SKECH185 & Jeff Markey: Western Automatic Music Part 1 + LP Stream

As promised a couple of weeks ago, the brand new album from SKECH185 and Jeff Markey was given life this week. It stands as SKECH’s official debut on Backwoodz Studioz, a label he has orbited for a while, which is why the album feels like such a natural fit. As does his pairing with Markey, who has managed to concoct the ideal arrangement of beats for his collaborator’s unparalleled vocals. Much like his label-mates, billy woods and ELUCID, SKECH’s flow commands your attention and will have you replaying tracks to make sure that the strength of what you thought you heard, was not your ears deceiving you; he really is that good at this. As if the original pairing wasn’t enough, there are also features from the likes of PremRock, woods, Samurai Banana, Lt Headtrip and Lamon Manuel. To celebrate the album’s release, Backwoodz unveiled a new video for the track, Western Automatic Music Part 1, which you can watch above. You can also explore the rest of He Left Nothing for the Swim Back below, then check out Bandcamp for downloads and limited vinyl orders.

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ShrapKnel ft. billy woods: Mescalito Remix (prod. by DJ Haram)

How do you improve on greatness? Well if this latest release from ShrapKnel is anything to go by, then the answer is to get DJ Haram involved. The 700 Bliss producer and Backwoodz affiliate brought new vitality to PremRock and Curly Castro’s Mescalito track, which also includes a feature from billy woods. Now the remix has been given the ideal accompaniment, thanks to some visuals from Modungoa Sebokholi AKA Mo Sebo. You can hear both the remix of Mescalito and the original on Metal Lung, which is out now on Backwoodz Studioz.

Slim’s Pickings 2022 Pt. 1

For those of you unaware, I recently published a list of my top 10 favourite hip hop and RnB albums in The Wire Magazine, as part of their end of year review issue. It was a tough list to compile because 2022 contained a multitude of stellar releases, many of which deserved further praise.
Guilt quickly set in after I’d submitted the list to my editor, not because I felt like I’d made a mistake with any of my choices, but because I wish I had been given the time and space to write about the bevy of other favourites that had been in rotation over the last 12 months. So now I’m going to attempt to summarise those remaining projects and give them the shine they deserve. But first my original list and the accompanying blurb, for those of you who missed it the first time round. I should also mention that I fucked up with the Little Simz pick. I had it in my head that SIMBI came out in early 2022, but in fact it was late 2021. I blame my own sketchy-at-best memory and the fact that her MOBO win came so late in the year. Anyway…

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Jeff Markey: Sports & Leisure (Stream)

If you thought Backwoodz Studioz was finished for the year, then you were mistaken, as this week heralded the arrival of yet another release from the New York label. Sports & Leisure is the latest project from Jeff Markey, the Brooklyn-based producer and notable Backwoodz collaborator, who rounds off the year with a release that is part beat tape and part rap album. Featuring some of Markey’s instrumental ventures, as well as collaborations with the likes of PremRock, Fatboi Sharif, Defcee, billy woods and SKECH185, Sports & Leisure is both a fitting addition to Backwoodz’s already acclaimed year of releases and a fine introduction to those listeners who might not be familiar with the producer’s work. The album is available to explore below, with more download and streaming options at the usual spots.

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billy woods x Messiah Musik: Pollo Rico + Church (Stream)

This week we were treated to billy woods’ second full-length project of the year, with the surprise release of Church. The album continues to pave the way for a stunning year for Backwoodz Studioz, which has included acclaimed bodies of work from both woods (Aethiopes) and ELUCID (I Told Bessie).
Church sees woods reuniting with Messiah Musik, who is at the helm for the album’s entirety, once again proving himself one of the most consistently intriguing producers of the era. Pollo Rico is the lead single from the album, and it arrives with a brand new video from frequent collaborator, Joseph Mault. You can watch the video above and then check the link below to explore the further wonders of Church. Downloads are available via Bandcamp.

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ELUCID: Spellling + LP Stream

Having teased us with the promise of another 12 month bounty of stellar projects at the start of the year, Backwoodz continue to keep to their word with the release of the latest album from ELUCID. I Told Bessie landed last week and helped to further carve out ELUCID’s niche as one of the most captivating artists of a generation. Wielding his voice as a weapon, the Armand Hammer MC wades through production picks from the likes of Child Actor, Sebb Bash, August Fanon, The Lasso and The Alchemist. There is also a strong supporting cast of vocalists, including billy woods, Quelle Chris and Pink Siifu. You can watch the video for the lead single, Spellling, above and then head to Bandcamp to grab a copy of the full album.

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Armand Hammer & The Alchemist: Robert Moses / God’s Feet

Two for one from Armand Hammer and The Alchemist, as they round off another successful year with a double drop of videos. Robert Moses and God’s Feet are both taken from the trio’s universally acclaimed album, Haram, and the films were directed by regular collaborator, Joseph. Keep an eye out for a split second of Bristol footage in the Robert Moses video. Haram is out now via Backwoodz Studioz.

Fielded: Interview

Back in October I found myself in London at the same time as Fielded, who was in town to perform with installation artist, Naama Tsabar. I took the opportunity to sit down with her for an interview, where we spoke about her new EP, Young Medusa, as well as displaying vulnerability through art, keeping things varied and learning to enjoy the act of collaborating.

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