Mook Life Radio Episodes 1, 2 and 3

Music, Uncategorized

As you may noticed from the lack of new articles on the site I’ve taken a break from writing but don’t fear, you can discover plenty of new music on my new podcast! I’m playing all types of hip-hop as well some grime, R&B, drum & bass, dubstep, footwork and anything else I think is worth sharing. My first episode is a two hour special and going forward I’ll be doing two episodes at a time, split by the type of music I’ll be playing. Check out the first episode below and head to my Mixcloud page here to check out the next two.

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The Best Overlooked Projects Of 2016

Music

2016 is over and although it seemed to many like everything was going to shit it was an incredible year for music. Now that the dust has settled I’ve been looking back over all of the music we’ve been blessed with, but instead of doing the usual “best albums” I thought I’d take the time to shine some light on the releases that didn’t get anywhere near praise they deserved. All of the releases below would are in my favourite 40 of the year but I’ve seen them get little to no praise from blogs, magazines and people in general. So take a look through these releases and hopefully you’ll discover some music that could make it in to your own personal end of year lists.

As with my round up articles I’ve included a link to buy/download each release and a YouTube link to a track from each. You can access a playlist of all the tracks here.

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Black Kray – Soulja Luv Rari World

2016 was the year that “mumble rap” became a common and divisive phrase in the hip-hop scene and although I think it’s usually an inaccurate label, in the case of Black Kray it is quite fitting. This is in no way a criticism though, Black Kray’s unintelligible ramblings give his music a unique feel and although it’s certainly not for everyone I love his style. Combine these odd vocals with some spacey cloud rap beats and you have a catchy, interesting album. Imagine Ol’ Dirty Bastard at his most incoherent, rapping over beats that Yung Lean would use and you’re pretty close to the vibe on this album.

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Cappo – Dramatic Change Of Fortune

I loved a lot of albums from last year but this is undoubtedly my favourite. Cappo’s 2004 release ‘Spaz The World’ is one of my all-time favourite albums so I’m always excited when he puts out new material. I certainly wasn’t disappointed when I heard this latest offering from the Nottingham native, this album is nothing short of a masterpiece, meticulously constructed it is a beautifully cohesive piece of music.

Cappo raps like a heavyweight, every word lands with power and precision, switching up his flows to match the multitude of bizarre rhythms that span this LP. The lyrics on this album are superbly poetic and Cappo uses repetition in a way that I have never heard before in hip-hop. Throughout the whole project there are lines that Cappo keeps coming back to which excellently tie up all the tracks. The line “never in your wildest dreams restore your faith” crops up numerous times which innovatively signifies the end of the song or a beat change.

As good as everything else is on this album, the beats are what really give it an edge. All of these instrumentals are sublime, there is such a richness to the sound and an inventiveness to how they’re put together. Cappo produced all off the tracks himself with some help from Theorist on a few tracks and you can tell that he’s taken influence from his previous collaborators The P Brothers because the drums on here are especially hard and crisp. These almost industrial sounding drums punctuate a large range of samples and some wonderfully deep basslines. What makes these instrumentals stand out even more is how they evolve throughout the tracks, riffs are brought in and out while subtle sounds creep in the background.

From the straight brutality of ‘Ellelle’ to the beauty of ‘North’ this album is close to perfect. I implore you all to stop what you’re doing and listen to this album right now, you won’t regret it.

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Dälek – Asphalt For Eden

Dälek were one of the first acts to be labelled with the term “noise rap”, it was certainly the first time I heard the phrase used and it instantly grabbed my interest. I loved the group’s 2007 album ‘Abandoned Language’ but a few years after that release in 2010, they took a hiatus from making music. Fast forward to 2016 and we get Dälek’s triumphant return with ‘Asphalt For Eden’, a desolate and brutal hip-hop soundscape. The instrumentals used by Dälek are unlike anything else I’ve heard in hip-hop, heavily distorted guitar riffs drone and saturate these tracks creating a wall of sound that is backed with steady, unrelenting drums. MC Dälek completes the intense aesthetic with his distorted raps that burst through the powerful instrumentals.

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Greenova South – Kome Ryde With Us

Pepperboy, Squadda B (of Main Attrakionz) and Young God (of Blue Sky Black Death) revive the cloud rap sound and push it to dreamy new levels on one of the year’s most relaxing albums. This is 10 tracks of pure good vibes, an audio massage to put you in a tranquil state. Young God’s production is simply luxurious, packed with sweeping synths, gentle keys and euphoric pitched up samples all combined into subtly complex compositions. Pepperboy and Squadda B deliver unadulterated positivity via their laid back flows that breeze over those lush beats. This is an LP oozing with love and joy, which is something we all need more of in life.

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Havoc & The Alchemist – The Silent Partner

It’s perplexing that a collaborative LP between one half of Mobb Deep and such a legendary producer as The Alchemist could be included in this article but somehow this release has gone almost completely unnoticed. I absolutely loved The Alchemist’s 2013 album with Prodigy and this project with the other member of Mobb Deep is just as good, if not better. If you’re familiar with these two then you know exactly what you’re getting, but that’s in no way a bad thing. Havoc is the king of dark, street rap and The Alchemist conjures up the perfect understated, gloomy beats to back him up. Throw in some stellar guest verses from Prodigy, Cormega and Method Man (who drops one of the best verses I’ve heard from him in years) and you have an excellent album that fulfils that 90s nostalgia but still brings something fresh to the table.

