Earl Sweatshirt-Doris (Full Album Stream)

For a release that was highly anticipated around a year or so ago, it has to be said that the buzz for it doesn’t quite seem at the fever pitch many would have expected. Nonetheless, Earl’s talent is undeniable, and the lack of furore surrounding it might allow the LP to be absorbed for the breakout rap album it could very well become.

His Odd Future teammates are along for the ride, with Frank Ocean, Tyler, The Creator and Domo Genesis appearing alongside frequent OF collaborators Vince Staples and Casey Veggies, whilst Mac Miller and RZA also tag along for the ride. Undoubtedly though, this one’s all about Earl for most listeners, and whilst those features are a nice bonus, there’s a ton of expectation on Earl given the glimpses of ability we’ve been allowed to see thus far. Fingers crossed, this LP holds up and we’ve got another young talent to add to hip-hop’s growing roster. Stream below.

Earl Sweatshirt-Doris

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Mac Miller-Gees ft. ScHoolboy Q (Video)

The dust has most certainly settled, and several folk I’ve spoken to would agree; Mac delivered the best album of the three big releases on 16th June. It’s not full of leftfield beats like Kanye’s, or packed with laidback jams and throwback sampling like Cole’s, but it’s got some solid productions and strong features that carrys several tracks into much longer-term listening territory.

This was one of my favourite tracks from Mac’s Watching Movies With The Sound Off, and not for any smart or clever reason. Quite the opposite-it’s fun, lighthearted hip-hop with a bouncy production, with catchy and infectious qualities to boot. A lot of the lyricism is silly stuff too, but clearly it’s a track that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and hence is a pretty easy listen throughout, especially when compared to the discordant sounds of Yeezus, and the occassional blandness of Born Sinner.

The video follows the audio’s lead, with Mac hanging around not achieving a great deal, and instead pretty much being high around his neighbourhood. Q’s smooth verse is lively and colourful, featuring him eating and hanging around in a red light room. Simple. There’s no pretension or unnecessary layering here-it’s fun hip-hop that has a good knock to it. Get it on the album.

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Statik Selektah-Extended Play (Full Album Stream)

With an incredible number of collaborations, joint albums, productions for other artists and much more under his belt, one of hip-hop’s hardest working men is gearing up to release his 5th solo studio album next Tuesday (18th).

It’s been fun watching Statik’s reputation grow from a bubbling-under producer to one of hip-hop’s premiere acts behind the boards, and it appears most of the genre feel the same way; features are beyond plentiful here, with appearances from Raekwon, Joey Bada$$, Black Thought, Talib Kweli, Blu, Joell Ortiz, Mac Miller, Flatbush Zombies, Bun B, Prodigy, Action Bronson and many, many more in what is a fantastically-stacked lineup. Of course, there are several producers/DJs who tend to get a slew of guest spots on their albums (Khaled, Drama etc.) but given their tendency to hire predominantly mainstream or ‘pop rappers’, it’s refreshing to get Statik projects that are generally full to the brim with MCs that do the genre justice. Stream the full project over at NPR below, and be sure to support next week if you’re a fan.

Statik Selektah-Extended Play (Album Stream)

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Mac Miller-Objects In The Mirror ft. The Internet

I’ve never had anything against Mac’s music at all, but equally I’ve not been fully coerced into launching properly into his work. With that said, his upcoming Watching Movies With the Sound Off album is shaping up to be excellent. Due for release on 18th June (with Kanye and J. Cole, of course), features and producers are set to include Jay Electronica (yep, he’s alive), Earl Sweatshirt, Pharrell, Flying Lotus, ScHoolboy Q, Action Bronson and more. It’s a great lineup, and time will tell if Mac holds his own in such company.

The album’s tracklisting doesn’t have Odd Future’s The Internet featuring on this track, but here they hook up with Mac for a first listen to the Pharrell-produced number from the LP. My lack of exposure to Mac also means his live work is a mystery to me, and here he’ll definitely win some fans with a solid performance; he steps between singing and rapping with a vocal delivery that smoothly hovers the two, and commits either way in small segments and where required. It’s a show of versatility that works for him- he’s not a natural singer and hence isn’t vocally perfect at all, but his imperfections add to what is a raw, committed performance, and the slick instrumentation from Matt Martians and co. not only helps set the mellow vibe, but also fills any gaps in Mac’s vocal work with smooth, relaxing production. I’m very much into this; more of this quality, and there may be a dark horse in the race for the best album on 18th June.

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Ludacris-#IDGAF (Mixtape)

The backlash when Luda ‘turned pop’ last year was pretty strong, and he’s back with this offering, compiling tracks he’s been releasing every Friday for the past few weeks with some new, unheard efforts.

He’s definitely cashed that Fast and Furious 6 money early here, as a raft of big names are out with assists. Features include Young Jeezy, Chris Brown, Meek Mill, Swizz Beatz, Pusha T, Mac Miller and French Montana; essentially, a who’s who of guest artists in hip-hop over the last 18 months. There are some strong names behind the board too, with recent Roc Nation signee DJ Mustard, Mike Will Made It and Bangladesh amongst the contributors, and the signs point towards a solid mainstream hip-hop release, and hopefully it’s one that comes without the dance-pop work he’d previously released.


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Earl Sweatshirt-Guild ft. Mac Miller

earl sweatshirt
Earl’s gearing up for that Doris release, and having performed several previously-unheard songs during live shows in recent months, we get the latest studio release from the album here.

A lot of hip-hop fans struggle to get into the distorted vocal modulator effect that some rappers have favoured in recent years (of course, popularised in that time by Tyler, The Creator), so you’re probably going to want to skip this one. I’m generally OK with it, and though eventually some of the smart lines both send across come through well, here the distortion adversely affects their ability to properly inflect their raps and just seems to be laid on way too thick. The similarities that the modulator creates in their pitch does rather cleverly make it tough to tell who’s who on the track, which is a fun novelty but it’s hardly what you’d expect to look for in a hip-hop track and isn’t enough to recover it. The laidback production is a relatively metronomic piece that doesn’t boast any particular highlights, and plodding through offering support to the raps rather than enhancing or outdoing them. It’s not like rap needed an Autotune equivalent but it’s found one, and here it detracts from what might have been an otherwise likeable track.

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Flying Lotus-SDS Instrumental

flying lotus
A short while back, it was mentioned that Mac Miller had enlisted FlyLo to produce his upcoming single. The prospect sounded interesting, and when the audio did drop, there was mentioned of a video following very soon. So, I figured I’d wait for the video before posting. However, when the video did land, it was simultaneously mentioned that the instrumental would be liberated shortly afterward. So, here we are.

It’s a production that you’d probably instantly recognise as a Flying Lotus piece too: from the scratchy, grainy samples through to the unexpected moments of offbeat momentum dips, it’s a production that typically blends electronic, experimental and alternative in together, and packs them into a coherent sound. It’s eventual hip-hop usage is actually a brave move from Mac, as its the sort of production that’s so well-rounded it dominates the soundscape, filling almost all available gaps and leaving little room for vocals. That’s not to disrespect Mac’s work at all, but as with all of FlyLo’s work, it’s a piece that requires no vocal layer for depth or quality; it’s got that in abundance, and this is a production worth several replays, whether that’s this instrumental version or the original.

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Ab-Soul-The End Is Near ft. Mac Miller

ab soul mac miller
Many are predicting a huge year for the TDE representative, and having started it strongly, Ab-Soul lets his latest solo release go.

Soul opens with typically watertight flows, with his delivery seemingly changing with every given sentence, and it’s a skilful display that moves between near-offbeat rhymes and beat-riding bars with consumate ease. That production certainly helps, with a minimal approach built up of thick percussion, intermittent dashes of ominous keys, and atmospheric vocal samples, with the end product being a relatively dark yet gently-paced production that allows for almost any approach in terms of flow. It’s an equal share of spotlight for Mac Miller on this too, who helms that production this under his Larry Fisherman pseudonym in addition to contributing a verse. Mac’s reputation amongst hip-hop fans has slowly grown with each release, and his work on this moody production, both on the mic and behind the boards, will endear him to many more; a smooth verse with a confident delivery does enough to make a mark on the track. A good effort from all involved.

