Hip Hop

Pookie Baby (CD)

While Prof is best known for his show-stopping live performances, this album pulls back the curtain, inviting the listener to join him for private moments, all with a sleek touch of sophistication. Paired with a multitude of styles, this album showcases a spectrum of moods ranging from infectious absurdity to earnestly introspective.

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Victory Lap (CD)

A decade after busting onto the West Coast rap scene, Nipsey Hussle’s official debut LP doesn’t disappoint. Featuring appearances by Kendrick Lamar, Cee-Lo Green, The-Dream and more, Victory Lap updates the sound of classic, hard-hitting West Coast hip hop for a new generation.

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Yes Lawd! Remixes (CD)

For this remix of 2016's Yes Lawd!, Knxwledge takes the wheel and restructures his own work behind Anderson.Paak's vocals. He freely and cleverly alters the moods of the tracks by switching out distortion sounds, organ parts for strings, and the like. The skillful taking apart and reassembling accentuates Knxwledge's talents as a master of beats, and offers an intriguing alternate listening experience to an already excellent album.

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The Brown Tape (CD)

The Brown Tape is a meeting of the minds for our times. Apollo Brown took Ghostface’s 2013 12 Reasons to Die LP and created beats that are bigger, bolder, and more savage. Together this dynamic duo have created a truly impressive alternate take that’s powerful, propulsive, and endlessly fascinating. This one demands to be turned up loud. A modern classic.

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Fever (CD)

Curtis Cross has a thankless task. As a 2+ decade veteran of the Detroit/Slum Village scene, both behind the mic and behind the boards, as well as a frequent collaborator with the legendary J Dilla, Black Milk has carved himself a steady and respected presence in underground hip-hop. And now that the dude has gone out and released what may be his best work yet, the greater hip-hop establishment has failed to take notice. How else to explain the lack of proper fanfare regarding such an excellent album? Following 2016’s The Rebellion Sessions, an instrumental collection performed and produced by Curtis and his band, Fever is a culmination of all Black Milk’s talents, particularly in its gorgeous and dense production. This is psychedelic music with a heavy jazz and neo-soul influence, a mix of live band instrumentation and samples organized by a producer unafraid of hazy atmospherics and more than willing to take an unconventional approach to how a hip-hop album should sound. Opening track “unVEil” makes this evident right away, where a gorgeous tapestry of synths gives way to a funky bassline and one of strangest “beats” you’re likely to hear on a hip-hop track; a surreal gem that approaches Ariel Pink-levels of hypnagogia. Pair Fever with last year’s Brick Body Kids by Open Mike Eagle for an antidote to any accidental Soundcloud-rap overdose.

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Mr. Vampire & The Deadly Walkers (CD)
Another great offering from Mr. Porter. Spaghetti Western-infused electronic Hip Hop music. Soundtracky af. Read more
1992 Deluxe (CD)

Princess Nokia’s acclaimed underground debut 1992 Deluxe has been remastered and expanded to reach an even larger audience — which the NYC-based rapper proves she’s definitely worthy of. The beats are hard and hypnotic, Nokia’s flow is smart, sassy, and insightful. She’s tough. She’s street smart. She’s proud of who she is — and she wants you to feel the same way, too. That’s what makes this album so special: lots of bangers, to be sure, but there’s also a lot of heart behind the dance floor fillers. Princess Nokia is one-of-a-kind and our world is better for having her in it.

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No Mountains In Manhattan (CD)

What does the future sound like? It probably sounds a lot like boundary-pushing NYC rapper Wiki’s No Mountains In Manhattan. Listening to the collection of songs is like a journey through the city’s boroughs, sometimes rough and hardcore, often woozy and surreal, and always intriguing. Wiki lays down his lyrics over melodies thick with underground dance beats and Latin flavor. Features an appearance by Ghostface Killah, as well as production by Earl Sweatshirt and Kaytranada; Wiki fits right in with these high caliber guests.

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Chime (CD)

Member of Minneapolis hip-hop collective Doomtree, Dessa has been steadily blazing her own trail since 2005. Chime, her fourth studio LP, features 11 distinctive songs that veer from rap, R&B, and indie pop, often within the same track. Lead single “Good Grief” highlights what works so well in Dessa’s idiosyncratic world, with gospel-tinged backing vocals adorning a catchy melody, bookworm-friendly rap verses, and undeniable pop production sheen. As an original contributor to The Hamilton Mixtape, Dessa’s style of songwriting probably draws the closest parallel to that famed soundtrack: literate, detailed, full of drama, and endlessly repeatable.

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Culture II (CD)

Blame it on sequels. In every way the bigger, faster, and stronger update over its predecessor, Culture II is nearly double its length, too. With one hour and 45 minutes of music spread over a modest 24 tracks, and featuring a litany of star-studded features, Migos’ newest album is an absolutely massive release in the vein of overstuffed '90s rap blockbusters such as Life After Death or All Eyez On Me. Fortunately, out of any group working in hip-hop today, Migos come well-equipped to handle the spotlight. While initial single “MotorSport” brought promises of a dutiful “Bad and Boujee” imitation, thankfully elsewhere on Culture II the trio are not afraid to let their hair down. “Narcos” melds Latin American-guitar samples to a vicious trap beat and features some absolutely bonkers ad libs alongside a scene stealing Offset verse. “Supastars” is hip-hop gone '70s prog, with spacey synths draped across its thumping 808 bounce. And then there’s “Stir-Fry,” arguably the album’s greatest moment. Over an incredibly dense Pharrell beat, one that somewhat resembles an attempt to combine all his best known productions into a single song, Migos are up to the challenge; somehow fitting tongue twisting verses and effortless hooks into the madness. The result is a breathless, joyous burst of kinetic energy that marks a true evolution for Migos’ sound. “Stir-Fry” is destined to become a dance floor banger for years to come and elevates Culture II to instant classic status, hyperbole be damned.

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