Hip Hop & Trap - Single Reviews - 593 | DJMag.com Skip to main content

Singles - Hip Hop & Trap - Issue 593

Lizzo

Tempo (feat Missy Elliott)

WEA International

9.0
Lizzo's new album 'Juice' is all set to drop, her first in four years, and I hope it features more tracks as hot and addictive as 'Tempo'. Yes it was the Missy cameo that reeled me in, but it was the Prince guitar that blazes the track into your day, the fantastically minimal bass-heavy production that kept me enthralled and the throwaway sharp lines that kept me rewinding. Rap music needs more people like Lizzo, not just as a gigantic fuck-you to the regressive sexism of the music biz, but because the music is glorious. In a year that's already given us stunning full-length albums from Little Simz and IAMDDB, there's no excuse for any hip-hop listener to be excluding women's voices from their ongoing listening. Play loud.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib

'Bandana feat Assassin'

RCA

8.0
Indulge me — a theory: the internet means that our listening is no longer limited to a Euro-American-centric industry. Consequently, all of us, including hip-hop producers, are exposed to way more music from the Southern Hemisphere than before. Witness the Afro-step of this absolute banger from the forthcoming Gibbs/Madlib collabo album of the same name. Gibbs hasn't sounded as happily out-of-control for a while, and Madlib hasn't sounded this focused and bizarrely compelling either. THIS is the golden age.

Mcabre Brothers

'Flush'

Blah Records

8.5
As if the Blah family's myriad interconnections weren't confusing enough, here's Lee Scott and Milkavelli hooking up under the reconvened MB nom-de-plume, clearly intended to give full vent to their more horrorcore/dank side, and dropping a beautifully poised, menacingly subtle low-slung head-nodder. Love the way the snarl and hysteria of the rhymes are couched in such minimally appointed grooves (courtesy of A.H. Fly), and the way the jazzy chords that undercut the track rotate round in green cloudy blowbacks. Superb.

Injury Reserve

'Jailbreak The Tesla feat Aminé'

Lorna Vista

7.5
"Your engine goes VROOM/ my engine goes ______" — great line from a great track from upcoming Phoenix, Arizona trio Injury Reserve. Love not only the conceit of this (and you almost have to admire the chutzpah of angling for free cars that's going on here), but also the lunging bass, the way the rhymes aren't pushy but glide themselves onto the gorgeously lubricated chassis perfectly. Get your windows down and your bass cones rattling with this immediately.

Quelle Chris

'Obamacare'

Mello Music Group

8.0
QC (and his missus Jean Grae) gave this listener the best album of 2018, so I'm hot to trot for his newie, 'Guns', from which 'Obamacare' is the third leak and first single. I'm wary of reading too much into just one track, 'cause Chris' output is so waywardly diverse, but if it's any hint, it seems like the massive acclaim 'Everything Is Fine' received has sent him scurrying back to a harder, more avant-garde sound — here combining a rugged, ruff beat with needling, nagging gamelan samples and a hypnotic piano loop that's pure Kool G Rap. Cannot WAIT for the album.

Wilma Vritra

'Targets & Digits '

Bad Taste Recordings

8.0
A Transatlantic collaboration between London-based artist Wilma Archer and LA-based rapper Pyramid Vritra (Odd Future/Stones Throw), and I always worry that such things will be dilettante-ish dabblings rather than delivering true heat. I was wrong, this is great, shot through with soulful backing vocals in the mould of Mourning {A} BLKStar, and striking just the right tone 'tween wryness and incisiveness. The album this is from, 'Burd', is similarly dazzling. Dive in.

Kingdem

'The Conversation '

Tru Thoughts

7.0
Veteran UK legends don't get more heavyweight than Rodney P, Blak Twang and TY, coming together under the Kingdem moniker, out on the road soon, and here unleashing the first single from a soon-dropping collaborative self-titled EP. Of course, partly it's just great to hear these genii back'n'forthing (and hearing their immutable CHARACTERS coming through the steel-mesh is just intensely gratifying), but this goes beyond merely being of interest to ageing b-boys. It's a sprightly, hooky track that promises great things for the EP. The tour will be one of the essential experiences of 2019. Get ready.

Old Paradice

'The Essence '

Group Bracil

8.0
Confucius MC and Morriarchi come together as Old Paradice, and their debut EP 'The Last Resort' (also featuring Blu and Violet Springs) is one of the year's best thus far. 'The Essence', the latest track to be lifted from it, showcases all that's good about these two collaborating — utterly compelling soundscapes as you'd expect from Morri, here swirling piano abstractions with gunfire beats and woozy loops, while Confucious delivers his customarily laser-guided rhymes. Cop the EP digitally or on tape from Group Bracil direct. Essential.