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Funkmaster Flex-Who You Mad At? Me or Yourself? (Mixtape)

56 tracks. Seriously.

Fair play to Funk Flex for this though, as the lineup is unbelievable and essentially a snapshot of mainstream hip-hop at this moment in time. Appearances include A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Childish Gambino, Fabolous, Action Bronson, Slaughterhouse, Young Jeezy and many, many more; for a full list, check out the back artwork over at Funk’s place. Many of the tracks from this tape have leaked out individually in the last 24 hours too, and thankfully they’re tagless versions, with one notable example being the Joey Bada$$ effort on the mixtape. If you’re after any of the other individual tracks, I’m sure a quick Google search can help you there, otherwise grab the bumper project for free below.

Funkmaster Flex-Who You Mad At? Me or Yourself?

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Pac Div-Black Acura ft. Mac Miller (Video)

Making the laundromat, a living room, and a dank bar look like reasonable places to start a rap career, the guys have an air of comfortable superiority in this first video from GMB.

One of the earlier singles from their GMB album, which was released today, Pac Div celebrate the LP release by sending out some accompanying visuals. The track has an almighty thump about it, courtesy of deep, heavy bass supplemented by minimal melodic additions and a punchy vocal sample, and yet again it ties into the much more aggressive style the Div have gone for with GMB. Commendably though, their lighter side comes out with a couple of more fun lines, and it’s good to see they’ve not entirely abandoned their affable roots.

The video has an interesting dichotomy of environments-the homely, everyday scenes (shot in Mac Miller’s LA home) contrast almost entirely with the dark, intense and frown-heavy shots of the trio rapping their verses. It throws you in terms of how to take the entire audiovisual, and that’s a reflection of themselves: from their previously easygoing work to this more in-your-face music, they’ve kept their output diverse and unpredictable. Good audiovisual, and GMB is out now (US iTunes).

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Larry Lovestein and The Velvet Revival (Mac Miller)-You EP

My opinions on Mac’s music tends to go a little up and down, but this is a very interesting project that shows he has tastes and talents beyond the laidback hip-hop he’s best known for. On a side, he seems to be a fan of both alter egos and the name Larry, as he recently started producing under the guise of Larry Fisherman. Odd.

This side project is apparently a jazz EP, with Mac opting to sing rather than rap, though I’ve yet to actually listen to it due to hard drive issues, and hence can’t verify any of that. I’ve been on a jazz/old soul kick recently (nothing wrong with a bit of Fats Domino!), and hence this should be good listening.

Larry Lovestein and The Velvet Revival-You

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B.o.B-F*ck Em, We Ball (Mixtape)

There was a time when a B.o.B mixtape would have me climbing over my own mother (I expect a furious text shortly) to both listen to and post it. Now? I couldn’t care less. I saw this released a couple of days ago and genuinely had no sense of urgency about it, and I’m aware many others feel the exact same way.

So what happened? To put it simply, his album’s have been massive disappointments with few highlights. He’s a mainstream favourite and I’m sure he’ll continue to be one, but amongst the hip-hop community he’s very much becoming an afterthought due to some of his more pop-oriented content. With that said, the odd release here and there (I still listen to No Future now and again) has piqued interest, with the recurring theme in his better material has been his inclination to cut loose and let those fiery emotions go: the title and cover of this tape suggest he may just be ready to do that at length, and if he does I expect this to be a project of redemption.

B.o.B-Fuck Em We Ball

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BET Hip-Hop Awards 2012: The Cyphers

As per every year, the only thing we check the BET Awards for is these excellent ciphers, and this year is no different.

