It’s time to spin the records of our hip-hop and rap recommendations. These songs are at the cutting-edge of the genre from some of the globe’s best underground acts, so pay attention kids, you’re about to lear something.
Hot on the heels of ‘Touché Coulé’, the rising Parisian rapper Mikano is already back with another music video for single ‘Tell a Lie’. Both tracks are taken from the artist’s recently released AKWA II EP. The young artist confirms his position as an empathetic lyricist and deep-thinking poet with this honest story of human relationship. It’s a really catchy number made up of melodious verses over a contemporary synth and trap soundtrack. A little spice is added in there too with the fiery guitars. Mikano’s confidence is the main takeaway here. He never overdoes it with his performance, he walks that line with great composure so that his words aren’t lost on the listener. Go check out his AKWA II EP asap!
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Chase Woods moved back home during the lockdown and that ‘coming home’ experience led him to write a bunch of songs about his childhood. As a Māori living in Palmerston North, New Zealand, his relationship with police and local authorities isn’t an easy one as reflected in new single ‘Landlords’. He sings “I’m from a town where the lords don’t speak, they shoot first” – yeah, he didn’t stutter there. He offsets this bleak picture of systematic oppression with bouncing keys and organic percussion which reflect the innocence of the kids that he grew up with. This is a message that we should all be takin notice of.
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At the pop end of the hip-hop specturm we have B00sted, the 19-year-old independent rapper, producer, singer-songwriter from Vancouver, Canada. His lo-fi and bedroom-pop inspired sound follows in the footsteps of Logic, J. Cole and Drake who all did their part in bringing the genre into the commercial space. B00sted’s own blend of easy-listening, bright and up-beat pop and hip-hop comes through in new single ‘Remedy’. The modern beatwork keeps up with the artist’s emotional performance as he takes us on the rollercoaster-like highs and lows of falling in love.
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Here we have another taste of Canadian hip-hop from the Jamaican-Canadian Toronto-based Wave Montega. This rising rap star flexes his skills on ‘LESSONS’ in which he effortlessly switches between rap, drill, grime, R&B, and dancehall in this invigorating listen. Working alongside The Letter Z and FreightRunner V on this track, the artist delivers the story of his life so far with all the wisdom that he’s picked up along the way and expressing the resilience that it’s give him. ‘LESSONS’ also features on Wave Montega’s suitably titled CATHARSIS LP with is out now and is packed full of stand-out tracks.
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This one gave us straight goosebumps and it’s definitely not a watch for the faint of heart. UK collective 404 Guild take their artistry to some dark places in the music video for ‘Feedback Loop’, but like with any good horror film, you can’t take your eyes away from it. The track itself is an exercise in lofi jazzy trip-hop with J.Dilla-esque beats and passive rapping. It explores the disconnected networks and repeated patterns of our life, especially as we get older and can’t seem to escape those bad habits. ‘Feedback Loop’ is one piece of a bigger puzzle – the 404 Guild’s next album. It will be released by Dirty Hit on 9th December, with a powerful and bleak short film created by Devenny 404 with his long-term collaborator Ben Garcia Hughes, under their directed by SAMBU moniker.
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