Top 10 Albums of 2022

Music

2022 felt like the year we finally put the pandemic behind us and got back to “normal”. This was definitely evident in the hip-hop release calendar with a lot of bigger names dropping albums and the underground bouncing back with a plethora of quality releases. As usual I’ll be taking you through my favourite albums of the last year and hopefully putting you on to some great music that you may have missed.

You can listen to the podcast below where I’ll be playing a track from each of the albums and giving you a bit of background on them. There was a lot of hip-hop worth checking out from last year, so if you want to dive a bit deeper here’s a big playlist I compiled of hip-hop music videos that dropped in 2022.

10. Westside Gunn – 10

9. Sha Hef – Mr. Make It Happen

8. Larry June – Spaceships on a Blade

7. Grems – 10PKHO

6. Boldy James x Nicholas Craven – Fair Exchange No Robbery

5. Zelooperz – Get WeT.Radio

4. Chris Crack – Growthfully Developed

3. Billy Woods – Church

2. Open Mike Eagle – Component System With The Auto Reverse

1. Roc Marciano x The Alchemist – The Elephant Man’s Bones

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    MOOK LIFE RADIO: TOP 20 PROJECTS OF 2021

    Music

    In many ways, 2021 just felt like an extension of 2020. Covid continued to restrict our activities, politicians kept lying to push us further to fascism and people were still saying stupid shit on social media. As far as music goes it mostly felt like more of the same too, at least in the album format. Across the dance music spectrum we got fresh and exciting music from producers old and new, but those genres tend not to focus on full length projects. To me, the vast majority of great albums have come from hip-hop for more than a decade, but for the last year or two progression in the genre has stopped almost entirely.

    That’s not say there was nothing worth listening too though; amongst the miles of mediocrity there were some great releases and a few flashes of fresh creativity. So check out my podcast episodes below where I walk you through the best albums, EPs and mixtapes of the year, from hip-hop and beyond.

    If you’re still wanting more after the podcasts then check out my Youtube playlist with over 400 music videos showcasing the best hip-hop of 2021.

    Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon – Beautifully Black

    Dark Lo x V Don – Charlie Pope

    R.A.P. Ferreira – The Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures

    Akeem Ali – Mack In The Day Starring Keemy Casanova

    Nappy Nina x Jwords – Double Down

    J.U.S – GoFundMe Corvette

    Askel & Elere – Simulations

    YN Jay – Coochie Chronicles

    Pardoner – Came Down Different

    Haiti Babii – Trap Art

    U.G.L.Y. Boy Modeling – Durag Emoji

    Cities Aviv -The Crashing Sound Of How It Goes Down

    Sauce Walka – Sauce Train

    Manga Saint Hilare – Glow In The Dark

    Vic Spencer & Sonnyjim – Spencer for Higher 4

    Armand Hammer x Alchemist – Haram

    DJ Manny – Signals In My Head

    Rome Streetz x ANKHLEJOHN – Genesis 1:27

    Benny Sings – Music

    RXK Nephew – Slitherman Activated

    Mook Life Music Top 100 Projects of 2018

    Music

    Another year down, another best albums list to put together and this one was really difficult to narrow down. In fact it was so difficult that I had extend the list from the usual 40 or 50 up to 100, and there are still a few albums I wanted to include but couldn’t quite fit in. The stream of new releases in 2018 was relentless with lots of established artists putting out projects as well as up and coming acts dropping quality work. To make things even more overwhelming, many artists put out multiple albums this year with a some having 3 or even 4 projects appearing in this list. It truly is an exciting time in music and especially for hip-hop.

    I’ve seen a lot of people saying that 2018 is a legendary year for hip-hop and while I agree to an extent, I have different reasons for thinking so. It really did seem like most big names in rap had albums out in 2018 but I personally found a lot of them underwhelming. Drake, Migos, Eminem, Nas, Kanye, Lil Wayne, J Cole, Travis Scott and many other big names dropped albums but very few of them interested me. From a quality standpoint the trap scene was in decline in 2017 but in 2018 the subgenre almost felt like it was dying off. There were still some very solid trap releases from guys like Blac Youngsta, Rich Homie Quan and Ralo although they were mostly overlooked. Instead the spotlight was shining on big releases from Migos and their ilk who are putting out a sound that has gotten stale, the production is uninspired and their rap style is getting tired.

    Conversely, the underground was on fire in 2018 pumping out an endless barrage of great music. The albums this year that I was eagerly anticipating often let me down but I was blown away by many releases that I didn’t know where dropping and I discovered some fantastic artists that were new to me. I’m always on the lookout for new artists and I do generally prefer underground music but up and coming artists dominated my listening even more than usual this year.

    I think the most important music movement in 2018 was the boom bap renaissance that gained a lot of steam with rappers rejuvenating the sound with a new minimal grittiness. The scene started to gain traction in the last few years with guys such as Mach-Hommy, Roc Marciano, Fly Anakin and Westside Gunn but really flourished in 2018. These names continued their stellar work and were joined by the likes of ANKHLEJOHN, Estee Nack, Raheem Supreme, Nowaah The Flood and many others. Every week I discovered a new artist putting out their own brand of stripped back, raw, sample based hip-hop, capturing the mid-90s East Coast vibe and transforming it in to something fresh.

    There were a number of artists pushing boundaries with their hip-hop releases, experimenting with the artform. Busdriver put together an ambitious monster of album in ‘Electricity Is On Our Side’, fusing together a lot of the sounds that he’s used throughout the years to create a psychedelic, jazzy masterpiece blended with colourful electronic undertones. Serengetiraps stretched hip-hop to breaking point on his phenomenal ‘Dennis 6e’ which acted as the last piece in the story of his Kenny Dennis alter ego. Using some of the strangest instrumentals I’ve ever heard and crafting a subtle narrative through his eccentric character this album is something that will stick with me for a long time. Underground hip-hop’s power couple Jean Grae and Quelle Chris released a poignant album examining various aspects of modern society, with an off the wall sense of humour and bizarre set of beats.

    Contrary to what much of the internet will tell you, it was a great year for fans of lyrical rap. Phonte made a triumphant return with an album full of personal insights while still showing an ability to go in with some killer punchlines and word play. MC Paul Barman had me reaching for the dictionary as he spun lyrical tapestries using a complex vocabulary and poetic style, dipping in to the realms of politics, comedy and fantasy along the way. In dropping another very lyrically dense album Ka cements himself as the best pure lyricist currently active. A combination of intricate rhyme schemes, powerful imagery and elaborate metaphors prove that Ka is not only an incredible rapper but also an artist easily comparable to some of history’s greatest poets.

    It wasn’t the greatest year for UK hip-hop and grime but there were still a decent amount of great releases. London usually dominates the UK urban music scene but in 2018 it was mostly acts from outside of the capital that were releasing the more interesting projects. It was a fantastic year for Nottingham as Juga-Naut released two decadent albums, Cappo & Cyrus Malachi got heavy and dark on ‘Postmodernism’ and Mez dropped an EP of back to back grime bangers. Sheffield MC Rawkid brought unparalleled levels of energy and erratic flows over some superb production on Grum Vol. 1. Even Ireland was getting in on the action as Dublin rapper Kojaque crafted the beautifully moody ‘Deli Daydreams’.

    For the most part guitar music in 2018 was very stagnant, stuck in banality and repetition. I really went out of my way to check out some new bands and singer-songwriters this year but found the majority of them boring, annoying, or simply weaker clones of past musicians. It wasn’t all bad though, Mitski conjured up a gently infectious collection of rock songs while Daughters came back with a ferocious nightmare of an album. Japanese prog-rock band Koenji Hyakkei really blew me away with their utterly insane album Dhorimviskha. Brimming with Frank Zappa-esque jazz rock musicianship and some seriously diverse vocals, Koenji Kyakkei’s music accomplishes the difficult feat of being simultaneously intricate, progressive and catchy.

    Below you can look through my top 100 albums and check out my podcast series where I play a track from each project and tell you what I love about them. If you just want some music then check out this YouTube playlist with a track from each project.

    100. The NorthaZe – Pulp Diction 3

    99. $ilkMoney – I Hate My Life And I Really Wish People Would Stop Telling Me Not To

    98. J.I.D – DiCaprio 2

    97. Curly Castro – Tosh

    96. East Man – Red, White & Zero

    95. Vic Spencer – A Smile Killed my Demons

    94. Big Kahuna OG – Weapon Ox

    93. Spectacular Diagnostics – Raw Studies

    92. Estee Nack – #Mini Mansion Dust Vol. 2

    91. Pink Siifu – Ensley

    90. Lando Chill – Black Ego

    89. Planet Asia x Killa Kali – Border Brothers

    88. Black Josh – Yung Sweg Lawd

    87. The Grouch – Unlock The Box

    86. Rome Streetz and Farma Beats – Street Farmacy

    85. Grems – Sans Titre #7

    84. Estee Nack x Recognize Ali – Post Tenebras Lux

    83. Napoleon Da Legend x Giallo Point – Coup D’Etat

    82. Denzel Curry – TA13OO

    81. Jeremiah Jae – Daffi

    80. Dark Lo x V Don – Timeless

    79. Rahiem Supreme – Black Cinema

    78. Bisk – MOONSHINE

    77. Kojaque – Deli Daydreams

    76. Benny Sings – Beat Tape

    75. Nowaah The Flood x DirtyDiggs – Private Stock

    74. Action Bronson – White Bronco

    73. Termanology – Bad Decisions

    72. Craig Xen – Hell Bent

    71. Sleep Sinatra – Sanctuary

    70. Robb Bank$ – Molly World

    69. LNDN DRGS, Left Brain & Jay Worthy – Brain On DRGS

    68. Earl Sweatshirt – Song Rap Songs

    67. Trapo – Oil Change

    66. Maxo Kream – Punken

    65. Break – Another Way

    64. Tha God Fahim – Dump Gawd: Dream Killer

    63. Rahiem Supreme – Genesis Pt.2

    62. Sir Michael Rocks – Funds and Access

    61. Mach-Hommy & Tha God Fahim – Notorious Dump Legends

    60. Pusha T – Daytona

    59. Mach-Hommy – Bulletproof Luh

    58. Blac Youngsta – 2.23

    57. Denmark Vessey – Sun Go Nova

    56. Dom Kennedy – Volume Two

    55. Jakprogresso x Aloeight – Toadmilk

    54. Marlowe – Marlowe

    53. Westside Gunn – Hitler Wears Hermes 6

    52. Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want

    51. Blackfist – Strapped For Survival

    50. Vic Spencer – STUPID

    49. Mitski – Be The Cowboy

    48. Estee Nack – #Mini Mansion Dust Vol. 3

    47. Tha God Fahim and Smoke – Dump Gawd: By Anything’s Necessary

    46. 21 Savage – I Am > I Was

    45. MIKE – War In My Pen

    44. Benny – Tana Talk 3

    43. ANKHLEJOHN – The Yellow House

    42. Knowledge – Flintlock

    41. Vic Spencer – Spencer For Higher

    40. Ralo – Diary Of The Streets 3

    39. Googie – Floating Polygons

    38. Tuamie – Emergency Raps Vol. 3

    37. Saba – Care For Me

    36. Juga-Naut and SonnyJim – The Purple Door

    35. Homeboy Sandman and Edan – Humble Pi

    34. Rich Homie Quan – Rich as in Spirit

    33. Koenji Hyakkei – Dhorimvishka

    32. Armand Hammer – Paraffin

    31. Mick Jenkins – Pieces of a Man

    30. Manga Saint Hilare – Outsiders Live Forever

    29. Lojii – Lofeye

    28. Young Nudy – SlimeBall 3

    27. Fly Anakin & Ohbliv – Backyard Boogie

    26. Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist – Fetti

    25. Westside Gunn – Supreme Blientele

    24. Nostrum Grocers – Nostrum Grocers

    23. DJ Muggs & Roc Marciano – Kaos

    22. Juga-Naut – Bon Vivant

    21. ANKHLEJOHN – Ankh Nasty

    20. Chris Crack – Thanks Uncle Trill

    18. MC Paul Barman – (((Echo Chamber)))

    18. Cappo & Cyrus Malachi – Postmodernism

    17. Mez – Tyrone EP

    16. Ramirez – Blood Diamonds 2

    15. Tha God Fahim and Jay Nice – Strictly For My D.U.M.P.E.R.Z

    14. Roc Marciano – Behold Dark Horse

    13. Black Milk – Fever

    12. Chris Crack – Being Woke Ain’t Fun

    11. Milo – Budding Ornithologists Are Weary of Tired Analogies

    10. DJ Taye – Still Trippin’

    9. Cavalier – Private Stock

    8. Rawkid – Grum Vol. 1

    7. Nickelus F – Stuck

    6. Quelle Chris & Jean Grae – Everything’s Fine

    5. Busdriver – Electricity is on Our Side

    4. Hermit and The Recluse – Orpheus vs The Sirens

    3. Phonte – No News is Good News

    2. Kenny Dennis – Dennis 6e

    1. Roc Marciano – Rosebudd’s Revenge 2: The Bitter Dose

    Mook Life Music Round Up: Quarter 4 2015 and Quarter 1 2016

    Music

    It’s been quite a while since I’ve put one of these round ups out. Unfortunately I’ve had some laptop troubles and life often gets in the way of things you really want to do. I haven’t had time to go in to depth with this article but I just couldn’t let these releases go by without at least giving them a mention. Going forward I should be back to my usual format of giving all the releases a small review.

