Browsing Tag

Old School Hip Hop

B-Guy Griffin earned a place in Idaho’s hip-hop Hall of Fame with his seminal release, Rick Ross

Serendipitous enough that it may as well have been foretold, B-Guy Griffin’s third LP, Long Time Comin, is a cunningly cultivated collection of tracks, featuring a solid line-up of featuring artists.

The standout single, Rick Ross, embodies the titular artist’s larger-than-life persona over the mic as the lyrics cascade in a fiery cadence that will leave you psyched on the potential of B-Guy Griffin and his collaborators on this track, Tnyg & Twigg.

Rather than reinventing the wheel, the playful polyphonic melodies and solid boom-bap backbeat in this seminal track keep it old school in the contemporarily slick production as B-Guy Griffin waxes lyrical and gives the airwaves a taste of how his cheeky wit translates through his wordplay, which has easily earnt him a place in Idaho’s hip-hop hall of fame.

Long Time Comin was officially released on March 22; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Baby T echoed the soul of the ‘MISUNDERSTOOD’ in his hauntingly hard-hitting hip-hop hit.

After a four-year break from the airwaves, the Emmy award-winning hip-hop artist, producer and emissary of innovation, Baby T is back, and his sound isn’t just bigger than ever; MISUNDERSTOOD stirs emotions from the depth of the soul to evoke a viscerally profound response.

Waxing lyrical around the nostalgically arcane air and cinematic flair of the 1960s classic, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, may have been a sure-fire way of Baby T playing havoc with heartstrings, but his fiery original verses – modernised for maximum resonance – and the percussive passion which brings bass-drenched depth allowed MISUNDERSTOOD to hit hard enough that you’ll feel the emotional bruises.

As we exist as ideas in the minds of everyone we meet, there’s plenty of our identity that can be lost in translation when we’re poured through everyone’s perception filters, but even the knowledge of this irrefutable fact isn’t enough to take away the sting of feeling unseen, disrespected or underestimated. Baby T’s candid introspection, laid out through instantly ensnaring vocal hooks, is all the consolation and motivation you’ll need to stay on your authentic path.

MISUNDERSTOOD is a flawless testament to his prestige. Haunting and hard-hitting in equal measure, it’s a serious contender for our favourite hip-hop track of the year.

Stream MISUNDERSTOOD on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

KAotik waxed lyrical on the tragedy of wasted potential in his old-school hip-hop track, Fascinate

KAotik (AKA Bruce Reign) kept old-school hip-hop fresh with his latest track, Fascinate, which strips the instrumentals right back to their fundamentals, allowing his killer canter to take the spotlight in the mid-tempo release.

Following a mellow, almost transcendentally toned intro, the spoken-word verses wax lyrical on everything from the tragedy of wasted potential to accepting fate without consigning yourself to it. By finding plenty of room to assert wordplay, clever cultural references and his ethos on putting lyrics to the forefront of his productions, the Washington-born, Laurel MD-residing artist of Nigerian descent used Fascinate to not only do what the single says on the titular tin, but to inspire, and he hit a home run in doing so.

If KRS One, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, and Black Thought feature heavily on your playlists, make room for this profound hit.

Stream Fascinate on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Frank Blunt redefined hip-hop’s intellectual edge with ‘Bored Games 2’

Frank Blunt’s latest single, ‘Bored Games 2′, is a testament to his stripes as a rap luminary. Blunt stayed true to his name by delivering an intellectually resonant and intellectually stimulating hit of wisdom; it’s a journey into the depths of Blunt’s psyche, a reflection of his soul laid bare through masterful lyricism

While the jazz-infused rhythms pay homage to old-school hip-hop, Blunt weaves his sonic signature through the production like gritty urban calligraphy to carve out his own unique identity, mostly noted through the cadence of his introspective gold. Blunt’s flow is a marvel of rhythmic precision and melodic inventiveness, ensuring that listeners hang on to every syllable. His ability to weave complex narratives which go plateaus beyond the ordinary tropes of the genre allows the tract to challenge perceptions while remaining grounded in realism.

