Rasheed Chappell is a 44 year old MC from Passaic, New Jersey who’s been making music for a little over a decade now. He just dropped an EP produced by 38 Spesh this past spring called Ways & Means but to follow it up, Rasheed is enlisting Buckwild for his 3rd full-length album.
The opener “Tour Bus” with Che Noir & 38 Spesh finds the trio comparing Trust Gang to the Wu over a piano instrumental whereas the title track is essentially Shannell Griggs rapping from a penitentiary phone line. The song “Rock Bottom” with Ransom sees the 2 talking about the struggle over a melancholic instrumental while the track “Mass Media” takes a jab at news outlets over a boom bap beat with a sample kin to “#OkBye” off of KXNG CROOKED’s 2011 EP Million Dollar $tory.
The song “Crime & Punishment” talks about never letting down over a harp-inflicted instrumental while the track “Bredren” with Planet Asia sees the 2 flexing their prowesses over a soulful beat. The song “Dyckman” with The Musalini finds the 2 getting romantic over an instrumental with some beautiful vocal harmonies & after the “Post Game” skit, “The Blue Hood” tells the story of a corrupt cop over some demonic string sections. The penultimate track “C.E.O. Shug” talks about how “everybody can’t go” over a glistening beat & then closer “Black Owned” talks about doing it himself over a grim instrumental.
Personally, I think this is Rasheed’s finest body of work to date. The concepts that he brings to the table all come in together like an audio documentary series as Buckwild provides him with some suiting soundscapes.
This is the brand new project from New York emcee Rome Streetz. Breaking out in 2016 with his debut mixtape I Been Thru Mad Shit, he would make his presence in the underground known with following releases like Street Farmacy as well as the Noise Kandy trilogy & my personal favorite: Headcrack. He just dropped an EP earlier this year entitled The Residue & then the 4th installment of his Noise Kandy series back in June but to celebrate his 34th birthday, Rome has reunited with Farma Beats for a sequel to Street Farmacy exclusively on Bandcamp.
The opener “Track Marks” talks about whipping up drugs over an unsettling instrumental whereas the next song “Lick da Toad” talks about being platinum plus over a tense beat. The track “Bucketz” with Daniel Son sees the 2 getting on some exploitation shit over some horns while the song “Mirrors & Smoke” talks about reaching the top over a jazzy beat.
The track “Laced” gets in his storytelling bag over a soulful instrumental while the song “Ghetto Star” declares himself as such over a dismal beat. The track “London Pound Cake” with Radamiz finds the 2 comparing their music to coke over some mischievous synths while the song “Ballad of the Lone Wolf” talks about looking for an outcome from different shit over an earnest beat.
The track “Sinsation” talks about the cash over an uptempo instrumental while the song “Eyes on Fire” with Ransom finds the 2 talking about watching those next to you over some vocal harmonies hanging in the background. The penultimate track “Lucky Stopped Dreaming” comes at his competition over a demented instrumental & then the album ends with “Word 2 Mommy”, where Rome talks about being out to get the world as it turns over a classy beat.
What a way for dude to round out the year. The chemistry between Rome Streetz & Farma Beats is just as dope as it was on Street Farmacy, especially since how much both of these guys have evolved throughout the years. Can’t wait to hear where Rome takes things in 2021.
Arquiteko Verbal is a bilingual Los Angeles based hip hop artist who mixes complex rhyme schemes with refreshing production to take his listeners on a trip into his mind on every track. I recently got the chance to listen to his latest body of work, “The Feature Presentation”. This album sounds like it was made for vinyl! I’ll gladly say off the bat that this is filled with 11 super cool tracks, all produced by Orchestrated Sounds, and some very carefully curated features to make it all come together.
“Who got the power” was a clear stand out for me. Orchestrated Sounds did an amazing job on the production and Arquitekto brought the bars and the flows, in abundance. Lyrically this is a thought provoking track as Arquitekto takes us through his thoughts on the political state of the world in recent years. This is track is just one example of his versatility and what I really love is that he manages to do this without being boring or corny.
“Carpool” is a vibe. The production places you right in the middle of a sunny day in California. Each verse quite literally slides in, adding a new level of depth to the song as Cuartesmatic and ASP add their diverse styles to the mix. This is a very cool track and a really good example of Arquitekto’s natural gift of being able to carefully select artists who are not only talented, but will also add genuine value to the song that they appear on.
“Hamij” is a jam. Jazzy samples, boombap drums, slick flows, a catchy hook and a dope feature from Murderdatt. Lyrically the song pays homage to some of hip hop’s greats, no doubt the artists who inspired both of these songwriters. This song is clever and gets you instantly bopping your head.