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Ivy Sole – Eden

There are a lot of amazing independent artists on Bandcamp so it’s became a great place to browse and discover new music. I stumbled across a lot of great albums on the site last year but Ivy Sole’s ‘Eden’ has to be my favourite. Ivy Sole has such an enchanting voice, there’s a sincerity to it that you don’t often hear, like she’s completely putting her true self in to the music without any pretence. Sole’s lyrics also reflect this truthfulness as she reflects on her relationships, goals and the desires in life. The instrumentals on the release are soulful and serene, drifting along as Sole’s vocals freely switch between rapping and singing. ‘Eden’ is a highly personal album with a warmth that I rarely feel, Ivy Sole is definitely a young talent to look out for.

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The Kleenrz – Season 2

The Kleenerz is the duo of underground Los Angeles MC Self Jupiter and Los Angeles producer Kenny Segal. I’m familiar with Kenny Segal from his exceptional work with the likes of Busdriver and Milo but although I’ve often heard the name Self Jupiter, I’ve never actually heard him rap so this album served as a great introduction for me. Self Jupiter’s style is quite unique, he’s very expressive and his delivery often sounds as though he’s reciting poetry in a constant stream that could sound off beat if you weren’t paying attention. This complex flow lends itself to the vivid lyrics as he paints Tarantino-eque imagery, telling tales of Los Angeles’ violent underbelly. Segal’s beats are equally cinematic, building tension and working as a fitting score for Jupiter’s tales. The production style that Segal uses is distinctive, his instrumentals feel almost hand crafted, they’re intricate and always switching up slightly with subtle layers of sound. To end most of the songs on this album Self Jupiter lets the beat ride out, giving Segal a chance to shine as he morphs samples into complex and catchy little interludes. This LP is another example of Kenny Segal’s ability to work with some of the most uniquely creative MCs around and mould his sound to them to make something memorable.

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Mr. Lif – Don’t Look Down

10 years ago Mr. Lif was one of the biggest names on the underground hip-hop scene as one of the heavyweights on seminal record label Def Jux, but having taken a 7 year break from his solo hip-hop career the name Lif had faded in to the background for a lot of people. Even though it’s been a while, Lif hasn’t lost a step and has put together a concise and thoughtful album. Every track on the LP serves a purpose, right from the first two tracks that tell the story of an altercation with a home invader which bring Lif to a dark place, then moving on to the next few tracks which become more uplifting but still introspective. The album continues with some epic imagery on ‘Whizdom’ which is features a legendary beat from Edan (I really hope this means he’s going to be releasing more music soon, he’s been missed). We’re then treated to some flawless back and forth raps with fellow Perceptionist, Akrobatik who as always works very well with Lif, especially over the punchy beat on here. Throughout this project the beats are raw and funky, building tension on the earlier songs then lifting the mood as the album progresses. We’re finally lead to the gargantuan finale of the title track with a leviathan of an instrumental layered with a floating organ sweep, sombre piano and a groaning bass sound bubbling up from underneath as Lif closes the album out. On top of this superb album Lif also released a collaborative EP with L’Orange so it’s looks like he’s definitely back for good, and that’s fantastic news for any hip-hop fan.

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Ocean Wisdom – Chaos 93′

High Focus is one of the biggest record labels on the relatively small UK hip-hop scene and although I’m not a big fan of most of their releases this one really stood out. There are so many people making boom bap at the moment (especially in the UK), all trying to capture the much loved sound of the 90s but often ending up with something dull and unoriginal. However Ocean Wisdom has come with his own version of that golden age vibe that breaks away from the generic formula. Classic boom bap style samples and drums are laced with chest rattling bass, the production provided by Dirty Dike is some of the best I’ve heard from him. Lyrically, Ocean Wisdom drops killer punchlines with a classic British flavour while his rapid fire flow is reminiscent of Das EFX (if he was from London). If you’re feeling nostalgic for the 90s but need something with a bit of an edge then look no further.

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Open Mike Eagle & Paul White – Hella Personal Film Festival

Open Mike Eagle gained a lot of critical praise for his stellar 2014 album ‘Dark Comedy’ which gained him a lot of fans and really got his name out there. Unfortunately this buzz seems to have died down because this project with Danny Brown collaborator Paul White has gone mostly unnoticed, and that’s a massive shame. There’s a strange vibe to this album though, I wasn’t sure about it at first but it really clicked with me after a few listens and became one of my favourite albums of the year, so maybe other fans didn’t give it the time it needs to nestle it’s way in to your brain. The project has a very euphoric, psychedelic feel, but there’s something a little unsettling lying beneath, as if you’re having a serene hallucinogenic trip but you’re on the edge of it turning dark.

As with most of Open Mike Eagle’s music the lyrics are often profound, delving in to some serious issues, but at the same time he uses a lot of humour and bizarre imagery. Like on the track ‘Smiling (Quirky Race Doc)’ about the prejudices black people face in public places, it’s a serious topic that Eagle poignantly explores but then goes on to use the line “Grown man avoided like a ghost fart”. This mixture of politicism with joviality makes for a thought provoking and thoroughly entertaining listen.

It’s a real tribute to Paul White’s talent that he produced the entirety of this album and the majority of Danny Brown’s ‘Atrocity Exhibition’ all in one year, because the two sounds could not be more different. While ‘Atrocity Exhibition’ was coarse and abrasive ‘Hella Personal Film Festival’ is flawlessly smooth, using funk and soul samples to construct these floaty, uplifting tunes. There is a richness and depth to the music that you don’t often hear, White is a true musical expert able to create some of the most pleasurable music I have ever heard. Together this pair have made something truly special, an album that is soothing yet sombre, easy listening with a deeper meaning, music that will stay with you long after you’ve heard it.

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Trim – 1-800 Dinosaur Presents: Trim

1-800 Dinosaur is a collective of electronic music producers from the UK, comprised of Foat, James Blake, Airhead, Mr Assister and Klaus. On this project they call upon UK MC Trim to provide vocals for the crew’s vibrant instrumentals. Trim is known for his work on the grime scene but he’s always had a unique flow and has worked with Blake previously, making him a great fit for the unconventional compositions on this release. You could probably slap some silly label like “post grime” on this music but that’s only because you’d struggle to find another way to describe it. The instrumentals here are varied, from stomping, bass heavy tracks to others that with little to no percussion, but despite the range of vibes there is a general aesthetic that links everything together. There are a lot of grime type sounds in the production but the use of space and insane progression takes it outside of that genre. Similarly, Trim uses grime flows at times but his pure poeticness and astute pacing sets him apart. Simply put, this stuff sounds like the future, it’s vibrant, challenging and at times even shocking, a prime example of what forward-thinking music should be.

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Vic Spencer – St. Gregory

Chicago has been an incredible city for music for the last few years with acts like Chance The Rapper, Mick Jenkins, Lucki Eck$, Supa Bwe, Noname and many others putting out great projects, but one of my favourite and also most overlooked artists is Vic Spencer. For years now he’s been putting out his own twisted style of hip-hop with killer bars, jazzy beats and deep bass. This album is one of Spencer’s most refined so far, packed with punchlines and wordplay, also showing his aptitude for storytelling on ‘Gone Fishin’ Pt1,2,3′. With an instantly recognisable voice and unpredictable flow, Spencer brings his A game over off-kilter beats that are almost Madlib-esque but with more bass.

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Yung Simmie – Simmie Season

The first time I head Yung Simmie was on Denzel Curry’s monstrous tune ‘Threatz’ and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. Simmie just has one of those voices I could listen to for days, his cadence is soothing and relaxed yet there’s this underlying violence to it that adds strength to everything he does. His flow shares this type of contradiction in that it’s uniform and laid back but there’s an energy there that gets me hyped. The beats on this tape are beautifully simplistic, facile but effective samples looped over fiercely sharp and punchy 808 drums. Shortly after this release Yung Simmie dropped ‘Simmie Season 2’ which is also well worth checking out, but I give the edge to the first one because of the more varied production sounds and magnificent verse from the mighty Denzel Curry (on ‘Shoot Da 3’).

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Mook Life Music Round Up: Second Half of 2016

Music

2016 is very nearly over and before I put out my top 40 albums of the year, here’s a round up of all the best releases from July-November. Unfortunately I’ve been too busy recently to include descriptions of the releases so you’ll have to check them out yourself.

As always I’ve included a link to buy/download and a link to listen to a track from the release on YouTube. You can get a YouTube playlist of all the tracks here.

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$uicideboy$ – Radical $uicide and Eternal Grey

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2 Chainz – Daniel Son – Necklace Don and Hibachi For Lunch

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2 Fly – Level Up

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21 Savage & Metro Boomin – Savage Mode

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89 Godzilla – Interplanetary Frequencies

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Araabmuzik – Dream World

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Abra – Princess

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Ace Hood – Starvation 5

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Acomplex – Songs 4 Friends

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Adrian Younge – The Electronique Void – Black Noise

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Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman – Lice 2: Still Buggin’

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AKTHESAVIOR – Blessings In The Grey 2

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Apollo Brown & Skyzoo – The Easy Truth

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Archibald Slim & Ethereal – Slum Beautiful

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Asaad – Sabbath Trap

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A$AP Mob – Cozy Tapes Vol. 1 Friends

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Ashland Summit – Casper Gulch

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Atmosphere – Fishing Blues

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Audio Push – 90951

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The Avalanches – Wildflower

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Banks & Steelz – Another World

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DJ Base – West XL 16

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Beatking – Gangster Stripper Music 3

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Beenie Man – Unstoppable

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Belly – Inzombia

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Benny – My First Brick

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Bernz – See You On The Other Side

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Big K.R.I.T. – 12FOR12

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Big Scoob – H.O.G.

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Bishop Lamont – The Reformation G.D.N.I.A.F.T

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Block McCloud – The Book Of Ishmael

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Blu & Fate – Open Your Optics To Optimism

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Blu & Nottz – Titans In The Flesh

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Blu & Union Analogtronics – Cheetah In The City

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Bones – GoodForNothing, paidprogramming2 & SoftwareUpdate1.0

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Bonkaz – Fuck Fame

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Boogie – Thirst 48 pt II

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Boosie Badazz – Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas

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Brian Fresco – Casanova

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Brodinski – The Sour Patch Kid

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BZZY – A Part Of Everything

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BSN Posse – Summer Madness

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Cakes Da Killa – Hedonism

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Calez – Baby

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Cam Wallace – Cold Summer Playlist

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Cappo – Dramatic Change Of Fortune

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Cassius Jay – Trap Sinatra

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Chase N Cashe – Cashe Rules 2

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Chip – Power Up

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Chloe x Halle – Sugar Symphony

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Chris Brown OHB x Section Boyz – Attack The Block

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Chris Rivers – Medicated Consumption 2.0 The Refill

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Chris Travis – Shark Boy

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Chuck Inglish – Texturizer

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Chuuwee – Economics

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Cisco Kid – Nostalgia

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Clams Casino – 32 Levels

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clipping. – Splendor & Misery

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Clyde Carson – Time

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Common – Black America Again

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Conway & Prodigy – Hell Still On Earth

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Conway – Bullet

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Corner Boy P – Clientele

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Cousin Stizz – Monda

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Craig David – Following My Intuition

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Curren$y – Andretti 930, Andretti 1030 & The Carrollton Heist Remixed

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Curtis Williams – Danco SZN

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Czarface – A Fist Full Of Peril

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Dae Dae & London On Da Track – The DefAnition

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Dame D.O.L.L.A. – The Letter O

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Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition

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Dave – Six Paths

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Dave B & Sango – Tomorrow

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Dave East – Kairi Chanel

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Dawn Richard – Redemption

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Daye Jack – Surf The Web

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De La Soul – And The Anonymous Nobody

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Dem Atlas – MF Dem

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Demrick & Dizzy Wright – Blaze With Us

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Dibiase – Bakers Dozen

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Die Antwoord – Mount Ninji And Da Nice Time Kid

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Digital Trapstars – Screens On Lock 3

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The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation

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Dillon & Paten Locke – Food Chain

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D.I.T.C. – Sessions

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Divine Council – Council World

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Dizzy Wright – The 702 EP

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Dominique Larue & J. Rawls – Almost There

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Dora & Dolly – Family Ties

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D.R.A.M. – Big Baby D.R.A.M.

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DJ Drama – Quality Street Music 2

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Dreezy – No Hard Feelings

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Ducko McFli – The Lost Beauxs

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Duckwrth – I’M Uugly

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Dumbfoundead – We Might Die

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The Du-Rites – J-Zone & Pablo Martin Are The Du-Rites

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Dyme-A-Duzin – 2 Piece Tape

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Ed O.G., Shabaam Sahdeeq & Fokis – Recognize Your Power

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Eli Sostre – Still Up All Night

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DJ Ends – Last Summer

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Esperanza Spalding – Emily’s D+Evolution

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Ethan Sacii – SaciiWeen

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Fabolous – Summertime Shootout 2

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Famous Dex – Dexter The Robot & Different

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Flip Major – Road Trip

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Flowdan – Disaster Piece

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Frank Ocean – Blonde and Endless

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Fredo Santana – Fredo Mafia

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French Montana – MC4

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Vince Staples – Prima Donna

Listen On YouTube

Buy Here

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Vinnie Paz – The Cornerstone Of The Corner Store

Listen On YouTube

Buy Here

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Waka Flocka & Sizzle – Lebron Flocka James 4

Listen On YouTube

Download Free Here

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Waldo – Be Ever Wonderful

Listen On YouTube

Name Your Price Download Here

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Wdng Crshrs – CrshrsGotWings

Listen On YouTube

Buy Here

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Well$ – The Way I’m Living Makes My Mother Nervous

Listen On YouTube

Buy Here

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Westside Gunn – There’s A God And There’s A Flygod, Praise Both and Hitler Wears Hermes 4

Listen On YouTube

Buy Here

Buy Here

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Willie Green – Doc Savage

Listen On YouTube

Buy Here

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Wordsworth & JSOUL – Blame It On The Music

Listen On YouTube

Buy Here

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Ye Ali – Private Suite

Listen On YouTube

Download Free Here

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YG – Red Friday

Listen On YouTube

Buy Here

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Young Buck – 10 Bodies

Listen On YouTube

Download Free Here

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Young Chop – Album 2

Buy Here

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Young Dolph – Rich Crack Baby

Listen On YouTube

Buy Here

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Young Greatness – I Tried To Tell Em 2

Listen On YouTube

Download Free Here

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Young Thug – Jeffery

Listen On YouTube

Buy Here

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Yung Simmie – Simmie Season and Simmie Season 2

Listen On YouTube

Buy Here

Download Free Here

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Zoey Dollaz – Port Au Prince and October

Listen On YouTube

Download Free Here

Download Free Here

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Z-Ro – Drankin’ & Drivin’ and Legendary

Listen On YouTube

Buy Here

Buy Here

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Zuse & Nard & B – Trench Zuse

Listen On YouTube

Download Free Here

Mook Life Music Round Up: Quarter 2 2016

Music

2016 got off to a great start and the onslaught of fantastic releases hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. Here I’ll be looking at all of the releases from April-June 2016 (and a few that I’d missed from the months prior) that I think are worth checking out.

I know this round up is ridiculously late, it was nearly finished in July but then I moved house and our internet provider took over a month to get everything sorted. There were too many releases that deserve to be mentioned so I felt I still had to put this article up.

As always I’ve listed the albums with a short description, a link to buy/download and a link to listen on YouTube where possible.

You can listen to all the tracks on a YouTube playlist here.

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3rd Eye Magic – Abracadabra

Charles Hamilton temporarily puts down the mic and gets behind the boards to produce a mixtape for MC C.Young. I really enjoy Hamilton’s beats here, they’re soulful but lo fi and rugged while C.Young has an entertaining style with some clever lyrics.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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6Blocc – Deadly Dubs 4

Seriously heavy dub / jungle / footwork madness from a masterful producer.

Download For Free

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600breezy – Breezo George Gervin (Iceman Edition)

Pure trap music with some great bangers.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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9th Wonder – Zion

Super producer 9th Wonder continues to bring the soul with this beat tape.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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A.CHAL – Welcome To GAZI

Moody, electronic hip-hop with strong trap and R&B influences.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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AD & Sorry Jaynari – By The Way

West Coast gangsta that really slaps.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid

The golden child of backpack rap brings his super lyrical style to great effect.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Alex Wiley – Tangerine Dream

I haven’t been a massive of Alex Wiley previously but I was very impressed with this release. He has a great flow that switches from rapid fire to smooth and uplifting.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Aloe Blacc & Rhettmatic – Blaccmatic

We all know Aloe Blacc now for his fantastic singing voice and catchy soul songs but it seems he had this little gem hidden away the whole time. Recorded around 2004 with producer / DJ Rhettmetic, Aloe Blacc shows his versatility as he raps and sings over some great soulful, funky beats.

