The legendary Cypress Hill producer continues his series of collaborative albums, pairing himself alongside the top independent and underground talents. With Death & The Magician, Muggs aims his spotlight on one of the most gifted and prolific spitters currently in the game, Brooklyn’s Rome Streetz. A personal favorite and often featured at DRHH, Rome is known for his sharp lyrics, honed ear and a truly gritty New York attitude.
Peep the video for “Stone Cold Soul”:
This offering provides plenty of the haunting samples and droning melodies that Muggs has been laying down over the last three decades. Rome fits right in line, following the likes of Roc Marci, Eto, GZA, Planet Asia and the other ultra-talented emcees that have previously crafted projects solely with Muggs. Highlights include “Ace of Swords,” “Zig Zag Zig feat Knowledge The Pirate,” “Stone Cold Soul,” and “The Devil’s Chord.”
Brooklyn spitter O Dawg drops the latest visuals for “Facing Factzz.” The video, beautifully shot and directed by revenxnt shows O around the way, posted at various spots in and around Brooklyn with his associates. The single sports banging drums and angelic vocal loops courtesy of producer Grimm Doza. This is the first video and single off the upcoming collab tape, Student of the Game, between the BK emcee and the Jersey producer. Check the video here:
Massachusetts rapper/producer Flip Jackson releases his debut album Follow The Leader. The 10-track project features MC Uncle Sam, JD Cuellar & Cilo BGR. Flip handles the production on most of the album but recruits Vinyl Villain & DK Media to contribute a beat each as well. Highlights include “Make it Flip” feat. JD Cuellar, “Ride Out,” and the Vinyl Villain-laced “God’s Grace.”
While Flip has been known for mainly making beats the past 8 years, the current pandemic pushed him to get back in the booth, ultimately leading to create this project.
Flip Jackson: “I began this project at the beginning of Covid-19, back in March & had no idea I would end up using this project as a form of processing what was happening in the world.”
Flip brings a street attitude and his production delivers a heavy club banger sound. Follow The Leader, courtesy of DGS Records & Gotham City Music Group is Available on Bandcamp here:
Norm Regular: “I really wanted to try my best to make an actual album.”
Baltimore emcee Norm Regular delivers a healthy dose of nostalgia on his debut LP, Describe Infinity to fully announce his arrival in the game. The quiet, ever-youthful Norm uncovers an even younger self while instilling his acquired wisdom across 11 tracks of head-nodding beats, all showing another facet or layer of Regular. He calls on a handful of underground producers to establish the sonic palette for Norm to craft his debut LP. With Norm, it’s easy to hear the nostalgia in his throwback flow, echoes of the second golden era evident in his voice. What seemingly comes off as a monotone flow at first, Norm has harnessed that same vocal tone to his advantage, sounding reminiscent of that second golden era sound.
On Describe Infinity, Norm Regular raps over a range of beats, from the tension of weaving through traffic of “Broken Mirrors” to the wafting “Enchacement Smoker” prod by Sean Keaton. Norm seems to shine on beats like that as well as the floating “Blue Light Special” prod by Really Hiiim. Norm keeps the mic to himself for the majority the album, with underground heavies Lord Juco and B.A. Badd adding some talent and experience as guest features. Norm Regular speaks on his brother’s influence as he skates on the funky bass groove and starry jazz hints of “Bones” prod by Aasir.
The title, cover art, and audio clips all pay homage and respect to Norm’s full immersion into hip hop in the 90’s with his brother’s rap crew Infinite Description.
Norm: “probably wouldn’t be rhyming if not for them.”
Norm: “Putting this one together, Shit definitely came from a different place.”
It’s clear that Norm was able to pinpoint that inspiration and channel his own talents into a cohesive project. Describe Infinity is available here:
Mondo Slade delivers the latest video off his brand new project, Revenge Of The Slade, out today, 12/24. The video, directed by Louis Kole shows a masked Mondo posted up, criminal activity evident throughout the visuals. Mondo spits casual but focused over a swirling orchestral arrangement courtesy of Hooks Arthur. The strings provide the perfect tension for this crime caper as Mondo details the various ways he moves in the streets.
