Tag: MC Lyte

Certainly, if you’ve been frequenting the site over the past 12-18 months or so you’ve come across a handful of posts on Melbourne, Australia-based emcee REMI  and his producer and collaborator Sensible J. The duo rose to national prominence in their homeland with 2014’s critically and commercially successful  Raw X Infinity, an album that was named Triple J‘s Album of the Week and the Independent Hip Hop Album of the Year by the Australian Independent Record Association, a well as receiving international attention from OkayAfricaJUICE, laut.deNPR‘s All Things Considered among others. And adding to a growing profile, the duo were named “Australian Breakthrough Artist of the Year,” and followed that up with touring nationally and across both the UK and EU with Danny BrownVic MensaDe La SoulJoey Bada$$ and Damon Albarn.

Last year saw the release of the duo’s critically applauded sophomore full-length effort, Divas and Demons, which paired their strengths — an incredibly adept lyricist and storyteller, whose stories possessed an uncommonly earnest, soul-baring honesty and an incredibly dope and soulful producer, whose sound and production nods at the great J. Dilla, DJ Premier and others; in fact, you’d probably recall “For Good,” a charmingly coquettish love song in which its male and female narrators have misunderstandings, bicker and fight, cheat and drive each other insane in a youthfully dysfunctional relationship featuring a guest spot from Sydney, Australia-based poet, visual artist and singer/songwriter Sampa The Great rhyming and singing over a warm and soulful production that nodded at The Roots and Erykah Badu‘s “You Got Me;” “Substance Therapy,” the album’s second single featured Remi rhyming honestly about how drinking, drugging and womanizing as an escape from himself and his depression only managed to further mire him in depression paired with a production that emphasizes the rapid vacillation of self-loathing, self-doubt, fear, anger, and desperate escapism of the severely depressed; “Lose Sleep” was a deeply personal song that drew from REMI’s own experiences a mixed race man in Australia and in the world — and in some way, he wanted the song to be a message to other mixed race kids about that weird feeling of feeling as though you could never quite fit in; but that his experience and story, as of those of others matters in a much larger story; and the last single I wrote about “Contact Hi/High/I” featured REMI along with a guest spot from  Hiatus Kaiyote‘s Silent Jay rhyming and singing about what seems to be a permanent state of adolescence, which constantly validates itself through vice and excess.

Interestingly enough, this year marks Sensible J’s solo debut — and his first single “Fire Sign” is a a collaboration with his friends and frequent collaborators REMI and Sampha the Great, which features the two rhyming over a thumping and swaggering, soulful groove, reminiscent of the aforementioned J. Dilla, thanks to a production featuring twinkling keys, boom bap-like drum programming and a ridiculous, anthemic hook; in fact, in a playful turn, the trio pay homage to A Tribe Called Quest — and it shouldn’t be surprising because much like the legendary Tribe and De La Soul, the Melbourne-based trio specialize in an overwhelmingly soulful, thoughtful hip-hop, serving as a reminder that the genre and its practitioners have always been wildly diverse; after all, NWA, Tribe, De La, Public Enemy, Kid ‘N’ Play, MC Lyte and others all existed simultaneously.



Monikker is an Austin, TX-based producer, music blogger and emcee, who pairs thoughtful and socially conscious lyrics, a wicked wit and complex rhyme scheme and word play with golden era hip-hop production  comprised of tweeter and woofer rocking, boom bap beats, lush, soul and neo soul and old-school hip-hop samples that will remind some listeners of acts like Atmosphere and other indie hip-hop acts. The up-and-coming Austin, TX-based artist has been pretty busy over the past few years — her music blog and podcast focuses on the best indie and unsigned hip-hop artists locally, nationally and internationally; and as an artist she has performed at Dallas, TX‘s Grenada Theater and spent a stint with Austin, TX-based act Savannah Red and the Blueberries, before signing with Royal Lifestyle in 2014.

2016 may arguably be Monikker’s biggest year to date as June 6, 2016 will mark the release of the Free Speech EP with her Free Speech, Vol. 1 mixtape slated for a release at the end of this year. “Heaven on Earth (Gotta Go)” a collaboration with fellow Austin emcee Kwamizzle is the first single off the Free Speech, Vol. 1 mixtape and as Monikker explains in press notes the track is “a nod to the boom bap style and East Coast lyrics, complete with samples and authentic turntable scratches. Lyrically ‘Heaven on Earth (Gotta Go)’ imagines a utopia where people are at peace with one another to achieve Nirvana here on Earth. At the same time, it’s a song that acknowledges one thing we all have in common — our similar fate as finite beings.”  Sonically, speaking the song’s lush and soulful production sounds indebted to the legendary J. Dilla — in particular, I think of The Pharcyde‘s “Drop” and Q. Tip‘s “Vivrant Thing” — while lyrically her flow is reminiscent of MC Lyte, Eternia, Rah Digga and others, complete with a wisdom beyond her youth. And Kwamizzle joins in with an equally hard-hitting and gritty and swaggering bars that fit the lush production perfectly. Certainly, this single will remind listeners that hip-hop’s golden era is still powerfully influential, and although finding conscious and thoughtful hip-hop can be difficult when mainstream super conglomerate radio stations inundate listens with empty, soulless and prepackaged nonsense, it’s out there waiting to be found if you make the effort.