    I told myself at the beginning of the year that I would slow down with music, try to just focus on the things I really wanted to listen to and give them more time. That has been thrown straight out the window because there has been so much good music coming out this year, I cant help myself.

    So take a look through this article and catch up on all the music you may have missed. As always I’ve included a link to listen on YouTube (where possible) and a link to buy or download. You can also access all the YouTube tracks on a playlist here and here.

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    21 Savage – Slaughter King

    Trap Mixtape.

    Listen On YouTube

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    6Blocc – Dark Side Of The Boom

    Dubstepy, hip-hopy remix of the famous Pink Floyd album.

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    Abra – Rose

    Synth pop vibes from the Awful Music camp.

    Listen On YouTube

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    Acre – Better Strangers

    Noisy and experimental dance music.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    Add-2 – Prey For The Poor

    Soulful hip-hop.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman – Lice

    Two of the best lyricists in hip-hop come together for a free EP.

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    Amine – Calling Brio

    Hip-hop with some heavy beats and tribal vibes.

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    Apollo Brown – Grandeur

    Hip-hop producer calls in a plethora of guest MCs to rap over his signature soulful beats.

    Listen On YouTube

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    Azizi Gibson – Prehistoric Till Death

    Synth heavy hip-hop.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    Bad Lucc – Breathe

    Soulful hip-hop from the Jamla crew.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    Big K.R.I.T. – It’s Better This Way

    Southern hip-hop.

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    Blackalicious – Imani Vol. 1

    Funky hip-hop from the West Coast legends.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    Blended Babies – The Anderson .Paak EP

    Somewhere between hip-hop and soul with some great beats.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    Bones – Banshee, Frayed and HermitOfEastGrandRiver

    Hip-hop / trap / grunge / indie genre hopper Bones hits us with more melancholy vibes.

    Listen On YouTube

    Download Banshee For Free

    Download Frayed For Free

    Download HermitOfEastGrandRiver For Free

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    Botany – Dimming Awe The Light Is Raw

    Interesting instrumental hip-hop.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    Break – Simpler Times

    Tech drum & bass.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    Busdriver – Thumbs

    Bizarre underground MC Busdriver taking things in a slightly less jovial direction.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    Casey Veggies – Live & Grow

    Hip-hop.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    Cavalier – Lemonade

    Off kilter jazzy hip-hop.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    Cavanaugh – Time & Materials

    Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti collaborate for a beautifully moody hip-hop album.

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    Buy

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    CGB – Think

    Hip-hop with jazzy, golden age vibes.

    Listen On YouTube

    Name Your Price Download

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    Chase & Status – London Bars

    Heavy weight D&B producers call in some big names from the grime scene.

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    Buy

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    Chinese Man & Tumi – The Journey

    Bass heavy and fun hip-hop.

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    Chris Travis – Art Of Destruction

    Dark, melancholy trap vibes.

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    Chuck Inglish – Everybody’s Big Brother

    Hip-hop with a strong 80s gangsta vibe.

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    Constrobuz – Raw Dinner

    Hip-hop instrumentals.

    Listen On YouTube

    Name Your Price Download

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    Curren$y – Canal Street Confidential

    More smoothness from one of the most consistent and prolific hip-hop artists.

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    Current Value – Rocket Science

    Heavy tech D&B.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    Dam-Funk – Invite The Light

    P-Funk.

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    Buy

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    Darkstar – Foam Island

    Floaty electronica.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    Da$h – 17 More Minutes and Skrewface

    Hard hitting hip-hop.

    Listen On YouTube

    Download 17 More Minutes For Free

    Stream Skrewface

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    Delorean – Perfect Black

    Southern hip-hop.

    Listen On YouTube

    Download For Free

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    Diddy – MMM

    Club friendly hip-hop from the veteran.

    Listen On YouTube

    Download For Free

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    Dirty Dike – Sucking On Prawns In The Moonlight

    UK hip-hop from the High Focus crew.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    The Doppelgangaz – Beats For Brothels Vol. 3

    Boom bap.

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    Buy

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    Doug Hream Blunt – My Name Is Doug Hream Blunt

    Funk.

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    D.R.A.M. – Gahdamn!

    Spacey hip-hop / R&B vibes.

    Listen On YouTube

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    Drew Lustman – The Crystal Cowboy

    Amen break heavy electronica.

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    EarthGang – Strays With Rabies

    Soulful Southern hip-hop with some lush beats.

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    Electric Wire Hustle – Aeons EP

    Hip-hop infused electronic music.

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    Buy

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    Eric Dingus – Is There In Truth No Beauty?

    Sparse and ambient hip-hop remixes.

    Listen On YouTube

    Download For Free

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    Erick Sermon – E.S.P. Erick Sermon’s Perception

    Hip-hop veteran back at it.

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    Ethereal – Final Fantasy and I Think I’m On Fire 1 & 2

    Deep and drugged up hip-hop from the Awful Records camp.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy Final Fantasy

    Download I Think I’m On Fire 1 For Free

    Download I Think I’m On Fire 2 For Free

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    Falls – You Have Been Keeping

    Dark and ambient instrumentals.

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    Father – Papicodone

    EP of minimal hip-hop bangers from the Awful Music figurehead.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    Finale – Odds & Ends

    Detroit Boom Bap with an edge produced by Oddisee.

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    Fis – The Blue Quicksand Is Going Now

    Atmospheric electronic noise.

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    FKA Twigs – M3LL155X

    Experimental electronic R&B flavours.

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    FloFilz – Speakthru

    Chilled instrumental hip-hop with a few guest MCs.

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    TFE

    The Foreign Exchange – Tales From The Land Of Milk And Honey

    Beautiful neo soul from Phonte and Nicolay. Taking the sound in some new directions.

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    Frank Nitt – Frankie Rothstein

    Detroit hip-hop.

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    Freddie Gibbs – Shadow Of A Doubt

    Freddie Gibbs back to his gangsta rap vibes.

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    Frenic – Monomyth: Separation

    Intricate hip-hop instrumentals.

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    Friendzone – While You Wait EP

    Instrumental cloud rap vibes.

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    Future & Drake – What A Time To Be Alive

    Two of the biggest names in hip-hop give us an album full of bangers.

    Buy

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    The Game – The Documentary 2

    The Game’s big return delivers so great moments.

    Buy

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    Gerald Jacobs – The Loudest Quiet

    UK hip-hop.

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    Gillie Da Kid – Welcome 2 Gilladelphia

    Hip-hop.

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    GOD – The Gospel

    Crazy flows and some great trap beats.

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    Goldlink – And After That We Didn’t Talk

    Forward thinking hip-hop.

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    goreshit – nrrv4

    Heavy dance music with a serious hardcore influence.

    Listen On YouTube

    Name Your Price Download

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    Guilty Simpson – Detroit’s Son

    Gritty Detroit hip-hop.

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    Hubert Davis – Framework

    Chilled out instrumental hip-hop.

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    Hurt Everybody – 2K47

    Futuristic hip-hop from Chicago.

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    Hyroglifics – No Drama EP

    Tech D&B.

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    Iberian Juke – Iberian Juke & Friends

    Great compilation of footwork and juke from around the world.

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    Illa J – Illa J

    Somewhere between soul and hip-hop.

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    iLoveMakonnen – iLoveMakonnen 2

    Bizarre R&B and trap vibes.

    Listen On YouTube

    Buy

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    J-Live – How Much Is Water

    Undergound hip-hop.

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    Jadakiss – Top 5 Dead Or Alive

    Hip-hop.

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    Jakes – Deep In The Trench

    Dubstep.

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    Jay 305 – Inner City Hero

    West Coast gangsta vibes.

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    Download For Free

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    Jay Rock – 90059

    Hip-hop.

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    Jeremih – Late Nights

    R&B.

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    JGivens – Fly Exam

    Jazzy underground hip-hop.

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    Jlin – Dark Energy

    Intense footwork.

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    Joanna Newsom – Divers

    Incredible return from the incredibly talented singer songwriter.

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    Joe Budden – All Love Lost

    Hip-hop.

    Buy

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    John Givez – Soul Rebel

    Soulful mixture of R&B and hip-hop.

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    Buy

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    Jonwayne – Here You Go Pt. 1 & Pt. 2

    High quality instumental hip-hop.

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    Download Pt. 1 For Free

    Download Pt. 2 For Free

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    Junglepussy – Pregnant With Success

    Hip-hop.

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    Kardinal Offishall – Kardi Gras Vol. 1 The Clash

    Dancehall legend back with a more hip-hop heavy album.

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    Key – Screaming Dreams Prelude

    Hip-hop.

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    Download For Free

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    Kirk Knight – Late Knight Special

    Boom bap hip-hop fromt he Pro Era gang.

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    Kelela – Hallucinogen

    Complex electronic R&B.

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    Knxwledge – H.S.PRT8.8, H.S.PRT9, WT.PRT9 & WrapTaypes

    New instalments for two of the experimental producer’s album series and a compilation of some of his best reworks.

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    Kode9 – Nothing

    Experimental electronic music with strong footwork influences.

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    Kool A.D. – O.K.

    Huge underground hip-hop mixtape.

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    Kool Keith & Kurious – Don’t Know Why

    Underground hip-hop.

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    L-Wiz – The Orange Tree

    Funky down tempo dubstep.

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    LE1F – Riot Boi

    Interesting album from the gay rap scene.

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    LHF – For The Thrown

    Mellow house music.

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    G Herbo – Ballin’ Like I’m Kobe

    Trap mixtape.

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    Lil Ugly Mane – Oblivion Access

    Underground hip-hop.

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    Little Simz – A Curious Tale Of Trials & Persons

    UK hip-hop.

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    Lofty305 x F1lthy – Elise

    Bizarre and floaty 808 heavy hip-hop.

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    Lucki Ecks$ – Freewave

    Drugged out hip-hop.

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    Luv NY – Luv NY (Deluxe Edition)

    Compilation of underground New York hip-hop.

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    Lymbyc Systym – Split Stones

    Uplifting electronica.

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    Marc Renton – Out There

    Tech D&B.

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    Marcus D & LA – The Golden Gun EP

    Boom Bap.

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    Maxo Kream – MAXO 187

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    Mbongwana Star – From Kinshasa

    Tribal world music.

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    MED, Blu & Madlib – Bad Neighbour

    Underground collaboration album.

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    Method Man – The Meth Lab

    Wu-Tang legend back with another solid album.

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    Mick Jenkins – Wave[s]

    Intricate and forward thinking hip-hop.

