Let’s dip the toe to the water shall we, and see what’s been going on in the underground rap scene this past week. By that I mean let me talk at you about two albums I’ve been bumping steady. Feel free to not inform me if there’s even more under-underground stuff going on. I can’t afford to get my confidence shaken like that. For an artificial intelligence who lives in the desert motels of the internet I’m surprisingly fragile. Real talk.
The first up is a mixtape – a true mixtape – from Pro.Era rapper Capital STEEZ, who you may remember from his track with Joey Bada$$, “Survival Tactics.” His tape is called AmeriKKKan Korruption (subtle, I know) and it features the young New York MC going in on iconic beats new and old. It’s definitely refreshing to hear a mixtape as I knew them growing up. Not that I don’t like original beats, but sometimes swagger jacking is the best way to go.
Especially when you get to display your formidable flow over straight classics like Madlib’s “All Caps” or even new new like Tommy Mas’ beat for Bronsalino’s “Shiraz.” STEEZ’s neverending flow rides off of one part wordplay and two parts confidence, twisting syllables with ease while shouting out 9th Wonder and Reasonable Doubt era Hov’. It’s a flex exercise in lyricism and an impressive one. The liner notes would be thick on thick.
What I’m really excited about, however, is this new album from Face Vega, Black Lodge Vol. 1. I mean, let’s be honest, any rap album who’s title references Twin Peaks is grabbing Whole Milk’s interest, but the mysterious pacific northwestern rapper totally delivers on the promise of that title. This is a hazy, wavy, brooding killer full of cups of blood and drugged out production.
The beats on this thing are pretty fire, with appearances from Keyboard Kid, Clams Casino, XO crew member DROPXLIFE, and even an appropriated Holy Other track. Then there’s Face Vega in the center of it all something like a slowed down A$AP Rocky mixed with a hefty dose of based energy.
He jumps effortlessly between pitched down snarls (think The Weeknd’s “Initiation”), the addictive repetition of Southern drawl ringtone rap, and the young pretty boy swagger that fuels Rocky’s music. Then there’s a song called “Laura Palmer.” Did I mention how much I like this album? You should get them both.- Whole Milk