Words: Matt Oliver

Monolith Cocktail: Rapture & Verse: Matt Oliver: Chance The Rapper

Rapture & Verse usually prides itself on disseminating game-changing fact and bringing you the news that matters…but really there are only two places to start this month: Pusha T reportedly being the mastermind behind that shit-eating grin of a jingle known as McDonalds’ ‘I’m Loving It’ catchphrase (this, in the same month he dropped ‘Drug Dealers Anonymous’ with Jay-Z); and Posh Spice’s Roc-a-Fella project, once thought to be just a bad dream featuring ODB and MoP, finding its way online. Listen to it? We’d have been out of our mind.

Big names in the big smoke and beyond are incoming: Illa J takes guard at Birthdays to open up July, and Oddisee can be found at The Garage and Birmingham’s O2 at the end of this month, stopping off in Brighton, Glastonbury and Oxford the month after. Hopsin will be spilling his ill mind all over Brixton and Manchester mid-July, Dilated Peoples make The Jazz Café their expansion team on a July Tuesday; and a little way down the line, Pete Rock & CL Smooth commemorate 25 years of giving the game their own silky touch with a special Highbury show in September. Quick mention also for a vinyl reissue of Aim’s ‘Cold Water Music’, the watershed Grand Central beats and rhymes classic, giving this column the excuse to feature its favourite blood curdling boom bapper.


In the thick of battle, Ill Move Sporadic & Tenchoo blow the doors off ‘Panic Room 9’, a combative eight tracks that includes their airwaves-aggravating collabo with Sleaford Mods. On ‘Life as a Simpleton’, Moraless is much wiser than the title lets on, revelling in keeping tabs on life from afar. A safe quintet, in no small part to Hezit’s wily, drizzly production. Aidan Coker proves he has something to add on ‘Nothing New’, dictating rays of fine clarity over suffocating trap beats, while Durrty Goodz’ ‘Organise’ drops it a notch and comes well prepared with methodical reasoning.

Regardless of whether they’ll extend the life of your washing machine, Granville Sessions knock out a banger fusing a Glasgow Kiss with a Chelsea Smile – ‘Calgon Sunrise’ takes lumps out of noggins. As Endemic does one of his soul drops from a great height, Oliver Truffe aims to leave opposition choking on his fumes on ‘Chequered Flags’. Up close and personal, Dizraeli strips back to mic and acoustic guitar for the intimate invitation to ‘Eat My Camera’, a six-track performance flirting with folk and this summer’s back tent schedule.

Clipping’s new EP is called ‘Wriggle’. ‘Spasm’ or ‘convulsion’ is nearer the mark for their LA methods of getting under the skin. A five-for of funk from Bop AlloyMarcus D on beats and Substantial on the mic – gives the gift of the ‘Present’ EP, getting golden in Virginia. Killer Ben’s rhyme spree driven by Twizz the Beatpro, makes ‘Invincible Ben’ an authority playing hardball across eight innings. Red Venom’s latest injection of Manchester poison reels in Daddy Kruger and Bobby Steele to ‘Take A Shot’ of 100 proof of pavement pounding. Once guzzled, observe Reks’ ‘The Recipe’, giving you a well cooked pound of stodge with Nottz conducting street orchestras, but do not cross John Reilly in the corridor or cafeteria. The flavoursome ‘Bully Pulpit’, featuring Rich Quick and funked by Rediculus, is well up for stuffing the game into a locker.


“Everybody wanna rap, but nobody wanna work” – the opening line to Apathy’s ‘Handshakes With Snakes’. The moment Ap stops giving his all and kicking up a stink, we can all go home, and his latest cobra clutch, an anti-pop, pro-Peanuts show-n-prove, overflows with knuckle-breaking punchlines and talk-it-while-I-live-it rhetoric. ‘No Such Thing’ has got frat parties locked for the next 100 years as well.