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    Mickey Factz – Y-3

    Hip-hop mixtape.

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    Michael Christmas – What A Weird Day

    Hip-hop.

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    Mindscape – Phantoms

    Heavy D&B.

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    Milo – So The Flies Don’t Come

    Poetic underground hip-hop.

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    Moresebya – Free Instrumentals 2015 Pt. 1 & 2 and ясновидение

    Down beat hip-hop instrumentals from Russia.

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    Moss – Marching To The Sound Of My Own Drum

    Hip-hop producer brings in a large cast of guest MCfor a boom bap style album.

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    Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire – Live Forever

    Underground hip-hop.

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    Murlo – Odyssey

    Complex instrumental bangers with a strong grime influence.

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    Mykki Blanco – C-ORE

    Compilation curated by one of gay rap’s biggest names.

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    Naibu – Case Study

    Liquid D&B.

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    Navie D – OPRA EP

    Instrumental hip-hop.

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    Nef The Pharaoh – Nef The Pharaoh EP

    Catchy Bay Area hip-hop.

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    Neroche – Elixir

    Dark and moody instrumental hip-hop.

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    Nickelus F – Triflin

    Hip-hop.

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    Nolan The Ninja – Fuck The Hype

    Underground hip-hop.

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    NxWorries – Link Up And Suede

    Knxwledge and Anderson .Paak team up for a soulful and jazzy EP.

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    Ohbliv – Raw Spirit Jewels

    Instrumental hip-hop.

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    OG Boobie Black – The Boobie Trapp

    Trap mixtape.

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    Opio And Free The Robots – Sempervirens

    Jazzy hip-hop.

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    Pastor Troy – War In ATL

    Trap mixtape.

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    Paul Wall – Slab God

    Southern hip-hop.

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    DJ Paypal – Sold Out

    Footwork with some real depth.

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    PeeWee Longway – Pounds Money Ammunition 2

    Trap mixtape.

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    Pell – LIMBO

    Hip-hop and R&B.

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    People Under The Stairs – The Gettin’ Off Stage Step 1

    Boom bap hip-hop.

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    Potatohead People – Big Luxury

    Synth heavy, funky instrumentals.

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    Prof – Liability

    Underground hip-hop.

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    Pusha-T – King Push – Darkest Before The Dawn: The Prelude

    Hip-hop.

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    Rabit – Communion

    Ambient electronic noise.

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    Rapper Big Pooh & Nottz – Home Sweet Home

    Soulful hip-hop.

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    Raury – All We Need

    R&B and hip-hop.

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    Ray West & Kool Keith – A Couple Of Slices

    Minimal soulful hip-hop.

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    Redman – Mudface

    Hip-hop legend with a solid album.

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    Rich The Kid – Dabbin’ Fever

    Trap mixtape.

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    Rich The Kid & iLoveMakonnen – Whip It Mixtape

    Collaborative trap mixtape.

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    Rick Ross – Black Market

    Hip-hop album with trap vibes.

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    Robb Banks – Year Of The Savage

    Dark, 808 driven hip-hop.

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    Roots Manuva – Bleeds

    UK hip-hop legend returns with an interesting album.

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    RP Boo – Fingers, Bank Pads and Shoe Prints

    Frantic footwork.

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    RTKAL – Skunk Rock

    UK hip-hop with ragga vibes.

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    Rustie – EVENIFUDONTBELIEVE

    Rustie gets back to the sound of his early work with this album of bangers.

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    Sandpeople – Old Fruits

    Jazzy instrumental hip-hop.

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    Scarface – Deeply Rooted

    Hip-hop from the Southern legend.

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    SD – Just The Beginning

    Trap.

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    Sean Price – Songs In The Key Of Price

    Great underground hip-hop EP from one of the greats (RIP).

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    Semi Hendrix (Ras Kass & Jack Splash) – Breakfast At Banksy’s

    Incredibly funky album from an unexpected duo.

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    Serial Killers (B-Real, Xzibit & Demrick) – The Murder Show

    Hip-hop.

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    Sheek Louch – Silverback Gorilla 2

    Hip-hop.

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    Sir Michael Rocks – Populair

    Fantastisc futuristic hip-hop.

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    Slim Thug – Hogg Life Vol. 3 Hustler Of The Year

    Southern hip-hop.

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    Smino – BLKJUPTR and S!ick S!ck S!ck

    Innovative hip-hop EPs.

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    DJ Smokey – Evil Wayz Vol. 3

    Psychedelic trap instrumentals.

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    Soul Chef – Good Vibes LP

    Soulful instrumentals with some strong guest MCs.

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    Styles P – A Wise Guy And A Wise Guy

    Hip-hop.

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    $uicideboy$ – Black $uicide Side C, $outh $ide $uicide, My Liver Will Handle What My Heart Can’t

    Dark cloud rap vibes.

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    Supreme Ace – Trill Influence

    Soulful hip-hop mixtape.

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    Talib Kweli – Fuck The Money

    Free album from the underground hip-hop legend.

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    Talib Kweli & 9th Wonder – Indie 500

    Underground hip-hop.

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    Termanology – Term Brady EP

    Underground hip-hop.

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    Thelem – We Ain’t The Same EP

    Dubstep.

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    Tim Jones – Everyday

    Gangsta R&B vibes.

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    Tom Misch – Beat Tape 2

    Instrumental hip-hop.

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    Toro Y Moi – Samantha

    Interesting mixtape of instrumentals from the chill wave artist.

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    Tsu Surf – Newark

    Hip-hop.

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    Twista – Livin’ Legend

    Hip-hop EP from the fastest rapper alive.

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    The Underachievers – Evermore The Art Of Duality

    Underground hip-hop.

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    Vanilla – Origin

    Instrumental hip-hop.

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    VDon – The Opiate

    Underground hip-hop.

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    Vibes Only Crew (v.o.c) – v.o.c EP2 vol.1

    Footwork.

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    Wave Racer – Flash Drive

    Synth heavy dance beats.

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    The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness

    R&B.

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    Wiki – Lil Me

    Underground hip-hop from the Ratking MC.

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    YG, Blanco and DB Tha General – California Livin’

    West Coast hip-hop mixtape.

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    Yo Gotti – The Return

    Trap.

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    Young Thug – Slime Season 1 & 2

    Mixtapes packed with bangers.

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    Yung Simmie – Basement Music 3

    Laidback trap vibes.

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    Zero T – Golden Section

    Drum & Bass.

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    2 Chainz & Lil Wayne – Collegrove

    Hip-hop.

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    AG Da Coroner – Sip The Nectar

    Underground hip-hop.

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    Allan Kingdom – Northern Lights

    Synth driven hip-hop / R&B.

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    Anderson .Paak – Malibu

    R&B / soul packed with sunshine vibes.

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    Audio Push – Inside The Vibe

    Hip-hop.

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    Average Rap Band – El Sol

    Bizarre hip-hop from Australia.

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    AyOh – MillennialComicBook

    Instrumental hip-hop.

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    Baby Killa – Baby Killa

    Instrumental trap.

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    Bas – Too High To Riot

    Hip-hop.

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    Black Kray – Soulja Luv Rari World

    Cloud rap.

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    Blu & Ray West – Crenshaw Jezebel

    Mellow and jazzy hip-hop.

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    Boosie Badazz – Thug Talk

    Trap.

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    Chris Travis – The Ruined

    Cloud rap / trap.

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    Chuuwee & Trizz – The Smoke Out & Amerikka’s Most Blunted 2

    Hip-hop.

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    Count Bass D – Dwight Around Your Lips & Instantly New

    Hip-hop.

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    Cozz – Nothin’ Personal

    Hip-hop.

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    Crimewave – fvckcrimewave

    Heavy and dark hip-hop.

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    Curren$y – The Owner’s Manual & Weed & Instrumentals

    Mellow hip-hop.

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    Curren$y & Alchemist – The Carrollton Heist

    Hip-hop and producer dream team with a great mixtape.

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    D-JaySremm – Trail Mix

    Hip-hop.

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    David Banner – Before The Box

    Hip-hop.

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    Daz -N- Snoop – Cuzznz

    West Coast legends bring the funk.

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    Denzel Curry – Imperial

    One of hip-hop’s most promising young MCs with another great release. Brutal bars and fantastic production.

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    Domo Genesis – Genesis

    Mellow hip-hop.

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    Dream Junkies – Good Religion

    Hip-hop.

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    Elzhi – Lead Poison

    Long awaited return from the Slum Village MC.

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    Father – I’m A Piece Of Shit

    Minimal and dark hip-hop.

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    Flatbush Zombies – 3001 A Laced Odyssey

    Hip-hop.

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    French Montana – Wave Gods

    Hip-hop.

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    Future – Evol & Purple Reign

    Trap.

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    Hernän – Passing Levels EP

    Footwork.

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    The Hip-Hop House – Mixtape Vol. 1

    Scottish hip-hop mixtape.

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    Hodgy – They Watchin’ Lofi Series 1

    Hip-hop.

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    Hus Kingpin – #HOKTRE (House Of Kingpin – The Revamp Edition)

    Underground hip-hop.

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    Iamsu – Kilt 3

    hip-hop.

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    iLoveMakonnen – Drink More Water 6

    Bizarre trap and R&B vibes.

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    Iman Shumpert – Shumpman The M.D.

    Hip-hop.

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    Ital Tek – Hollowed

    Dark electronic music.

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    Ivan Ave – Helping Hands

    Jazzy hip-hop.

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    Jace – Jace Tape

    Hip-hop.

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    Jacquees – Mood

    Smooth R&B.

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    Jahlil Beats & CRMC – New Levels New Devils

    Hip-hop.

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    Jake One – PrayerHandsEmoji

    Instrumental hip-hop.

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    Jazz Cartier – Hotel Paranoia

    Hip-hop.

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    Joell Ortiz – That’s Hip-Hop

    Hip-hop.

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    J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League – J.U.S.T.I.C.E. For All

    Hip-hop.

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    Kamaiyah – A Good Night In The Ghetto

    Hip-hop.

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    Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo

    Highly anticipated album from one of hip-hops biggest names. I’m sure everyone has their opinions on this by now.

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    Kano – Made In The Manor

    UK hip-hop / grime

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    Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered

    Collection of unreleased tracks from hip-hop’s golden boy.

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    Killa Kyleon – Blessed To Raise Hell

    Hip-hop.

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    Kilo Kish – Reflections In Real Time

    Not sure how to classify this, some hip-hop vibes, bit of spoken wide style vocals, some singing, kind of alternative indie pop stuff. Whatever it is it’s a fun listen.

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    Knxwledge – HEX.9.8

    Twisted jazzy reworks of classic R&B and hip-hop.

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    Koi Child – Koi Child

    Funky hip-hop with a live backing band.

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    Kool Keith – Total Orgasm

    Underground hip-hop.

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    THE KXNNEDYS – Any Last Requests

    Hip-hop.

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    Kyo Itachi & Ruste Juxx – Meteorite

    Underground New York hip-hop.

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    Lecrae – Church Clothes 3

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    Le$ – Dreamcast

    Hip-hop.

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    Levelz – Lvl 11

    UK hip-hop with big influences from grime and D&B.

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    Lex Luger – Lex Luger Experience: The Tour Vol. 1

    Instrumental trap.

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    Lil Yachty – Lil Boat

    Bizarre, synthy trap style hip-hop. You’ll either love it or hate it.

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    Lofty305 – Ice Cream World

    Psychedelic cloud rap vibes.

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    Lord Sizzle – The Numerous Aromas Of Lord Sizzle

    Cloud rap.

    Free Downoload

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    Lucki Eck$ – Son Of Sam

    Dark and drugged out hip-hop.

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    Migos – YRN 2 (Young Rich Niggas 2)

    Trap.

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    Mix Master Mike – Magma Chamber

    Legendary turntablist with a great mix.

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    Nature – Target Practice

    Underground hip-hop.

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    NEDLOG ERA – SGLP

    Hip-hop.

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    Nef The Pharaoh – Neffy Got Wings

    Bay Area hip-hop.

