By TJ Love
80’s Babies: Searching for Happy
Beautiful. That’s really the only way to describe Searching for Happy. Producer Tall Black Guy has taken a certain vibe and sound popularized by the Native Tongues Collective, further refined by J.Dilla, and pushed it even further. Lush, organic, moog-y treats that are blissful and awe-inspiring await your ears. No disrespect to emcee Dee Jackson, who more than ably contributes to the 80s Babies canvas, the real draw here is the rewind-worthy production. Searching for Happy isn’t head and shoulders above the rest, it’s Yao Ming in a crowd of Kevin Harts
Semi Hendrix(Ras Kass & Jack Splash): Breakfast at Banksy’s
All praises due to Ras Kass. A couple years ago he was on the cusp of joining that cabal of our favorite emcees who end up washed up and forgotten. Fam reinvigorated his career with a stellar project with Apollo Brown and followed it up with the equally dope(albeit vastly different) endeavor Semi Hendrix. Nine times out of ten when we hear rappers are working with a band there’s a predictable universal eye-roll. Ok, we get it man, you’re different, more musical, trying to expand your sound, yada yada yada. “Genre-bending” shit is ESPECIALLY wack when it comes to Hip Hop the vast majority of the time. Razzy’s connected lovely with Jack Splash, concocting a bitches brew in which one of the game’s best spitters ever and a ten-time Grammy nominated producer bring out the best in each other. Breakfast at Banksy’s is funkier than a locker room.
Primavera Villls: Long Summer Days
If rap is a combat sport Primavera Vills is the type of fighter you don’t want to face. He doesn’t just get busy, his style is busy. Long Summer Days is a cascade of punches reminiscent of Pacquiao in his prime-unrelenting, hard-hitting, and with flawless technique. It’s not just his pen game that sets him apart, his delivery is reminiscent of fellow Keystone state emcee Grand Agent but with dare I say, more swag, more versatility, and as much as it pains me to say it, better beat selection. Dude is out there doing the most and making it look easy at the same time.
cop Long Summer Days rightchea
Add-2: Prey For the Poor
Somewhere along the way, the standard for what a dope album is has changed. No longer were dope rhymes and dope beats enough; hipster bloggers demanded more. Of what? Who knows? Just any ol’ extra bells and whistles shit it seems. That said, in a just world Chi-town spitter Add-2 would be just as revered as Kendrick Lamar. He channels an intensity at near-rage levels in his rhymes and delivery at times, but instead of doing it just to do it it actually serves a purpose. He’s actually saying something. Prey For the Poor is the Jamla representative’s debut album, after releasing fire mixtapes for a while now(I highly advise you to peep his catalog). He’s rapping his ass off with some of the best beats and guest stars 9th Wonder’s boutique label can provide and the results are scintillating. This is a black ass album if there ever was one, irreverent, celebratory and defiantly political, it’s an indictment on the social factors behind why Chicago is ignominiously known as Chi-Raq.