PBGR – The Black Market [Album]
Music releases scream toward you at full speed. If us listeners were evasive dodgeball players, and LPs, mixtapes and leaks rubbery projectiles, we’d spend our lives diving and ducking. It’s easy to check out and flick on autopilot—abandon the gymnasium floor for quiet and a good book. Without fail, though, a project or song smacks you like a slap across the face, realigning your attention back to where it truly belongs. Such creative gems, previously unknown and waiting to be uncovered, keep us on our toes.
By comparison, PBGR has us dancing. The acronym, befitting some Soviet clandestine service, stands for Play Broke Get Rich. Hip-hop artists Swarve Sutton & BabaCrunch, who compile the tandem, enact their shared sobriquet throughout The Black Market, a free, 15-track record worthy of cash. Consider yourself lucky it’s a giveaway.
Charged with a fiery, vengeful introduction, Market maintains consistency ’till the very end, hitting a literal and figurative high note on “Second Chance.” In comparing the synth-tinged, starry march of the initial track to such songs as “Stockwood,” which takes an airy flute and makes a banger of it, a novel kind of street angst takes shape. That the duo deviates back and forth, from expedited aggression to mellowed, soulful ambition, speaks to both rappers’ deft command of style, a special skill capable of enabling transatlantic crossover.—Alex Siber
You can download the free project here.
The 1978ers – P.O.T. (Act I, II, III) [EP]
When yU asks if he can talk, you let him talk. It doesn’t take long to tell if an artist gets it. yU and his producer-in-crime, Slimkat, undoubtedly understand the ways of the world. By listening to their P.O.T. (Act I, II, II) EP for one payment of free-99, you can too. The musical pairing, joining hands under the Mello Music Group banner, preface its forthcoming LP as The 1978ers with a soulful triad of acts that lack little and inspire introspection.
People of Today, the essay to this EP’s thesis, won’t make waves until November. Nor does it need to. P.O.T. (just take a stab at guessing the acronym) is a lesson in universalism, and worth revisiting. The undercurrents of desensitization, generational conflict, parenthood and a healthy motivation to move through obstacles apply to each of us in one way or another. yU’s hypersensitivity to all that we share in a time defined by warring entities and global skepticism couldn’t come at a better time. He assumes the approach of an abstract documentarian, putting to wax impactful couplets specific enough to strike a chord while allowing for interpretation. This project applies to people from different walks of life without sacrificing quality or merit. What more can you ask for?
“Communities be like ghost towns,” yU spews on “Act III.” Maybe so, but one boombox and P.O.T. on repeat have the power to bring reflection and warmth to those in need of a kick, breathing life into those cold, desolate towns one listener at a time.—Alex Siber
You can download the album here.
Run The Jewels- Run The Jewels 2 [Album]
You can download the album here.
The Underachievers & Flatbush Zombies – Clockwork Indigo [EP]
Considering they’re touring together with the same name, it’s only right that the Underachievers and Flatbush Zombies joined forces in the studio, too. I mean, it seemed inevitable to me that they would do something like the Clockwork Indigo EP, if only because they have been running with the same crowd for the past year or two. Not only that, but they share a lot of things in common, namely their fondness for weed, psychedelia, and gritty NYC hip-hop.
And that’s just what we get here on this raw five-track release that will definitely please anyone who’s been a fan of these guys to date. Personally, I’m glad to see that they kept it so short, as I’ve grown tired of these cats dropping projects with close to 20 songs. There’s not much to turn your nose up at on Clockwork Indigo, though I must say that the beat for “Benefit Concert” gets a little grating as it goes on.—Andrew Martin
You can download the EP here.