We don’t like to be repetitive, but the Umbrella is now taking over the underground scene by force. More than a collective, it seems to be an army, capable of churning out qualitative projects with impressive continuity and putting all its members in the foreground, microphone fighters from first to last. Then when two of the historic members and leaders of this movement join forces it becomes impossible to pretend nothing happened. Snotty and Pro Dillinger show off, in addition to individual and indisputable qualities, their notable chemistry built over the years. The two, for the occasion “The Steiner Brothers”, recalling the couple from the world of Wrestling, could be exchanged as twins separated at birth: even if profoundly different, their incredible understanding shines through throughout the duration of the album and makes it, immediately , impactful. Although at this point it would be enough alone, the two leaders of Umbrella do not want to give up any resources to make this project even better, making use of the collaboration of Mickey Diamond and from several producers and emcees, both from their own circle and beyond. However, the production is homogeneous with a unique common thread that gives the project that “replay value” that is increasingly rare nowadays. The concept and the beautiful artwork of the cover inspired by the world of Wrestling, give that touch of irony, which lightens the raw atmosphere and violent rap of the album. We would like to especially mention the productions of Potato God and Goodphella, and a little gem produced by Mickey Diamond himself for the track “The Physics of Gilth”.
If Atlanta trap has started to get boring, repeating and recycling a plot saturated with clones, New York and Chicago drill is being tormented by its own violence, Detroit is in full ferment in search of cultural and social redemption resulting from decades of darkness and difficulties. The city’s rap scene has managed to build its own strong identity and musical independence brick by brick, without however being excessively self-referential and year after year it has crossed city and state borders. Peezy is one of the most bright examples of this and in his latest album “GHETTO” he managed to combine his motivational Rap with a well-assorted musical carpet, which mixes the innovative sound of Detroit with influences from other areas of the United States.
Let’s say it. The new epicenter of this underground Hip-Hop wave is located in Massachusetts, around Boston and surrounding areas. A growing congregation of enlightened individuals, united by a common vision, have aligned their consciences and knowledge, channeling their energy into an artistic movement that has broken the barriers of boom bap rap, grimey rap or whatever you wanna call it, taking it to the next level. The souls of these MC’s and producers are free to freely channel the expression of their essence by connecting to a higher level of knowledge, as if they had opened their Chakra points. A secret society of warriors has gathered around enlightening masters such as Estee Nack and Al.Divino, in the dungeons of the Mini Mansion. Here, from these arcane places not far from Salem, an illuminated producer like Grubby Pawz (in our opinion the best creator of beats around for a couple of years now) usually transforms iron into silver and copper into gold, while as in Mortal Kombat, from the crypts of Lynn, it’s got unlocked and revealed a new warrior with killer lyrical abilities, The Hidden Character. This is Hood Alchemy.
While his value continues to increase exponentially, like the prices of his vinyl records, Mickey Diamond, without looking too much around, continues undaunted to refine one album after another. Equipped with an immediately recognizable flow and voice, the rapper of the increasingly talked about Umbrella crew, is gaining growing respect within the American Rap scene and demonstrates a versatility that allows him to gradually name new and prestigious producers to the now long list of his collaborations. This time it’s the turn of Camouflage Monk, a producer who contributed to forging the now well-known “Griselda sound” who arranges a production with a classic Boom-Bap style, mixed with precious jazz-soul samples, as he has already accustomed us to in recent years . Diamond expresses his rough voice in a natural way, letting it flow and demonstrating his growth, while continuing to give us space-level punchlines and never banal hooks. We should also report, once again, his desire to involve other individuals in his projects. In fact, the Detroit rapper leaves ample space for the members of his circle (Umbrella and otherwise), even leaving an entire interlude for Big Trip, who makes full use of the occasion. The saga continues!
Ru$h, Delaware rapper and cousin of the very talented Jay NiCE, joins forces with Canadian rapper/producer Mike Shabb to delight us with another high-class product. The production, which is greatly influenced by the positive influences of super-producer Nicholas Craven, with whom Mike Shabb often collaborates. In fact, Shabb cuts with a scalpel the loops that characterize the production, mainly drumless, with refined samples and elegant loops, giving this short project a comfortable and very classy atmosphere. This is the ideal carpet for Ru$h, who has now managed to create a solid image with his Luxury Rap worthy of the best fashion brands and 5-star hotel lobbies. Continuous references to the good life and luxury clothes are not boring, thanks to Ru$h’s skilled word-play and his warm and reassuring flow. A very high quality product seasoned with top-level featurings (among all Jay Nice and Tha Good Fahim), and with a space-age cover by the well-known Atlanta artist FRKO @Freakorico who over the years has helped Ru$h to enhance his uniqueness.
It is not often that we come across Rap projects conceived in Oregon, a northern state on the Pacific Coast, also famous for its surviving Native American reservations. But rapper Milc and producer Televangel, both originally from Portland, join forces for a new project that immediately caught our attention. The two are veterans of the scene, especially Televengel, but we would say that this is probably their best project. In recent years, Televengel has approached the sounds of modern Boom-Bap but with its own style, evolving project after project and shaping a unique, very fresh, innovative and eclectic style. The Oregon producer manages from time to time to adapt “in the right proportions” his own style to that of the rapper he works with and this project is the maximum confirmation of this. Milc reaches its highest standards, with the usual engaging narrative, but with a much more expressive flow, alternating with catchy choruses, and taking advantage of the frequent changes of rhythm and/or melody even within the individual tracks. The result is an album that sounds very innovative, satisfying the most demanding palates, but at the same time very fresh, growing exponentially in the listener time after time.
We usually suggest albums by artists who are already familiar to us and whose history and characteristics we know well, but sporadically it can also happen that a rapper with decades of experience, like Sayzee, only now reaches our ears, in such an explosive way as to capture our attention immediately. The Canadian rapper, originally from St. Catharines Ontario, releases the ninth chapter of the “Your Favorite Rapper Worst Nightmare” series in time for Halloween night and for us it was like love at first sight. Sayzee is furious on the mic and his technical qualities are out of the ordinary. The production is entrusted to a handful of Canadian producers and is decidedly influenced by the new Boom-Bap wave. Although the production is varied, the product is well cohesive and Sayzee proves to have a flow adaptable to all the sounds of modern Boom-Bap. An album in which we find no weak points, a pleasant discovery that we will certainly follow up on.
The Manchester (UK) rapper Black Josh (member of Cult Damned) joins forces with the American (New Jersey) producer Wino Willy to create a project which, connecting the two coasts of the Atlantic, symbolizes continuity without borders and “passports ” of the underground Hip-Hop movement. A universal language with which Black Josh leaves its unmistakable tag on the sound walls created by Wino, where artistic vision is the common denominator capable of uniting different cultures.
Very few in Italy can boast the consistency, solidity, coherence and credibility that Nex Cassel has demonstrated in more than a decade of activity. Not only that, the Venetian emcee has an innate talent in rapping that allows him to tame any kind of beat in front of him thanks to his Quality-Certified bars and his great flow. Nex Cassel‘s rap is like a prosecco from the best wineries, no matter what food you combine it with, it’s fine. So even alongside the beats served to him on the platter by DJ Craim, Nex enhances the taste of stronger dishes such as the Fegato (Liver) cooked for him for the occasion.