It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from Seattle duo Grayskul, with their last full length coming in 2009. Given the recent success of Dark Time Sunshine, the project featuring Grayskul emcee Onry Ozzborn and Chicago producer Zavala, I wasn’t expecting a new Grayskul album any time soon. However, just when it seemed like that hiatus after Graymaker might be shifting from temporary to indefinite, they come back with a big effort for their Fake Four debut.
David Vangel, the Toronto-based producer, first caught our attention here at Scratched Vinyl two years ago when he released his stellar debut solo album, Breadth Control. It was a combination of eclecticism, adventurousness, and sophistication that made his music captivating to our ears, as he made a style of instrumental hip hop that truly sounded unique to Vangel. Now he’s back with a four song EP that’s more challenging and fulfilling than most full length albums you’ll hear this year.
In case you’ve been sleeping the past couple of years, Oddisee has been building a hell of a resume, both as producer and emcee. Over the last two years alone, he’s released two instrumental albums and one vocal album, along with producing for artists like Homeboy Sandman. Each of his albums have been carefully planned and thought out with themes. The Beauty In All is no exception, as Oddisee explores the idea that mistakes and flaws are the most important parts of life through twelve instrumental tracks.
One of the things that makes me happy about Scratched Vinyl being around for a few years now is that we’ve been around long enough to see some young artists mature and fully realize their artistic voice. YC the Cynic is such a case. It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago that a few cameos were making me dig for more information on the youngster from the Bronx. Now he’s releasing his first full length album, done in collaboration with producer Frank Drake, and it’s one of the smartest albums you’ll hear this year.
Minneapolis producer Ackryte has certainly been busy this year. Two EPs and a full length album would be more than enough for most artists, but not for Ackryte. Rare Air EP makes EP number three for the year, and Ackryte shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Void Pedal is a producer from Chicago who has been releasing music for a few years now. His latest effort is sort of a re-release or expansion of what was originally an EP titled Pair of L last year, as we go from six to eleven tracks. What this means is we get more great down tempo hip hop from a very talented producer, along with a more fully realized sonic vision.
Lizzo is a young woman from Minneapolis who has quickly been making herself known, first as member of the group The Chalice, and also with the more recently formed GRRRL PRTY. For her debut solo album, she has teamed up with Doomtree producer Lazerbeak. Together, they deliver on the aptly titled Lizzobangers.
Senz Beats is a producer from Brussels who has recently relocated to Montreal. His latest effort is a beat tape compiled from music he had made in between 2004 and 2010, tied together with a sci-fi theme.
Wordlburglar, the Toronto emcee and Backburner Crew member, has made his name by crafting a playful style of hip hop with great wordplay, humor, and plenty of nerdy references. For his fourth album, he delivered a concept album based on the G.I. Joe universe. What might surprise some listeners, though, is that this album isn’t just for fans of the cartoon.
After releasing two EPs and an album last year, Homeboy Sandman hasn't slowed down at all, releasing two EPs this year. The second, All That I Hold Dear, was done in collaboration with Dallas producer M. Slago.