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    Nick Grant – ’88

    Hip-hop.

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    N.O.R.E – Drunk Uncle

    Hip-hop.

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    Nyck Caution – Disguise The Limit

    Hip-hop.

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    Oddisee – Alwasta

    Hip-hop.

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    OG Maco – The Lord Of Rage

    High energy hip-hop.

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    One Be Lo – The Original Born Ones

    Hip-hop.

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    Open Mike Eagle & Paul White – Hella Personal Film Festival

    Creative underground MC and UK super producer team up for some lush funky vibes.

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    P.E.A.C.E. – The Green Mile

    Hip-hop.

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    Peewee Longway – Mr Blue Benjamin

    Trap.

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    Planet Asia & DJ Concept – Seventy Nine

    Hip-hop.

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    Prodigy – RIP 1, 2 & 3

    Free bundles of unreleased tracks from the Mobb Deep legend.

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    Quelle Chris – Lullabies For The Broken Brain

    Strange and melancholy instrumental hip-hop.

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    Raz Simone – Trap Spirituals

    Hip-hop.

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    RJD2 – Dame Fortune

    Hip-hop producer with an interesting, genre defying album.

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    Rome Fortune – Jerome Raheem Fortune

    Electronic hip-hop / R&B

    Listen On YouTube

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    Rubble Kings

    Hip-hop soundtrack to the documentary on New York gangs.

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    Samiyam – Animals Have Feelings

    Instrumental hip-hop.

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    Saul Williams – MartyrLoserKing

    Rapper / poet with more innovative music that’s hard to define.

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    SBTRKT – Save Yourself

    Smooth electronica.

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    Skeme – Before 4eva

    Hip-hop.

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    Smoke DZA – He Has Risen

    Hip-hop.

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    Soundz – Sheets EP

    Smooth R&B.

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    Stalley – Saving Yusuf

    Hip-hop.

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    Statik KXNG (Statik Selektah & KXNG Crooked) – Statik KXNG

    Boom bap hip-hop.

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    Taso – Cold Heat Vol. 1 & 2

    Footwork.

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    Tim Gent – For The Love EP

    Hip-hop.

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    TM88 – 88 World

    Trap.

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    Torae – Entitled

    Hip-hop.

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    Tre Capital – I Can’t Die Yet

    Hip-hop.

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    Trapo – She EP

    Hip-hop.

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    Vampsterdam – PTSD

    Dark and twisted trap vibes.

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    Vic Spencer & Chris Crack – Who The Fuck Is Chris Spencer?

    Chicago MC duo with some interesting soulful hip-hop.

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    Westside Gunn – Flygod

    Underground hip-hop.

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    Yo Gotti – The Art Of Hustle

    Trap.

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    Young Dolph – King Of Memphis

    Trap.

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    Young Thug – I’m Up & Slime Season 3

    Two new albums / mixtapes from the divisive but brilliant trap innovator.

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    Yung Lean – Warlord

    Cloud rap.

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    Zelooperz – Bothic

    Strange, high energy hip-hop from Bruiser Brigade.

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    Mooklife Music’s Top 40 Releases Of 2015

    Music

    I think most people can agree that 2015 was a really great year for music and especially for hip-hop. I’ve read through many top albums of 2015 and while I’ve enjoyed a lot of the choices others have made I’ve noticed that many of my favourite releases have gone mostly unmentioned. Because of this I really wanted to put together my own top releases of 2015 (and chose 40 because I spent my youth watching Top Of The Pops) to give some of those overlooked artists some appreciation.

    If you’ve been following my posts over the last year you’ll know just how much music I’ve been listening to which has made it very hard to narrow this list down. I’ve never done a ranked list like this before because it’s always so hard and usually just makes people angry when they don’t agree, but I’m sure this list will get people riled up anyway so I’m going for it.

    Remember, these are my favourite releases of 2015, I’m not trying to tell other people they’re wrong, I’m just trying to show some love for the artists that have provided the soundtrack to my 2015. I’ve decided to write this article later than most other media outlets have because I wanted to give some late entries a chance and let the dust settle before I made my mind up. I didn’t mean to publish the article quite this late though, I’ve just been busier than I expected.

    So here it is, probably the last best albums of 2015 list that you’ll read. I hope you enjoy the read, find some new favourites of your own and try not to get too mad that you’re favourite album isn’t included. Oh, and try not to lose your minds over the fact that I haven’t even even included ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’.

    Here’s a Youtube playlist with a track from each release to make listening easier.

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    40. Busdriver – Thumbs

    Busdriver rarely disappoints with his albums, always giving us something interesting, unique and cohesive. After his mostly upbeat and playful 2014 release ‘Perfect Hair’ Busdriver has delivered a much more serious album with ‘Thumbs’. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t your hard hitting political rap but Busdriver seems to have been somewhat affected by all the horrible events that plagued 2015. This is very evident at the end of the track ‘Species of Property’ which he says he wrote for Baltimore. The beats support this melancholy turn as they plod along, driven by heavy synths and at times descending into drum filled chaos.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    39. Tuxedo – Tuxedo

    I spent some of my favourite evenings of 2015 sat in the garden on one of our rare sunny days, and this album was the perfect soundtrack for it. Mayer Hawthorne has one of the most soothing voices in modern music and hip-hop producer Jake One really brings the funk with the instrumentals, creating an album that feels like a really happy head massage. Every song on this album brings a smile to my face and I think the world needs more music like that.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    38. Clear Soul Forces – Fab Five

    Underground hip-hop group Clear Soul Forces have been making a name for themselves since the late 00s and have refined their sound to produce their best album to date. The album is produced entirely by Nameless who takes the art of sampling to another level, cutting up soul tracks and transforming them into knocking beats. The 4 MCs in the group deliver non-stop punchlines with impeccable flows. The track ‘Bpswr’; an acronym for Back Pack Sub Woofer Rap sums up the album well. ‘Fab Five’ is all the vibes of that early 90s hip-hop that everyone loves so much but updated it with a more developed rap style and really luscious production.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    37. Chuck Inglish – Everybody’s Big Brother

    It’s strange how sometimes music can go so old school that it starts to sound futuristic again. That’s what this album sounds like to me. The beats have that 80s gangsta rap feel, packed with simple 808 drums, deep basslines and catchy keyboard riffs. The album features a plethora of guest appearances from the likes of Donnie Trumpet, Boldy James, ManManSavage and a number of rappers I was not previously familiar with but they all deliver raps fitting of the vibe.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    36. Lynx – I Am Lynx

    Drum & Bass isn’t as popular as it was 5 years ago but there are still lots of producers out there working hard to keep the genre exciting. Lynx has been making Drum & Bass for over 10 years now and has always stayed original. This latest album does something a lot of dance albums don’t manage, it stays interesting throughout. I love dance music but a lot of the time tracks are made to be mixed so you wont hear the whole thing and because of this full albums can become tiresome. I Am Lynx steps away from this by delivering frenetic, complex Drum & Bass that progresses enough to stay exciting throughout. Heavy basslines, intricate percussion and unique synth sounds make for a very satisfying listen.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    35. Georgia Anne Muldrow – A Thoughtiverse Unmarred

    Georgia Anne Muldrow has been making music for a long time now and has stuck mostly to singing but on this album she shows that’s she actually an amazing MC as well. Georgia has one of those voices that is simply a pleasure to listen to and has an accomplished flow to match, switching between rhythmic rhymes and soulful singing. Chris Keys provided some of 2015’s best production and a lot of that is present on this album which he produced in its entirety. The album is very strong lyrically with Georgia delivering powerful lines about racism, spirituality and the mainstream media.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    34. EarthGang – Strays With Rabies

    I first heard of EarthGang in February last year when they released their mixtape “Torba”. I wasn’t blown away by the tape but it was easily good enough to get me to listen to Strays With Rabies and I’m so glad I did. The Atlanta duo have put together a superb album that’s easy going and accessible yet stays fresh and interesting. The beats are soulful with a bass heavy edge to them, really standing out on “Liquor Sto'” which has a crazy, unexpected drop a few bars in to the verse. I can see these guys being very popular in the near future, they have the appeal of 90s Outkast with a modern twist.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    33. Father – Who’s Gonna Get Fucked First?

    I have to admit, I overlooked Father for quite a while. When I first heard this album I didn’t get the appeal, it wasn’t until I became obsessed with his earlier track “Look At Wrist” that I started understand. Father’s music is almost self-contradicting in that it’s simultaneously understated and outrageous. The beats are very low key, stripped down beats with repetitive samples and booming basslines. It’s Father’s personality that shines and makes his music so unique, he rambles through his bars in a monotone flow that is interrupted sporadically by odd intonations as he details his sex and drug fuelled escapades.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    32. Bones – Powder

    It’s amazing what you get from an artist when they aren’t restrained by a record label or even the need to sell records. Bones releases all of his music for free and this gives him an amazing creative freedom that not many musicians show. Powder is a brilliant showcase of Bones’ abilities in a variety of genres He’s basically making whatever music he feels like but his personality ties it all together to keep the mixtape cohesive. From floaty cloud rap, to jazzy hip-hop and all way through to Pavement-esque indie rock, Bones proves himself to be one of the most exciting and versatile musicians working today.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

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    31. Billy Woods – Today I Wrote Nothing

    Billy Woods has been steadily releasing fantastically dark albums for over 10 years now and he has refined his sound. Woods raps with a poetic intensity that you don’t hear very often, his flow is unique and sounds more like spoken word poetry than rap at times. His lyrics paint harrowing urban landscapes while the instrumentals complement them with jazzy, off kilter drums and melancholy piano riffs.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    30. Young Thug – Slime Season

    Young Thug has improved massively over the last few years and positioned himself as one of the most talked about artists in hip-hop. This is a solid collection of tracks featuring some crazy beats and even crazier flows. Thugger is the only artist to have two releases on this list so I’m saving more of my love for later.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

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    29. Sean Price – Songs In The Key Of Price

    Sean Price has always been one of my favourite rappers so I was upset when I heard he passed, my thoughts go out to his family and I can’t believe we will never again hear fresh bars from one of the best MC’s to ever do it. This EP came out soon after Price passed away and is a great monument to the man. P brings it as always, spitting his insane flow with some serious punchlines. The beats are interesting and minimal, we haven’t heard Price on beats quite like this before but it felt really natural. There was a second release of the EP, adding a lot more tracks and although there are some good extras in there I think the original is stronger. I urge you to buy this, not just because it’s a great listen but because the funds raised go to Price’s family at this difficult time.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    28. Quelle Chris – Innocent Country

    Quelle Chris hits us with a text book underground hip-hop album. Chris Keys produced 4 sublime albums last year (Jean Grae – iSweatergawd, Declaime – Southside Story, Georgia Anne Muldrow – A Thoughtiverse Unmarred and Quelle Chris – Innocent Country) but this is my favourite. The instrumentals are mainly repetitive and at times unsettling with a few rays of sunshine coming through in the form of beautiful piano riffs. This backdrop really lends itself to Quelle Chris’ effortless raps which cover topics from compulsive liars to conversations with God.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    27. Various Artists – Iberian Juke & Friends 

    Including this is kind of breaking the rules as it’s not so much an album, EP or mixtape but a 3 hour long compilation. Some exceptions have to be made though and this collection is too good not to mention. Iberian Juke is a collective of juke and footwork producers based in Spain. This is their second compilation and for this one they have called in producers from all over the world to contribute. The Juke and Footwork scene is one of the most exciting electronic music scenes of the last few years, I love the complexity, progression and off-kilter grooves that the genre offers. This compilation is an amazing showcase of talent that is on the scene worldwide, delivering a taste of the different styles developing and giving us some serious bangers.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Free download here

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    26. L’Orange & Jeremiah Jae – The Night Took Us In Like Family