Revenge of the Slade is out now on streaming platforms. Check it out here on Apple:
Continuing on his prolific run, Toronto’s Lord Juco comes through for another sharp project. With the third installment, (the previous two both dropping on Christmas day the past 2 years) producer Bohemia Lynch and emcee Lord Juco connect again for Shadows 3. Juco calls on fellow underground stalwarts Flashius Clayton and Skunkz over the cascading piano notes of “Staff Picks.” On the airy “Stelvio,” Juco lays an inspired versewhile Starker unloads a clip of his highly syllabic flow over stirring strings. Juco closes it with the split beats of “Scene Selection,” where Bohemia Lynch loops plinking piano keys and sliding glissandos sounding like a New Year’s Eve ballad. The second half switches to a soulful and funky vocal loop, with Juco strutting off into the sunset.
Lord Juco speaks on the concepts of the Shadows projects: “Shadows was visually based on ‘Isaw the devil‘ but sonically all three have their own movies they reference.. Shadows 1 – The Shining; 2 – House of 1000 corpses; Shadows 3 – Bay of Blood.”
Lord Juco has stayed consistent in the game for several years now with his intelligent and clever rhymes, his ear for production and his stellar work ethic. He stays grounded and continues to work with talented artists regardless of status. Bohemia Lynch has proven to provide the perfect canvas for Lord Juco yet again, with unique samples and dynamic loops.
Check out Shadows 3 live on Christmas, 12/25/2020 at 12AM here:
Lenox Hughes: “This tape is definitely motivation to get a bag. I want everyone to be successful in life; wether you you selling your own clothes, hustling or getting up for a 9-5 everyday.”
Creating vibes of lavish lifestyles, Harlem’s Lenox Hughes spits over fly production from Michigan producer AP. Lenox brings his street demeanor, mixing his taste for the finer things to complement the smooth arrangements courtesy of AP.
AP on the project coming together:
“I think it was from one of the first batch of beats I sent to Bub (Rock) in 2018. Bub and Lenox knew each other and I guess he let Lenox hear some of the tracks. Lenox ended up recording to one of em and made “go get it” that was on his last project, Finding The Balance. After that we talked about doing a some more work or a project, but we didn’t start really working on it until earlier this year.”
Joints like “Legendary” is a funky fly groove, perfect for night time cruises. “Million Dollar Dream” exudes a similar vibe and smooth feel. On “Fritz and Frank” Lenox provides the street tales, while joints like “Paid in Full” is more of a journey. With compressed drums and a rumbling low end, Lenox spits venom here speaking into existence with his need to be “Paid in Full like Rakim.”
“Intricate Threads” is head nodding piano-driven beat where Lenox spits double time.A highlight off Opulent Habits, “The Hype,” features Brooklyn’s Eddie Kaine over a gorgeous loop that seems to never end until AP layers another on it, elevating it.
AP on the concept/theme: “I asked Lenox to give me a theme or title for the album and he came up with Opulent Habits. Just so happened I was in a good place creatively at the time and zoned out and made most the tracks over 3 day period and the rest came a couple weeks later.”
Lenox maintains the balance between the elegant concepts and the street raps, evoking images of regal materials and luxurious accommodations. AP comes through on the production end as well. It’s the techniques and overall vibes that AP lays down which separates him from other beat makers and producers as an underrated producer in the game. Opulent Habits serves as a solid project connecting 2 emerging talents.
Providing an overall bright and refreshing mood, Los Angeles emcee LocalBlac brings his unorthodox and unique style to his latest LP, Inside Voices Please. Produced entirely by AyoDlo, the album adheres to a modern soundscape, yet also provides a purist flavor with some sample-based, boom bap stylings on a few joints.
LocalBlac has a lot to share, exposing his consciousness but without sacrificing that raw street mentality to do so. Showing us these two extremes, Inside Voices Please is both hopeful and fraught with the sadness of the state of the world. LocalBlac reminds us in his own personal way how we all have been conditioned, adding a new perspective to our confined, collective psyches.
