elmattic header image 1

the devil’s dynamite


Summertime mid-year roundup of all the fire.  Also reminiscing about the blackout of '77 a year early because fuck your round numbers.

Keep cool familio.

Summer Not Coming - SHIRT / Hall & Nash 2 - The Purist & WestSide Gunn (feat. Conway) / R.E.D. - A Tribe Called Red (feat. Yasiin Bey, Narcy & Black Bear) / Rubble Kings Theme (Dynamite On The Street) - Run The Jewels / Mystery Fish - Aesop Rock / Smoke - The Difference Machine (feat. Homeboy Sandman) / We Are Fucked - Words Hurt / Not Sure Why I Came Back - Blueprint / Breakdance for the Def - Short Fuze & Uncommon Nasa / Dimelo - Timeless Truth / Bosses - Skizz (feat. Roc Marciano & Conway) / Nas Album Done - Nas & DJ Khaled / El Dorado - Milano Constantine / Park Avenue - AG Da Coroner (feat. Action Bronson & Roc Marciano) / PayPal The Feature - Ras Kass (feat. Steele & Sean Price) / Rap Professor - Sean Price & DJ Skizz / Halftime - The Higher Up (Mark Scott x Kye Brewin) (feat. Breeze Brewin) / Surreal N*gga - Gensu Dean & Denmark Vessey / Rose Water - Baje One / Smiling (Quirky Race Doc) - Open Mike Eagle & Paul White / SummerSlam 88 - WestSide Gunn, WS Pootie & Your Old Droog / Fame - Bugseed

b-bop for b-boys (take 6)


Let my children have music! Let them hear live music. Not noise. My children! You do what you want with your own!

The Shimmey Roll (Shaolin Jazz Remix) - Ol' Dirty Bastard / Rare Form - Third Sight / Night of the Living Dead - Messiah Musik / Our World Is A Cave - Sidney Poitier & Fred Katz / Sloth 8 - Tenshun / Track 18 - Howard Hanger Trio / Savagelands 4 - Tenshun / Vivian at the Art Basel - Westside Gunn (feat. Your Old Droog) / NY Tap Water - SHIRT / Sickum - Quelle Chris / Chapter 5: The Cavern - Heliocentrics (feat. Melvin Van Peebles) / Son Still Shine - Elucid / Excalibur - Bones The Beat Head / Flow fiDELITY (instrumental) - Sach / Winter Nights - Jenova 7 / The Man With The Horn - Gangrene / DestiNY (instrumental) - Messiah Musik / 3 Stories - Wiki / Circus Maximus - Vordul Mega (feat. Billy Woods)

dope of the month club :: may weather knockouts


Yeah I don't have some clever overarching theme this time, just a quick roundup some nice fucking records which done dropped.  Some of 'em are from April or earlier, but fuck I look like? Wolf Blitzer?

No doubt, the Griselda family most definitely on top this year, from Westside Gunn's Flygod on out.  Fifty tracks is too many for any mixtape, but there's some supremely ill joints on Conway's drop--'Anybody,' 'Rex Ryan,' 'Red Tops' are a few.  

Don't Get Scared Now is a 6 song EP version of the posse cut, but most of all highlights Daringer's supremely on point production.  That 'Chyna' joint gets five Cool J uuhhhhhhs.

Words Hurt :: Fuck That Pretty Boy Shit
Words Hurt is a collabo of Alaska from Atoms Fam and Lang Vo, with Special Guest Stars like Red Pill and Rast on this one.

This record is for guys like me who are so old, we're beyond washed, we're stonewashed. We're faded and frayed.  We're so old, our wife takes our shit out the laundry and puts it in the garbage, and we go dig it out because we still like wearing it.  If rap was a person it'd be in its early 40s, and this record is aged just right.  It's smart, literate, namechecking Three Times Dope and Chekhov and Home Depot.  The beats are sludgy and deep but move the crowd.  It's a little bit angry, a little bit weary, a little bit Old Man Yells At Cloud, but it's also funny as hell.

The one part I don't like though, is that shit about jacking off to Anne Hathaway, because damn son, really?  I don't need to know that shit.


Mic Lanny :: Forty $pice
This actually came out last year but what the fuck am I, Jimmy Olsen?

This record is fucking hilarious. I don't usually go for stuff that's just funny, but this is a spoof of your party/trap/hip-pop bullshit, except with more cheesecake and putting stuff up your butt and chest hair.  Even at 12 tracks the joke doesn't wear out.


Third Sight have been rolling in their lane for longer than I knew--I thought they came up in the post-Jux underground explosion era but Orchids & Corpses is four-track jams from '93-'96?!  Some of it, you can hear how they're riffing on that era, but a lot of it is some serious next level shit for 20 years ago.

Dufunk, the legendary D-Styles and other producers bring in sometimes superlative, sometimes just serviceable beats; MC Roughneck Jihad is the main event here.  Jihad is a superb writer.  His level of vocab, combos and wordplay is top shelf.  Truth to be told, he's the only example of a rapper who's writing is better than his delivery--he can rap, but you're not there for his voice or flow.  It's all about the words.

Blueprint's another one of those underground legends who's been steadily grinding for over a decade, piling up great records and sticking to it.  I've always felt he was a better producer by a hair than an MC, so it's interesting to hear him rock an album over someone else's beats--and even more interesting when all of them come from Aesop Rock.  Role switching on some Face/Off shit.

Giving the reins over allows Print to make the whole EP one story--something he excels at--and it comes together most strong on the last two tracks.  This is his best record in a few years by my count.

Aesop Rock :: The Impossible Kid 
Indie-rap king, Def Jux, moved to Montana or whatever, blah blah blah. You know the story here for Christ's sake.

I fuck with Aes but was never a major stan.  But no doubt this is another solid LP from the man, and his self-production (you're headed for self-production) is pretty damn tight.  Definitely has more tracks than usual that are personal, narrative-driven and focused which is an interesting shift for the dude who's specialized in major level abstraction to date.  So we get a joint about therapy, one about his cat I think, one about his brothers, and one about getting older.  The rest is what we expect and come to the table for, the eighty million words crammed into three minute songs that go by so fast every time you hear a juicy rhyme or arresting image he's already busted fifty more. He said something about a flying saucer that was cool and then...he said something about tomatoes and then...dude is like Rap Game Roadrunner Mouth.  So. Many. Syllables.

Maybe it's just me but it's almost kinda...quaint?  He's still rocking this style, the word salad and idea blizzard that defined a very specific era of rap which is now well and truly past.  Aesop Rock records have come to have a kinda throwback feel, like a Kane show in Vegas or something.  With Aes it's almost...Amish--that level of craft, in an age where kids just jack a beat off YouTube and get a hit single.  Like, oh, he's caning his own chair. He's bottling honey from his own hives. He's sewing his wife a bonnet or some shit.  Nobody knows how to do that anymore in the modern world.  But it's also totally removed from the rest of things.  I don't know, it's still a good record. Buy his honey.

Anyways I had enough of this monthly bloggedy-blogging experiment probably, come back in December for the year-end roundup.

dope of the month club :: april fuels

This month a bunch of veteran MCs dropped some growly-growling mass extinction bars...the direct descendants making good on Jeru's 'You Can't Stop The Prophet.'  Analog souls with zinc-plated connections.  More likely to toss a Molotov than snap a selfie.  Dead city radio broadcasting from 24 hour bodegas in quarantine zones.  "There are men of letters & then there are men of militarized letters..peace to Rammellzee."

True story: when I was a dumb youth, there were two 12" records where on first listen I couldn't figure out if they were 33 or 45rpm and kept flipping the switch because they sounded mad fucked up either way.  One was the Bring The Noise and the other was Swans' Cop.  These gods put those records on the one & two at both speeds and cut 'em up like Grandmaster Gysin.

Fam. The cops think every day is Purge Day. The water out the tap is poison. The World-Eater himself, Galactus Toupee, is on point to be the next president. Somebody blew up Amerikkka? Coulda been these cats.

Once upon a time not long ago, when people wore backpacks and dial-up modems were slow, the N.W.A. of the Rawkus era was Company Flow.  These days El-P is doing his Rap Van Halen thing, and Mr Len is doing...whatever it is he does.  

Bigg Jus was straight up CoFlow's MC Ren, and seems to spend more time on his puzzling Tumblr than blessing the mic.  In the '00s it feels like Justoleum's been reclusive and radio-silent, but between 3 solo LPs and the two Nephlim Modulation System joints, he's dropped precision munitions not clusterbombs.  It's been four years since Machines That Make Civilization Fun, but I have it from the man himself that this joint is just the first knife out the drawer--a Kingspitter EP and third NMS LP dropping this year. Prepare yourselves.  You need a record cut, you call the record cutter.

Another mic-wrecker from the Def Jux camp with a staccato flow and rhymes like depleted uranium rounds--dense, radioactive and deployed in dubious war zones.  Lif's first solo LP in seven years kicks off with two tracks of rapid-fire, storytelling heat on some 'Shakey Dog'/'Know The Ledge' type shit.  The rest of the record's got him hanging with old homeboys like Del, Edan and the Perceptionists and showing off some surprisingly lighter, positive and optimistic joints--fair enough for a comeback I guess, and the closer 'Don't Look Down' is literally transcendent.  Put it between Scarface's 'I'm Dead' and Killah Priest's 'Almost There' on your Preparation For The Next Life mixtape.

