Mic Check Vol. III

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.


Jake One – (#PrayerHandsEmoji)

Taking us to church with his latest beat tape, #PrayerHandsEmoji, Seattle producer Jake One, flips a whole choir book’s worth of gospel songs and spirituals to grace us with 24 tracks of uplifting brilliance, touching on something close to the divine.

Over the course of a twenty-year-long career, Jake One has worked with an impressive array of rappers ranging from hip-hop icons like Scarface, Common and De La Soul, to fresher faced stars such as Chance, Fashawn and J Cole.

Featuring brand new productions and a selection of old favourites, including The Game’s Hallelujah and Rick Ross’ 3 Kings, #PrayerHandsEmoji is a delightfully entertaining listen; an excellent instrumental tape of beautiful loops and glorious gospel samples. The kind of record that pricks up your ears and gets you lifted.

Listen to (#PrayerHandsEmoji) here


Oddisee – Alwasta

2016 promises to be a delightfully hectic year for the criminally underrated emcee, Oddisee. Equally adept behind the boards, the Diamond District co-founder is a skilled craftsman deserving of far more praise and attention; his new record, Al-Wasta, vindicating his admirers’ affection for his grounded, soul-searching brand of hip-hop.

Not satisfied with lacing us with one of last year’s hidden gems – his eighth studio album, The Good Fight – the Sudanese-American rapper is primed to scale new heights over the coming months, releasing a new full-length LP, as well as an instrumental album called The Odd Tape.

Serving up a pleasing appetiser with Alwasta, Oddisee cooks up some of that thoughtful, introspective goodness his fans have come to love. On the new project, the rapper supplies more gorgeous, soulful material for us to gorge on with stirring numbers like No Reservations and politically-charged cuts such as Lifting Shadows.

Reportedly produced, mixed and recorded by the rapper in one week, the seven-track EP illustrates the brilliance of the man; the beautiful Asked About You and moving Slow Groove good enough to make you learn Arabic just to figure out what Alwasta means.

Listen to Alwasta here


Dream Junkies – Good Religion

John Givez, Beleaf and Ruslan of Southern California hip-hop trio, Dream Junkies, make what they call “Hope Music”, exploring the more spiritual side of rap with the pensive lyrics of their faith-themed tracks.

Good Religion, the group’s debut LP, is comprised of 12 songs and features guest appearances from Murs, Carlene Crawford and Gracy. Explicit in its intentions, the album is clearly made to inspire; eminently enjoyable cuts like I Got The Juice and Take Me Back at once crowd-pleasing and life-affirming, with confident and stylishly delivered lines encouraging a positive outlook even in the most negative of times.

A well crafted piece of work, Good Religion is a highly commendable debut; one that should restore some faith in the power of music with a message.

Listen to Good Religion here


Rockie Fresh – The Night I Went To… Los Angeles

The Night I Went To… Los Angeles is the latest instalment of Rockie Fresh’s series of mixtapes paying homage to the world’s greatest cities, his new tape an ode of sorts to sunny LA.

Featuring production by Zalezy, Hit Boy and Chris Batson, as well as guest appearances from Rick Ross and Casey Veggies, Rockie’s night in the City of Angels is just four songs-long but satisfying nonetheless. Though succinct, the terse record highlights Rockie’s range, showing off the Chicagoan’s ability to hop from lane to lane without veering off course, driving home just how versatile the Chi-town rapper can be.

From the hustler’s jam of All I Want, to the Hendrix-inspired love song, Potential, The Night I Went To… Los Angeles has just about enough of everything a Rockie fan could want; the tough Your Life Remix being a particular highlight.

Listen to The Night I Went To… Los Angeles here


Derek Wise – 4 Pack

Building on the success of his well-received EP, Glam Wave, Toronto rapper and XO affiliate, Derek Wise, has come through with another impressive offering in the shape of the short and sweet 4 Pack.

Putting on for his city, Wise is one of the leaders of T-dot’s new school of promising rappers; the 6’s production line of hip-hop talent enhancing Canada’s reputation as an exceptionally efficient rhyme factory to be reckoned with.

With spooky, smooth tracks like Drop Life and Ready 2 Go, Wise is clearly set on making his mark; his faded flow and gothic trap raps making for excellent turn up fare to ride out to. At times mesmerising, 4 Pack’s drugged out sonics and addictive hooks hint at a career of considerable highs for the gifted Wise. Judging by the replay value of this, his latest EP, the budding rhyme-smith is well on his way to being everyone’s favourite new plug.

Listen to 4 Pack here

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