Public Enemy - Monolith Cocktail

Matt Oliver continues to bring you all the gossip along with the best new cuts, videos, mixtapes and albums from both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. Mentions this month for Kendrick Lamar (well his trainers anyway), Ocean Wisdom, Verb T, Skuff050 Boyz, Public Enemy and shout outs for the following team ups, L’Orange and Kool Keith; Tragedy, KRS-One and AG; and Skepta, Tempa T, Chip, Wretch32 and Ghetts.

Normally the Rapture & Verse intro is light of heart, what with Chief Keef wanting to run for Chicago mayor, Chance the Rapper joining the personalised homebrew brigade, Run the Jewels debuting the first track of their moggy-related sideline, and a petition wanting OutKast to be added to Atlanta’s Stone Mountain monument. But hip-hop has been rather a serious business in this last month. There’s Dr Dre’s new album, which isn’t the perennial white elephant ‘Detox’, and two significant beefs. The barney between Meek Mill and Drake had gossip folks foaming, trading blows after impersonating a poison pen-pal program, and Action Bronson (fresh from offering punters gift verses and personalised birthday greetings) was put in his place by a miffed Ghostface; a prompt apology didn’t nip matters in the bud either. The untimely death of Sean Price, keenly felt by the underground community, gave the squabbles some perspective.

In other news, here’s a pic of Kendrick Lamar’s new Reebok trainer.


Singles & EPs

Ruggedness with heart on sleeve from Kyza and TE1 on the ‘Ourverione’ EP has you by the scruff of your neck in one hand while holding a mirror to the streets in the other, brewing up six strong storms. Another diamond half dozen bags up ‘Evidence’ collected by Dr Syntax and Pitch, funk busters rightly claiming to be “the cat’s whiskers and the dog’s bollocks”, and Brighton’s Ocean Wisdom absolutely peels open Dirty Dike’s crime thriller banger ‘Walkin’’ with a flow to roast the second-rate.

Also with fine toothpick and magnifying glass, Verb T is in prime predatory form as he and Illinformed ram home pre-album taster ‘First Stone’ like a brick through a glasshouse. Elliot Fresh’s arid humour on ‘Kebab Vomit’ comes after trying to straighten himself out by ‘Surfing’; something Skuff probably has on his to-do list along with claiming the prized sunlounger on the “summer anthem in the crappy weather” ‘Cali Mist.’ Bringing a monster truck to the beach, Trigga x Chimpo x Sam Binga’s ‘Who Run Tingz’ is simply the biggest and bashiest.

Wild West pistols at dawn from the ever grimy Gangrene won’t backtrack on the threats made on ‘Reversals’, as Angelous, with his Jigga-like twang, earns his wings on grievous trap track ‘Squad Up.’ A veteran’s schooling from Tragedy, KRS-One and AG whips up a scathing symphony on the rallying ‘Modern Day Gangsta’, and DanO rides Buckwild’s searching thudder to explain what ‘Paradise’ really means. Method Man is the anchor leg for ‘Straight Gutta’, bringing home the haymakers after Streetlife, Hanz On and Redman – a decent new album alert. Nottz’ beat for Koache’s textbook golddigger tale ‘Karma’ smokes like an out-of-control BBQ, and Your Old Droog’s ‘The Nicest’ EP slides down like premium liquor; unerringly smooth and incisive.


With absolutely no Drake involvement, Ghost Writerz helm the sound system carol ‘GWz All The Way’, hip-hop given a dub dressing down by Harry Metcalfe and Jason Bradshaw. Hot bashment vibes park speaker stacks where they please and grind with an infectious bass culture giving tower blocks a jolly rogering. Through leisurely skanks and rapid fire shifting, you’ll be glad this gives it the big’un: rudebwoys that have got the right recipe for when the sun decides to don its best fitted.

