Shabazz Palaces, Strange U, DELS, Katie Kate…

After holidaying too close to the sun, the lobster-like Rapture & Verse returns to address first world problems. Like when unpaid private jet bills leave you facing a lawsuit – just ask Lil Wayne. Or if you’ve been dropped from your label not long after a $2million sign-on – like one time RnV tip Trinidad James. In further distorted reality, Vanilla Ice has taken shots at Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and Ty Dollar Sign... for their track featured on the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (compared to his own showstopper from ‘The Secret Of The Ooze’). Oh, and Cristiano Ronaldo will not be signing to Lil Wayne’s sports management operation. The world we live in eh?

Did Childish Gambino really have a pop at Drake, Kendrick Lamar, who premiered a short ‘Good Kid M.A.A.D City’ accompaniment at Sundance, and ScHoolboy Q during a performance in Australia? Was Drake’s slagging off of Chris Brown and Lil Wayne’s ‘Loyal’ all tongue-in-cheek? And should we argue with boffins who claim that you‘ll ace all job interviews if you’ve listened to 50 Cent’s ‘In da Club’ beforehand?

If you want realness, thank Kenny Dope for his ‘Wild Style Breakbeats’, serving a super in-depth audio/biographical overview of the classic hip-hop flick. Coming to you live, Easy Mo Bee lands at Plan B in September and Jazzy Jeff does likewise in October; a busy month where A$AP Mob will be sending a four-man crew to The Warehouse Project on the 28th, and 2014’s World DJ Championship Final gets going on the 5th at The Forum. Into November, and Shabazz Palaces will be over here for a week’s worth of high quality wig-outs. Speaking of that spaced-out duo, here’s the new video for ‘Cake’.

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Single syllables: “turn up your speaker, it’s time we got acquainted”

‘Get Some Bones’ says Bones, and you should. Six tracks mix the computerised with the soulful, held over by a spiky flow that’s always strong and never brittle. Cappo’s ‘Boot EP’ gets remixed, with Jehst, Mr Brown, Sam Zircon and Telemachus expertly testing what was already a top-drawer foursome.

DELS (pictured) returns with impudent vengeance, at the wheel of a 10-ton smacker coloured ‘RGB’ by Micachu and Kwes, ahead of new album ‘Petals Have Fallen.’ The Strange U brains trust of Kashmere and Zygote creates more wonderful black magic in space: ‘EP #2040’ will twist your melons inside out.

Strange U – ‘The Cake is a Lie’

A new Run The Jewels taster is very big news indeed, and the ablaze ‘Blockbuster Night Part 1’ has Killer Mike and El-P picking up from where they left off. MoP’s ‘187’ justifies a smash and grab of Tears For Fears’ ‘Head Over Heels’, and a surprise rap turn from soulstress Georgia Anne Muldrow is a good look, ‘Ms One’ taking on the psychedelic clip-clops of Danish producer Kriswontwo.

Count Bass D hits the drowse button in a big way on the jazz-dunked ‘Count In Cologne’ EP – cool, even if the man himself is oblivious to it. Stir it in with some of Swerve’s ‘Mixed Aromas’ and see the Sacramento emcee make your days drift by; the real sound of the high life. 

‘Louis Vuitton Wallets’ are all very well and good, but a fine soul noir turn from DJ Rhettmatic, with J57 and Koncept on vocals, is keen to keep it rough around the edges. Full of big diva wails, boom-bap slaps, unflinching stares and a very effective rework of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Video Games’... Ugly Heroes’ self-titled EP has got firepower to burn.

‘No Water’ by Black Opera is this month’s top concept, elevating the high stakes of H²O and kinda mixing ‘New World Water’ with ‘Black Skinhead’. Homeboy Sandman isn’t far behind, scrutinising ‘America, The Beautiful’ with social smarts over a rust bucket beat from Jonwayne. Aussie A-team Hilltop Hoods call up Maverick Sabre and Brother Ali for a nicely weighted soul chug looking inwards and aiming to ‘Live & Let Go’. 

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ReaLPolitiks: from to neighbourhood watchmen to the start of your week

Sonnyjim’s second collection of ‘Guest Verses And Granola Breakfasts’ is his usual dour but ever-competitive flow, stacking chips on the shoulder. Spanning 37 features, one-offs and special editions, it’s excellently put together and guarantees to set you up for the day ahead. Kyza re-emerges and drops one-man show ‘Hibernation’. ‘Game Time’, a clever name-checker by way of the joystick, shows the spin the former Terra Firma man can put on a set that covers power and introspection, and looks for a contented conclusion.

The twisted world of Dead Residents splutters back into your psyche via the rear view mirror. ‘Dead Thy Neighbour’ is as grotty as finding a body under a cul-de-sac patio. Lo-fi sonics sporadically wheeze into life, thrown together and bullied by the coarse people-watching and show-‘n’-prove of cult leaders Chud Jackson and Junior Disprol.

Problem Child, the four-man crew of Dabbla, Illaman, Dubbledge and Sumgii, repeatedly taunt BPM voltages and power off one another like they’re issuing playground dares. ‘Confessions Of A Normal Human Being’ grinds a UK battleaxe, brat swagger revelling in the team mentality. A thoroughbred in the home-grown art of not giving two hoots.

DOOM opens another shop of shaggy funk and recruits rising styler Bishop Nehru to make sure punters come flocking. ‘NehruvianDOOM’ is short, scuffed and sample-happy, and Nehru’s burgeoning reputation is cemented with a flow that’s unerringly easy-going. While we’re talking about one-on-ones, The Pharcyde’s Slimkid3 and Jurassic 5’s DJ Nu-Mark buddy up for a full-length album that deserves a doffing of your sunhat – both beats and rhymes carry a flow that will never leave you hanging. Moe Pope and The Arcitype’s ‘My Monday Morning Music’ is a realisation that the weekend is over, but possesses a thoughtful intensity that gets you going like a first hit of caffeine. A real grower.

Slimkid3 & DJ Nu-Mark – ‘Bom Bom Fiya’

Katie Kate puts ‘Nation’ under her Seattle groove and ends up cradling a fiery ball of energy. Rapid and sassy on the mic, KK rides out the sparks and shows her contemporary abilities that are ready to get closer to the radar. All hail the returning Doppelgangaz – ‘Doppic Of Discussion’ is an instrumental set of steel, continuing to forge comfortable head-nodders and wicked whispers of discontent. Amsterdam-based G-Do & Xception have been to the year ‘2030’. As the dateline suggests, it’s not too big a leap forwards, but they bring back a respectable haul of indie standards.

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Tape measures

Pete Rock dictates a pretty indispensible refresher course on James Brown, covering half an hour of history’s thickest funk breaks turned loose by the Godfather of Soul, and rinsed later by Big Daddy Kane, Chubb Rock, Das EFX and Nas. In a similar throw down of funk inspirations, Mighty Atom of The Disablists goes nuts on the ones and twos with his ‘Bestimix’, putting Barry White, Stevie Wonder and Martha Reeves on a supreme 23-minute spin cycle. Issa Gold of The Underachievers pens the definition of laidback swag when holding ‘Conversations with a Butterfly’, with a gangster lean seen lolloping through golden meadows.

On the videos front: take a trip with Yamin Semali (1); carnival season, according to k-os (2) and Chris Leese cops an earful (3).




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Words: Matt Oliver

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