New and Reissued Vinyl 

Hip-Hop

Whether you like your hip-hop served with murderous threats and narcotics transactions, witty metaphors, and lyrical dexterity, or just straightforward, mellow beats sans rhymes, the current crop of new releases has something for everybody.

For all the ruffnecks out there, Columbia Records just put out Ten Years and Gunnin', a retrospective compilation from Brownsville's finest, M.O.P. It features old classics such as "How About Some Hardcore," as well as newer hits "Ante Up" and the Foreigner-jacking club-banger "Cold as Ice." Though some longtime fans were perplexed by Mobb Deep's recent forays into R&B territory, the Queens duo promises a return to its grimy roots on Free Agents, coming soon through Traffic (formerly known as Landspeed). The forty-track(!) collection includes unreleased rarities, freestyles, and appearances from NYC thug-rap specialists Cormega, Kool G Rap, Big Noyd, Tragedy Khadafi, and Poet.

If you're more into the very underground/independent joints, be sure to check out Cunninlynguists. The Georgia trio comes strong with Southernunderground, a follow-up to last year's dope debut Will Rap for Food. The new joint has guest spots from Tonedeff and Masta Ace, and is out now on Freshchest Records. Much-sweated Ohio wordsmith Blueprint (down with Soul Position and Greenhouse Effect), drops his debut album The Weightroom, which sports collaborations with subterranean all-stars Vast Aire, Aesop Rock, Slug, and more. Fans of Lootpack will be psyched for the long-awaited, ultra-fresh Wildchild solo record Secondary Protocol, which features some exceptional beats from Madlib and Oh No.

Instrumental cats, keep an eye out for the new album from Fat Jon (aka the Ample Soul Physician), who just dropped the excellent Lightweight Heavy on Japan's Dimid Recordings label. Also be sure to check out Food for Naught by Philly producer Chops, best known for his work with the Mountain Brothers, whose sophomore LP Triple Crown is in stores now.

In the true school legends department, Pete Rock and CL Smooth have a new 12-inch out on Fat Beats, "Shine on Me" b/w "Climax." While a full-on reunion album has yet to be confirmed, they're still one of the nicest duos out there. Which brings us to Gang Starr, who just released "Nice Girl, Wrong Place" b/w "Rite Where You Stand," the second single from forthcoming LP The Ownerz, set to drop May 6.

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