Masta Ace, Az, M.O.P., Rasco and others spit over beats by Norwegian Jason Dean, who recorded the EP in Brooklyn. I love the Ace track, and the one below is pure fire.
A fresh new voice from Maryland, Ace Cosgrove has youth on his side. He’s starting out with a crisp delivery, terrific beats (by Black Diamond, FredP, Khamsin, I.V., Merce, Royal, Stolbowsky and Thomas Foolery), and wild-and-crazy ideas. His new mixtape is 100% new material–no reproduced singles here–and 100% original.
You can download the whole thing free on Soundcloud, and it gets my highest recommendation.
I’ve been a fan of Homeboy Sandman since his first album and Hallways, his second on the Stones Throw label, he turns into something greater than the sum of his parts. Over production by Jonwayne, Oh No, Brian Oblivion, and many others, he keeps a consistent flow on a variety of topics ranging from sexcapades to politics to, of course, repping his own skills.
It’s hard to explain what makes him so good. His flow is so pure, so matter-of-fact, that it doesn’t sound impressive on casual listen. But listen close. His inflections, his word choices, and the way he changes speed slightly off the beat gives him a sound unlike anyone else. He’s his own man, a rapper who doesn’t wear his influences heavy but instead pulls together hints of MF Doom, Wu Tang Clan, indie backpackers, laid back jokesters like Basehead, and … Himself.
What makes for great hip hop? Is it the words, the flow, or the beats? There’s definitely guys who I listen to for the lyrics, even if I’m not blown away by how they say it or the music they speak over. And there are guys whose lyrics usually make no sense, but I listen because of the way it all comes together in production–I’d put MF Doom in that category, and I love that dude so much I’m wearing his mask in the masthead of this blog.
And then there are the rare gems that bring it all together. “Shades of Mary” is the best example of that so far this year.
The lyrics are terrific–there are rapidfire rhymes that hit so quick you have to hit rewind and listen again, and there’s humor (“You wanna roll or what? I wanna hit that butt.”) and wisdom (“I don’t carry a piece, but I hit my piece/Got more random drops than explosives in the Middle East/Shoutout to the Middle West/They show me love even though I’m from the far left”). Choice samples, like the familiar use of Rappin’ 4-Tay’s “Playaz Club” beats under “You Got Soul,” make this a true mixtape. In the spirit of Clipse’s genius mixtapes, Jetpack Jones seems to be saying, “I can hit your beats better than you ever did, even if you did have a hit.” Brock Berrigan’s sound collages like “Justice For All” add meaning, depth, and mood to the overall album.
Fantastic. Check it out.