Meyhem Lauren – Piatto O’Doro
Stepping out of the shadow of good friend Action Bronson, Meyhem Lauren‘s latest release, Piatto O’Doro is his best effort yet. Combining street raps and concise flows with some some of New York’s best producers (Harry Fraud, DJ Muggs, Large Professor, Seth Silenser), Lauren keeps things very East Coast centric. Not Guilty is built around a compelling piano melody, Money In My Pocket has an old school feel about it while Live Ginger is one of Large Professor’s better beats of late.
Lauren and Bronson regularly collaborate on each other’s projects, so it’s no surprise Bam Bam appears on three of the albums 15 cuts, with his verse on Dragon Vs. Wolf a highlight. The posse cut Bonus Round, featuring Bronson, Roc Marciano and Big Body Bes is another standout, while Lauren goes in on Vintage and album closer Elevation.
Verdict: Solid effort from one of New York’s finest grinders.
Scavenger Hunt – Scavenger Mixtape: Covers ’81 – ’97
L.A. quartet Scavenger Hunt‘s latest release is an interesting concept. For the past couple of months, the band have been releasing cover tracks every Thursday. Some of the songs are band favourites, while others have been requested by fans. Now the band have complied all the covers plus a few extras and released them as one mixtape.
Mixed by DJ One Odd Fellow into a seamless 35 minute tribute, the mixtape is an uplifting reworking of some of the biggest hits of the 80s and 90s. Kicking off with Ace Of Base‘s timeless classic, All That She Wants, the tape includes covers of Kim Carnes’ Bette Davis Eyes, Roxette‘s Listen To Your Heart, Prince‘s Nothing Compares 2 U and Mariah Carey‘s Honey.
Jill Amoureux‘s playful vocals are a perfect fit for the synth infused covers, with the sombre yet passionate take on Madonna‘s Like A Prayer and the electro-pop re-imagining of Sophie B Hawkin‘s Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover being two of my favourites.
Verdict: An interesting project sure to win Scavenger Hunt more fans.
Chevy Woods – The Freemix
Wiz Khalifa and Taylor Gang affiliate Chevy Woods dropped his first new mixtape of 2016 last week. The Freemix is a throwback to old school mixtapes, with Woods spitting fresh bars over some of hip-hop’s biggest tracks. The likes of Travi$ Scott‘s Antidote, Bryson Tiller‘s Don’t and Jay Z‘s classic Dead Presidents get the Woods treatment, with his flow over Cam’ron‘s Suck It Or Not one of the tape’s best.
If there’s any dissatisfaction I have with this project, it’s Woods freestyling over famous beats. There’s nothing wrong with his rhymes – with the Pittsburgh rapper adapting his flow to suit the distinctive beats – but I’d much rather hear Woods freestyling over brand new productions from regular collaborators like Sonny Digital, Ty Dolla $ign and Juicy J.
Verdict: Interesting project that will keep Woods fan’s happy until he drops his long awaited debut record.
Farida – The 25th Hour
Described on her Soundcloud page as the “emotions of a 25 year old,” The 25th Hour is the debut release from rising Norwegian singer/songwriter Farida. The eight track mixtape is the perfect introduction to Farida’s downtempo R&B melodies, including her previous singles Three Weeks, Solo Ride and the nostalgic soul influenced I’ll Be Here. The hazy production is primarily handled by fellow Norwegian Mogila, with additional support from Steinar Olsen and Prototype.
Farida lays her heart on the line throughout The 25th Hour, her introspective lyrics detailing themes of trust, self-love, infidelity and broken hearts. The trap influenced Different Melodies and sombre Three Weeks deal with the issue of heartbreak and failed relationships, Switch finds Farida rapping mid-song about lost love, while the final bluesy soul number, Young Minds (Jam), is reminiscent of early Alicia Keys.
Verdict: Brilliant release from Europe’s new R&B superstar.