The incredible chemistry between The Alchemist and Freddie Gibbs, the most charismatic rapper from Indiana, was already clear to us when we heard “Fetti” back in 2018, a project that also featured Curren$y. “Alfredo” (Al + Fredo), however, is an album that has greatly exceeded expectations. The Californian producer is first in line to win a hypothetical “producer of the year” award after being a major part of three of the best albums released so far in 2020. Freddie Gibbs, after pairing up with Madlib last year, has found another playmaker who is able to give him all the right assists and take him once again to the very top of the Hip Hop charts. Masterfully seasoned with features by Benny The Butcher, Conway, Rick Ross and Tyler The Creator, “Alfredo” is one of those moreish dishes you could just keep on eating forever.
Styles P is without a doubt one of the most consistent rappers ever. With a career spanning 25 years the legendary LOX / D-Block representative still seems to be at his peak. The Yonkers (New York) MC continues to hold the torch high for east coast Hip Hop and street rap in general. “Styles David: Ghost Your Enthusiasm” confirms Styles’ strength once again. Despite his long run in the genre he has never fallen short of expectations. At almost 46 years of age he has again proven himself to be a heavyweight in the game and has demonstrated his ability to always remain relevant throughout the ages and never betray the code of the streets or the culture.
We strongly advise you to keep Eto’s name well in mind, especially if he hasn’t yet made your list of favourites… The Rochester born lyricist has recently dropped a new autobiographical project titled “The Beauty Of It” in which he dwells on his past and the life lessons that he learned on the rough streets of Upstate New York. Eto has definitely paid his dues, both in the streets and the rap game, but the industry has not yet given him the credit he deserves despite the fact that he is one of the most distinctive voices of America’s new thriving underground scene. Eto takes us through the darkest pages of his story, accompanied by the claustrophobic and gloomy production of The Alchemist, Large Professor, Daringer, Statik Selektah, V-Don and Motif Alumni, among others, to show us with immense clarity the pain of his scars and the joy of his redemption.
If we had to categorize Lil Durk’s last album “Just Cause Y’all Waited 2” it would fall into the conscious drill bracket. It’s sound is perfectly aligned with the “wave” that made Chicago popular worldwide, however, on this album, Lil Durk seems to tackle the windy city’s most tormented issues with a deeply spiritual attitude which is quite surprising coming from an artist with his background. Because of his recent legal troubles Durkio seems to have developed a social conscience and increased his faith in Islam. These personal changes transpire from his lyrics and are a sure sign that he has reached full maturity. Obviously conscious tracks on the project are balanced out by bangers you can bump in your car with the window all the way down and which boast the participation of cats like Lil Baby, Young Thug, Polo G and Gunna.
Griselda Records is now officially an unstoppable force. This is the third GxFR (Griselda) project to drop in three months after the releases “Pray for Paris” by Westside Gunn and “LULU” by Conway and The Alchemist. This time around Conway The Machine decided to body a set of beats by the underground producer Big Ghost Ltd, just to keep himself on point during lockdown and prove once again with his incendiary bars that he is undoubtedly one of the best. If “LULU” was the welcome drink, No One Mourns The Wicked can be seen as just an entree served up while we wait for the main course that chef Conway is cooking up for his ever increasing fan-base (“From A King To A God” and his Shady Rec. debut “God Don’t Make Mistakes”).
Ka’s albums definitely do not make for easy listening. You need to really take your time and listen carefully to the stories he narrates in his music in order to fully appreciate them. The Brownsville – Brooklyn native MC and firefighter is surely one of the artists who embodies the quintessence of a “street poet”. Once you have heard some of the hidden gems in his rhyme schemes it is almost impossible not to be dazzled:
Never marinate on beef you don’t plan on finishin
Out here nothing’s blessed, even the bonds of friends are tested
Would you surrender if you did it but your man’s arrested?
In “Descendants of Cain” (Cain kills his brother Abel in the bible) Ka tells us about his days growing up in one of the Big Apple’s most violent neighbourhoods, as if he was predestined in some way for this negative environment. He does so masterfully, engaging his audience with biblical metaphors, double-entendres and philosophical reasoning. Among the features on this album we are pleased to hear, as always, Roc Marciano who also delivers a potent verse.
Hus Kingpin has been representing Hempstead, Long Island (New York), like Roc Marciano for 10 years strong and is among those who could be set to continue his legacy. Although Marci’s charisma is inimitable, Hus Kingpin has already showed long ago that he is an MC of unique class and talent by consolidating his role as one of the leaders of this new east coast underground Hip Hop niche. “Gunpowder” is yet another striking example of the Long Island rapper’s huge potential and also demonstrates his great beat picking skills.
In recent years Canada has given birth to an underground Hip Hop scene made up of talented MC’s and beatmakers. Heavily influenced by the hardcore street rap phenomenon emerging from Upstate New York, these Canadian artists have managed to find their own lane and showcase their undeniable talent. Among these talents we can’t fail to mention Lord Juco, a Toronto native and one of the most valid artists on the scene, and Vago, one of Vancouver’s most talented beat makers who has already been featured on this column in the past.
On this vibrant album the producer with Chilean roots (after dropping two great albums with Asun Eastwood and Primo Profit) was once again able to create a perfect atmosphere for Lord Juco’s sharp flow by choosing the right samples and making beats with an extremely original flavor. “HHSS” with features by Estee Nack, Daniel Son and Ché Uno is one of those projects we can’t help but recommend and could be a great starting point if you want to get to know these artists better.