LocalBlac shows us his range with this project, signing on “She’s inside by the Bar!” And “Inside we’re always safe!” Throughout the album, he provides plenty of introspection while touching on much of the madness and chaos that exists. LocalBlac dives into the pivotal issues of black rights and advocating for women on “Drop Culture!” Feat Natalie Oliveri. But don’t get it twisted, on joints like “Smoking Gun (RIP Pop Smoke)” feat Thrash Thorn, Blac can flat-out rap too.
Inside Voices Please provides a broad appeal to multiple generations of hip hop fans, displaying modern production coupled with traditional rap structures. As opposed to focusing solely on himself, LocalBlac’s writing encompasses characters, ideas and concepts here. He creatively weaves his thoughts into unique lyrics and melodies. Despite illustrating many shortcomings and flaws that we face as a society, LocalBlac creates a hopeful album with a focus on love and embracing the change needed.
Touted as possibly their final work, CnL deliver an LP of epic proportions. Delaware emcees Chuck Angus and Lockjaw, better known as Chuck N Lock have always eluded the status quo in their genre. Their mission and mentality has always been to put out clever and humorous rhymes over quality production, never catering to anyone. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more genuine duo, constantly eschewing the notions of how to engage with fans in this era of shameless self-promotion and endless social media antics. Put plainly, Chuck N Lock could give a fuck. They prefer to create music with peers they admire and respect.
Deeply Rooted: Tell us about a little about Centralia, cuz the project is flames.
CNL: “The idea is just that, it’s fire.. CENTRALIA is an old mining town that’s had a fire burning underground for years, but has since been forgotten about. The (hip hop) underground has been on fire, and just recently, in the past few years it’s had a new light shed on it and what’s been going on. People been down here getting busy.”
Taking shit serious on their LP over production from Loman, Evilldewer, nopulp, Wolfagram, NCL-TM, Don Carrera and JLVSN, Crucial The Guillotine and J-Es, Chuck N Lock bust it down on every track, filling the bars with thoughtful lyrics and plenty of quotables. CnL bring in some finely selected features including Nickelus F, Lord Juco, DapZini and LeftLane Didon.
CNL: “We wanted to bring in a bunch of different features and production to shine a light on the underground artists who’ve been putting in fire work.”
Highlights include the moving flute loop on “Jewel Of The Nile” where Lock spits: “I would like to stack a couple Ben Franklins. Cuz money is imperative, but I wanna switch the narrative, I’d rather ya be rich in character.”
Tracks like “Underwater Home Run Derby” feat DapZini and “See You Next Tuesday” uphold a futuristic, apocalypse vibe. The whole project plays well with plenty of eerie moods and melodic samples to subtly help CnL craft some dope hip hop tracks.
The duo deliver a well developed project, pulling together some of the consistent and unique talents in the underground. Chuck n Lock come through on CENTRALIA, leaving the question for their future in the game on the table. Will this be the last we see of Chuck n Lock? Doubtful.. But we can certainly enjoy this culminating piece of work from two talented emcees over well-selected production.
Poised for a major level-up, Indianapolis’ Abe Linx and Tully C come through with a sharp project that shines bright with big name features and star appeal. Runaway Diamonds is a 10 joint EP showcasing the brimming talents of these Indy emcees set to make a name for themselves. Capturing the overall crime saga/ flee from the scene vibe, Abe and Tully combine their distinct voices and flows over dope production primarily from their own team and associates. Tully and Abe bring in the heavies with guest spots from Willie The Kid, Jay Worthy, Hus Kingpin and Griselda’s own Benny The Butcher.
Peep the video for “70 Deposit Boxes” featuring Hus Kingpin here:
Runaway Diamonds features production from frequent collaborator and fellow local Geechie, adding in producers Awsme J, nomstks and Olehead into the fold on this well-developed project. Abe and Tully clearly came to make a statement with this project. They may be running away with the diamonds but they’re most certainly dropping the jewels along the way.