Hip Hop

Dr Bobby Banner MPC

As another run of The Deli Austin's Artist of the Month poll wraps up, we're lookin' at the only artist in the competition that we haven't yet featured on The Deli- the versatile producer Dr Bobby Banner MPC. For those who aren't electronic music producers (which, in Austin, is fewer people than you'd think), the MPC in Dr Bobby's name refers to the Akai Music Production Center, a series of powerful and powerfully badass beat-making machines. Presumably, Dr Bobby Banner MPC makes the slick, dynamic hip-hop tracks he's known for on such machines, and if you go from the artist's social media pages, Dr Bobby might just actually be an MPC. Or at least, that might be his character, but who knows? In the days of hologram Japanese superstars and with music production tech where it's at these days, the idea of a beat machine that makes its own music isn't all that far fetched.

Regardless of who, or what, is making Dr Bobby Banner's music, the recent output from this man/machine has been downright stellar. Particularly, Dr Bobby's new album Musicology, released at the end of March, is a chance to hear one of Austin's brightest beatmakers paired up with an absolute army of quality rappers. Lots of times we see purely instrumental albums come out of the beatmaking scene in Austin, so (as much as we dig those instrumental joints) it's a welcome change-up to get a 12 tracker packed full of both beat and rhyme. That nod toward the traditional hip-hop song structure is about the only place this album is predictable though, as Musicology has Banner et al. letting their creativity and personal spins on hip-hop running free. For an example of the acrobatic musical forces at work here, take track "David Ruffin" below, whose herky-jerky sample-based beat serves as a playground for spitters Scuare and No1Important to let their words jump up and around and play all over. The rest of the album is equally good, and all available what for your listening pleasure over here. If this shit gets ya noddin' like it does us, give the rest a listen, and vote to the right to make Dr Bobby Banner MPC our first human/machine hybrid Artist of the Month.

   

LNS Crew Brings the Spring Heat to Austin

If you were looking for the mysterious proverbial “fire” that supposedly resides in so many hip-hop mixtapes, you might think the shit is just myth. Most mixtapes are…well, they wouldn’t help much on a cold day, let’s say that. Not so with local LNS Crew’s new mixtape, which packs enough heat to stop a decent sized blizzard. LNS Mixtape Vol. 2 is the goods from three of Austin’s (okay, Denver now, in the case of Cory Kendrix) hip-hop veterans, a series of 21 tracks which feature a rotating cast of Kendrix, Kydd Jones and Tank Washington showing off their undeniable skills at producing and rapping. It’s just April, but this release is assuredly going to sit near if not at the top of the list of ATX hip-hop releases from 2015 when December rolls into January, and that’s why we’ve nominated LNS Crew for our Artist of the Month poll. Music below, and get yer votin’ finger a good workout to the right y’all.

   

Show Alert: Broca's Area at The Spot Underground, Providence 4/1

When a real drummer can imitate that slowed down and choppy groove from 90’s hip hop, it sounds like pure gold. It's a tough pocket to master, that's for sure. Hartford hip-hop/soul fusion group Broca's Area grooves and sways, while Mary Corso’s smooth-like-butter vocals string you along. The interplay between her and rapper Ghazi Omair’s angular flow would be enough for a killer group, but these guys push it over the edge with a groovy drummer, Steven Cusano, whose timing creates a backbeat that puts the world in slo-mo. And that's not even mentioning the absurdly tasty keys. They’ll be playing a show at The Spot Underground in Providence April 1st, don’t miss it! They’re new album is available here, and a portion of the proceeds from each CD goes the Connecticut Brain Tumor Association. - Paul Jordan Talbot

 

   

Malik

South By is dead, long live South By. Or maybe not, what with the trend this South By being a smaller, more compressed (but still quite corporate) version of itself, with less free shit, fewer unofficial parties and a lot more roadblocks downtown (that last is probably a good thing). Regardless, SX is over, we can all return to being regular levels of alcoholic-ness and taco consumption and maybe actually sleep a little and walk a little less. Speaking of, is it possible to get more and less healthy at the same time? Because all those miles walked have to count as some sort-of workout, but mixed with ounces drunk and pounds of tacos consumed...not so sure.

Now that the SouthBeast is good 'n slain, it also means the online portion of The Deli is back in full swing. We've been goin' hard as nails on the street at South By Southwest this year, and if you were there, you probably saw somewhere between one and five billion of our print issues, and maybe even our exhibits of synthesizers and stompboxes at the Convention Center, or our showcase with magazine cover-gracer and electronic wizard Roger Sellers. If you did pick up a magazine, or came by one of our events, The Deli thanks you and your wonderful, sexy, good-taste-having self very muchly.

To usher in the post-SXSW year (we might as well just call the day after SX the New Year on the Austin Calendar system), we've got somethin' quite good for your ears that's also appropriate to what we saw this year at SX. Quite happily for us at The Deli Austin, SXSW 2015 saw what this writer believes was the most hip-hop of the highest quality that the festival has ever seen. This has been a long time coming, and whatever made it happen (people finally realizing there's an audience for it here? less indie acts shoved into the fest by a smaller corporate presence?), we're goddamn glad that this city is finally coming around in at least some ways to hip-hop. With that in mind, we present Malik, a young homegrown hip-hopper that's just the newest and freshest entry into the already excellent and underrated Austin hip-hop canon.

Malik's dropped three tracks in the last month on Soundcloud, and listening across the three you can get a taste for what this kid can do and what he's got to offer. And what Malik has to offer is smart, attractive hip-hop. From the most recent track, the chronologically-named "March 9th," you know that he's music aware, with that beat based on a sample from classic Outkast ("Vibrate"). You know from track "On My Own" that Malik can toe that Drake-associated pop/hip-hop line, but that Malik falls more firmly on the hip-hop side while hittin' the pop bullseye just as nicely as the Degrassi vet. And you know from all three tracks that the man can spit quite clever and thoughtful, with lines like "I can't lie, you the baddest that I ever seen/But it's sad to say that your tree of life is far from evergreen," on track "Life." It looks like Malik is about to drop more music soon, so get up to speed below with "On My Own" and keep a lookout for more from this top-notch example of the Austin hip-hop world. SXSW 2015 is just a start; there's a hell of a lot more hip-hop to come from this town going forward.

   

Apojii

Time to get familiar with another entry in our Austin Deli Artist of the Month poll. Next up, Apojii, and Austin-by-way-of-San-Antonio rapper who has been goin' strong in the scene for some time now. Apojii is a stylistic gymnast, with a sound that tips its hat to mainstream party hip-hop but which is much more creative and conscious in his overall approach to music production and to rapping. Just look at his mission statement on his Soundcloud, which says he's making these tracks "to bring people to the awareness of themselves," or the lyrics on tracks like our featured joint that say, "Everything's got to be sold/Whether it's god or whether it's gold." That's not stuff you'd hear from Top 40 tracks too often, yet Apojii's work still always stays within that "fun to listen to" realm that mainstream shit typically makes its sole aim. That merger of a pop sound that draws you in (and gets the head bobbin' to the rhythm) with a sharp mind that knows its hip-hop, its pop culture and itself is Apojii's strength. And his continued and recent tracks as a solo producer/rapper double threat as well as his excellent featured work with San Antonio artist Tommie Wong are what got Apojii nominated for this month's Austin Deli Artist of the Month. Music below, vote to the right y'all.