Mr Key: Kids Story 2 (Live Session)

I forgot to post this when it dropped a couple of weeks ago, but always better late than never. You might remember that Mr Key released a follow-up to Kids Story not long ago, featuring joint production from Dike and Chemo. Well now the Contact Play MC has returned with a live version, performed from his base camp in Granada, Spain. As you will see in the footage, Key is ably assisted by Katryna Abel on keys and backing vocals, and Eliot Rivv on guitar. Mr Key and Greenwood Sharps’ latest project is out now on High Focus.

Telemachus: Boring and Weird Historical Music (Album Sampler)

A nice little mix here from Telemachus, as he reveals more audible details from his much anticipated album. The compellingly titled, Boring and Weird Historical Music, is due for release next month and with the lead single already in existence, we can now sample some more of its delights. The visual accompaniment was created by Blake Dunlop. Pre-orders for the album are available now via High Focus.

The Four Owls: Coming Home

To coincide with the release of their latest album, High Focus’s in-house supergroup have dropped another video from the project. Coming Home features some pacey, blues-tinged production from Leaf Dog, along with a nicely animated video from Mengyán Gém Gergő. The Owls’ third album, Nocturnal Instinct, is out now on High Focus.

The Four Owls: Nocturnal Instinct (Stream)

The Four Owls release their long-awaited third album today and it stands as a testament to the success of High Focus, who reach their 10 year anniversary this year. There has never been an independent UK hip hop label that has achieved what HF have achieved since their inception in 2010, whether that’s in terms of impact, influence or breaking through the US barriers, Fliptrix, Molotov and all the artists involved have now built a brand that’s recognised across the globe. With this latest Four Owls venture, we are shown exactly how much clout they wield now, thanks to a string of features from some truly legendary US rappers, including Kool G Rap, R.A. The Rugged Man, Roc Marciano, and a SECOND collaboration with Preemo, something unheard of in itself on these shores. Production wise, Leaf seems as hungry as ever to continue to uphold his position as one of the UK’s best boom bap exporters, and he manages to keep the styles varied enough for it to not result in a head-nodding snooze fest. It’s basically the album that both the Owls and their fans deserve. A definite level up on the last album, but still peddling the same reliable brand of hip hop that has served them so well up to this point. You can hear the full thing for yourself below and there are plenty of other options available over at the High Focus shop. Continue reading “The Four Owls: Nocturnal Instinct (Stream)”

Ramson Badbonez: Jewels & Gems

Here we have another video from the recent Ramson Badbonez album, which saw its release last month. Jewels & Gems is one of my favourite cuts from the LP, thanks in part to Mark Fear’s production which throbs with energy, adding further weigh to Badbonez’s meticulous flow. In reference to the song’s title, the video sees the High Focus MC and some other ‘inmates’ being sent to work in a mine, thanks to the visual skills of Emotion Blur. Death Mask is out now.

Telemachus ft. Penelope Oddity: Beaten Gold

A very welcome return to the blog by Telemachus, who recently announced the imminent release of a new album. Having already become a staple part of the UK scene through his production efforts as Chemo, his alter ego, Telemachus, has spent yearr travelling round the world and absorbing different musical cultures, which he then channels into sublime instrumental projects such as 2014’s, In Morocco. This latest album draws heavily on influences from the likes of Vietnamese folk tales, West African high life, dancehall, jungle and folk, all punctuated with vocal support from a handful of artists. The lead single sees its release today and features some dreamlike production from Telemachus, bolstered by some haunting vocals from Penelope Oddity. The album, Boring & Weird Historical Music, is due for release shortly on High Focus.

Onoe Caponoe: Ghosts In Ma Alleyway / Walking Thru Tha Forest

Twisted trap flavours in the new video from Onoe Caponoe, as he delivers a couple more gems from his recent album. Ghosts In Ma Alleyway and Walking Thru Tha Forest are both lifted from Invisible War, and feature production from DJ Murky Banger and Marceyy respectively. Streams and downloads are available now via High Focus. The video was made by Onoe and EllisDawg.

The Four Owls ft. DJ Premier: 100%

The Four Owls return with the latest single from their heavily anticipated third album, as the release date draws ever closer. Not content with one collaboration with Gang Starr legend, DJ Premier, now the avian quartet have teamed up with him once more for 100%. Classic Preemo production, with four blistering verses from the Owls, what more could you ask for? It’s a trip hearing him scratch up their names in the intro too. Nocturnal Instinct is out on 17 April on High Focus.

TrueMendous: Sweetheart + EP Stream

Today is the day that TrueMendous delivers her new EP into the world; her first release since joining the High Focus ranks a couple of months ago. We had already been treated to a couple of singles from the EP and today, to coincide with the release, High Focus have dropped another new video. Sweetheart finds the Brum MC at her sharpest, as she obliterates some grimy yet slick production from Chemo. The production remains strong throughout the EP, thanks to further contributions from Pitch 92, Illinformed, Winchester and Marcus Jakes. All in all it feels like the perfect vehicle for showcasing TrueMendous’s talents and one that will hopefully get her the shine she deserves. You can hear HUH? in full below, with downloads available from the usual spots. Continue reading “TrueMendous: Sweetheart + EP Stream”

Mr Key x Dirty Dike x Chemo: Kids Story 2

A stunning collaboration here from the High Focus camp, as Mr Key emerges from the shadows to deliver this new loosie. For Kids Story 2, the Contact Play MC has connected with two familiar production talents, Dirty Dike and Chemo, who co-produced the track together. That production is fortified by some beautiful violin playing from Julianna Napier, adding further weight to Key’s all-too familiar tale of a kid who begins experimenting with drugs, before things take a darker turn. The track is follow-up to Key’s 2015 song with Greenwood Sharps. You can download and stream Kids Story 2 from the usual spots.