P.A.T Junior has been active all year in preparation for his LP dropping later this year. To get you guys ready he’s released an EP called “Test Out These Records”. Featuring production from Daniel Steele and J. Pelham and P.A.T Junior himself we get 4 tracks showcasing his ability both on the mic and behind the boards. Don’t box P.A.T Junior in though because he has a number of sounds and personalities to take you through in these four tracks. Stream it below and if you like throw him a couple bones.
Dear Mr. Lif,
Can you give me a minute? I mean, I’m trying to pivot from the song I just heard on the radio (Flo Rida’s “Welcome to My House”) to your new album, “Don’t Look Down”. Can you maybe ease into the album a bit? You know, start off with something laid back. Perhaps you could do a nice little instrumental intro. That would help transition me back into weightier content.
Well, after listening to the first song, “Pounds of Pressure,” I see that Mr. Lif did not get my letter. Geesh! This dude gets right into it. First song out the gate is reminiscent of a grimy, gritty Ghostface Killah street tale. Perhaps the album will calm down a bit on the second track, “The Abyss.” Nope! This song is a continuation of “Pounds of Pressure” and the beat is arguably the most exciting one on the project.
We are only two songs in and already we have something special on our hands. Mr. Lif is a gem. He has a unique voice: both in how his voice actually sounds and in how he delivers his point of view. He doesn’t just put words in motion. He carefully hand selects words, rearranges them in interesting ways, and effortlessly blows them over beats.
I like the beats on this album. I like them, but I think they flirt as the only flaw in the album. They are good and that’s the problem. Mr. Lif is light years beyond good. There are moments where the beats really capture me (i.e. ‘iLL’ & ‘Whizdom’), but overall they only provide the background to Lif’s performance. The nice thing about the production is that it does not get in the way; it is not cluttered. It does not take away from Lif’s skills. I just wish it supported them a bit more.
The features on the other hand definitely support Lif. Early on we hear singing by-way-of hook from Taylormade, Selina Carrera, & Erica Dee. And they all work well. Taylormade offers this beautifully eerie sound, Carrera brings a more demanding jazzy voice, and Dee is gentle and welcoming. Each is unique and adds to the vibe of each song.
Now that we’ve heard the singing features the guest emcees are up to bat and they come out swinging. Blacastan rips a fiery verse at the end of the Edan-produced ‘Whizdom.’ We’ll call it a single. The very next track, “Mission Accomplished” features The Perceptionists with Fakts One on the beat and Akrobatik trading syllables with Lif. Yes, Syllables. Most features these days are not even features. It’s some dude in California recording a verse and e-mailing it to some cat in Chicago. Slap it on a beat and call it collaboration. That’s not the case here. Lif and Akrobatik literally go back and forth sometimes finishing each others’ words. Dope. We have Blacastan, Lif, and Akrobatik, on base: time to bring in the heavy hitter, Del the Funky Homosapien. And the ball is out the park; grand slam. The features on this album from the singers to the emcees are top notch.
Then there is Mr. Lif himself. He is no doubt the best part of this album. His lyrical content is on point like always. Lif has consistently rapped truth to power, challenged the status quo, and told engaging stories throughout his career. “Don’t Look Down” does not deviate. Instead, it adds.
Lif also brings a fresh touch of vulnerability to this album. There seems to be a softening of heart here. Don’t get me wrong; Lif still brings the raw. But, it feels seasoned with tenderness. During the final song “Don’t Look Down” Lif raps, “I’m just trying to make a little sense of it all. Before I fall from walk to crawl to maybe even nothing at all.” When I hear this I can’t help but think that perhaps this entire album is a journey: a journey for deeper meaning in the midst of chaos. Perhaps that is why we are not to look down. Perhaps down can also be the past. It is the known, but not the ideal. It is what feels safe, but entirely too dangerous for us to remain.
Maybe Mr. Lif did receive my letter. He certainly did not begin his new album on a chill note, but by the time I got to the final song, “Don’t Look Down,” I was reclining back peering up into the annals of my life. Then I quickly began thinking about my present and future possibilities. I smiled. Huh. Perhaps I won’t look down again.
