Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – “Sunday Candy”

OK, OK, OK. Take a listen to this track. Recognize anybody? Yes, that’s Chicago rapper-singer Chance The Rapper‘s voice there. While he doesn’t get top billing on this track, he is very much a part of a four-person musical act called The Social Experiment. There’s been rumor for a little while that Chance was going to be releasing a project titled Surf soon, and this seems to be what he was talking about.

The Social Experiment’s remaining members include the likes of Peter Cottontale, Nate Fox, and, of course, Donnie Trumpet. Mr. Trumpet is also known as Nico Segal, and used to play in Kids These Days with one of Chance’s close friends Vic Mensa.

Now, together under this Social Experiment umbrella, Segal and company have released this stellar new single. It’s a spectacular blend of pop, hip hop, gospel, and soul. It features some a wonderfully beautiful vocal melodies, bright horns, and an endearing piano as well.

Really excited to hear how this experiment pans out!

Ghostface Killah – “Double Cross” ft. AZ / “Blood In The Streets”

Known for his renowned membership of the Wu-Tang Clan, but also for his early solo works, Ghostface Killah is once again attracting major attention over the release of a forthcoming album. The title of this new one: 36 Seasons, which apparently includes a comic insert based on the album’s concept of the revenge of a deafeated and forgotten anti-hero. The new single “Double Cross” features Brooklyn-born rapper AZ, as do a few other tracks on the album, and includes a menacing bassline over kick and hat drum beats. Interrupted briefly by police commands and a slight build up to AZ’s verse–which contains a well-placed “C.R.E.A.M.” reference–the track is a bit unadventurous and expected, but still an exciting prelude to the impending project.

You can actually try another new track from 36 Seasons, “Blood In The Streets,” right here.

- Fin Worrall

Flying Lotus – “Masquatch” ft. DOOM

Flying Lotus’ production on his new single “Masquatch” is a seemingly slowed down iteration of his production on his most recent album “You’re Dead!” The stomp, the rattle, and the wonderfully organic feel are all present. My mind wanders to a desert scene with wind sifting through the limbs of a 1,000-year-old dead tree.

At a slower tempo, however, FlyLo’s production loses its frantic mania and instead co-opts a deeply menacing face. The synths that hang over the production and occasional jazz noodling take on their full spiritual effect, now being used only sparsely. As far as DOOM’s performance on the song, it is a little too low in the mix to be heard clearly. Not only is it overshadowed talent-wise by FlyLo, it is sonically overpowered. His delivery’s weird placement in the mix at times enhances the song, however. With his audibility surging and receding in a similar manner to the beat, he magnifies the song’s disorienting qualities. This slower direction is one that I feel that FlyLo should flesh out more in the future, whether in singles or on a full length, and if collaborating with DOOM will lead him to do that then I’m looking forward to more collaborations between them.

- Garrett Cottingham

Flying Lotus – “Medication Meditation” ft. Krayzie Bone

With the expanded edition of Grand Theft Auto V comes a whopping 162 new songs across the game’s 17 radio stations. Flying Lotus’ Fly Lo FM has been supplemented with new music from Danny Brown, Freddie Gibbs, and DOOM to name just a few. Above you can stream a new Flying Lotus-produced track “Medication Meditation,” which features a couple of verses from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s Krayzie Bone, background vocals from frequent FlyLo collaborator Niki Randa, and of course there’s some slick bass work from Thundercat all over this thing. Now, this song may not offer the free-jazz euphoria of You’re Dead!, but I sure as hell wouldn’t mind blasting this in the car while cruising around San Andreas.

GTA V is out on next-gen consoles now via Rockstar Games, with a limited edition box set of the expanded soundtrack due out December 9 via Mass Appeal. Here’s our review of Flying Lotus’ latest record You’re Dead!:

Big K.R.I.T. – “Cadillactica” (Video)

Has anyone called Big K.R.I.T. glam-trap yet? If it’s alright with everyone, that’s what I’m going to do. Displaying incredible technical prowess and a strong ear for a hook, “Cadillactica” finds K.R.I.T. comfortable in his niche. Lyrically, the song isn’t his best, essentially deriving inspiration from sexual brags and success brags. His delivery fits snugly inside a high-hat and spacey synthesizer driven beat. It’s very catchy, great weed music, and easy to listen to, but feels safe for an artist who in the not too distant past was one of the most exciting newcomers to the scene. The synthesizers on “Cadillactica,” specifically near the closing of the song, may evidence an eventual foray into cloud rap territory. Now, trap mixed with cloud beats may not seem like the most original or necessary experiment for any rapper to make at this point, but let’s not forget that not long ago K.R.I.T. was took part in revitalizing a tired southern trap scene. Who knows what he could do if he becomes willing to find inspiration elsewhere?

