Speakerblogggs is Chart Attack’s roundup of great hip-hop that we think deserves more play.
This week, A new project from Das Racist's Heems, Bruiser Brigade's ZelooperZ, and more.
Swetshop Boys, "Benny Lava"
In 2011 Ryan Hemsworth released a track called "Benny Lava" on his No Plans EP, working off a sample from this fantastic Bollywood musical number. Swetshop Boys are Heems (ex-Das Racist) and Riz MC (a.k.a. Riz Ahmed, who's also acted in the excellent Four Lions), and their rapping develops the track into a celebration of their heritages and a condemnation of the forces of imperialism (Stop-and-frisk, PRISM, etc). Along with Big Baby Gandhi's "Green Card," war cry raps for first-or-second generation immigrants are becoming the move.
Tinashe's "2 On," with its DJ Mustard beat and its singer's smokey-eyed, club-bound sing-rap, seemed like the smash Cassie was angling for on her recent mixtape RockAByeBaby. Here, grime producer Murlo repositions the track in the emerging field of art school-minded R&B. A crunchy snare brushes out a dancehall rhythm alongside a rattling kick, and those loyal, hollow synth moans help strains of the original instrumental groove towards a different club across the ocean, perhaps in London.
It's easy to see why Danny Brown brought ZelooperZ into the fold of Bruiser Brigade. The cartoonish mayhem of both his lyrics and Pop Tart-fueled delivery make him the rapping equivalent of a grime instrumental (a subgenre Danny loves). On "Plateau," he continues to go in like the judge from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?: half man, half Saturday morning menace, and with a mind to dominate. Matrax provides the same kind of laser-streaked industrial beat the rapper thrives on.
Antwon feat. Lil Ugly Mane, "Rain Song"
On this new single for Bay rapper Antwon, we get both Lil Ugly Mane the rapper (yes, he's still retired - check the message on the right of his Bandcamp) and a production under his other name Shawn Kemp (maybe that's still going?). "Rain Song" is a sex jam but sadder, glowing dully with a grey, stoned afterglow that makes those angelic clarion calls in the background feel like an urge to come towards the light. In a switch from their flows on previous collaboration "Underwater Tank," Antwon takes it slow and moody while Mane sprints for the finish.
The Alchemist & Budgie feat. Action Bronson, Domo Genesis & Blu, "The G Code"
The Alchemist has teamed up with fellow vinyl junkie Budgie for The Good Book, a boxset of two separate albums created from gospel samples, held together by packaging designed like an opulent rare book. That's out April 11. The beat on "The G Code" naturally elicits these three hungry rappers to renew their vows with hip-hop: their verses share ambition, origins and philosophy.