Wispers - "Feelin Like"
We premiered this track this week on HipHopDX, off Wispers' mixtape Flight. I have to say, while I'm a fan of Boston Hip Hop, I really thought Wispers was from New York. His gritty delivery, hugged by J. Cardim's high-energy production makes this song a real complete package. While the track is definitely a lyrical exercise, J. Cardim's choice of sampling the People's Court intro gives the cut this air of "serious business" while also remaining fun. Wispers travels through a range of emotions detailing what he's "feelin like," from Michael Jackson's last performance to writing rhymes on the toilet. It's honest, it's overt, it's slick. And I'm all about it. I've never heard of Wispers before this song, but I'm going to be checking for him now. - Kathy Iandoli (@kath3000)
Jeremiah Jae - "Cat Fight"
Brainfeeder producer / emcee Jeremiah Jae is continuing to make it nice and easy for us to not sleep on his phenomenal debut album Raw Money Raps. Although he released it last June, Jae has made the Raw Money experience feel like a living work-in-progress, catching us on the street and giving us a glimpse at one beyond-busted relationship in the video for the Flying Lotus-produced "Cat Fight." Directed by Yahsa Gruben, the video is full of stylization - jump cuts, filters, hopping sun flares - and much like FlyLo's restrained beat, the effects don't upstage the emcee. Instead the editing and creative choices heighten the storytelling and help give Jae's rhymes a palpable quality. In the best use of split screen since Brian DePalma's Sisters, Gruben literally divides the relationship we are hearing about, giving color and voice to each member of the couple but never both simultanaously. (There's a lot of anger and pissing on graves so maybe some monochrome should be on the menu). The same way we feel torn when listening to "Cat Fight," what we see also contradicts the rhymes. Even though it's shrugged off, things look a lot more complicated and deep-seeded than "taking better care of your hoodrats jack..." - Michael Sheehan
Curly Castro - "They Call Me Castro"
This past Tuesday, I broke from writer/editor recluse to attend Curly Castro's FIDEL release party in Philadelphia's Fishtown. My favorite song on the Man Bites Dog Records project is easily "They Call Me Castro." It's "state your name Rap," like the good old days... and the charisma of one artist comes out throughout. The chorus chants "militant," while the verses show a much more complex character. This is autobiographical Hip Hop overtop a scorching Blueprint beat (as great/greater than he's ever supplied another artist). Underground Hip Hop is often really Hardcore lately, or really soft. To me, this had energy, cause, substance and still felt like a get-smart dumb-out. DJBooth has the whole project for free, and I urge any newcomers to listen. - Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine)