Landlord Elijah Re-Do With Mr.Shn
"Judge Judy would have been up in my booty . . . DAMN I need some gigs." One of the highlights from PA's astonishing 'Pocket Watch' set here gets a supremely twisted re-rub from Mr Shn. Two twelves are coming out — the original is still the swishiest slo-mo Premo-laden radiant funk revelation, but Mr Shn's reimagining populates the track's pensive spaces with even more space, a hollowed out cosmic vibe suddenly skewered by sighing chorales, trippy, squishy synths and stereo-strafing reverbed snare hits. Tasty.
'All Falls Down '
It's been a rough couple of years for one of Philly's finest — acute kidney failure and a tough treatment regime means that Freeway's return with next month's 'Think Free' set sees him calling himself 'the flyest n**** on dialysis', and should be enjoyed as a fresh transmission from someone in real danger of falling out the game completely. What first alerted me to the supafresh 'All Falls Down' wasn't DJ Skizz's tight production, but the fact the drums are laid down by the one-and-only J-Zone. A lip-smacking taste of a much-anticipated return.
UK Union IV Limited
2017's 'Hoodrich' EP was a naughty-but-nice treat, so glad to see Mancunian poetess IAMDDB dropping a new EP soon ('Flight Mode Volume 4'), from which 'Drippy' is the addictive first drop. She keeps her vocals at that perfect mid-point 'tween trap and dancehall, and the low-slung bass-heavy trap-funk that undercuts her heavy manners spitting and sultry crooning is spot on. Love the changes of tempo, the strange slowing down in the coda and crucially, IAMDDB's ability to switch from rugged rhyming to radiant soul vocals in a heartbeat. All-conquering.
So there I was, yet again cursing my own ignorance, thinking, 'why haven't I heard any Scottish hip-hop of late'? And then I'm made aware of a new video drop of this doomy little banger from Delivery Room, two n'er-do-wells from Paisley who put together an EP in 2017 called 'Grotbags' (following 2015's gloriously-titled 'Phlegm EP'), and damn I've got some catching up to do. Massively dated, but also massively engrossing thanks to the near-incomprehensibility of some of these complex ciphers (at least to this sassenach eejit). Cock 'em your ears.
Meyhem Lauren & DJ Muggs
Soul Assassins Records/Kobalt Music
What is it about eight-track EPs that's working so great this year? After 'Daytona' I'd say that Muggs & Lauren's 'Frozen Angels' set is up there among the best of 2018 (and so glad to hear them follow up last year's scintillating 'Gems From The Equinox'). This track is the second single, and is a stomping, hardcore blast of brilliant belligerence. Were I bossing them, I'd say the stunning 'Staircase Money' would've been a better single, but thank fuck I'm not, because its twistedness would only appeal to degenerate wrecks like myself. This makes more sense as a bold fuck-you/boy-howdy from another great collaboration. Essential.
'Resistant Man '
Recorded in London and New York, the two cities this 19-year-old rapper/producer grew up in, 'Renaissance Man' is the new full-length (following the astonishing 'Black Soap' from earlier this year) from MIKE, and this is the lead-off single from it. The video's a great analogue to the sounds here: determinedly lo-fi, but suggestively laced together, a gurning lick of orchestral jazz twisted around a handclap-based beat part trap, part hardcore. As with his albums, the verbals are what snag you though — absorbing lines about solidarity and struggle, his voice dubbed into a groggy echo-chamber of shattered dreams. Superb and a voice/vision to keep an eye on.
Children Of Zeus
'Slow Down '
First Word Records
Loving the way that Manc hip-hop is taking a general turn for the mellow and thoughtful at the moment, what with COZ's awesome 'Travel Light' full-length dropping soon and The Mouse Outfit making similar moves on their brilliant 'Jagged Tooth Crook' set. Children Of Zeus lay down a sumptuously sweet, soulful groove on 'Slow Down', perfect for this punishing heat, and touched with all kinds of delicious textures and conscious rhymes. On the flip 'All Night' gets you re-energised with crisp headnodic beats and radiant Rhodes riffs. Cracking.
'Spanish Jesus '
Holy fuck — WG's new 'Supreme Blientele' set is such a riot, I'm struggling to get to the bottom of it, but immediately this leapt out as a stunning highlight. Great cameo from Crime Apple, sterling insanity as usual from Gunn himself but my freakin' godfathers, the production from Harry Fraud on this track is just staggering, a slo-mo liquid groove as wide as a 'Bitches Brew' ocean, guitar licks interlacing like prime Joe Henderson/Weather Report/Headhunters. Utterly transfixing.
'When It Rains It Pours'
Always a pleasure to hear LP return to the fray — here he does what he always does, puts together a track so damn sweet you almost forget about the rapping, luscious grooves under some gorgeous sax and jazzy funk. The rapping, though, is fantastic, thanks to a guest spot from Verbz which seals the metaphors, the flows and the sound into one peach-perfect hit. Oddly, considering its title, almost the PERFECT summer track, rippling with shimmering heat, a few drops of water hitting your arm warning you of an impending storm. Welcome back to a legend.