The Hottest New Indie Hip Hop to Drop this Past Week.
Another delayed edition of the WEEKEND BAG. Whats going on 8ch? Honestly, there was just too much good Hip Hop to thoroughly listen to this past weekend. The MR. MORALE & THE BIG STEPPERS alone had me stuck all weekend. Just in case that was the only thing you listened to this past Fri through Sun, here are all the albums that made our Radar. All of them are worth multi spins.
KENDRICK LAMAR – MR. MORALE & THE BIG STEPPERS
My HIP-HOP LIFERS family will crucify me for posting this as my Album of the Week/ Front Page Article. I spent the weekend reading all sorts of posts and memes trashing MR. MORALE & THE BIG STEPPERS, the latest full length project by Los Angeles Rap Messiah KENDRICK LAMAR. However, as K.DOT aka MR. MORALE makes clear on the album, he is no one’s “SAVIOR”; he is having a hard enough time saving himself. At least that is the message I get woven throughout an album where he makes creating a whole new sound in Hip Hop look easy. When you talk AOTY, you have to be talking about projects that pushed the envelope in the genre and left a different dent in Hip Hop that given year. Sonically, Lyrically, and Thematically, this album does that and then some. Tackling taboo topics like Cancel Culture, Toxic Relationships & Domestic Violence ( those verses on WE CRY TOGETHER are some of the most real and disturbing verses I have ever heard on a Rap Song), Struggles with Gender Identification (AUNTIE DIARIES) and so much more. This will go down in history as one of those albums you listen to repeatedly and still find something new tucked between the lines years down the road. Full of joints that become favorites on first listen (UNITED IN GRIEF, N95 with its New Visuals, FATHER TIME, PURPLE HEARTS with one of the most heart-melting verses from TONY STARKS you will ever hear, MR. MORALE & MIRROR), the album is not as hard of a listen as its tougher critics will have you believe. I heard the production is horrible on this album. I couldn’t agree less, with most songs having multiple producers working together with world renown musicians to create gorgeous, elaborate backdrops for KENDRICK to lay his unique poetry over. MR. MORALE and the HALF STEPPERS is not any one thing that a specific group of fans wished for. It is not Overly Trappy, Drilly, Jazzy, Boom Bap, or West Coast G Funk, however, it does have all of these flavors sprinkled throughout the album. What this album is, is a complete musical journey, like watching musical theater in the Renaissance period. A Shakespearian tragedy about the African American Experience where the protagonist sacrifices his life to set his family free from their generational curses.
OT THE REAL x STATIK SELEKTAH – MAXED OUT
I would like to take a quick minute to introduce you to our newest contributor to the CyphLyfe Blog, PRESHA of the Grid Lock Family. PRESHA is not only a time tested Emcee (make sure to check out his L.E.S.T.E.R. colab project with PHILL ISRAEL), but also a published author and long time hip hop head who just happens to be serving some time in the belly of the beast as we speak. I expressed to him our need for some help with the write-ups, and he expressed to me his interest in working on the blog. What better way to introduce him to our readers than to have him cover the latest from OT the Real.
OT the Real, the Pen, and his Newest Collaborative Project with Statik Selektah – MAXED OUT.
Written by: Presha
OT the Real puts everything on the line with his newest 10-song project ‘‘Maxed Out.” In true ”Mayor of Kingstown” fashion, he provides an authentic peek into Philly’s underworld and takes listeners inside the prison cells of his past. No pardons. No time off for good behavior. Just bars over Statik Selektah‘s bully beats.
Maxed Out is real convict music–no Akon–and OT is the personification of a prison shiv. His story is sharp, sincere, and specific. When he mentions how his homie ”…got a job inside the chow hall and learned to make weapons,’‘ we can taste the ghastly prison gruel and hear the shanks sharpen. When he describes how his celly ”…made a tat gun out of the fan motor,” we know this ingenuity was observed firsthand and not from watching Paramount Plus.
But Maxed Out is much more than a prison memoir. It’s an introspective, gritty, coming of age story written with warnings and keys to survival. OT dedicates a track to the importance of remaining loyal on ‘‘Loyalty,” a track which includes audio of Gillie the Kid, Wallo 267, and NBA great, Shaquille O’neal, cosigning OT’s skills as an emcee. On ”Windows,” he reflects, ”…it was also cleanlier/ the prison sent me home a more focused me–healthier….” And on ‘‘Make it Count’‘ he gives guidance: ‘‘…Fake stories get exposed/ Youngin, leave the streets be/ and don’t forget ya goals….” Maxed Out‘s measure of crime, punishment, and maturity is masterfully balanced, a much needed element in a genre rife with drug talk.
Many may claim to exemplify realness, but OT is certainly the real one. With his skill set and names like Statik Selektah, Gillie, Shaq, and Freeway cosigning him, it’ll be exciting to see him max out his potential and inspire others.
COPYWRITE – HIGH EXHAULTED 2
I won’t front, I was a huge C-WRITE fan during the early 2000’s when he dropped the TABLE SCRAPS album w/ MhZ, introducing us to COPY, CAMU TAO (RIP), JAKI THE MOTOR MOUTH, TAGE PROTO & the production of RJD2. What followed was his debut solo album under EASTER CONFRENCE RECORDS, THE HIGHLY EXALTED which many Die Hard Heads consider a Hip Hop Classic (I being of them). Now, 21 years later, COPYWRITE returns with the sequel to his Debut Release, THE HIGHLY EXALTED 2 and shows that he hasn’t collected a speck of rust in his time away from the mic. Over the past year we have heard him on several features with the likes of TONES & DJ MATTY LITE and others, and even seen him involved in some Acapella Battles on some Midwestern Leagues. All indicating that the creative brain storms were brewing in COPY‘S dome again. What we receive in HIGHLY EXALTED 2 is just what we were expecting, a surgeon with the pen performing literary eviscerations. Check him out calling out WWE’s JOHN CENA for biting his old punchlines on SPOILER ALERT: HAVE YOU CENA. Do you miss PUNCH LINE HEAVY HOP that makes you screw your face until its permanently ugly? Let HIGHLEY EXAULTED 2 play out loud with the windows open, so your neighbors can know that real shit is still out there.
Napolean da Legend x Gyver Hypman – ”Versatilis Prolificus”
Written by: Presha
When Joseph, the King of Spain, asked his brother whether he had ever been hit by a cannonball, France’s leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, replied: ”The bullet that is to kill me has not yet been molded.” As one of the world’s greatest military minds, Napoleon’s work proved to be prolific and lasting.
Born in France and raised by Hip Hop, Napoleon Da Legend (NDL), the emcee, is cut from the same cloth. NDL‘s catalogue is deep, with dozens of victories to his credit. His newest project, ”Versatilis Prolificus‘,’ is filled with revolution, hope, and conquest. Most important, it’s dope!
The difference between Napoleon, the military leader, and Napoleon, the emcee, is that NDL seeks not to simply conquer and expand his empire; but he seeks to also see ”…everyone do good.” (Listen to ”Praise Everything.”) With that type of positive energy, NDL‘s catalogue and its newest addition will stand as a monument to commemorate his lyrical conquest–his very own Arc de Triumph.
ONYX – ONYX VERSUS EVERYBODY
With all of our Hip Hop Heroes coming out with banging new projects over the past 4 years, the award for Group Comeback of the New Golden Era has to go to ONYX. The Mad Face duo has been putting down relentless heat since their 2019 release SNOWMADS with Germany’s SNOWGOOONS. In the wake of their VERZUZ battle with West Coast and Cannabis Culture Legends CYPRESS HILL last Sunday, STICKY FINGAZ & FREDRO STARR dropped ONYX VERSUS EVERYBODY, a quick little EP produced completely by FREDRO to give you that Screw Face, Mosh Pit slam dancing with Timbs feel you grew up with (If you were lucky enough). Word is the VERZUZ ended up being a Pay Per View joint which disappointed thousands of fans who spent the night looking for it on IG LIVE or YOUTUBE LIVE like VERZUZ has always been broadcast in the past. Word is the battle was epic tho. You can catch clips here and there on youtube. Til the whole thing drops, enjoy this latest work from the original GRIMEYS, that’ll have you raising your Gun Holding Hand in the Air, and buck bucking like you just don’t care.
LACE FUEG – TINMAN[bandcamp width=350 height=621 album=510627241 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5]
There are many crown wearing, ski mask covered Heads connected to the Hydra that is GRIMEWAV. One of those tarnished crowns sits sideways on the skull of the TINMAN, LACE FUEG. On his latest solo EP produced entirely by GRIMEWAV Drum Dumper HANZO BLADEZ , LACE hits you up close and personal with 5 back to back to back sharp shiv pokes to the core of your being. Each beat is as smooth as a street coated in black ice, where FUEG skates around with rugged grace, swinging a rusty butterfly knife as he slides by the ops. Just listen to him arguing with himself on DELEBERATE. Is this really someone you want accompanying you down the Yellow Brick Road? Then you hear the album closer LADY and understand why Dorothy always ends up with the TIN MAN. Life has made LACE FUEG hard, with enough heart to take what he wants and ride for those he loves. If you bout that Real Shit you can Feel Shit, support the latest offering from the GRIMEWAV.
PARADOX – CRUISE
This is one of those cases where if you didn’t hear the song when it first dropped, dont sweat, its still brand new to you. The brother PARADOX dropped a project a few years ago by the name of SONGS I WROTE IN QUARANTINE, full of soul and DOX’s signature precise penmanship and smokey delivery. He has recently been promoting his latest single off the project, “CRUISE“, which is a timeless piece that I imagine feels more relatable now that we are all outside, actually cruising our roads, oceans and airways again. DOX explains how he’s been “weak in the knees for spitting 16s since he was 16” on the 1st verse of the smooth bop. Now in his 20’s, PARADOX has travelled from South Florida to New York City to study at Long Island University Brooklyn, in a music program that boasts 9th Wonder as one of its Professors. I have seen PARADOX rock stages in South Florida, either open mics where he just spits some fire 16s, or solo sets where he would bring out his Keyboard and flex his skills on the keys, since 2012. The growth I have seen in the brother’s music and live performance since his move up North has been exemplary. He is now leading a live Hip Hop Jazz band out of LIU, and his pen hasn’t slowed down at all. I suggest you get familiar with PARADOX now before he becomes the next big thing you could have supported while they were on the come up. CRUISE, with its silky hook sung by sister LYRICALLOVE is a perfect point to start your research.
BLACK THOUGH x DANGER MOUSE – NO GOLD TEETH (Official Video)
The 1st single off the upcoming colab album, “CHEAT CODE” by Super Emcee BLACK THOUGHT of THE LEGENDARY ROOTS CREW, and DANGER MOUSE of DANGER DOOM / GNARLES BARKLEY fame. While we havent heard much from DANGER MOUSE as of late, TARIQ has been killing everything he touches from Features, to solo album series, to writing and acting in a BROADWAY PLAY. This is going to be one of those albums of 2022. Video Directed by UNCANNY, the UK-based creative duo of George Muncey and Elliot Elder. Your going to want to preorder the album at this link, trust me. Pre-order the new album ‘Cheat Codes’ out 12th August: https://DMxBT.lnk.to/CheatCodesID
YOUNG LORDZ – LOST IN THE WIND feat NESS & ELZ
Knowledge Medina and J.Dot continue their march to the Young Lordz Debut Album Release later this Month. This time they bless us with an exclusive that won’t be on the album. “Lost In The Wind” feat Ness & Elz, is a Street Anthem that will get any hard hustling D Boy singing along to the hook. This is music you feel in your soul if you have lived that block life. Just another perspective of what The Young Lordz are bringing to the table.