And by the way, if you want to watch a song about Cadillacs that can’t show a Cadillac logo, check the video above.

- Garrett Cottingham

A$AP Ferg – “Doe-Active”

It’s official: A$AP Ferg has gone insane. The New York rapper and A$AP Mob member has been dropping singles relentlessly since last week, but the output has been relatively underwhelming thus far. However, “Doe-Active” seems to break that boring streak.

This track looks like it’ll be dropping on Ferg’s forthcoming mixtape, and it features an electro-trap instrumental with a hard-hitting finish. As far as Ferg’s rapping goes, these are some of the oddest flows I’ve ever heard him deliver. His wild inflections and screams put him just shy of the energy level on a track like “I Can’t Wait.” There’s even some unexpected Adam Levine name-drops in the 2nd half.

The only thing that separates him from ODB–or maybe even Lil Wayne at this point–on this track is Ferg seems to be conscious of how little sense he’s making. While I love the explosive character of the track, there isn’t much in terms of a song at the core of this thing. I can’t see myself returning to it anytime soon. Maybe it’ll sound better in the context of this forthcoming tape. I can only hope and assume that the Trap Lord works in mysterious ways.

Ghostface Killah – “The Battlefield” ft. Kool G Rap, AZ & Tre Williams

Following up his impressive collaborative concept album with Adrian Younge last year, Twelve Reasons To Die, Ghostface Killah is ready to drop another full-length this December titled 36 Seasons. It’s another concept album, which is fine by me, and details a story of revenge.

“The Battlefield” is the second track to get released from this thing–here’s the first–and it features verses from Kool G Rap and AZ. There’s a sweet hook on this thing that’s sung by Tre Williams, too. The track puts us right in the middle of the album’s storyline, introducing us to an unhappy Ghostface Killah reacting to his old neighborhood going to hell after a 9-year hiatus spent somewhere else.

The track’s instrumental has a head-bobbing rhythm, some righteous piano chords, and a driving guitar lead, too. While the lyrical content leaves a lot of questions about the storyline of the album, it’s certainly a good cliffhanger for now.

Look for 36 Seasons via Tommy Boy on December 9th.

Eternia – “Scraps”

A week ago, Canadian underground veteran emcee Eternia dropped a new track. The single, “Scraps,” is thick with an impending sense of boom bap-influenced hip hop that forces its listener to contemplate their place in the world. According to Eternia in a quote for HipHopDX, she heard the beat playing while in the middle of prayer at City Lights in Toronto, wrote the song the same night, then recorded it the next day. Eerily reminiscent both melodically and production-wise to “The Answer” by The Foreign Exchange, Eternia uses her crafty lyrical prowess to build a foundation of aggressive bars about life lessons learned and hard knowledge earned. It’s proof of why Eternia has been able to stick around the hip hop game for a decade and still seems hungry for more ears to listen intently.

- Ron Grant

YUNOREVIEW: NOVEMBER 2014

The magical monthly segment where I briefly touch down on a gauntlet of albums I didn’t get a chance to review this past month. These are just my short, straightforward, passionate, biased opinions.

These are the albums I touch down on:
Killjoy Club – Reindeer Games
Grouper – Ruins
Wiley – Snakes & Ladders
This Will Destroy You – Another Language
Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain
Gerard Way – Hesitant Alien
Twin Peaks – Wild Onion
Nachtmystium – The World We Left Behind
At The Gates – At War With Reality
The Contortionist – Language
Jessie Ware – Tough Love

Hail Mary Mallon – Bestiary

Under the handle Hail Mary Mallon, infamous wordsmith Aesop Rock teamed up with the up-and-coming Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz for a rather muddled debut album in 2011, but the trio is back with a vengeance for its bassy, creative and crazy sophomore effort. Apart from the comedic theme of a fundraiser concert for a bowling alley tied into the more abstract tracks, the album doesn’t have much else in terms of a concept. But constant record scratching, throbbing bass lines and some of the rap duo’s illest flows of their respective careers make this album memorable and a great gateway to some of the world’s weirder progressive hip hop developments.

“Jonathan” and “Krill” introduce the album in a heavy, raw, baptism of fire, whereas “Hang Ten”  and the satirical “Whales” provide necessary contrast – the former boasting a quirky Middle-Eastern melody. I expected Aesop and Sonic to deliver some slick lines, so it was mostly down to  DJ Big Wiz to deliver the beats, and while there might be a slight predictability when it comes to his bass-heavy and peculiar approach to boom bap, each song has its own unique print that makes every track inspiring. The future for this project looks bright.

- Fin Worrall