By P80 Parks

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 verse while 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 ‘I saw the devil‘ but sonically all three have their own movies they reference.. Shadows 1The Shining; 2House of 1000 corpses; Shadows 3Bay 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:

Looking for more on Juco and his earlier work? Check the in-depth Juco primer and interview from 2018:

By P80 Parks

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.

Cop Opulent Habits here:

By P80 Parks

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.

Stream Inside Voices Please here:

By P80 Parks

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.”

Peep “Monster Mile” feat LeftLane Didon here:

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.

By P80 Parks

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.

Cop Runaway Diamonds streaming everywhere 11/20

By P80 Parks

Haverstraw NY’s Pro Dillinger returns with another focused EP. Just 2 months after releasing MegaFoul, the umbrella skummie returns with Playoff Rondo. With a tireless work ethic, Dillinger stays sharp, constantly recording and fine tuning his work. It’s that same focus that he pushes his sound further with on Playoff Rondo. The EP is fully produced by Ry Beats and employs a bit more of the subtleties and sophistication. But don’t get it twisted, this ain’t soft shit. Alongside his commanding vocals he’s using varied soundscapes with selectively lush production that thumps across 5 tracks.

Pro Dillinger: “On all my projects, I try to give people a little bit of the drumless and some of the boom-bap also. That’s the goal, cuz I like both. I like loops n shit and I like beats, with drums and shit too.”

Opening up with the drumless “Defense,” Dillinger comes out the gates as hungry as ever, clearly focused. “Technical Foul” rumbles through the night with plenty of bass and a sinister piano loop. Pro gets clever with the hook:

“My lil homie shoot it when I say so, clap a n***a, have em leavin wit a halo. They don’t need no permission; Them young n***as that blast for me (blasphemy), wit no religion.”

Starting Line Up” featuring Allah Preme is Pro aiming high, setting his sights beyond the life he’s led to this point, with Preme laying a verse and the hook for the team. Pro pushes thru the streets on “Movin weight” as he spits grimy over punchy drums and a sinister loop, bringing the scumminess in full effect. “Teamwork” featuring MAV is a gem, an elegant arrangement with plenty of boom and tempo for both emcees to unload their jewels.

PD: “With this project I felt like the content was different; a little deeper, a little smoother, but still foul.”

And, just ike Rondo, Dillinger comes through in the clutch delivering mean bars over dope production. Playoff Rondo shows that Pro continues to deliver some of the hardest music in the game.

Cop Playoff Rondo, available 11/19 here:

By Alex P80 Parks

Once occupying a mostly niche space in rap with his creative vocabulary and quick-tongue delivery, Aesop Rock has developed more than merely a cult following, instead entrenching himself as a prominent figure in the indie rap scene over the last 20+ years. Aesop acts as the narrator or tour guide into the parallel universe that encompasses the diverse elements of the Spirit World. Aesop returns with a high-energy, electrified album to satisfy fans, both the stalwart stans and casual newcomers.

Crafting most of the beats himself, Aesop dug deep on this one, capitalizing on the theme of a field guide of another world. It’s evident throughout the project with tones of frenetic tension and a vibe of impending catastrophe, fostering the need for a survival manual. While he dips into important issues, Aesop is also one to have fun, intertwining his social commentary with plenty of humor and creating concept tracks simply for entertainment. An ode to aging and subsequent spinal deterioration on “1 to 10,” Aesop complains of the frequent increase in his back pain over a quirky piano loop. On “Attaboy” lyrics like:

“I’m in pajama bottoms listening to Chaka Khan, eating matcha pocky, knocking posses out the polygon.”

Is just one example that the immense creativity and lyrical dexterity hasn’t diminished over the years. Reeking of a dystopian wasteland, Boot Soup begins as an anxious, off-beat scatter. When the beat flips with the added heavy electro guitar chord paired with tense electronic notes, Aesop shepherds us through another uncharted territory in the Spirit World. The west coast vibe of “Coveralls” oozes indifference to the populace. Other highlights like “Crystal sword” with its wobbly synths and funky bass groove and “Jumping coffin” both stand out with a heroic triumphant tone full of punchy drums.

