New music I heard this week
by “Old School G” Greg Schick
Here is the new international hip hop I am listening to this week:
Hilltop Hoods – The Hard Road (Australia)
Wow, amazing. I’ve reported on how Hilltop Hoods debuted at #1, the first Australian hip hop crew ever to do it, and then it went gold in under 3 weeks. I finally got a copy and I was not disappointed. The production is top notch, energetic and filled with turntable work, nice samples, catchy hooks and even nice guitar licks on later songs. The messages are good (struggle related) and UK MCs Braintax and Mystro even show up for a collabo. Id say the first this year of the Best of 2006 international hip hop albums.
Sultana – Çerkez Kizi (Turkey)
An earlier release from the most popular rapper in Turkey. While some sounds are middle eastern influenced, the beats are pretty hard edged. Sultana is a female MC who sounds great despite the fact that I dont understand her (for future reference, I only speak English, so you can just assume I dont understand other languages). I dig this and look forward to hearing it more.
Cuizinier – Pour Les Filles Vol. 2 (France)
This is a mixCD from the French rapper Cuizinier. Now, I heard it was slamming, so I was excited to get it. But I can see that he took a page from American mixtapes. The beats are fine, but very commercial sounding, and thats not my thing. His vocal skills seem okay too, although I suspect he is talking about girls and sex (mainly based on the intro, spoken in English).
Sens Unik – Mea Culpa (Switzerland)
This a pretty popular French-speaking group from Switzerland, and what I’ve heard is good. They are more pop oriented with the woman in the group singing on most songs. They kind of reminded me of Japan’s M-Flo, except with more rapping than singing, instead of the other way around.
Neurotic WKY – When It Fades Out the Story Has Just Begun (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong is not known for its hip hop and, in fact, many may say that since the demise of LMF, there have been no top notch hip hop groups from Hong Kong. Neurotic WKY is and up-and-coming MC and for his first album, hes okay. Cantonese is one of the hardest languages to rap in (so Ive heard) and NWKY could sharpen up his flow. His production is also up-and-coming, but shows a lot of promise. He chose some nice samples and is stating to use his drums/bass well. We’ll keep an eye on him.
Codu’ Penal – Pe Viata (Romania)
This is first full album Ive heard of Romanian hip hop. Previously, I’d only heard one Romanian song. I suspect that this group is popular in their home country. The production is pretty good, a balance of samples and programming. The lyricists are fine, I mean, they sound good, but I can’t understand them, and there’s not enough changes of inflection and flow between songs for me to appreciate them. This is how I feel about a lot of non-English hip hop. Its probably a lot better if I understood them.
Still listening to:
Solo Los Solo – Todo El Mundo Lo Sabe (Spain)
Micall Parknsun – The Working Dad (UK)
K’naan – The Dusty Foot Philosopher (Somalia)