In closing, I really enjoyed this project and if you are into authentic, honest and provocative west coast hip hop, then this is for you too. If you are bilingual and understand spanish, then I’ve also been told that this tape features some hard hitting spanish bars. Unfortunately my Spanish isn’t so good anymore, but regardless, this is a great project. Other noteable tracks were “Take Cover” featuring Choize Areef and M.I.E and “Love Hangover” featuring Francisco Baites. Go follow Arquitekto Verbal on Instagram: @arquitekto_verbal
Hailing from the Sunshine State, FL, Young Reela and Arone have just released the third instalment of The ReelOSSM – (O)ut of (S)ight (S)till in (M)ind – tapes, “ReelOSSM 3”. This 7 track EP is full of new school vibes and flows with a sprinkle of 90’s R&B, just lingering in the background.
“Eye candy” was a definite stand out track. I’m always a fan of songs that flow on from the last, in the same way that “Eye Candy” quite flawlessly flows from “Area Codes”, which is another great track. I always see this as a nod to those of us who still like to listen to projects from start to finish, without skipping. Arona’s flow is purely on point. This woman is a world class wordsmith and the way that she is able to segue into different parts of the arrangement deserves a tonne of applaud. The production on this track is radio level r&b. Young Reela really did his thing.
“What we doin’” is a favourite for sure. Once again, Young Reela got the production just right. This is probably my favourite performance from Arone, off this project. She plays with her rhyme schemes a little more in this track and her flow is flawless from start to finish. Plus the backing vocals in this track deserve a shout out. I know that’s a kinda weird thing to do, but listen for yourself and you’ll understand.
“$ellin’ dreams”, this was a real cool track. Most notable for the fact that we were blessed with a verse and hook from Young Reela, himself! Hearing both artists on one track together was a nice way to finish this EP off. Both artists brought the heat in their own right and this track made for a nice bit of versatility on “ReelOSSM 3”.
This is a great EP and honestly, Reela and Arone should be proud of themselves for putting this together. This is a coherent body of work that flows well, sounds clean and honestly deserves all the recognition it can get. Young Reela is a beast on the boards and Arone sounds something like Young M.A meets Tory Lanez – bars and melodies! Follow them on Instagram and show some love: @youngreela & @stayossm_
al.divino is a 26 year old MC/producer from Massachusetts that I’ve been following for a couple of years now. Dude’s been steadily dropping projects since 2015, with the last one being the Futurewave-produced Kataklizm this past summer. But to continue his grind, al.divino is enlisting the West Coast veteran DJ Muggs himself to drop Kilogram exclusively on the Soul Assassins website.
The album kicks off with “Jansport”, where al.divino talks about that pusher life over a horn loop. The next track “Money on Ya Head” talks about putting hits out over a sinister beat while the song “Streets Still” tells the listener to give him his respect & talks about those who tried to count him out over a psychedelic sample. The title track gets reckless over by a grungy guitar loop while the song “Jabba Jaws” with Estee Nack sees the 2 talking about turning dudes into mince meat over spooky boom bap beat.
The track “Mr. Dynamite” gets back on the drug dealer tip over an eerie instrumental while the song “Landslide” talks about his crew be winning over a boom bap beat with some dramatic string sections. After the “Wildstyle” interlude, the track “Larry Davis” talks about how no one can fuck with him over an intimidating instrumental while the song “Oven” with RLX sees the 2 getting mafioso over a bewitching beat. The album ends with “Singapore”, where al.divino talks about his shooters over a foreboding instrumental.
As much as I highly enjoyed Kataklizm, I think al.divino really outdid himself on this new album over here. Probably his best work to date in my opinion. His presence on the mic is at it’s most ferocious & DJ Muggs’ signature sound meshes in with al.divino’s relentless lyricism very well.
This is the 4th full-length album from Ohio horrorcore trio Alla Xul Elu. Starting off as a duo, Billy Obey & Joey Black started making noise in the underground by releasing their first 2 albums Head of Horns & Sci-Co in 2015. Couple years later, Lee Carver joined & they dropped their debut EP Necronomichron that same year. However it wasn’t until 2018 that the Xul made their biggest break when Twiztid signing them to their label Majik Ninja Entertainment, dropping their 3rd album The Almighty shortly after & then their 2nd EP Church of Xul last spring to universal acclaim. Fast forward to now, Xul is enlisting Slasher Dave to help take listeners a trip into the Mauxuleum.
After the “E.N.D.”, the title track that kicks the album talks about the Mauxuleum being worse than Hell over a ghostly beat, but then the next song “Blood Moon & Back” is an unexpectedly dark love tune that goes over better than you’d expect. The track “Rituals of Rot” talks about becoming undead over a spine-tingling beat while the song “Donda, The Dead” talks about the titular Donda taking her own life over a groggy instrumental.
The song “L.I.F.E. (Let It Fucking End)” talks about how going on living is a joke over an industrial beat while the track “Deathbed” talking about their desire to rest in peace for eternity over an abrasively eerie instrumental. The song “Nails” talks about failing when they try over a bass-heavy instrumental while the track “Rigor Erectus” talks about necrophilia over a dusty boom bap beat.
The song “Deadline” talks about purgatory over an horror movie-esque instrumental with some heavy guitars during the hook while the track “Random Axe of Violence” portrays themselves as serial killers over an intoxicating beat. The song “Mask Made Me Do It” talks about their Forever Faces over a Frankenstein-like beat fusing boom bap, metal & even trap whereas “The Harvester” that finishes the album off talks about how there’s no escaping from the titular character’s clutch over a bleak instrumental with a guitar wailing in the background.
These guys have become the greatest horrorcore act in recent memory & they really outdid themselves on this new album over here. Not only do the lyrics continue to delve deeper into more disturbing territory, but Slasher Dave really hones it & cooks up some of the best production of his entire career.
Black Thought is a MC from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania most notable as the frontman of The Roots. Since the very beginning of his career, Black Thought has solidified himself as one of the most skilled & well respected lyricists in all of hip hop from his work with the band or his lengthy list of show-stopping features. However, it wouldn’t be until 2018 when he finally started putting out projects under his own name with the 9th Wonder-produced Streams of Thought & the Salaam Remi-produced Streams of Thought 2: Traxploitation. But just about 2 years later, Black Thought is enlisting Sean Cane for the long-awaited 3rd installment.
The EP kicks off with “I’m Not Crazy (First Contact)”, where Black Thought completely shits on Christopher Columbus in complete reverb over a slow guitar-laced beat. The next song “State Prisoner” talks about needing each other for survival over a dynamic instrumental with some choir vocals during the first half while the track “Good Morning” with Killer Mike & Pusha T finds the trio talking about the struggles African Americans face along with ego-trip over an apocalyptic beat. The song “Magnificent” boasts his lyrical prowess over a funky instrumental with some live drums & after the “Experience” interlude, the track “Quiet Trip” reminisces about the old times over an fiery beat.
The song “Nature of the Beast” talks about how everyone in this country is all going through the same shit over an instrumental with some well incorporated synths while the track “We Could Be Good (United)” talks about this woman who complains all the time over a sensual boom bap beat. The song “Steak Um” with ScHoolboy Q finds the 2 talking about oppression over an instrumental with a haunting atmosphere to it while the track “Thought vs. Everybody” talks about being the most powerful black man in America over a funky beat. The “Ghetto Boys & Girls” interlude talks about coming from nothing over a spacious instrumental whereas the final song “Fuel” reads as a power open letter to the listener over a gospel-esque beat. Then for the outro, it’s just a decent reprise of the intro.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this one going into this but coming away from it, it’s a solid listen. Sean Cane’s production being a bit more glossier than the last 2 EPs were but that doesn’t hold it back at all as Black Thought provides a unique perspective on a wide range of topics on here, further cementing himself as one of the greatest MCs of all-time. Really looking forward to see what’s in store for the 4th installment.
The title track that kicks the album off is pretty much Benny talking about expanding himself over a boom bap beat with some horns along with an outro from Pain in da Ass whereas the next song “Where Would I Go?” with Rick Ross sees the 2 talking about being big bosses over a heavenly instrumental. The track “Sly Green” talks about money ain’t changing shit for him while the song “1 Way Flight” with Freddie Gibbs finds the 2 talking about bitches over a soulful instrumental. The track “Famous” talks about how he still doesn’t feel like a celebrity over an climatic beat while the song “Timeless” with Big Sean & Lil Wayne sees the 3 talking about their legacies over an energized instrumental.
The track “New Streets” talks about only being concerned of what hustlers think rather than haters over a classy soul sample while the song “Over the Limit” talks about success over a smooth, cavernous instrumental & it’s great to hear The Madd Rapper during the outro. The track “Trade It All” talks about his desire to give up his wealth to see those he’s lost once more over a somber beat while the song “Thank God I Made It” talks about being grateful for where he is today over a lavish instrumental. The penultimate track “War Paint” with Conway the Machine finds the 2 spitting the usual pusher bars over a beat with hypnotic vocal loop hanging in the background & then the album finishes with “Legend”, where Benny proclaims himself as such over a delicate instrumental.
