Jean Grae- “Kill Screen”

New York MC Jean Grae brings some heavy wordplay and a stand-out video to go along with it.

Jean Grae has already established herself as an MC to watch after working with artists like Talib Kweli–someone who she is easily comparable to. With “Kill Screen,” Grae shows she can certainly hold her own some extremely well-read verses, but what’s equally attention-grabbing on this video are the myriad of subliminal images and messages. Inspired by the ideas of mind control Grae has taken it upon herself to densely edit the video with many hard cuts and fast messages that encourage replays and pauses to catch them all. The opening is also a nice little homage or so it seems to the Kill Bill films.

It is impressive to see an artist convey their message in original ways beyond music, which is what Jean Grae manages here.

Black Star- “Fix Up”

Now this is a comeback I can get into. Hip hop is loaded with surprise collaborations. Some of ‘em float, and some of ‘em sink. Most Def’s and Talib Kweli’s Black Star didn’t just float. It flew. Then it dropped an atomic bomb on the competition.

After years of anticipation building up since Black Star’s full-length debut in 1998, Kweli and Def have dropped a new single titled “Fix Up.” It’s out now on iTunes, and should be leading to a new album in 2012.

The beat on this track is produced by Madlib, and while I am excited to hear this forthcoming album, I don’t feel like this track was the fiery, attention-grabbing song I was hoping it would be. The mixing it off, making the vocals and the beat feel odd. The lines are pretty good, though. There’s a nice lyrical back ‘n’ forth toward the end of the track, too.

Jean Grae’s Cookies or Comas

Download via DJ Booth: Jean Grae- Cookies or Comas

I told you this was coming!

Featuring verses from Styles P., Talib Kweli, Royce Da 5’9”, and Pharoahe Monch, Jean Grae is getting some great MCs on her latest mixtape. Of course, the New York MC is no lightweight herself. She’s got a great flow, a ton of personality, and a nice handful of past releases.

I’m on  my first listen through the tape right now, and what I’m loving most about it is the versatility. Grae goes hard with her collaborators on “RIP” and “Assassins,” but can get weird enough to make it onto the new Madvillainy album–well, if that ever comes out. Even the sadder spots here like the borrowed-via-Kanye “Blame Game” come off sincere, and warrant no eye-rolls from me. “Rock On” might even be a club hit waiting to be discovered.

Grab the tape via the link above, and enjoy.

Mac Miller- “Family First” feat. Talib Kweli (prod. Like).mp3


MP3

To celebrate hitting 500K Twitter followers, Mac Miller released this new track featuring Talib Kweli. I’m not in love with everything the dude does, but I really like this track. It’s got a chill beat produced by Like, and tells a story of the awkward growing phase that comes with becoming popular.

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Talib Kweli- “Mr. International”

Talib Kweli dropped his fifth studio LP Gutter Rainbows this past month, and it’s a surprising mix of social issues and positive vibes. It’s not always easy to play both sides of the isle, though.

Review: Talib Kweli- Mr. International feat. Nigel Hall

Stream: Talib Kweli- Mr. International

 

Reflection Eternal- “Ballad of the Black Gold” ‡ VIDEO

Video for a track from Reflection Eternal’s latest LP Revolutions Per Minute, which is out now. Go, Talib!

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TND TIP: TRY LISTENING TO THE GETO BOYS.