Last week saw a few highly anticipated mixtapes dropping from the US, with the long-awaited debut tape from 16-year-old Brooklyn sensation Joey Bada$$, the latest mixtape from Warner Bros. signee XV and the new collaborative project from Canadian rap veteran Kardinal Offishall and producer Nottz Raw, as well as some less expected projects from a few up-and-comers and the first vocal mixtape from Wolverhampton up-and-comer Heckz…
Joey Bada$$ – 1999
Since Joey Bada$$’ ‘Survival Tactics’ (featuring fellow Pro Era crew member Capital STEEZ) went viral a few months ago the 16-year-old emcee has been the talk of the NY rap scene. With many comparing the newcomer to Nas’ classic debut, Illmatic the young rapper has some giant kicks to fill with this debut mixtape, 1999 which the hype has been building around. Full of 90’s influence, jazz samples and quick-witted New York rap, we are sure that while this perhaps doesn’t live up to the impossibly high standards many were pushing it towards, this is a refreshingly young modern boom bap record that continues the current revival of quality New York rap.
Tito Lopez – The Hunger Game
Despite having garnered the attention of Dr. Dre who co-signed the Atlanta representing rapper last year, Tito Lopez hasn’t took the route of working with tonnes of collaborators on hugely hyped up releases, and instead remains low on the radar releasing quality original projects such as this one with very little in the way of big name features or producers. With his lyricism, word-play and interesting song concepts, we are confident that Tito is set to blow very soon.
Heckz – History
After the success of his two Hecstrumentals volumes as well as various Youtube freestyles, Wolverhampton MC and producer Heckz offers up his first vocal mixtape entitled History which features standout cuts Left Right, No Fatigue and I’ve Been Working.
ANTHM – Joy & Pain EP
Short and sweet, seven tracks of electro-fuelled hip-hop from German born, northern VA raised, Ethiopian MC, ANTHM, who prides himself on making moves without the use of a co-sign. The project, however, does include a few well selected features; Blu, Freddie Gibbs and upcoming singer-songwriter Janelle Kroll.
Troy Ave – Bricks In My Backpack 3
The third instalment of Brooklynite Troy Ave’s Bricks In My Backpack series, showcasing his own brand of the classic coke-rap genre. This time around standout contributions come courtesy of Action Bronson, Fabolous and Chase N Cashe and the tracklist includes the previously leaked and well received Chiddy Chiddy Bang Bang, Merlot pt. Deux, Cokemania and Free Base.
Kardinal Offishall x Nottz Raw – Allow Me To Re-Introduce Myself
Serving as a re-introduction to Kardinal who has been out of the game for a few years, the Canadian rap veteran decided to return in style with an album-quality project and all for the low price of Free! Doing so purely over the crisp drums of production from Nottz Raw, the underrated genius behind tracks from the likes of Kanye West, Busta Rhymes and Asher Roth, was a very welcome bonus.
XV – Popular Culture
After last year’s Zero Heroes, we were highly anticipating the latest offering from Vizzy who didn’t disappoint with this new project which, as the title suggests, draws influence from a huge range of popular culture including everything from Willy Wonka’s lift (Wonkavator featuring Emilio Sparks) and Inception (The Kick – our personal favourite). The Awesome Sound handles the majority of production this time around, as well as contributions from Xaphoon Jones (of Chiddy Bang), DJ Tech-Neek, TNGHT and The Odd Couple, with notable features from Slim The Mobster, SchoolBoy Q and B.o.B amongst others.
Words by Grant Brydon
Edited by Natalia