Ethics is 27 tracks long, a bold choice for the up and coming rapper Jalal Salaam. What makes Ethics more impressive than obnoxious however is just how consistent and exciting it remains across it’s 27 songs. It is a culmination of work that Jalal has been working on for the past 3 years and it demonstrates that he is a rapper with his own thoughts, opinions, style and has a whole lot to say. There are only two features on the entire mixtape and while they are both great, Ethics never seems to be in desperate need of another voice aside from Jalal’s. After listening to Ethics the closest comparison I can make to Jalal is Chris Villa. To be honest they don’t sound very similar at all, Villa is a souther rapper to the bone while Jalal is a strong presence in the burgeoning psychadelic-rap movement, however they both possess an eyes-forward, head-down, no-nonsense attitude that makes it impossible not to respect their craft. Just stop reading my article and listen to this entire thing, aiiight.
The last EP we heard from UK rapper Tay Devenny was his collaboration with producer Spacedtime and his newest release has him teaming up ฬเןl. Considering the decently short length of the entire affair it’s surprising how substantial the entire listen sounds. There isn’t a wasted second as most songs flow naturally into eachother with hardly any breaks between Tay’s chilled-out verses. When Tay isn’t talking ฬเןl usually fills the negative space with samples from sources I have no idea about the origin of. The samples give the entire listen a sense of cohesion which is further amplified by ฬเןl’s consistently airy beats that launch Tay to the clouds featured on the artwork. What keeps many of these tracks from falling into colorless, cloud-rap monotony is how willing the artists are to jump into the next track without a moments notice. Although Tay has demonstrated an ability to construct great hooks in the past, arc is all about his astral ponderings and day dreaming verses. Besides early single “orange”, these tracks aren’t nearly as strong alone as they are bundled together and considering that this release is free there is no reason why you shouldn’t check it out. Stream some of my favorite tracks below and listen to the rest after the jump.
This is for all the emotional shawties out there. This is for all the sad boiz keeping their bucket hats trimmed low to hide the tears. This is for anyone out there sipping on Arizona Iced Tea. This is real.
SEENMR has done a lot of cool things. If you have any doubts just listen through his newest tape Home which is a collection of sounds, ideas and vibes he’s been collecting for over five years now. The tape really kicks off with the over 7 minute stunner “Golden Age” which matches SEENMR’s ability to loop and manipulate obscur samples into gorgeous soundscapes and adds a grandiose sense of scope and ambition. ”Golden Age” also sets the stage for the highly eclectic tape that follows which among other highlights includes a Sun Ra tribute and a noisy and distorted eponymous track. Considering Home has some older tracks on it I’m guessing that he’s releasing it as a way to clear out some of his unreleased material to get ready for his next step in the Young Ho takeover. Get ready.
After a few strong singles from Hawk House I’ve been eagerly anticipating how the three piece would approach a proper release. A Little More Elbow Room has absolutely surpassed my expectations with a stunning release of r&b infused hip-hop. The beats throughout A Little Elbow Room stick to down-tempo and jazzy troupes without ever adhering directly to norms of boom-bap, cloud-rap or any of the other buzzing beat styles that have been floating around the blogosphere lately. Instead, the real focus of this release is on their dynamic vocals that bounce between group chants, crooning and rapping. Their lyrics manage to evoke great imagery that usually focuses on their 21st UK lifestyles. I know most people are buzzing over Chance the Rapper’s new tape, but take some time and check out Hawk House.
It’s not everyday that we run across an artist like Sean Cullen, the dude behind SEENMR and founding member of the Young Ho Collective. Sean Cullen is so psyched on music, life and his crew that his personality beams through his recordings and has made his Chinatown Tape one of the most buzz-worthy beat tapes of the year. I had a chance to chat with SEENMR and the bulk of that conversation has been formated for your reading pleasure after the jump. Being the cool dude that he is, Sean also threw together an awesome mix that I highly recommend you listen to while reading this philosophic conversation. Get ready for the Young Ho revolution.
Surp God initially grabbed our attention for his light hearted raps that conveyed a wise beyond his years and a talent for song writing. Although he’s been releasing demos and tracks on soundcloud nonstop for a while, God is definitely the most realized project he’s put out to date. God demonstrates just how much producing know-how Surp has gained with the production taking front stage over his verses. Experimenting with vocal effects and ambient textures, God sounds equal parts influenced by Houston chopped’n'screwed music and cloud rap with Surp rapping in a pitched-down voice if he’s rapping at all. Shifting beating noisy walls of sound and soft, decaying drones, Surp God is working with the kind of experimental sonic pallets that are defining noise-rap groups like Clipping. I definitely wasn’t expecting such radically experimental material on from Surp God and I will definitely keep bumping this on my headphones for a while.