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.
When Paul Edwards first published How To Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC in 2009, he found a unique angle to writing about hip hop. Interviewing a large number of emcees from different eras and styles, he compiled a book that really got down to the nitty gritty technical aspects of becoming a hip hop emcee. Four years later, he comes back with a companion volume that gets down to even more technical aspects and even finer points of rapping.
Step Brothers is the duo of L.A. hip hop veterans Evidence and Alchemist, who have been collaborating over the years since they both started making hip hop in the '90s. The seeds for this album were planted back on Evidence’s 2011 solo album, Cats & Dogs, which featured the duo billed as Step Brothers on the song “James Hendrix.” Three years later, we get the album that was promised in Lord Steppington.
Virginia producer PSY/OPSogist might be one of the more reclusive and mysterious artists working today, in the way that he doesn’t volunteer more than the absolute minimum amount of information about himself to fans. I’m not here to speculate as to why, but it does add an air of mystery to music that he accurately describes as “atmospheric headphone music/soundtracks to nightmares.”
If you’re already familiar with Twin Cities emcee Kristoff Krane, you don't need to be told about what a unique talent he is. If you're not familiar, you should know that in his career as a musician, he’s been part of the free jazz/hip hop group Face Candy with Eyedea, electronic/rock/hip hop group Abzorbr, and he’s released a handful of solo albums of poignant hip hop. For those that need a late pass, or those that just want everything in one place, Krane has put together a retrospective digital release that will help you catch up before he starts in on the next chapter of his career.
L.A producer Mndsgn made his Fresh Selects debut last fall with his album breatharian. They’ve teamed up once again to give us this companion release, Inedia, which features one new song and four remixes from other artists.
Toronto producer Elaquent has established himself as one of the top instrumental hip hop/electronic artists over the past few years with several releases on labels such as HW&W and stillMUZIK. His latest EP, Green Apples and Oranges, out on URBNET, will only further cement this status.
Austin group Magna Carda has been around for a few years now, and represent part of an exciting emerging hip hop scene in central Texas. In the past, and over the course of their first two album, the group had mainly existed as a duo, with Megz Kelli on vocals and Dougie Do handling production. With Van Geaux, the album finds the group expanding to include a live band, bringing in guitar, bass and drums, with Dougie Do handling keyboards and production.
It’s been a little while since we’ve heard from Muncie, Indiana producer IV the Polymath. His latest effort is a back-to-basics EP, which, as the name implies, was recorded entirely in mono. With the exception of one track, the EP is composed of original instrumentation without samples.