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Some new spring hip-hop to cover for this month's edition…
On his new album, LA rapper Open Mike Eagle references the Kimble, Jack Kerouac, Princess Superstar, and The Parent Trap, all on the opening track, "Art Rap Party." Unapologetic Art Rap makes its intentions clear from the get-go, so you're not in for any surprises. But for all his heady rhymes and unconventional beats (and guest appearances from Busdriver and more), Open Mike Eagle is kind of annoying. OK, he's trying to deconstruct the concept of art rap, but the idea is better than the execution. Clever, yes, but some guts would go nicely with those brains.
Ruste Juxx is probably the least known member of the Duck Down family, but that may change with his new album, a collaboration with DJ Marco Polo. Set The execution (Duck Down) is hard-edged NYC hip-hop, a style all the members of BCC (some of whom appear as guests on the album) pioneered in the '90s. Juxx's cadence and flow cut through Polo's forceful boom-bap like a knife, keeping the tradition of MC's like Kool G Rap alive, and making tracks like "Rearview" the successful underground street anthems they strive to be.
TruthLive's new album, Patience (Interdependent Media), is pleasant at best, forgettable at worst, golden era leaning at its core. Evan "TruthLive" Phillips, the owner of the Interdependent Media label, and accomplished producer Jake One give "Rewind Rewind" a shot in the arm with an LONS sample (and a guest verse from Von Pea of Tanya Morgan), but the rest of the album is competently conscious and ploddingly pedestrian.
LA rapper Loose Logic's lamely titled latest effort, Logistics (Passion Play Productions), is not a good album. Period. Crappy synth-club anthems ("Don't Stop Lovin' Me") are interspersed with lame rock-influenced attempts at being hard ("Stage Dive"). One has to wonder whether a song like the pseudo-funk "Party in Space" was done ironically or seriously. Wit, metaphors, taste and style are clearly not LL's strong points. Keep moving, nothing to see here.
Derill Pounds' latest, Emotional Rollercoaster Rescue (Anti-Famous Entertainment), is a quirky and engaging effort of lo-fi indie hip-hop. The Wisconsin native counts Coolzey and Kosha Dillz amongst his friends and cohorts, and both show up as guests on the album. "MT1" has a nice beat that would feel right at home on an old Brand Nubian record, and this isn't the only time on the record that early '90s hip-hop is recalled. The Midwest indie movement seems to be going strong.
It's kind of a silly conceit, but Canadian MC Moka Only's alternate personality, Ron Contour, has a new album out this month, a collaboration with producer Factor. Alter-egos aside, Saffron (Fake Four Inc.) is one of the best hip-hop releases of this year. Moka's raps are always entertaining, and Factor's eclectic beats cull their sound from a blend of styles, perfectly complementing Moka's tales. This is an MC who knows how to balance intelligent observation with casual comments, showcased on songs like the smooth "Glad" and the Sergio Leone-esque "Prairie Wind."
That's all for now, so until next month… e-mail with thoughts and insults, and send me yer shit! I'll listen to it. See you next month for Glaciers #50. Until then, we're ghost like Casper.
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.
See other articles by Jonah Flicker.
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