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Singles - Hip Hop & Trap - Issue 533

Strange U

Strange Universe In Africa


Astonishing beats and blistering rhymes from Zygote and Darq Twin aka Strange U — a real livid seething sense of heat and stress, and the bustling gritty funkativity of the finest Fela Kuti bootleg you never heard — the way the shard of traditional instrumentation is twisted out and pulled apart, as mind-melting as the moves Premo made on Jeru's 'Come Clean'. Yeah — THAT good. Essential stuff from the ever-engrossing loons at Eglo. Feed rivals to the lions in order to get yourself a copy.

Little Simz

'Bars Simzon '


Lightspeed rhymes from the stunning new talent that is Little Simz — watch this girl cos with verbal skills like this she's gonna break past any barriers anyone could dare to throw around her. Here her vocals sit atop an undulating slo-mo groove that only accentuates the dazzling wordplay and righteous sense of courage and linguistic intrigue Simz has on tap. Also check out the stunning, startlingly good 'Blank Canvas' mixtape free on Bandcamp as soon as you possibly can. Superb.

Mick Jenkins

'Free Nation Rebel Soldier 2'


"The world been coming to an end and I ain't need no Mayan calendar to feel that" — great lyrics from south-side Chicago ingenue MJ, and love the way his voice is free enough to spill from conviction to doubt, from sureshot confidence to an almost-broken breathed fragility, each line carrying with it the shadow image of its own refutation. Superbly deep, engrossing stuff even though over so brief a timespan, but helped into your inner ear via 6thBoro's beautifully subtle modal-jazz backing and thumping beats. Keep an eye on this guy.

50 Cent

'Hold On '

Caroline Records/Capitol

Goddamit Fiddy how come you keep coming up with shite albums but absolutely killer one-offs? One of the most massively offensive lyrics hip-hop will give you all Spring (not thee most offensive though — that prize goes to 100s' compellingly '80s-funk-suffused 'Ten Freaky Hoes') sit with nonchalant grace over one hell of a delicious-frabjous '70s sprig of cartoon-funk, 50 finally settling nicely into his own voice and persona, a promontory of almost spectacular grumpiness I'm in no mood to move him from when he's coming out with tracks as compellingly addictive as this.

Pawz One feat 2Mex

'People You Know '

Below System

Glorious production here from Default & Breeze, simple yet engaging, scratches swimming in from all corners, the rootedness of the jazz-Rhodes and the groove making every sharp rhyme hit with an ever-increasing incisiveness. Pawz One's new album 'Face the Facts' not only has the smarts to enrol the ever-wicked 2Mex into its stew, but also features cameos from Masta Ace, Ras Kass, Rakaa Iriscience and Termanology as well. Dropping now, make sure you're in on this.

Jungle Pussy

'Satisfaction Guaranteed'


"Lookin' like Rump Spice" heh heh — Shayna McHayle returns with this natty preview of soon-come long-player 'Satisfaction Guaranteed'. Beyond the sheer filthy aggression of the lyrics it's the delivery that has you hitting rewind on this — stealth but fury as well, sensuality but oozing with menace — Shayna has a great rap voice, half Grace Jones steel, half Althea/Donna playfulness. As with the track with Tink that came out a few months ago ('Curve Em'), this is also produced by Shy Guy who has the good sense to not overwhelm the production with too much fuss, allowing JP's commanding boom to just launch itself into your day with all claws out and sharpened. "I'm a genie in a bottle of Malibu..." - drink deep and hold tight for the album.

Denzel Curry

'Stadium Starship '


Good lord, I haven't taken shrooms for a long long time but this track has me mouth agape and tripping the fuck out like Hansel & Gretel found a house in the woods made of Psilocybin. Deranged lyrics matched by a sluggish, thoroughly psychedelic production that crushes the digital and the analogue and some as-yet undreamed of future amalgam of the two into bizarre, gurning, fuzzed-out hip-hop that genuinely sounds like a snapshot from that moment you're peaking your scaly reptilian tits off. Superb and want to hear more from Denzel C soon.