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It’s been a long while since my last post, but I just came across an artist that I have to share with everyone. Machinedrum is a Brooklyn-based music producer whose sound is a mix between Dam-Funk, Kanye West, and N.A.S.A. I highly, highly recommend checking this guy out. His beats are equally effortless and thumping and the guest MCs have some of the best flows I’ve heard. His recent album release, Want to 1 2?, is a 22 track masterpiece that ranges from mellow cruise music to all out club-bangers. Check out his Myspace for some great remixes and singles that didn’t make the album. I will definitely be having this guy on repeat for a long time.

Brooklyn!

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The Foreign Exchange

Imagine this. One day, you’re cruising through your favorite hip-hop community website and you come across this jazzy, funky, dreamy track by some dude from the Netherlands. You say “hey, this is dope. I think Im going to rap over it.” You send your track back to this guy, and over the course of one year you produce an entire, critically-acclaimed hip-hop album…without ever meeting each other! Welcome to The Foreign Exchange.

Made up of Phonte from Little Brother and producer Nicolay, The Foreign Exchange is one of the very few groups that manages to bring together hip-hop, jazz, r&b, blues, and downtempo electronic in a way that is nothing short of sublime. Their debut album, Connected, was produced entirely from exchanging tracks over the internet and has much more of a hip-hop influence. Standout tracks include¬†“Nic’s Groove”, “Come Around”, and “The Answer”.¬†Leave it all Behind, their most recent release, is much jazzier showcasing Phonte’s diverse vocal ability with tracks like “Take Off the Blues”, “House of Cards”, and “Sweeter Than You”. I highly recommend this group for anybody looking for some laid-back hip-hop to chill out to.

Enjoy :]

Stones Throw Records

Now, when I say “best” I mean these particular record labels produce what I consider some of the best underground hip-hop artists ever. My inspiration for this particular post came when I was researching Junk Science (Def Jux Records), a group I came across about two years ago. From there I started thinking about all the great hip-hop artists I’ve come across over the past few years and all of their connections. So, here we are with what I consider the best indie hip-hop labels.

Mush Records

Alright, so Mush Records might not be a solely hip-hop label, with artists like Her Space Holiday, but I mention them as one of the best because they were the springboard for some of the more prominent underground hip-hop artists. Both Aesop Rock and Busdriver started out with Mush Records along with artists like Daedelus, who is beyond awesome but more experimental electronic, that often have hip-hop collaborators. In fact, the song “Experience” was sampled for the Madvillain song “Accordion”.

Definitive Jux Records

Def Jux, as it is commonly known, is definitely home to the grittier underground artists in the genre. Artists include Del the Funky Homosapien, Dizzee Rascal, RJD2, Aesop Rock, Cage, Junk Science, and Cannibal Ox. The Cold Vein, which is probably the most influential underground hip-hop album of all time, was a product of Cannibal Ox under the Def Jux label which is why, in my opinion, they deserve to be one of the best.

Stones Throw Records

Stones Throw has managed to amass some of the best producers and rappers in the business. It is hard to imagine the underground hip-hop landscape without the likes of Madvillain (producer Madlib and MF DOOM) or J. Dilla, who some argue to be one of the best hip-hop producers that ever lived. A large part of the label’s success lies with Peanut Butter Wolf who helped discover artists like James Pants, Koushik, and Oh No.

To wrap it up, I really hope those of you that aren’t as exposed to this genre check out a few of the artists.

Recommendations:

Cannibal Ox – “The F Word”

J. Dilla – “Nothing Like This”

Madvillain – “Accordion”

Aesop Rock – “None Shall Pass”

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