Name Your Price Download

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Antwon – Double Ecstasy

It’s hard to know what you’re going to get with a new Antwon release but it’s always a treat. On this EP he creates this twisted, down beat, club infused sound with unsettling synth sounds and bumping percussion.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Apathy – Handshakes With Snakes

Underground hip-hop with thoughtful lyrics and boom bap beats.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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A$AP Ferg – Always Strive And Prosper

A$AP Mob’s second biggest player take his music in a different direction with his second album. Ferg seems to be going for a more accessible sound on this release, losing a lot of the darkness of his first album and bringing more party vibes. I’m not enjoying this as much as ‘Trap Lord’ but there are some superb bangers in here.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Audio Push – The Stone Junction

Audio Push have been one of the most exciting young acts in hip-hop over the last couple of years and they proceed to improve on this EP. The vibe here is a lot heavier than their work from last year but it really suits them. The duo sound extremely hungry over these dark, bass heavy beats.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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AyOh – III EP

This is the second beat tape I’ve heard from this guy and I’m loving it. Dreamy, soulful instrumentals with more complexities than many other producers on the scene.

Name Your Price Download

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Azizi Gibson – A New Life

Spaced out and macabre trap infused hip-hop.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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BADBADNOTGOOD – IV

Young jazz fusion band who strike a spot on balance between accomplished musicianship and funky grooves.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Bankroll Mafia – Bankroll Mafia

Atlanta super crew mixtape featuring T.I., Young Thug, Shad Da God, Peewee Longway and MPA Duke. A sublime example of the current Atlanta scene with plenty of high energy tunes.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Beatking – Club God 5

Trap mixtape with some top notch beats.

Buy

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Birdman & Jacquees – Lost At Sea

Rich Gang members with a nice EP of smooth, bass heavy tap.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Bishop Nehru – Magic 19

Bishop Nehru takes a step away from the boom bap beats he usually raps on and rides some interesting trap style beats.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Black Milk & Nat Turner – The Rebellion Sessions

Producer / rapper extraordinaire Black Milk teams up with Nat Turner to create a pleasing instrumental album of raw funk and jazz vibes.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Blended Babies – 6

Gritty blend of hip-hop, funk and rock.

Buy

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Blood Orange – Freetown Sound

Spaced out and retro elctro soul.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Blueprint – Vigilante Genesis

Underground MC Blueprint puts fellow back packer veteran Aesop Rock behind the boards to produce this solid EP. The two work together excellently delivering eloquent raps and dark instrumentals.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Bodega BAMZ – All Eyez Off Me

Grimey New York style hip-hop.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Bones – Useless

Genre defying rapper Bones continues to progress with another inspired mixtape. The usual melancholy trap and cloud rap vibes are here but there’s some real aggression present here as well that make this tape stand out.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Boosie Badazz – Bleek Mode (Thug In Peace Lil Bleek)

Solid trap mixtape.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Brockhampton – All American Trash

Young collective with a variety of styles spanning boom bap, trap and R&B.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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BSN Posse – #UOAI EP

Frantic European footwork.

Buy

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Bugzy Malone – Facing Time

UK MC Bugzy drops a great EP that’s equal parts grime and hip-hop.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Burberry Perry – Burberry Perry EP

Burberry Perry put in a lot of work on Lil Yachty’s catchy but very divisive mixtape Lil’ Boat. Now he’s stepping out with his own EP while keeping the same vibe going. A lot of people are hating this new movement in hip-hop but I’m loving it because this EP is pure fun, catchy autotune hooks, childlike riffs and crisp percussion.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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C.Robin – Goofy Tunes

Booming 808 bass and warped auto tune vocals with a bit of a Sad Boys vibe going on.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Casey Veggies – Customized Greatly 4: The Return Of The Boy

Solid mixtape from young MC Casey Veggies. This guy is definitely showing some progression and the use of some interesting beats make this an enjoyable listen.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Chance The Rapper – Colouring Book

It’s been a long wait since Chance’s very popular second mixtape Acid Rap and although I don’t think Colouring Book is quite on the same level it’s still a fantastic collection of tracks. This tape oozes positivity and gets you hooked straight away with how infectious a lot of the songs are, the perfect soundtrack for summer.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Chevy Woods – The Freemix

Nice trap tape with some savage beats and killer flows.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Chiedu Oraka – Not Ya Average Spitting 1.5

My home town Hull, U.K. has never had the biggest or best hip-hop scene. There has been some talent but more often than not they’ve concentrated too much on emulating the U.S. style and taken a lot of influence from 90s hip-hop. This is why Chiedu Oraka is refreshing, his Hull accent comes through strong and he’s looking to the future with more complex flows and high energy. This mixtape is a good introduction to Oraka as he’s starting to truly refine his flow and proves this over some classic beats.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Chris Crack – Troll Till They Fold

Chicago MC affiliated with MC Tree and the soul trap movement delivers some hard bars over beautifully simple soul beats.

Buy

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Chuck Inglish & Blended Babies – Ev Zepplin

Ex Cool Kids member Chuck Inglish teams up with producers Blended Babies on this lush release mixing classic West Coast hip-hop with psychedelic rock vibes.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Clipping – Wriggle

Noise rap group bringing more of their abrasive, wall of sound hip-hop.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Conway – 50 Round Drum

Grimey East Coast underground rap tape.

