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Well, this summer is turning out to be a bit of a washout. Not so much weather for barbecues, more weather for ducks. Luckily, though, there’s another fine crop of hip-hop to brighten up the gloomiest of days. And, even better, quite a lot of it is free of charge. And, even better, there’s actually six this month…


Maybe we could just make this monthly review thing simple.

Just log on to Mello Music group’s bandcamp page and get everything. JOB DONE. They can’t seem to put a foot wrong, this year.

This month they’ve announced a new signing by dropping a free track. The band is called Semi-Hendrix. Which is a truly terrible name. Luckily, the track is great. Just like everything else on the label. It’s got an awful lot of expletives if you’re bothered by that kind of thing.

And whilst you’re there – get hold of Verbal Kent on pre-order, with 3 free tracks now. And just look at the contributions on Apollo Brown’s up-coming release – Grandeur, and get excited about it.


For me, this is the standout track from the long-player, “You Disgust Me”. Gangrene is the joint project of Alchemist and Oh-No. If you are a fan of Action Bronson (as I’m given to understand some people are) then you’ll probably want to check Driving Gloves instead.


Hell yes. This is right up my alley. And if it isn’t up yours you need to have a good, long, look at your alley and sort yourself out. Tut’s been gradually building for a few years now: last year’s “Preacher’s Son” LP was a gem. This track isn’t on general release yet but stream it on soundcloud and maybe go by Preacher’s Son if you missed it. Ktoven’s production on that, and again here, is just lovely: the man knows how to work a piano sample.


One of the hardest working MC’s in the states, surely? I was originally going to review the jazzed up “Surf” – recently released with Donnie Trumpet. It is very good. Then there was the mixtape of freestyles with Lil B that dropped a week or so ago. And now this, given away (again) on soundcloud. It features a verse from one of the best female MC’s stateside. Understated clever stuff.


I love Rocky Rivera. Mainly because of the 2011 track, Daydream, featuring the brilliant Nitty Scott. A female take on the classic “used to love her” that’s witty and warm. I haven’t warmed that much to either of her previous long players, but this ep strikes gold. In particular, check God Stepping and this one, Find My Way.


Last year Kweli gave away the excellent Cathedral mixtape showcasing some of Javotti media’s artists, and now he’s giving you a whole free album. If you were paying for the tracks, I’d be recommending “He Said She Said” and “Fall Back”. But you’re not. So take ‘em all and be thankful.


This was posted by Lex Records on their soundcloud page. Lex will be getting my full attention and respect for the foreseeable due to that Golden Rules album. It’s haunting and brilliant and even pulls off the very dangerous inclusion of a pan pipes type noise at the end (just). No idea how long it’s been out, never heard it before, but it’s yours for free. Whilst you’re at it, go check the Crescent Moon/Andrew Broder project on bandcamp for more tunes that push at the boundaries of hip hop.

Words by Vicky T