While I do have a significant back log of albums to review, I haven’t waited so long to get to the last entry of Maggz’s Soundscape series that I missed the season completely - Maggz himself didn't release this volume until the end of September. As a result, we don’t get to enjoy his latest EP as a soundtrack to the current season. Instead, it has to serve as a reminder of a warmer and brighter time as the brisk weather and gray skies become more and more familiar.
Despite living in an age where the internet is supposed to bring us all together, there can still be big cultural gaps in pop culture. London artist Plan B has been very successful in the UK, where his sophomore effort going platinum in Europe, but he remains largely unknown in the States. His latest effort is actually the soundtrack to a film he that he wrote and directed, which was designed to have six songs serve as the narration for the film, telling the tale of eight characters as they deal with violence in the streets of London.
It’s been over eighteen years since British musicians Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba first paired up and began exploring their love of jazz, funk, dub, and hip hop together. Over the years they’ve toyed with which aspects of their sound they’d like to emphasize and explore the most, but this balance between everything, from sampling, scratching, live instrumentation, soul and rock vocalists, and widely varied emcees, has all contributed to a sound that is unique to The Herbaliser.
Like a lot of hip hop fans, I was genuinely intrigued by the announcement of this collaboration. Murs recorded two of my favorite hip hop albums of all time, with the back to back albums Murs 3:16 and Murray’s Revenge, and Fashawn made one of the strongest debut albums I’ve ever come across with 2009’s Boy Meets World. Granted, I haven’t been thrilled by the last couple of Murs records, but the pairing of these two talented California emcees definitely held a lot of promise.
2012 has been a good year for BoomBaptist. As part of an emerging Austin beat scene, the producer has seen his stock rise as he put out a series of unreleased music he’s mad over the last several years, contributed beats on Muneshine’s excellent album, There Is Only Today, and he toured the Midwest with the likes of Therm One, Leonard Dstroy and Raj Mahal. Now, with the third volume of The Lost Files, he picks up right where the last one left off, and once again delivers the goods.
The Hood Internet put themselves in a difficult position with their debut album. For the last five years, the duo of Chicago deejays STV SLV and ABX have gained notoriety by releasing a series of mixtapes through their website, which featured mash ups of hip hop and indie rock artists. The were able to set themselves apart through a combination of the sheer volume of tracks they released and the quality of work that went into the mash ups, coming up with some unique combinations of artists that were mixed together very well.
It’s been a short while since Bambu’s last solo album, and he’s claiming that this will be his last. He vows to keep up with his collaborative projects, such as The Bar with Prometheus Brown of Blue Scholars and Native Guns with fellow L.A. emcee Kiwi. Time will tell is if this truly is the last solo record out of Bambu, but if it is, he certainly gave a hell of an effort to go out on.
Chicago hip hop group Typical Cats first burst onto the scene over ten years ago, but after releasing two stellar albums, the trio of emcees Qwel, Qwazaar, and Denizen Kane, along with producers Kid Knish and DJ Natural all started to work on separate projects, and before you know it, it had been eight years since the last time they all worked together. Fortunately, there weren’t any irreconcilable differences amongst the group, and they finally found the time and inspiration to give the fans what they’ve been waiting for with 3.
A couple of years ago, Chicago emcee Psalm One got involved with a program through America SCORES, an after school program that promotes fitness and creativity amongst elementary and middle school kids. As it happens, each year they partner with ASCAP to send a recording artist to work with the kids. While she wasn’t the first artist to get involved, she was certainly pushed the program to the next level by recording and releasing a full length album with the kids, with all proceeds going back into the program.
Moka Only is one of the most prolific artists working today. One advantage to working in this fashion is that when one album falters, as did his collaboration with Ayatollah earlier this year, he can redeem himself only a few months later with a fantastic album. This time, he comes back with the latest installment of his Airport series, inspired by his life on the road, namely the time you have to yourself while waiting in airport terminals.