    L’Orange has really made a name for himself over the last 5 or so years, working with some gifted MCs as well as putting out some stellar instrumental works. Jeremiah Jae has also been putting in work over that time, staying firmly underground but making some breathtaking albums. Together we have one of the most fitting collaborations since Madvillain. This album is so cohesive, it all flows seamlessly and the sporadic instrumental breaks littered with old movie samples create an extremely cinematic feel. The old jazz samples are used in a really fresh way, forming these melancholy vibes that Jeremiah Jae uses to paint pictures of urban despair and cold-hearted criminals.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    25. Freddie Gibbs – Shadow Of A Doubt

    Freddie Gibbs stepped away from his usual style on the Madlib produced “Pinata” but he’s back to his gangster vibes with Shadow Of A Doubt. The soul samples are mostly gone and this album is a lot more reminiscent of “ESGN”, straight up hard flows, 808 driven beats and booming sub bass. We do see a slightly smoother Gibbs on this album as he takes to singing on a few tracks and kicks out an R&B classic with “Basketball Wives”.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    24. Knxwledge – Hexual Sealings Prt.8

    It was a big year for Knxwledge in 2015, he got signed to Stones Throw, released an EP with one of the most hyped up artists of the year Anderson .Paak and had a beat on Kendrick Lamar’s critically acclaimed “To Pimp A Butterfly”. Despite all of this it was the next edition of Knxwledge’s long running album series Hexual Sealings that really impressed me. The first “Hexual Sealings” was the third of Knxwledge’s many releases and he’s kept the same unique sound running since. This album features more unhinged remixes of classic R&B and hip-hop tracks, replacing the original instrumentals with vibrant jazz samples mangled together to create beautifully messy grooves.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    23. Cavanaugh (Open Mike Eagle & Serengeti) – Time & Materials

    Open Mike Eagle made one of my favourite albums of 2014 and Serengeti has been putting out amazingly creative music for years so when this album was announced I was really excited. The finished product definitely lived up to expectations, the two musicians really rubbed off on each other, Serengeti has brought out the dark, moody side in Open Mike Eagle and Open Mike Eagle’s more jovial side has rubbed off on Serengeti. What we’re left with is a very atmospheric album that’s profound one minute and tongue in cheek the next. This is the first project entirely produced by Open Mike and I cant wait to hear more, he has twisted droning guitar sounds in to atmospheric marvels.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    22. Dr. Yen Lo (Ka and Perseverance) – Days With Dr. Yen Lo

    Sometimes in music someone comes along and drastically alters one of the defining aspects of a genre. Hip-Hop has always been very percussion driven but this album is almost entirely void of drums, and it sounds amazing. The instrumentals are stripped down to repetitive (mostly guitar) samples creating an intense feeling that sounds like a film score at times. Ka’s rapping is perfect for these sparse instrumentals, he flows in a laid back, rhythmic manner laying down complex rhyme schemes and conjuring up dark images of inner city sagas.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    21. Hurt Everybody – 2K47

    Chicago trio Hurt Everybody sound like the future. Switching between biting raps and sorrowful singing, vocally these guys are bringing something incredibly fresh to the table. The vibes on the mixtape vary between euphoric and introspective to menacing and violent. Most of the production is handled in house and is very exciting, mostly synth driven and scattered with intricate percussion. Fellow Chicago native Twista even drops by and gives us one of his tightest verses in years.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

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    20. Jonwayne – Jonwayne Is Retired

    I’ve been a big fan of Jonwayne’s beats for a while now and this album cements that even further. There is so much space in these instrumentals, they’re mostly simple boom bap drum loops with just a basic but incredibly high quality riff on either a bass guitar or synth. It’s a real testament to Jowayne’s production that he can make such basic beats sound so crisp and beautiful that you don’t want tracks to end. It’s not just the beats that shine on this album though, Jonwayne really brings his A game on the mic, he strongly punctuates his lines and flows fantastically proving he’s one of the best all round musicians in hip-hop.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    19. Bilal – In Another Life

    It’s always been hard to pin down Bilal, he’s often been labelled neo soul but has worked in and around other genres. “In Another Life” is hard to pin down too, it’s oozing with funk, his vocals are soothingly soulful and there are some heavy psychedelic rock vibes in there too. The drums on the album really stand out, slightly distorted and played to perfection, driving the tracks forward. Bilal’s voice is so serene which makes it even more shocking when he suddenly strays from his soft tones. This album not like anything else I’ve heard from Bilal, it’s not quite like anything I’ve heard from anyone but it is magnificent.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    18. Lofty305 X DJ Complex – Haitian Silk

    I’m sure some of you will hear this EP and not get why I would put it in a top releases list. When I first heard it myself I was a bit unsure, it’s very lo fi and Lofty305’s vocals are strange. It is these things that make this so good though, it’s raw and filthy but at the same time the beats are packed with soul and emotion. The alluring samples are beefed up with rough, distorted drum samples that you cant help but nod your head to. Lofty305’s vocals are half way between rapping and singing, he slurs his words and croons out of tune, rambling about his sexual exploits. This EP sounds weird, and it is, but Lofty pulls it off in a way no one else can.

    Buy here

    Future_56_Nights_(mixtape)

    17. Future – 56 Nights

    Future is definitely one of the biggest names in hip-hop right now with a string of really solid releases, starting with his near perfect mixtape “Monster” that was out in 2014. This tape was released back in March and although he had 3 more releases later in the year 56 Nights is firmly my favourite. All the tracks on the tape are produced by Southside apart from “March Madness” which is produced by fellow 808 Mafia member Tarentino, and these dark, murky beats all sound incredibly hard. Future is one of the few guys who really knows how to ride these simple beats, many other rappers would sound boring on such sparse back drops but Future makes them come to life. Future’s vocals sound drugged out as he rambles through lines that at times don’t even rhyme, he’s not your average rapper but there is a sincerity in his voice that really shines through and his ability to convey emotion is almost unparalleled.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    16. Joanna Newsom – Divers

    It’s been quite a few years since we heard from Joanna Newsom and it was only when I heard this album that I realised how much I missed her. There is a magic about Joanna Newsom’s music that is hard to explain, she really is one of the best musicians of the last 15 years. Newsom’s last album album “Have One On Me” was fantastic but wasn’t quite as enchanting as her 2006 album “Ys”, the addition of other instruments somewhat detracted from the sheer beauty of Joanna and her harp. “Divers” is definitely more like “Ys” than her other albums but has just the right amount of backing instruments to create a more textured sound. Every song on the album is an intensely euphoric saga, they take you on a journey as the melodies progress throughout. As always with Joanna Newsom, this is a challenging listen, after hearing the album through at least 20 times I’m still getting to grips with the compositions and I continue to love it even more.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    15. Gangrene (Alchemist & Oh No) – You Disgust Me

    The best rapper/producer and rapper/producer duo since Jaylib returned last year with what I think is their strongest project to date. Both of these guys make phenominal beats and their styles mesh very well. What I love so much about this album is how cohesive it is, littered with odd samples conjuring up city images and grimy beats to match. The production is mainly sample based, using jazzy samples in their trademark fashion, layering them to create unrelenting beats that sound simple on first listen but have subtle complexities hidden in the musical depths. The duo both more than hold their own on the mic, they have steady flows that fit perfect with the overall vibe of the album and even with the plethora of accomplished guest MCs on the release they never sound outmatched.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    14. Robb Banks – Year Of The Savage

    There are few rappers out there that have such an amazing cadence to their voice that you could listen to them rap about anything and for me Robb Banks is one of those guys. There is a certain charisma to Banks that I’ve always found very exciting, there is an intense and unsettling character to his music that makes it stand out. I’ve been following Robb Banks’ career for a few years now as he released solid mixtapes and EPs but he steps it up a lot on this debut album. The instrumentals here are so menacing and violent yet understated; 808 drums, deep bass and discordant riffs create a seriously hard and satisfying backdrop. Banks shows he can rock a number of different styles and flows as he goes fast over some tracks but also shines when he slurs his words and slows it down to a steady, methodical delivery. Just check out 2Phoneshawty to hear how Banks can kill even the craziest beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    13. DJ Paypal – Sold Out

    There are a lot of haters out there who criticise electronic music, saying it’s not real music, it’s easy to make or that it’s too simple and I think this album is great proof of how misinformed they are. Footwork took a massive blow when DJ Rashad died, it felt like a lot of the momentum the genre had built up just disappeared, but on this release I can feel that same excitement and ingenuity that we lost. From start to finish this album is simply phenomenal, this music is rich, complicated and exudes a great variety of emotion. The album starts off with the title which works as a great opener, buzzing around and constantly building up but never quite dropping how you would expect. The following tracks are frantic and jazzy, constantly progressing and rattling around with a sophisticated groove. Moving through some magnificently soulful footwork tracks and finishing on the epically euphoric “Say Goodbye” DJ Paypal proves he is ready to take footwork to new levels.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Ray-West-Kool-Keith-A-Couple-of-Slices

    12. Ray West & Kool Keith – A Couple Of Slices

    Kool Keith is a real anomaly, he is definitely a massive weirdo (in a good way) but that’s not what makes him so unique. The majority of musicians in any genre hit their peak early in their career and while some do show a level of longevity they tend to burn out fairly quick. Kool Keith has now been rapping for over 30 years, has more than 20 albums to his name and amazingly he has recently been putting out some of his strongest work to date. Last year Kool Keith put out a collaborative album with producer L’Orange and while it was a great release it is this work with Ray West that has me the most impressed. Ray’s beats are soulful but stripped down, the samples are repeated with little variation and minimal percussion. I’ve never heard Kool Keith on instrumentals like these and I’ve never thought that it would work but on this album the production has brought out the best in him. Keith’s style is bizarre, his rhyme patterns are odd, he delivers non-nonsensical lyrics in an almost conversational manner and that works perfectly over Ray West’s instrumentals. If Motown records was based on Mars it would sound something like this.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    11. Young Fathers – White Men Are Black Men Too

    I’ve always been a fan of a very wide range of music and I used to listen to a lot of punk, metal, indie, hardcore etc. but I have found that over the last 5 years I have become less and less interested in the umbrella genre of rock. It feels to me like “guitar music” has become a bit stagnated while hip-hop and dance music continue to evolve and stay exciting. It kind of makes sense then that the first rock album in years that I really enjoy is from a hip-hop group (kind of). Young Fathers started off making hip-hop and have moved further away from the genre with every album until we’ve got to this release which is almost unclassifiable but is definitely some kind of rock. The tracks on this album are raw and lo-fi, on tracks like “Rain Or Shine” and “Old Rock n Roll” they bring a brutal heaviness while on “Shame” and “Still Running” we see a much more melodic and heartwarming sound. If you’ve been craving some rock recently but haven’t found anything to excite then you need to get this album in your life.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    10. Sir Michael Rocks – Populair

    Ex member of The Cool Kids; Sir Michael Rocks got me very interested in him when he released his 2014 album “Banco”. The album was a definite progression from his time with The Cool Kids and had some really unique, inspired moments but overall I didn’t think we’d seen this guy reach his full potential. That potential has certainly come closer to being fulfilled as this EP blew me away the first time I heard it, the sound of this release is not like any other hip-hop I’ve heard. The beats are so fresh and different, they make you want to dance at times but at others instil a sense foreboding. I’ve wanted to hear someone rap over footwork beats for a long time now so I was so happy to hear the heavy influence on some of these tracks. “Come Outside” is an awesome song which I’m pretty sure samples “It’s Wack” by Rashad and Heaave D. It’s not just the instrumentals that are so good though, Sir Michael Rocks is incredibly versatile, going from a conversational style, to singing, to a crazy flow reminiscent of The Pharcyde. The last track on the album “Alone” is a melancholy and introspective track about the things Sir Michael Rocks hates in his life and is one of the most personal tracks I heard all year.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    9. Cavalier – Lemonade

