Vinny Cha$e - "Harlem Roses"
I've been checking for Vinny Cha$e recently, and I'm really convinced he could be a major player in the coming year. This song grabs a haunting Faces On Film sample that delivers this dark vibe to the track. Then Vinny enters and just straight spits. Cha$e has a ballsy flow - even referencing the suicide of Kurt Cobain. He's bold, he's fresh, and he's definitely the shape of what's to come in Hip Hop. This track opens The Golden Army, but the rest of the project is equally intriguing. I think I've found my new favorite rapper of 2013. - Kathy Iandoli (@kath3000)
Homeboy Sandman - "Richardsun"
Stones Throw Records is a label that's doing things right for the digital age. It's now about selling merchandise to the true fans - the cult following - by serving up limited edition releases, remix projects and tracks on alternate formats like this week's 10th anniversary split seven-inch featuring a B-side from Homeboy Sandman. The track samples the main theme for Dario Argento's Suspiria by one of my all time favorite bands, the '70s Italian Prog-Rock outfit Goblin. I'm always psyched to hear when one of their songs are flipped but unfortunately in most of the past instances the rhymes are usually upstaged by the beat. Scratch that with this week's "Richardsun." Homeboy Sandman rules over the track with rhymes that need to be heard rather than transcribed since the track is basically one long highlight reel. Calling his bars fluid is an understatement as he's able to turn on a dime from humorous pop culture references to plot points drenched in darkness, sex and violence. Exactly the kind that would make Dario Argento proud. - Michael Sheehan
Dee Goodz & The Kickdrums - "Higher"
In the last three years, The Kickdrums have become one of my favorite bands. Their album, mixtapes and free projects never cease to amaze me, and have won over many a set of virgin ears that've stepped into my car when things are playing. Moreover, they've made some excellent music with respected and established Hip Hop artists, such as Slaughterhouse, Freddie Gibbs and Rapper Big Pooh. Lately, they've helped bring some dimension to buzzing artists. Nashville, Tennessee's Dee Goodz had been on my radar for sometime, due to our formerly Ca$hville-based Editor-At-Large Omar Burgess (@OmarBurgess). However, this instrumental backdrop on "Higher" allowed to feel I really got to know Dee, and hear his story in a new light. The theme might be simple, but the music is deeply enduring. As much as I hated "Rap Rock" in the late '90s, I really hope a major label considers The Kickdrums, because even though the Brothers Fitts play guitars and keys, they are some of the best producers of Rap music that aren't getting their propers. - Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine)