Sonic Week 1.28: Beat Seat

Beat your slushy path to the seat heat for a hip hop playlist that’s as verbose as it is versatile, grounded always in gold beats.


Chicago’s very own Tree comes up twice on Beat Seat, first with the bare-boned and catchy “Probably Nu It” and later on the raspy soul trap signature “God Like.” A rolling hi-hat stands its percussive ground through smokey jazz piano loops, determining his Chi-town style. German producer Shuko plays king of happy melodies and big, declaratory horns on his 3 track preview of “The Awakening” featuring Blu’s magnetic verses, a jazzy instrumental middle and Kidaf’s rhymes to finish.

Egyptian singer Maryam Saleh worked with producer Oddisee (MMM) and Olof Dreijer (The Knife) in Tunisia some years ago under the guidance of Berlin based NGO MICT (Media In Cooperation And Transition). Because of the political instability since the project’s recording, we are only hearing the first installment “Nouh Al Haman” now.  The track is a beautiful fusion of traditional Arabic music and contemporary Western genres.

The swing flow of UPNUP’s debut single “Whatever Man” tips a hat to the Atmosphere/Brother Ali crew. This live hip hop group houses a flute, sax, trumpet and bass player and rising Perth MCs Marksman Lloyd & Coin Banks. Carefree sun beats for the win. Danny Brown holds us in on Vampire Weekend’s “Step” remix, a catchy lyricist feature with verses from Brown, Despot and Heems. Next is a personal favorite on tireless repeat- “Paranoia” from Chi star Chance The Rapper, produced by Nosaj Thing on the 2013 award-winning mixtape Acid Rap.

Starlito raps over Ryan Hemsworth’s dreary Disney beat next, a Sonic Week repeat but a spectacular break up creation. Goldlink demonstrates his Andre 3000 rap game on TLC’s “Creep” beat, and the big sparse bass on Coin Banks’ debut (Ta-ku produced) single “Hatches” is a continuation of the undeniable prowess spewing from Australia’s coasts lately. Scottish hip hop trip Young Fathers climbs with Anticon’s experimental reputation on “War.” It oscillates between oddball effects and dark nodding pop, just as their lyrics play with meaning as well as a conscious lack of significance: “You dutty wee rass
/chewy like tripe
/situation ripe/dishing out endorphins/for nature’s orphans/something something something/the 4th thing.” It’s very addicting.


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