Has-Lo - Conversation B

Has-Lo – Conversation B

Hip Hop albums are increasingly falling into one of two danger zones: the ‘throwback’ and ‘future’ piles. The synthetic bubblegum sound of hip pop has forced the burgeoning mainstream movement of ‘real’ hip hop back into the underground, and a casualty of that effect seems to be the pushing in one of the two directions, both of which sound, ironically, as cliched as what they’re trying to escape. Well, this album is the antidote.

classic boom bap and avant garde, spacey beats go hand in hand

14 tracks and 14 producers (an impressive roster, including Exile, Oddisee, Eric Lau, Kev Brown and more) should make this LP feel a bit disjointed, but the direction is fantastic and everything gels together with real panache as classic boom bap and avant garde, spacey beats go hand in hand and result in an LP that sounds fresh throughout. Has-Lo has an impressively broad content spectrum; he doesn’t exhibit a particularly impressive flow or delivery – despite both being tight – but listening to all of Conversation B never feels like hearing the same song over a different beat. A production technique of note is the treatment of vocals in many of the songs – from the distortion in tracks like Face in Disguise to the slight echo tap on Retro Chic, it really reinforces the general feeling of Conversation B being a fully conceived album, rather than an emcee jumping on 14 of his favourite beats and pressing record.

Keziah

Keziah – Keziah

It’s cliche to make a point about ‘female emcees’, but the truth is there are disproportionately few women emcees in hip hop; as Keziah herself puts it in a playful interlude “I just wanna be a rapper, but they keep telling me sing”.

Keziah’s wordplay doesn’t disappoint over a series of bumping beats

It’s always – or at least almost always – a pleasure to hear the tonality of a female emcee over a track, and Keziah’s wordplay doesn’t disappoint over a series of bumping beats from Hezekiah, !illmind, Oddisee, Street Orchestra and J.Fish. Features from Rockness Monstah, Hezekiah, Ishe, and Katrina Gibson round off this solid EP which can be downloaded for free here.

Keziah – “So Far So Close” Feat. Ishe prod. by Oddisee by Oddisee Music

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