Max Bell still clowns with the underground. 


If you know your L.A. rap history, you know Freestyle Fellowship. If you know Freestyle Fellowship, you know Self Jupiter. The Blowedian was at the Good Life, and thus he has styles upon styles. His latest is a video for single “Don’t Say Nathan,” which drops today. Over Bionik’s minimalist beat, the L.A. underground elder statesman reminds you of his unshakeable proficiency behind the mic. If you slept on his Kleenrz project with Kenny Segal, you should listen here.

DP is from Virginia Beach, VA. Trap raps in the vein of “Grindin” era Clipse are birthright. On “Glass Casket” he proves equally adept at eloquently painting the lugubrious while poignantly rendering his repentance. The .38 is on the dresser, but he prays that he won’t have to cock it.  The beat is murky menace; dirty water trickling from rickety pipes in project basements. Sir Yogaflame produced it, and he’s currently my favorite producer for his name alone. For now, DP sounds like Pusha T and Schoolboy Q in one grim faced hustler turned rapper. If he excises his influences, he could be VA’s next to blow.

The goal is to reach your pinnacle while leaving competitors miniscule. Brooklyn’s Donny Oh knows this. A solid lyricist with a polished delivery, Oh’s thoughtful aggression on “Elephant 79” is aimed at those after their fifteen minutes. The Goonfish produced beat is Stomp in its percussiveness yet mellow in mood. For now, I’ll say that Oh has potential. There are enough N.Y. rappers who’ve been hampered by the hype.

Pittsburgh’s Boaz over bone shattering boom-bap from !llmind. He many not be “Pittsburgh’s Nas” – I’m not sure who is – but he’s a competent MC and this is better than anything Wiz Khalifa. If this is your brand of bars, Boaz also has a song with Junior Reid that will make you remember why Game’s “One Blood” so successful.

Preston James and Mike Parvizi a.k.a. Penthouse Penthouse deftly blend beat scene aesthetics with modern funk. A near four-minute slice of soulful funk with obvious nods to Ready for the World Hit “Oh Sheila,” it’s smooth and richly layered with a beautifully simple bass line. There are also several glittering, ethereal moments that beg for disco ball lights. Hopefully this is an indication of what their next project will sound like. Regardless, the funk goes on and on.

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