By Phillip Mlynar November 02, 2022
October’s roundup of the ten most essential new hip-hop releases to hit Bandcamp includes an MC’s nostalgic journey to the days of making home radio mixtapes, a socio-political blitzkrieg from a fierce spitter from South Memphis, as well as the latest Camp Backwoodz Studioz hit. We’re also highlighting some bonus spooky releases for the Halloween season.
Billy Woods x Messiah Muzik
“We were raised on paraquat/ Scraped and fought/ By the grace of God, everybody got caught,” repeats billy wood on the hook to the intro track of Churchthe long collaboration of the New York rapper alongside the producer Messiah Muzik. The song’s sentiment serves as an early reference for how Woods embarks on something akin to a personal recollection session about the Saturnine soundscapes that anchor the project. On the next track, “Artichoke” woods brings the business flair of a short story writer to his opening flashback: “There’s some things you can only learn from a fistfight/ I had the used to use a toothbrush to keep my kicks white / It mattered that much / Looking back, it feels like someone else’s life Offering crucial support to Woods’ visions, the MC’s Armand Hammer rhyming partner ELUCIDES adorns a few cuts (the serenely shimmering “Fuchsia & Green” and closer “Magdalene”), while AKAI SOLO and singer Fielded join forces on “classical music” tinged with Gothic. Another essential addition to the Backwoodz Studioz 2022 canon.
Channeling the spirit of Halloween, REMXNG 2.1-2.4 is a gargantuan four-volume remix series from the Los Angeles rap crew cut.Horrorcore style albums There was a blood addiction and Visions of burned bodies. Reflecting the progressive mentality of band members MC Daveed and producers Bill Hutson and Jonathan Snipes, the cast of artists tasked with reinterpreting the tracks takes a joyously fluid approach: oil thief turns Daveed’s cautionary tale of corrupt police in “He Dead” into an overwhelming dose of distorted funk; turntable basek carves the original ambient menace of “Run For Your Life” into a relentless synth attack; and Negativland member Wobbly turns “Blood Of The Fang” vampire movie sampling into a hyperactive glitch-centric workout. Hang the Crown Experimental, Bay Area-based field recording artist Cheryl E. LeonardThe redesign of “Part Of Dust” includes ambient sounds from the rustling of the wind in the attic of a Norwegian artist’s residence, an improvised flute made from kelp and the chatter of a colony of baby elephant seals from the North.
Fatboi Sharif x noface
Preaching in Havana
Fatboy Sharif possesses a spectral growl of a voice that sounds like the New Jersey MC is broadcasting from an eerie hinterland that defies earthly time and space. On Preaching in Havana, the effect is even more powerfully heightened by New York producer noface’s audaciously clean, fuzz-laden production. “I swallowed my own tongue/Intervals of stomach turning/Feast of my own young/Hanged man, self loathing, scrolling tomb/Cracked window, old haunted room/So confused,” Sharif confesses on the opener “Static Vision,” rapping over what sounds like a whistling cover topped with a reverse lo-fi version of JB’s sampled horn scream that ran through Public Enemy’s “Rebel Without A Pause.” Providing a clever contrast to Sharif’s intense presence, svelte lyrical cameos arrive courtesy of phiik and Lungs, the former adding to the low rumble of the “5G Celsius Cell Tower” and the latter splashing a flurry of rapid syllables over the distorted buzz funk of “John Hinckley”. Cleverly ending at just over 22 exhilarating minutes, Preaching in Havana is an alluring lesson in the art of amplified minimalism.
haunted house party
Released via the New Orleans-based company strange daisy label, Haunted House Party’s Monster’s Pleasure delivers a series of dusty, blunt beats interwoven with crackly, archival vocal takes from horror films. Ripe for the soundtrack of a spooky evening, the project opens with an eerie scene-maker “a graveyard smash”, where ominous organ lines prowl around flickering drums. Elsewhere on the album, the jazz-dappled “bogie bounce” is carried by cymbals and includes a savvy change of pace that recalls the duo’s spooky musical atmosphere from upstate New York. The Doppelgangaz, “witches brew” evokes melancholy menace through a lonely piano loop, and “samhains” introduces subtle psychedelic elements into the spooky mix. For committed gang-heads, limited-edition Halloween-themed tapes are also available for cop.
Raw extractions extends lukahof his recent series of rich and prolific albums. Appeal to a restricted circle of producers including Cities-AvivDeener, and Waltz, the South Memphis MC relays a blend of personal, musical and political history to uplifting effect. From the start, “Flying Low” sees the MC go into metaphysical territory on producer Bohemia Lynch’s eerily radiant ’80s synths. “I am the family tree that was destroyed by former parents / The fake initiative that was forced to teach us irrelevance,” Lukah seethes before launching a barrage of accusations against organizations spreading “information distorted” for their own profit and those who profit from being a “counterfeit explorer”. Adding a sense of hip-hop authority to the project, sampled speech snippets from revered artists Chuck D, KRS-Oneand GZA are sprinkled between tracks, while the album’s final cut “I’ll Always Love Her” adds to CommonThe classic “I Used To Love HER” ode to hip-hop in a refreshingly nuanced way.
