New Hip-Hop inc Top 5: Mac Miller, Marlowe, Blockhead, Blu & Shafiq Husayn, Sims, Fat Albert Einstein, A.G., Funky DL, Fugees, etc.

Posted by Billyjam, August 4, 2018 02:02pm | Post a Comment
In addition to the new hip-hop album releases in the Top Five below are such other new/recent arrivals to Amoeba as the Fugees vinyl release from Sony Legacy; Refugee Camp: Bootleg Versions LP. As its title implies this is a collection of alternative bootleg versions of tracks by the Fugees (aka Refugee Camp)   including "Ready Or Not [Clark Kent/Django Remix]" and "Nappy Heads [Mad Spider Mix]. Another Sony Legacy trip down memory lane is their 2LP/vinyl reissue of Nas' 1999 album Nastradamus 2LP/vinyl reissue.

New releases on vinyl this week include Fat Albert Einstein's 2U4U LPJake Najor's 7" DJ/producer tailored Dirty Money Breaks on Common Good Records, and Minneapolis artist Sims' Arteria Verite LP. That brand new album by the Doomtree crew member is also available on CD

Additional hip-hop new arrivals at Amoeba from the past couple of weeks include Curren$y & Harry Fraud's The Marina EP (also on vinyl/LP),  Freeway's Think Free,  and Jarren Benton's Yuck Fou. Recent vinyl releases include Knxwledge's Stones Throw 7"  "Gladwemet," a 3LP blue vinyl pressing of Damu The Fudgemeunk's Vignettes, and the super-duo Marlowe's (Solemn Brigham & L'Orange) self-titled album on Mello Music Group, Marlowe LP (more on this amazing album in an upcoming Amoblog interview with the artists).

1: Mac Miller Swimming (pre-order 2LP/vinyl)  (Warner Brothers) 

Following a tumultuous stretch in the public eye earlier this year, including his breakup with Ariana Grande and getting a DUI for a hit-and-run, rapper/singer Mac Miller is back with his anticipated 
album Swimming. His fifth full-length release, it is the follow up the artist's acclaimed 2016 album TheDevine Feminine (avail on vinyl/2LP).  While production-wise the 13 track album is a lush synth-drenched affair, lyrically the album offers the 26 year old artist a cathartic opportunity to bear his soul and face such demons as depression and paranoia, all the while coming to terms with where he is at this juncture in his life.

Amoeba reviewers praise the album for its, “smart rhymes and vibrant production” summing up its overall sound as, “gorgeous and lush. There’s an old school flavor to the jazz and funk-infused LP but this is no nostalgia-dripping throwback LP; instead it feels fresh, innovative, and forward-thinking.” The album’s carefully selected collaborators assist in accomplishing Swimming’s winning sound. These include  Jon Brion, Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes, John Mayer, Thundercat, and DJ Dahi. Currently available on CD, the  2LP/vinyl version of the new album will soon follow and can be pre-ordered from Amoeba. As with all vinyl releases, it ships free anywhere in the US. 
2: Blu & Shafiq Husayn The Blueprint 2LP (also avail on CD)  (Nature Sounds/Fat Beats)

Not to be confused with Jay-Z's similarly titled landmark 2001 album The Blueprint (also avail on LP) or with the Mid-West emcee, once associated with Rhymesayers, named Blueprint,  The Blueprint 2LP (also avail on CD)  is the latest from LA rhyme spitter Blu who this time out teamed up with producer  Shafiq Husayn.  Justifiably considered amongst today's top emcees in the boom bap tradition, Blu is also one of today's most prolific lyricists. First coming to attention collaborating with producer Exile, as the revered duo Blu & Exile*, he has subsequently worked with variety of other skilled producers (Nottz, Madlib,etc.), to similarly top quality results.

