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THE F.U.N.K GUIDE TO THE BEST MUSIC OF 2016 PART II - A HIP HOP ADDENDA

Yup, inevitably I forgot loads in my first end of year list. Here's everything (I think) I forgot with wee quotes of what I wrote at the time of release.  Doubtless PT III will be here anon. Anything I've missed let me know. 

APOLLO BROWN & SKYZOO EASY TRUTH (Mello Music Group)
" wonderful, including a gratifyingly rugged cameo from Griselda Gang's mighty Westside Gunn that's almost worth the price of admission in itself. Great hip-hop is still being made in America. Don't let the media tell you otherwise." 


CAPPO ETHER (YNR Productions) 
"Though he's not a rapper who shouts about his talent, Cappo really has produced some of the finest rap music of the decade so far, so always glad to hear he's still making incredible tracks like this. 'Ether' has a truly startling production, a beat over which gorgeous sighing humming synth textures ebb and flow with real mystery and magic and suggestiveness, like a Kevin Shields production or a Boards Of Canada track. Cappo's flows are, as ever, utterly engrossing and the way the track fades with each fourth snare hit, accompanied by the sound of smashed glass, is just astonishing. Cappo doing what he does — don't let the 'customary' nature of his brilliance stop you listening. A national treasure."

CZARFACE  A FISTFUL OF PERIL (Silver Age) 

"Didn't think they'd be able to pull it off but Inspektah Deck, 7L and Esoteric have done it again. The new Czarface LP, 'A Fistful Of Peril' is perhaps their best yet"


DABBLA YEAR OF THE MONKEY (High Focus)

"What a year for High Focus. Too many classics of which Dabbla's was the latest to break but perhaps the most satisfying and enjoyable."

DA FLYY HOOLIGAN YAMATA NO OROCHI (GourmetDeluxxx) 
"It was the Chemo production-credit that made me explore this and I'm so glad I did. 'Yamata No Orochi' is a follow-up to 'Wu-Baby' and is a homage to DFH's primary influences, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah — great sharp rhymes and sublime production throughout. I'm gagging to hear the debut album not only cos if it sounds like this it'll be awesome but also because it's called 'SCUM — Supreme Cut Untouched Magnificence' and it may well prove useful in the apocalyptic shitfest that 2017 is surely going to be. Arm yourself."

DUMBFOUNDED WE MIGHT DIE (Soundcloud) 

"If you haven't heard Dumbfounded's 'We Might Die' set get online and download a copy as soon as you can — not only does the production find fresh life in trap-paced beats, it also injects real oozing vibrancy into its bass frequencies and snare-hits, an addictive soundworld that booms in headphones and in your car with equal suspension-worrying brilliance. 'Harambe' showcases not only Dumbfounded's on-point rhyme skills but also gives you a hint as to the dark, doomy, supra-aware world his verbals emerge from. A talent to watch in 2017."

ED SCISSOR & LAMPLIGHTER TELL THEM ITS WINTER (High Focus) 
 "Last time we checked in with Ed Scissorhands (2014's imperiously odd 'Theremin EP') he was getting weirder, detaching himself from conventional hip-hop instrumentals and stepping out into his own territory, carving out his own path. He continues to tread that uniquely wayward journey onwards on his startling new full-length LP for High Focus, 'Tell Them It's Winter', allied with Weegie beatmaker and like-mind Lamplighter. Over an arrestingly lo-fi backdrop of nylon-string guitar, gently unhinging radiophonic keyboards and brute-basic electro beats he intones lines of true poetic depth, lines about despair and inertia and nightmares and visions that are never afraid to silence themselves and just let the music build the mood. I'm so glad that in an increasingly identikit UK music scene, Ed is involved in making rap music — and you will be too. Listen." 


FLATBUSH ZOMBIES 3001 A LACED ODDYSSEY 
(Glorious Dead Recordings) 
'My semi-automatic will splatter a n**** like Jackson Pollock/LSD drops in my eyelids...' Predictably hearing a lot of comparisons to Wu-Tang and Gravediggaz regarding Flatbush Zombies' new opus '3001: A Laced Oddyssey'. Truth be told, what this recalls to me is the bleaker parts of the Pharcyde's best work — elegiac, mournful and yet possessed of a life and a terpsichorean urge that's irresistable, enough diverting characters and back-and-forth intrigue to keep you hitting that rewind button. The beats are hard, the loops spooky and spaced, the final effect devastating. Get the album. Superb."

FLIPTRIX PATTERNS OF ESCAPISM (High Focus) 
"'Patterns Of Escapism' absolutely nails a recurrent subject for High Focus artists — the desire to escape reality and identity in a world getting increasingly harsh and difficult to survive in. Great stuff from a great artist on a great label."

GIGGS LANDLORD (SN1 Records) 
 
"Giggs doesn't have "keeps the vibe both hot and ice-cold — lyrical slackness that makes you giggle as much as it makes you check your wing-mirrors paranoically. Get the album 'Landlord' on your Xmas lists now."

