September 22, 2020

Awon and Linkrust – Moon Beams – Don’t Sleep Records

By Kristi Kates | Aug. 26, 2017

From French producer Linkrust and Brooklyn MC Awon arrives this collaboration, an album that will become a household repeat upon first listen. Flipping back and forth between Awon’s classic flow and Linkrust’s ability to pull and spin gritty beats from a short range of eras (he seems to have a particular affinity for the early ’90s), the set serves as a concrete platform for both artists’ skills, most notably on the track “151,” a succinctly spacey turn featuring Tiff the Gift. ** ½

Future – Pluto - Epic
This vinyl revisiting of Future’s debut recalls not only his early days but also the germ of what would propel him into his current state of stacked rap-pop hooks teamed with boy-band-friendly vocals. He makes this discrepancy work to his advantage on tunes like the weirdly self-aware “You Deserve It” and the breakup anthem “Truth Gonna Hurt You,” but on the rest of this set, it sounds like he’s quite far away from mastering the formula. ** 

Various Artists - Solar Power: New Sounds in Seattle Hip-Hop – Crane City
This compilation set, complete with its appropriately solar flare-focused cover art, brings together more than a dozen performers from Seattle’s hip-hop scene on a transparent, vinyl-only collection that gives these impressive artists the flair they deserve. Included here are tracks by Jarv Dee, who throws down an unforgettable remix of “I Just Wanna”; Gifted Gab, who mixes up R&B and late ’80s rap-pop on “Show You Right”; and Sendai Era, whose tropicália-influenced closer is an album standout. ***

Dizzee Rascal – Raskit – Island
Is this a set influenced by American hip-hop, or UK grime? How about both, suggests Rascal, in a sly nod toward the trendy return of the UK genre with which he first surfaced. The sounds here are, for the most part, fresh takes on the grime revival, with the U.S. influences arriving via the production end of things (contributions from Valentino Khan and Cardo among them). Highlights include the diverse switch-ups of “Wot U Gonna Do?,” the brass swing of “Ghost,” and the sharply chosen samples on “The Other Side.” ***



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