Download For Free

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Curren$y – Bourbon Street Secrets (with Purps), Revolver (with Sledgren), The Legend Of Harvard Blue and Stoned On Ocean

Curren$y has been unstoppable this year putting out a constant stream of releases. He’s been working with a number of producers, all bringing their own vibe in to the mix while Curren$y keeps it smooth as always.

Download Bourbon Street Secrets For Free

Download Revolver For Free

Download The Legend Of Harvard Blue For Free

Download Stoned On Ocean For Free

Listen On Youtube

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D.I.T.C. – D.I.T.C. Studios

East Coast legends prove they’ve still got it on this sturdy boom bap album.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Dälek – Asphalt For Eden

Before the days of Death Grips and Clipping, before the term noise rap was even coined, there was Dälek. I remember hearing the group for the first time in 2007 and being mesmerised by the use of droning tones, the type I was more used to hearing in experimental rock music. The group went on a hiatus but are back and as good as ever with this storming barrage of intense instrumentals and vivid raps.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Dawn Richards – Infrared

Deep and intricate neo soul.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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De La Soul – For Your Pain & Suffering

Hip-hop legends give us a little taster to tide us over until their long awaited album which was released in the last month.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Deante Hitchcock – GOOD

Hip-hop with electronic beats and some smooth flows.

Download For Free

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Death Grips – Bottomless Pit

Hectic and aggressive experimental hip-hop.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Deniro Farrar – Mind Of A Gemini

Some time has passed since I’d heard anything from Deniro Farrar and it’s great to have a batch of fresh music from him. This release has a shift in vibes from his previous work and sounds sublime. Farrar raps with a confidence and wisdom that is unusual for someone as young as him and the new chilled out, jazzy beats that he’s using make for a superb set of tracks.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Desiigner – New English

The guy who got huge off one track finally gives us a taste of what else he has to offer. This release feels a bit incomplete but there are some very high energy tracks to get you hyped.

Stream On Tidal

Listen On Youtube

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Die Antwoord – Suck On This

The bizarre South Africans return with a collection of tracks more listenable than their usual material. They’re still insane but there are a few bangers in here.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Doctor Flake – Six

Progressive and atmospheric instrumental hip-hop.

Name Your Price Download

Listen On Youtube

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dom.o.b – 3 Years Late

A wonderful selection of jazz and soul beats are a great back drop for dom.o.b’s smooth flows. This guy deserves to get a lot more attention, I’ve heard a lot of unknown rappers on Bandcamp but dom.o.b has to be one of my favourites, his soothing raps put me straight in to a good mood.

Download For Free

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Don Mykel – GOD Mykel The Last Martyr

Underground hip-hip featuring some hard beats and well-thought out raps.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Drake – Views

I’m sure most people know about this album by now, far from his strongest work but still has some decent commercial tunes.

Buy

1983-1988

The Egyptian Lover – 1983 – 1988

Stones Throw reissue a collection of classic tracks from the electro pioneer.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Elucid – Save Yourself

Lyrically dense and poetic underground hip-hop.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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DJ Esco – Project E.T. (Esco Terrestrial)

This might as well be a Future mixtape as he’s featuring on the majority of the tracks. It’s more of the same from Future but this is far from a bad thing as I’m a big fan of his sound. I don’t think this is quite on the level of Monster or 56 Nights but it has enough bangers to put it on the same level as Evol and Purple Reign which were released earlier this year.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Ethereal – Look At Me

Ethereal of the Awful Records crew gives us an unsettling and macabre EP with lo fi beats and monotone, rambling flows.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Faces Of Def – Hustle Grind Hard

Solid boom bap release.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Famous Dex – Heartbreak Kid

Trap mixtape.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Fat Jon – Tephlon Funk The Free Tape

Beautiful soul based instrumental hip-hop.

Download For Free

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Fat Nick – When The Lean Runs Out

New age trap with off kilter beats.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Fat Trel – SDMG 2

Trap mixtape.

Download For Free

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Fifty Grand – Summoning Key

Eery, 808 laced instrumental hip-hop.

Name Your Price Download

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Fki 1st – First Time For Everything Pt. 1

Producer who’s worked with the likes of Ilovemakonnen and Post Malone drops his own EP of wonky R&B.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Flume – Skin

Electronica full of chunky synths and some stellar guest appearences.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Frank Nitt – Asphalt Runways

Detroit MC best known for his work with J Dilla brings the funk on his latest hip-hop release.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Freeway – Free Will

The name Freeway doesn’t come up anywhere near as much as it used to but he still has that intense, high energy flow.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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DJ Fresh & Mistah FAB – The Tonite Show Pt.3

Another solid edition of ‘The Tonite Show’ with Bay Area MC Mistah FAB.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Frisco – System Killer

While Skepta has been making waves all over the world with ‘Konnichiwa’ his label mate Frisco dropped my favourite UK release of the year so far. I’m really loving the Swindle produced tracks on here, those funky beats mixed with Frisco’s grime bars is an amazing combination. The whole album is very consistent and feels a lot more coherent than many other grime releases that feel more like some tracks thrown together rather than proper albums.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Fusion – Rough Kutz & Abstractions, Brave New World, Summer Series V.2 and Pumped EP

Independent label putting out more quality footwork tunes.

