Detroit’s Guilty Simpson and Philadelphia’s Small Professor have collaborated on what may arguably be one of the best hip hop albums this year, Highway Robbery, which Coalmine Records will release on September 24th. Unlike most contemporary and mainstream hip hop albums where there are several different producers hired for particular tracks and tons useless guest spots, the first two singles off Highway Robbery reveal the album to be an organic and consistent whole — and it comes from the fact that producer and artist share the same and very particular vision.
The third single off the forthcoming album, “I’m the City” features some impressive scratching by master producer Statik Selektah towards the last minute or so of the set. The song employs a haunting organ-based sample and sparse beats that gives Guilty Simpson and Body James space to tell tales of “the evil that men do,” as Kool G. Rap once said. Much like G. Rap’s “Ill Street Blues,” the track continues the album’s purposeful, determined sense of menace. It the sort of song that creates a lingering palpable sense of unease; the sort of unease of men who have seen and done terrible things to others to get by.
At the end of the day, it’s pure street hip hop — dope beats, stories of crime, and an emcee with an incredible gift for novelistic lyricism.