Thursday, December 22, 2011

11 releases that took ATL’s hip-hop underground deeper and higher in 2011

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 6:06 PM


11. 4-Ize, “Rap Sucks” (self released)

"Rap Sucks."

As 2010 came to a close the title of one of 4-Ize's most poignant moments, “Rap Sucks,” pretty much spoke for itself, and if his poke at clichés didn’t sink in upon hearing the song, the cover art said the rest.


10. Clan Destined, Self Titled (self released)

At the top of the year, when 4-Ize's "Rap Sucks" was sinking in, Clan Destined’s second full-length, Self Titled, proved that it doesn't have to, and with this album stylistic purity is at an all-time high for Clan D.


9. Lyric Jones feat. Aleon Craft & Playboy Tre, “Gotta Go” (self released)

A crazy collision of voices and styles. Naturally, there’s some serious rapping going on here, while the production takes on a bit of a slower R&B vibe, which suits these golden voices just fine.


8. Rock Most, Rise and Shine (Dirty Bomb Records)


In the summer of 2009, Atlanta MC Rock Most (Rodney Powell) released his solo debut, For Lovers Only (F.L.O.). It was a solid tongue-twister cut from a swath of backpacker beats and rhymes underscored by a sense of urgency in his voice. But whether he knew it or not, his dedication to form undermined the fact that he had more to say than the conventions of the genre allowed. With his second offering, Rise & Shine, he expands his repertoire with a fun but mature sound and vision. The title is a reminder that in order to shine as an artist one has to rise through the ranks and above the stereotypes of indie rap. Continue reading ...

7. Eddie "Cappuccino" Meeks, "Song of Satisfaction" (Asylum Entertainment Group International)
"Who the hell is Cappuccino?" One Atlanta's more reactionary figures when it comes to the state of hip-hop in 2011. There's a sense of humor here for sure, but Meeks remains firmly planted in the underground for a reason. Still, "Song of Satisfaction" is a damn catchy number.


6. Señor Kaos, The Kaos Effect (High Water Music)

"It's Like That" feat. Ekundayo MP3

In 2011 it wasn’t uncommon for a hip-hop album to feature a different producer handling nearly every track. Such tactics cast a wide net, and might draw a few more click on the Internet, but that’s not the way classic records are made. The one-two combination of Señor Kaos' vision channeled through a single producer, Illastrate, made The Kaos Effect an album that’s sharp, direct and to the point; bound by a singular aesthetic.


5. Floyd the Locsmif, Divine Dezignz 3: Dirty Canvas (In the Loop Recordings)

Locsmif's Divine Dezignz 3 is a heady, mostly instrumental trip that blends trip-hop, avant-garde jazz, and turntablism with a late ’90s experimental flow (a la Mo' Wax). The album’s effortless, organic movements are street savvy by nature and complex by design. Read a review of Divine Dezignz 3: Dirty Canvas.

4. Jarron Benton, “Skitzo” (SMKA)
Not necessarily horrorcore, but this is what bizarre, surreal, and dirty is really all about.

3. Dillon & Boog Brown “Gimmie That” (Eatin’ Records)
The Dillon Ain't Playin' EP is a killer release, but as the song says, this pairing of Dillon and Boog Brown is “a full-time jack move ... ” Read a review of the album, Dillon Ain’t Playin’.


2. The Difference Machine, “Psychology” (self-released)

DT (of Clan Destined) and Dr. Conspiracy have forged an alliance, and together they crank out twisted, psychedelic hip-hop cuts that reach into the deepest, darkest corners of their respective styles to conjure up a new brainiac sound.


1. J-Live, S.P.T.A. (Triple Threat Productions)

An instant classic. Atlanta by-way-of Brooklyn MC, DJ, and producer J-Live embodies hip-hop's holy trinity. It's no coincidence that the cover of his fifth full-length, S.P.T.A. (Said Person of That Ability, pronounced "Spitta"), portrays the man as three-in-one. Some formidable knob-twiddlers (Diamond D, RJD2, Marco Polo, Nicolay) contribute to the album as well. But from the one-man convo between his three personalities on "As I Start" to the effortless flow of top-notch lyricism on "The Authentic" and "No Time To Waste," it's all J-Live. He's best when he's in a boom bap state of mind. Continue reading …

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