Spectacular Diagnostics is gearing up for the release of a new album, which looks set to continue the pretty formidable run he has been on for the last few years. The Chicago producer has a habit of amassing an impeccable roster of guests for his releases and the tracklist for RAW LESSONS is further proof of that particular skill. Take the new single, Class, which features a trio of commanding voices, in the form of Curly Castro, Illogic and Defcee. Elsewhere on the album, we find a diverse range of appearances from the likes of Sonnyjim, Bruiser Wolf, CLBRKS, Fatboi Sharif and Lee Scott, collectively bringing forth one of the most intriguing lineups I’ve seen for years. You’ve got to wait until March for the full release, but if you head over to Bandcamp you can hear another feature from King Kashmere, as well as one of the instrumental cuts that pepper the album. Pre-orders for digital and vinyl are also available.
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…
As if 2022 hadn’t already been a hell of a year for andrew, he manages to add to his successes with a loosie that deserves as much attention as his earlier full-length offerings. The main reason being is that it takes the form of a gigantic posse cut that features the sort of guestlist that indie rap dreams are made of. Joining andrew on this self-produced behemoth are Defcee, Zilla Rocca, iAlive, Jymmy Kafka, Bloodmoney Perez, Jesse The Tree, PremRock, Rich Jones, Cody Cody Jones AND Alaska. A lineup so insane that you’d probably think I was making it up if the track wasn’t available for your listening pleasure below. As usual, downloads can be found on Bandcamp.
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.
As with many of the year’s earlier releases, this blog didn’t show enough love to the superb collaboration between Defcee and BoatHouse. That will not be the case this time round though, as the duo unleash the Import Edition of For All Debts Public and Private. The full project is due for release early next month and will feature all the original material, as well as some undoubtedly essential bonuses, like an Indelible Remix of Cash featuring the one and only, Breeze Brewin, and this fully loaded remix of Dunk Contest. Joining Defcee on the mic are Meyhem Lauren and Metasota, who keep the baller references coming apace, while BoatHouse’s incisive production provides the perfect backdrop. Pre-orders for the Import Edition are available now over on Bandcamp, with the release date set for 8 November.
An enticing new project from Davis aka The Dorchester Bully, as he blesses the world with Portrait. A study in self-reflection, Portrait is a single track affair that separates into four parts and boasts a feature from Defcee, as well as Davis’ own on-point lyrical insights. Portrait is produced by Joshua Virtue and is available to stream below, with downloads over on Bandcamp.
Already way up in the upper echelons of 2021, Backwoodz Studioz continue their gold run with a couple more solid releases before the year is done. Defcee made his debut on the label, alongside the mighty Messiah Musik, as they joined forces to bring the world, Trapdoor. Showcasing both Defcee’s unfuckwitable writing levels and Messiah Musik’s equally indefatigable production output, Trapdoor burst into our lives and secured an AOTY placement in the process. The album is laden with top notch guests too, including features from PremRock, Alaska, Armand Hammer, Curly Castro and Henry Canyons. The album is out now and is very worthy of your concentration. You can test the waters below if you need any further convincing.
A big drop here from Rich Jones, as he brings his locally sourced posse cut to life with some fresh visuals. Locals Only is taken from his Montana Macks produced project, How do you sleep at night?, which was released at the tail end of last year, and features a fine cross-section of the plethora of talent that Chicago has to offer. Matt Muse, Defcee, SKECH185, Psalm One and Jovan Landry all bring their unique flavours to the mix, with the track further fortified by this new video from New Trash Crew. The album is out now, available exclusively via Bandcamp.
Speaking of Rich Jones, he’s another rapper whose music I’ve once more been enjoying, while neglecting to promote it on here. So with that in mind, you would be wise to check out his most recent project which sees Rich reconnecting with the man who apparently first brought him into music, way back in the school bus days – Montana Macks. The album is only available either on Bandcamp or via the artists directly, because Rich believes it is an album that needs to be digested as a whole, without any loss of the context that can come with playlist placements and the like. It was written while some of the darker events of recent times played out in front of Rich’s eyes, including the brutality displayed by Chicago police officers, which unsurprisingly found its way into his lyrics. The title itself was a question he was asking himself as the scenes continued to get murkier. Aside from Rich and Montana, the album boasts a line up of guests that reflect Chicago’s supportive network of artists, including the concluding track, Locals Only, which features Psalm One, Defcee, Skech185, Jovan Landry and Matt Muse. As always, self-discovery is a better experience than my words, so go and enjoy the album for yourself. Previews are available below, with downloads available over on Bandcamp.
You might well remember me singing the praises of Defcee back in 2019, following on from a run of strong releases, which culminated with his Lacuna LP alongside knowsthetime. I’ve been a bit slow on the blog since then but Defcee has continued building, offering up a seemingly endless stream of projects, which all maintain the same levels of artistry that first caught my attention a couple of years ago. His most recent effort is no exception, as he teams up with producer, Nick Arcade, for the exemplary Ceenick. The album is now enjoying its deluxe edition release, which arrives five months after the original version and bolsters its predecessor with five new tracks. These include a follow-up to the previously released Non Sequitur, featuring fellow Chicago MC, Rich Jones, and the superb Omelettes, on which we hear Defcee at his most mesmerising. There are also some tight features from Wally Wess and Add-2. You can check all this out for yourself below, then head over to Bandcamp to cop a download and eye up some of the accompanying merch. And stay tuned for more coming from Defcee, as he joins forces with the mighty August Fanon.