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Riko Dan - Hard Foot EP:

’92 It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from the Don Dada, Riko Dan. Veteran of the legendary grime outfit Roll Deep (alongside Wiley, Skepta, JME et. al.), his power and energy stand unmatched even amongst his competitors. His deep voice and unique blend of London/Jamaican patois has differentiated him from MCs of his ilk, lending to a truly imposing and gully vocal presence. Needless to say, he absolutely commands any track he’s on. I highly recommend listening to a radio set, as he is consistently one of the best and most versatile grime MCs. His release schedule has largely been on other people’s material (his latest being a feature on The Bug’s “Iceman”, a weighty track in its own right. 

More to the point, Riko has graced us with the new Hard Food EP on Pinch’s Tectonic label, a selection of new material with production royalty the likes of Pinch, Joker, Mumdance and Ziro. He effortlessly lends his skills to every track on this EP, and each one is a certified club demolisher. The standout track on this EP, and the one that I’ve been waiting ages to release, is Walton’s remix of “Big Slug”, a tune originally released a few years ago with Pinch. I heard it a year or so ago on Mumdance’s Rinse FM show and nearly lost my mind, and since then I’ve been waiting with baited breath for it to release. Other particular standout tracks on this EP are Hungry, featuring Mumdance’s signature off-kilter and dark production and an equally dark “Vibration” with Pinch on the decks. 

The iceman has finally cometh. SEAN

RIYL: Wiley, Skepta, Gods Gift, dark council estate roadways

Recommended Tracks: 3, 4, 6

FCC: Explicit

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Lords of the Underground - Here Come The Lords (25th Anniversary Reissue):

When we hear about rap acts of New Jersey, what comes to mind is often the Fugees, Redman, Queen Latifah, and Naughty by Nature. Straight from Newark, New Jersey (aka Brick City), the Lords of the Underground imprinted their mark on hip-hop in ’93. The limited pressing of this 25th anniversary reissue produced 1000 green-colored vinyl copies. The vinyl reissue includes a printed copy of the album cover along with liner notes for production credits. 

Released in ’93, this album is part of hip-hop’s Golden Era – a time where hip-hop experienced a major period of creativity where artists from the East and West Coast were pumping out groundbreaking records with new styles and flows. Every rapper had their own distinct sound and flavor, and Lords of the Underground paid their dues. 

Lords of the Underground consists of two rappers and a DJ: Mr. Funke, DoItAll and DJ Lord Jazz. Marley Marl, legendary hip-hop producer who founded the Juice Crew – a hip-hop collective that had notable emcees such as Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, and Masta Ace – produced much of the album, with co-producer, K-Def.

The strongest part of the album is the production, which sounds clean, crisp, and funky when it’s handled by Marley Marl.  Their signature song, “Chief Rocka” is also a hip-hop classic that’s been sampled by The Notorious B.I.G. for “Machine Gun Funk”. 

The only drawback I can think of album is the beginning along with production choices. The first few songs start off unvaried, then the album starts to pick up midway once Marley Marl is behind productions. Writing hooks also aren’t their forte, a lot of it is just shouting the song title which can become repetitive after a while. What they do bring to the table is energy, rhymes, and flow.

Also, when one compares Lords of the Underground to other East Coast rap groups that came out at that time – Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Onyx, Black Moon – their style pales in comparison. You can definitely expect the same delivery for a lot of their tracks.

Overall, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this album for someone who’s unfamiliar with hip-hop, but for someone who loves the East Coast hip-hop sounds of the ‘90s. Anyone who loves those rough, rugged rhymes over funky, hard-hitting beats will enjoy this record, especially if they’re fond of the boom bap style of rap. Any hip-hop head from Jersey who wants to find more artists other than Queen Latifah, Naughty by Nature, and Redman will need to look no further. This album appeals to the hip-hop head who sometimes just wants dope rhymes and flow and not too much substance. The album isn’t necessarily for commercial appeal, but strictly for the streets. It shows that Jersey in the ‘90s still had something to say. ANDRES

RIYL: Onyx, Naughty By Nature, Redman, Black Moon

Rec Trax: 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

FCC: Explicit

Wendy's - We Beefin'? EP:

Here’s the thing. 

Normally at KXSC, we strive to give you quality content and musical reviews. While I could’ve reviewed the new Tory Lanez and told you something about OVO, or how the sophomore album is pretty solid. Maybe talk about Logic and his new mixtape sans the shocking and somewhat awkward divorce he’s experiencing. Hey - I could’ve talked about the new Jeremih EP (Wale dropped one too). But no. I’m bringing you something that I will accept full judgement on. The Wendy’s mixtape, We Beefin?

Wendy’s has been the thrower of all shade. Period. Her fiery tweets single handedly decimate McDonald’s on a daily basis - and for a company that prides itself on being fresh, I gotta give it to them, the mixtape is, well... fresh.

Now, note to Sean, our music director - this is fast-food rap but I will FIGHT for Wendy in saying that this tape goes hard!! 

Coming in at 5 hot tracks, the beats to this entire EP S-L-A-P. Granted, it’s generic trap music that was probably ripped from a song catalogue, I think it bumps. Lyrics though? When Wendy poignantly states: “You No. 1? That's a joke / Why your ice cream machine always broke?/“ in “Rest in Grease” I FELT that. Overall, the EP is a complete joke. Yes, Sean, it is fast-food rap. It is punny and at times corny, but you gotta give it to the marketing and social team at Wendy’s. It’s innovative and even Billboard picked up the story. BILLBOARD. 

I hope more companies make sure NOT to do this, but I’m giving it up to Wendy’s, good attempt and pretty funny. LANI

RIYL: Beef

Recommended Tracks: 1, 3

FCC: Clean

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BAUM - Ungodly:

BAUM is getting huge! And with good reason too! The 20-year old singer-songwriter (and student at USC!) just released her latest EP, Ungodly, which contains some of the catchiest dance-pop anthems I’ve ever heard. Her song “This Body” has been stuck in my head all week. I can’t believe that someone this talented is still in college at USC! She’s the type of person to make you think “like…what have I done with my life?” She’s been getting a ton of great press from Billboard and Fader, and she is even on the Official SXSW 2018 playlist! BAUM’s pop tunes are feminist anthems, so check ‘em out! CHRISTINA

RIYL: MUNA, HAIM, Tei Shi, Pinky Pinky

Recommended Tracks: 1, 2, 4

FCC: 2 & 3

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