Check the visuals for the psychedelic, lead single “Pizza Alley” here:

Crafting all the beats but one himself, the beats display a full spectrum of sound as Aesop rumbles his way through the tracks with syllabic mastery and creative rhyme schemes. His beats naturally suit his own style of rhyming with particular specificity. Aesop Rock creates a clear distinction with the theme of the album and the soundscapes incorporated. The beats often employ digital effects and multiple layers of samples and pieces of sound. From his own labyrinth-laden, complex rhymes, coupled with every carefully delivered and enunciated phoneme, Aesop pulls the listener into this alternate dimension to experience the otherworldly elements. Take careful notes and watch your step with Aesop Rock’s Spirit World Field Guide.

Cop Spirit World Field Guide here:

Chicago’s ILL Gordon releases his new video on the heels of his latest EP, My Penmanship. The video “Do Things” is the second single off the project, in which Gordo provides a glimpse into a day in the life of ILL Gordon. The visuals show how he navigates his daily life, his routines and checking in with loved ones. The video features some of his closest friends and family as ILL shows fans a more intimate side of himself. Check the video here:

Cop his latest My Penmanship here:

By P80 Parks

After dropping The World is Piff 2 in July, Jamal Gasol teams up with beatmaker NES for the tight, 7-track EP Ronwaldo Reyes. Named after the famed Filipino action star, the EP’s production plays out like a crime saga with some tense moments and plenty of uptempo loops. The Diadora Don comes through on this one with his boastful rhymes and clever punchlines, always sounding like he rhymes with a satisfied grin. In the past he’s played the role of varying characters; from the savvy hustler, the straightforward street pusher, to the eloquent and heartfelt poet describing (fittingly) both joy and pain. Locking in with a single producer on Ronwaldo Reyes, the Niagara Falls emcee shows more of an intensity here, adding another facet to his rhyme personae.

A highlight off the jump, “Outside,” is full of tense loops as Jamal unleashes a fierce verse. Gasol spits lines like: “runnin through the tabloids, never met Diddy, but the bitches call me ‘Bad Boy.’ Need work, I employ. Countin money, I enjoy. Rhymes gettin nasty as an Almond Joy.”

Jamal Gasol “Outsiders

Scalebreakers” is the Kansas City Smack man at his peak hustle. On “Gun Man” Jamal brings in frequent collaborator Sauce Heist as both spit sharp verses over a sparse, yet stirring loop. “Pastillas” is Mr.31 reminding his detractors how he operates over a pulsating sample. The prolific Estee Nack fills in the only other guest spot on the EP on “Smokin’ Facers” with his mind-blowing rhyme schemes over booming chopped loops. Ronwaldo Reyes is a tight project showcasing the talent of the Chief piffer and NES’ vibrant beats.

Cop Ronwaldo Reyes, a Bandcamp exclusive project, with limited vinyl and physicals available with the Exclusive Heist life Ty Da Dale x Baby Maine Heist track “Marble Floor” available only on vinyl.

By P80 Parks

Bay Shore, Long Island rapper Spoda, aka Mr Dopeflow releases his latest EP, Quick Fix, solely produced by Portuguese producer Martello. Quick Fix is exactly that; a six-joint EP with no filler and plenty of Spoda’s brash talk over straightforward beats.

Not one to bring overly complex lyricism, Spo instead brings his own intensity and energy to each bar, bombing the mic with enthusiasm. Joints like “Chauffeur You Thru My Life” show Spo narrating his journey to this point, detailing some of his life in prison. A Highlight is “No Hook” as it brings a somber mood with melancholy piano notes and poignant feel while Spoda brings in a personal touch. “Pain” is Spo spitting his shit over a funky groove with 80’s sax and effects. Spoda continues to show his brand of energetic bars over solid beats on Quick Fix.

Cop Quick Fix here: