hip hop . r'n'b . trap

WEEK STARTING 14 May

Genre pick of the week Cover of Long Legged Larry by Aesop Rock.
Here’s some things you should know about Larry: His legs are long. His heart is true. His heroics are unmatched. Leaky faucet? Stolen bike? Trouble with your math homework? Fear not! Larry is here and he’s got what it takes to ease your troubles. We can’t keep this green guy away from a good cause! The song "Long Legged Larry" details 3 instances where Larry’s valiance shines.Draftsman and renowned amphibian consultant Jeremy Fish created the artwork, and helped visualize Larry in the form of a beautiful plush toy with sick shorts and a big beard. Furthermore - visionary Rob Shaw has captured some of this frog’s finer moments through the magic of stop-motion animation in a music video available right now for your viewing pleasure.

STAFF COMMENTS

says: Aesop gets his Slick Rick on, swerving into story teller mode to tell the story of a freaky frog called Larry over some brill boom-bap snatched from psych funk nuggets.

TRACK LISTING

A. Long Legged Larry
B. Long Legged Larry (instrumental) 

Aim

Cold Water Music - Ice-Blue Vinyl Edition

    ATIC Records is proud to present the long-awaited vinyl reissue of Aim’s groundbreaking debut LP, ‘Cold Water Music’. Re-mastered from the original tapes and featuring all-new artwork. Heavy card (420g) outer sleeve. Black poly-lined inners. Transparent ice-blue vinyl (140g). There’s nothing quite like a re-issue to make you remember why you were so blown away with an artist the first time around and this new vinyl edition of 'Cold Water Music' does just that. Aim’s debut back in 1999, shifted over 100,000 copies on mere word-of-mouth and a listen to it again, seventeen years on, only serves to show why it got passed around. It’s a startling work of soul and hip-hop, packed with heartbreakers like the ever beautiful Sail, epic moments such as the mammoth title track, and fine breaks like the aptly named 'True To Hip Hop'.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: For me, this is one of the albums that really sums up Manchester at the end of the last millennium. Feel good hip hop, I can't help but smile when I listen to it.

    McKinley Dixon

    For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her

    Richmond, Virginia-based artist McKinley Dixon has always used his music as a tool for healing, exploring, and unpacking the Black experience in order to create stories for others like him. For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her, Dixon’s debut album on Spacebomb, is the culmination of a journey where heartbreak and introspection challenged him to adapt new ways of communicating physically and mentally, as well as across time and space. The language accessibility aspect of this project draws right back to communication and connecting,”

    Dixon explains. “I think about the messaging, and how this can be a way for another Black person, someone who looks like me, to listen to this and process the past. Everything I've learned about communication for this album culminates with this bigger question about time. Is time linear when you’re still healing and processing? Westerners look at time travel as something to conquer or control—it's a colonizer mindset. That’s ignoring how time travel can be done through stories and non-verbal communication, and doesn't acknowledge how close indigenous people are to the land and the connections groups have because they’ve existed somewhere for so long. Storytelling is time travel, it's taking the listener to that place. Quick time travel. Magic.” Never relying solely on beats, Dixon taps into a hybrid of jazz and rap, pulling in an array of piercing strings, soulful horns, percussion, and angelic vocalists throughout the album—plus features by Micah James, Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon, Pink Siifu, and more. Jazz instrumentals add a level of uncertainty, with the sounds and shifts evoking a lot of emotion and vulnerability.

    It’s an energy he describes as “Pre-Kendrick Lamar To Pimp A Butterfly,” the era when rap adopted more live instrumentation. The best way to sum up this album is: I was sad, I was mad, and now I’m alive,” Dixon explains. “These things I talk about on the record have had harmful and brilliant effects on my timeline, and have forced me to be cognizant of the fact that living is complex. Rap has allowed me the language to communicate, and be someone who can communicate with people from all over. Knowing how far I’ve come, I think people will find trust in the message I’m sending.”

    TRACK LISTING

    1 Chain Sooo Heavy
    2 Never Will Know
    3 Bless The Child
    4 Make A Poet Black
    5 Protective Styles
    6 Swangin’
    7 Brown Shoulders
    8 B.B.N.E
    9 Grown Man Voice
    10 Mama’s Home
    11 Twist My Hair

    Group Home

    Livin Proof

    Jamal Felder aka Melachi The Nutcracker and James Heath aka Lil' Dap are a duo from New York City who first appeared in the hip hop world as guests on Gang Starr's 'Daily Operation' and 'Hard To Earn' albums. They went on to put out six well received albums and work with the legendary DJ Premier on production. These two tunes come from their debut record and were two of the best. 'Livin Proof' has the edgy synth sounds, the deep and dusty beats and deft scratching which are all pure 90s but still resonate. On the reverse, 'Supastar' is a more party starting feel good jam with plenty of atmosphere and catchy hooks.

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. Livin Proof
    B1. Supastar

    Jay Z

    Empire State Of Mind / 99 Problems

    Lil Static Records has a reputation for delivering light touch rubs of classic hip-hop jams. The basic idea is to slightly beef up and tweak much-loved hip-hop faves while also making them slightly more DJ-friendly. That appears to be the case with their latest "45", which reps two stone cold classics from Mr Beyonce himself, Jay-Z. On the A-side you'll find a fine - if very similar - version of Alicia Keys hook-up 'Empire State of Mind', a colossal hit from the tail end of the last decade. Over on the flip the mysterious crew subtly tweaks Black Album favourite '99 Problems', in the process making a fuzzy, percussive classic even more scuzzy and low-slung.

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. Empire State Of Mind
    B1. 99 Problems

    Vaughan Mason / Bad Bascomb

    Bounce Rock Skate Roll / Black Grass

    Good news for giddy kippers all over, the Breaks & Beats 7" series returns this week with another two Bboy classics, given the slight adjustment for extended ecstasy. Volume 10 sees Vaughan Mason's roller-disco classic "Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll" looped up and suped up, backed with a cheeky extension of break-heavy country funker "Black Grass" by Bad Bascomb. Get yer lino!

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. Vaughn Mason - Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll
    B1. Bad Bascomb - Black Grass

    Some more classic hip-hop action on the cheekily-named Old Chilin' label, this time courtesy of D.I.T.C crew member Omar Credle AKA O.C. Many fans of golden-era hip-hop may already be familiar with 1994 gem 'Born To Live', a Buckwild-produced jam that also features vocal contributions from Pharoahe Monch and Roc Raida. The full vocal version - or at least the "Rap Edit" version prepared for radio stations - resides on the A side and sees Credle spitting atmospheric, largely positive rhymes atop a snappy, head-nodding beat, deep bass and some deliciously jazzy instrumental samples. The quality of Buckwild's production, and the weightiness of the beats in particular, can be further enjoyed on the flipside instrumental take.

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. Born To Live (vocal
    B1. Born To Live (instrumental) 

    Jorja Smith

    Be Right Back

      Jorja Smith returns to announce a new 8-track project, the first body of work from Jorja since her 2019 critically-acclaimed, Mercury Prize nominated debut album 'Lost & Found', for which she won her second BRIT Award for 'Best Female' and earned herself a nomination for 'New Artist' at the GRAMMY Awards.

      The project finds Jorja delivering some of the most emotive and imaginative songs of her career. Over string-heavy production, she unveils a collection of songs that are diverse in their range but still extremely cohesive as a body of work - "It's called be right back because it's just something I want my fans to have right now, this isn't an album and these songs wouldn't have made it. If I needed to make these songs, then someone needs to hear them too." - Jorja says of the project.

      To coincide with the announcement, Jorja is sharing new single 'Gone.' Highly anticipated, Smith states that "There's something about being able to write about one thing and for it to mean so many different things to others. I love that this song, well any of my songs really, will be interpreted in different ways, depending on the experiences of the people listening. This one is just me asking why people have to be taken from us."

      'Gone' follows in the footsteps of Jorja's stunning March release 'Addicted', which also appears on 'Be Right Back', alongside 6 additional unheard tracks including a feature from rising South London rapper, Shaybo on track 3, 'Bussdown'.

      Over the past three years, Smith has been celebrated unanimously across the world for her evocative song-writing, powerful delivery, pure emotion and unbridled talent as a young woman navigating her way through the world. Smith has graced multiple magazine covers, performed at awards ceremonies and on late night TV, and sold out shows across the globe, now surpassing over one billion global streams. Her 2019 hit single 'Be Honest' featuring Burna Boy has become her biggest song to date at almost 250M streams worldwide.


      TRACK LISTING

      1. Addicted
      2. Gone
      3. Bussdown (feat. Shaybo)
      4. Time
      5. Home
      6. Burn
      7. Digging
      8. Weekend


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