Frank Blunt’s influences, ranging from Michael Jackson to UGK, from Jay Z to Outkast, are evident in his music, yet he’s far from a by-product of assimilation. After a decade of cutting his teeth in the industry, his unparalleled talent is as razor-sharp as his lyrical wit. If any up-and-coming rapper has earned their place in the pantheon of hip-hop greats, it is Blunt.

Bored Games 2 was released on February 7th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Experience 2024’s most electrifying hip-hop ensemble via ROK10’s seminal collaborative release, CYPHER V2

The release of “CYPHER V2” created a seismic shift in the hip-hop landscape. ROK10, a Lancaster native whose roots in metal and underground raves have seasoned his foray into rap, orchestrated an 8:40-minute juggernaut with a finesse that belies his eclectic background.

The track burst onto the scene with a vitality that could give the Wu-Tang Clan a run for their money. Each artist – OVLRD Shogun, DIENASTY PIFF, Rah the Broker, 2EZ, Reyya, S.A.V., and Velkro LaStrange – brings their unique flair, creating a tapestry of voices that’s as diverse as it is cohesive. Their bars skate over the old-school, gritty beats with an agility that’s both nostalgic and fresh, echoing the golden age of hip-hop while carving out a new niche.

ROK10’s ingenuity shines in the way he layers contrasting instrumental tones and textures beneath swathes of saturated delay. It’s a soundscape that allows each artist’s individuality to blaze, yet harmoniously meld into a singular, powerhouse anthem. The emotional charge of the lyrics is palpable, offering a raw, unfiltered glimpse into the psyche of each contributor. The gender balance in the vocals is another triumph, ensuring the track resonates with a broad spectrum of listeners.

“CYPHER V2” marks ROK10’s unforgettable debut in the rap scene. It’s a testament to his versatility and vision as an artist unafraid to blend and bend musical norms. For fans of rap looking for something that’s both rooted in tradition and boldly innovative, this track is a must-listen.

Stream CYPHER V2 on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Slim Piccins preached to the streets in his cinematic old-school hip-hop track, Legal Dope

Slim Piccins’ latest single, ‘Legal Dope‘, is a refreshing divergence from contemporary hip-hop which almost feels like a parody compared to the hits from the golden era. The Charlotte, NC native brings a unique blend of raw, husky vocals reminiscent of Tyler, The Creator and Rick Ross, yet Slim Piccins stands distinct in his lyrical prowess. The track is a luxe fusion of orchestral strings and traditional hip-hop beats, creating a soundscape that is grounded and filmic in equal measure.

The narrative of resilience is a gritty testament to overcoming adversity without resorting to the typical glorification of material wealth. Piccins’ bars resonate, echoing the struggles and triumphs of a life that most can relate to.

His voice, deep and textured, weaves through the melody, adding a layer of authenticity. The production deserves equal acclaim for the way the orchestral elements elevate the song into a cinematic domain.

In ‘Legal Dope’, Slim Piccins doesn’t just perform; he narrates, he educates, and he inspires. This track is a bold statement in the hip-hop genre, proving that true motivational music doesn’t need the crutches of luxury and excess. It’s a raw, unfiltered glimpse into the soul of an artist who is not afraid to bare his scars and share his story.

Stream Legal Dope on YouTube now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

SmokeFace Player – The Best Food In the World: Grab an Old School Hip-Hop Bite

SmokeFace Player’s latest single, ‘The Best Food in the World‘, is a gritty homage to old-school hip-hop, infused with a modern twist that is resonating with the new generation of rap fans.

The track, a standout from his LP ‘Whatever Happened to Making Demos’, showcases the artist’s deep-rooted connection to the genre’s golden era, while simultaneously sharpening his sound with a contemporary edge. With a voice that echoes the depth of Biggie, the rawness of DMX, and the uniqueness of Tyler, The Creator, SmokeFace Player’s conviction is only matched by the volition of his rhythmic precision.

