If strong delivery, solid storytelling, and technically timeless instrumentals actually counted in determining mainstream Hip Hop anymore, this oddly named group would reign. Tanya Morgan is a hip-hop group consisting of MCs Donwill and Ilyas out of Cincinnati, Ohio, and MC/producer Von Pea from Brooklyn, New York. Their latest album Brooklynati was released in May of 2009. Reminiscent of Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, TM has found that old school flavor without sounding redundant.
- Plan B
- She’s Gone (aka Without You)
- Never 2ndary
Krizz Kaliko was originally Samuel W.C. Watson from Kansas City, Missouri before he started working with another artist, Tech N9ne. Soon Krizz was signed to the label Tech co-owns called Strange Music. After working with Tech N9ne and Strange Music for 10 years, he has performed over 200 shows a year and earned a spot among Hip Hop’s elite.
Krizz released his latest solo album, Genius, on July 14, 2009.
- Getcha Life Right
- Chip On My Shoulder
Brothers Kentrell “Krispy Kream” Lindsey and Alvin “Rah Almillio” Lindsey make up the hip hop duo The Knux. The group’s name is short for The Knuckle Heads. The brothers had to leave their hometown of New Orleans after the tragic Hurricane Katrina. Getting back on track in Los Angeles, California, the group has developed some serious music. With songs like “Bang! Bang!”, which was featured on the Entourage promo for Season 5, the duo has been making waves. Their latest album is titled Remind Me In 3 Days…, which was released in late 2008.
- F!re (put it the air)
- Bang! Bang!
Hip Hop is universal, but each artist has their own unique spin and touch to their sound. Arabesque, coming from Toronto, Canada, has put together some seriously hot tracks. His songs may feature extremely strong instrumentals, some club bangers and some hard mixes, but its most definitely his lyrics and delivery that stand out. Every track on his lengthy mixtape, Hang Your Heroes, is worth checking out.
Originally from North Gower, Ontorio, this musical force came out of nowhere with his unofficial remix/response to Kanye West’s Flashing Lights. The music producer and singer/songwriter originally gained his ground while attending university in Toronto. Collaborating with known Canadian R&B/Soul artists to the likes of Divine Brown and Glenn Lewis. This experience led the way to co-writing and producing 10 songs on Ray Robinson’s Juno-nominated album, What it Is.
His latest mixtape Unsung Hero, features collaborations with nearly every underground rapper around.
Unsung Hero leads with the relentlessly upbeat Will I Stay Remix, a song whose bouncing percussion and bright harmonies are at first blush pure pop. That’s until Wale jumps on the mic for a playful verse, followed closely by contributions from super-producer/singer Dallas Austin. It’s a 21st century update of 80’s punkers The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go, only where The Clash snarled Munroe only smiles. If Stay were the only song on Unsung Hero it’d be easy to peg Munroe as disposable pop, but then you’d have to ignore tracks like Piano Lessons. Produced by Jay Dilla protégé Black Milk, Piano Lessons is a somberly paced track built on Munroe’s everyman voice and a chorus comprised of the decidedly un-swagger, “Don’t bet on me, I’m a long shot.” By the time Brooklyn’s finest rapper, Joell Ortiz jumps aboard for a typically dope verse we feel like we’re beginning to get a grip on Munroe’s music: Take a pop foundation, add some electronic production and a guest rapper, and bingo, you’ve got a Colin Munroe song.