JAMBAXTER x LEE SCOTT x TRELLION
MANSION 38 (Soundcloud) 


"A Chemo production nuffsaid - ESSENTIAL"

K-DEF THE UNPREDICTABLE GEMINI (Redefinition Records) 
 "Yes, THAT K-Def, of Real Live fame and with Damu Tha Fudgemonk on vocals you just know this is going to be a scintillatingly hot, massively rewindable, hugely-bumping stagger-n-stumble into summer. Love the way, just as he did back in RL days, K seems incapable of giving his beats anything but the heaviest thump, the snare and kick a dancer's delight of humming depth and neck-snapping treble, even as the loops are such a dreamy-lush delight.Someone get this guy working with rap's biggest names right now — he's lost none of his grace and power."

LMNO MOTHERBOARD (Urbnet) 
"While mainstream rap deoderises and cleanses itself ready for crossover in a permanently constricting hell of autotune and EDM-style 'state of the art' over-texturalisation, loving the fact that out on the edges hip-hop is getting even fucking noisier, darker, angrier and more fucked up (Charles Hamilton, Conway, Westside Gunn, Slayter) — as heard on this latest from ex-Visionarie LMNO. Dutty dutty dutty beats, a filthy bass-saw as thick as a whale omelette, freaky wibblery and loops sparking off in every periphery. Love it."


L'ORANGE & MR LIF THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SCENERY (Mello Music Group)
 "Bizarre. Conceptual. Esoteric. Compelling. Orange & Lif were never going to create just another set of jams and their new opus 'The Life & Death Of Scenery' is a cerebral masterpiece portraying a world in which art has been banned on threat of death: DJ QBert, Gonjasufi, Akrobatik and Insight are some of the guests which should give you a hint as to what an eclectic stew it is. Tantalising glimpse of a wild world of weirdness from these two. Get bit by it and then dig into the full-length. And can I just say — GOD BLESS MMG? Always bringing the intrigue."

MORRIARCHI BUGGSVILLE SESSIONS (Blah!)
  "...like Hunter S. at his blunted best..." — Morriarchi's 'Buggsville Sessions' is probably the greatest set the inestimable Blah Records have ever given us . . . .Sublimely effective production from Morri . . . absolutely nothing stopping this being huge, bar media silence and our own inaction. Make it as big as the pictures it draws in your head."

PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS THE GETTING OFF STAGE PT 2 (Soundcloud)


"I feel like fuckin' SISYPHUS", oh god, so great to hear Thes One and Double K back together under the PUTS moniker, dropping a new EP every now and then as part of series of six-track EPs they're calling 'The Getting Off Stage' (this track is from 'Step 2', the latest in the series). If you've heard PUTS before you know what to expect, jazzy, psychedelic beats and loops and razor-sharp back'n'forth between the two MCs — if you're not familiar with PUTS go get 'The Next Step' or 'Question In The Form Of An Answer' and work your way forward from there. LOVE the radiant rhodes and deep funk cuts going on on this track — somehow they always manage to balance their internal intrigue with a real sense of their Cali roots. We've ALL got some catching up to do here. Seek and be blessed again." 

PHANTASM & SOUL BROTHA  LOUDER THAN EVER (Ill Adrenaline) 
"...had to pen them bars/got out the street life had to mend them scars/Praise God or Allah whoever sent us Nas".One of them there Euro/NYC hook-ups that occassionaly deliver embarassment, but sometimes straight-up gold as we have here — Phantasm you might remember from when, alongside partner UG, he made up the Cella Dwellas, one of Loud's impossibly impressive roster from the late '90s. 'Louder Than Ever' is the result of Phantasm hooking up with Germany's own SP1200 maestros 12 Finger Dan and B-Base (aka Soulbrotha). True school feel, dope scratch hook, sharp delivery, this is unforgivably unfuturist and therefore massively enjoyable as just a boombap blast. Tuck in. 

PROBLEM CHILD CREEPER (Par Excellence) 

"'Line up your poo and get your shit straight...' — fucking hell man, when Problem Child get round to dropping their next album it's going to be utterly astonishing, and if 'Creeper' is on it consider it essential already. Twisted production, hysterical and massively incisive rhymes, you know the score. Absolute fucking dons." 




PUSHA T H.G.T.V (G.O.O.D/Def Jam)
"I find PT's voice remains one of the most compelling in hip-hop. The music here is as basic as it can get, a single bass note repeated from which the programmed snare and hi-hats seem to to flow with a truly awesome anti-groove that's so reminiscent of the kind of polyrhythms Miles used to fuck with in the early '70s. Thing is, cos it's so short, I've already played it a dozen times in the last half hour. Goddamn. Muhfukka's got me addicted like crack.For all those who really, really couldn't give a shit about the latest Cudi/Drake beef, pump this LOUD."



REMULAK/M9/SKRIBLAH HIGHLIFE (Village Life)
 "Oh my word — WHAT a stunning production. Remulak, Cappo & Lewis Parker recently released a stunning seven-inch called 'Karma/Maintain' on Village Live, and here the label deliver the next bomb-drop from this previously unheard but astoundingly accomplished-already producer. The loops and beats on 'Highlife' are just utterly sublime, gorgeous unfolding shadows of stealth and shade, thrumming cello and delicate percussion swooping with an orchestral beauty redolent of Vaughan Williams' folkiest work, a beat plucked from a gorgeous place somwhere between Canterbury and California. M9 comes more than correct as usual with Skriblah on the hook and the mighty Evil Ed lacing together a gorgeous re-rub on the flip. A slick full colour cover with free stickers shows that Village Life are clearly a label who CARE about every aspect of what they put out — from front to back and everything inbetween. Essential, and a label to definitely watch."

RUSTE JUXX & KYO ITACHI METEORITE (Shinigamie Records)
Great combo this. 'Meteorite' is the single from the album of the same name and it's just wonderful. Great full-fat loops and beats from Itachi and Juxx snarling with real aggression and bite. If it's any pointer to the long-player, it's going to be an essential.

SLAYTER DIRTY GAME EP (Cold Game/Home Team) 


"because fuck you, that's why."

SLEAZY F BABY ALL BLAHK TRACKSUIT (Blah!) 
 "I'm looking in the mirror like, Well, well, well — you're a handsome fucking devil and you're going to hell'". Like Black Josh, what raises Sleazy above the herd is his compelling stage presence and delivery. Where alot of the greatest UK rap this year, understandably given current events, sounds broken, hopeless, strung out, Sleazy still sounds close to fury, close to exploding outwards, close to the edge rather than already fallen over it. Essential music from an essential label for anyone wanting to hear the true sound of the UK in 2016 and onwards." 

SMOKE DZA GEORGE KUSH DA BUTTON (DON'T PASS TRUMP THE BLUNT) (NA) 
"because it's funny and fierce and sharp and fuck Donald Trump obviously."

SOFA KING AND BIG TOAST SAVE YOURSELF KILL EM ALL (Revorg)
  "Raw, raucous, fuzzy, fucked-up hip-hop from the superb 'Save Yourself Kill Them All' EP. If you like that Action Bronson, Roc Marc thang then I consider you a traitor to this country if you don't support their UK equivalents! Get on it immediately."

SONNYJIM MUD IN MY MALBEC  (Daupe!)
 "Utterly unmissable release from The Purists' ever-reliable Daupe imprint (you haven't picked up the Westside Gunn reissues? Y'eejit! Geddem!). Sonnyjim, as any fule kno, has been spitting out flames from the UK's second city for some time now but here he brings together a selection of self-produced tracks that's just devestating — musically as fired by Ka and EL-P as Roc Marc, lyrically as scattershot yet lethally devestating as we've come to expect from Sonny. Fantastic cameos from Westside Gunn and the unimpeachable Quelle Chris seal one fucking beauty of a deal. Essential release of the month by miles. Do not pass summer until you've scored yourself a fix." 

SPLIT PROPHETS DELTA BRAVO KILO (Split Prophets)
 "A heads-up that alongside that astonishing Ocean Wisdom LP — another UK release that should absolutely be dominating your days right now — is the astonshing 'Delta Bravo Kilo' from Bristol's mighty Split Prophets, of which 'The Mo' is just one among an array of highlights. A totally in-house production throughout its score of tracks, the album is a refreshingly focused and incisive listen and 'The Mo' showcases exactly why — fantastic production and rhymes from all involved. Like Manchester's Levelz, Split Prophets aren't from London and so consequently won't have the mainstream press or radio paying them much attention, but anyone who wants to hear the true sound of the UK right now should be tuning in (and nary a fucking guest pop vocal or mind-numbingly dumb cameo in sight). Stupendously good."

Comments

  1. 75% of these are new to me. I've got no problem with finding out that I haven't a clue what's going on hip-hop wise, either here or across the pond (Blah & High Focus are not of this world so I'm reasonably genned up on them) but I have a major one with why that's usually the case. I stopped reading all but the odd blog due to the hip-hop media's obsession with keeping it real and playing by the rules (fuck reality and the rules, that's why I love it) and the rest of the media's obsession with suppressing everything that isn't by the usual suspects. Fair play to Kendrick, Pusha T and Vince 'how the fuck did he get away with something as breathtakingly uncommercial as "Summertime '06" Staples though for using that obsession to their own and our advantage, but I can't see their stars remaining in the ascendent. They didn't hang about trying to bring Kanye into line and if they can get away with convincing so many that Public Enemy's post-"Fear of a Black Planet" output is shit, they can get away with anything (PE supporting anyone, let alone the fucking Prodigy is an extraordinary outrage). That's way too simplistic an analysis I know but I'm still at the early-learning stage when it comes to what's going on behind the scenes. I'm determined to graduate though which is why I thank fuck I've got teachers like you who I know won't lie to me. A donation WILL be forthcoming as soon as funds permit.

    ReplyDelete
  2. there was tons of good dnb this year.

    ReplyDelete

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