NatNaiel - "C.A.N."
I always get excited when a new artist emerges from New Jersey. NatNaiel might be onto something here, and people need to start paying attention now. "The industry is saying you should make that sound / that one hit wonderwall, I'ma break that down," he says on this new track, "C.A.N." I've heard a few songs from NatNaiel and they've been great. His Pizza mixtape showed a lot of potential, and then I hadn't heard anything. I'm glad he's back, and this horn-heavy new cut is a great re-introduction to Hip Hop. It's laid back and cool like the acronym suggests (it stands for "Cool Ass N----"), with NatNaiel musing about his present and his future. This track is part of Nat's Monday release series, so check the internets for another one tomorrow, and the Monday after that. - Kathy Iandoli (kath3000)
The Purist featuring Big Twins, Havoc & Sean Price - "Cold Hearts"
Hopefully this video for producer The Purist's "Cold Hearts" which cuts up scenes from 2001's Ichi The Killer gets back to the film's director Takashi Miike. Since the Japanese maestro spends hours perfecting scenes involving fecal drownings and hurricane strength lactation he probably cheers on things like copyright infringement. Therefore "Cold Hearts" is the perfect pitch as to why Miike should diversify even more than he already has and begin directing American Hip Hop videos. Lyrical slaughter often needs a backdrop of literal slaughter like the kind on display here: our favorite man-child hitman Ichi is sicced on a rogue Yakuza underboss who dresses like Liberace, gets off on pain and sees death as the ultimate orgasm. (Possibly the reason for the film's wretch-inducing opening credits in semen.) Havoc and Sean Price have ripped through the East-meet-West sounds on the Wu Chamber Music albums but with this video the "East" is no longer fluid hand-to-hand combat outside a serene Shaolin temple but S&M dungeons, duffel bags full of Yen, bodies sliced in half by razor sneakers and death-by-deep frying oil. But what holds this all together are the dank spacey sounds of the Purist. The London beatmaker's use of Dubstep sounds like bass wobbles are restrained in a way that is very refreshing and gives a sinister vibe to the rhymes. On second thought maybe we can just put the idea of a Miike and Nas collab on hold and get The Purist over to Japan to score Audition 2? - Michael Sheehan
Grande Marshall featuring Asad - "Boathouse Row"
A lot of folks here in Philadelphia have been talking about Grande Marshall. The Fool's Gold artist from the City of Brotherly love in the latest in a Hip Hop renaissance in the legendary landscape. This smoky sampling, "Boathouse Row," pulled me in—much like the way the title landmark did to me when I moved here 11+ years ago. Marshall's references about Crown Fried Chicken, dimebags and the hum of the city stand tall as accurate images. Asad's guest-shot holds its own too. This felt like Philathadelph Pilot Talk to me, and Grande Marshall stays on the radar—as Fool's Gold's knack for currating dope is fully in tact, though I wish this was on Loosies. - Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine)