Jehst: Mork Calling Orson (Stream)

A pleasing return to centre stage from Jehst, with the release of his first solo album since 2017’s, Billy Green is Dead. Mork Calling Orson finds the UK rap linchpin on typically fine form, with his pen remaining as sharp as ever and his production choices setting the album’s mood without fault. Contributions from Sam Zircon, Beat Butcha, Sonnyjim, Mr Brown, Keor Meteor, Taharka and Jehst himself, provide a varied but unified sound, while Lee Scott, CW Jones, Sindysman, Eva Lazarus and Confucius MC, all prove to be the perfect co-stars. Previews of Mork Calling Orson can be heard below, with Bandcamp being the best spot to grab your downloads and physical copies.

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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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TMFSE x Shape: Naked Brunch (Stream)

Sticking with the theme of MC-producer duos, this week saw the arrival of the new project from TMFSE and Shape. It was a release I was intrigued by from the strength of the first single, combined with the fact that the themes that lurked within, covered issues that had seeped into my own life. Conveying the doom and futility of drug addiction within the confines of a rap record is not easy, but it’s something that The Man From Somewhere Else manages to capture, while Shape’s production provides the perfect setting for this raw honesty to manifest. It’s a hell of an introduction to both artists, for those of us previously unfamiliar, and it’s also a hell of a way for WATKK to kick off the year. Previews of Naked Brunch are available below and downloads can be found on Bandcamp.

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Fatboi Sharif & Roper Williams: Planet Unfaithful (Stream)

Following on from a triumphant lead single, Fatboi Sharif and Roper Williams return with the full release of their new EP, Planet Unfaithful. It’s a project that not only serves as another step in Sharif’s ascent towards the upper echelons of rap greats, but one that also cements his partnership with Roper Williams in the pantheon of MC-producer duos. ELUCID had already lent his own brand of vocal dominance to the previously released Scrabble Board Pieces, while Bruiser Wolf continues the theme of artistic individuality with his feature on Po Pimping Do or Die. All of that in an EP that only emerged in the dawn of the new year. Start as we mean to go on. You can get a taste of Planet Unfaithful below, while downloads are available over on Bandcamp.

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Skyzoo x The Other Guys: Straight Drop

Another reliably on point release from Skyzoo, as he teams up with The Other Guys for his latest project. Their concept album, The Mind of a Saint, is delivered from the mind of Franklin Saint, who is one of the main characters in the FX drama series, Snowfall. It’s a concept that works well, thanks to Skyzoo’s ability to seemingly bring any rap idea he has to fruition. Straight Drop is the latest single from the album, which is out now via HiPNOTT Records.

Spectacular Diagnostics ft. Curly Castro, Illogic & Defcee: Class + LP News

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.

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Sparkz: Overload

Very happy to see Sparkz back with a bang, as he makes his first moves with High Focus. One of many killer MCs from the LEVELZ bloodline, he adds another string to his bow thanks to the self-production on Overload. No word on an album yet, but I know he’s got a lot planned for this year, so be on the lookout for more bangers emerging soon.

SKECH185 & Jeff Markey: He Left Nothing For The Swim Back

A huge track here, as one of the most arresting voices in rap delivers the title single from his upcoming album. SKECH185 is making his full-length Backwoodz Studioz debut, with an album alongside Jeff Markey. The duo have been friends and affiliates of the label for a while, but now they’re both taking centre stage for the first Backwoodz release of the year. He Left Nothing For The Swim Back is SKECH at his most engrossing, with Markey’s production merging perfectly, resulting in one of the strongest starts to an album I’ve heard in a while. The video was made by Dunce Videos and the album is due for release on 3 February.

TMFSE x Shape: Kettle Called

WATKK make a strong start to the year, with the arrival of their first release. It comes from two artists I’m not familiar with, but two who I’m looking forward to hearing more from, such is the strength of this opening gambit. The Man From Somewhere Else (strong Lynchian energy there) is the force behind the microphone, while Shape is the brains behind the production and together they look set to unleash one of the year’s highlights. The first single, Kettle Called, is available to hear below, while the full album is set for release on 31 January.

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