• Coalmine Unearthed

    Revisit 10 Years of Coalmine Records on 'Unearthed' Compilation

    On May 13, Brooklyn-based boom-bap bastion Coalmine Records will celebrate its tenth year of operation with a compilation rounding-up the label's rap output to date. The project, titled Unearthed, features 22 tracks mixed and scratched together by DJ Revolution. The nostalgic proceedings open with Pharoahe Monch spunking syllables over M-Phazes' sturdy "Get Down" beat before a stream of classically-wrought emcees. Over the course of the tribute, Kool G Rap, Sean Price and Large Professor step up to bless the continuously rugged and endearingly funky production with their raps. (Ayatollah, Marco Polo and Khrysis also put in work behind the boards.) In turn, Unearthed is a fitting update on the label's fabled formula. Pre-order the release on iTunes and stream in full below.

  • Pharaohe Monch

    Hear Pharoahe Monch and Black Thought's Knocking 'Rapid Eye Movement'

    Pharoahe Monch's fourth solo album, PTSD, has the New York-based rapper analyzing how the often unseen traumas of life affect us all. That said, the release's single collaboration with The Roots' Black Thought for "Rapid Eye Movement" resonates more like a fierce, one-off rap spar session; the two emcees rattle off syllables over a menacing Marco Polo production that's hooked around an ominous piano motif. During Monch's rapid-fire blitzkrieg, the MC both references Manchester United's soccer team and moseys into an art gallery only to "piss on a Picasso." Meanwhile, Thought takes shots at Socrates, of all people, by way of philosophical warning shots directed towards Ancient Greece. Call it incendiary rap music, if you will.PTSD (which does indeed stand for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is out on April 15 via War Media. Listen to "Rapid Eye Movement" below.

  • The Doppelgangaz

    The Doppelgangaz Revel in an Off-Kilter World on 'Peace Kehd'

    The Doppelgangaz, an upstate New York rap duo consisting of EP and Matter Ov Fact, have been cultivating a cult rap fanbase since 2008's eerie The Ghastly Duo EP. Now onto their seventh full-length, Peace Kehd, due to be self-released on February 18, the pair build on the buzz of last year's excellent HARK album, but supplement the project's endearingly static-sodden beats for a slicker sound. (The progression is reminiscent of when Masta Ace's synth-inflected Sittin' On Chrome followed the rugged charms of SlaughtaHouse.) The rappers use bucolic production as a backdrop to reel off rhymes that offer insight into an off-kilter world, one that delights in mixing references to gourmand foodstuffs with the sort of sexual perversions that would make Dr. Octagon smirk. As a result, Peace Kehd is another successful update of the Doppel gospel.Stream Peace Kehd in advance of its release below.

  • The Cool Kids

    The Cool Kids Talk 'Shark Week' and the Perils of Biters

    "Man, you want to roll up a newspaper and swat those bitches before they bite you,” says Mikey Rocks. The rapper and one-half of Chicago duo the Cool Kids is explaining how he dealt with waves of unrelenting mosquito attacks during a recent trip to Jamaica, a parasitic plight he twists to reflect the nature of the hip-hop industry: "I have the same idea when it comes to biters for music and style and all that stuff they like to sink their teeth into — swat those bitches before they bite you."Mikey is in a feisty mood today, energized by the news that he and his partner, Chuck Inglish, have announced a Cool Kids reunion and are readying a new album titled Shark Week. It’s the duo's first substantial release since 2011's When Fish Ride Bicycles, which saw the two fashion-forward kids from Chicago's South Side suburbs lining up with Travis Barker, Bun B, and Ghostface.

  • Roc Marciano

    Roc Marciano Builds His Own Exquisite Crime-Rap Universe on 'Marci Beaucoup'

    Welcome to Marci World — it's a dusky rap wonderland. Since 2010's Marcberg, Long Island-raised rapper and producer Roc Marciano has traveled a steady path to connoisseur's acclaim. He capitalized on the slow-burn, dank appeal of that album with last year's resplendent Reloaded; now, in 2013, he's following up last month's playful The Pimpire Strikes Back with Marci Beaucoup, self-described as more of a producer's project, and proof that he's now master of his own domain.Marcberg and, particularly, Reloaded were classically wrought albums in the sense of carrying a listener on a track-by-track journey fueled by Marciano's narrative skills; they fused the rapper's wry and throaty voice with the sort of intricate eye for obtuse detail that made Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx crime-rhyme treatise so vivid.