The track is a lyrical journey through popular culture references and pains, delivered with a salacious wit that has compelled thousands of rap fans to continue turning to SmokeFace Player’s untraditional approach to lyricism. Eschewing the typical thematic constraints, he opts for a stream-of-consciousness style, weaving together disparate elements with an ingenious coherence. This lyrical tapestry is not just a display of his skill as a wordsmith, but also a nod to the improvisational roots of hip-hop. He’s clearly an artist on the rise; watch this space as he continues to make his indomitable mark on it.

Stream The Best Food in the World on SoundCloud now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ola Beto flowed right back to ‘Old School’ with his latest rhythmically rendered hip-hop release

Ola Beto has dropped a track that’s nothing short of a rhythmic revelation. ‘Old School’ is a melodious trip through the annals of hip-hop via a route never taken. This single firmly establishes Ola Beto as the undisputed king of retro luxe flows in the modern hip-hop scene.

From the get-go, ‘Old School’ commands attention. The cadence in Ola Beto’s bars makes it impossible to remain indifferent. His flow is a rhythmic force that demands your rhythmic pulses to stand to attention while the use of nostalgic samples adds a layer of authenticity. Yet, it’s in the beats and analogue synths where Ola Beto truly shines, offering a contemporary twist that you’ll want to relentlessly ride the waves of.

Ola Beto’s emotional lyrics, combined with his rhythmic production and catchy flows, create a sonic vision that’s beyond measure.  ‘Old School’ is a statement of Ola Beto’s trajectory that’s set to redefine the West Coast hip-hop domain. If he continues on his grind, it won’t be long before he’s revered as a major player in the genre. For fans of retro pop and hip-hop alike, ‘Old School’ is a track that resonates with the past, thrives in the present, and hints at a future where Ola Beto holds the keys to the kingdom.

Stream the official music video for Old School by heading over to YouTube now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

King Apollo juxtaposed grit with glamour in his alt-hip-hop hit, Holliwould

King Apollo, hailing from Columbus, Ohio, is not just another name in the rap game; he’s a whirlwind of creativity reshaping the hip-hop domain. His latest single, ‘Holliwould‘, stands as a testament to this bold assertion. This track is a journey through a soundscape where jazz’s sophistication meets the raw energy of rap, creating an experience that’s as enigmatic as it is enthralling.

From the first note, ‘Holliwould’ envelops you in a world where the past and future collide. The instrumental arrangement is a masterclass in melody, weaving a tapestry that’s both spacy and wavy, with a jazzy undertone that feels like a nod to the classics. Yet, it’s undeniably forward-thinking, a fusion that feels both nostalgic and novel.

King Apollo’s bars are the centrepiece of this musical odyssey. His wordplay is not just clever; it’s a sly wink to the listener, as intricate and layered as the title suggests. The lyrics dance through the beats with a devilish charm, offering a glimpse into a mind that’s as sharp as it is creative. It’s this blend of wit and wisdom that sets King Apollo apart, ensuring that every line resonates long after the song ends.

By blending the glamour of film noir with the unvarnished truth of street life, contrasting elements coalesced with effortless grace and established this sense of duality as a mark of King Apollo’s artistry.

Stream Holliwould as part of the 2023 LP, OuterSpace, on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Black Silver is dark and disarming in his latest cinematic juggernaut of a rap track, Silver Linings

Black Silver dropped one of the biggest hip-hop collabs of the year by unleashing the gritty old-school rap track, Silver Linings, featuring Rakaa Iriscience, Griffen, Mykill Myers, and DJ Skilz.

With plenty of record scratching and wavily saturated distortion around the solid and steady beats in the dark and chillingly cultivated production, Black Silver (AKA the Navigator) and his band of lyrical alchemists paid a fitting ode to the 90s hip hop while showing they’re more methodical than Method Man, wittier than Nas with wordplay and boast all the cinematic charisma of Conway the Machine.

When Black Silver isn’t dropping his seminal solo rap tracks, the Las Vegas-hailing trailblazer is at the helm of his independent record label, Sterling World Records and contributing to hip-hop groups, including Analog Brothers, Tha Likwit Crew, 2000 Crows, and Black Ice with Ice T.

Silver Linings hit the airwaves on October 20th; it is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast