As James has mentioned, Sunny Cellars is getting a bimonthly injection of hip hoppy stuff by yours truly. Thankfully James has basically already done me the favour of introducing me in his previous post, so I’ll get right to the meaty shit.
This one’s a list of albums (in no particular order) that I think are really underrated or simply overlooked and are likely to be unfamiliar to the casual hip hop fan. Hopefully ya’ll will find something you like, check it:
1. Darc Mind – Symptomatic Of a Greater Ill
This one is some serious lost classic shit. Darc Mind was a Long Island duo comprised of MC Kevroc and produced Webb D. Symptomatic of a Greater Ill was supposed to come out in ’97 but was shelved, only for Anticon to release it in 2006. Webb’s production is very solid boom-bap stuff, but it’s Kevroc that really makes this album truly special. He sounds like a weirder Chali 2na and his rapping is simply astounding. He constantly switches up his insane but still funky flows and the lyrics are complex rewind-to-understand kind of stuff. Spread the word about this one, it deserves to be heard.
Download link cause it’s probably not that easy to find: http://www.mediafire.com/?lvpw17vlyaevpi1
2. Group Home – Livin’ Proof
Group Home is a duo out of New York, associated with the Gang Starr foundation and all that. While Livin’ Proof in itself is probably not a particularly underrated album in terms of the actual rapping on it – neither Lil Dap or Melachi are stellar MCs, though both perfectly competent – but rather in terms of its production. Premier is normally most praised for his work with Nas, Biggie and Gang Starr (duh), but his beats on Livin’ Proof are up there with some of his best productions, perfectly striking a balance between the rawness of tracks like “NY State of Mind”, the experimentalism of “Come Clean” and the jazziness of much of his work with Gang Starr. Livin’ Proof is by no means an obscure album, but definitely one that deserves more recognition.
3. AZ – Doe or Die
AZ is another east coast MC, and his debut Doe or Die is pretty much straight dope. AZ is often compared to Nas, and it’s easy to see why; his flow is always on point, his delivery is hard-as-fuck but with a youthful edge and his lyrics are razor sharp (AND he also guested on “Life’s a Bitch”…). The production is pretty stellar too, a stand out being “Rather Unique” in which AZ flows furiously over an impeccable Pete Rock joint (which Squadda B recently rapped over on his awesomely titled I Smoke Because I Don’t Care About Death mixtape). Though it’s not as good as Illmatic (what is?), Doe or Die proves that AZ is a lot more than another Nas-lite and that Doe or Die should be widely considered a classic in its own right.
4. Guerilla Maab – Rise
Guerilla Maab are a Houston based trio who apparently counted Z-Ro as a member. To be honest I really don’t know much about them, apart from the fact that Rise is an excellent album of southern rap that not too many people seem to know about. Its fairly standard southern fare, and there are a lot of great half-sung-half-rapped bits along with ultra-fast double time flows and some great melodic productions. “Rise” and “Fondren & Main” are particular standouts.
Download link cause it’s probably not that easy to find: http://www.mediafire.com/?786081ejuqtrbcq