Welcome back for this week's edition of Straight No Chase, your one-stop shop source for all things hip-hop here on EARMILK. This comprehensive weekly feature aims to share hip-hop based content we may have missed during the past week, while also highlighting memorable content we did cover. In addition to the recap of our best hip-hop posts, SNC also includes a Video of the Week, Project of the Week, and staff-selected noteworthy upcoming releases.
As any hip-hop head worth their salt knows, these days music floods the blogosphere by the millisecond. Consequently, the landscape of hip-hop is forever changing. There are countless rappers, both established and up-and-coming, as well as renowned and budding producers and beatsmiths dropping their fair share of dope music for the listening masses. It is our mission to mine the interweb for both audio and visual gems, delivering them straight to you for your auditory consumption. But enough with the jaw jacking: let's cut straight to the chase
STRAIGHT KILLER, NO FILLER
Fifty Grand – “There is a long white avenue in my dreams you are walking down”
Since this column is technically supposed to be centered on hip hop, Fifty Grand may not belong here. Her music is a blend of dark pulsating trap and beautiful synthesizer based electronic music, however there are a number of hip hop influences displayed in various tracks. “There is a long white avenue in my dreams you are walking down,” is on the short list of poetically strange song titles of the year, but it somehow makes sense when you hear it. She classifies the song in the “Drip” genre, which is probably a classification for music that one listens to after facing a good sized blunt and become one with his or her couch. The vocal samples maintain a constant eerie level, as lazy drums stumble to keep time. It is hauntingly beautiful, mesmerizing in its simplicity.
Fredo Santana – “Jealous” (featuring Kendrick Lamar)
“Dear God, no more. NO MORE,” begged 2013 to a young Kendrick Lamar, “How many bodies do you have to take before you’re satisfied?” He calmly looked over his docket and realized he had two more months left, turned around slowly, and coldly declared “All of them.” Okay, so this may or may not have happened—no one can say for sure—but the Compton emcee has killed everything put before him this year. Fredo Santana is not the most well known member from GBE, but somehow he secured a lucrative feature from Lamar, and unsurprisingly, he murders the track. The instrumental needs therapy after the lyrical manhandling he laid on it, and then to make matters worse, Santana contributes an addictive hook. It is an amazing treat for all us tricksters.
City Shawn – “No Way”
City Shawn is an upcoming rapper from the Bay Area, an underrated hip hop scene right now. If hyphy makes you hurl or if jerk makes you slam your head on a wall (you need to get your head check), then he is definitely your guy. ‘No Way” contains all of the energy of other styles coming out of the Bay, but the beat falls in line with traditional production. It is mellow, allowing the deep 808’s to fill more room, instead of the speedy bouncing typically found in IAMSU tracks. It helps that he is able to rap his tail off. Shawn is definitely an artist to keep an eye on, but technically that entire region should have your attention right now.
Nguzunguzu – “Skycell”
Nguzunguzu is very ambitious, which makes his beats more of a journey than the typical instrumental. You never really know what he is about to throw at you, but you know to anticipate it. He boarders on electronic dance, R&B, and hip hop, the result of their fusion tends to have a very unique sound. His work with Kelela is of note, but this time he ventures out alone.”Skycell” contains all of his wacky tendencies, but without a vocalist, he is able to do extra. The consistent vocal sample maintains some control for the listeners, as drums and hats seem to come in at his discretion, randomly. Nguzunguzu knows how to put together a solid song though, and no part seems out of place or too repetitive.
MadKem – “We Here” (feat. East)
MadKem exudes a calm confidence when he starts rhyming, which immediately draws you in. A female vocal on a track make it easier to approach and gives it a whole new layer of chill to work with. When these ingredients are mixed properly, topped with a smooth jazz sample, you get perfection. Such a mixture produced “We Here”, which prominently features a gorgeous vocal sample that contributes a lot of swagger on the track. East’s guest spot is equally solid, and Madkem goes insane on the beat. Definitely, a top notch rap song.
ON THE ROCKS: WEEKLY RECAP
Here's a recap of some of the best hip-hop covered this past week on EARMILK. Take a couple of minutes to stroll down memory lane and revisit a few of tracks brought to you earlier in the week. For those who may have been snoozing at the wheel, here's your chance to play catch up:
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Bishop Nehru – "Exhale" (Feat. Que Hampton)
Halloween may be over, but that doesn't mean we'll avoid the things that go bump in the night. Filmed in a seemingly abandoned basement and starring a number of creepy figures, "Exhale," the latest video from the enigmatic Bishop Nehru only proves that the young emcee is a force to be reckoned with. Nehru, who made waves a few months ago when he announced his upcoming project with the legendary underground villain MF DOOM, has captured the blog world by story and has developed quite the large following the release of his last tape,strictlyFLOWz.
Where "Exhale" succeeds is in regards to it's light-lacking visuals and piano dominated riff that is employed throughout the track. Joined with fellow Suburban Shoguns member Que Hampton, Nehru's sinister styles are prevalent within the strange video with the use of a clean and spaced out flow. Expect to hear more from the New York rapper real soon.
PROJECT OF THE WEEK
This weeks ‘Project Of The Week’ comes from three members of the Odd Future collective; Domo Genesis, Hodgy Beats and Left Brain. When you put all three of them together you get MellowHigh, and the trio combine to make some of the best stoner rap around at the moment. They’ve previously released music together on Odd Future Tape Vol.1 and Vol. 2, the collective’s compilation albums that feature the majority of OF’s members. Now they’re back with their own album, MellowHigh, which is a 13-track journey through clouds of weed smoke, along with features from their friends, that’s bound to find it’s way onto a fair few top 10 lists this year.
The production on this album is your typical Odd Future kind of vibes. The disjointed synths on “Air” sound like something straight from a video game, whereas “Cold World” mixes the same kind of synths over a nice boom bap style beat that is definitely a head nodder. “Yu” is another track that heralds the boom bap days, and “Get’N Drunk” has deep kicks and bass lines that sound like something straight from the trap scene with clean sounding piano chords over the top.
The amount of features on MellowHigh is small, but they’re all from peers who fit the kind of vibes that the album portrays. Odd Future king pin Tyler, The Creator lends his hand to the remix of “Yu”, whereas another OF member Earl Sweatshirt features alongside Remy Banks on “Cold World”. The other two features come from fellow stoner rap god Curren$y and New York native Smoke DZA, who appear on the aptly named “High Life”.
In short, MellowHigh is a healthy offering from two of Odd Futures strongest emcees as well as the slick production skills of Left Brain. There’s enough strong material within the thirteen tracks to keep fans of MellowHigh satisfied, and although at some points the album can drag along and seems to grind to a halt, I can honestly say I never skipped a track. Sure, MellowHigh probably won’t go down as the best album that 2013 has had to offer, but it’s a strong effort and one that’s definitely not to be missed.
- October 31, 2013
- Odd Future LLC
- TDE/Interscrope Records
- January 2014
- MMG/Island Def Jam
- December 17, 2013
The Marshall Mathers LP 2
November 5, 2013