There are technically skilled rappers, others have good sounds and flows and others have great charisma. Then there are rappers who when they pick up the microphone, in addition to some of these qualities mentioned, have the power and the ability to teach the listeners valuable lessons about life and some mind jewelry that force you to pause and reflect. This very small circle of MC’s often includes those on the supreme level. Those who are considered the best of the best. In our opinion 38 Spesh might have all the credentials to be included in this Olympus. Although he does not have the media exposure and popular recognition he deserves, if you would ask your favorite lyricist what he thinks of this rapper from Rochester (a town in the NY Upstate) we are ready to bet, he would agree with us. Take his latest project 7 Shots EP, released 2 years after his latest album: 38 Spesh proves to have the experience, depth and knowledge to become your life’s teacher.
The Griselda Records 2.0’s season has officially begun. Phase two of the Buffalo label’s owner Westside Gunn’s visionary plan is finally taking shape. It’s the Brooklyn rapper, Rome Streetz, the first horseman of the Apocalypse invested by W$G to take up the baton of Benny The Butcher and Conway and sow panic among the Hip-Hop music industry with gritty raw rhymes and dirty and dusty sounds. Rome Streetz certainly did not miss the appointment and stabs every track with its own famelic flow as if it were to tear off the soul and all the belongings from the listener. Accompanying him in this Rap game assault, there are the brilliant instrumentals sewn on him by Conductor Williams, Camoflauge Monk, Daringer, The Alchemist, Sadhugold and Danny La Flare, under the artistic direction of Westside Gunn.
What does it mean to be “underground”? It is simply everything that is not recognized by the mainstream and the mass or, in reality, it means adhering to an anti-system world that represents an attitude and a mentality that rejects the scale of values and superficial channels and, therefore, adopts artistic and musical forms that do not conform to common taste? We have our answer to it, although this may be a question open to different interpretations and facets. A clearer and more enlightening vision comes to us by looking through projects such as this “Triple Black Diamonds 2“, the new work by Al.Divino and Estee Nack.
The approach to music and art of these two MCs is, in our opinion, intrinsically underground, in their way of interpreting this genre: from the way of rapping to the beats selection, to the composition of the lyrics and the “mathematics” conveyed in them. In short, it is their essence to be “underground”! It is in their way of existing and communicating that they demonstrate that they are tuned to different frequencies than those of the surface world. Al.Divino & Estee Nack are the “glitch” in the system like Morpheus and Neo in the Matrix.
Cousin Feo is a rapper from South Central (LA) with Guatemalan origins, already known, to those used to digging into the underground scene, thanks to his series of concept albums dedicated to soccer, which we absolutely recommend you to catch-up if your passion for rap goes hand in hand with soccer’s one. With his new project The Repertoire, however, the Los Angeles rapper departs from the layout of his previous works and releases his first real debut album, produced by the French beatmaker Keor Meteor, finally letting us discover more about his history and vision. Cousin Feo, thanks to this more personal release, not only confirms the good things we already knew about him in terms of storytelling skills and beats selection, but also showed off to be able to entertain us by telling us about his journey.
It is our opinion that one of the most underrated MC’s of the hyper-competitive east coast underground scene is, without a doubt, the native of Delaware, Jay NiCE, who already told us his story and artistic vision in a very interesting interview (which you can read here). As a demonstration of this thesis, this new project entitled STRIPS comes to support it. The first thing that catches the eye, however, is the very stylish cover, illustrated by Chop (@chopthehead) inspired by MAD Magazine, the historic American comic strips magazine, (hence the title and concept of the album ). Jay NiCE a.k.a Flair Jordan does justice to the beautiful graphics of the album’s artwork, with a project where he showcased all the qualities that confirm the initial thesis of this mini-review. The Delaware rapper uses his flow as a spatula and brush, to splash his thoughts, between the classic braggadocio and more intimate reflections, inspired by the concept of the album, with extreme naturalness on DJ Tako‘s productions, which perfectly fit the rapper’s style. Ah side note: the album was recorded in only 24 hours.
“Determination” is not only the title of the latest effort by the Puerto Rican-origin rapper Termanology, now active in the scene for almost 20 years, but it is also, perhaps, the word that best represents him, as in fact the recently passed away legendary DJ and graffiti writer, Kay Slay (R.I.P) told us in the album’s intro. If rap were a sport, the main skill of Termanology could be stamina: like the best Miguel Cotto, he would not leave the ring until the last bell rang, as long as he would be able to throw the last punch. Determination and passion are the main Termanology’s weapons in addition to the necessary and obvious qualities that allow you to be one of the most relevant names in the American underground for almost 20 years, along with collaborations with the greatest in his curriculum. A “love for the game” demonstrated by an almost infinite catalog to which is added this powerful “Determination“, in which Term demonstrates that he still has all the credentials to be able to compete at high levels, sparring, elbow to elbow, with some of the sharpest pens ever. Should be enough to read under Kool G Rap’s name, featured on the song entitled “Let Ya Glock Burst”.
Are you looking for a beautiful girl with a fly style, attitude, who knows how to spit bars on all kinds of beats, from the most classic sampled loops to the most modern uptempo instrumentals, and who also has a passion for sprays and markers? Well, then pay attention, because, whatever your gender is, you could fall in love with this girl from Los Angeles of Mexican origins, Vel Nine a.k.a Vel The Wonder. She released her new project, entitled FreakJet, in September. In the thriving, creative and increasingly influential new US underground scene there is also room for young amazons able to compete within this movement, where the competition is increasingly fierce.
Even the Capitoline subsoil is in some way vibrating thanks to some aftershocks. Two emerging names to keep an eye on are the rapper Lise, a member of the Roma Guasta crew, and the producer Sick Damn, authors of a new project, entitled Quick Shit Vol. 2: a quick starter of what these guys can bring to the underground scene of Rome. Sick Damn spreads raw loops, while Lise, with the flow of his rhymes, paints and sketches the thoughts and reality of those who live the streets, day after day, trying to stay afloat between fatigue and everyday problems, without pseudo-criminal boastfulness, as is trending today.