The third installment in North Carolina MC and producer duo Solemn Brigham and Orangeit is Marlowe the series seamlessly maintains the sterling quality of their previous releases. “I can show you when to turn and when to throw / Put you on your block and make your partners prouder / Where I’m from they cover me so much I’m drowning / I know you want the spot but nobody does say how,” Brigham raps on the rough cut “Past Life,” before sketching the parameters of his hustler mentality and issuing a warning: “I know people who come through, but they don’t live what they claim. Throughout the album, L’Orange’s production merges dust-covered bluesy loops that exude a solitary quality with heavy drum patterns.Adding support to Brigham’s confident words on the project, blue and Joell Ortiz team up to bless the horned “Royal”, while another representative from North Carolina Deniro Farrar delivers a deep-voiced sermon over dark guitar and bass on “Godfist.”
Open Mike Eagle
a tape called component system with auto reverse
Open Mike Eaglethe 2020 offer of Anime, trauma and divorce explored the feelings of confusion and disorientation that come with a relationship breakdown, but the Los Angeles-based MC’s 2022 follow-up a tape called component system with auto reverse is a warmer nostalgic journey. Drawing inspiration from the hand-crafted mixtapes Eagle used to make while listening to Chicago’s college radio station WHPK in the late ’90s, the album uses archived outtakes from those tapes to bring the project to life. Bring in a production cast including madlib, child actorand Diamond D, Eagle Pays Tribute to Late Hip-Hop Supervillain DOOM MF (“For DOOM”), revisits the early isolation of the pandemic (“Peak Lockdown Raps”) and assesses his move from Chicago to Los Angeles (“Crenshaw And Homeland”). Fortifying Eagle’s own words, Rap FerreiraMotionless fault and Dave video help spruce up the tranquil “Multi Game Arcade Cabinet”, while billy woods and ELUCIDES bring their lyrical gravity to the angular piano chops of “Burner Account”.
Sleeping Sinatra, Ohbliv
shadow self is an album that supports Nebraska wordsmith Sinatra sleepthe ruminative verses of with a collection of dark, bass-barred beats provided by the Virginia-based producer and Mutant Academy member Ohbliv. “Owning images / My ideology triggers chemistry / I feel like I’ve been here for ages / Just let me know the play and we can play it forever,” the MC opens on “Level Zero over a background of acoustic rustling the guitar elicits the kind of Hennessy-tinged introspection that is repeated throughout the album. Offering support to Sinatra’s lyrics, Archibald SLIM and Aakeem Eshu go through the bittersweet soul training “Spirit Body House Party Cipher”, a gritty voice Obijuan brings his presence to the nervous and simmering “Range Day”, and the Bruiser Brigade JUICE appears on the crucial blues-tinged “Doors Of Perception”.
Wiki and Topic 5
After a few 2021 releases recorded alongside Navy Blue (demigod) and NAH (telephone booth), wiki stays true to the format of having a single producer create an entire album by collaborating with the New Jersey beatsmith Subject 5 for Delicatessen. Partly intended as an homage to the mixtape era – with Subjxct 5 screeching peppy ad-libs between tracks – the stalwart New York MC aptly demonstrates his gnarly flow and ability to relay compactly composed verses. which detail the thoughts of his wandering mind. At the start, the rippling six-minute “My Life” greets the MC to taunts targeting “the way I look / My unibrow / The way I spit / The way I live / Call Wiki Frida,” before declaring defiantly: “I kiss him. Mid-project moment ‘The Fonz’ delves further into autobiographical territory, as the MC reviews tough training days to Subjxct’s frost-laden synth chorus 5. Consolidation of creative connections through Wiki’s prolific discography, collaborative spar precedent Navy blue also appears during the home stretch of the album to add his wise voice to the meditative “One More Chance”.
Zilla Rocca and Andrew
Don’t wait for me to leave
The latest collection of so-called, number one-bourbon-general Zilla RoccaDispatches from South Philadelphia arrive buoyed by stunning production thanks to andre. “Sign of maturity/ Rap never taught me anything morally/ He cut my crew and charged recording fees/ At least I know I’m nice now/ ’09 trying to be Elzhi/ You’re trapped in the 90s, but you can’t tell time,” Rocca raps on the first track “Draper Papers,” condensing the mix of throwback references and wry rap-centric musings over a mix of thumping drums and bittersweet horns, sustaining the verses of Rocca, Curly Castro and Rich Jones guest on the thrilling “Rain Delays”, Bank cashier$ commandeers the brief “Teller’s Lament (Interlude)”, and PremRock teams with ALASKA on “No One Cooks On Friday” as the trio of MCs count life’s humble blessings over a honeyed guitar-infused groove.