Glaciers of Ice – August Edition

My August edition of Glaciers of Ice, a monthly hip-hop roundup, is running today right here. Read it now. (Full text below).

RIP Baatin! The Slum Village member was found dead at his home this week. The cause of death is unknown at this time, though the medical examiner has apparently ruled out foul play. Baatin had recently rejoined SV, bringing his nasal and eloquent flow back to the heralded group. We’ll miss you.

Dynamics Plus is kind of a nerd. On his albums C.H.A.O.S. Legions I and II, the MC/ producer has created a World of Warcraft-style hip-hop scenario, or something right out of 300. Tales of Roman battlefields and futuristic Centurions are spun over big and sometimes eerie beats. This is D&D rap for role players. But even at its most serious, it seems clear that Dynamics is having fun with the characters he is creating. Besides, horrorcore is so early ’90s – the future is RPG-core.

La Coka Nostra is a super-group consisting of a bunch of three angry white rappers and one angry, rock-influenced white DJ – Everlast, Danny Boy (former members of House of Pain), Ill Bill (via Non Phixion), Slaine, and Lethal (also House of Pain). And anger is indeed the tone on much of the album. Even the soft guitars of the Everlast-produced “The Stain,” which starts out as a throatily-crooned ballad, erupt into hard-rocking tension. The best moments come on songs like “Bang Bang,” a more straight hip-hop number buoyed by Snoop Dogg’s presence. Unfortunately, the album misses the mark repeatedly with its attempts to combine cheesy rock and mediocre hip-hop.

UK MC Juice Aleem has released one of the summer’s most eclectic and interesting hip-hop albums. Jerusalaam Come (Big Dada) combines reggae, dub, electro, and hip-hop (not necessarily in that order), creating the best mash-up of Caribbean and old-school NYC styles since Roots Manuva’s Run Come Save Me. The album’s opening track, “First Lesson,” finds Aleem rapping and scatting over a stuttering, staccato bassline, infusing the proceeding songs with a burst of creative energy. “Rock My Hologram” is weird, warped futuristic phaser sounds, while “U4Mi” is softer, almost r’n’b-style rap. But however he cuts it, Aleem succeeds.

Two new releases, courtesy of E1 Entertainment, arrived last month from the wonderfully off-kilter soul and hip-hop power couple, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dudley Perkins. Muldrow has been getting a bit more notice recently – she guest-appeared on Erykah Badu and Mos Def’s new solo albums. With her second solo release, Umsindo, she proves her creative mettle and earns her kudos, although songs do tend to blend into each other in terms of pace and sound. Still, Muldrow’s funky production and beautiful voice (and capable rhyming, when she is so inclined) make this album shine. Perkins, on the other hand, focuses much more on rhyming than singing. Muldrow handles the production here, and the beats all consist of her signature slinky, writhing funk. Since his days recording with The Alkoholiks and Madlib, Perkins has provided one of the most unique voices to come out of Southern California, a trend that continues on Holy Smokes.

Remember Us3? In 1993, they burst onto the jazz-hip-hop fusion scene with Cantaloop, and then promptly sank back into obscurity. If “Flip Fantasia” still rings a bell, you may be interested in checking out their new self-released album, Stop.Think.Run. Producer Geoff Wilkinson is joined by a couple of young New York MC’s, Brook Yung and Sene, as he attempts to update his Jazzmatazz-style sound. It works nicely, but to be honest, this kind of jazzy hip-hop isn’t all that interesting anymore.

Finally, famed producer James Poyser has a new album out with his new project, The Rebel Yell, a collaboration with Khari Ferrari, called Love & War (Rapster). The press release calls it “misfit r’n’b,” and this might actually be a good description. Rapper Dice Raw (of The Roots), and singers Nikki Jean and Domini Quinn SupaStar join Poysner on this electro and house-tinged effort, full of fast-paced beats and sweeping synths.

That’s all for now, so until next month… e-mail with thoughts and insults, and send me yer shit! I’ll listen to it. Glaciers is ghost like Casper.

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