The inimitable performance of Homeboy Sandman, on the fairly pertinently-titled ‘Kindness for Weakness’, is full of verbal lolls, bolt upright enthusiasm and cynicism, and a swiftness of tongue banded between the two. His favourite topics of relationships and how to conduct yourself in whatever situation, come through a real criss-cross of beats taken forward by Paul White, RJD2, Edan, Jonwayne and Until the Ribbon Breaks. The mystique and legend deepens. Or whatever.

The beats of Morriarchi reside just above the doldrums but are anything but repellent. ‘Buggzville Sessions’ is perfect for a bunch of pests like Bisk, Stinkin Slumrock, Joe Dirt and Black Josh to dart around. ‘Miverione’ has Kyza, the “real life black Victor Meldrew’, still spitting fire and smoking lugholes like he’s lighting rounds of premium reserve Smirnoff.

The cut and run of Jon Phonics skitters and shimmers in and around hip-hop’s borders. ‘Letters to Home’ sizes up the club and dents R&B gloss at various tempos, through Phonics’ own doing and with Dirty Dike, M9 and Lee Scott digging their mics in. The thrill and rush of the future, with hip-hop dirt under its fingernails. Inviting a whole bunch of emcees around his turntable, Jabba Tha Kut’s ‘Fingertip Music’ hardly boasts a lightness of touch. Steady supplying weight for the likes of Emcee Killa, Dizzy Dustin, Soloman Gehazi and a string of talent to sling into a search engine, there remains plenty of opportunity to leave tone arms tortured.

This month’s mic-less maestros are deep. Or rather, Deep, an NYC instrumentalist whose ‘Bushwick Beatfeed’ piles high drums and loops for your ears and neck to get greedy with. The same goes for London’s Sleepless, who as his name suggests, works on the drowsier side of things. ‘Progression’ is a good source of chilled flavours to come alive to around midnight or come round to the next morning. The travels of 9th Wonder towards ‘Zion’ takes 36 small steps in MPC-heavy creaminess. Where thumping pads glisten with dewy TLC and feathered soul reigns supreme, it’s a finely tuned blend of the buttery, smack bang in the middle of the head nodder’s realm.

Lessondary, the many manned crew including members of Tanya Morgan in a network of emcees and producers, have got an LP coming soon. DJ Low Key preps the event with ‘Never 2ndary’, a pretty indispensable stockpiling of the group’s previous appearances across the board. Conscious, cool and also ready to cock back, it’s a great place to start and spoil your appetite with.

Mixtapes/Beat tapes

If Benetton did mixtapes, Chance the Rapper’s ‘Coloring Book’ would be the billboard head turner. Ever closer to mainstream domination and Kanye’s crown, his gospel singalongs and afterhours wisdom both ignite and simmer down a colourful and cosmopolitan volume that’s really a full blown album. Bishop Nehru’s ‘Magic 19’ has just the touch, expressively stepping over trap trudges and glossy sheens ahead of a new album – if the beats aren’t much to write home about, the response will be he can rock any style offered. Nowt weird about Oddisee’s ‘The Odd Tape’, jazzy downtime designed for the finer things in life. Hire yourself a grape feeder to get the most out of 12 instrumentals gently massaging your scalp region.

From grape feeding to melon twisting, The Last Skeptik offers you out again on ‘Your Beat Tape Sucks Volume 2’, a dope 10 track array of synth stings and funky things. The Underachievers’ ‘It Happened in Flatbush’ flat-track bullies 30 minutes of trap, crucially never found out of earshot on a proper wig splitter. For when your BBQ gets boozy and you need a garden-to-club conversion, LA’s Caspa & B hold the deeds for energetic, rowdy, R&B-buffed, 63 track (!) bump and grind – ‘Charge Up!’ will turn elbows into weapons, stat. When a ‘Refresher Course’ becomes an intensive West Coast cram session, Ras Kass piles up guest spots, favourites and such, keeping it thorough with a new album in his sights.

See EV Zepplin get lost in the toxins, Danny Brown’s weather forecast, and the redemption of Ugly Heroes.

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