His I Phantom's finally got a re-release: remember this one?  The whole-concept LP about a struggling MC (a la Prince Among Thieves) that ends with nuclear war (a la no other concept album unless it's supposed to be a rap prequel to 2112)?  Yeah, that one.  Cop both and look out for that Emergency Rations too.

Couple things I never can understand.  First, why do rappers have such unbelievably shitty, cheesy bad taste in rock music?  It's the 94th Element of Hip Hop or something.  Premier will sample the soundtrack from a 1924 silent movie, Puffy will sample 'Carmina Burana,' but when it comes to anything with guitars we get...'Walk This Way?' And the Judgement. Night. Soundtrack.  I never understood this.  All that cratedigging, you cats never once picked up a Minor Threat record?  Bambaataa made a record with Johnny Rotten and nobody ever sampled the Sex Pistols?  My Make-A-Wish Foundation was always that that one time Chuck D ad libbed on a Sonic Youth joint had become a whole collabo LP.  A lot of people listened to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and thought, I should start a band. I listened to them and thought, somebody should rap over this.

This is the other thing I don't understand: why don't dälek get their props as underground legends?  I mean, everyone got all amped about Death Grips and I was all, this is just Shouty Dälek, y'all into this but you ain't down with Gutter Tactics?  I figured, well, their shit is too dense and deep, heads will catch up.  Maybe it's the umlaut or the spelled-dälek-but-pronounced-'dialect'?  I don't know.  You cats like your clipping. and BLACKIE and all that and you still don't ride for dälek?  And kids who're into My Bloody Valentine wanna hear them sing about...whatever it is they're singing about, sexy girls with dirty feet and cigarette breath?--not the broken-glass-everywhere-people-pissing-on-the-station rhymes, I guess.

Catch. The fuck. Up.

From 1998's Negro Necro Nekros on, dälek took the multi-layered density of the Bomb Squad and swapped out James Brown samples for Einstürzende Neubauten.  They kept Chuck D's political intensity and lyrical density but deepened it, broke it like bottles and pushed it into a Liam-Neeson-right-before-he-fucks-your-shit-up growl.  This was all the angry noise of contemporaries Jedi Mind Tricks but without the WWE theatrics, and all the orbital uplift of Daydream Nation--God in the whirlwind. 

dälek were mainlining in the cold vein three years before oxes went cannibal.  Over the years they lost Oktopus and still (peep that solo instrumental joint though--broken concrete beats), and the new joint takes on Mikey Manteca and DJ rEk for some boardwork that's John Cage's broken abacus run through Lee Ranaldo's entire effects pedal collection. Asphalt definitely still merks the murk and stretches long gobs of hellfire drone, but gets more melodic/indie rock on '6dB.'  But it's still on the strength, filthy tongues speaking abandoned language.


I been fucking with Elucid for about five years, and his newest really takes it to a new level of artistry, mastery and cohesion. (But you should still cop Super Chocolate Black Simian, Cult Favorite and Concrete Sound System on top of Armand Hammer).  Elucid's the next generation of Growl Rap with a voice like Rap Nick Nolte--specifically, that time he voiced the angel-turned-rockpile who was Noah's mans and them.  Prone to wrap your head in knots round those Boo-yaa-Baraka lyrics. And I heard your 'Society Is A Hole' sample up in the back of that bebop-for-bboys 'Son Still Shine' joint, son. I heard that.

These two joints--the 16 minute opus EP Osage and the LP Save Yourself--are I think his best work yet. 'Obama Incense' smells like broken promise and 'Cold Again' is on some I've-seen-rivers poetical miracles.  The beats are a diverse but coherent mix jumping from gospel to shoe-trap to Confusion Is Sex steez.  He's breathing ghosts on this one.  It's fractured blues and St. Augustine visions. Sipping on Flint water in ruined tabernacles. Sprinkling baby powder in kicks on power lines.  For real, god took a bag of coal and turned it into gems.  Every cut on these are repping some Jane Jacobs, some Amiri style.  Skinny Luther nailing it up son.

dope of the month club :: march movie madness


What's that acronym lazy music writers use that's 'for fans of' or 'if you like'? IRYLFOH?  I forget.  But I'm a fucking rap sommelier, so for each of this month's joints, I'm pairing it with what movie you should watch with the sound off.  Like how you pair wine with food? That's a thing fancy people do.

Between courses, amuse the bouche with these. Or these are aperitifs. I don't really know which is which.

