The best hip-hop on Bandcamp: April 2022


BEST HIP-HOP
The best hip-hop on Bandcamp: April 2022

By Phillip Mlynar May 02, 2022

April’s spotlight on the nine best new hip-hop releases to hit Bandcamp includes a dusty dispatch from the depths of Virginia, a lesson in the art of deconstruction from a rapper raised in Hawaii, plus a collaboration tinged with nostalgia between a spitter Orlando and a Uruguayan producer listening to a melodic loop. We’re also digging into an electronics-influenced project that imagines an interstellar realm populated by aliens.

AJ Sweden & Little Professor
century-old darkness



“Set the Empire on fire/ Aim for the Death Star/ Kevlar from outer space/ Storm trooper teflon”, warns AJ Suede on “Apologize Later,” the opening track of the Seattle rapper’s full collaboration with the Philadelphia beatmaker little teacher. As the dark project unfolds, Suede’s tranquil verses are backed by a series of cleverly muted jazz loops and haunting mid-tempo drum patterns that convey a twilight atmosphere. Support on the album is courtesy of Defcee, Bank cashier$and Fatboy Sharif, with the latter rapper channeling the “ghost of downtown blues” over the moody “Full Metal Chimera.” Add a clever touch to the century-old darkness experience, the album ends with alternative Small Pro remixes of “Apologize Later” and “Drano” that demonstrate the producer’s crate-digger mentality and talent for breathing new life into unearthed loops.

billy wood
Ethiopias



This month’s standout rap release chronicles the adventures of Brooklyn billy woodthis time alongside the New York producer Preservation DJ. Channeling the same kind of honed minimalist drama on Preservation’s 2015 days with Dr Len Yo collaboration with supreme wordsmith Ka, the project’s production is a marvel of static-dappled sonic tension: opening cut “No Hard Feelings” is carried by a twitchy, vibrant anti-melody, “The Doldrums” uses bursts of bluesy guitar to reinforce the resonance of Woods’ words, and “Christine” paddles over a rustling bed of sonic fuzz and invites mike ladd to bring his poetic gravitas to the track. There are times of stress and turmoil dotted Ethiopias, but the two fence pieces “Remorseless” and “Smith + Cross” give the woods the option to disconnect in reflection mode. “It’s a freedom to admit it ain’t gonna get better/Washing your hands off the people you’ve known forever,” the MC advises on the mournful chorus that runs through the plaintive “Remorseless.” Then, after launching the twin ideas of generational wealth and American exceptionalism and lambasting those who peddle “Hallmark Karl Marx,” Woods issues a cold, omniscient statement: “I watched the planet from orbit, without remorse.”

Defcee and BoatHouse
For all public and private debts



“Imitation is the lowest form of true love, unless you put a million into it,” says Defcee on “Even,” the Chicago spitter’s full-length project opener with producer BoatHouse. Backed by pumping swirls of synth, the rapper continues to weave in commentary on gentrification and prepares to rally behind “white bankers and politicians dressed evil in cards.” As the project unfolds, Defcee relays a mix of sharp social commentary and autobiographical snippets that are boosted by production that conveys a stripped-down bluesy atmosphere enhanced by thumping drum patterns. Adding an extra level of verbal flair to the album, Armand Hammer blesses the pulsating basses and clipped snares of “Rossi” as the duo Mother Nature contributes a mystical commentary to “Shuriken”.

DøøF
DØØFUS CANNOT READ



Written and recorded during the preparation of DøøF27 years old, DØØFUS CANNOT READ fits right in with the Virginia rapper and producer’s sizable stash of dusty sound projects. Throughout the album, an intimate series of fuzz-covered lo-fi loops fuel DøøF’s blunt abstractions: the languid first release “ElbowFace” unfolds gracefully through swirls of undulating orchestral melody; “DFNSjonk” brings a distorted bluesy sax riff into the mix; and “IfAwake” invokes voodoo percussion to chilling effect. “Keep spraying with the funky fresh scent / I’m not mad, I’m just asking who you playing with? asks DøøF about “AtlasJukeMoves”, an understated simmering track contributed by Escee. Strengthen artist’s creativity, closer to “AddicksAttack!!!” opens with sampled dialogue exploring the dynamics of a punk music mentality and sets the stage for DøøF to calmly ignore unoriginal artists before fittingly singing his own birthday congratulations.

