Apathy featuring Bishop Lamont & Blue Raspberry - "Be A Better Man"
The howls on this song kick off something beautiful, which is a nice surprise because I've never really checked that hard for Apathy. What I have heard was pretty great, and there's no doubt about it that he's been given the short end of the stick when it came to his career. I do know there is a whole team of avid Apathy advocates, who will probably be ecstatic by September 11th's release of Fire Walk With Me (Twin Peaks reference?). He also has The Alien Tongue coming on the same day, so it's like two for the price of one. On this particular track we get the return of Bishop Lamont, which is always nice. The song is pretty introspective, showing Apathy's thoughtfulness in his rhymes. It's no wonder why the Connecticut rapper has such strong supporters. I'll be checking for more of his stuff now. - Kathy Iandoli (@kath3000)
Stu Bangas & Vanderslice featuring Roc Marciano, Celph Titled & Vinnie Paz - "1st Degree Murder"
Stu Bangas and Vanderslice have stayed pretty busy during the last few years, each responsible for some of the highlights on albums like Hell Razah and Shabazz The Disciple's T.H.U.G. Angelz, Apathy's Honkey Kong, and Chief Kamachi's Rise And Rhyme Vol. 1. But just as impressive has been their taste in films and how they incorporate the posters and scores some my favorite '70s Italian giallo and poliziotteschi films into their cover art and production respectively. With this week's video for "1st Degree Murder" off their upcoming Diggaz With Attitude album, they've finally merged hard beats and rhymes with the subject matter and Mondo-inspired footage of sex, drugs and violence from around the globe that Italian directors from their favorite era exploited. As Roc Marciano, Vinnie Paz and Celph Titled (who has proven he can slay over everything from Buckwild beats to Goblin samples) rip through the beat we get a montage of exhumations, political assassinations, jailhouse brawls, dead bodies stacked on city streets and of course, chicks with guns. After countless videos just this year from rappers who are afraid to do anything more than let their Pirellis spin and make it rain at strip clubs, visuals like "1st Degree Murder's" are strangely refreshing. -Michael Sheehan
Public Enemy featuring DMC - "RLTK"
One of the more slept-on things in Hip Hop this year is the fact that Public Enemy released a new studio album, Most Of My Heroes Still Don't Appear On No Stamp. Perhaps the greatest group in Hip Hop history comes out with a new effort - their first in five years, and not enough people (including us, probably) are talking about it. Joined by another Rap legend in DMC, Chuck D owns this video single "RLTK" with hard edged verses, and fantastic scratching by DJ Lord and Johnny Juice (wearing a Son Of Bazerk shirt no less). This video captures the timeless message of Public Enemy and is a collaboration that actually matters in the history of Hip Hop. This proves that age ain't nothing but a number, as Chuck continues to be one of the best voices in this culture - Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine)