Gang Starr – ‘Bad Name’

Back in September, we got the first new track from Gang Starr in 16 years, ‘Family And Loyalty’. A few weeks ago, this was followed a whole new Gang Starr album called One Of The Best Yet. DJ Premier started working on the record in September 2017, and comes almost a decade after Guru’s death in 2010.

While the circumstances of the album’s creation remain a point of contention, it is a little strange but very good to hear the duo back together again – a rather unexpected surprise. The album, while not to the level of say Daily Operation and Hard to Earn (two of my all time favourite records), is a nice tribute to, and reminder of, how great Gang Starr were. IMO there is never a bad time to share anything Gang Starr related, with that in mind, we have latest single ‘Bad Name’. Backed by Premier’s trademark production and iconic scratch choruses, without missing a beat, Guru bemoans the lack or real hip hop talents, as he spits: “Word to God, if Big and ‘Pac were still here/ Some of these weirdos wouldn’t act so cavalier”.

It is undeniably great to hear the two artists together again, check out ‘Bad Name’ below:

Mykel Hawk – ’33 1/3′

Mykel Hawk is a DIY artist in the truest sense of the word; he produces every beat, writes every lyric, records and engineers every song, designs his cover art and creates his own video and multimedia.

From this ethos Mykel Hawk crafts slick, smooth and seductive hip hop jams as evidenced by single ’33 1/3′. It is classy jam with plenty of swagger and breezy, feel-good vibes as smooth vocals deliver effortlessly flowing wordplay over a seductive beat that’s got more bounce than Zebedee. Written about escape everyday pressures by going back to your happy place; for Mykel Hawk it harks back to his younger days, discovering music and spinning records – definitely a relatable feeling, for myself and many of you. ’33 1/3′ is a real gem; an infectious and melodic head nodding groover with heartfelt and nostalgic vibes for simpler times.

Check out ’33 1/3′ below:


JLA – ‘No Strangers ft. JustJames’

JLA is a rapper born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, heavily influenced by ‘90s-‘00s music growing up – something born out on his debut single ‘No Strangers’.

Teaming up with JustJames, ‘No Strangers’ is a feelgood, super infectious and sunny hip hop tune. It is a seductive Boom-Bap tune, with JLA’s flair for storytelling and vivid lyricisms destined to whisk you away to formative days of youth. It is filled with joyous sense of nostalgia as bop along a gently swaggering groove amid flutters of bright keys and soulful vibes. In short, this is just a great tune and one you should get acquainted with asap.

Listen to ‘No Strangers ft. JustJames’ below now: 

Gang Starr – ‘Family and Loyalty’ ft. J.Cole

Gang Starr, the legendary hip hop duo consisting of the late Guru and DJ Premier, have returned with a first new single in 16 years, and first music since Guru’s passing in 2010.

The track, ‘Family and Loyalty’, features posthumous vocals from Guru and verses from J. Cole. Dripping with golden-era nostalgia; a mellow old-school hip-hop beat and of course rhymes from the late Guru and slick, pristine production as you would expect from Premier.

To say this came as a surprise is an understatement – it came seemingly out of nowhere – and it is a little strange but of the good variety, it just not something that was ever expected. Gang Starr will always be of huge importance to me, not only are Daily Operation and Hard to Earn two of my all time favourite records but Gang Starr introduced me to hip hop as a whole.

If that wasn’t enough, rumours are swirling about an entire LP but hey, that’s for another day – for now, check out ‘Family and Loyalty’ and video below:

JAK – ‘Imagination’

JAK is a collective ensemble of creativity driven by a motley crew of music lovers from somewhere amid the great expanse of the US.

As for a backstory, well, that’s it. While JAK might be tight lipped on info, there is plenty to be said about their debut single ‘Imagination’. For one, it is a blistering bout of seductive, swaggering and wholly irresistible hip hop. It struts its wares built on a low-toned synthesiser hook and bed of buzzy, bass-heavy electro as droning and whooshing synths fizz around the slick, rapid-fire lyrical delivery, that zips along with mechanised rhythm and precision, perfectly complimenting the beatwork (which is very Afrika Bambaataa, Kraftwerk inspired). ‘Imagination’ is a hell of an introduction.

Listen to ‘Imagination’ below:

Trap – ‘I Want Moor’

Trap is a rapper / emcee from Long Beach, CA whose music explores a whole array of topics and themes, social commentary and cultural criticism but backed and complemented by sublime and seductive grooves and beats.