Name Your Price Download

Name Your Price Download

Name Your Price Download

Name Your Price Download

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The Game – Streets Of Compton

West Coast hip-hop.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Genius & Felipe – A Eastside Story

Trap mixtape.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Gold Panda – Good Luck And Do Your Best

Beautiful electronica with an East Asian vibe. The slow progression and build up in these tracks makes them really stand out, just when you think the track has climaxed it takes it up another level.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Grafh – Pain Killers Reloaded

Hip-hop mixtape with some great beats and hard tracks.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Grand Puba – Black From The Future

Rap veteran of Brand Nubian fame returns with a strong collection of tracks. Puba has taken the best of his old style and updated it to make something that still sounds fresh.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Green Ova South – Kome Ryde With Us

Main Attrakionz MC Squadda B teams up with Pepperboy and Young God (from production team Black Sky Blue Death) to make an amazingly soulful and spacey album. The lush, mellow beats are the perfect back drop for the Squadda B and Pepperboy’s laid back vocals.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

griselda

GxFR (Westside Gunn, Conway & Mach-Hommy) – Don’t Get Scared Now

Atmospheric EP packed with vivid raps telling stories of organised crime and druglords over some stripped back Wu-Tang-esque instrumentals.

Stream On Soundcloud

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Hak – June

Ex-member of Ratking with his first solo release. More synth lead and less hectic than his previous work the aforementioned group but still with some of that experimental vibe.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Havoc & The Alchemist – The Silent Partner

Prodigy’s album with Alchemist was one of my favourite releases of 2013 so I was really hyped to hear that Havov, the other half of Mobb Deep, was working on his own album with the expert producer. As expected this is a superb LP packed with luscious, cinematic beats and that trademark New York flow.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Homeboy Sandman – Kindness For Weakness

I’d put Homeboy Sandman in the top 10 MCs in the world right now. He has many different flows that he performs flawlessly over any beat he chooses, his lyrics range from profound to hilarious and he has a personality that shines through on any track. The beats on here are funky and soulful with some strange rhythms that let Homeboy show off his rapping ability.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Hoodrich Pablo Juan – Designer Drugz 2

Trap mixtape.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Horseshoe Gang – Anti-Trap Music

Hardcore underground hip-hop. These guys have amazing flows and really bring it on these tracks.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Ill Bill – Septagram

Underground hip-hop veteran and former member of Non Phixion returns with what I think is his strongest release since “What’s Wrong With Bill?”.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Illa Ghee – Illa Matic

Mixtape from one of New York’s lesser known MCs. Illa Ghee has a heavy rap style and makes some classic East Coast hip-hop.

Buy

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Ivy Sole – Eden

One of the freshest sounding albums of 2016 so far. Super smooth, soulful instrumentals backed with crisp percussion. Ivy Sole has a hypnotising delivery, her voice is so soothing, this LP is simply a joy to listen to.

Name Your Price Download

Listen On Youtube

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J $tash – Hood Rich

Fun trap mixtape with some real bangers.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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J Dilla – The Diary

A collection of solid tracks from the J Dilla vaults.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Jam Tidy – Jam Tidy EP

High energy band from Birmingham UK who fuse hip-hop, reggae, ska and gypsy music in to one fluid style. It sounds like a strange bunch of influences but it really works and makes for serious party music.

Name Your Price Download

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James Blake – The Colour In Anything

Ambient and melancholy album from an expert in electronic music.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Jeremiah Jetpack – Rip Wasabi

Colourful and fun hip-hop mixtape.

Download For Free

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Jerreau – Never How You Plan

Fly Union member drops a strong mixtape featuring fantastic production. The melodic and bass heavy beats brought me to this release but Jerreau’s stellar raps kept me listening.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Jigmastas – Resurgence

Boom bap album.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Jim Jones – The Kitchen

New York gangsta rap.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Jody Breeze – No Promo

Trap mixtape.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Joey Purp – iiiDrops

Deep and fluid hip-hop from the young Chicago MC.

Download For Free

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John Robinson – Water The Plants EP

Instrumental boom bap EP.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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J SOUL – Jane 2 Miami

Catchy trap R&B EP.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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J-Zone – Fish-N-Grits

J-Zone may be the most underrated artist in hip-hop and that is no exaggeration. This guy’s earlier releases were the soundtrack to much of my teenage years and it makes me so happy to have him back making music. Fish-N-Grits sees J-Zone evolve even further as his subject matter matures and he covers a variety of subjects from the modern rap scene to hipsters in New York. I’m loving the beats on this album, he has really perfected the live drums he’s started using and incorporated his signature complexity that made albums like “$ick Of Bein’ Rich” so superb.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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K.A.A.N. – Uncommon Knowledge

This was the first I’ve heard from K.A.A.N. and I’m already hooked. His flow reminds me of guys like Fu Schnickens and Daz EFX, it’s fast as hell but fluid at the time and mixed with the chilled, jazzy beats this is a great EP.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Kaytranada – 99.9%

Colourful electronic music with a good cast of guest appearances.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Kevlaar 7 – A Beautiful Soul

Sturdy boom bap mixtape.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Key – Before I Scream

Atlanta trap rapper with an interesting edge.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Key Nyata – Dad Of The Year

Spaced out trap mixtape.

Buy

unnamed3

Khary – Intern Aquarium

New school boom bap album.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Killer Bee – Alone

Vibrant instrumental hip-hop.

Buy

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King Harris – Nightmare On Wolff St

Dope hip-hop album delivers a variety of vibes, from trap style bangers to more soulful, mellow tunes.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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The Kleenrz – Season Two

Underground MC Self Jupiter collaborates with forward thinking producer Kenny Segal. The raps are complex and at times verge on spoken word style while the beats are intricate but groovy. Featuring guest verses from the likes of Myka 9 and Busdriver, if you like those two you’ll love this album.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Kojaque – Sunday Roast

I don’t know of many Irish rappers and I know of even fewer who rap with a proper Irish accent. It’s a shame because Kojaque shows just how good that Irish voice sounds over moody boom bap beats.

