Sir Froderick - The Brief Wondrous

Sir Froderick is a producer from Philadelphia, and on his latest release he’s teamed up with the French label Cascade Records. The project in question is an instrumental hip hop album that tells the tale of, in the words of the label, “…a story about a nomad that got a little money, [who’s] been playing the backseat all his life. Traveling with just a guitar and a pack of smokes, taking heavy inhales of lah on stressful times.

Hip-Hop Culture In College Students' Lives: Elements, Embodiment, and Higher Edutainment by Emery Petchauer

More and more scholarship today is focused on different perspectives in hip hop, and conversely, hip hop has a greater presence on college campuses than ever before. It’s being taught in the classrooms, it’s being played on college radio, touring acts are being brought in to play shows, and student groups and official university activities are incorporating the culture in various forms. With all this in mind, it was only a matter of time before someone applied some serious analysis to the various ways that hip hop culture intersects with the life of a college student.

Piece of Mind - S/T

Piece of Mind, the Toronto-based group consisting of emcee G-Roc Gayle, deejay/producer Gedsi, and graphic designer Yuro Jay, release their debut this fall. Admittedly fans of early ‘90s NYC hip hop like Gang Starr, Brand Nubian, and Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, they aren’t looking to re-invent the wheel with their first album. Instead, it’s just classic soul-based hip hop production and lyricism, and they do it well. Both G-Roc and Gedsi are very solid with their respective skill sets, and they have a really good chemistry together, which makes the grooves on the album feel really natural and effortless.

Artifakts - Like This If

Artifakts is the fairly new production duo of Garret Meyer and William Thompson. The South Carolina/Wisconsin pair have teamed up to make their own brand of instrumental hip hop, which they have delivered on their debut album, Like This If. Artifakts don’t present a radical departure from what we’re hearing today from most instrumental hip hop artists, but that isn’t to say the quality isn’t quite high. Their music is very well developed, fleshing out themes and melodies in interesting ways, all with a very good sense of overall atmosphere and groove.

Skyzoo - A Dream Deferred

Skyzoo is a Brooklyn emcee who’s been making waves since his debut album, The Salvation, dropped back in 2009. He’s achieved this not only through that record and his collaboration with !llmind, but also through a steady stream of mixtapes. Because of this barrage of music coming out of him, it might seem a little odd to realize that A Dream Deferred is actually only his second official solo album. The album reinforces all the praise that Skyzoo has been getting as a lyricist and performer, but also struggles with an inconsistent approach and quality of music that leaves me confused as to what Skyzoo hoped to accomplish with this record.

Maggz - Soundscapes: Summer Selection

While I do have a significant back log of albums to review, I haven’t waited so long to get to the last entry of Maggz’s Soundscape series that I missed the season completely - Maggz himself didn’t release this volume until the end of September. As a result, we don’t get to enjoy his latest EP as a soundtrack to the current season. Instead, it has to serve as a reminder of a warmer and brighter time as the brisk weather and gray skies become more and more familiar.

Plan B - ill Manors

Despite living in an age where the internet is supposed to bring us all together, there can still be big cultural gaps in pop culture. London artist Plan B has been very successful in the UK, where his sophomore effort going platinum in Europe, but he remains largely unknown in the States. His latest effort is actually the soundtrack to a film he that he wrote and directed, which was designed to have six songs serve as the narration for the film, telling the tale of eight characters as they deal with violence in the streets of London.

The Herbaliser - There Were Seven

It’s been over eighteen years since British musicians Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba first paired up and began exploring their love of jazz, funk, dub, and hip hop together. Over the years they’ve toyed with which aspects of their sound they’d like to emphasize and explore the most, but this balance between everything, from sampling, scratching, live instrumentation, soul and rock vocalists, and widely varied emcees, has all contributed to a sound that is unique to The Herbaliser.

Murs X Fashawn - This Generation

Like a lot of hip hop fans, I was genuinely intrigued by the announcement of this collaboration. Murs recorded two of my favorite hip hop albums of all time, with the back to back albums Murs 3:16 and Murray’s Revenge, and Fashawn made one of the strongest debut albums I’ve ever come across with 2009’s Boy Meets World. Granted, I haven’t been thrilled by the last couple of Murs records, but the pairing of these two talented California emcees definitely held a lot of promise.

The Hood Internet - FEAT

The Hood Internet put themselves in a difficult position with their debut album. For the last five years, the duo of Chicago deejays STV SLV and ABX have gained notoriety by releasing a series of mixtapes through their website, which featured mash ups of hip hop and indie rock artists. The were able to set themselves apart through a combination of the sheer volume of tracks they released and the quality of work that went into the mash ups, coming up with some unique combinations of artists that were mixed together very well.