Ialive - Don't Do Nothing

Ialive is an emcee/producer from Philadelphia. We last heard from him in October of 2017, when he released a collaborative album with Height Keech called Timewave Zero. He now comes back with a new self-produced album, Don’t Do Nothing. Don’t Do Nothing is an interesting album for a few different reasons, but the thing that hit me first when listening to this album was the production. Ialive has been producing for years, for himself and artists like kidDEAD, and doing a great job of putting together these underground beats.

Fort Ancient Records - Fort Ancient Airlines: Seattle

Fort Ancient Records is a collective out of Cincinnati consisting of Homage CVG, Phonopage, Waldo From Cincinnati, Dren AD, and Samuel Steezmore. They’ve been putting out music for a couple of years now, but last year they developed a series of releases called Fort Ancient Airlines. The idea is that they all contribute to a short collection of instrumental tracks tied to the theme of a certain city, and they pull in a guest artist to serve as your pilot for the flight.

Chris Conde - Growing Up Gay

Chris Conde is an emcee from San Antonio who has been performing for over a decade. Despite all of his experience, we haven’t gotten a solo album from him until just now. He takes a major step forward as he now drops that album, Growing Up Gay. As you might have inferred from the title of the album, Growing Up Gay is a deeply personal affair, dealing with Conde’s journey to learn to accept himself as he is, battling with demons like alcoholism and drug abuse along the way.

Blossom & Wookie - Fingers

Blossom is a producer from Poland who has previously put out music on such labels as DLoaw & Co., Project Mooncircle, and Dusted Wax Kingdom, just to name a few. His last release came two years ago, when he dropped the album Where Are You Hiding? Now he’s come back with a new EP that sees him teaming up with a guitar player, also from Poland, who performs under the name Wookie.

Blockhead - Free Sweatpants

Blockhead is a New York producer who has been making music for years, first gaining notoriety for his work with Aesop Rock, then establishing himself as a solo artist with a series of strong instrumental albums on Ninja Tunes. Most recently, he released a solo instrumental album called Funeral Balloons, which came out in September of 2017. Now he comes back with a different type of solo album in Free Sweatpants.

MexStep - Resistor

MexStep is best known as one third of the San Antonio/Austin hip hop group Third Root. While the group is right in the middle of their Trill Pedagogy series of EP releases, MexStep decided to release a solo album, Resistor. If you’re familiar with Third Root, you won’t be surprised by the sound of Resistor. This is because he’s working with producer Adrian Quesada, who has also produced all of Third Root’s latest releases.

Zion I - ShadowBoxing

Zion I have been prolific throughout their twelve year career, so it should come as no surprise that after a busy 2011 that saw the release of Heroes in the Healing of the Nation with The Grouch and producer Amp Live teaming up with Eligh to release Therapy at 3, they would come right back with a new album this year, ShadowBoxing. Zion I have built up a large and loyal fan base over the years, through a combination of a steady stream of albums, constant touring, and an overall positive message to their music.

P.O.S. - We Don't Even Live Here

I had the good fortune this past weekend of seeing my sister from another mister, Miss Manners, host of Hip Hop Hooray on KOOP Radio in Austin. Naturally, we quickly began talking about what records we were listening to, which quickly transitioned into a discussion about not only how good the new P.O.S. record is, but how excited we both were to listen to it. When you listen to a large volume of records and keep up with new releases, it can become difficult to get genuinely excited about a particular album.

Blueprint - Deleted Scenes

Last year, Columbus emcee/producer released his excellent sophomore solo album, Adventures In Counter-Culture, on Rhymesayers. It was an album a long time in the making, which resulted from a period of intense songwriting and experimentation with style for Blueprint. As it turns out, that period was so fruitful, when Blueprint went back to the excess material to see if there was anything he wanted to release as bonus tracks or maybe an EP, he surprised himself to find that he had fifteen songs that he felt were strong enough to release to the public.

Amerigo Gazaway - Bizarre Tribe: A Quest to the Pharcyde

You might remember the name Amerigo Gazaway from the mashup he delivered last year, the fantastic and enjoyable Fela Soul, in which he mixed together the music of Fela Kuti and De La Soul. The Nashville artist is back with another creative pairing, this time bringing together A Tribe Called Quest and The Pharcyde. The combination on this project isn’t as groundbreaking in terms of genre crossover, but the more I listen to the record, the more interesting I find it.