Category Archives: The Latest Playlist

The Latest Playlist: 2021 Notable Tracks Part V


lojii – keep_it_real

Theravada – Chance of Flurries

The Alchemist ft. Pink Siifu & Maxo – Holy Hell

Moor Mother ft. BFLY – Vera Hall

Chester Watson – Sunbeam

Blvck Svm – Moses

K.A.A.N. – Momentum

Evidence ft. Navy Blue – Pray With an A

Benny the Butcher ft. Conway the Machine & Rick Hyde – Pyrex Picasso

illmac – HELL IF I DON’T CHANGE MY WAYS

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Artist Appreciation Post: Open Mike Eagle

The Latest Playlist: Open Mike Eagle

*Track listing at bottom of post


Check the latest playlist to hear my favorite tracks from one of the most unique emcees over the past 12 years.

Open Mike Eagle has built a successful career on making unconventional rap music. Nobody raps like OME. His authentic personality shines through his music, highlighting both his dry sense of humor and clever takes on social observations. Much of his writing feels like unfiltered but deeply considered journaling that’s often decorated with irony and satire.  

Open Mike Eagle has had a highly productive career to date, releasing solo projects on a yearly basis since 2010. Early in his career he coined the fitting phrase/sub-genre of “Art Rap” in reference to his work.  His full body of work illustrates not only his growth as a musician but as a person, in a way that is more revealing than most. His lyrical content isn’t the only part of his music that is unique. OME continues to sound different. He delivers most of his verses in a smooth mellow tone that comes off conversational or contemplative, at times singing through portions of songs.

To refer to OME as strictly a rapper would be incredibly shortsighted. Open Mike Eagle has developed into not only a versatile musician, but also a prolific entertainer. He does a great deal of podcasting, comedy, and even performs as a wrestler. He recently acquired his own show on BET & Comedy Central titled The New Negroes, in which he and Baron Vaughn host a series of black comedians, capped with music videos of some truly iconic Open Mike Eagle collaborations, including DOOM, Danny Brown, Method Man and more.

Open Mike Eagle has been in my top 5 for 10 years, and none of his releases have disappointed. He doesn’t show any signs of decline in his work, and I continue to look forward to his next projects.


Notable OME Music Videos

Celebrity Reduction Prayer

Hymnal

Unfiltered


The Latest Playlist: Open Mike Eagle

Open Mike Eagle – I Rock

Open Mike Eagle – Last Night

Open Mike Eagle – One Day

Open Mike Eagle feat. Gold Panda – Ziggy Starfish (Anxiety Raps)

Open Mike Eagle & Paul White – Smiling (Quirky Race Doc)

Open Mike Eagle & Jeremiah Jae – A History of Modern Dance

Open Mike Eagle feat. Sammus – Hymnal

Open Mike Eagle – Microfiche

Open Mike Eagle – Wtf is Self Care

Open Mike Eagle – The Financial Crisis That Wouldn’t Go Away

Open Mike Eagle feat. P.O.S. – Why Pianos Break

Open Mike Eagle – Qualifiers

Open Mike Eagle – Dark Comedy Late Show

Open Mike Eagle – Apologies

Open Mike Eagle – Rent Party Revolution (Taco Neck Remix)

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The Latest Playlist: Best of 2013


Captain Murphy feat. Viktor Vaughn, Earl Sweatshirt and Thundercat – Between Villains

Run The Jewels – A Christmas Fucking Miracle

Richie Branson – Into Antiquity (12,000 B.C.)

