Black Star reunite for London show with help from De La Soul and Rakim
BLACK STAR IS BACK. Well, for the moment anyway, as Mos Def and Talib Kweli reunite for a one-off show in London this May – 13 years after they dropped their cult debut album: ‘Mos Def & Talkib Kweli Are Black Star’. Pretty much an unmissable show as it is, but throw in De La Soul, Rakim and a ton of special guests (The Roots? Q-Tip? Common?!) and you’re in for the show of your life.
True, great hip-hop albums are thin on the ground in the mainstream these days. God knows what Kanye’s doing. Jigga’s latest record disappointed. Even Lupe – renowned for his insightful lyricism and dope beats – didn’t quite satisfy on his new album. So, we turn to the trusty underground, and one of rap’s most celebrated and revered wordsmiths: Pharoahe Monch. The rebelliously titled ‘W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)’ is the New York rapper’s third solo outing to date, and thankfully it’s everything you’d expect it to be (how could it be anything else?). That means: complex, rip-roaring wordplay; equal doses of militancy and soul; and some truly killer production from the likes of Exile, Marco Polo and Brainfeeder’s very own Samiyam (Monch takes on production duties too).
When I think of the Wu-Tang Clan, I’m instantly reminded that Cash Rules Everything Around Me, and I can’t watch a random kung-fu flick without the infamous yellow W symbol flashing in my mind. In truth, rapper Raekwon isn’t the first thing that pops into mind. Even though being one of the founding fathers of the infamous group that unarguably redefined hip-hop in the nineties, it’s the late and legendary Ol’ Dirty Bastard, the production pusher man RZA, and the dynamic duo Method Man and Redman that resonate more strongly. But in his most recent solo release ‘Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang’, Raekwon tries to take the stage by standing front and centre.
No more waiting! After announcing in 2009 that Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch (MCA) had a cancerous tumor in his left salivary gland, the Brooklyn rap trio’s new record, ‘Hot Sauce Committee Part One’, was put on hold. And then we were told that he was on the mend and that they were going to release the follow up to that album, ‘Hot Sauce Committee Part Two’ first, and that it would have the exact same tracklisting as ‘Hot Sauce Committee Part One’. Bananas – but who’d have it any other way right?
Building on his trademark thought provoking lyrics and charming voice, ‘Lasers’ boasts a ‘new’ Lupe Fiasco. This Lupe raps over electronic-infused instrumentals and proves he can appeal to youthful and mainstream audiences. Balancing some of the elements of the pop sound on the album are several tracks with the qualities that made Lupe Fiasco initially appealing – original subject matter and inspiring lyrics.
Canadian wax manipulator returns to London for show at Koko
The last time I saw Kid Koala play in London was when Shadow and Cut Chemist were touring their new The Hard Sell show at Camden’s beautiful Roundhouse. Already hyped enough by the main attraction (as you would be), the news that Kid Koala was on support duties sent me over the edge – the pint sized Canadian turntable wizard is, well, jaw-dropping to watch.
Atmosphere release video for first single from their new album 'The Family Sign'
Oh yes. Once again, Atmosphere bring the heat with the video for their first single drop from their 7th studio album: ‘Just For Show’. Chloe the golden labrador is a strange choice of protagonist, but the video bristles with the twisted irony and humour that the Minneap duo is known for, making it an Atmosphere Music Video through and through. Feeling the track immensely, and I now want a dog more than I did before. Which was a lot.
The Chef returns in support of forthcoming new album 'Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang'
With the release of new album ‘Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang’ just around the corner, Raekwon will once again grace the UK with a run of dates next month. The Chef has been enjoying a real return to form of late, following the critically acclaimed sequel to his classic album ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx’ with guest spots on seemingly every rap album released since.
Daedelus, TOKiMONSTA, Starkey and Lazer Sword set to tear up the next EE party
Yep, those hardworking fellas at Earnest Endeavours are at it again. And this time, the lineup is every bit as strong as their previous 2 parties (Nosaj Thing at Pattern Cutters was damn near a perfect night for me). I’ve seen Daedelus a fair few times now, and I gotta say, the man kills it every time. With completely diverse sets too – his grasp of the dynamics of a set and how to keep a crowd engaged is superb. That whole Victorian dandy thing just adds to the weird – but awesome – experience.
LA hip-hop collective blow up Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
So, last night, Tyler the Creator and Hodgy Beats (from XL-affiliated hip-hop group Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) performed their song ‘Sandwiches’ on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon – with The Roots on backing. Heads have been talking about it ever since, with Twitter going nuts over the pair’s incendiary performance.