I remember back in the day when an older kid in the neighbourhood came home from the UK at the end of the summer. He was all decked out in a red Adidas tracksuit and matching shell toes with a fat boombox in tow. It was my initial first-hand interaction with hip hop culture. Initially we scoffed and made up mocking little raps to burn him, unwittingly realizing we were actually actively participation in the movement. It didn’t take long for us to be taken up into the storm of DJs, MCs, Breakers and Graffiti Writers. Hip Hop had been around long before I discovered it, but once I got a taste I was hooked.
Hip Hop today gets a lot of slack for some the directions it has taken. Certain styles both musically and culturally are looked upon as suspect by a lot of the more seasoned heads. And in some cases, for good reason. It’s all part of the evolution. Every genre has an arc that is going to produce bountiful years and then slim pickens the next. Rather than get caught up with what what’s wrong with the scene, let’s shine a light on what’s good.
I’ve been approached on numerous occasions by people with recommendations for some new artists or projects that are worth checking out. To be honest, in those occasions, I’m not sure if I really hit them with the straight goods. But it got me thinking and digging a little deeper. There is probably more dope hip hop being made now than ever before, you just need to learn to navigate through the bullshit to get to the gold. Let me save you some time.
If you are looking for some of that classic east coast boom bap, then Boston’s Statik Selektah has a solid body of work to explore. The DJ/Producer has been in the game for more than a minute and commands a national audience on Sirius XM’s Shady 45. On December 8th you can cop his latest project ‘8’, marking his 8th studio project. His list of guest MCs are always solid and this latest endeavour does not disappoint. Ab-Soul, Jon Conner, Logic, Termanology, The Lox, 2 Chainz, and Wiz Kalifa all bless Statik’s soundscapes. You can peep a few tracks before the whole album is released, and my pick is ‘But You Don’t Hear Me Tho’ featuring The Lox & Mtume. Let the bars and the ivories take you back a few on this gem.
Compton Rapper and Producer Problem is no new comer to the game, first landing on the scene in the late 2000’s and appearing on most people’s radar through E-40’s 2012 single, ‘Function’ along with Iamsu and YG. He has been busy producing albums and almost a dozen mixtapes through the past decade and doesn’t disappoint on his latest offering. Bring some summer vibes into your life and check out ‘Top Off’ featuring Airplane James and that feel good production from the legendary 9th Wonder.
Last but not least is a new jam from one of the most recognizable voices Hip Hop. Busta Rhymes has been assaulting eardrums with his machine gun flow since his days in Leaders Of The New School. This jam reminds me a bit of Jim Jones’ ‘Pop Champagne’, which always takes me back to Toronto and a tour I did with the homey Bobby Pinz aka Greg Campbell, in the late 2000’s. His track ‘Girlfriend’ bumps hard like a good girlfriend should. Peep.
Add these burners to your playlist, dig deeper and explore the extensive bodies of work these artists possess. Hit me up and let me know what you think and feel free to offer some suggestions for future posts. If you’re in the Vancouver area, and looking for production on your next project or a DJ for your next event you can find us at essentialent.ca. Peace!