Billy Woods – Tinseltown

The Doppelgangaz – Barbiturates

Danny Brown feat. Charli XCX – Float On

Mac Miller – The Star Room

Lorn – Bury Your Brother

Open Mike Eagle – Apologies

KA – Kinghthood

L’Orange & Stik Figa – Blind Tiger

Milo – Folk-Metaphysics

First Light – Los Lobos

Quasimoto – Planned Attack

CZARFACE – Hazmat Rap

Hieroglyphics – Golden

Paranom & Purpose – Rise Above

Black Milk – Monday’s Worst

Blame One & J57 feat. Akie Bermiss – They Don’t Know

JJ DOOM – Guv’nor (BADBADNOTGOOD Version)

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The Latest Playlist: 2021 Notable Tracks Part III


Kota the Friend & Statik Selektah – Hate

Peter Rosenberg feat. Meyhem Lauren – Words of Meyhem

Benny the Butcher & 38 Spesh feat. Heem – Long Story Short

Benny the Butcher & Harry Fraud – Live by It

BROCKHAMPTON – THE LIGHT

Uno Hype – Here We Are

Casey Veggies – Cold Game

Sideshow feat. MAVI – Sheets and Funnel Agenda

Awon & Phoniks feat. Kid Abstrakt – The Cool Out

Prince Shakir – The Kids Turned out Fine!

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Artist Appreciation Post: Murs

The Latest Playlist: Murs

*Track listing at bottom of post


Check the latest playlist to hear my favorite tracks from one of the most important artists in independent hip-hop over the past 20 years.

Murs has dropped new music every year since 1997 through solo and collaborative projects (Living Legends, Felt, Murs & 9th Wonder, etc.). As an emcee he’s an exceptional storyteller that consistently promotes peace, love, and LA pride, and has provided fans with countless classics.  

His contribution to hip-hop goes far beyond his music. As an advocate of independent hip-hop, he’s worked tirelessly on a wide range of projects and collaborations aimed at promoting other independent hip-hop artists, most notably his annual “Paid Dues” festival that he organized from 2006-2013, in which he showcased most of the significant independent artists of that time. 

I’ve been a fan for many years and have been exposed to a lot of great hip-hop music either by or through Murs. He doesn’t get near the amount of credit he deserves, but independent hip-hop wouldn’t be what it is today without him.

https://mursraps.com/


The Latest Playlist: Murs

Murs & 9th Wonder – Bad Man!

Murs & 9th Wonder – God Black/Black God

Murs & 9th Wonder – Funeral for a Killer

Murs – My Story

Murs – Love You Like This

Felt – Morris Day

Murs – A Lean Story

Murs & 9th Wonder – D.S.W.G. (Dark Skinned White Girls)

Murs & Fashawn feat. Adrian – This Generation

Murs – Skatin Through the City

Murs & 9th Wonder – L.A.

Felt – Don’t Do Me Like That

Murs & DJ.Fresh – Regulator

Murs – 4 the Record

Murs – Varsity Blues

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The Latest Playlist: Best of 2014


Run The Jewels – Lie, Cheat, Steal

Lakutis – Mumra

Step Brothers feat. Roc Marciano – See the Rich Man Play

Mello Music Group feat. Quelle Chris – Going Swell

Black Milk feat. Mel – Everyday Was

J. Cole – No Role Modelz

Hashfinger – Blue Mirage

Chuuwee – Cool World

PremRock – Lens

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Deeper

People Under the Stairs – Cool Story Bro

Anti-Lilly & Phoniks – Young G (Phoniks Remix)

Open Mike Eagle – Sadface Penance Raps

Cities Aviv – Perpetuate the Real

Black Knights – Sword in Stone

Willie the Kid & Bronze Nazareth feat. Roc Marciano – Avalon

The Grouch – My Best Teacher

Busdriver – Eat Rich

Intuition & Equalibrum – Weight Is Gone

L’Orange feat. Boog Brown – Until The Fall

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2020 In Review

Below are some of my favorite hip-hop highlights of 2020. Check the following playlists, albums, and videos for my personal recap of the year.


The Latest Playlist: 2020

*Track listing at bottom of post


Noteworthy 2020

Griselda Records

For hip-hop in 2020, the crown belongs to Griselda Records. Label founder Westside Gunn, brother Conway the Machine, and cousin Benny the Butcher have been creating plenty of buzz over the last few years, but in 2020 they made a statement. With 5 albums between the 3 of them, a debut album by their female counterpart Armani Cesar, and a Griselda-released mixtape from the tremendously productive Boldy James, 2020 has been Griselda’s most productive year to date.

