We were recently asked to do my current top 10 hip-hop tunes for DJ Magazine here in the UK. When I started trying to put it together it made me realise there is a hell of lot of good music being made all over planet Earth right now. But, quietly, with no real fanfare, New York has been going through a real creative sweet patch in the last few years, generating all different types of hip-hop well worth your attention.
So whilst it was hard to whittle it down we tried coz we good like that, then we reached out to DJ Ivan6 of ‘Holdin Court’ crew to put a quick mix together. There’s been amazing music from long time recognised legends of the art like Mos Def, Ski Beatz, Roc Marciano or the under praised gravel voice monster that is Rock from Heltah Skeltah. Or the left field honesty and creativity of Cool Calm Pete, Das Racist, Junk Science’s Nuclear Family label or Nasa’s Uncommon Records label. And that’s still leaving out the new generation style dons like Homeboy Sandman, Fresh Daily, YC the Cynic, Action Bronson and A.M. fave, the beast Elucid. This is by no way a definitive list. There’s loads more we couldn’t squeeze on. This is really just the tip of the iceberg.
After thought: Looking at the list I guess the one thing all these artists have got in common is a real right to call themselves ‘emcees’. All of them are rooted and focussed on coming strong with the rhymes. No clone business. Just style, flow and originality every time. These were the things that drew us into loving hip-hop in the first place so many years ago. It’s good to know it’s still going strong.
Cover artwork by Matt Pugh