Friday Rap Up: A Look Back at the Week in Hip Hop that Was, Starring Riff Raff, Raz, Jay Battle, Nacho Picasso & Blue Sky Black Death, Chimurenga Renaissance, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis"/>
The run away slap-yourself-in-the-face-because-it's-so-noveltastic moment in local rap came Tuesday (though I shared it early Wednesday morning ), when cartoonish Houston rap personality Riff Raff>"/>
The run away slap-yourself-in-the-face-because-it's-so-noveltastic moment in local rap came Tuesday (though I shared it early Wednesday morning), when cartoonish Houston rap personality Riff Raff published a video for his song "Rap Game Sleepless in Seattle", which was - let's be honest - probably conjured from the depths of his cornrowed psyche after that morning's coke nap. Part LIl B, part Paul Wall, but mostly his own wacked-out variety show, Raff captured our hearts with this one, and we are forever greatful. Thank you #based Raff.
Raz is easily one of the most captivating local emcees to have emerged this year (though he existed musically before as part of rock/rap outfit Razpy & The Vigilantes). He caught our attention back in May with the emotional track "They'll Speak", and continued to impress this week with his equally heavy joint, "Brave" (above). Keep your eye on Raz, he's on his way up.
One half of Beacon Hill rap duo Gran Rapids (the guy on the left), Jay Battle has made a name for himself as professional-calibre studio engineer and producer, and released an instrumental beat-tape Nun Chucks (like a Sister's Converse) this week. The cleanliness of the production sticks out right away, and the stand-alone beats take some interesting turns, and function as songs on their own. The sounds range from future-trap and wabbly dubstep, to easy listening groove. Give it a listen.
On of the best songs from Nacho Picasso & Blue Sky Black Death's friggin' dynamite Exalted full-length, "Kickin Out Windows" got the video treatment this week, and the clip is just as fantastic. As I read on a local rap message board, Nacho is damn good at looking cool. The team veered from their successful in-house video approach this time around, and chose to roll with established local video-pro Jon Jon Augustavo to equally nice results. A fine product as per usual. I tell ya, that Nacho kid is going places.
Tendai Maraire (of Shabazz Palaces) also gave us his Pungwe mixtape this week. His new-ish Chimurenga Renaissance project has been yielding some great results thus far, and puts forth some interesting product here. A mix of traditional African and contemporary rap sounds, you can hear Maraire's Shabazz influence woven in, but Pungwe is a success on its own.
Lastly, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis released their much-anticipated video for moving track "Same Love" a few days back. Also directed by Augustavo (along side Lewis), the visuals are as touching as the song itself. A good one, indeed.