Despite making a sudden splash on the scene, these emcees have been rapping for a long time. While the way they rap is characteristically unique in it’s graphic descriptions and hard-hitting punch lines, their music has a foundation in a classic style of hip-hop, garnering them no shortage of praise from hip-hop legends across the map.

Through expert storytelling, Griselda artists include explicit details of criminal activities, and while they don’t necessarily glorify the lifestyle, they are not in the least bit apologetic. They don’t shy away from rapping about the details of their lives before rap fame, the struggle they endured to get here today, or boasting on their success that could only have come from unwavering perseverance.

One of the most compelling stylistic features of Griselda artists is their footing in a Mafioso aesthetic. This theme runs through all label members, and is one of the notable characteristics that unify them as a collective. It is not surprising that Griselda has been referred to as “the next Wu-Tang Clan”, which has been recognized even by members of the Wu-Tang Clan themselves. This claim is not just an acknowledgement of success in 2020, but an understanding that Griselda is set to be an iconic generational influence on the culture.

Lo-Fi Lethargic Raps

Over the past 5-7 years there has been a growing sub-genre of hip-hop characterized by low-energy rapping over lo-fi, sample-central beats. Counter to stereotypical rap braggadocio, artists in this style write more genuinely introspective. Despite their lethargic leaning tone, they write in a way that is both deeply expressive and seemingly therapeutic. The consistent themes are self-reflection and social observation from an introverted perspective.

The beats can be easily digestible, or in many cases can break rhythmic norms, providing an embrace of dystopian aesthetic. This approach gives the artists flexibility to maintain a refreshing level of unpredictability. It may not be a coincidence that 2020 was such prolific year for this style of hip-hop, being a year defined by isolation, depression, and dystopia.

I often refer to this style of hip-hop as “the other mumble rap”. While this sounds nothing like the commonly referred to sub-genre of mumble rap, these artists undeniably rap in a way that could be described as mumbling, but are nonetheless far more articulate as lyricists. There have been about a dozen or more notable artists operating successfully within this style, and while there is a common thread connecting them all, each has their own unique stylistic contribution. Above are 6 projects within this style from 2020 that I recommend from Medhane, MIKE, Redveil, Demahjiae, Chester Watson, and Navy Blue.

Boldy James Banner Year

I’ve declined to explicitly choose an album of the year for 2020, but if any artist should be recognized for their productivity it would have to be Boldy James. This year James dropped 3 collaborative projects with The Alchemist, Sterling Toles, and Real Bad Man, as well as a mixtape released by none other than Griselda Records (The Versace Tape).

Boldy James has been on the scene for over a decade, but his presence has never been more prolific than it was in 2020. Between the 4 projects, Boldy generously delivered 47 tracks (not including features), easily making 2020 his banner year. Despite the abundance of production, he didn’t cut corners. There are almost no intros or skits, and The Price of Tea in China & Real Bad Boldy are legitimate contenders for album of the year.

Like other Griselda artists, Boldy is a great storyteller, and his laid back flow guides the listener through a mesmerizing tour of illicit struggle raps. Each project has a different producer and corresponding sound, demonstrating James’ versatility and ability to adapt without compromising his own style.      

Check out other notable albums from: Apollo Brown & Che Noir, Armand Hammer, Clipping., Denzel Curry x Kenny Beats, Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist, R.A.P. Ferreira, Run The Jewels, Sa-Roc, and Statik Selektah.