DJ Skizz & Milano Constantine :: .38 Snub Nose (Adrian Younge Freestyle) pairs well with the Easy Andy scene in Taxi Driver
Timeless Truth :: The Cold Wave pairs well with The Sopranos' 'Pine Barrens' episode
Tone Tank & Serengeti :: Cop/Boost already pulls together two great James Woods flicks.
Dillon & Paten Locke (feat. Von Pea & Malkovich) :: Bourbon mixes best with Barfly

Main courses:
Basmala :: Reboot pairs well with season one of Battle of the Planets aka Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (It was really called that? Huh.)

DDay One :: Gathered Between pairs well with Dovzhenko's Earth

Elucid :: Osage has a similar palate to Killer of Sheep

NoEmotion GoldMask :: A Freaking American pairs well with Fear of a Black Hat

odd nosdam :: SISTERS pairs well with Luc Besson's Le Dernier Combat

Open Mike Eagle & Paul White :: Hella Personal Film Festival Mike says this goes best with Panic In Needle Park, but I'm thinking maybe Waking Life has more the right cucumber and oak tones.

The Purist & WestSide Gunn :: Roses Are Red...So Is Blood  brings forth hints of The Pawnbroker

Quelle Chris :: Lullabies for the Broken Brain has similar tannins to Fantastic Planet

Saul Williams :: Martyr Loser King is best complemented by 12 Years A Slave played backwards

Spectre :: The Last Shall Be First pairs well with John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars

We Are Not For Them :: Captures, Vol. 1 also pairs well with Ghosts of Mars

You know what, forget all that, all these records go well with Ghosts of Mars.  Pretty much all music does. 

Actually if you don't feel like it, don't listen to any of the records, just go watch Ghosts of Mars. It's probably on TV right now. It's so fucking bad, but I always end up watching it.

dope of the month club :: february 2016


Not all these jams came out this month, but who the fuck cares? You get the dope delivered straight to your earholes. It's fresh even if it ain't baked today.

Click the song title to peep it.

1) AG Da Coroner (feat. Action Bronson & Roc Marciano) :: Park Avenue

2) Beneficence (feat. Chubb Rock) :: Masters Of The Class

3) Cadalack Ron (RIP), Serpdot & Open Mike Eagle :: Ravenous v1.0

4) Defcee :: Forty II

5) Guilty Simpson :: Testify

6) Killah Priest & 4th Disciple :: Sativa

7) Jumbled & Bito :: Mental Static

8) The Quantum :: Busy Minds

9) SHIRT :: Poor People's March

10) Zilla Rocca & Small Professor :: Sin Will Find You: The Collected Works

mad brick


Ain't nothin' changed but the weather. Still don't nothin' move but the money. Bae it's cold outside.

Cold world. Cold hearts. Cold cash. Tell me about it. Sometimes I think I'm getting a little frosty myself.

The hawk is out. Mad brick, son.

10 Bricks - Raekwon, Cappadonna & Ghostface Killah / Money - Guilty Simpson / Bring 'Em Up Dead - Joell Ortiz & Statik Selektah / Survived Winter - B. Dolan (feat. Prolyphic, Alias & Sage Francis) / Gremlins - Danny Brown / Bloody Money (Zilla Rocca Remix) - Capone-N-Noreaga / F.U.B.U. - Armand Hammer / Snow (Uncommon Nasa Remix) - Roc Marciano (feat. Sean Price) / 2 Wrongs - Onyx / All Season - SHIRT / Alligator - Action Bronson / Cold World - P Brothers (feat. Boss Money) / Fur Coat - Mix Master Mike / Lonely & Cold - Roc Marciano / Flurry - Ratking / …down 155th in the MCM Snorkel - Shabazz Palaces / CV-1 - Cannibal Ox x 3:33 vs. Snow - Roc Marciano (feat. Sean Price) / Vein (Instrumental) - El-P / Cold Facts - Ka / Winds From The North - Oddisee / Winter In Manhattan - Deepspace5

dope of the month club :: steel tipped dove


New beat tape by the maestro Steel Tipped Dove...the homie's been around for a while, producing beats for PremRock, Armand Hammer, the Das Racist guys, YC The Cynic, Tone Tank, Open Mike Eagle, SHIRT and other illustrious underground MCs I fuck with heavy.

The style is heavy on expanded sound, TV-static skies, 3am realizations about the Ten Thousand Things, that dream where the stairs were red and squishy and squirting water, and that joke about punching the guy whose face is made of cookie dough.  That is, it's not thumb-heavy boom bap, it's not block-rockin' beats, it's how we do in these Roy Batty baby years.

Cop the new beat tape here, and argue about in on your favorite internets.

(Steady blogging on new content/releases usually isn't my bag, but what the fuck, let's try it out.)