A high-qual­ity month full of not­able releases in the US inde­pend­ent and main­stream scenes…

 eLZhi & Khrys­is are Jericho Jack­son — Jericho Jack­son (Jamla Records)










Razor sharp multi-syl­lab­ic lyr­i­cism and power­ful imagery from the ever-reli­able eLZhi and sparse, dusty pro­duc­tion from Khrys­is to get heads nod­ding. This is a top qual­ity release from a duo who stay crim­in­ally under­rated in their respect­ive lanes.

 Roc Mar­ciano – RR2: The Bit­ter Dose (Marci Enter­prises LLC.)











An out­stand­ing fol­low-up to the first volume released in 2017, this is anoth­er example of the intric­ate bril­liance that Roc Mar­ciano always man­ages to deliv­er. For all its sim­pli­city this is still a densely layered pro­ject with plenty of sub­tleties and his usu­al non­chal­ant rhyme deliv­ery which is executed to near-per­fec­tion. 

Sky­zoo — In Cel­eb­ra­tion Of Us (First Gen­er­a­tion Rich / EMPIRE)











A mature and socially-con­scious pro­ject which sees Sky­zoo deliv­er yet anoth­er standout lyr­ic­al per­form­ance. He has not only the swag­ger of many of NY’s great emcees but also the thought­ful­ness and clar­ity to cre­ate humble music over well-selec­ted, cohes­ive but var­ied pro­duc­tion.

Curren$y — The Spring Col­lec­tion (Jet Life Record­ings)








Hazy, laid-back, weed-inspired raps fea­ture through­out on this no frills release, as Spitta stays with­in his finely carved lane and feeds his loy­al fan base yet anoth­er free release. Very few artists suc­ceed by remain­ing in such a claus­tro­phobic niche but Curren$y has the beat-selec­tion and ideal deliv­ery to make it an undeni­able strength.

Black Milk – FEVER (Mass Appeal Records / Com­puter Ugly)











Black Milk has con­tinu­ally evolved as both a pro­du­cer and rap­per and his latest release is amongst his most exper­i­ment­al work. Draw­ing on live instru­ment­a­tion and fus­ing it with elec­tron­ic, soul and psy­che­del­ic samples this is a diverse and inter­est­ing listen.

 38 Spesh & Benny — Stabbed & Shot (T.C.F. Music Group)








Benny is cur­rently one of NY’s hot­test prop­er­ties and his latest pro­ject, a col­lab­or­a­tion with fel­low NY nat­ive 38 Spesh, once again show­cases his pen­chant for con­cise, sharply delivered rhymes that will evoke memor­ies of the mid-2000’s East Coast mix­tape scene.

 Wil­lie The Kid & Klever Skemes – Gold Rush EP (Roman­ic)










A short 5‑track EP which adds to Wil­lie The Kid’s impress­ive run of recent releases. His word­play is as strong as ever and the pro­duc­tion provides the per­fect back­drop to his cha­ris­mat­ic deliv­ery.

Mach-Hommy — Bul­let­proof Luh (Bad Taste)









Released on Valentine’s Day the ever-mys­ter­i­ous Mach-Hommy deliv­ers anoth­er impress­ive release delivered in his thor­oughly unique style. He’s metic­u­lous and cal­cu­lat­ing through­out, weav­ing his rhymes through the soul­ful pro­duc­tion which is ideal for his mono­tone deliv­ery.

 O.C. – A New Dawn (2nd Phase) (DITC Stu­di­os)








The legendary D.I.T.C. rapper’s con­sist­ency has been one of his most appeal­ing traits through­out his near-25-year career and his new­est album, while not as potent as some his more icon­ic work, is still driv­en by sol­id boom-bap pro­duc­tion and dense lyr­ic­al imagery. It serves as anoth­er remind­er of why he is one of hip-hop’s greatest tal­ents.

 Vari­ous Artists — Black Pan­ther (The Album) (Top Dawg Ent. / After­math / Inter­scope Records)










The highly-anti­cip­ated movie is accom­pan­ied by an impress­ive soundtrack, cur­ated by Kendrick Lamar who enlists a who’s who of TDE and TDE-affil­i­ated artists and some of the most high-pro­file names in hip-hop. The con­trib­ut­ing artists are able to cre­ate an intens­ity and energy which cap­tures the mood of the movie per­fectly.

 Nip­sey Hussle — Vic­tory Lap (All Money In No Money Out / Atlantic Record­ing Cor­por­a­tion)










Nip­sey Hussle is now vet­er­an-status but it feels as if his dis­co­graphy, largely con­sist­ing of mix­tapes and loose tracks, has been build­ing towards the much-anti­cip­ated Vic­tory Lap. The street-heavy nar­rat­ives sound ideal over clas­sic West Coast pro­duc­tion and he deliv­ers the album his fans always believed he could.

 Cozz – Effected (A Tha Com­mit­tee / Dream­ville / Inter­scope Release)








Anoth­er not­able West Coast release from the South Cent­ral LA artist who is signed to J. Cole’s Dream­ville label. On his third album he still brings excel­lent tech­nic­al rap­ping skills to the table but offers a little bit more depth to his lyr­i­cism which enables him to define his own style.

Stal­ley - Tell the Truth Shame the Dev­il, Vol. 2 (Blue Col­lar Gang)









Ohio rap­per Stal­ley, formerly signed to Rick Ross’ May­bach Music Group, has recently gone inde­pend­ent and this is the second part of a tri­logy of EPs. Stal­ley occu­pies a strange space in the hip-hop world. He seemed too thought­ful and intro­spect­ive for the main­stream but yet on this EP his bullish deliv­ery over trap-inspired pro­duc­tion would sug­gest oth­er­wise.

 Exile — Baker­’s Dozen (Fat Beats Records)








Exile’s soul­ful, laid-back pro­duc­tion has provided some defin­ing moments in music. This 13-track instru­ment­al pro­ject sees him stick to the basics that made him such a pop­u­lar pro­du­cer. It’s upbeat, at times it’s funky, and it’s always soul­ful. Exile flips a nice mix of samples for a fresh-sound­ing, easy to listen to pro­ject.

 Kankick — Warped Dis Strict Pro­ject Vol. 1 (No Label)








15-track instru­ment­al pro­ject from the Oxnard nat­ive who flips care­fully selec­ted jazzy and soul­ful loops over down-tempo, min­im­al­ist­ic drums and draws on ran­dom sound effects and vocal samples to keep it var­ied and dis­tinct­ive.

 Mick Jen­kins – Or More… The Frus­tra­tion (Free Nation)






The Chi-Town rap­per has bubbled on the brink of crit­ic­al acclaim for the last few years but has so far remained under the radar. The incon­sist­en­cies in his latest release can be attrib­uted to this form­ing part of a series cap­tur­ing ideas and con­cepts that are cur­rently inspir­ing his new album. If the album cap­tures the best moments on this EP then it should be a qual­ity release.

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Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon

Between 9–5 I’m a pas­sion­ate teach­er for teen­agers with spe­cial needs and dis­en­gaged young people. From 5–9 I’m a left-wing hip-hop head who fell in love with the music in the mid-90’s. Also have an equal love for jazz, soul and funk, am an avid record col­lect­or, lov­er of live shows and occa­sion­al DJ.

About Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon
Between 9-5 I'm a passionate teacher for teenagers with special needs and disengaged young people. From 5-9 I'm a left-wing hip-hop head who fell in love with the music in the mid-90’s. Also have an equal love for jazz, soul and funk, am an avid record collector, lover of live shows and occasional DJ.