Notable Videos of 2020

Anderson .Paak feat. Jay Rock – Lockdown

Run The Jewels feat. Greg Nice & DJ Premier – Ooh LA LA

D Smoke feat. Jackie Gouche’ – Black Habits I

Spillage Village feat. EARTHGANG, JID, Jurdan Bryant, Mereba, Hollywood JB – End of Daze

Princess Nokia – Gemini

Royce Da 5’9″ on The L.A. Leakers

Benny The Butcher on The L.A. Leakers

Symba on The L.A. Leakers


The Latest Playlist 2020

Conway the Machine feat. DeJ Loaf – Fear Of God

Boldy James & Real Bad Man – Street Shit

serengeti – parisian romance

Evidence – Unlearning

MIKE – More Gifts

K.A.A.N. – Breakthrough

REASON feat. Rapsody – I Can Make It

Apollo Brown & Che Noir – Freedom

Black Thought feat. C.S. Armstrong & OSHUN – We Could Be Good

redveil – Campbell

Jack Harlow – Keep It Light

R.A.P. Ferreira – Mythical

$ilkMoney – Not the Cat Y’all Saw Yesterday

Statik Selektah feat. Bobby Sessions – Immortal

Sa-Roc – Gold Leaf

D Smoke – Rapture

Joell Ortiz & KXNG Crooked – Caddy Bump (LBC)

Grafh – Anonymous

clipping. – Say the Name

Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats – Pyro (leak 2019)

Knxwledge – Gangstallthetime

Benny the Butcher feat. DOM KENNEDY – Over The Limit

Meyhem Lauren & Harry Fraud – Yucca

Preservation feat. Roc Marciano – Medicine Drawer

Willie the Kid – Dirty Game

Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist – 1985

Chuuwee – Knocked Off

Chester Watson feat. Salami Rose Joe Louis – Atlantis

demahjiae – Divinity

Anderson .Paak – Lockdown

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The Latest Playlist: 2014-2015 Gems


Chuuwee – Cool World

Black Knights feat. Kinetic – Techniques & Shockwaves

BamFoe – Death Do Us Part

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Deeper

Murs – Skatin Through the City

Mick Jenkins – Alchemy

Sa-Roc – Goddess Lament

L’Orange feat. Boog Brown – Until The Fall

Milo feat. Myka 9 – Zen Scientist

Step Brothers feat. Roc Marciano – See the Rich Man Play

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2019 In Review

Below are some of my favorite hip-hop highlights of 2019. Check the following playlists, albums, and videos for my personal run-down of the year.


The Latest Playlist: 2019

*Track listing at bottom of post


Notable Albums of 2019

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana

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The most universally accepted rap album of 2019 was Bandana from Freddie Gibbs & Madlib. Legendary producer Madlib brings some of his finest work to this highly active Bandana instrumental. The samples are chosen brilliantly and blended masterfully, contributing layers of drama and grandeur to Freddie Gibbs’ tales of criminal lifestyle. Gibbs raps about life struggles through the lens of his experiences in illicit activities, primarily drug dealing. He provides generously detailed stories and references of past experiences with criminal activity, women, and law enforcement. Though he raps with the demeanor of an experienced member of organized crime, Gibbs doesn’t shy away from expressing his emotional state as he describes struggles he experiences as a result of his lifestyle. It is not at all lost in his message that his involvement in criminal activity is born out of a struggle to survive in an environment that doesn’t care if he succeeds, fails, lives, or dies. With outstanding production and heavy descriptive lyrics, Bandana is already considered a classic.

Billy Woods & Kenny Segal – Hiding Places

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For years Billy Woods has been one of the most prolific emcees in the subgenre of abstract hip hop; 2019 was his banner year. Hiding Places represents a thoroughly developed and sophisticated Woods on the dark beats and crushing drums of his perfect producer counterpart: Kenny Segal. Hiding Places from Billy Woods & Kenny Segal is not an album for passive listening. Over the course of this project, Woods weaves in and out of fragmented thoughts, metaphor, memories and tangents. This is a deeply personal and emotional Woods, as he speaks passionately in heavy reflection of his childhood and life experiences. There is a fine line between rapping and spoken word, and Woods is constantly playing with that line. The overall aesthetic of this collaboration is dark, ominous, aggressive, and a bit uncomfortable. Hiding Places can be off-putting at first, but listening to this project in its entirety is a truly captivating experience. I also recommend checking out Billy Woods’ other 2019 release: Terror Management.

Kota the Friend – Foto

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The album I listened to the most in 2019 was Foto from Kota the Friend. Kota the Friend has to be the most genuinely humble emcee out. Foto is not a complex album musically, conceptually, or otherwise, but it is a true gem for fans of boom bap conscious rap. Through mellow melodic delivery Kota speaks frankly about his life, relationships, and the importance of family. Kota is nearly void of rap braggadocio. The occasional boasting is done with a subtlety that points more towards a comfort in himself rather than any self-righteous arrogance. Foto is highly optimistic from front to back, and Kota speaks from a place of content and joy, consciously leaving hardships in his past. The beats are simple but solid. People looking for more innovative styles and sounds might find the album a bit repetitive, but I personally cant get enough of it.

Check out other Notable Albums from: Rapsody, Dreamville, EarthGang, Anderson .Paak, Mavi, Little Simz, YBN Cordae


Notable Videos of 2019

Freddie Gibbs – Fake Names

Little Simz – Venom

Tierra Whack – Unemployed

Tobe Nwigwe feat. Paul Wall – Juice

YBN Cordae feat. Aanderson .Paak – RNP

Boogie on Sway’s Universe

King Los on Power 106

Open Mike Eagle feat. Danny Brown – Unfiltered (Comedy Central/The New Negroes)


The Latest Playlist 2019

Little Simz – Venom

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Fake Names

Qari & Greenslime – Operation Hennessy

Rapsody – Serena

CRIMEAPPLE & DJ Skizz – Wet Dirt

YBN Cordae – Wintertime

Mach-Hommy feat. Tha God Fahim – Mozambique Drill

Flying Lotus – Andromeda

Tobe Nwigwe feat. Lanell Grant – Caged Birds

Anoyd & Statik Selektah – Purple

Kill Bill x Rav feat. Rekcahdam – Now you don’t

Kota the Friend – Sedona

Danny Brown – Best Life

Dreamville & JID feat. T.I. – Ladies, Ladies, Ladies

Kemba feat. Portugal, The Man – The Feels

MAVI – Love, Of Money

Maxo – Time

Medhane – Affirmation #1

Hemlock Ernst & Kenny Segal – Back at the House

Slowthai – Crack

Apollo Brown feat. Nolan The Ninja & Dopehead – Skimmin’

Homeboy Sandman – Step Inside

Your Old Droog – Train Love

Earl Sweatshirt – MTOMB

Billy Woods feat. Mach-Hommy – Windhoek

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2018 IN REVIEW

Below are some of my favorite hip-hop highlights of 2018. Check the following playlists, albums, music videos, cyphers, and rap battles for my personal run-down of the year.


The Latest Playlist: 2018

*Track listing at bottom of post


Notable Albums of 2018

Avantdale Bowling Club – Avantdale Bowling Club

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New Zealand based rapper Tom Scott is backed by a full live band for this collaborative hip-hop jazz-fusion project. The sound is raw, high-energy, and feels completely improvisational. The tracks are very long and have multiple jazzy instrumental sections that transition from one sound to the next, making 8 tracks sound like at least a dozen songs. Scott’s ability to keep up with the band while maintaining clear vocal projection is one of his most impressive qualities. With each musical transition, Scott manages to adapt the style of his flow to the band. His lyrics are not especially complex, but they come off as commendably honest and personal. Scott raps primarily about his own personal experiences and memories, which are often accompanied by vivid descriptions. He also raps about friends, relationships, and other aspects of his life, at times progressing into unorganized contemplative tangents.

