Foci - The Achievement Gap
After many years of performing on stages from Los Angeles and Atlanta to New York while also maintaining and cultivating musicians from his city, Pasadena, CA emcee Foci has finally released his debut album, The Achievement Gap. While topics of the current state of Hip Hop, companionship and community are addressed, the core of the album is Foci illustrating very personal stories about his experiences as a former teacher in a very questionable American education system that also ultimately played a part in the murder of his best friend. Coming from a time where originality and honesty mattered in music, Foci never compromises his unique style of rhyming and maintains a strong foundation with soulful production by Diverse, Jansport J, and more. The issues discussed in The Achievement Gap successfully marry Foci’s two worlds of music and education and, despite being laid off for speaking against the ills of the system, allows him to continue to educate the masses in a more universal medium.
Lapalux ft. Busdriver - “Forlorn”
British producer Lapalux of Brainfeeder lets Los Angeles/Project Blowed legend Busdriver catch all kinds of wreck on “Forlorn”. Bus always seems to find the craziest ways to flow on the off-beats and take tracks to the next level. Lapalux’s debut LP Nostalchic drops in March via Brainfeeder.
Plue Starfox - “A D A Wong”
Acclaimed New Orleans producer Plue Starfox makes his debut as a rapper with a new self-produced track, “A D A Wong”. While it might sound like an easy feat to some, it is very rare to hear producers harness their own individual voices since they work with so many others, but Plue accomplishes this almost effortlessly with a clear understanding of his ethereal style of production. His raps sound like his beats, as weird as that sounds. Anime references are all over this joint, but where most Anime-influenced rappers use this approach to very corny results, Plue and his menacing vocal presence take this to another level, much in the same vein of Miami Anime-influenced rapper Robb Bank$ but more overwhelming. Looking forward to hearing Plue’s progression as an emcee.
Substantial - “Resilient” (Marcus D Remix)
Baltimore emcee Substantial and Seattle producer Marcus D, otherwise known together as the duo Bop Alloy, link up for a remix of Substantial’s track “Resilient” off his 2012 release Home Is Where The Art Is LP. This is definitely a track for the purists but the jazzy beat soothes the preaching into more of a big homie talk than anything. Don’t let these outside forces bring you down, folks.
Sir E.U - “THE THIRD ONE”
prod. Kisai The Spooniest Bard
dir. Helena Banks
Last time we got “THE FIFTH ONE” with Cal Rips; this week we get Sir E.U going solo dolo on new single and music video “THE THIRD ONE” off his upcoming album FXCK2. Producer Kisai The Spooniest Bard provides an extremely punchy beat that has more cut up keys than the traps of trapsylvania for E.U to lace with an equally choppy extended verse. Filmmaker Helena Banks also does some serious cutting on the editing for the video. This is basically the scene from Dragonball Z when Future Trunks cuts cyborg Frieza into a billion pieces in hip hop form. FXCK2 drops late March.
Xuice Hades - “Paranormal Raptivity”
Sacramento, CA rapper Xuice Hades speaks like a spectre as he blesses some bars over Jazzy minimalist production by Herb on this randomly released new track “Paranormal Raptivity”. We have yet to hear any news on new future projects by Xuice, so this is a great reminder to listeners that the kid still got the pen-game on lock.
Nocando - “Real Rap #2: No Hook”
Hellfyre Club leader/Low End Theory emcee Nocando drops an a capella verse full of quotables in the latest installment of his “Real Rap” video series. It’s fair to say that we’ll be seeing new installments each week. Catch Nocan weekly at Los Angeles/San Francisco’s experimental hip hop/electronic music club night Low End Theory and co-hosting EarWolf’s Shots Fired podcast series every Thursday. Also stay tuned for a new Nocando album in the near future along with a rumored collaboration project with Dam-Funk.
Hobbes - Hobbes EP
Baltimore, MD emcee Hobbes delivers the essential ingredients of dope bars over dope beats with a modern yet nostalgic soundscape on his new self titled EP featuring the talents of fellow DMV artists Dexter Fizz, OG Dutchmaster, Noraa Ruffin and more. One notable quality of this EP is Hobbes’ ability to effortlessly transition from trap beats to breakbeats with his slightly twangy multi-syllabic delivery. Definitely a must listen for rap traditionalists and supporters of the current wave.
160Or80 - 160Or80
Japanese music collective 160Or80 releases their debut self-titled compilation album featuring their full roster that combines the realms of rap, chillwave, trap and the juke/footwork style. This might be the first time we’ve heard the influence over Japanese rap, and the results are very refreshing. S/O to Summerbreeze!
Mike of Doom ft. Ciscero - “Jerry Rice”
Mike of Doom is back once again with another solid visual. This time, he teams up with Sunday 1995 member Ciscero for ”Jerry Rice”. Easily in my tope 3 or so Mike of Doom songs overall, this song als has my favorite verse of his. This was also my first introduction to the rhymes of Ciscero, and needless to say I was thoroughly impressed. I hope we get more Sunday 1995 in the near future.