Prisoner of Mars – ‘Cityscapes’

Prisoner of Mars is the brainchild of Phil Galloni & Cameron Ljungkull. The duo, originally from the Midwest, met in Los Angeles and began writing together, bonding over their eclectic music tastes.

The result of this collaborative instrumental/experimental project came to be known as Prisoner of Mars. Borrowing its name from 90s avant-pop group Stereolab, the project takes inspiration from across a broad musical spectrum – from 90s hip hop, to 70s soul, 80s pop, and 90s underground avant pop – with a vision to create a unique soundscape that stands apart from the assembly-line pop production of the 21st century. There vision is most certainly realised on their brand new single, ‘Cityscapes’.

Adding the talent of Alex Kyhn (bass, Macy Gray) and Ian Wurfl (drums/percussion), they eek out a perfect blend of organic and synthetic sounds. ‘Cityscapes’ is a smooth, lavish and carefully weaved blend of mellow hip hop and trip hop grooves – peppered with brass above and a muffled, dreamy bassline running beneath it; this is a breezy, easy on the ears slice of fresh, jazzy hip-hop seduction. A warm aural feast of silky smooth vibes and lush allure – marvellous stuff.

Listen to ‘Cityscapes’ below – it is lifted from their forthcoming EP Dream Cell, out April 7, 2020.

Mykel Hawk – ‘The Flows I Know’

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.

We were introduced to his prodigious talents late last year with stylish, slick and swaggering single ’33 1/3′ and with new single ‘The Flows I Know’, Hawk has lost none of the pep from his step. Nor has it lost any of the predecessors allure as it swaggers along a funk-filled stomping, shape throwing groove as a fizzing synthline bubbles away beneath meandering, super smooth and melodic vocal delivery all engulfed in cascading frazzled electronics. It is such an addictive tune, bristling with energy and attitude, it will have you headed straight for repeated listens.

Listen to ‘The Flows I Know’ below – it and ’33 1/3′ feature on Mykel Hawk’s new record which you can listen to here

Snowy feat. Jason Williamson – ‘EFFED’

Nottingham MC Snowy has joined forces with fellow Notts luminary Jason Williamson of Sleaford Mods for huge, banging single ‘EFFED’.

Out via Dummy’s DMY Recordings, the pair deliver their two fingered state of the nation address; taking to task the privatisation of the NHS, the government’s immigration policy and the Windrush scandal and depicting the dismal decay being foisted upon the UK via Tory austerity. It is raw, impassioned and delivered with veracity over huge grimey guttural beats produced by Lenkem. It is an angry, dangerous and brutal cut, an absolute beast of track as the pair verbally spar with one another. It is just simply a huge tune – and the message is on point too.

Tune in below: 

Cracker Jon & Violentlyill – ‘It’s Delicious’

UK Rapper Cracker Jon and Irish Hip Hop producer Violentlyill have teamed up for a new single ‘It’s Delicious’.

Fittingly, Cracker Jon explores his own Irish roots as he spits out raspy bars over some heavy boom bap beats via Violentlyill. Cracker Jons fiery delivery is phenomenal and matched and enhanced by Violentlyill’s seductive beatwork and skilfully layered production, that while comprised of many intricate layers never sounds cluttered, instead illuminating the wordplay and giving it room to breathe. An infectious, catchy and swaggering jam, it is just a superb tune from start to finish.

Give it a spin below – ‘It’s Delicious’ – does exactly what it says on the tin.

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.