Black Thought – Streams of Thought Vol. 1 & 2

streams-of-thoughtblack-thought-streams-of-thought-2

In his first major solo project, 47-year-old veteran MC and The Roots front man, Black Thought blessed 2018 with a 2-part project that made clear he is still in his prime. Thought plays the role of an elder instructor with every bit of vigor from his youth. Commanding attention with his powerful cadence, every line is delivered like it’s for a packed stadium. Vol. 1 was a June release primarily produced by 9th Wonder that served as an explosive re-introduction of who Black Thought is and what he’s about. Black Thought is uncompromisingly conscious and ultra-political, frequently referencing history, spirituality, and current events from local to global levels. Vol. 2 was a late November release produced by Salaam Remi, and debatably album of the year. With the same energy and intentions in Vol. 1, Vol. 2 was a platform for Thought to get into more specific issues, such as the pharmaceutical industry, industrial prison complex, school shootings, and gang violence to name a few. This is classic hip-hop with clean production. For any old heads in 2018, Streams of Thought Vol. 1 & 2 are true gems.

Earl Sweatshirt – Some Rap Songs

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Only 3 years after his last release, Earl Sweatshirt sounds like he has aged a decade. Despite the album title, this is Earl’s most stylistically and conceptually cohesive project to date. The entire album carries a lethargic dystopian energy as Earl raps with a low muffled tone over mostly uplifting, dusty lo-fi samples. Over 15 very short songs, Earl offers admirably genuine pictures of his life and psychological condition. Despite the undertones of depression, he presents himself as sarcastically optimistic or at least apathetic. Most of his expressive content is not direct, but layered in metaphor and wordplay.

Jericho Jackson – Khrysis & Elzhi are Jericho Jackson

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This project is another gem for classic heads. Renowned independent rapper Elzhi flexes clever east cost lyricism over headnodic beats that feel like the cold winter streets of New York City. Throughout the project Elzhi delivers an onslaught of continuous wordplay, creative punch lines and metaphors. Despite the lyrical density, his message is crystal clear, which is in a word, ‘struggle’. He makes clear that his life has been dangerous and difficult, that he has little trust for anyone, that he is “Self Made” and as an underground veteran, has worked for everything he’s earned. Elzhi is often known for his proudly Nas-influenced style, which is expectedly evident in this project. In a way Jericho Jackson feels a bit like a classic Nas album.

Check out other Notable Albums from: Armand Hammer, Jay Rock, Jean Grae & Quelle Chris, JID, Mick Jenkins, Milo, and Noname.


Notable Videos of 2018

Childish Gambino – This Is America

Jay Rock – The Bloodiest

JID – Working Out

Earthgang – Up

Mick Jenkins – What Am I To Do

Iron Solomon vs Rum Nitty 

Chris Webby on Sway


The Latest Playlist 2018

Black Milk – Could It Be

Saba – LIFE

Michael Christmas feat. Tobi Lou – Not the Only One

Mick Jenkins – Gwendolynn’s Apprehension

JID – 151 Rum

JPEGMAFIA – 1539 N. Calvert

Roc Marciano – Power

Mayhem Lauren feat. Conway – Venetian Loafers

Action Bronson – Prince Charming

The Skull Eclipses, Botany & Lushlife – Take My

Avantdale Bowling Club – F(r)iends

Earl Sweatshirt – Azucar

Royce da 5’9” feat. Ashley Sorrell – God Speed

Marlowe – Lost Arts

Bishop Nehru – Driftin’

Jericho Jackson – Self Made

Black Thought – 9th vs. Thought

The Lioness – Great Things

Jean Grae & Quelle Chris feat. Dane Orr – Peacock

Masta Ace & Marco Polo feat. Pearl Gates – Still Love Her

Milo – Mid Answer Trying To Remember What the Question Is

Open Mike Eagle – Southside Eagle

Hermit and the Recluse – Golden Fleece

Evidence feat. Jonwayne – To Make a Long Story Longer

Pete Flux & Parental – Burgermeister

Gavlyn & DJ Hoppa – Note to Self

Chester Watson – Floating

Iojii – Spook Who Sat By Da Floor

Busdriver feat. Dntel & Lorde Fredd33 – The year I became a mutherfuckin’ G

The Alchemist feat. Earl Sweatshirt – E. Coli

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