The 2012 edition brings you some utterly superb lineups, with the clip up here being a personal highlight as it features several of my favourite upcomers-A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Childish Gambino and Angel Haze, alongside newcomer Driicky Graham. The rest of the ciphers feature the likes of T.I., B.o.B., Talib Kweli, Jean Grae, DMX, Eve, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Kurupt, DJ Quik, Xzibit, Mac Miller, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, Hopsin and more.

Plenty of promise, click on below to check out all of the ciphers. Who do you reckon had the standout performance? Big fan of Joey Bada$$ with the cipher up here, and my winners for the rest are below.

→ Continue Reading

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Boaz-Bases Loaded (Mixtape)

This guy’s flung into hip-hop consciousness seemingly out of nowhere, inking a deal recently with Rostrum Records (Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller etc.), and now drops off this mixtape packed with some excellent features.

I’ve not even heard any of his material yet, though I’ve got confidence in his abilities based on the acts he’s surrounded himself with on this tape. Contributing producers include Statik Selektah, !llmind and Beatnick & K-Salaam, whilst guest rappers include GLC, ScHoolboy Q, Freeway, labelmates Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and Chevy Woods and more. Find out if this newcomer can cement himself a place in the game with the free grab below.

Boaz-Bases Loaded

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Talib Kweli-Attack the Block (Mixtape)

Can’t complain about a little unexpected Talib Kweli, especially when its a huge 18-track project boasting some massive features.

Twitter seems to be surprised about one feature in particular, that being the Lil’ Wayne (and Mack Maine) assist, which isn’t actually that big a shock given Kweli’s very public praise for Weezy. There are much more notable features on here, including Ab-Soul, Ryan Leslie, Black Thought and Mac Miller. Of course, Talib’s hardly a slouch with a mic and I’m sure he’ll further his status as one of the better rappers around with this tape.

Talib Kweli-Attack the Block

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Pac Div-Black Acura ft. Mac Miller & Raven Sorvino

That GMB album drops on 16th October, and thus far the releases from it have been of a very good level. This one follows suit, and the Mac Miller feature should also ensure it reaches a wider audience.

The production is very dark throughout, combining ominous synths with a menacingly-slow percussion for a beat full of character and intensity, making for a real departure from the Div’s more positive regular style. The raps are tailored well to the production, with slower deliveries all-round and a little touch of aggression in places to capitalise on the aforementioned intensity, whilst the diversity is there thanks to Raven and Mac’s contribution, with the latter’s laidback style fitting in well here. Another good track from the album, and it’s nice to see them switch up the style a little.

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Rapsody-The Idea of Beautiful (Album)

I don’t know a great deal about Rapsody, but the album’s warming title and artwork coupled with a phenomenal lineup of features makes this one that I’m very eager to check out sooner rather than later.

Assists on this one come from Childish Gambino, Rocki Evans, Mac Miller, The Cool Kids, Ab-Soul, Raheem DeVaughn and more. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s as close to grabbing a complete who’s who of upcoming rappers as anyone’s come in recent months, and not only does that add star power, but it gives Rapsody plenty to compete with and live up to. With such weighty cosigns I’m sure he’ll have some quality to deliver, and you can stream or download the album over at DJBooth below.

Rapsody-The Idea of Beautiful

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Mac Miller and Pharrell-Glow

It’s good to know these two haven’t forgotten about the Pink Slime project they’re set to release together, if only for the slew of collaborative projects that have fallen by the wayside in recent years (remember CRS?).

Much like their first release there’s energy coarsing through this one, though it’s not necessarily delivered by pace, more so by the clashing of various high-pitched production elements giving this a chaotic quality. I’m not quite as into it as I was with Onaroll, largely because the raps and vocals end up becoming quite repetitive and lack any real conviction, though the unusual production is oddly likeable and makes for another good Neptunes beat. I’d imagine many will like this, but it’s not quite for me.

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Mac Miller and Pharrell-Onaroll

More than a one-off track, as this is the first release from the duo’s upcoming Pink Slime project. Can’t say I expected this, but if this track’s anything to go by we’re in for some high-octane stuff.

