Following the release of their triumphant Full Circle album (as well as Z-Man's bugged-out opus Dope or Dogfood), Bay Area pioneers Hieroglyphics are staying busy with lots of new records on deck. Tajai is releasing Power Movement, his first official solo piece, featuring Casual, Pep Love,A-Plus, and Goapele. Meanwhile, Milpitas wordsmith Encore just dropped his sophomore LP on the Hiero Imperium label. Layover includes production from Seattle move-makers Vitamin D and Jake One, as well as longtime cohort Architect. The second single, "Real Talk," also features Ladybug Mecca from early-'90s favorites Digable Planets.
Veteran Sacramento wax-wielder DJ DNA just dropped a dope twelve-inch, chock-full of lightning-speed cuts, bizarro samples, and neck-breaking beats aplenty. "When Day Breaks, Night Falls" is out now on local label Bomb Hip-Hop, with "Electrocution Behind a Feeling," "Re-Balance," and "Odyssey" rounding out the B-side: four excellent tracks to whet appetites for his forthcoming debut full-length Impressionism.
Also on Bomb is Hip-Hop Meditations, a genre-bending LP from Oakland MC and slam poet Carlos Mena, who teams up with an assortment of live musicians (and Speech from Arrested Development) on his thought-provoking debut.
Back in New York, the Monsta Island Czars continue to make serious power moves, with a grip of new material hitting the streets. GM Grimm's Digital Tears: E-mail from Purgatory and Rodan's Theophany: The Book of Elevations (both on Day by Day Ent.) are two of the year's most impressive hip-hop records, overflowing with next-level lyricism and ultra-raw beats. Megalon's long-awaited LP A Penny for Your Thoughts will be out this summer, followed by Kong's Written in Blood and a brand-new M.I.C. group album.
After enjoying a deafening buzz thanks to his Beatles-and-Jay-Z-biting Grey Album (which caught the attention of both MTV and CNN, not to mention plenty of lawyers), DJ Danger Mouse has plenty of work on his plate. He and his partner Jemini just released the Twenty Six Inch EP, sporting collabos with Sadat X, Cee-Lo, and Tha Alkaholiks. The duo's critically acclaimed full-length Ghetto Pop Life has also just been rereleased. Both are out now on Lex Records.
Last but not least, Long Island rhyme squadron the UN has a solid new single out called "D.O.A. (Deadly on Arrival)." The crew's debut album, UN or U Out drops this summer on W.O.R.L.D. Records/456 Entertainment, featuring production from legendary beatmakers Pete Rock (keep an eye out for his Soul Survivor II) and Large Professor.
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