Beats, rhymes, and pieces. That’s what you’ll hear from prolific musician Oddisee, a native of the Diamond District. He’s back again with his third release in a dozen months with The Iceberg, an album that sees him grapple with the issues related to culture, race, and politics. The White House barred him from performing at Obama’s Farewell for his “controversial” lyrics on the track ‘Lifting Shadows.’
If the tune ‘NNGE’ is any indication, Oddisee is prepared to sharpen his words to meet these darker times.
“I grew up witnessing many protests come to Washington DC. This song continues that tradition by using words of encouragement over production inspired by the native sounds of DC music.” — Oddisee
Continuing in the realm of 2017 beat tapes comes Austin producer Botany AKA Spencer Stephenson with his album Raw Light II.
The drum looper ‘Wednesday Night October 28 2015’ is one of the standout tracks, sampling together a frosty choir before spinning off until into cinematic vibrations powered by a flute. The Madlib and Four Tet influence is evident.
Portuguese beat maker Mz Boom Bap links up with 17-year-old rapper Curtis Roach to produce an early 90s retro hip-hop track entitled ‘Heard Em Say.’ Anything that sounds remotely like Pete Rock, DJ Premier, or Illmatic in general, is music to my ears.
“everything from the drum programming to the sample selection to the subtle ringing distortion of the Akai s950 delivers a seldom seen old-school authenticity.”
Canadian artist Kaytranada has been making beats since he was 15 years old, so dedicated to the craft he made a new chop every day for three years thereafter. Just scroll through his SoundCloud page — there are mixtapes, a series of his own dope productions, and remixes of the Fugees, Jill Scott, and Danny Brown. But the remix he dropped today of Solange’s ‘Cranes in the Sky’ is exceptional.
“I couldn’t help it and i can’t deny how good it sounds. this is just an edit to play on my dj sets, and i played it once and everybody wanted it right away. Honestly i was gonna wait to see if Solange or her team or whoever works for her wouldve ask me to do an offical remix so if they still want to, i could make it sound better than that version but ohhhhh, what the hell….anyways i highly recommend you that new Solange album “A Seat At The Table”.”
From hip-hop to RnB, electronica, and funk, Kaytranada does it all, so eclectic he even leaves the genre blank with ‘?????’ on his Facebook page.
Danny Brown, the so-called hip-hop’s ‘dark knight,’ is not one to follow trends. MTV even called him “one of rap’s unique figures in recent memory.”
On his newest album Autricity Exhibition, named after a Joy Division song, he lets go of all the anxiety and demons that haunted his 2014 depression. He also wanted more respect from his rap peers who seemed to outcast him for his weirdness. Nas was happy to tell him otherwise, and to stop complaining and get to work.
“Stop thinking about everything else and go with the actual thing that got you here. Sit there and fucking do the work. Put the beat on and let the fucking shit happen. Something is going to happen.”
And it did. What results is even darker, twisted rap, which remains true to his unique persona. “Really Doe” is one of those standout tracks, in which Brown raps “Show me somethin’ I ain’t seen before.” Peep it below, and download the album if you want to warp into a different dimension. 👊