Fans of Apathy presumably still have Cheshire Cat grins stuck to their faces. Not only has the Demigod piled in with 50-track blockbuster ‘The Black Lodge’ – an all-embracing monster scooping up collabs, one-offs etc, featuring all his usual tooled up buddies and including a stick-up of The Monkees theme – he also drops battle-hardened project ‘Weekend at The Cape’. Using the mic as an extra digit to flip and demonstrating his career-long toughness impervious to any comebacks, this one comes has the balls to…well, we’ll let you name that kid’s TV theme…

Self-explanatory goodness from Genesis Elijah allows you to delve into his ‘B Sides & Bootlegs’, a Brixton bull-n-a-china-shop brouhaha of underground uppercuts implicating Dubbledge, Just Blaze, Novelist, Chase & Status and Wiley.  Trap-grime emcees wielding synthesized threats muscle their way into the picture on ‘Concrete Jungle’, a comp of fast life road rap with mainstream aspirations from scene cream Skepta, Tempa T, Chip, Wretch32 and Ghetts. ‘Trapping Ain’t Dead’ by Section Boyz leads the charge.

k-os brings his usual quality mix of styles and showmanship to ‘Can’t Fly Without Gravity’, continuing to rattle off route one hip-hop (‘Boyz II Men’, an all Canadian posse cut blasting infinite ammo) with R&B-fringed numbers and pop approachability. An old school ultimatum from Paul Nice and Phill Most Chill as hip-hop clean team the Fabreeze Brothers lays down lino like red carpet.

B-boy stances are held like an architect’s muse, and the stuffing of samples, one-liners and retro attitude mocks all modern day interpreters of the art – or suckers, as they’d most likely call them. An eccentrics brainstorm connecting L’Orange and Kool Keith conceptualises/wings it on ‘Time? Astonishing!’, an album so underground it’s probably hidden on the Circle Line. A chemical reaction of rundown jazz run through a re-animator and sleep-deprived rhymes of pseudo-science, creates some deep burnt gold.

New Jersey is revved and ready when native sons 050 Boyz start slamming doors. Raucous from the first whistle, the trio’s pack mentality makes sure everyone knows ‘Everything 050.’ No slow jams or jokey interludes here, just gritted teeth on some can’t-stop-won’t-stop shit throughout; it’s the sort of hip-hop that’ll get traded like contraband, where half-assed crews get demolished and bruised. From NJ to NY and teasing pun-makers into some bear-in-cakeshop imagery, Grizzly Gato study hip-hop’s bricks and mortar and construct the knockin’ ‘While You Were Sleeping’ – a duo with bigger chemistry than Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman. This represents the real but is no one trick pony, keeping it “wildstyle, even on autopilot.’ Snooze, you lose. Quick mentions also for the lyrical scorch marks care of Joell Ortiz (‘Human’) and Hopsin (‘Pound Syndrome’, which features the hilariously yet painfully accurate ‘No Words’).

Blasé but with the slyest titbit of a bite under his tongue, Quelle Chris puts his Detroit smarts on slouch when crossing ‘Innocent Country’. Set up by Chris Keys’ watery, sleepy boom-bap spread on a Madlib/Jay Dilla/Declaime dustsheet, what could’ve got bogged down in vapours is instead just long enough to get semi-reflective. The ever-informative Mr Lif treads ‘Terra Bella’, fronting collaborative hip-hop past the margins with producer The Polish Ambassador and chanteuse Ayla Nereo. Of a very clear gameplan and structure, the prominent soul-pop hooks and upwardly mobile beats lay this on a plate for those seeking a little more enlightenment from promises of no BS. Sounds like a dead cert to rock live shows as well.

Mixtapes & VT

Provocateur Confz lays down ‘The East London Agreement’. Dextrously wide-eyed past midnight, forget cloud rap, this is thundercloud hip-hop from a master deliberator, scheming in a plume of digital smoke, gradually emerging from his self-created urban spectre. Do not ignore this guy’s terms and conditions. The Age of LUNA are agents on the come-up in polished, live-staged consciousness and kickbacks. Quadruple-distilled smoothness flaunting a neo-soul finish, ‘Live Under No Authority’ is hardly a lawless rampage, but slickly follows the blueprint for rap nightcaps.

‘Speak Awn Eht’ is a handy beat tape stopover from The Dopplegangaz, a travel-sized selection of spooked instrumentals and light-headed stretch-outs. Showing Brooklyn’s backbone can’t be shanked, Skanks the Rap Martyr’s ‘Back by Popular Demand’ is a street patrol you can count on, and if Finale’s ‘Odds & Ends’ didn’t give you enough of the Detroit promise-keeper, hit up House Shoes’ sidecar mix ‘Bits & Pieces’, which gives you another 50 minutes of steady Motor City knowhow.

This month, cock an eye at Sean Anonymous’ theories, MondayFriday’s condiments, Public Enemy’s latest power fight, and Philly B’s inner circle.

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