Download For Free

Listen On Youtube

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Kokane – Kokane King Of G-Funk

G-Funk legend Kokane delivers are collection of catchy G-Funk tunes.

Buy

Listen On Youtube

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Kool A.D. – All Love and Kool A.D. Is Dead

Kool A.D. has really been pumping out a lot of music recently and he shows no signs of stopping. ‘All Love’ sees Kool A.D. trying out some auto tune over big trap beats. It’s ‘Kool A.D. Is Dead’ that really interests me though as there isn’t much rapping on here, instead we have psychedelic instrumentals and weird vocal tracks, I’d like to hear more of this style from the ex-member of Das Racist.

Name Your Price Download

Name Your Price Download

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Kweku Collins – Nat Love

R&B / hip-hop blend with complex beats.

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LA The Darkman – La Luminati

Hip-hop mixtape.

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Lady Leshurr – Queen’s Speech EP

Grime MC Lady Leshurr has gone viral with music videos for her ‘Queen’s Speech’ series, this EP collects all of those catchy punchline filled tracks.

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Larry June – Larry

Trap mixtape

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Le$ – Techno Violet

Jet Life member with an interesting mixtape with really long, progressive tracks and influences varying from 80s electro pop to chilled out soul.

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Lil Duke – Uber

Infectious trap mixtape from Young Thug affiliate.

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Lil Uzi Vert – Lil Uzi vs The World

One of this year’s XXL Freshman with a solid mixtape of moody trap with some heavy beats.

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Lil West – Indigo 2

Dark trap EP.

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Lotto Savage – Don Slaughter

Trap mixtape.

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Lucki Eck$ – Son Of Sam

Chicago is home to some really exciting, boundary pushing hip-hop right now and Lucki Eck$ is a big part of that. ‘Son Of Sam’ is even darker and more drugged up than Lucki’s previous releases and I’m loving it.

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Luu Breeze – Something In The Shade

Solid hip-hop mixtape with trap and R&B vibes.

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Madeintyo – You Are Forgiven EP

Madeintyo came out of nowhere with his track ‘Uber Everywhere’ which gained a lot of popularity very quickly. This two part EP continues in the same vibe of fun, catchy trap tunes.

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Mark Battles – Before The Deal

Indiana MC who often collaborates with Dizzy Wright drops a well rounded album with well thought out lyrics and a great collection of beats that fit the range of vibes.

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Masta Ace – The Falling Season

Hip-hop legend and expert storyteller returns with another superb concept album. This time Ace relives his high school years while giving us some brilliant boom bap littered with cinematic skits that tie everything together.

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Maxo Kream – The Persona Tape

Maxo got a lot of people talking last year when he dropped his ‘Maxo 187’ tape and although I liked it I thought the beats let him down a little bit. That is definitely not a problem here, the beats are heavy and full sounding, tracks like ‘Choppers’ and ‘Big Worm’ are so evil they’re almost scary. Maxo has improved on the mic too with some crazy flows that fit the nasty beats perfectly.

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Mayer Hawthorne – Man About Town

Mayer Hawthorne brings us the summer vibes as he mixes funk, soul, R&B and even a little bit of reggae. You can’t help but smile when you listen to this album.

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MED – Bang Ya Head 4

West Coast veteran delivers a sturdy hip-hop EP.

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The Mekanix – Under The Hood

Classic Bay Area vibes.

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Meyhem Lauren – Piatto D’Oro

Pure filthy New York hip-hop with features from Roc Marciano and Action Bronson.

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Michael Christmas – Baggy Eyes EP

Michael Christmas got me intrigued with his album ‘What A Weird Day’ but I’m really loving this EP even more. The beats have my head nodding and Michael’s flow seems effortless but he goes hard at times to keep things interesting.

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Miles Davis & Robert Glasper – Everything’s Beautiful

Jazz pianist re-works and samples some classic Miles Davis while a cast of excellent vocalists add their own melodies on this soundtrack to the biopic released earlier this year.

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theMind – Summer Camp

Forward thinking R&B with interesting beats.

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Mistah F.A.B. – Son Of A Pimp Pt. 2

Bay Area hip-hop album.

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Montana Of 300 – Fire In The Church

Great trap mixtape with a stellar selection of beats.

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Mr Lif – Don’t Look Down

Underground hip-hop leviathan Mr Lif has been on a bit of a hiatus in recent years but returned with everything we would want from him. This album is classic Lif but still sounds fresh and futuristic. It’s also great to have an Edan beat on the track ‘Whizdom’, it’s been years since I’ve heard new material from that guy and I’ve definitely missed him.

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Neroche – Roadside Oddities

Eery instrumental hip-hop with sublime use of obscure percussion sounds.

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Nessly – Still Finessin’

New wave trap mixtape with bass heavy beats and good use of auto tune.

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Night Lovell – Red Teenage Melody

Melodic trap mixtape.

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Noveliss – Mic Swordz

Clear Soul Forces member with an excellent boom bap EP.

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Oddisee – The Odd Tape

Producer/rapper Oddisee drops an instrumental tape packed with intricate, jazzy beats.

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OG Maco – 7FRVR and OG Maco 2 Episode 1 The Duke Of Summer

OG Maco isn’t quitting his constant stream of releases and although I don’t think he’s quite hit the heights of the OG Maco EP again, there are definitely a lot of great tracks here. I especially enjoy ‘The Duke Of Summer’ which has a raw vibe and some wonky beats.

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