Underground Hip Hop veterans stole the show this week – to us, anyway. A Canadian Hip Hop pioneer with a longtime star affiliate, a West Coast mainstay, and a remix of one of the best songs from De La Soul’s The Grind Date. With artists like Atmosphere, Tech N9ne and Swollen Members finding mainstream success this year, hopefully our staff’s taste are a sign of overall trends to come.

Saukrates featuring Redman – “Drop It Down”

Many moons ago I used to work at Fat Beats, and the best part of the day was the shift where you got to deejay. Every time I’d get up to spin, I’d open with Saukrates’ “Comin Up.” Don’t ask me why, but it was one of my favorite tracks at the time. The simple horns and Soxx’s flow were just so addictive and reflected an era of Hip Hop where the proverbial “underground” had major label deals and distribution so access to good music wasn’t all that difficult. It was also a time when Canadian Hip Hop was on the come up (Swollen Members, Kardinal Offishall, etc.). So yeah, from that point on I was a major Saukrates fan. I also liked his alliance with Redman. Being a New Jersey native, that always meant alot to me. Well, these two came together again on “Drop It Down.” The gunshot drums and steely snares hooked me the moment I heard the track. Soxx is a musician beyond an emcee and Redman adds just enough fun to the track to make mainstream heads excited. Looking forward to seeing what else Saukrates has up his sleeve. – Kathy Iandoli

Listen to “Drop It Down” by Saukrates featuring Redman

Murs – “Remember 2 Forget”

Since the very beginning of his solo career, Murs has done an exceptional job bringing individual themes and styles to each of his projects. Next month’s Love And Rocketz, Volume 1 not only finds the Living Legends alum working with Jay-Z/Outsidaz/Curren$y hit-maker Ski Beatz on a full-length, it’s being released through BluRoc Records. For the last three months, Murray’s lived in New York and plugged away at the album inspired by love and war – take as you will. This record, with an artistic video, basically is about reminding yourself why you broke up with an ex, allowing you to move forward. The music and the chorus all complement the idea, and this song is a nice track-back to the Murs music that made such that made such a powerful impression on listeners on albums like Varsity Blues, Murray’s Revenge and Sweet Lord. Interestingly enough, a bulk of the October 11 album picks up from this idea. – Jake Paine

Fela Kuti x De La Soul featuring MF DOOM – “Rock Co. Kane Flow”

In 2010 producer Amerigo Gazaway of Gummy Soul had the intriguing idea of laying some De La Soul acapellas over beats built from instrumental samples of Nigerian political / musical icon Fela Kuti. The project titled – no surprise – Fela Soul finally came to fruition this week and while it looks way more logical on paper than this year’s other miracle mash-up Wugazi it feels no less vital.Thanks to Gazaway’s thorough liner notes included as part of the free album download, we are taken through his selection process and sampling decisions when it came to matching the rhymes of the legendary Native Tongues trio with Kuti’s pioneering rhythms. Joining the slept-on trio this week is the Fela’d take on the De La / MF DOOM cut “Rock Co Kane Flow.” Not only is Gazaway’s Afrobeat reinterpretation of Jake One‘s original beat a perfect example of how accommodating Kuti’s “musical weapons” are to Hip Hop rhymes, but the production itself – chopped drum hits and a dusty sax run trailing off behind the beat – makes a great teaser if “MF Kuti” happens to be next on Gazaway’s list. – Michael Sheehan

Listen to “Rock Co. Kane Flow” by Fela Kuti x De La Soul featuring MF DOOM

Check out last week’s Slept-On But Very Dope Hip Hop Songs.