Wednesday, January 7, 2009

BOX:: Royce 5'9, Guilty Simpson, Thirstin Howl III

What better way to propel you through the rest of this ice-filled week than with the first edition of BOX! for '09? Exactly, I can't think of a better way either. I've also been amassing quite a backlog of BOX!-worthy tracks, so it made sense to get one up as soon as possible. Hopefully the new year finds you on the hunt for that old rugged NYC-influenced hip hop, because that is what I have for you today. Royce Da 5'9, Guilty Simpson, and Thirstin Howl are names you might know if you`re up on your underground hip hop, but there are some newcomers for you as well.

So while the geographic locations of the dudes below might be fairly diverse (Detroit, Atlanta, The Netherlands), the NY sound is definitely found all the way through. Right then, let's do this.

For whatever reason, Royce is a great example of a talented MC that looked like they were going to do big things, but hasn't really made it over the hump. It's not for lack of a following though, because he's a guy that's always had a following, at least it would appear to be so based on what the interweb tells me. It's not for lack of skill either, he's always been a solid, hungry MC. This track is producer by busy NY producer Carlos Broady, but apparently Royce's upcoming album Street Hop is being produced by Premier. Usually a good idea, aligning yourself with Premo, and if this future-forward manifesto is any indication, big things could still be in the cards for Royce.

When I was some info on Atlanta's Senor Kaos, one thought came immiediately to mind: not enough people use Senor in their rap name. After letting marinating for a minute, I then realized I liked this jam. Despite his down south locale, Senor K's boom bap track and Big L-esque flow certainly would have me guessing gotham if I had to take a blind stab at this song's origin. If you're into this, you should know that Senor Kaos is giving away downloads of his new mixtape called Swagger is Nothing, Talent is Everything, and I think that's a slogan we can all get behind, so get yourself a copy.

This song allowed me to already address one of my new year's resolutions: get more Dutch hip hop on the hill. Well, production duo Army Fatique are from the Netherlands, so that counts, but the MC's on their new album are mainly NY - like Brooklyn Academy's Mr. Metaphor, who does the lyrical duty on this song. I don't know much about these guys, but they have a 90`s kind of vibe with their production, the kind of tracks Kool G. Rap would be rhyming over in 1996, whatever that means. I like this though, the twinkling keys and horn loops bring back happy memories.

I`ve always liked Thirstin Howl III - his rather awesome name and comical punchlines made him stand out on the original Lyricist Lounge album ("you can lose, or you can lose, those are your options"), and so I`ve checked for him since then. Add to that his role in the Lo Lifes, the legendary Polo-boosting crew from Brooklyn, and you've got yourself one of the more interesting personas in the hip hop biz. So once we were sent an advance sampler from his new mixtape, Skill Recognize Skill, a BOX! appearance for Thirstin was a no-brainer. After giving the four songs a listen, it's apparent that Thirstin hasn't changed his steez: gritty NY hip hop with a healthy dose of self-deprecating humour. Plus I Can't Dance not only samples Bowie, which is oddly enjoyable, but it also features Sadat X, which might be better. So enjoy these, I know I do.

Did you know that Guilty Simpson's name has nothing to do with OJ? Well according to the wiki-wiki, it doesn't. Anyway, fun facts over, I owe the fine folks at Stones Throw an apology for on this one. I meant to include these excellent Oh No remixes from Guilty's debut Ode To The Ghetto a couple BOX!'s ago, but they got misplaced and have had to wait until the new year for some shine. I'm glad I finally got them up though, as I enjoy them both. Futuristic is spacey and rugged at the same time, and it features a vocal assist from Stones Throw labelmate MED. I confess I haven't heard Guilty's album in full, but I knew he had a rep as a hardcore underground MC, but like his Random Axe bandmate Sean Price, he's hardcore, but with MC skills. More quality coming from Stones Throw collective I would say, no surpise there really.


Royce da 5'9 - Shake This

Royce Da 5'9" - "Shake This" from Three/21 Films on Vimeo

Posted at 8:41 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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