Like a lot of longtime, old school fans of the genre, I am pretty much disgusted with what passes as "hip-hop" these days. You know, that boringly predictable, cliched crap that is dumbed-down, bling & sexist heavy lyrical fodder delivered over a carefully researched radio & club ready beat. Fortunately though, there still are many good producers and emcees making new music today. It's just that you have to dig for them. And while most are underground or indie artists, just because an artist is some underground indie hip-hop loving emcee doesn't always guarantee that he or she will shine. Below are several of the recent or about to drop releases that, as a DJ, I have been really feeling and playing. All should be available at Amoeba Music. Just ask if you can't find them.
Madlib Beatkonducta Vol. 3-4: India (Stones Throw)
Like 2006's Beatkonducta Vol 1-2 CD release, this collection was also originally released on vinyl only -- now offering many a chance to catch up on the brilliance that is the production of Madlib. For this collection he effortlessly melds Bollywood soundtracks (mostly instrumental, but about 15% with vocals and spoken word soundbites mixed in, usually at beginning) with hip-hop beats -- generally looped into hypnotic patterns. The 34 tracks are mostly short (2 minutes or less) in length.
Z-Trip All-Pro Soundtrack (Decon)
Like its series predecessor -- Dan The Automator presents 2K7 on Decon for 2K Sports, which was also a DJ produced collection featuring guest emcees and turntablists -- this is another video game soundtrack. And it rocks, thanks to Z-Trip's perfect choice of collaborators (mostly West Coast), including Chali 2na, Aceyalone, Quannum's Lateef and Gift of Gab, Hiero's Pep Love and Casual, plus LA turntablist duo Backyard Bangers. Also includes a track from longtime collaborator of Z-Trip's DJ Faust (of Faust & Shortee fame), plus Z-Trip's inspired turntable remix of Rush's "Tom Sawyer."