Katie Kate sings, raps, and makes big, synth-heavy electronic beats informed by modern hip hop & pop… which, although it sounds terrible on paper, actually works very well in a surprisingly original way on many tracks of this album. Rushmore shows her knack for creative ways to lyrically express hip hop bravado, and her groovy, catchy hooks are best exemplified in Drift (trk4) and Sadie Hawkins (trk9).
On Dead, their first full-length, Scottish hip hop trio Young Fathers bring an eclectic clash of tribal drum patterns, oddball distorted synths, and dark, war-torn rhymes delivered with ridiculous energy. Their voices alternate between group vocals, call & response, singing, and rapping, usually all on one track. The whole sound is fiercely original while clearly steeped in the African roots of 2 of the members, the raw, tribal feel combined with punk energy and intensely colorful, often bonkers delivery makes for a wholly unique trip.
Favorite Tracks: No Way (1), Low (2), Get Up (5), DIP (6), Hangman (9)
Not only is Adam Protextor, aka p-teK, one of the main movers in Austin's currently emerging hip hop scene through his involvement in Austin Mic Exchange (AMX) and the upcoming Weird City Hip Hop Festival, he's also one of it's most powerful & recognizable voices. Mixing clever lyricism and aggressive delivery, p-teK's gritty vocal style works well with Egon's highly kinetic, synth-heavy beats. Most tracks feature guest verses from either local talent or p-teK's friends from back home in Iowa.
Favorite Tracks: Cruise-Kidman ft. Old Man's War (5), Purple Nurple (9), Ninja Rap ft. Doc Brown (11), Turtles Don't Do Drugs (12)
from his bandcamp: "On Ultraviolet, Sadistik closes his eyes tight and reaches out towards the peripheries of perception through introspection and psychedelic escapism, transcribing the vivid images crawling on the dark purple walls of his Seattle studio."
The strong imagery and creativity of Sadistik’s lyrics, peppered with horror & sci-fi references, come together with deep, melodic & lushly layered beats for a cinematic, often epic feel.
Favorite Tracks: Cult Leader (1), Cubic Zirconia (5), Death Warrant ft. Sticky Fingaz & Tech N9ne (11)
Feral the Earthworm cut his teeth as a freestyle battle rapper at 17, and has since become one of the most respected MCs in the local scene at 21 - not only for his murderous freestyle ability, but also for the uncompromising honesty and passionate delivery of his written lyrics. On his debut LP, Feral spits with conviction over old-school style beats, kicking conscious lyrics with positive messages (except trk11 kinda), all with an undeniable devotion to the spirit of true hip hop.
Austin hip hop mainstays Magna Carda bring relaxed, down-to-earth vibes on their debut LP. Megz Kelli’s laid-back yet confidently soulful delivery of street stories, party anthems and soul-searching rhymes perfectly complement Dougie D’s crisp & fairly minimal sample-based productions, making for highly chill vibes all throughout the album. Overall Magna Carda are a prime example of honest-to-goodness, no-gimmick underground hip hop.
The dreamteam of powerhouse producer/MCs Alchemist and Evidence come together on this LP to create hard-hitting beats that display virtuosic sampling ability, and spit irreverent verbal acrobatics in the ‘I’m the baddest of asses that ever assed’ vein. The two artists have incredible chemistry and it’s evident (ha!) that they’re having a lot of fun on these tracks, with their energetic, aggressive delivery of often-ridiculous punchlines & metaphors. Plus many excellent guest verses. The dreamteam of powerhouse producer/MCs Alchemist and Evidence come together on this LP to create hard-hitting beats that display virtuosic sampling ability, and spit irreverent verbal acrobatics in the ‘I’m the baddest of asses that ever assed’ vein. The two artists have incredible chemistry and it’s evident (ha!) that they’re having a lot of fun on these tracks, with their energetic, aggressive delivery of often-ridiculous punchlines & metaphors. Plus many excellent guest verses.
Good Vibes is a love letter to raw, grainy, lo-fi hip hop from beat tapes of yore, soulfully melding jazz samples, boom bap drums, and tape saturated everything into a gooey mix of deliciousness, peppered with easter eggs for old-school hip hop heads (trk3). Featuring many excellent remixes of old school acapellas from Quasimoto (trk2), Tribe(trk9), Busta(trk8) and more, these tracks showcase the Swiss producer's knack for tastefully filtering vocals, smearing them just enough to meld into his amalgamation of lo-fi gooeyness.
Self-described as “post-jazz hip hop,” MODAL (name inspired by modal jazz) is grounded by a trio of piano, bass & drums, whose natural chemistry in kicking out driving, upbeat grooves nicely complements Pojo the Idealist’s soulful, positive & conscious vocals and the occasional trumpet solo from Samuel Howden. The live energy of their shows comes across well in these recordings, showcasing the musicians’ natural interplay & jammy nature.