The latest studio maestro for Blu to join forces with is Shafiq Husayn (Anderson .Paak, Thundercat, Erykah Badu, Kanye West, Andre 3000 etc.) whose sonically eclectic soundscapes perfectly compliment Blu's flow throughout this CD / 2LP vinyl formatted new album that's been billed as a "mixtape" by its makers.  [*Note: if your collection is lacking Blu & Exile's In The Beginning: Before The Heavens 2LP (also on CD) released in late 2017 but made up of material from 2007, including lots of previously unreleased , do yourself a favor and go cop it now as the companion piece to their landmark Below The Heavens - also on 2LP vinyl and cassette]

3: Blockhead The Art Of The Sample  LP (De Wolfe / Young Heavy Souls)  

Latest album from endlessly talented NYC hip-hop producer Blockhead, whose 2017 release Funeral Balloons  (also on 2LP/vinyl) via Billy Woods’ record label Backwoodz ranked as one of the year’s top instrumental hip-hop albums (although its rich intricately diverse sounds transcended simply hip-hop). This latest release from the artist born Tony Simon has been out for some months (streaming online) but is now available on vinyl and reportedly in very limited edition with just a 1000 copies pressed up. The Art Of The Sample  LP is another must-get release from Blockhead, albeit somewhat atypical for the producer as he himself notes. “These are not typical Blockhead songs. They’re more stripped down and focused for the purpose of being used in tv and film. So, don’t expect 6 minutes songs that constantly change. This is not that. That was not the focus of the album.

Think more along the lines of Blockheads Broke Beats , which was my first album ever on Mush Records,” said Blockhead in conjunction with the release via De Wolfe who are, “a music library that has been doing music for film, radio and television for nearly 100 years. They make original music that gets plugged into all sorts of things and has been heard all around the world. If you’re a producer, you have very likely sampled them and you don’t even realize it. Well, I was fortunate enough to have them allow me make an album entirely out of their back catalogue. That’s SO much music. In fact, so much so, that I already have another volume almost done. So this should be an ongoing thing.” 

4: A.G. The Taste Of AMBrosia [Red Vinyl] LP (also avail on CD)  (Slice Of Spice)

Big ups to my man Richard Smith; the BK based, UK born, music fanatic whose  innovative indie label Slice Of Spice continues to uphold its mission statement of "pressing records of a superior quality. We cut vinyl, not corners!" Similarly as A&R Smith remains consistent with an ear for only the best hip-hop acts of the past few decades that have included reissues and new releases. D.I.T.C.  (Diggin In The Crates) artist A.G. (of Showbiz & A.G.) fame dropped a strong new 2018 album back in April (The Taste of AMBrosia on CD) that is now available on vinyl (red vinyl) The Taste Of AMBrosia [Red Vinyl] LP.  Featured are such longtime D.I.T.C. partners as Diamond D and Lord Finesse, as well as such other talents as The Alchemist and Thirstin Howl III. Content-wise The Taste Of AMBrosia tackles such topics as life in the street, the business end of hip-hop, and the ever timely subject of political hypocrisy. Good shit. Don't sleep!

5: Funky DL  Blackcurrent Jazz 3 LP (also avail on CD) (Washington Classics) 

Funky DL is back with the jazz-flavored boom-bap feast of beats and shifting sultry grooves; Blackcurrent Jazz 3 LP (also avail on CD) (Washington Classics) that is the follow up to last year's Autonomy: The 4th Quarter 2. Like that 2017 release from the prolific UK artist, via his East London owned and operated Washington Classics label, and his equally impressive  A Tribe Called Quest tribute, the out of print Marauding At Midnight: A Tribute To The Sounds Of A Tribe Called Quest, this latest release again features both his sick production and intense rhyming skills. Album features include Nujabes collaborators Cise Starr and Substantial.

Relevant Tags

De Wolfe (2), Blockhead (5), Slice Of Spice Records (1), D.i.t.c. (3), A.g. (2), Showbiz & A.g. (2), Marlowe (1), Mac Miller (7)