Elsy Wameyo
nilotic



nilotic is a stylistically broad EP from the Nairobi-born, now Adelaide-based rapper and producer Elsy Wameyo. Defining the bubbly project as a mission to “fix and uproot the evil of this world,” the bass-powered opener “River Nile” presents a program that explores self-determination and personal frustration: “The Last Time I I wrote was a medical play/ But now my heart is at ease/ I fought to defend my peace/ I struggled to find relief/ All this pain is still deep/ I’ve been vexed for a few weeks / The man’s stress has piled up in a heap/ But we press on by all means. Follow-up track “Promise” struts into more soulful moods and spotlights Wameyo flowing singsong over jagged drums and uplifting horn stretches, while midpoint “The Call” is a svelte expedition with atmospherics. ambient. Encapsulating Wameyo’s dominant beliefs, the essential stripped-back title track welcomes a defiant vow to “rip the monarchy apart, a warning of attack / Yeah, we’re coming back like we never left – in fact”.

Jae Skeese
Authenticity check



Authenticity check showcases Buffalo’s sharp lyrical prowess Jae Skeese in tandem with the production intelligence of Great Phantom Ltd. “They say I’m climbing the ranks fast/ I’m way ahead of schedule/ But they don’t see the time when my posts were unreadable/ In the eyes of the masses/ I strategize and then I execute ,” relays the rapper on the blues-swaddled opener “Shuttlesworth Form.” Strengthen ties with the city of origin, Conway the machine and 7xvethegenius co-star of the swaggering “Triple Post Offense,” while the psycho-tinged closing cut “One Fiddy Wit Tax” features the rapper unleashed on jealous local scene personalities and lyrically leaving with resolute personal commitment:” I had to learn that I was ‘I’m not wrong to put myself first / And now I keep him first.

Unexplained aerial phenomenon
Occasional kidnappings



Conceived in a musically borderless futurama, Unexplained aerial phenomenon brings together the muffled interstellar crackle of Bryson the Outlander with the psychedelia-tinged production of Pioneer 11. “Thanks for your time and your money / Not real but real enough when you’re hungry,” Bryson says on the “3D” opener, a track that also includes Open Mike Eagle. (Elsewhere in the project, the talents of Fat Tony, Archibald Slimand Chester Watson help round out a zooming guest list with verbal contributions.) Conceptually hooked to a world where aliens are an integral part of the daily fabric, the project exudes a lonely alien charm through a series of Pioneer 11 soundscapes that make use clever with echo effects and negative sonic space to elevate the impact of bright layers of synths and slamming hi-hat clusters. “ETs, yeah, we click / I’m not from here, you’re all different,” Bryson raps on “Tesla Noir,” compactly summarizing the credo of the unexplained aerial phenomenon.

ZelooperZ
Get Wet​.​Radio



Following on from last year Van Gogh’s left earmember of the Bruiser Brigade ZelooperZit is Get Wet​.​Radio is inspired by an R&B centered playlist created by his father before he sadly died two years ago. There’s a warmly thoughtful melodic cadence to the album that sustains the rapper by doling out cryptic free association lines in charismatic fashion and detailing a flow of amorous pursuits. behind the boards, black noise handles a good chunk of the rhythm duties and serves up fuzzy filtered soul loops allied to subdued clipped drum patterns, while the soundtrack is courtesy of Dilip, duenditaand Mikethe latter also contributing the slurry guest vocals to the deliberately dazed “Its Me” sound.

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