The highlights of hip-hop holiday giveaways: Jet Age of Tomorrow, G-Side, Oddisee, more
Though you may not have noticed amid the avalanche of strong drinks, loud explosions and soon-to-be remitted resolutions, the rap world made pledges of its own last week. But instead of vows, there were symbolic gestures to send the year stepping in the right rhythm.
In what's shaping up to be an auspicious tradition, several rappers and groups are offering free downloads that will help you survive your first day back at the office/school/monastery -- a worthy successor to last year's harvest from the Cool Kids, Yelawolf, XO, The Knux and Kendrick Lamar.
Below is a bluffer's guide to what will help prop up your caffeine high. Note: Some, if not all, of these downloads contain cussing.
The Jet Age of Tomorrow -- "The Journey to the 5th Echelon"
Even if you are a committed skeptic to the expanding cult of Odd Future, you cannot deny the genre name ascribed to the sophomore album of the space funk travelers the Jet Age of Tomorrow: electric sex music -- what you would expect from a group that channels a cosmic slop of N.E.R.D., Sa-Ra and Dam-Funk. Highly recommended for those inclined toward Afro-futuristic funk, sunbursts and sundry Alpha Centauri swag.
As OFWGKTA claims: "this Is A All Around Upgrade From The VOYAGER Release. The Quirky Spaced Out Sounds Will Have Your Ears Mind [Screwed] For Days, So We Advise Not To Do Drugs While Listening." Or at least not until 5 p.m.
Download: (via Odd Future)
Since before Rodney O & Joe Cooley, Los Angeles has had a love affair with bass. Accordingly, the union of astral Huntsville, Ala., rappers G-Side, producers Block Beattaz and gangster Freddie Gibbs will keep car stereos rumbling (provided you have an iPod auxilliary port) all year. "Bass" was somehow left off G-Side's "The One ... Cohesive," but it may be the best song you'll hear all day (unless "Season of the Witch" randomly comes on the radio.)
MP3: G-Side featuring Freddie Gibbs & Stevie Joe -- "Bass!!" (Left Click)
Oddisee -- "A Year In..."
Oddisee spent 2010 trying to live up to his name, collaborating with a range of characters, including Brighton, England's trip-hop soulstress Andreya Triana, jazzy New York favorite Homeboy Sandman and the top tier -- X.O., Kingpin Slim, yU -- of his Washington, D.C., hometown. His soulful wanderings lamped in Los Angleles long enough to produce ideal complements to the laid-back palm-tree flows of TiRon, Blu and Trek Life. Available for free at his Bandcamp site, the compilation traces the arc of one of the most gifted and unsung producers in rap.
Curren$y -- "The Winners Circle"
All you need to know about Curren$y is that he recently tweeted: "Man, I've been in such a fog...True Grit?? Black Swan?? One sounds like an NFL films doc and the other a blaxploitation flick." It's this haze of blueberry kush, fast cars and fur coats that makes the New Orleans rapper's music so appealing. He raps like his sole conception of reality comes from a James Bond-themed blaxploitation flick, yet has the wherewithal to write a song like "Record Deals," ripping into the rap industry over the beat to Outkast's "Mainstream." Right now, anything Curren$y does is worth checking for.
-- Jeff Weiss