Veteran independent emcees drove the market this week, with artists like Styles P and Dessa cracking the charts. Our own Editorial Staff’s tastes also favored the vets, as another former Rhymesayers Entertainment affiliate struck topical gold for anybody feeling the whole #Occupy movement. Another RSE album-maker had a generational collaboration on his latest works, while a U.K. producer brought a lil’ Gary, Indiana-gangsterism to his own works.
Mac Lethal – “Elect Bill Clinton And Bill Murray 2012”
I first heard Mac Lethal on Cunninlynguists‘ 2006 Sloppy Seconds Vol. 1, appearing on the freestyle to 50 Cent‘s “Magic Stick.” His graphic-albeit-punchy verse had my eyes wide open (not to mention he used the word “cantankerous” in the rhyme – well done!). Anyway, I’ve remained checking for the wordsmith since then. This past week, Mac dropped the YouTube video “Elect Bill Murray and Bill Clinton 2012” off the Bill Murray EP. I urge everyone to check the video because he has the lyrics
scrolling along the screen while he raps. Mac starts off slow but super political off the bat. “Barack Obama’s ’bout to lose the fuckin’ White House,” Mac Lethal exclaims. “And I’ll admit, Barack Obama’s not my favorite,” he continues, “but that’s because I’m disappointed…not because I’m racist.” He fearlessly spits some lyrical darts on this one, erupting into high speed rhyming toward the middle (the lyrics still present on the YouTube vid). He slows back down quickly, ending with his point made. I’m pretty sure he’s trying to make the video viral, so give the dude a chance, won’t you? – Kathy Iandoli
Listen to “Elect Bill Clinton And Bill Murray 2012” by Mac Lethal
Murs featuring Ab-Soul & O.C. – “Life & Time”
My favorite song on Murs‘ just-released Love & Rockets, Volume 1 is his collaboration with Black Hippy‘s Ab-Soul and D.I.T.C. veteran O.C. To me, it’s awesome to bridge the gap between one of the break-out emcees of the early 1990s (and one of the most slept-on ever), with one of the more anticipated guys coming out right now. With Murs’ vast influences (ranging between Suga Free, OutKast and Latyrx), records like this make sense. Moreoever, a familiar producer to this Sunday series, Ski Beatz, provided a downright spooky track for the trio to tear apart. Insightful rhymes make so much sense here, as an emcee in his forties, one in his thirties and one in his twenties prove that age may change, but perspective is attainable to all. This is one of my favorite collaborations this year, from two of my favorite emcees established in the game, and one I’m deeply excited to see blossom with the Top Dawg Entertainment movement. – Jake Paine
Listen to “Life & Time” by Murs featuring Ab-Soul & O.C.
Joker featuring Jessie Ware & Freddie Gibbs – “The Vision”
When ’90s UK electro heavyweight Liam Howlett and his group The Prodigy dropped their Fat of The Land LP in 1997, they made some production choices that caused either loud applause or silent cringing from fans of Hip Hop’s golden era. Not only did the group sample the Ultramagnetic MC’s “Critcal Beatdown” and “Give The Drummer Some” for their hit crossover single “Smack My Bitch Up” but they got the bitch smacker himself, Kool Keith to lay down bars on “Diesel Power,” another track – and least self-conscious moment – on the album. Here was an iconic American emcee really rhyming over a straight-up unabashedly electronic jam without sounding like the dude from C&C Music Factory. So Keith decided to stay in space and the rest is history…
Fast-forward to the week of October 9th, 2011 as a younger generation of hip hop fans witness one of those subversive cross-genre blips that could end up being historic (at least to a music geek). While he’s a little less “space doo-doo pistols” and s little more “loc’d out, low class, 20 dollar dope bags,” Freddie Gibbs looks to be a worthy successor to Keith when it comes to sounding completely at home over the bombastic electro-sounds coming from across the pond. One of this week’s slept-on selections proves that Freddie has found his own “Diesel Power” with UK producer Joker and the updated version of his “The Vision (Let Me Breathe).” Laying down the same monstrous yet unpredictable synths – the ones that actually manage to make funk crawl on tracks like “Tron” and “Purple City,” Joker gives the Indiana rapper a sonic backdrop that makes jumping in on the downbeat after an epic diva vocal hook from Jessie Ware sound effortless. All of a sudden it’s “peanut butter brown leather” and “candy red paint” and we don’t feel the slightest bit disoriented.
It’s a disservice to Joker’s “The Vision” to call it “Gangsta Gibbs goes Dubstep.” It is simply the “Last Dragon, Bruce Leroy with pants sagging…” and a magical kind of future-music from a composer who has so far hit nothing but home runs. – Michael Sheehan
Listen to “The Vision” by Joker featuring Jessie Ware & Freddie Gibbs