The second part to this week's hip-hop themed Note For Note deals exclusively in singles.
Various Artist — The Cadence 3
★★★½An amalgam of tracks handpicked by DJ Jay Diff from various releases blogged by Bringing Down the Band, this 19-track “Best Of” is excessively long, but it’s nothing the fast forward button can’t fix. While the first half is more than content to be contemplative as opposed to the more forceful second half, there are gems sprinkled throughout which might tease you enough to attempt a full cycle through Cadence 3. Highlights include Jean Grae’s “U&Me&EveryoneWeKnow,” a slow burn with an extended digi-jazz intro that’s almost as enjoyable as Grae’s easy going rhymes. Phil Ade and Cassey Veggies pick up the pace on “POP Music,” an ode to self-determination with a beat to match their artistic drive. XV’s “Chaka Shao Khan,” produced by DJ Teck-Neel, is noteworthy for its solid use of sampling which recalls Kanye circa “All Falls Down.” For every heavy-handed political song like “None Left” by Bambu,there’s always the slippery and strange “Monopoly,” by Danny Brown - whose antics are worthy of extra listens just to figure out if he’s naturally spastic or using performance enhancing drugs. Even if active listening isn’t your thing, the easy flow of most of these tracks makes Cadence blissful background music, while also serving up choice cuts for those who live and breathe underground hip-hop. I call it a win-win.
Grey Granite — Wake The Fuck Up Singles
Stars withheld until full mixtape is released.For this weekly serial of singles which will compromise his newest mixtape Wake The Fuck Up, Grey Granite loosens up a bit. While the 1:49 “Thin Line” is a tad too short to stick, the Lonegevity-produced ditty “Lifted,” which features solid guest spots by Blake Allee, Tony Styxx and Skittz, makes for one hell of a main event. The after party? The brag rap “You Are Lame” produced by J. Brookinz where Granite and Bob G Barker tell their inferior counterparts to “get out da game.” Good thing his rhyme and flow satisfy. He’d be the pot calling the kettle black otherwise. Here’s hoping the finished product is as excellent as the teasers.
Jon is also the founding editor of the pop culture blog PopTometry