With his 1999 mixtape, Joey Bada$$ and his Pro-Era crew reminded the rap game how to make nostalgic minded hip-hop without sounding unoriginal. Considering the amount of attention Pro-Era has been receiving lately, I’m really happy to see that they haven’t been trying to capitalize on the hype with half-assed mixtapes and collaborations. Joey’s newest track “Enter the Void” demonstrates that they haven’t been wasting time either as the Brooklyn rapper hops on a track with Black Hippy’s wise sage Ab-Soul. With production from Lee Bannon, Joey steps away from the boom-bap that dominated 1999 and casts away any doubt that his talent wouldn’t extend to other types of beats. Together Soul and Joey sound great and it all the more props go to Joey for managing not to get washed out by the great verses and personality Soul puts on the track.
Although Earl Sweatshirt was finally freed earlier this year he has remained relatively quiet for the past few months. Outside of a few features with other OF members, Earl’s grand return hasn’t prompted the avalanche of releases from the young rapper that people were probably hoping for and if you’re expecting Earl to drop an atom bomb on the rap game you’ll probably be turned away by the relative straight-forwardness of ‘Chum’. In fact, if you’re expecting Earl to drop a definitive life-affirming track that will change the course of your life, you’ll probably never be satisfied. Earl doesn’t share the same tendencies for the ornate and epic as people like Kanye, Kendrick or even Tyler, instead Earl fits right at home over the simple piano and drums beat on ‘Chum’. Earl isn’t trying to be the voice of our generation but if he keeps turning out lyrically dense and rich tracks like ‘Chum’ that is what he might end up becoming.
Even as the days grow shorter and colder the beaties crop remains plentiful and abundant. We may be in for a harsh winter but at least we can rely on a steady supply of warm beaties to provide us with comfort and light in the coming months. This harvest includes a gorgeous slow-burner from MNDSGN, late night munchies from Ann Arbor, a piano and violin trip from Plue Starfox, an imported Italian beatie from Diadainconsupertrafra and some luvin from Dailon. Get ‘em after the jump.
Angel Haze burst onto the blogosphere earlier this year with one of the most hyped and buzzed rap singles of 2012 with ‘New York’. While we never hopped on the Angel Haze bandwagon, it’s pretty hard to ignore the immense amount of raw and gimmick-less talent coming from the female rapper. While a lot of the praise for the single revolved around the stripped down beat that forced Angel Haze to rely solely on her lyrics to keep the track interesting, King Krule’s rework takes the hand claps and layers them through gorgeous synth chord changes, a boom bap beat and plenty of extra atmospheric brilliance. The result may be less unfiltered than the original but the extra melody and dynamics only adds to the vibe of the track and manages to stay true to the original’s intentions.
A while back I was won over by a nice little EP from an artist called Blown a Wish who managed to make me interested again in stripped, folk-pop with a lot of the same charm that makes Fleet Foxes so great. Blown a Wish mastermind, John Schoneman, just sent over a new LP from his band Haunter and the magic is still there. Haunter doesn’t have the same lonely vibe of Blown a Wish and instead works with a richer variety of instrumentation and bigger production. In the age of electronic music and studio effects, it’s easy for bands who choose to go simple and acoustic to toot their own horns about the “authenticity” and “rootsiness” of their music. Haunter never comes across this way. Instead Haunter and their self-titled release sound like four guys trying to make music the best way they know how, which is exactly what you get.
With his single ‘Old Woman’, Kjartan Bue demonstrated an incredible talent for gorgeous songwriting and stunning lyrics. Now the Scandinavian folk-singer is back with a new track that has him barring his teeth and adding some rock to his folk sound. After some acoustic noodling, ‘Rosen and Danny’ bursts open with some dogs barking and furious strumming as Bue begins describing the harrowing love story of Rosen and Danny. Just like on ‘Old Woman’, some of these lyrics and images cut deep and Bue even pulls off some Grizzly Bear-esque dynamics with shifting intensities throughout the song.
Whether or not you bought into the whole chill-wave craze of 2009, it’s hard for anyone to deny how producer Toro y Moi has been able to keep his sound growing and maturing past blog-fueled buzz terms. Last year’s Underneath the Pine had Toro y Moi embracing a live instrumentation based disco vibe while his more recent Freaking Out EP found a happy medium between chill-wave and dance music. His latest single, ‘So Many Details’, shows off that Toro y Moi has only continued to develop as a producer since his past releases continuing his Freaking Out synthesis of instrumentally rich, dance-pop. Despite all the layers of instrumentation and details, ‘So Many Details’ never feels overwhelming and manages to feel clean and incredibly well produced. Anything in Return drops January 22nd.