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Singles - Hip Hop & Trap - Issue 569

STRANGE U (King Kashmere & Zygote)

Terminator Funk

High Focus Records

If Strange U released a single every month I'd make it single of the month. The first track off my UK album of the year thus far — I say 'thus far' but to be honest I can't see anything topping 'LP#4080', such a stunning suite of unhinged magic it is. What's crucial to what makes 'Terminator Funk' so compelling is that though Strange U are clearly touched by the old. They only zero in on vintage ODDNESS, the lopsided beats and unearthly ancient-futurist noise that made things like 'Come Clean' such earthquakes in hip-hop consciousness. King Kash has never sounded as unmanneredly awesome as he does here — vocal seemingly slurred/slowed until it hums with Zygote's incredible lo-end tectonics. Absolutely essential and if you haven't got the album yet consider your 2017 utterly bereft.


'Clicc Suit'

Gourmet Deluxxx

Not a single. Not by a million miles. No hook. Thank fuck. What an enthralling tiny slice of monomania this is — the beat never wavers, the droning keys and horns never let up, DFH never swerves anywhere away from about a foot in front of your face. Ruffneck music very, very redolent for me of the similar manoeuvres being made by Westside Gunn and Conway over in the States — if that doesn't pique your interest where the fuck's your head at pal? Hoping DFH drops a lengthy long-player soon.

Freddie Gibbs

'Crushed Glass'

ESGN Records

I prefer it when Gibbs is hooked up with Madlib but this is still music that demands your attention; less for Teddy Walton & Eric Bow's lush production than for Gibbs' narrative that takes him all the way from his childhood traumas through his drug addiction all the way through to his anxious present, including reference to the rape case that clouded his 2016. Let down badly by an autotuned chorus that's just entirely unnecessary and weakens the impact of Gibbs flows. Damn straight I'll still be listening out for the new album. Like he says, 'The future started yesterday'.



Health Records

WOAH — King Kashmere takes a break from Strange U duties to hook up with Leeds producer Bambooman to deliver a totally different flavour. Very limited edition this so snap it up soon as you see it — KK's verbals are as diseased and deranged and captivating as ever, Bambooman lets the minimalism stay minimal and cumulatively creep you the fuck out with this little electro thump frantic with tiny little creaks and drones and creepy whispers. The kind of hip-hop MR James would dig. Essential.

Porter Ray


Sub Pop

Very much digging Porter Ray's 'Watercolor' album that's just dropped on Sub Pop — partly it's down to his voice, a kind of voice I haven't heard in hip-hop for too long — slightly camp, fiercely articulate, gentle and able to portray vulnerability. 'Lightro' is one of the highlights — gorgeous synth-heavy trap-funk where the details aren't allowed to dominate but sit back in the mix, haunting the peripheries in a way that's way more moving than all that foregrounded shininess so common to trap productions. Superb.


'Spit Personality'

Evil Twin Records

Middle-aged hip hoppers stand UP! Alongside the return of DB and Corners, great to hear this — Trauma 74 is a comparatively more veteran voice only now dropping his debut album 'The God Given Image' and this is the lead-off single from it. Wonderful beats reminiscent of Lewis Parker and even Large Pro, but what really compels about this is Trauma's rhymes — focused, suggestive, thoughtful and unforgettable. For hip-hop heads and absolutely not interested in being a banger. Let's have more of this.