Many (perhaps… too many) words have already been spent by literally everyone about the latest album of the critically acclaimed Compton rapper. Approaching the works of Kendrick Lamar always requires time and patience to fully immerse yourself in his complex thoughts and to understand the rhymes’ multi-semantic layers of the most iconic rapper (who, actually, doesn’t want to be iconic) of this era. In fact, K.Dot himself tries to scream to the world, in all ways possible, as this, often, exaggerated idolatry and veneration towards the character Kendrick Lamar has gone beyond the limits of all reality and logic, becoming an unsustainable burden for his own person. Kendrick (portrayed on the cover artwork as a ghetto Christ) strips off the holy messianic aura that has been sewn on him over the years and comes to us with all his sins and weaknesses, to confess, essentially to all those who had elected him as “Savior”, to be a common sinner like everyone else… Word of Kendrick Lamar! At least, among the possible different interpretations of Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers this is the one we liked the most.
The US underground scene has accustomed us very well in recent years with a plethora of hungry and talented MC’s. Despite, unfortunately being a minority, there is also an equally valid underrated percentage of women “spitting” bars and raw rhymes. One of these is undoubtedly Chyna Streetz, whom we have often appreciated as Rome Streetz’s partner-in-rhyme. Her new solo EP “Hourglass” proves that this is not a game for men only and, indeed, Chyna Streetz can stand in the ring center and handle a toe-to-toe fight with many of these, so considered, “ugly, dirty and bad” MCs, that populate the New York Hip-Hop underground scene…
It certainly cannot be said that the Buffalo rapper, El Camino, is not someone who doesn’t work hard for his goals and, as they say across the ocean in these cases, a real “hustler”. Within a few years he released, all independently, an impressive number of albums and EPs and launched the “Anti Gun Violence” clothing brand, succeeding well. With his latest musical work, titled “Let There be Light”, El Camino reveals itself to its listeners as it has never done before, releasing the most intimate work of its own discography. In this album, in fact, the Buffalo (NY) rapper touches personal topics such as the tragic death of his sister, the humble origins of his family, the legal problems that have tormented him and the doubts that haunt him about topics such as friendships. Also musically, the soft atmospheres of the beats, seasoned with soul and melancholy r’n’b samples, and the singing skills of El Camino in the hooks, evoke the “struggles” and all the personal pain poured into this record, as if it were a contemporary blues.
Kensington (Philadelphia) rapper OT The Real joins forces with Boston-based DJ and producer Statik Selektah for a new project, titled “Maxed Out“, demonstrating why he’s become one of the hottest names on the Philly rap scene in the last few years. OT The Real’s raw voice, talent and determination credibly depict the story of his complicated past, between prison and street life, that he has finally left behind his shoulders, and a renewed vision of life … Statik Selektah, as usual, produced a musical carpet in the classic style to which he has accustomed us over an incredible thirty-year career.
Y.N.X 716, MC from Buffalo and Aaqil Ali, from Mount Vernon (NY), in our opinion, are among the most underrated names of the American underground scene and this Dusty Soul’s collaborative project is a clear demonstration of that. These two emcees, in fact, both equipped with some excellent pen and flows, alternate on the microphone, spitting out the pain of their experiences and the hope of a happy life for them and their children, shaking off the dust of their past and treasuring the lessons that life imparted to them. Dusty’s Soul is Hip-Hop that heals the soul, especially for those who relate with the tales of these two talented emcees.
The bakery of Nicholas Craven, producer from Montréal (Canada) is, in our opinion, one of the most delicious on the earth . The beats he bakes, kneading samples cut out with a superfine palate, are always yummy and tasty. This all-Canadian collaboration with the MC of Brompton (Toronto) founder of the BKRS (Bakers) CLUB, Raz Fresco, ensures that Nicholas Craven‘s creations are being embellished and flavored by the acute intelligence and knowledge of the Brompton rhymes cook, and vice versa. Therefore, what is served to diners worth 30 minutes of excellent soul food.
Hats off for everything that Gionni Gioielli and the MxRxGxA, the movement of Mc’s and producers, set in motion by the Veneto’s rapper, are doing. In fact, this increasingly consistent team is trying to give some solidity and cohesion to the Italian underground scene, the one that loves Rap made as it once was, the old-fashioned one, where more than any purely monetary calculation, it was important to show off skills and compete. All while having fun doing what they like best: bars and samples. Here then is yet another work of this 2022 marked by MxRxGxA and produced by Gionni Gioielli, this time, for Montenero, a Milanese rapper who in recent times has found new inspiration, independently and relentlessly publishing a substantial number of projects, parallel to the path taken by the troops standing by Gioielli’s leadership and often crossing it. In Ligera Memories the bars of Montenero dust off the old codes and memories of the working-class Milan that now seems to have vanished in the shadow of the glamor lifestyle for social influencers.
The sophisticatedly dirty and raw aesthetic resurrected by Griselda Records also in Italy has young, talented interpreters with an extremely interesting potential, who have decided to come together, under the name of Santa Sede ( Holy See), in a council of raw bars and rough and dark beats. This collective, formed by the emerging Rolls Roiz (already in MxRxGxA orbit), Less Torrance, Davide Bates and Lord Lamont, demonstrates that, even in the Italian scene, there is a bright future for this sub-genre of Rap inspired by certain rap and production canons of the past, but refreshed by a new attitude.