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

Michna – “She Exists In My Mind”

Known for being somewhat of a chameleon when it comes music production, Michna has carved quite a lane for himself through the intricate mixing and melding of genres: doses of hip hop, electronica, darkened techno has allowed Michna to create a formidable music tapestry and given him the space to delve into areas once thought not feasible. His latest offering is again a combination of all the aforementioned styles. “She Exists In My Mind” is indeed a dark, stark trip inside a curious musical mind that for just over three minutes keeps the listener enthralled and guessing. Be forewarned, rewinds and head nodding will ensue greatly.

- Ron Grant

Ghostface Killah – “Love Don’t Live Here No More” ft. Kandace Springs

One thing you can’t deny about Ghostface: as an artist, he’s never lacked for soulfulness in his music. “Love Don’t Live Here No More” keeps that trend going over an altered soul music sample coupled with the velvety smooth vocals of Kandace Springs. Keeping it simple and straight to the point in the lyrics and story, Ghost spins a web about a lovelorn ex-con just released from lock up after 9 years, eager to see his one and only woman. Problem is, he soon discovers she’s moved on even though he hasn’t. The combination of Ghost’s classic raspy, high-pitched delivery, Springs’ unforgiving wailing on the chorus and a throbbing, bass-filled sample reminiscent of songs from 70′s flicks like “Let’s Do It Again” and “Claudine” make for prime lesson in grown folks hip hop heartbreak.

“Love Don’t Live Here No More” is taken from Ghost’s upcoming album 36 Seasons, due out  December 9 via Warner Bros.

- Ron Grant

A$AP Ferg – “This Side” ft. YG

A$AP Mob‘s resident Trap Lord A$AP Ferg comes through with a new single featuring West Coast up-and-comer YG. I think it’s safe to assume we’re gonna have an album cycle soon, but I can’t say this track here has gotten me excited for it.

For one, YG doesn’t do the track any favors. Without a catchy hook and a DJ Mustard beat, he’s rendered completely uninteresting. He’s like a hype man whose part went on too long. I don’t mind Ferg’s verses at all, which are loaded with personality and his typically wild inflections–especially on the last verse. However, the hook here is a real dud. The fact the beat redundantly hangs around the same melody during the chorus doesn’t exactly make the transition from the verse exciting either.

All in all, it’s a pretty underwhelming introduction to Ferg’s next project. Hopefully, his future material is more explosive. Check a review for Ferg’s last album right here.