Larger-than-life MC Quadir Lateef has been nice for years, which is something I can say, having been acquainted with the man since Howard University, where his penchant for spoken word and writing were apparent. While I’m always glad to see a Statik Selektah joint getting burn, it really feels good to see the Ruff Ryders imprint back on the scene putting out the same gritty and true-to-hip-hop material they were known for when they initially kicked in the door on the rap game.
A personal selection off of this month’s The Art Of Rock Climbing, on “Liquid To A Solid”, former Cool Kids guest Boldy James delivers his standard monotone wit-and-grit combo over sinister production to cook up a crime anthem that rides beautifully.
The once reclusive Ukrainian-American MC Your Old Droog is back with a banger for the top of the year with “G.K.A.C.”, an alarmingly gritty telling of a police shootout in the vein of Slick Rick’s classic “Children’s Story”, but off a dust blunt. Clearly, Droog is not messing around on his sophomore album Packs, due out March 10th.
While a ragtag band of some of the sorriest excuses for rappers of all time squabble in what constitutes “rap beef” in the modern day, it’s good to know that in 2017, real heads can still count on the art to sometimes win out over the business of rap. In addition to Run The Jewels’ 3rd album currently in rotation, we now have this to rock to for a while. On Shadow The Jewels, DJ Skarface takes some classic DJ Shadow cuts and blends them with Run The Jewels’ first LP.
I absolutely and without question consider my 2011 interview with Camp Lo a feather in my cap when it comes to writing about rap music and pushing the culture forward, so I always check for new music from the Bronx duo both on the strength of them being dope and for giving me that opportunity as an up and coming (and still there, honestly) music journalist. On “Piece of the Action”, we get a version of Camp Lo very similar to the Camp Lo we got in 1997 on the critically acclaimed Uptown Saturday Night. Even in 1997, Geechi Suede and Sonny Cheeba had a knack for combining thematic elements from ’70s Blaxploitation culture with a stream-of-consciousness delivery that was way ahead of their time and thus, still sounds great today.
Taking a final opportunity to get a message across to the first and probably last U.S. President who’s ever intentionally listened to an M.O.P. record, Billy Danze steps up to the mic and delivers a record with political aims, speaking on a number of issues. As I once predicted, it looks like it’s gonna take something as unsettling as the crack epidemic to get rappers to start making music with some nutritional value to it. And here it is. While establishing the appropriate level of respect for the HNIC, Danze addresses the points a lot of us wish deep down Obama would do more to combat in his last days in office, but don’t want to be seen as critics of the man. But if you can count on anybody to lace up the Timbs and go at the powers that be, it’s the Mash Out Posse. Salute.
In a time where rapping well is seen as a hindrance rather than a benefit to those in the rap business (go figure), F5 breathes fresh air into the track “Broth”, the first loosie off of his forthcoming as-yet-unnamed EP. I’m looking forward to the next project from the homie and you’ll definitely find it here on Front-Free. Enjoy.
Action Bronson returns with a brand new track that randomly popped up on YouTube today. If you’re a fan like me, you’re happy as hell and about to order a plate of mussels in honor of the man.
“As a descendant of the stars, it’s only right that I become one…”
Shout out to DJ Absolut for coming through with this gem featuring Nas in vintage form, though I’m not sure what year it’s from.
Yac House Entertainment drops a brand new single just in time to catch the tail end of the summer, featuring heavy-handed verses from Yac House representatives Newz Huddle of West Philly, I Know Brasco of North Philly, Chicago’s own Gedo, and Wise Vega reppin’ Harlem. The art of the posse cut is not dead!