Avatar Young Blaze The Humble Villain
The Humble Villain is a fresh load of songs from Seattle's foremost Russian-American rap spitter. Av's slowed down a bit from his days of releasing mixtapes (or street albums) quarterly, and it sounds like it's given him time to let his life catch up with him, and reflect on his course more objectively. THV is a more personal venture all around, where he rhymes about sipping lean and smoking potent Northwest herb as much as he does about love lost and the state of his personal affairs. He also explores in some depth his Kurt Cobain fascination, both paying homage and making direct, self-aware comparisons that only enrich the mixture. Over time, Av has added perspective to his raw talent, and the result has been better each time out. At this point, he's an extremely well-rounded MC, and is making the best music of his career. Sure, their are some yoinked beats and whatnot, so the album is free (here). I'd just like to start giving the guy money for his music at some point.
Kung Foo Grip is one of the more promising young hip hop acts from the area (often mentioned in the same breath as Brothers From Another, although KFG's style is decidedly darker), and as such, this release has been looked to for some time as a show-and-prove moment, where the group would either live up to their hype or slip on their potential. Here, they have emerged triumphant, and created six quality tracks with talented emerging producer Giorgio Momurda. They spit effective, yet occasionally naive rhymes, but their songwriting and delivery are both on-point. The EP not only shows promise for future releases, it's a good stand alone release that deserves a few rotations. Listen here.