weekly kick-off: 10 banging tracks your ears must hear

August 15, 2012

Uh-oh, it’s time for another weekly dose of jams from some of the latest acts in alternative black music. Here you go!

Contributor: Elijah Watson

10. Flying Lotus (Feat. Earl Sweatshirt & Captain Murphy), “Between Friends:” Luscious, raindrop keys and minimal percussion, Lotus’ production grooves fluidly, providing the perfect background for Sweatshirt’s slurred delivery. If you’re a fan of the DOOM/Danger Mouse collaboration The Mouse And The Mask, or just like your rap super laid-back, this track is for you.

9. JJ DOOM, “Guv’nor:” A collaboration between DOOM (formerly MF DOOM) and producer/rapper Jneiro Jarel, JJ DOOM will surely please those who have waited anxiously for DOOM’s return. The song is in typical DOOM tradition: anti-mainstream radio samples and production and DOOM’s hazy cadence. Be on the lookout for more from JJ DOOM, whose album Keys to the Kuffs, will drop on August 20.

8. Le1f, “Wut:” Up-and-coming rapper Le1f is all about having a good time. Rapping over party-time hand-claps and horn-honks Le1f provides a party-friendly narrative for those already looking forward to the weekend. “I’m gettin’ light in my loafers” repeats Le1f over grimy beats. If you were looking for a new song to add to your memorable weekend nights, this one’s for you. The NYC rapper currently has a mixtape out titled, Dark York. The release can be downloaded here.

7. Joey Bada$$, “Waves:” 17 year-old rhyme-spitter Joey Bada$$ is all about progression. His crew is named Pro-Era after all. Alongside his collective Bada$$ has proved to be a new and refreshing voice in hip-hop. Skeptical? Just listen to the hypnotic “Waves,” a soulful track that hearkens back to 1990s golden age hip-hop. Like it? Of course you do. Download the rapper’s mixtape 1999, and you’ll be able to listen to “Waves” and other tracks, as much as you want.

6. Kilo Kish, “Watergun:” Avant-rap songstress Kilo Kish returns with “Watergun,” a song that is sure to cool down your remaining summer days. “Let’s go for a dip inside the swimming pool,” croons Kish over psychedelic synths and soothing guitar. Lay back and relax with Kish; you won’t regret it.

5. Santigold, “Disperate Youth:” “A life worth fighting for” repeats Santigold during the chorus. The statement resonates over pulse-pounding synths and new wave bass. Santigold has had a busy year so far. Along with the release of her latest album, Master of My Make-Believe, the artist has toured throughout the country, and released a few music videos as well. But enough about that; listen to the track!

4. Cities Aviv (Feat. Fille Catatonique), “Black Box:” Hardcore punk turned rapper Cities Aviv is a guy worth knowing about. Last year the artist made his full length debut with Digital Lows, an impressive release that showed off Aviv’s lyrical prowess. Although the artist has been quiet this year, let’s hope he makes a return some time soon. Until then, bob your head to this infectious track.

3. Bad Rabbits, “Advantage Me:” Alternative funk-rock group Bad Rabbits are bad to the bone. Reminiscent of Prince and The Time, with a dash of Fishbone, Bad Rabbits put on a funk-filled, energy-driven show. Don’t believe me? Check them out for yourself at this year’s Afropunk Festival. But get familiar with them first, by listening to this great hit.

2. Flatbush ZOMBiES, “Face-OFF (L.S. Darko):” This hip-hop duo deserves some kudos for being one of–if not the first, to sample a news soundbite from the Miami cannibal attack. “Me and Juicy always smoking, we like Cheech Chong” raps Meechy Darko over minimal snare and hand-claps. If you like what you hear make sure to check them out at this year’s Afropunk Festival too!

1. Nicky Da B, “Go Loko:” If you’ve never heard of bounce music then you definitely need to listen to this track. Similar to Big Freedia, Nicky Da B is all about booty-popping, feel-good hits. And trust me, that is what you’re going to get with this song. Listen to it and try not gyrate your body in all directions. It’s IMPOSSIBLE.