There’s only one thing better than a new DOOM album—a collection of supervillainous collabs. On Unexpected Guests, the artist list reads like a lyrical enthusiast’s wet dream: De La Soul, Vast Aire, Count Bass D, Masta, Talib Kweli, various Wu members, and more. Album highlights include “Sniper Elite,” on which Ghost and DOOM join up for black-ops fun over a Dilla beat, and the self-explanatory “Quite Buttery,” where the Count and the Dr. trade high-cholesterol lines. Read more » 

Review: Themselves CrownsDown

Label: Anticon

A decade after two young Oakland transplants came together as Themselves, the now-seasoned artists, MC Doseone and producer Jel, have returned from their many projects to reinvigorate the seminal collaboration. The resulting album is a digestibly eclectic piece of psychedelic hip-hop that easily rivals their past work. Read more » 

Review: Anti-Pop Consortium Fluorescent Black

Label: Big Dada

New York’s edgy hip-hop collective reunites to try for more minimal, Bladerunner-with-beats rap futurism.


Review: Brother Ali Us

If there were any justice in this world, Brother Ali would be a solid contender for the title greatest rapper alive. Working with the same producer (Atmosphere's Ant) for most of his career has bolstered Ali’s already-consistent output, and his latest release, Us, is quality from top to bottom, as Ali vacillates between boastful jabs, message-mongering uppercuts, storytelling segments, and spiritual revelations. Meanwhile, the beats range from uptempo slams and funky, bouncy head-nodders to neo-exotica and retro-gospel. Read more » 

Review: Crown City Rockers The Day After Forever

Label: Gold Dust

There’s one major problem with Crown City RockersThe Day After Forever—it should have dropped at the beginning of summer. The Bay Area group’s third full-length is full of quality grooves perfect for backyard barbecues and sunny summer parties. Translating their stellar live show into song, “Break” sets things off with its raucous, crashing cymbals and commanding chorus. Read more » 

Review: Keaver & Brause The Middle Way

Label: Dealmaker

Sample-based albums are nothing new, but the U.K.’s Keaver & Brause go above and beyond—off-kilter timing, record pops, loop stops, and sound clipping are littered throughout the surprisingly smooth future-hop of their debut album, The Middle Way. Read more » 

Review: ApSci Best Crisis Ever

Label: Quannum

Let’s just get this out of the way now: Dana Diaz-Tutaan’s breathy, sinuous, and fierce voice is easily the best thing about Bronx duo ApSci’s second album, Best Crisis Ever. It’s the one truly original aspect of their sound, an ambitious mish-mash of new wave, electro, and hip-hop, with both futuristic aspirations and retro influences. Read more » 

Review: Koushik Tell Me What You See

It's a strange, though novel, idea to release albums of independent production music. The genre, also referred to as "library music," is meant as a royalty-free resource for use by radio and other media outlets. Here, Stones Throw sub-label Miserable Beast has commissioned Canadian producer Koushik to craft Tell Me What You See, music for a film-noir project that exists only in their minds. He's not the first to write a soundtrack for a movie that will never exist, but the difference on Tell Me What You See is that no story develops through the music. Read more » 

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