I’m going to imagine that most American readers aren’t familiar with Zo aka La chauve-souris, a producer from Besancon, France. However, you’ll want to learn the name, because his new album for Cascade Records goes straight to the heart of American music, as he flips a bunch of old blues samples on his MPC into some funky new bangers.
It’s been three years since Canadian emcee Shad dropped his brilliant album, TSOL. He has released a couple of EPs and mixtapes in the meantime, and they were good, but we all knew the payoff would come with the next album. Now that Flying Colours is finally here, fans can rest assured that we have one of the best albums of the year.
Topeka emcee Stik Figa came to our attention last year, with his album As Himself coming out on Mello Music Group. It was a fun, funky, and soulful good time with an emcee that had charisma to spare. L’Orange is a producer from North Carolina who also came to our attention last year, with his remarkably creative album, The Mad Writer, which made great use of samples of pre-50s jazz, soul, and gospel records. When I first heard that these two artists were going to be collaborating on a full length album, I was certainly curious.
Schäffer the Darklord is a hip hop artist and comedian based in New York who has made his name amongst the nerdcore scene. His latest effort is his fifth full length album, a concept album that picks up where his last one, 2009’s Manslaughterer, left off. It takes us through his first session with a mysterious therapist, as he works through some issues both in song form and in several sketches that move the story of the album along.
The Procussions are a hip hop group originally from Colorado, but relocated to L.A. They made their name amongst hip hop heads after releasing their album As Iron Sharpens Iron in 2003. After an intense five years that saw a few more albums and plenty of touring, the group went on hiatus and members pursued solo careers, with Mr. J Medeiros having the most success. Starting last year, the group that once began as a quintet and mostly performed as a trio reformed as the duo of Stro Elliot and Mr. J. Medeiros.
Essence is an emcee from Portland, Maine. Her debut album, Right Now, came out two years ago, and served as a nice introduction to a woman with a strong voice and creative vision. Two years later, Essence has come back with An Unreasonable Spring, an album that finds her even more comfortable and confident in all aspects of her music.
Budo is best known as the producer who worked with Seattle emcee Grieves for his Rhymesayers debut, Together/Apart. If you had the good fortune of seeing Grieves and Budo tour together, you probably realized that Budo was a special talent, an exciting one-man band who gave the shows an edge that others couldn’t begin to touch. Now, Budo has stepped out into the spotlight, producing his first solo album.
It’s been a three years since the last album from the British duo of dan le sac vs. Scroobius Pip. Both have released solo albums since that time, but it becomes apparent very quickly when listening to Repent Replenish Repeat that these two have a special chemistry together, and it's good to have them back.
It’s been a long time since the sci-fi hip hop supergroup Deltron 3030 dropped their self-titled debut album, considered a classic amongst hip hop heads. The trio of Del The Funky Homosapien, Dan The Automator, and Kid Koala successfully created a fictional futuristic universe where our hero fights against the oppressive powers that be, a story that was built upon with each successive song on the album. Since that time, fans have been not-so-patiently waiting for the follow up album, with hints that the album was underway for the last nine years.
Ta-ku has made his reputation over the last few years by creating some of the most beautiful down tempo instrumental hip hop, but also by being one of the most prolific musicians you’ll ever come across. Just months after his last release, the Perth producer comes back with his latest project, Songs To Break Up To a short ten-song collection with a straight forward theme.