Sean Price – tribute mixes
There are always tribute mixes when hip-hop figureheads die, but the New York scene really went to town to honour Sean Price, who died on 8 August at the age of 43. A mural in honour of the Brownsville MC – who was one half of Heltah Skeltah and used the mic name Ruck – appeared in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights a couple of days after his death. Radio DJ Pete Rosenberg dedicated an emotional introduction to the rapper, while other mixes came in video form and from the likes of Level One radio’s DJ Smitty. Price’s label, Duck Down Music, have set up a crowdfunding page to help support the MC’s family.
Raekwon’s superhero alter ego
True to form for a lively Wu-Tang interviewee, Raekwon – fresh from the 20th anniversary shows for his album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx – sat down to talk about what he’d be about if he were a superhero. For starters, he’d be called King Kwon, he’d have a cape and he’d wear Nike sneakers while standing on the Empire State Building. He also detailed his MO, which would be part Batman, part some guy from an 80s public service video – all about keeping kids off drugs and generally making sure young people don’t do stupid things. Oh, and he’d have a sidekick called Eraserhead (not Jack Nance), who would use an eraser to rub out the bad guys. Vivid imagery and brilliant nonsense.
Lil B and Chance the Rapper – Free Based Freestyles Mixtape
Lil B is behind Bernie Sanders. We know this because CNN was invited him to give his opinion of the Democratic candidates for the forthcoming US presidential race. He supported Hillary, but switched to team Bernie thanks to Sanders’s education policies and his work with the civil rights movement. I’m still not sure why he was asked on television to discuss the Black Lives Matter protests at a Bernie Sanders rally in Seattle, but it provides a timely news hook for Free, his mixtape with Chance the Rapper. It is completely freestyle, a mode Lil B is known for but one Chance the Rapper is less versed in. That means that on some tracks Chance trips over his words, laughs his way out of lyrical cul-de-sacs and generally keeps things loose.
Danny Brown and Clams Casino – Worth It
Cable network Adult Swim have been putting out an annual singles collection since 2010. Their eclectic and eccentric curation places thrash acts such as Oozing Wound next to the avant-garde hip-hop noodling of Shabazz Palaces. One of this year’s highlights is a collaboration between hyperactive Detroit rapper Danny Brown and A$AP Rocky and Mac Miller producer Clams Casino. The latter has had a good year with credits on Vince Staples’ album, while Brown has watched as other rappers (A$AP Rocky, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, et al) have released well-received solo albums. This record, with its stammering, haunted boom bap, gives Brown’s multilayered, complex rhymes room to dominate over the hazy beats below.
Nick Astro – Black Interlude
Fake Shore Drive is still the best place online to find out about Chicago hip-hop. It had details about the city’s drill acts when they were popular about three years ago, before the aggressive genre became overrun with Chi-town rappers who aren’t necessarily looking to “do a Chief Keef”. Nick Astro is one of those artists, whose sound is dark but a different hue to his drill peers. The bassline morphs and stretches like slowed-down UK speed garage, while his lyrics are similar to the snotty, prurient flows of Odd Future’s alumni.