Today’s edition of STAY WOKE will be dedicated to the Rap albums that recently dropped but due to the fact they aren’t on major labels and there was no promotional money put behind them the so-called “bigger” blogs weren’t trying to touch ’em. Last year, I had a series called “While You Were Sleeping” that highlighted all of the independent and underground Rap albums that dropped monthly which got little to no shine. I’m going to showcase 6 recent Rap releases that I feel aren’t getting the attention they rightfully deserve based on their quality. The overwhelming majority of these projects are cooperative and quite a few were from people who have worked together previously. In light of the fact we have a wide range of rappers with nothing of substance to say that are heavily promoted daily I think it’s very important to disrupt the status quo and point out the deficiencies in the so-called “Hip Hop media”. Here are the six recent projects you need to be up on…
AWAR x Vanderslice “The Winning Team” (Raw Koncept/Lion’s Pride) 7.22.2014
AWAR is one of the most slept on emcees of the past 5 years or so. Here he returns with a brand new full length project overseen by longtime collaborator, producer Vanderslice. “The Winning Team” is produced mostly by Vanderslice & his production partner Green Steez (of the Empty Threats Podcast) with contributions from TROX and Jaisu. The project boasts features from Roc Marciano, Freddie Gibbs, Has-Lo, BJ The Chicago Kid & more. You can stream & purchase the album below:
Has Lo x CASTLE “Live Like You’re Dead” (Mello Music Group) 7.29.2014
Has-Lo and CASTLE previously collaborated on this year’s “Return Of The Gasface (The Has-Lo Passages)” so it only made sense them to apply that winning formula to a brand new project. The end result was yet another album that won’t be receiving much attention from the Rap press due to the fact it’s chock full of ill beats and excellent bars. If there’s no money involved those bloggers aren’t checking for Rap that seems like it was inspired by the culture of Hip Hop. Luckily for you, reader? I know better and I actually possess a spine. You can stream and purchase “Live Like You’re Dead” below:
Stu Bangas x Blacastan “Watson & Holmes” (Brutal Music) 7.29.2014
Stu Bangas of Brutal Music has stayed busy producing gems for many of the best and brightest emcees in the Rap game for close to a decade. His latest collaborative effort is with the Demigodz own Blacastan (“The Master Builder”). “Watson & Holmes” is a must own project for lovers of back when emcees worked closely with a producer to craft concise projects with a theme rather than throw together filler and album tracks with some big singles. Cop it right now from iTunes.
Armand Hammer (Billy Woods x Elucid) “Furtive Movements” (Backwoods Studioz) 8.5.2014
Last year, Armand Hammer dropped one of the best (and most slept on) albums of 2013 with their eyebrow raising collaborative debut “Race Music”. Now they’re both back with an ambitious 9 track EP that couldn’t drop at a better time. If you’re partial to Rap music with real depth that isn’t disposable then you need to listen to “Furtive Movements” right now. You see how far the Rap music on the radio has gotten us over the past 15+ years, haven’t you? This essential Rap album for the Summer of 2014 features production from Blockhead, Elucid, Von Pea, Messiah Musik & Steel Tipped Dove with a guest verse from Curly Castro. The Bandcamp link is just below. Get to it:
STL GLD (Moe Pope x The Arcitype) “My Monday Morning Music” (Brick Records) 8.12.2014
Moe Pope is a Hip Hop veteran whose career spans back to his days as a member of Electric Company & Project Move right here in Boston. Last year Moe Pope made an excellent collaborative LP with producer Rain titled “Let The Right Ones In” which was featured prominently on a lot of Best Of lists for 2013 . This year he teams up with producer The Arcitype to deliver yet another incredible project, “My Monday Morning Music”. Don’t try to say I didn’t warn you, cop it from iTunes or Amazon right now.
Dilated Peoples “Directors Of Photography” (Rhymesayers Entertainment) 8.12.2014
If I need to sell you on the Dilated Peoples then there is not only something extremely wrong with the planet Earth but we must be in an alternate reality where up is down, left is right and wack rappers are all over the radio and on all of the magazine covers. OH. WAIT. That last part actually is happening. In any event, Dilated Peoples have returned with another group album that is so good it’s makes me wanna learn how to drive just so I can steal a car playing this album loud as fuck, drive it through the display window of Niketown then get out, throw the car keys way up into the air and start doing the Shmoney Dance. If that isn’t a ringing endorsement then I honestly don’t know what the fuck qualifies for one then. The album features production from Babu, Evidence, Alchemist, DJ Premier, Jake One, Oh No, Diamond D, Sid Bravo & 9th Wonder. In addition, “Directors Of Photography” has guest appearances from Gangrene, Vince Staples, Krondon (Strong Arm Steady), Sick Jacken (The Psycho Realm) and Aloe Blacc (Emanon). Cop it from UGHH, Fat Beats, Fifth Element, iTunes or Amazon. Enjoy, kids!
So there you go, six suggestions for Rap albums to buy so you avoid copping Fuckboy Rap from cowards who would never address the situation happening right now in Ferguson, MO because it might “hurt their pockets”. Please stop supporting Fuckboy Rap music. Hip Hop is not a culture for cowards although corporate influences have completely pacified mainstream Rap music. Do me a favor. STAY WOKE…