Even though I’d have to go with From King to a Godfor my Album of the Year pick so far, this is just as great in my personal opinion. The production Hit-Boy brings to the table is somewhat more glamorous & clean in comparison to Tana Talk 3 & The Plugs I Met, but it manages to suit Benny well as we get to hear him at his most mature.
Mic Pro releases his 1st debut album “Starring Through my Rearview” inspired by the Hip-Hop Legend 2Pac Shakur. At 1st Glance you see the Cali influenced cover as the beach and palm trees bring you right to the scene. The 2nd track on the album “Life Lessons” was like a breathe of fresh air. Not enough artist in todays climate are creating educational stories within their music, Listening to Mic Pro was like a blast from the past. The sonic vibration and delivery reminded me of Ahmad the Los Angles legend who’s hit single “Back in The Day” took the world by storm.
As the album continues “Come Fuck with me” which was pretty dry sonically but still reminded me some what of Dj Quik. I can see potential in Mic Pro but his delivery needs to be more compact. “Windows Down” was for sure a g-funk vibe but the hook was incredibly simple and Corny, Now as for the feature verses from Micheal Antonio & Den Rock which were solid west coast vibes. “No Juice” was actually a catchy song and melodic vibe, I like the Chucc Dizzle fast pace flow and how it compliments the slower pace hook.
“Hand In Greed” started with a horror musical vibe with Hip-Hop overtones I like the creativity behind the production and look forward to seeing a video to this record. The Horror death rap scene is a mobilizing movement within underground Hip-Hop, I can see Mic Pro working within the niche. The production behind “Ego” was very dope I caught on to the hook instantly sound like an island collaboration of sounds. This would also be another fun interactive music video.
“Tippin” right off the back gave me an early 2000s feel of smooth productions, Even some of his lyrics felt like they were pulled from the Bad Boy aesthetic. The cruise vibe and P-Diddy vibes is like homage in todays climate. “Cherilyn Monroe” was a prostitute origin story who becomes part of much larger dark spectrum. This is a common theme in poverty because of the easy access to funds in a chaotic economy. What most people don’t know about Marylin Monroe she grew up in the city of Compton notorious for prostitution and poverty.
“Gurella Pimpin” was one of those raw Hip-Hop records with that high energy lyrics and animation. The production was gritty and matched the deliveries as I can see this being a good workout track. Mic Pro has an assort of different styles on this album and we can’t wait see his growth within music. For more news updates and musicals campaigns follow Mic Pro on Spotify and keep up with the latest.
Detroit YB is a 31 year old MC from Detroit, Michigan who broke out in 2017 by dropping 2 EPs back to back: 3:13 & The Heart of My City. This was followed up with a full-length debut the following year entitled Hustle SZN but after being teased with a handful of singles, YB’s finally delivering a sophomore effort.
The “Manifestation” opener talks about controlling your heart because you’re the only one steering it over a wavy beat whereas the next song “Doors” talks about never offering his toes over a dark, bassy instrumental. After the “Rich Speaks Life” interlude, the track “Stuck in My Ways” talks about being unwilling to change over a keyboard-inflicted trap beat while the song “Hard Way” talks about how it takes some losses before you get it over a hypnotic instrumental.
The track “Guilty Pleasure” with OneWay Monte sees the 2 talking about how it’s time for them to switch up their methods over an acoustic trap beat while the song “Hell of It” talks about drinking for fun over a woozy instrumental. After the “Mama Talks Addiction” interlude, “The Addiction” discusses toxic living an euphoric beat while “The Jungle” is a short yet dope response to the murder of George Floyd.
The song “I Get Around” over a trap beat with some odd background vocals & an occasional woodwind while “The Vibe” with Fenesse the World is a decent romance anthem with an instrumental to set the mood right. The track “New Leaf” talks about losing his soul in the ghetto over a trap beat with some well incorporated Japanese samples & after the “Simone Energy” interlude, the penultimate song “Shift My Energy” talks about escaping the affliction in his life over a calming instrumental. The title track is a great way to send the album off as YB spits some wisdom over a soothing beat.
I’ve been waiting on this album all year & walking away from it, I can say I’m impressed with what we got. The features were alright, but YB‘s at his passionate & the production is on point for the most part as well. If you wanna hear a up-&-comer from the Motor City at his finest, then I recommend giving Beauty in the Struggle a shot.