    I had never heard of Cavalier before this album but when I saw Iman Omari took care of the production I had to check it out and I’m so glad I did. I’ve seriously enjoyed Iman Omari’s solo work, he makes complex psychadelic beats from jazz samples and is obviously influenced by the fantastic Knxwledge. Iman actually has some of his strongest beats on this release, the colourful jazz samples and staggered percussion is given an extra depth in the form of rich bass sounds, all of this combines to make a dreamy back drop. The superb production is matched by Cavlier’s vocals, he is very fluid, riding the difficult and varied rhythms with gusto. Cavaliers lyrics have that perfect mix of insight and humour, particularly shining on “Commitment” which plays on the word’s different meanings.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    8. Milo – So The Flies Don’t Come

    Musicians don’t come much more poetic than Milo and with a few releases now under his belt the Wisconsin MC has truly perfected his style. I’ve been a fan of Milo since his 2013 mixtape “Cavalcade” but I’ve found that his overly poetic style can feel a little bit forced at times although the ingenuity definitely outweighed any of his negative traits. Milo has changed his style a little bit on this album, he’s using a more traditional flow which gives the music more of a groove but he still has that complex poetic delivery that makes him so unique. The production was handled entirely by Kenny Segal who is a magician when it comes to making beats. Kenny creates some beautiful instrumentals on this project, full of serene melodies and descending synth notes, overall the sound is very full and rich. Every time I listen to this album I notice even more of its nuances and become hypnotised by the beauty of Milo’s lyrics.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    7. Main Attrakionz – 808s and Dark Grapes III

    The cloud rap scene that was so big a few years ago seems to have almost died out but these pioneers of the genre just created one of its best albums yet. Friendzone hold down the production and have created some of 2015s best beats on this release. Dreamy, lush and complex, the beats spiral around in to colourful kaleidoscopes of sound. Stand out track “Dip” has an intensely intricate riff played on a harp like instrument with euphoric results. As is often the case with cloud rap it is the beats that hold a lot of the importance but MCs Squadda B and Mondre M.A.N. have stepped up their game, showing that they can pull off some difficult, fast flows as well as continuing their smooth, laid back style.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    6. P Money – Money Over Everyone 2

    Grime was going through a massive resurgence last year as MCs like Skepta and Stormzy were even getting a lot of hype in the U.S. Although these big names were making waves across the Atlantic it was London MC P Money who came with one of the most high octane and entertaining grime albums I’ve heard in years. The energy on this album is through the roof, almost every track is an absolute banger and the few that aren’t just show a more lyrically astute P Money. I don’t think I can remember a more fun release than this, from viciously funny battle raps on “Crushed” to straight up good vibes with the aptly named “On A Fun One”. It’s not all fun and games though, tracks like “Roll Up” and “Yearrrh” are the definition of gully. If you’re looking to get deeper in to grime or need a good party album then look no further, this album is so full of tunes you don’t need to make a playlist to get hyped to.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    5. Tree & Vic Spencer – VicTree

    Tree was responsible for one of my favourite releases of 2014 (THE @MCTREEG EP) and had me very excited to hear more of his “soul trap” style  but although his next release (Trap Genius) was good it lacked that sound I was craving. When this EP came out I wasn’t familiar with Vic Spencer but knowing Tree was involved and seeing “SOULTRAP” written on the cover had me hyped. I definitely wasn’t disappointed as this is the sound I have been waiting for. The beats are more lo fi and raw than they are on “THE @MCTREEG EP” but they have the same emotive, off-kilter vibe and the rawness makes things even better. The Chicago flavour is strong on here as you can feel the footwork vibes coming through on the instrumentals, not so much in the actual style but the method in which they’re made, with beautiful soul samples brutalised by well placed 808 sounds. Vic Spencer’s vocals also continue the soul trap vibe as he often strays from the beat, verging on singing then kicking his flow back in to the rhythm. There is a real soul to Spencer’s voice that shines through, he sounds like an old blues singer with his gravely voice laying his essence out on to the tracks.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    4. Van Hunt – The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets

    Being as obsessed with hip-hop and other electronic music as I am it takes something really special outside of that to truly interest me. “The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets” had me mesmerized from the first time I heard it, taking so many influences from sounds I’m familiar with but combining them in to something completely unique and immensely creative. If I had to pigeon hole the album I’d say it was soul or neo soul but it’s so much more than that. The funk influences are very strong here as well as R&B, psych rock, indie rock, jazz and even a bit of Bowie-esque glam rock, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Van Hunt’s voice is spectacular, it’s soothing and pure whether he’s making you dance with a funky number or seducing you with his bizarre love songs. The lyrics on the album are often nonsensical but have a certain beauty to them, I’m not certain what he’s getting at when he sings “If I want to dance with you, I have to use my remote control” but there is something strangely poetic about. From the funky opening track to the grand, euphoric title track ender (which I’m pretty sure is about your lover being on her period, it’s odd) this album is exceptional.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    3. MED, Blu & Madlib – Bad Neighbor

    Hip-hop is one of the only genres were you get so much collaboration and it’s one of the things I love about it. It’s not that rare in hip-hop that you get to hear a number of your favourite musicians together on the same track, it is rarer though to hear them make a full album, and one that sounds as good as this. Madlib is well known for putting out amazing albums and brining out the best in people, his ear for samples is second to none and he’s responsible for a number of classic albums. Blu has been putting out fantastic underground hip-hop albums for years now, spanning a number of different styles but always keeping it creative. Signed to Stones Throw record label, M.E.D. has been releasing solid work for over ten years and has one of those steady flows that works on almost any beat. Put these three guys together and you have one hell of an album. As is expected from Madlib, the instrumentals on this album are really superb but what makes them so special is the variation of sounds he gives us. Recently Madlib has been sticking more to his dusty, soulful, jazzy beats and as good as he is at that I’ve been wanting to hear him break away from that style a bit. Way back in 2004 Madlib produced De La Soul’s “Shopping Bags” and that beat blew my mind, it sounded like a raw and twisted Neptunes beat, but since then we haven’t heard much of that sound from him. It seems Madlib has answered my prayers because on this album we get more of these synth driven tracks that I’ve been craving, one of which is the obscenely good “The Stroll” which has a beat so off the wall people won’t truly get their head around it for years. Later on in the album we do hear more of the soulfulness we expect from Madlib so we really do get the best of both worlds here. Although to an extant it is the beats that make this LP so outstanding the raps are from average. MED and Blu both drop a lot of great verses. Blu has a very recognisable voice and there’s something about his delivery that I find comforting, he just has a very enjoyable voice to listen to. I know a lot of people will hate me for saying this but I think “Bad Neighor” is the best Madlib collaboration album since “Madvillainy” and although it’s not getting that much attention now, just like his legendary album with DOOM this will be one that will grow in popularity as people start to understand it.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    2. Young Thug – Barter 6

    As is often the case with great musicians, Young Thug was one if the most polarising rappers of 2015. Dismissed by many because of his strange delivery and obscene lyrics but loved by others for the same reasons, Young Thug definitely stands out from the crowd. After a string of decent mixtapes in 2014 Thug had been making steady improvements and this came to a peak with the phenomenal Barter 6. Few MCs have a voice as recognisable as Young Thug’s, he has a very strange cadence which can be shrill one moment but smooth the next and his delivery is incredible with his many different flows which he switches between to suit whatever beat he is on. The instrumentals on this album are mostly quite understated, off key synths dance on top of deep sub bass and crisp 808 drums, building up and dropping out as the tracks progress, creating the perfect obstacles for Thug to manoeuvre along. Lyrically you’re not going to find anything profound on this album but that doesn’t matter, the most important aspect of music is that it sounds good and Barter 6 sounds glorious!

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    1. Denzel Curry – 32 Zel / Planet Shrooms

    Denzel Curry grabbed a lot of people’s attention with his 2013 album “Nostolgic 64” which has some amazing tracks like the violence inducing “Threatz” and the luxuriously smooth “Denny Cascade”. Although that album was very good, it felt a little bit disjointed at times and Curry was definitely still finding his feet musically. “32 Zel / Planet Shrooms” was released as a “double EP” and shows a lot of progression from the young Florida rapper as he’s created an incredibly fluid and visceral collection of tracks. The first EP “32 Zel” has a spacey feel to it, the beats are quite heavy with beeps and blips bouncing to the groove. This sci-fi journey quickly goes in to overdrive on the release’s 4th track “Ultimate” which along with being my favourite song of 2015 is one of the most aggressive songs I’ve heard. Throughout the album Denzel’s flow is relentless but he really goes berserk on “Ultimate” as he rapidly shouts his bars with an energy that is more familiar to hardcore punk than hip-hop. The first half of the release continues to flow along with the same futuristic vibe, often ending tracks with intricate little beat interludes that really tie everything together. Although this double EP is very fresh and unique there are some strong Outkast influences in there, initially showing up strongly on “Delusional Shone” which has a very “B.O.B.” style guitar solo / scratching breaking down and later the Outkast sound is also noticeable on “Past The Wudz Intro” and “Planet Shrooms”. The vibe really switches up when “Planet Shrooms” kicks in, bringing that psychedelic sound. As the name suggests “Planet Shrooms” feels like a trip, starting out with a chilled out, organic vibe which quickly gets vibrant on the excellently floaty “Captain Sea Fonk”. Things continue in this dreamy manner until the title track takes you to a darker place with its cascading synths and intense snare drums before the EP is rounded off nicely with the more settling tones of “Void”. Overall this release sounds like a lot of thought has gone in to it, the tracks follow on naturally from each other, the beats are magnificently composed and even Curry’s voice is distorted in a number of different ways to fit whatever song he is on. The hip-hop scene is full of innovators right now but Denzel Curry is leading the pack with his abrasive, high energy style that has me desperate to hear his next release.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

     

    Music Round Up – August 2015

    Music

    Another few months have passed since my last round up and there are even more fantastic releases coming out every week. This year has been great for hip-hop and we’ve had an abundance of sublime funk and soul releases in the last few months on top of that. Once again I’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to, open your ears and get a load of these. As usual most of these releases came out in the last 3 months but some came out longer ago and I was late listening to them.

    Youtube playlist with a track off each release here

    21 Savage – The Slaughter Tape

    Very solid trap mixtape packed with bangers featuring production from Metro Boomin’ and Zaytoven.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    2econd Class Citizen – A Hall Of Mirrors

    Mainly instrumental trip hop style compositions with accomplished use of drum samples. Reminiscent of DJ Shadow.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    6Blocc – Trapped In My Mind EP

    Bleak, sub heavy dubstep.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    88 Ultra & No Merci – Para Bellum

    Swirling, 808 heavy melodies laced with bewitching vocals.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    The Alchemist – Israeli Salad

    The Alchemist never really makes a misstep with his music and this release is no different. Built entirely of samples from Israeli music this collection of beats has that signature Alchemist sound that will keep your head nodding.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    The Alchemist – Retarded Alligator Beats

    Another lovely collection of boom bap instrumentals from The Alchemist.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    All Caps – Independent Variable

    Bandcamp has become such a massive gold mine for hip-hop. I have found so much great music on there by randomly clicking on albums. This is one of my favourite recent finds. The beats on this release are catchy yet obscure and complex using a mixture of samples and synths. The intricate flows from All Caps are a real joy to listen to as he rides the beats perfectly.

    Name your price download here

    All These Finger – Offerings

    A huge collection of dope beats created over the last 7 years from an incredible up and coming producer. This guy needs more exposure because he has a real talent for making beats. Jazzy and spaced out with just the right amount of bounce.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Name your price download here

    Allen Halloween – Hibrido

    Portuguese rapper with an interesting album containing a satisfying mixture of vibes. I have never heard rapping in Portuguese before but Allen Halloween makes it sound incredible with a guttural cadence to his voice and a slurred flow.

    Listen on Youtube here

    I’m struggling to find a place to buy/download because all of the sites are in Portuguese but I’m sure you can find somewhere if you try hard enough.

