Hip Hop

Son Of A Pimp Part 2 (CD)

2005’s Son of a Pimp established North Oakland emcee Mistah FAB as a rising star and a major factor in a resurgent Bay Area rap scene. A decade later—older, wiser, and more resilient—FAB returns with Son of A Pimp Part 2, a no-holds-barred, 21-track extravaganza that serves as the truest representation of his artistic talent to date.

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Lead Poison (CD)

Serving as a follow up to the instant classic Elmatic, Lead Poison is poised to become Detroit rapper eLZhi's most desired album to date. Highlighting a bevy of producers from 14KT to Karriem Riggins, the album finds eLZhi seeking peace of mind while fighting through the struggles in his life.

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Splendor & Misery (CD)

Splendor & Misery is an Afrofuturist dystopian concept album that follows the sole survivor of a slave uprising on an interstellar cargo ship and the onboard computer that falls in love with him. The tracks draw an imaginary sonic map of the ship, while the rap lyrics ride the rhythms produced by its engines and machinery.

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Body Wash (CD)

Los Angeles producer Mndsgn creates beats that are so perfectly low-fi, fuzzy, stoned, and drippy it makes you wish hip hop was always this chill. It's the perfect blend of Zapp & Roger boogie beats and the chill, neo-funk vocals of Toro y Moi. Finally stepping away from the realm of pure instrumentals, Body Wash introduces Mndsgn's spacey vocals that are so smooth and relaxed, it can easily slip you into a trance. It's simultaneously nostalgic and modern, with digitized vocals, ancient drum samples, and bubbling synths. But it's also a total rejection of the computerized, ultra clear productions of today's hip hop. It's experimental, crazy, and beautiful and it will get you moving. From the opening bop of "Cosmic Productions" the sci-fi, anime weirdness pops up with music that gives images of neon colors, large glass windows covered in reflections, and old Toyota Celicas. "Use Ya Mnd (Twentyfourseven)" almost sounds like a deep soundtrack cut from the '80s or even a song from an ancient interactive CD-ROM. The smooth synths don't belong in this era and sound so jarring and refreshing, especially as they embrace all their electronic crunch. "Ya Own Way" plays like a track from a '90s Sega arcade racing game. The funky bass rhythms over the new agey, soft rhythms are simultaneously haunting, but feel perfect against imaginary imagery of low-polygon cars driving in the night. Light up a joint and sit in a soft chair: this album is a trip like no other.

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1983-1988 (CD)

He of relentless hi-hats, campy Egyptian lore and robot voices comes at us in this non-stop party of a compilation. “EGYPT IS THE PLACE TO BE!!” Yes! “PYRAMIDS ARE OH SO SHINY!” If you say so! Who cares? We’re listening to king of the 808 Egyptian Lover and our sarcophaguses won’t stop shaking. Freaky Afroretrofuturistic electro jams from one of hip hop’s originators that rock from the tomb to the outer limits.

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And The Anonymous Nobody (CD)

De La Soul’s And the Anonymous Nobody is a star-studded affair that’s destined to go down as one of their best. As you’d expect, the album has a classic soul/hip-hop vibe, with gorgeous, confident, and sunshine-soaked tunes — it’s the sound of endless summer. Usher delivers an understated, mature chorus on “Greyhounds,” Little Dragon gets dreamy and smooth on “Drawn,” and Snoop does his thing on the excellent track “Pain." Also on board: David Byrne, Damon Albarn, Jill Scott, Estelle, Pete Rock, and 2 Chainz. The singles are great, of course, but taken as a whole, the album is a luxuriant, vivid LP experience you’ll want to sit down and listen to from beginning to end.

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Fishing Blues (CD)

On their seventh studio album, Fishing Blues, Minneapolis hip hop duo Atmosphere creates a mood that is looser, drunker, and more relaxed than ever before. They capture what it feels like to be an adult stuck in arrested development. Atmosphere's rapper, Slug, is resigned to the fact he is now an adult with kids and he relishes in it. The beats are goofy and rely on instruments that feel more at place on an indie rock album. Masterfully put together by producer Ant, guitars twang like Ennio Morricone's spaghetti western soundtracks, moog synths skip around on ska rhythms, and the drums are real drums, not drum machine samples. All distinctly weird choices considering the current state of hip hop. "Ringo" is steeped in adolescent restlessness as he makes a whole song about his own immaturity. He cracks jokes about getting too drunk, dealing with a beer belly, and getting too crazy to the point of self-destruction. And to drive the joke home, he repeats "Everyone loves seeing a falling star." As self-deprecating as music gets! "No Biggie," which feels like a lost P-Funk jam from the '80s with piercing synths and shredding guitar, is the yin to "Ringo's" yang. While "Ringo" relishes in immaturity, the criticism of his own navel-gazing behavior and the people who bring him down are as clear as day. If you feel like you are out of step with hip hop today, Fishing Blues might be the remedy.

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