P.A.T Junior has been giving us snippets and previews of everything he’s been working on this year in prep for his LP slated to drop later this year. However with a slight change of plans the North Carolina artist will be dropping an EP to get you ready for the full-length. The second single from said EP is “There’s A Cooler Way!”. This track features Pat’s BLCKCNVS member TheDeeepEnd and the song is just about that keeping your cool regardless of circumstances. Peep the track and tell me what you think of the track in the comments section below.
Last November Sheisty Khrist and LoFidel came together to give us “Cold Winter” a unique record from a production standpoint and lyrical standpoint given the juggernaut that is Sheisty Khrist. Reeling off the success of that record Kno of Cunninlynguists and J-Live have remixed a couple joints from the album that will be released on vinyl. We get a sample of that today in Kno’s remix of “Havana Nights” which features Natti from Cunninlynguists. I won’t spoil any of it so peep the track below and be ready for the remix singles to drop tomorrow.
Krum (fka Playdough) has gone through multiple stages in his 14 year solo career. But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about Krum and Rob Viktum’s new album “Bare Knuckle Gospel” and today I have the first video “Abraham’s Nephew’s Wife”. Krum lets it all out in this over a beautiful beat by Rob Viktum. The black and white visuals fit the grainy vinyl crackle that backs the track. Sampling gospel, Viktum gives this track a blues tone and the personal lyrics from Krum have my ears perked for its release April 28th. For now peep the video and the check out the tracklist below. “Bare Knuckle Gospel” comes to us courtesy of RappersIKnow.
Krum & Rob Viktum
“Bare Knuckle Gospel”
4/28 on RappersIKnow.com
Suitcases and Passports
The Rain Come (feat. Jabee)
Before The Monsters Came
Nineveh (feat. Denmark Vessey)
Abraham’s Nephew’s Wife
The Real Question
International hip-hop group Scribbling Idiots have returned with their 3rd LP “Good Morning Mourning”. After listening to the record, there’s definitely a dark, more introspective and serious tone on this album. That tone shines through in their newest video “Distracted”. JustMe, Wonder Brown and Mouth Warren come with in my opinion some of the most serious verses of their career. I’ll let you decide though. Peep the video up top, let me know what you think in the comments section below and if you like what you hear you can pre-order the album HERE.
With Spring slowly creeping its way into the weather people are looking for joints to bump in the whip and to bump on the weekends. Enter Atlantian emcees Jusgee and KasFlow with “Never Lost” produced by BNJMN. Both emcees are coming for necks and making it known that 2016 is their year. This track comes off of the “Elevator Music” EP. No release date has been announced yet but keep it locked here for updates.
Mello Music Group’s triumph in this era of hip-hop continues, my personal favorite group from MMG has returned…Ugly Heroes. Made up of Red Pill, Verbal Kent on the rhymes and Apollo Brown on the beats, after two fantastic releases we’re getting LP #2 from the group. “This World” is the lead single from the group’s new album entitled “Everything in Between”. You can hear the growth in Pill’s and Kent’s music (both dropped multiple solo projects in between the two Ugly Heroes LPs) and in this joint they come right everything that is plaguing our country. Themes of racism, sexual assault, ultraviolence and more are covered in this joint that asks “What is this world coming to?” “Everything in Between” drops June 24th on Mello Music Group.
Mello Music Group has been making it a habit to re-release good hip-hop records that have stood the test of time. The latest in these endeavors is Analog Brothers which is made up of Kool Keith, Ice-T, Pimp Rex, Marc Live and Black Silver. Now I’m not even going to front and pretend I knew about this group before receiving the joint but with the names involved I’m curious. Today I have the first single “We Sleep Days” which features Jacky Jasper. The production is just as weird as to what we’ve become accustomed to from Kool Keith, but hearing these other emcees jump on with him is just nostalgic (seeing as how hip-hop groups is a lost art). Anyway peep the single below, “Pimp to Eat” comes out June 10th.
UK producer Imperial and UK emcee K.I.N.E.T.I.K have come together once again to bring us their sophomore effort “Adventures in Technicolour”. This time the duo has upped the ante, with a more vibrant and colorful soundscape K.I.N.E.T.I.K brings even more life to these songs. Today however I have a single “Travel the Map” which features Mello Music and Diamond District hip-hop artist Oddisee. Imperial made a beat that fits both emcees like a glove. Naturally this is about traveling the world and it’ll put you in a good mood as your Tuesday comes to a close.