Ill Bill featuring El-P - "Severed Heads Of State"
Not a lot has been said or written about Ill Bill's Grimy Awards, which was first announced on New Years Day, 2012. Understandably, as Bill's been busy with La Coka Nostra's sophomore album and his usual surplus of feature work and production. Seemingly out of nowhere, "Severed Heads Of State" emerged last week in video form. The attitude and subject matter is arguably fitting for the final days of Election Season, as the song also marks a really important reunion. El-P produced and is featured on the track, and is the perfect fit. Bill and El ran in the same circles, dating back to the 1990s, and both Brooklyn emcee/producers have built major followings. The collaboration (not their first) reminds fans how much they have in common, as far as delivery and dense songwriting. After L.C.N. and Heavy Metal Kings, this is a nice showing of some of Bill's other approaches and by far, my favorite video of the week. - Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine)
Angel Haze - "Doo Wop (That Thing)"
I was so nervous to even play this track. Being a Lauryn Hill zealot since her days of "Vocab," I couldn't help but be insanely angry at Angel Haze for daring to touch this song. But then I thought to myself, how many newcomers in Rap have touched the work of other artists, and while they may not live up to the classic value of the original cut, they still manage to do their damn thing? So I pressed play, and I was pleasantly surprised. Angel Haze has been dominating the semi-indie female Rap movement over the past year. Her buzz is as intense as her peers like Rapsody and Nitty Scott MC, but their differences are all obvious. On "Doo Wop," Haze doesn't really try to recreate what Lauryn Hill crafted back in '98. It has more of a freestyle value, less of an homage, though its evident that L-Boogie has influenced Haze in many ways. It took a lot for me to play this track, but I'm sure a Roberta Flack fan might have felt the same way when Lauryn knocked "Killing Me Softly" out the ballpark. Here's to taking risks. - Kathy Iandoli (@kath3000)
Lone Ninja featuring Godilla - "Maximum Penalty"
For years, I've been receiving albums from Twin Perils' Lone Ninja in my mailbox. A popular seller at UndergroundHipHop.com (where I often make some purchases), Lone is an enigma by design. Like early Ghostface and late MF DOOM, he protects his facial identity. Like Killarmy, he loves military images. But the Hip Hop itself is right up the alley of any hardcore '90s East Coast fan. "Maximum Penalty" is the latest work in a seemingly non-stop assembly of projects. Lone Ninja keeps the character of Hip Hop alive at a time when everybody wants to be known. The skills speak for themselves and in a particularly grim week for a lot my loved one, this song was something that was upset with me. - Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine)