Aloe Vera & Steel Tipped Dove: Days Pass Strange (Stream)

Following on from last month’s post which introduced Ohio artist, Aloe Vera, to the blog, this month saw the release of their full album. Days Pass Strange is a collaborative project with Backwoodz affiliate, Steel Tipped Dove, who is at the helm for the duration of the album’s production.
It’s an album that’s rooted in the idea of personal change, while also examining social and societal issues on a larger scale. The pairing of Dove’s production with Aloe’s writing works perfectly within that framework and leads to an engaging nine track run, which warrants closer examination than simple background music. You can listen for yourself below, then head over to Bandcamp to grab a download and / or cassette.

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AKAI SOLO: Demonslayer + LP Stream

Backwoodz Studioz promised us a bountiful year at the start of 2022 and that’s exactly what they have delivered, culminating (possibly?) with the release of AKAI SOLO’s debut album on the label. SOLO has been steadily building a reputation as one of the foremost artists of the era, thanks to a string of solo records and collaborations that have emerged over the last few years.
His latest, Spirit Roaming, is the direct evolution of that ascent as he officially joins the ranks of a label that perfectly matches his own trajectory. There are many familiar names among the production credits, with August Fanon, Roper Williams, Theravada and Messiah Musik among the sonic craftsmen who have all lent their skills to the record, helping to create what is arguably the Brooklyn MC’s strongest work to date.
The first video from the album was released in conjunction with the main drop and features production from regular collaborator, iblss, who has been behind a few of my favourite beats over the span of SOLO’s career. You can check the video out above, with a preview of the full album available below. Check out Bandcamp to fulfil your digital and physical wish list.

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Sonnyjim & The Purist ft. MF DOOM & Jay Electronica: Barz Simpson

A fitting video for one of the more understandably anticipated tracks from Sonnyjim’s recent album with The Purist. Barz Simpson not only features a guest appearance from Jay Electronica, but also a verse from the much mourned legend, MF DOOM. You hear a lot of rappers labelling their upcoming videos as movies, but that’s exactly the energy that we’re dealing with here. ABOVEGROUND is a master of this approach and as usual he manages to pack a lot of visual punches into just under 4 minutes of film. No spoilers, see for yourself above. White Girl Wasted is out now via Daupe.

Dabbla x alllone: AdeptĀ 

Fresh music from the Potent Funk family, with the arrival of new additions, alllone. The Austrian production duo make their label debut with the assistance of PF veteran, Dabbla, who is the main collaborator on their upcoming EP. Adept is the first single and is the perfect fit for a label that has championed the hybrid rap sound over the years. Looking forward to hearing what the remainder of the EP has in store. Bad Tuesday is out in full on 22 November.

Renelle 893 & King Kashmere: Let Go

Next up is another one from High Focus’s newest signing, Renelle 893. The release of Let Go was accompanied with the news that Renelle’s HF debut is going to be produced in full by King Kashmere, which is very good news judging by their first couple of efforts. Once again it’s Honey JD on video duties. More news on the album soon.

andrew: Flea Market

andrew continues to gather the pace for his new album, as he blesses our ears with another track. Flea Market is the second song on the album, following the previously released, Tugboat, and it also follows in similar musical footsteps. A nice melodic blend of vocal work from andrew, while Donovan Days’ production establishes the perfect emotional atmosphere, stoking up even more anticipation for the full release. Sad Dance Songs / I Don’t Know is due out on 18 November.

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phiik x duro: Chainlink (Stream)

New music to savour from phiik, thanks to a fresh collaboration with Duro which landed today. Plenty of intricate rhymes to wade through, all delivered with a precision flow that manages to pack a punch into every bar without ever sounding overdone. Duro’s production is as equally compelling throughout, creating the perfect balance for phiik’s energy on the mic. Decent features too, thanks to verses from AKAI SOLO, Obijuan and Lungs. The EP is available to sample below, with downloads found over on Bandcamp.

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Wiki & Subjxct 5: Cold Cuts (Stream)

Last month I posted a track that was taken from the new project from Wiki and Subjxct 5, which at the time had not seen its full release. That changed a couple of weeks ago though, with the arrival of Cold Cuts, an 18 track tribute to the mixtapes that came before it. Subjxct 5 is on the beats throughout, setting the perfect scene for the project to play out, complete with the sort of emphatic ad-libs that were a staple part of the era. Plenty of features too, including a reunion with Navy Blue, who drops in on the friendship-fuelled, One More Chance. You can explore the whole tape below, with downloads and physicals available via Bandcamp.

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Raw Poetic ft. Archie Shepp: A Mile in My Head

Heavy on the jazz with the latest from Raw Poetic, as he connects with Damu the Fudgemunk to bring forth A Mile in My Head. The jazz energy is further amplified by a superb appearance from legendary saxophonist, Archie Shepp, who previously worked with both Raw Poetic and Damu on the 2020 release, Ocean Bridges. A Mile in My Head is taken from Poetic’s forthcoming album, which is due for release next month.

Renelle 893: HF TV Exclusive Bars

There used to be a time when I’d know every artist that was announced as a new addition to a UKHH label, back when I had my finger well and truly on the pulse. Not so these days, as was proved yesterday when High Focus broke the news that Renelle 893 was joining their ranks. Happy to have caught the announcement though, as this rendition of his single, My Demons, served as a fine introduction to his skills and has definitely got me intrigued for what his label debut will bring to the scene. The production on the track comes courtesy of King Kashmere and the video was shot by Honey JD.