    A$AP Rocky – At Long Last A$AP

    This album seems to have fans fairly divided, many want more of the old Rocky and other are happy to see the evolution of him as an artist. I’m really enjoying this album, I think Rocky still hasn’t reached his full potential but ALLA is definitely a step in the right direction. The LP flows amazingly from track to track, taking things slow then getting hyped again just at the right moment and with an overarching tone that ties it all together. Lyrically there isn’t anything particularly impressive but Rocky’s flow is on point as always and he rides every beat with confidence, from bangers like ‘Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2’ to spaced out tracks like ‘West Side Highway’.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Audio Push – My Turn II

    Audio Push have been steadily making a name for themselves recently with a stream of solid releases. This is a nice little EP that shows what the duo can do on the mic over some established beats like ‘Fuck Up Some Commas’ and ‘Shook Ones’.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Bilal – In Another Life

    Bilal has been at the forefront of neo soul for years now and his latest album ‘In Another Life’ is the work of a truly accomplished musician. The instrumentation on the album has a raw funk to it but carries a certain complexity that makes it stand out. Bilal has a charisma in his voice that few vocalists do and when you hear it you know you’re listening to a star.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Blanco – Molly Amber

    An interesting and catchy EP that will have you singing along in no time.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Bones & Drip-133 – HateToBreakItToYou

    Bones has been putting in even more work and reaching almost Gucci Mane levels of prolific this year. The amazing thing is that it’s nearly all of a very high quality. This short release is rather mellow compared to a lot of his previous work with Bones doing a fair bit of singing over some soothing beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Bosco – Boy

    Enchantingly beautiful R’n’B vocals over smooth trap beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Cashy – Holographic Art

    Fun trap EP with some interesting synth heavy beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Name your price download here

    Chris Travis – See You There

    Chris Travis is further refining his signature melancholy trap sound. If this guy continues improving at this rate he is going to be very popular in a few years.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Chevy Woods – The 48 Hunnid Project

    Nice little EP of stomping trap tunes.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Cousin Stizz – Suffolk County

    Sturdy trap tape with some fantastic wonky sounding beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Curren$y – Cathedral

    Curren$y consistent as always delivers yet another marvelous release brimming with his usual laidback vibes.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Czarface – Every Hero Needs A Villain

    I wasn’t a huge fan of the first album from this underground rap super group but this second outing is a very enjoyable listen. Gritty beats packed with guitar samples and hard raps is a match made in heaven.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Dam-Funk – STFU

    Modern P-funk icon releases a futuristic instrumental EP to keep us happy while we wait for his album.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Daye Jack – Soul Glitch

    As the album title suggests this album is packed with soulful yet glitchy beats composed of soothing samples and bubbling synths. Daye Jack’s style fits flawlessly with the instrumentals as he switches between rhythmic spitting and smooth singing, reminiscent of Chance The Rapper.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Declaime – Southside Story

    Declaime is one of those rappers whose character shines through when he raps and you almost feel a personal connection to him, as if he’s speaking to you directly. On Southside Story we see Declaime at his finest, kicking his spiritual raps over some plodding jazzy beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Deniro Farrar & Young God Of BSBD – Cliff Of Death II

    Deniro Ferrar has a certain sadness in his voice which fits perfectly with Young God’s dark trappy beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

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    Denzel Curry – 32 Zel / Planet Shrooms

    I really enjoyed Denzel Curry’s last album Nostalgic 64, but it felt like he was still finding his feet musically and a few of the tracks just didn’t quite hit the spot. Denzel has definitely come in to his own on this release and created a fresh, exciting sound. This release was labeled a “double EP” which at first seemed strange to me but after listening I completely understood as the two halves of the release have distinct sounds. ’32 Zel’ features almost 8 bit sounding synths, rapid 808s and some seriously aggressive raps. As you can imagine, ‘Planet Shrooms’ is more psychedelic and laid back, floating along over sweeping synths Denzel rocks a smoother flow. Overall this is one of my favourite releases so far this year, everything sounds so well thought out, from the beats to the distortion on the vocals, it’s simply magnificent.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Dizzy Wright – The Growing Process

    Smooth, radio friendly vibes, I expect Dizzy Wright to be big in not time at all.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – Surf

    There was a lot of confusion surrounding this album as some people thought it was Chance’s solo album but turns out it’s actually by one of his friends and only features Chance. This was a let down for a lot of people and although I’m not in love with the release it definitely has its moments. Bursting with jazz vibes and good times, this album is a fun listen although a little directionless at times.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Dom Kennedy – By Dom Kennedy

    Dom Kennedy continues to keep West Coast gangsta alive, his raps are slow and fluid while he flows on chunky G-funk-esque beats. Sometimes keeping things simple works so well and this is a great example of that.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Don S. – Live Or Exist

    Fresh and soulful boom bap.

    Buy here

    The Doppelgangaz – Parts Unknown

    New York duo back with a sweet little EP that really bumps.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Dr Dre – Compton

    You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard about this album and you’ve probably already made up your mind about it. Half the people I’ve spoken to are disappointed and the other half think it’s a superb return for Dre. I’m personally a bit disappointed, it’s a good album but it pales in comparison to Dre’s previous releases.

    Buy here

    Dub Pistols – Return Of The Pistoleros

    Legends on the British electronic music scene for years, Dub Pistols return triumphantly with a sublime mix of dub, reggae and jungle. Pure good vibes.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Durrty Goodz – Vintage 3000 Vol.2

    UK MC showing his versatility over a varied selection of beats, some familiar and some fresh (or at least I have never heard them before). From straight up hip-hop to garage to grime, Durrty Goods kills it.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Name your price download here

    Edwin Briscoe – Edwin vs Briscoe

    Jazz musician releases his debut album, bringing in other musicians and vocalists to put together some beautiful soul, funk and jazz.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Eska – ESKA

    It’s hard to describe Eska because her music is so unique. It sounds like a mixture of Roy Harper, Cat Stevens and Joanna Newsom but with a hell of a lot more soul thrown in. Absolutely stunning stuff.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Father – Who’s Gonna Get Fucked First

    Explicit lyrics, slurred raps and minimal electronic beats. The future is here, the future is Father.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    FreshtillDef – Delirium EP

    Frantic and crisp footwork.

    Name your price download here

    Future – DS2

    Future has been on an incredible roll recently, consistently putting out high quality music. It’s more of the same here for Future but that’s far from a bad thing. The production here is sublime, most of the beats are made by Metro Boomin and Southside and their combination of complex riffs that dance over deep basslines is a treat to listen to. Future’s signature leaned out style continues to be enjoyable as he rambles on about women, money and drugs but often in a self aware and introspective manner.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Gangrene – You Disgust Me

    The MC / producer dream team of Oh No and The Alchemist return with another filthy masterpiece. Both are more than capable on the mic but it’s the beats that really shine on here, they’re gritty and intricate with skillful sample use.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Ghostface & Adrian Younge – Twelve Reasons To Die II

    Ghostface continues his run of decent albums as he collaborates with Adrian Younge for a second time. Ghostface certainly isn’t as hungry as he used to be but he can still put together a consistent album.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Greavous – Greavous EP

    A fresh selection of beats from a new and interesting beat maker. Drawing samples from a number of different genres and lacing them with intricate rhythms.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Gucci Mane – Trapology

    I have no idea how Gucci is still releasing so many mixtapes while he’s incarcerated but I’m glad he is. This is one of his more consistent tapes, featuring guest appearances from Riff Raff, Jadakiss and Father.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Gunplay – Living Legend

    Gunplay goes hard on this album. Plenty of trap bangers and a few smoother tracks to let you catch your breath.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Handbook – Thank You

    Glorious jazz and soul beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Name your price download here

    Hemlock Ernst & Madlib – Trouble Knows Me

    When I heard Madlib was secretly working with an MC on a new release all sorts of ideas ran through my head for who I wanted it to be. It turned out to be a guy from an indie synth pop band called Future Islands, which was certainly unexpected and although I was disappointed in a way it’s cool to hear someone new. Madlib does his thing as always and Hemlock Ernst is more than capable of doing those beats justice.

    Buy here

    Hezekiah – Dreams Don’t Chase Themselves

    Uplifting, soulful hip-hop.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    The Internet – Ego Death

    Chilled out and funky in all the right ways. This is the kind of album you want to relax to on a summer night.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Jamie XX – In Colour

    Jamie XX releases his second album and proves how versatile he is as a producer. The album is a beautiful mix of dance genres, taking you on a journey through a variety of musical landscapes, all put together impeccably.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Jazz Cartier – Marauding In Paradise

    Canadian MC Jazz Cartier delivers an entertaining mixtape that jumps between high energy trap and some deeper, more melodic tracks. Jazz Cartier has a fantastic style, going from a buttery smooth flow to maniacally yelling.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Jean Grae – iSweatergawd

    One of the best MCs in the world, Jean Grae always brings something interesting to the table. This album sees Jean dropping her precise and complex rhymes over some off-kilter beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Jeremiah Jae – The Decline Of Black Anakin

    Beautifully monotonous soul beats under Jeremiah’s hazy flow, perfect as always.

    Buy and listen here

    JME – 48 Hour Mixtape

    Grime legend puts together a mixtape in 48 hours. Rough around the edges but well worth a listen.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Stream the mixtape in full here

    John Milk – Treat Me Right

    The funkiest of funk music with a great vocalist hitting those high notes. There’s something mesmerising about this album.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    King Los – God Money War

    Solid hip-hop album with a nice selection of beats and some thoughtful lyrics. Good easy listening.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Large Pro – Re:Living

    East Coast legend doing what he does best. There’s no pushing of boundaries here but there’s no need to, a solid boom bap album.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Lil B x Chance The Rapper – Free (BASED FREESTYLE MIXTAPE)

    They said it was coming and nobody believed them but here it is. It’s funny that after all this waiting for some new chance and a lot of people disappointed with his work on Surf we get a mixtape from him and Lil B of all people. Anyway, it’s a great listen with some nice, lo-fi, soulful beats that are perfect for the meandering freestyles that Lil B and Chance drop on this tape.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Lil Wayne – Free Weezy Album

    One of the best releases from Lil Wayne in the last few years. Nothing new style wise but a decent album nonetheless.

    The album is available exclusively as a stream on Tidal.

    Limewax – Always & Never

    Limewax gives us a huge collection of tracks showcasing his abilities as a producer. Track after track of absolute filth gets a bit much but there is a nice variation in style here from more traditional jungle to dark tech step. Put this on loud and scare your neighbours.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Locksmith – Lofty Goals

    Mellow hip-hop album with some intriguing beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    L’Orange & Kool Keith – Time? Astonishing!

    L’Orange has been on an absolute roll for the last few years, putting out an abundance of superb beats and working with some amazing rappers. Here we see him step a little outside of his usual style as he works with eccentric rap legend legend Kool Keith. I haven’t heard Kool Keith sound this good in quite a few years, his unique flow works perfectly over these dusty sample based beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Lucki Eck$ – X

    One of the most interesting young MCs active right now, Lucki Eck$ makes intensely dark and personal music. His delivery sounds extremely lazy and stoned out, oozing with despair, which when put on these menacingly basic beats creates an unsettling atmosphere.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Lynx – I Am Lynx

    Marvelous tech DnB. Grinding basslines and clicky drums, immensely satisfying music.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    M. Stacks – Broad Based Audience

    Wonderfully soulful beat tape.

    Free download here

    Mac Mall – Legal Business?

    Bay Area veteran pays homage to his debut album ‘Illegal Business?’. 808s and chunky synths, classic Bay Area vibes.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Main Attrakionz – 808s And Dark Grapes III

    The popularity of cloud rap was short lived it seems but this album might be the one to bring the movement back. Such a lusciously space age album; vocally twisting between rapid fire raps and slurred mumbling. Friend Zone hold down the production for the album, concocting unbelievably euphoric beats that take you to another world.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Meek Mill – Dreams Worth More Than Money

    He may have been defeated by Drake in this recent beef but Meek Mill’s latest album has a lot of great moments. Meek is better when he’s going hard and he definitely brings it on some of these tracks.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Miguel – Wildheart

    Dreamy RnB which at times really pushes the genre in some different directions. Miguel shows how inventive he can be.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Mishka NYC – W3NDCH3LL – Slap, Space and Soul

    Urban clothing label Mishka NYC has been putting out some stellar instrumental compilations lately and this new series is one of the best yet. Showcasing talented producers from Chicago, these three mixtapes give us a magnificent ensemble of instrumental hip-hop. Mostly chilled out vibes here with lots of seductive horn riffs and syrupy synths.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Name your price downloads here, here and here

    Mr Cheeks – Raised

    Lost Boys member returns after a ten year hiatus and gives a solid hip-hop album with some fun tracks.

    Buy here

    Mr Key & Greenwood Sharps – Yesterday’s Futures

    This album brings some much needed originality to the UK hip-hop scene. Everyone loves a good boom bap beat but the UK scene has been flooded with the same old standard flows over slightly jazzy head knod beats. That’s what makes this album so refreshing, the instrumentals here are stunning; complex percussion layered with textured synths, reminiscent of the tunes coming out of the ‘future garage’ scene a few years ago. Mr Key gives us the kind of depressingly honest lyrics that only British MCs can and really makes this one of my favourite hip-hop albums of recent years.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Mr Lif, The Polish Ambassador and Ayla Nereo – Terra Bella

    Underground rap legend Mr Lif gets together with producer The Polish Ambassador and vocalist Ayla Nereo to put together a joyfully melodic and uplifting album.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Name your price download here

    Myka 9 & Factor – Famous Future Time Travel

    Myka 9 is one of the most underrated rappers on the West Coast, his gentle and fluid voice is instantly recognisable and he has one of the fastest flows in the game. Here we see Myka 9 teaming up again with producer Factor to give us an album full of buttery smooth and funky hip-hop.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Nacho Picasso – Blunt Raps 2

    One of my favourite releases to date from Nacho. A bit more up beat than a lot of his work, Blunt Raps 2 sees Nacho at his best, spitting in that charismatic drawl he’s known for over some bass heavy and often euphoric beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Nicolay – City Lights Volume 3 : Soweto

    Dutch producer of Foreign Exchange fame hits us with a silky smooth and synth filled album with tasty South African vibes.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    OG Maco – Tax Free EP

    OG Maco back yet again, this time teaming with producer Pablo Dylan (Bob Dylan’s son) who provides some hard trap beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Om Unit – Torchlight vol. 1

    Om Unit has a real knack for making dangerously heavy tunes that don’t really fit in to a specific genre. Somewhere between dubstep and footwork this EP packs a punch with some crazy tribal vibes.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Omen – Elephant Eyes

    Magnificently mellow hip-hop featuring guest appearances from Bas and J. Cole. Omen has a liquid flow and some interesting lyrics.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    P Money – Money over Everyone 2

    While everyone is going crazy over Skepta, Wiley and JME, P Money put out this savage mixtape. Saying this is hard is an understatement. Almost back to back bangers, this is what grime is all about.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    The Palmer Squares – In Context

    A nice complex mix of beats and some sick flows.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Name your price download here

    Papoose – You Can’t Stop Destiny

    Back in the mid 2000s Papoose was set to be the next big thing, I’m not sure what went on but that never happened and he almost faded in to obscurity. He’s not quite as hungry as he sounded back then but this is a solid New York hip hop album with some quality beats and Papoose still goes in at times.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Pete Rock – Petestrumentals 2

    A solid selection of boom bap instrumentals from the master.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Plies – Ain’t No Mixtape Bih

    Decent trap mixtape with some heavy tunes.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Quelle Chris – Innocent Country

    This album is perfect underground hip-hop, mainly dark beats with a twisted boom bap style. Quelle Chris always brings it on the mic, his flow is intricate and precise but he goes wild when he needs to.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Raider Klan – Raider Klan The Mixtape 2.75

    The Raider Klan crew come together and make some dark trap tunes.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Ras G – Raw Fruit Vol.4

    Otherworldly beats that bump just right, crafted from some crazy samples.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Retchy P – Finesse The World

    An intensely bleak album that sees Retchy P spit with anger on ominous beats driven by crisp drums.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Rich Boy – Featuring

    A solid hip-hop album with commercial appeal and star studded list of features.

    Buy here

    Saga & The Alchemist – Saga Ghanoush

    Saga drops some sturdy raps over The Alchemist’s fantastic ‘Israeli Salad’ instrumentals.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Shahmen – All In The Circle

    Shahmen’s guttural verses blend perfectly with these lusciously melancholy instrumentals. A very complete sounding album of no nonsense hip-hop.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Skyzoo – Music For My Friends

    In my opinion Skyzoo is one of the most technically proficient MCs active right now. His flows are buttery smooth but he can go hard when he needs to. His lyrics are varied and eloquent but still heavily emotive. New York needs more of this back to basics hip-hop. It’s not pushing boundaries, but not everything has to, sometimes it’s great to listen to someone who just does straight up hip-hop, and does it flawlessly.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    ST 2 Lettaz – Good Day In The Ghetto

    Menacing trap album that oozes sub bass.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Free download here

    Statik Selektah – Lucky 7

    Keeping the golden age alive, Statik Selektah crafts magnificently soulful boom bap beats that hark back to the 90s but still sound incredibly fresh. Statik always brings in the best guest MCs and this album is no different, featuring Rapsody, Sean Price (RIP one of the greatest ever), Ab Soul and Skyzoo.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Stevie Stone – Malta Bend

    Heavy and gritty hip-hop that would bang in the club.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    StewRat – Break

    StewRat takes stunningly soulful samples and flips them in a really fresh way. The live sounding drums really drive these tracks.

    Buy here

    StewRat – SunRise

    On this release we see the up and coming producer take to the synths to create some cinematic soundscapes loaded with 808s and eery sounds.

    Buy here

    $uicideboy$ – YUNGDEATHLILLIFE

    Lo-fi dark hip-hop vibes with some amazing 808 led beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Name your price download here

    Sway – Deliverance

    Sway is one of those guys who should have blown up a long time ago but never quite broke through. Hopefully this will get him a little closer. Radio friendly UK hip-hop that keeps its integrity and intelligence.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Ta-Ku – Songs To Make Up To

    Following on from the sublime ‘Songs To Break Up To’ this EP is velvety smooth from start to finish.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Tim Gent – Clarksville Nights

    A soothing mixtape that sees Tim Gent rap and sing with finesse over beautiful beats.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Tim Rogers & The Bamboos – The Rules Of Attraction

    Catchy funk tunes bringing the party vibes.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    TM88 – Sacii Lyfe

    Producer TM88 of 808 Mafia drops one of my favourite trap mixtapes of the year. TM88’s drum sounds are dark and industrial sounding, which combined with his grinding sub bass creates some really savage tunes.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Tory Lanez & WeDidIt – Cruel Intentions

    Rapper / singer Tory Lane collaborates with super producer collective WeDidIt on this smooth and intricate sounding EP.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Tree & Vic Spencer – VicTree

    Tree holds down the production on this superb release. The @MCTREEG EP is one of my favourite releases of recent years and although I enjoyed Trap Genius I was really craving more of that soul trap sound. Fortunately we get that on this EP with the erratic and raw Vic Spencer on the mic. This release is stunning and gritty at the same time, you can here that Chicago footwork sound in the way the beats are put together and it really works.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    A Tribe Called Red – Suplex

    Funky electro vibes to get the party jumping.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    TUT – Preacher’s Son

    Jazzy and mellow mixtape from a promising young MC.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Download for free here

    Two Fingers – Six Rhythms

    Heavy hitting dance music dwelling somewhere in the middle of trap, dubstep and electro.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    DJ Vadim And Sena – Grow Slow

    Good vibes on this electronic, reggae, soul style album.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Van Hunt – The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets.

    Every now and then I hear an album that just blows my mind with it’s ingenuity, that takes me out of my usual listening experience and brings me somewhere completely new. This is one of those times. Although I can hear a large array of influences on the album (from straight up funk to Bowie-esque glam rock) the finished product is highly unusual and unlike anything I’ve heard before. Do yourself a favour and get this album in to your life.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Vince Staples – Summertime ’06

    I’m not as impressed with this album as many people seem to be but it definitely has its moments. The album would benefit from being shorter as being two discs long there is some filler in there. Still, the high points on here featuring some magnificent production from Clams Casino make it worth the listen.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Warren G – Regulate… G Funk Era Part II

    It was weird to see releases from Dre and Warren G in 2015 but it definitely makes me happy. Whereas I was expecting a lot from Dre and was disappointed I wasn’t sure what to expect from Warren G but was pleasantly surprised. The G Funk is certainly alive on this release and it really hits the spot.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Yap – Airtight

    Listening to this EP it’s strange to think that Yap was once the lead singer of nu metal band One Minute Silence. There is a lot of acoustic folk music out there but there is a certain clarity to Yap’s voice that makes this release stand out. Breathtakingly soothing music.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Music Round Up – May 2015

    Music

    A little late again but I’m back with another huge round up of what’s been released recently, and boy it’s a good one. We’ve been blessed with an abundance of funky sunshine vibes just in time summer as well as some real bangers to keep the party going. Most of the releases have come out since the beginning of April but there are some older releases that I didn’t get chance to check out in time for the last round up.

    As always I’ve included a short description, a link to listen to a track from each release on Youtube (where possible) and a link to buy/download. You can find all the tracks in one Youtube playlist here.

    Abstract Rude – Keep The Feel: A Legacy of Hip-Hop Soul

    Abstract Rude has been a big figure on the West Coast underground scene for a long time now so it’s great to see him come out with such a solid album at this stage in his career. This is actually one of my favourite albums from Abstract Rude, packed with smooth, funky vibes and some sublime posse cuts, featuring an obscene verse from the always impressive Busdriver.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    ATF x Doc Heller – Doc Fingers

    Instrumental hip-hop layered with lush synths and plodding drums.

    Name your price download here

    Audio Push – The Good Vibe Tribe

    Audio Push got me interested with previous releases but I found some of their tracks a bit underwhelming and hoped for more from them. Thankfully they delivered in a big way with this new mixtape. There is a perfect blend of styles on this mixtape from chilled Quest-esque vibes to up beat, club friendly flavours.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Free download here

    Billy Woods – Today, I Wrote Nothing

    I’ve been a fan of Billy Woods for a while now but this album really blew me away. Destined to stay criminally slept on, Woods has crafted a moody masterpiece as he spits his vicious, almost spoken word style raps over dark jazzy beats. Please do yourself a favour and listen to this.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Bones – Powder

    Bones continues to improve with every release and this mixtape is probably my favourite of his so far. The production is cleaner than a lot of his other releases and he’s really mixing up the styles throughout. His usual rapid fire flow over murky trap beats is still present but what’s really interesting is the early 90s indie rock sounding tracks Bones has put together. On tracks like ItAllComesTogetherInTheFinalAct and ModestGoals I almost feel like I’m listening to Pavement’s classic album Slanted and Enchanted, but the addition of 808 drum samples make these tracks incredibly fresh.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Free download here

    Bones – YouShouldHaveSeenYourFace

    Yet another great Bones release. This one is rather synth heavy with a cloudy vibe.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Free download here

    Camp Lo – Ragtime Hightimes

    Underground legends Camp Lo prove they’ve still got it on this one. Sticking with their usual smooth but funky style, Ragtime Hightimes is perfect for a sunny day session.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Chris Travis & Robb Bank$ – No Trespassing

    A fantastic EP from two guys who have impressive chemistry together when putting out these dark and cloudy trap vibes.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Free download here

    Cities Aviv – Your Discretion Is Trust

    More minimal than previous releases, “Your Discretion Is Trust” sees Cities Aviv take things in a slightly different direction but still pushing boundaries. Coarse and experimental, this is a challenging listen but fantastic for anyone looking for something a bit different.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Clear Soul Forces – Fab 5ive

    Clear Soul Forces have an incredible ability to create golden age style hip-hop but with an edge that keeps things sounding fresh and original. An immensely enjoyable listen.

    Listen on Youtube here

    Buy here

    Curren$y – Even More Saturday Night Car Tunes

    All Curren$y is good Curren$y and this little collection is no exception.