  • Childish Gambino

    Childish Gambino's Sloppy, Erratic 'Because the Internet' Offers Only Unintentional LOL's

    Here we have a punch line without a premise.Childish Gambino is the rap alias of the comedian and writer Donald Glover; Because the Internet follows up his 2011 album Camp and a few freebie mixtapes. But it sounds like nothing more than a talented guy reciting erratic ideas and fragments of phrases scrawled on unconnected Post-it notes, over production cooked up by himself and cohort Ludwig Goransson with the apparent intention of combining every genre of music ever made available on a torrent site — often in the same song.

  • Wu-Tang Clan in 1993

    Clan in Da Back: The Behind-the-Scenes Oral History of 'Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)'

    The Wu-Tang Clan introduced themselves to the world cloaked in a shroud of mystery. Claiming the hip-hop hinterland of Staten Island as their homeland, the gang of nine MCs bore kung-fu-inspired names and performed an assassin-like assault on the record industry. Their inaugural 12-inch, "Protect Ya Neck," offered little evidence with cover art that involved only a black-and-white illustration of a book and a sword. When the oversized rap group's debut album, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), was released on November 9, 1993, it eschewed the chance to reveal the Clan's faces, presenting six rappers clad in hoodies and masks. Rumors still abound as to what shenanigans were behind the incomplete cover roster.Twenty years later, the early mysticism that surrounded the Wu-Tang Clan has proved to be part of leader the RZA's grand plan to turn scorned underground rappers into icons.

  • A$AP Ferg / Photo by Jason Bahr

    A$AP Ferg's 'Trap Lord' Is a Dark, Uncouth Provocation That'd Make Biggie Proud

    DJ Whoo Kid — the guy who held down in-house mixtape-maestro duties during the reign of 50 Cent and his G-Unit yard birds — told me recently that he detected the presence of the Notorious B.I.G. in A$AP Ferg's music. Blasphemy or no, the young Harlemite's full-length debut, Trap Lord, does bear that out somewhat: The 13-track album doesn't frolic outright in '90s retroism, but it owes a palpable debt to the bleaker side of his deified predecessor's music, as though channeling the unyielding and underground-leaning album Christopher Wallace was said to be plotting until Puffy stepped in and tempered the steely "Unbelievable" with the candied "Juicy." It's a grave look that serves Ferg well.Despite coming up in tandem with flashier, fashion-focused crew boss A$AP Rocky, the star of Trap Lord dwells in a danker domain.

  • Bonde Do Role

    See Bonde Do Role's Saucy, Sci-Fi-Inspired 'BANG' Video

    Been wondering what peppy Brazilian trio Bonde do Role have been beavering away on lately? Muse no more as they're back with a video (with an assist from ScionAV) for last year's Diplo-produced "BANG," a track that featured vocalist Kool A.D. described as "a highly oceanic number with a Jodorowsky-esque video — all in all a solid spectacle for the kids." In practice this means the gang trooped out to a secret island nestled away in Santa Catarina in the south of Brazil and attempted to emulate their favorite sci-fi desert scenes from flicks Dune, Mad Max, and Star Wars. While there, the group took on fantasy character roles and hammed it up for the cameras for a bizarro story involving an attempted abduction of Princess Taylor.After shooting, the footage was processing in a deliberately lo-fi manner.

  • Joey Bada$$ / Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

    Joey Bada$$, 'Summer Knights' (Cinematic Music Group)

    Joey Bada$$ was born to the world as an Internet explosion on February 23rd, 2012, the day his "Survival Tactics" video hit YouTube. It quickly went viral, and suddenly the then-17-year-old Flatbush high school student was hailed as New York's future rap prince for the way he fused youthful, cocksure raps to beats proudly evoking the city's mid-'90s glory days. (For mythology's sake, overlook the part about the song's origins lying in an instrumental from the West Coast group Styles of Beyond.) Mixtapes and singles have followed, both solo (June 2012's feted 1999 full-length) and with his Pro Era pals (December's notably less feted PEEP: The Aprocalypse project), but overall the young rapper's glorious flare of an introduction has not been brightening.

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