The rap world revolves at such a sickening pace, the rate at which new records are dropped is sure to turn even the most tough livered of listeners’ stomachs. Simply staying abreast of your favourite artists’ latest releases can be migraine-inducing, thanks in no small part to the internet – it being the weird, wild and heady place that it is; a loud, mad boom-box constantly blaring shiny new songs. We over here at Bonafide are all too happy to don our scrubs and white coats to fulfil our doctorly duties, abiding to the hip-hop take on the Hippocratic oath to prescribe a little something something for the pain.
Mic Check, our monthly round-up of the most notable and noteworthy mixtapes and free releases racking up the clicks, views and best reviews, is our antidote to all your suffering. Lay back, relax and cool out as we hook up a time- (if not life-) saving drip to your music-loving veins, ensuring you’re fighting fit and in tip-top shape as far as the latest cuts are concerned.This, ladies and gentlemen, is Mic Check. 1, 2. 1, 2.
Snoh Aalegra – Don’t Explain
Snoh Aalegra, the beautiful Scandinavian songstress, is in good company. As No I.D.’s latest protege, the striking and stunningly gifted singer joins an impressive list of artists – including Common and Kanye – to have benefitted from the incredible producer’s tutelage, learning a great deal from the master.
Listening to Aalegra’s new mini album, Don’t Explain, it is easy to see why the likes of James Fauntelroy, John Mayer and Boi 1da are so keen to work with her; the soulful 28-year-old’s voice so heavenly and angelic just hearing her hum is enough to lift your spirits, allay your worries and exorcise your demons.
Described as “cinematic soul”, Don’t Explain certainly has a filmic quality to it, sounding like the score or soundtrack of a big, romantic box-office release. Soaring and dramatic, the record plays like motion picture music, entertaining as much as any popcorn fare. Beautifully crafted, all nine songs featured on the project are wonderful, but Charleville 9200 and Home in particular stand out; the replay value of both tracks confounding.
Sir Michael Rocks – Populair Part 2
Sir Michael Rocks has been steady grinding, consistently putting out good music to the acclaim of those in the know. With 12 mixtapes, one full-length solo record, and a studio album with Chuck Inglish to his name, the one-time Cool Kid remains criminally underrated.
On Populair Part 2, his new EP, the 28-year-old emcee sets out to demonstrate yet again why he should be counted as one of the best artists rapping. The sequel to last year’s mixtape of the same name, the 7-song project shows off the under-appreciated rhymer’s range, providing a glimpse of what he brings to the table with his quirky storytelling on tracks like Kilo on Craiglist, and his often overlooked penchant for introspective bars – the latter evident on the EP’s standout track, The Woods.
Confident as ever, Mikey delivers with another strong outing, putting on a performance that suggests he should be far more popular than he is.
Exile – Tears For A Prince
In spite of his name, Prince was the king of cool, and in his kingly way, he hipped the world to many things – among them, what it sounds like when doves cry. With this, his latest EP, Exile – the prolific producer – gives us a gorgeous earful of what it sounds like when beatsmiths cry, the water works in full flow following the passing of the purple legend.
Flipping several of the enigmatic genius’ best songs, Exile has put together a touching tribute to the beloved icon, paying homage and doffing his hat with a short, sweet and lovingly produced instrumental EP, entitled, Tears For A Prince.
Featuring three songs – Til’ The Dawn, We’re Gonna Get High Together, and Love Your Life – Tears For A Prince, speaks volumes for Exile’s under-appreciated talents, highlighting his versatility, unrivalled sampling and uncanny ability to translate emotions into melody. Admiring and respectful, emotive and fun, Tears For A Prince also gives voice to the sadness and adulation of millions of fans all over the world, echoing the sentiments of music lovers everywhere touched by Prince’s brilliance. Creative, beautiful and bittersweet, this is grieving with a groove.
De La Soul – For Your Pain & Suffering
With their new album, And The Anonymous Nobody, set to hit shelves on August 26, De La Soul have generously released a new four-track EP to tide eager fans over, serving a delicious appetiser in the shape of For Your Pain & Suffering.
Although just 13-minutes-long, the legendary group’s new project should sate fans hungering for more of their signature goodness; the entertaining EP providing ample sustenance to silence the rumbles and growls of our demanding stomachs.
True to form, the surprise release is as excellent as you’d expect, replete with De La’s trademark soulful sound, playful but intelligent rhyming and irresistible head-bopping beats. With artists such as 2 Chainz, Little Dragon and David Byrne all slated to feature on Anonymous Nobody…, For Your Pain & Suffering makes just about enough room for one guest spot, with Supa Dave West hopping on the smooth Beautiful Night to brilliant effect.
On some dapper, grown man shit, the groovy TrainWreck is also a highlight, while the funny and ridiculously cool skits, The Devil Likes Candy and Schoolyard Studios, give the terse record surprising amounts of life and buoyancy.
Young Roddy – Good Sense 3
Curren$y might very well be the patron saint of modern-day stoner rap, but ask any hip-hop head of discerning taste and they’ll tell you: Young Roddy’s got next; the laid-back Jet Life rapper just another blunted rhyme away from canonisation.
Like his longtime friend and label boss, Hot Spitta, the Kenner, Louisiana emcee is a connoisseur of skama lit lyrics; his faded flow and easy-on-the-ear voice making for a cocoa-butter smooth combination. Simply put: a Roddy song is a stoner’s delight, much of his catalogue consisting of some good ol’ southern easy listening to light up to.
Lacing us with the third instalment of his well received Good Sense mixtape series, Route the Ruler has hooked us up with another dime-bag of audio dope, releasing his latest project on the most appropriate of dates – 4/20.
Featuring appearances from Wolf Gang’s Domo Genesis, Trademark Da Skydiver and Smoke DZA, Good Sense 3 is a potent listen, with excellent numbers like Real Talk, Chopping Game and Fortune providing some serious fire for a smoking session or two.