Top Ninja - "Stories of the Drip" / "Fuck Punch n Kickin"

Canibus told LL Cool J, "99 percent of your fans wear high heels." LL replied, "99 percent of your fans don't exist." (We all know there was a moment where Canibus turned to one of his friends and said, "That doesn't even make sense.") Decades later, Elucid added on, "99 percent of your fans are sex bots," which is to say they both wear high heels and don't exist. Or don't they?!?! Cue Top Ninja's sex bot drillgorithm rap. If green screens were bass lines and Pen & Pixel graphics vinyl loops, that might get you halfway here. Add on a clothing endorsement deal and lyrics so straightforward you can't possibly look away — e.g., "I see that ass and all I can think / I need that ass in my life" — and you've officially arrived.

Hagen - "Climax"

Hagen looks at the mix like I'm looking at the new blogger interface right now, like why are you doing this to me ... why. Why is there an extra, invisible line break above the photo? Why isn't there any space between the text and the photo border? Why?! Oh, so you want this to only display properly on mobile devices? Here, what if I do this? OK, so one of those things is fixed. For now. But what about next time? 

While Google eats itself, stubborn makers such as myself and Mr. Hagen plod on, against the wind, ever uphill, lamenting our losses at the screens coldly staring back at us. "How do you make choices like this easy? I would never do that to you. Oh, oh, oh." You hear us, Google? Do you?!


Public Enemy - "Fight The Power (2020 Remix)" feat. Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, Jahi, YG & QuestLove

One YouTube comment reads, "Chuck D didn't need to write a new verse because the original is still as relevant as it was in 1989." That pretty much says it all.

Smitty D & Rock Squad - Facts of Life / Kic Kic

Rock Squad aka Smitty D & Rock Squad released all of two singles before fading to obscurity. Today they're best know as the group Parish Smith aka PMD (fka DJ Eazzy P) was in before EPMD, the one led by his brother Smitty D. While that's always going to be the central talking point around these records, it's also worth noting how different they sound from one another despite being released only one year apart from each other. To hear it from Rock Squad, Hip-Hop evolved awful fast between 1985 and 1986. While "Facts of Life" is pure '80s electro dance rap, "Kic Kic" looks ahead to the stripped down boom-bap of the man who "mixed" this record, Marley Marl. Hearing them back to back is a study in rap's changing of the guard.


Escapism - "Bootlicker"

A few years back, I got into it on Twitter with a certain white, Suffolk County rapper over whether the president was emboldening Long Island's armchair white supremacists to voice their hate more publicly. He contended that wasn't happening. Now they're literally screaming "n****r lover" at protesters a few towns from his home. You live, you learn. Escapism is Smithtown's Taboo and New Jersey's TabInStereo. Register to vote. Find your polling place. Vote.

Kendo TAF - Shut 'Em Down (Live)

"I had a lot of issues growing up," Kendo TAF once said, speaking about how his Hyenaz in the Desert group arrived at its horrocore look. "How bad it was. It darkened me. Like I don’t want to be around nobody; when I did the mask it made me feel I was hiding. But I can still speak. It took a life of it’s own. It became the insignia when you see me. That’s what you see. This dangerous dude but he changed his ways. That mask let you know there’s a darkside to this dude." Kendo would shed the mask for the cover of 2006's Almost Famous only to don it again in videos and on tour with Public Enemy. Below, he raps both with and without it over Pete Rock's "Shut 'Em Down" remix, live in Japan in 2009.


Johnny Storm - Blacc Leathers & Gold Chains

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, the agency's School Breakfast Program served over 2.4 billion breakfasts in FY2018. The very inclusion of the letters FY in that stat says a lot. Johnny Storm fka Uncle John fka Sky Walker has been on this site since 2016 and rapping further back than then. Christ Kenneth is a relative newcomer to these pages. I'm not saying this is that, but if Johnny Storm and Christ Kenneth came out as a group called the Free Breakfast for School Children Program, would anyone object? Meantime, Blacc Leathers & Gold Chains is 12 of the most nutritional minutes of rap music you'll hear this fiscal year.


Poepan the Prolifik Penn - "DoItTogether!"

Sometimes, there's not much one can say; see me watching this video, knowing I'm going to sit back and let it speak for itself.

Sometimes, there's a lot to say; see Poepan the Prolifik Penn getting so galvanized by the movement he comes out the woodwork, i.e, off a multi-year hiatus, with something like this:

"Our philosophies derive from Haile Selassie, Garvey, El Hajj Malik and others hated by Nazis / DGS is my posse of Buffalo Soliders bombarding the industry with artistry."

Hear, motherfucking hear.


Nomad Carlos x The Artivist - The Psyche

The rental rolls down a desolate highway, winding hills on either side with many behind, more ahead, and nothing else to command the driver's attention. His mind wanders abyssal spirals. Until ... what's that ahead? Any blip along this route would demand a stop if only to see something other than open road and barren hills. A fruit stand? Perfect. Pull off. But wait ... who works this place? Something's wrong. The sign reads Freshly Picked but the setup screams store bought. And there's the discarded Driscolls package. Click. Bang. Vroom.