Speakerblogggs is Chart Attack’s weekly round-up of great hip-hop that we think deserves more play. This week, we burst out of the gate with a debut from a spacey Toronto duo, two very different sides of Chicago, a trip to L.A.’s “Funktown,” and the return of a B-more giant.
We’re pleased to premiere a new song from bizZarh, a pair of young Toronto singers/MCs, Dollar Paris and Charlie Champ, with a style that pairs astrology with Digable Planets for the Tumblr generation. A moody beat from AFTA-1 gives the vocals – smooth harmonies and verses etched with confidence – a plush and stable platform.
Ezale, “Five Minutes of Funktown”
Ezale (pronounced ee-ZAYLE) dropped this last year, but I haven’t seen a video this much fun since (designer body armor is now the standard, btw). It’s an introduction to the life and times of the Oakland MC who goes in like a giddy, smoked-out Roach Gigz on a bunch of classic funk tunes. It’s contagious in the most effortless sense of the word. The atmosphere is pure family cookout, or block party, and Ezale’s your new best friend by the BBQ. Go cop the Drug Funnie tape.
God, Before The Bible mixtape
On the six-track EP Before The Bible, God takes the Biblical symbolism and dope boy wordplay of Pusha T and nails it to the door of the church with rousing bluntness. His beats are dark and airy, Based’s polar opposite and pure Illuminati conspiracy bait. Also, he’s from Chicago, so understandably the influence of Young Chop inevitably seeps in. But his hunger for lyrical distinction helps elevate it too: “Chiraq II” is a vivid tour of a broken city that takes the stern message of healing from Kanye’s “Homecoming” and snarls in its face, twisting the piano line into a post-apocalyptic dirge. Stream the whole thing, plus his full mixtape, above.
Described by Diplo as “the Hunter S. Thompson of B-more,” Blaqstarr probably could’ve helped take the insane Baltimore bass music to Drill levels of visibility and artistic recognition if he met his potential. “Gangsta” is a leftover from The Blaq-Files, a 4 track EP of remastered Blaqstarr bangers, but it could have easily been included: dynamic and jarring shifts in its crushing drums, and machine-gun repetition of samples, and a warmth like hot, flavoured vodka breath in the club.
Sango, Da Rocinha 2
2005 is a long way off, so you might have forgotten about baile funk, the raw and bass-rich sound Brazil’s favelas. It may have been marketed like a fad, but it’s still going strong, thanks in part to producers like Sango. Based out of Michigan, he makes beats that are club-minded, global-centred, and very dreamy, cloud rap beats for clear and sunny skies. Download the whole tape for just a buck and get sippin’ on some cirrus.
Boy Froot, ßitch $hift
Villainy in hip-hop has two major arteries: the real and unreality. The former has dominated the conversation, from Ruthless to Death Row to Drill, and is partially defined by a posturing that is compelling but ultimately separates “the real” from actual reality. Rappers who embrace “unreality” don’t necessarily distance themselves from their surroundings, but use the fiction of comic books, sci-fi and literature as flavouring.
With his screwed-down vocals, Boy Froot (sometimes Boy Fruit) resembles a super-villain weaned on lean, loud and broadband, who makes Memphis 3000 bite-sized rap songs on a radioactive laptop. The mystery surrounding the artist is no coincidence: like Lil Ugly Mane and Captain Murphy, this is a persona made for the Internet. No one wants to see who’s controlling the Wizard Of Oz, right? Our imaginations are challenged to customize the scariest Froot like a MySpace page. And there’s plenty to work with on Bitch $hift.
If you could melt crates of vinyl down into one big record, one that skips, occasionally lingers, then darts about again, you’d get something like shine. Asano Ryuhei is an artist from Fukuoka, Japan who takes an anything-goes approach to his beat tapes as Lee, snatching everything from dub, Japanese samples, English-spoken pop and more. Like Dilla, it never confuses lack of focus with dynamism as the needle jumps all over the sample map with legs of its own.
Tree, “Probably Nu It”
“Soul Trap” was coined by Chicago’s Tree to describe his sound, best displayed on Sunday School II: When Church Lets Out, which features a combination of smooth and steely cuts like piano wire. It’s stripped down to the barest on “Probably Nu It,” a track off The @MCTreeG EP. Tree’s gravelly vocals always gave even his most emotional raps a hollow-tipped edge, but here he’s all crooner, confident and commanding like never before.