This week’s playlist theme is “hiphoppin’”, which will explore just that, hip-hop (and trip-hop too I guess). Hip-Hop’s evolved a lot over time, from the smooth rhymes of A Tribe Called Quest to the harsh beats of Dr. Dre to the melancholic yet insanely popular Drake. The beautiful thing about hip-hop and rap is how diverse it is, hip-hop can be anything from two Japanese girls rapping in a karaoke bar (ala Charisma.com) to a man rapping about the absence of his damn croissants.
For this week’s “hiphoppin’” playlist, I picked out some notable hip-hop artists, a legendary hip-hop producer, a trip-hop artist, and one of the biggest rappers in the game right now.
1.) “3030” by Deltron 3030
Hip-hop group Deltron 3030 consists of producer Dan the Automator, Kid Koala, and the one and only Deltron Zero aka Del the Funky Homosapien aka the guy that raps on some songs on Gorillaz’s first album. Deltron’s Deltron 3030 is a wacky space rap-opera set in the year 3030 (duh), and it’s arguably one of the greatest hip-hop records of all-time. Deltron Zero and crew are actually going to be playing at this weekend’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival on Saturday! It’ll be a blast. They’ll allegedly have an orchestra with them, so you can yell out “Deltron Zero, hero, not no small feat” along with a triumphant horns.
Recommended if you like: Gorillaz, musicians that have only released two albums in 15 years
2.) “MFN” by Cibo Matto
Cibo Matto are a New York City-based Japanese trip-hop duo hailing from the nineties. They recently reunited in 2011 with the culmination of their latest album Hotel Valentine releasing this past February. The album is funky and weird, proving that the ladies Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori haven’t changed one bit in all those years. While it doesn’t touch their masterpiece, Stereotype A, Yuka and Miho still show that they’ve got the “it” factor. Cibo Matto will also be in San Francisco this weekend for two shows: one at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass on Friday and one at The Chapel on Saturday night.
Recommended if you like: the video game Jet Set Radio
3.) “Just Tonight” – PR0P0SE
My personal favorite record label is the small internet digi-punk-esque Maltine Records. The best thing about Maltine: they put out all of their music for free! I discover a lot of rad musicians on there, one of them being the hip-hop duo PR0P0SE. Part thamesbeat, part Onomatope Daijin, PR0P0SE is a fun Japanese rappin’ duo, and exemplifies Japanese hip-hop at its finest.
Recommended if you like: Funky/retro-inspired beats
4.) “Don’t Even Try It (feat. Funky DL)” – Nujabes
Nujabes, or Jun Seba, is a legendary hip-hop producer who unfortunately passed away in a car accident in 2010. His relaxing, chill-enthused beats were refreshing in an era filled with repetitive beats and a lack of originality, and he began a trend of like-minded producers around the world. Nujabes is personally one of my top five favorite musicians of all-time, and his music spanning from his studio albums to the score he wrote for Shinichiro Watanabe’s anime Samurai Champloo stand as evidence for his immense talent. Though he may be gone, he will never be forgotten.
Recommended if you like: Good music
5.) “0 to 100/The Catch Up” – Drake
I grew up watching Degrassi on The N, later renamed as TeenNick. It’s still very, very, very strange to me that little Jimmy Brooks grew up to become a famous rapper outside of Canada and hangs out with Lil Wayne on a regular basis. Regardless, Drake has proven that he’s not just a hit-maker, but can legitimately make thoughtful music. In a year where both he and Kanye West both released new albums, the last thing I expected was favoring Drake’s album (though Yeezus is also great in its own right!). While this particular track may not be evidence of that, it at least has a killer beat.
Recommended if you like: That episode of Degrassi where Jimmy upstages Ashley at her own concert by going on stage and rapping (a metaphor for Lil Wayne’s career after launching Drake’s)