When we think of producers, deejays, or beatmakers, we tend to think of them in isolation. Lone geniuses, tinkering with sounds and song structure, flipping samples, on their computers or in their home studios. Occasionally we get the production duo, or collaborative efforts that get passed back in forth. It’s very rare that we get a collaboration between four producers at once, coming together to essentially ‘jam’ on their MPCs. That’s exactly what happened with Cotton Claw, though, the collaboration between French artists Lilea Narrative, Zo aka La Chauve-Souris, YoggyOne and Zerolex.
The Aquarius Tape is the second installment in a series of astrological themed releases by Brussels beatmaker ShunGu, so there should be several more coming throughout the year.
Columbus producer Jon Rogers has been busy lately – in the fall and winter of 2013, he gave us two short collections of music he had been working on, along with contributions to Moka Only’s Martian XMAS 2014. This all worked nicely as something to tide us over until his next big project was ready. Now that project is here in the form of a full length collaboration with vocalist Renee Dion, also from Columbus, and it is more than worth the wait.
U.K. label Collective Resonance is one of our great current resources to discover young producers, and the latest effort from Suede Merit is one such example. The twenty two-year-old producer from Sydney shows some great range and depth on this EP, as well as plenty of potential.
Emcee Longshot has long been a part of the Chicago hip hop scene, although he relocated to Minneapolis a few years back. His latest effort and seventh full length album, Nothing’s Gold, was originally inspired by an interview in which Tupac mentioned that he had the idea to do a project based on children writing and recording songs themselves. Longshot himself has been working as part of a non-profit mentoring and tutoring kids in Minneapolis for a few years, and was inspired to write about his experiences.
Pyramid Vritra is something of a second generation Odd Future artist, and with Indra, he’s also making his Stones Throw debut. You might better know him as part of Jet Age of Tomorrow, a collaboration with fellow OFWGKTA producer Matt Martian. This album is his first venture as a solo artist, and typically falls short in the ways I’ve come to expect from Odd Future artists.
Thinking Out Loud is the collaboration between Queens emcee junclassic and Paris producer Mr. Troy. Both artists have been making records for a while, but both remain somewhat under the radar in the U.S. Hopefully, this album will get them the recognition they deserve, because there is plenty of talent here.
Bike for Three! is the duo of Halifax emcee Buck 65 and Belgian producer Greetings From Tuskan. They released their first album, More Heart Than Brains, in 2009 on anticon. At the time, they promised that this wasn’t going to be a one-off side project, even though they were working on different continents. Five years later, they make good on their word as they make their debut for Fake Four with So Much Forever.
When Psalm One first told me that she had been messing around recording under the pseudonym ‘Hologram Kizzie’ about a year and a half ago, I giggled and thought we’d probably get an EP worth of fun songs and that would be that. Fast forward to today, and Hologram Kizzie drops a full length album with a fully formed sound, vision, and some of the smartest and complex discussions of love and sex happening in hip hop. And I couldn’t be happier to admit I was wrong.
Power Struggle, or Nomi to his friends, an emcee in the Bay Area and part of the Beatrock family. A Filipino American who grew up in St. Paul, he has since found a home in the Bay as a community organizer and hip hop artist, allowing him to fit right in with the rest of the Beatrock family. His latest album, In Your Hands, does a great job of connecting all of the experiences, struggles, and successes in his life.