Pete Rock, Camp Lo & M.O.P. take it back to '79, while DJ Bizzy gets insightful rhymes from Murs, Tru Wordz and Thurz. Willie The Kid and Alchemist also combine forces.
Pete Rock & Camp Lo featuring M.O.P. - "No Uniform"
This always surprises my peers, but I was never a big Camp Lo fan until 2007's Black Hollywood. While I always admired Ski Beats' sounds employed on Uptown Saturday Night, it was never me. I know that Sonny Cheeba and Geechie Suede are always held against their 1996 introduction, but this is a group that I feel got better with time. Pete Rock comes in with a thumping beat on "No Uniform," rocking the same rare groove sample from Dilated Peoples' "Work The Angles," and M.O.P. chimes in great. This is easily my favorite song on 80 Blocks From Tiffany's Pt. II, a project you should have to pay money for, but instead they gave for free. I love the aggressive energy from some usually subdued cats (okay, and Lil Fame, who's never subdued). This record lives up to the project's name and documentary inspiration. Hard, street raps. If you ask me, this is it, what? - Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine)
Willie The Kid & Alchemist - "Bad Mistake"
After listening to a few hours of Hip Hop daily over the course of my run here at DX, hearing about the pastime of "throwing money" has gotten pretty tiresome. Yet when Willie The Kid describes it like a "temper tantrum" on Masterpiece Theatre's "Bad Mistake," all of a sudden there's some excitement injected back into the act. The same goes for "diamonds." Their value has plummeted when it comes to being an effective tool for articulating wealth in a Hip Hop verse. Yet when Willie tells us about diamonds that look like a "box of Good & Plenty's" they instantly become essential to a narrative that also includes black licorice, cherry blossoms and plum wine. Discovering inventive emcees who aren't afraid to push the envelope with their wordplay, swing for the fences with esoteric references and craft rhymes for the five senses is a big reason I have enjoyed writing these slept-on pieces. Willie The Kid is one of those emcees and his rhymes are the rare kind that beg for a lyric sheet not because of their rapid fire speed or tongue twisting combinations, but because of how specific, surreal and evocative they are. Weapons, animals, food and other disparate items share bar space, heightening a mood that is at once sinister and lavish. I've been looking forward to Alchemist and Willie The Kid teaming up for a full project since their track 'Waste Not Want Not" off Willie's slept-on 2011 mixtape, The Cure 2. Last week, they gave us Masterpiece Theatre which currently has my vote for EP of the year. My first ever slept-on pick was for a track off Willie's The Crates project. I also have written about Alchemist more than any other artist, as I've spotlighted his tracks with Action Bronson, Roc C, Oh No and Prodigy. So this pick comes as a no-brainer and will hopefully show how much I'll miss doing these. - Michael Sheehan
DJ Bizzy f. Murs, Macy Gray, Tru Wordz & Thurz - "No War"
Perhaps many readers looked beyond DJ Bizzy's latest selection, "No War," but a second into the track, it's clear that it shouldn't be slept on. "Everybody grabbin' their guns," Murs says on the selection. "I believe in the second amendment, but not an AK with a clip that's extended." Add strong flows and thought provoking content from Tru Wordz and Thurz plus an infectious chorus from Macy Gray and you've got a dope track worth checking for. The production is stellar and the message is strong enough to raise a fist or a peace sign to. - Andres Tardio
RELATED: Alchemist Talks Russian Roulette Experimentation, Says Beats Aren't Good Enough For Featured Emcees [2012 INTERVIEW]