Pharrell brings an energetic production for Mac to work with here, progressively introducing a range of instruments and sound effects that each contribute to a lively, head-nodder of a beat. It’s certainly one of his more uptempo production in recent times, and he’s probably got a real club hit on his hands with this one. Mac’s raps are relatively simplistic throughout but it’s hardly a production tailored to head-twisting metaphors and wordplay, and whilst he’s not going to blow anyone’s face off with the lyricism, the flows ride the beat well and the content is the right fit for the production. A frenetic jam that’ll take well with the mainstream fans.

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Mac Miller-Loud

A testament to the amount of buzz he has, Mac’s stipulation for releasing this track was that his fans would get #ThatLoud trending on Twitter. Shortly afterwards, it was the #1 trending topic, a feat many of his rap peers would struggle with accomplishing.

The best part of it for those of us who aren’t hashtag sheep is that the audio is actually pretty good. Taken from his upcoming Macadelic project, this one boasts a fantastic Big Jerm production that would be welcomed by almost any rapper (cue a slew of remixes), with an intense, urgent melody tied to a nicely-paced percussion and a thick, speaker-rattling bass. Mac’s flows are solid enough throughout, and though the lyricism falls a little short in places, his general approach to the track is decent as he keeps those energy levels consistent, and this is a good track that’ll rack up some plays on your car playlists.

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Mac Miller-Black Friday Mixtape

Firstly, congratulations to Mac for debuting at #1 in the US a few weeks ago. As the first independently-distributed album to top the charts since 1995 (Tha Dogg Pound, before you ask), he deserves huge credit for such incredible success.

Following right on the heels of that album is this mixtape, released by Mac’s former cohort DJ Capcom. Composed of ‘very old songs‘, these were recorded a couple of years back ‘when i was 16-17‘ (it’s easy to forget he’s only actually 19!), and will surely be a decent listen to his dedicated fanbase. I can’t fully count myself amongst that group though I certainly enjoy some of his material, and I’m sure Blue Slide Park will make for decent listening when I get around to it.

Mac Miller-Black Friday

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Mac Miller-I Love Life, Thank You Mixtape

Is there anyone in hip-hop more in-tune with using social media than Mac? At every (major or minor) milestone he reaches on Twitter, he’s generously giving away content and after reaching 1 million followers, he lets loose of an entire mixtape mere weeks before his debut album release.

From interviews with him, and about him from other artists, you get the sense that the kid really does love the hip-hop game, and he comes across as one of the more positive, upbeat rappers in the game right now. Whilst his content and style understandably doesn’t suit many, he clearly has decent ability for a teenager, and that will continue to be honed with each release. With the album on the horizon, this will be an important tape in influencing buyers, so hopefully the content delivers: find out for yourself with the free grab below.

Mac Miller-I Love Life, Thank You

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Mac Miller-Face The Facts (Produced DJ Premier)

This one is for those Premo doubters out there claiming the G.O.A.T. fell off. Premo let this one loose on his Twitter yesterday and boy does it deliver with those characteristic piano chords and rolling drum loops. This was the first time I’d checked for Mac Miller and I found myself pleasantly surprised how he comfortably rides Premo’s instrumental, even showing the ability to switch things up half-way through. In fact, I’ll be surprised if you’re still reading this and haven’t hit the download yet.

EDIT: Apparently this isn’t even going to make his album; Premo states they were ‘just kidding around’ at 6am.

Mac Miller-Face The Facts (Produced DJ Premier) 


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Mac Miller Announces Debut Album Title

Rostrum Records is proud to announce the debut album from Mac Miller entitled “Blue Slide Park” which will be released this Fall. Since signing with Rostrum Records in 2010, Mac has released two classic mixtapes “K.I.D.S.” and “Best Day Ever” along with a dozen videos. His digitally released EP “On and On and Beyond” has sold over 40,000 copies since being released in March. The 19 year old Pittsburgh prodigy has been hard to miss in 2011, with international media coverage and features, and his “Incredibly Dope Tour” sold out shows nationwide over a 6 month span, as Miller toured both as a headliner and periodically with labelmate Wiz Khalifa. Miller’s videos have gone viral with over 85 million views worldwide on his personal Youtube channel and now significant airplay on MTV, FUSE, and BET.

I won’t lie, this video is pretty different. It mostly involves Mac Miller shouting random words/noises and generally being a little mental, and in the midst of the madness he reveals his album title to be Blue Slide Park. Some of his recent material has been solid, and whilst this video serves to prove he’s somewhat unusual away from the mic, his album will certainly be highly anticipated regardless.

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Mac Miller and Talib Kweli-Family First

Some of Mac’s recent work has been very consistent, and here he drops off a new effort with Kweli to celebrate reaching 500,000 fans (that’s some serious numbers for a non-mainstream rapper!) on Twitter.

Solid laidback production suits both rappers comfortably, with a short, simple two-verse structure that makes for very easy listening. Mac’s husky, relaxed flow taking to the easygoing vibe smoothly and brings some likeable work out in his bars, whilst Talib’s more nasal delivery offers a sharper, clearer verse that contrasts nicely with Mac’s. A quick and enjoyable listen.

Mac Miller-Family First ft. Talib Kweli

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Mac Miller-Love Lost

Mac Miller has been growing on me as of late, and he continues to do so with this new drop. Miller released this little gem thanks to hitting 400K followers on twitter . (As 1 of those 400K, I’d like to think without me it wouldn’t have been possible, so you’re welcome…)

The track uses a sample of my favourite The Temper Trap song , Love Lost (well my favourite out of the two I know). Miller goes in, as the title would suggest, rapping about girls that got away. With the sample used and Macs laid back flow the track actually has a nice chilled vibe, certainly worth a listen.

Mac Miller-Love Lost

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Chiddy Bang and Mac Miller-Heatwave

I’ve never claimed to be a die-hard Chiddy Bang fan (though I will claim to be a very early supporter back in 2009!), but now and again they come through with an undeniably superb track, and this is another.

From their upcoming Breakfast mixtape (should have dropped an album by now fellas!), Xaphoon does a great job on the beat with a soulful sample layered over a thumping percussion, resulting in a fundamentally hip-hop driven production that will surely satisfy both the hip-hop heads and mainstream fans alike. Verses are decent throughout too, as Mac Miller takes the win with another slick verse that really cements him as one of the in-form rappers of 2011 thus far. Having not really been a fan previously, he’s really won me over in recent months and I hope it continues.

Chiddy Bang-Heatwave ft. Mac Miller

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2011's XXL Freshman Class: The Mixtape

“In celebration of our 4th annual Freshman issue, we linked up with DJ Whoo Kid for the 2nd year in a row to release a mixtape showcasing the up-and-comers’ talents.
XXL’s 2011 Freshman Class: The Mixtape features brand new music from Kendrick Lamar, Yelawolf, Lil B, Meek Mill, Mac Miller, Lil Twist, Fred the Godson, YG, Cyhi the Prynce and Big K.R.I.T. as well as some welcomed, surprise collaborations.

Can’t say I agreed with some of this list when it was released, but we’ll see if my mind is changed by what those I doubt put forward on this tape. Aside from that, it’s always good to grab new material from the likes of Yelawolf and Kendrick Lamar, so this should definitely be one to add to the collection.

2011′s Freshman Class: The Mixtape

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1982 (Statik Selektah and Termanology)-The EP

Originally available if you purchased their recently-released album, Statik and Term have made the EP available for free to everyone. Tracklist and download link below.

1. The Lottery
2. All Night ft. Kali
3. The Darkest Cloud ft. Chace Infinite
4. Weird Science
5. Put It Down ft. Ghetto & Ea$y Money
6. Never Gonna (Interlude)
7. Word Up
8. The Dream ft. Reks
9. 82 92 ft. Mac Miller (Bonus)
1982-The Ep

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