On his new single, ‘I Want Moor’, the latest lifted from recently released record, Young Basquiat 3: Lost Vibes, Trap brings out the revolutionary raps. There is a weight to his vocals, speaking with authority, an authority that makes you pay attention, his vision is delivered clearly and concisely, without ever sounding preachy or pretentious. His measured and melodic delivery adds lyrical depth and musical allure, it doesn’t miss a beat and the production, supplied by Chicago’s Jerrod Hinton, is of supreme quality. The beat is rooted in the blues, partially due to sampling Nina Simone but also because of its pace and general vibe. It is a heavyweight tune, and one that’s been on constant rotation the past month.

Check ‘I Want Moor’ below and you can listen to Young Basquiat 3: Lost Vibes here.

Captain Moonlight – ‘The Great Austerity Bake Off’

Kilkenny rapper Captain Moonlight, has long been one of Irish Hip Hop’s most prized possessions. Obsessive about politics, philosophy, literature, music and hurling, it has been nine long years since his last album, 2010’s On The Lough (Agroculture Pt 3).

This period of relative radio silence has been brought to a welcome and abrupt close by new single ‘The Great Austerity Bake Off’ – and it is superb. The beats are infectious and snappy, along with the hovering, soft synth provide an toe-tapping and contagious backdrop for his potent lyrical expanses. Moonlight is up there with the finest lyricist’s this country has produced, and ‘The Great Austerity Bake Off’ finds him in fine fettle – and as usual he doesn’t disappoint.

Although there have been singles here and there – incl. a track for our very own GruffWuff compilation (see below) – the new single also comes with news of new album called Offences Against The State Act 1, which is expected before the year is out.

I’ve long been a huge fan of Captain Moonlight and made no secret of this adoration over the years, so needless to say, it is great to have him back in action.

Listen to ‘The Great Austerity Bake Off’ below:

MARTH – ‘Golden Hour’

MARTH is a multi-Instrumental producer/composer from Netherlands who’s sound is born from a preference for Future Beats with hip hop, electronica and jazz influences.

Utilising a mix of electronic and live instruments, with an emphasis on trumpet, MARTH creates a chilled sound brimming with positivity and natural rhythm, and latest single ‘Golden Hour’ is a perfect case in point. Inspired by a painting from Van Gogh, it a trumpet focused chilled three-minutes. A laid-back groove slides along lulling you into this relaxing world, making your mind susceptible the serene mixture of soulful electronics, 90s chill, jazzy vibes with an added hip-hop pulse, and funky, brazen beat beneath. It is quite wistful and thought provoking, set to a scene of serenity, leaving you refreshed, relaxed and chilled.

Tune in below:

GotSome – ‘Plastic On Acid ft Roxanne Shante’

Bristol’s GotSome, aka Adam Gorsky, is a producer & DJ with a flair for recontextualizing the sounds of various dance sub-genres – disco, dubstep, house, and more – and blending with hip hop influences into hip-house leaning sound.

Gorsky’s latest single ‘Plastic On Acid’ is a floor-filling banger that features the vocal talents of New York musician and rapper Roxanne Shante. Unadulterated fun, it is an uptempo drum-heavy, bass-led retro-fixated house excursion that embraces Shante’s skill for sliding effortlessly between rapping and singing, jacking the propulsion where necessary. It is utterly addicting and danceable as squelchy acid licks, pitch-screwed bass, blurred synth chords and house basslines transfix and get your body grooving (and no doubt dancefloors moving).

‘Plastic On Acid’ is just great, simple as. Listen to it below.

Sal Dulu – ‘Buzzcut’

Dublin-based producer Sal Dulu established a rep for fabulous hip-hop flavoured electronic productions with a string of stellar singles last year; ‘Duluoz Dream’, ‘Antasma’ & ‘Tyko’.

Opening his 2019 account with the atmospheric ‘Xompulse’, the Dubliner indicated a continuation of form and Sal Dulu is back with a new offering called ‘Buzzcut’.Joined by Atlanta-via-Memphis emcee staHHr, who takes command of vocal duties as Sal Dulu weaves together a breezy, dreamy atmosphere, lush cinematic strings, erratic breaks and choral-esque chants. It is an elegant arrangement that glistens and flickers with tranquillity as it stutters with a somewhat fidgety progression, that beneath staHHr’s vocals, only adds to the captivating nature. An atmospheric beauty; an engrossing and transfixing blend of rich, warm sounds.

Sal Dulu’s previous releases have been stellar and ‘Buzzcut’ is up there alongside the very best of them; of his or anyone else’s singles from so far this year – one of 2019’s finest.

Listen to ‘Buzzcut’ below: