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"It's spring again, everybody knows it's spring again…" Well said, Biz, and welcome to the April edition of Glaciers of Ice. I'm gonna get to a few I missed as well as a few you shouldn't miss this time around. And here we go:
Boston's The Camp has a new album out on Commonwealth Records this month sensibly called The Campaign. The group, consisting of MC's Dese, Grime Tha MC, Excetera, and DJ Hevan, is executive produced by the talented Apathy (who also produces a song or two on the record), but they never quite rise to his level. The main reason for this is that the group exists in the questionable nether-region of hip-hop known (by me, anyway) as frat-rap. Take the first song, for example: "Gentleman Needs". "All I know is about booze and hoes, what more does a gentleman need?" goes the chorus. That's super, but it doesn't make your shit dope. The beats are definitely not the problem here, as main producer Teddy Roxpin is as nice with the samples as his name is clever. Besides the breath control problem one MC seems to suffer from - not sure which he is, but you can hear him gasping for air in between rhymes - The Campaign lets songs like the weed anthem reggae of "So High" bog them down in between good shit like "Walk on By," which samples the classic song of the same name. These guys seem like they might be more than the knuckleheads they come across as, and they shouldn't be afraid to show that. Leastways they're tight enough that we'll throw a link: www.myspace.com/itsthecamp
Available now for download is the ten-year anniversary of WNYU's Halftime Show, the longest-running hip-hop program on the radio and easily one of the best. DJ Eclipse, along with guests including Bobbito, DJ Premier, The Alchemist, Masta Ace, and Sadat X unleash a slew of freestyles and scratching, and everyone involved seems to be having a blast. Admittedly, the first half of the first download is dudes just shooting the shit and reminiscing, but when the music starts, it's worth the wait. Interested in checking it out? Go here here and here.
Brooklyn producer/MC Domer sounds like he's listened to Anticon once or twice in his life, judging from his new album, Vaguest Vacation (Dome's Day Productions). It's really more his singsong flow than his beats that recall Anticon, and it does add an interesting organic feel to the broken/abstract-beat style that he employs. His press release even compares him to Her Space Holiday, and this is an accurate comparison. Domer's beats have appeared in major TV commercials and websites. He also has a project available called My Favorite EP, five vocal tracks he made available to producers around the world who created their own songs out of them. For all his innovation, Domer's music is not going to appeal to all, but it's worth a peek at www.myspace.com/domer.
LA's Living Legends crew is back with a new EP, The Gathering (Legendary Music). Living Legends have been around for a long time now, and remained fiercely independent and unique throughout their career. Beginning with the Outkast-influenced title track, to the house-y closing track, "After Hours (Extended Euromix)", the whole crew is represented: Aesop, Bicasso, Eligh, The Grouch, Luckyiam, Murs, Scarub, and Sunspot Jonz. The feeling and flow here is pure lazy and free-spirited, in a good way, but it also lacks the bite of their past work, due to the sometimes overly jazzy production. Still, Living Legends remain one of the stronger indie groups out there.
Some quick takes: DraMatiQue & BenFlowz release FlowMatiQue: Rise of the True MC's (DreamScheme Productions) this month. Originally from Ohio, BenFlowz now lives in San Francisco, but the two are still making music. This is basic Underground Hip-Hop 101, although there are a few shining moments, such as the early-'90s-influenced "Miraculous" and the Louis Armstrong-sampling "Wonderful." Hero is a new group consisting of E-Dot and Darp Malone. Their self-titled debut, out on Thirsty Music, combines the live feel of The Roots with The Pharcyde's sung-vocal approach and love themes, but besides a few quirky moments, it's not the most memorable record of the spring. New York's Little Vic releases his new EP, Each Dawn I Die (Orena), this past March. Vic has appeared on mixtapes from DJ Whoo Kid, DJ Eclipse, and DJ Domination, amongst others. Now, he's joined by producers including Buckwild and Premier, to create this authentic blast of raw hip-hop. Vic's seasoned flow proves he's no newcomer, as he seamlessly wraps his rhymes around the quality beats he employs for his backdrop. Finally, Detroit producer/MC extraordinaire Black Milk has teamed up with MC Fat Ray for The Set Up (Music House/Fat Beats). This is one of the better hip-hop albums I've heard this year, due in large part to the unique talents of Black Milk. Retaining that futuristic grime hip-hop fans expect from the best of Detroit, Milk and Ray have put together an album with one foot firmly planted in the underground, the other in the admirable tradition of listenable hip-hop bangers. Check out "Lookout" to see exactly what I'm talking about.
OK, that's all for now, so until April… e-mail with thoughts and insults, and send me yer shit! I'll listen to it. Glaciers is 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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