Artist: Dillan Ponders
Album: Overdose
Rating: 4.7/5.0
Download: http://dillanponders.bandcamp.com/album/overdose

The inescapable night terrors after a three day blowout, making the prospect of sleep unobtainable at best. That film that builds on your tongue, making it impossible to swallow the morning following a night of overindulgence. The suspicion you’ve been dieting exclusively on burlap rope. Opening your eyelids draining the last bit of energy you had as you succumb to their weight… falling back into a deep exhausting and unsatisfying sleep. An ominous feeling of uncertainty. Overdose manifests these and offers them for consumption in a basin of emptiness.

This is the album that Kanye and Jay Z attempted to create. This is the sound they wanted and couldn’t have. I guess you don’t need Samsung Galaxy commercials to make an incredible piece of art. Overdose is gorgeously destitute. The production is concurrently minimalist and extravagantly dense. The verses sound as though their being transmitted through a tin can phone from the moon. Or whispered in quiet echos throughout a labyrinth of caves. Oddly vacant yet somehow incredibly personal, creating an addictive uncanny feeling. Just Drive is unearthly.

90’s Thunderstorm

Artist: Pepperboy & Squadda B
Album: Rebel Musik
Rating: 4.7/5.0
Download/Listen: http://pepper-boy.com/album/rebel-musik

I felt as though I was standing…silently nodding and remorsefully staring,  during a fake thunderstorm in the 1995 Bone Thugs Crossroad video. Or any video from the 90’s which for some reason was, judging by the videos, an unseasonably rainy decade. This is one of my favorite past times. It was an admirable feeling, and welcomed. Letting the beautiful production of Keyboard Kid and nonchalant delivery of Peppaboy and Squadda B sweep me away.

The production on the mixtape is innovative and original, a marriage of beats and rhymes that were non existent even 5 years ago.  Blowing seamlessly and careleslly like a tumbleweed propelled by swisher smoke. Pepperboy and Squadda B sound right at home on them. It really is a rarity when you can play an album from start to finish with minimal skips, such as the densely vibrant song produced by Kira below. Do yourself a favor and gladly accept the free download.

Winners Circle

Artist: Winners Circle
Song: Runner Up
Album: Winners Circle
Rating: 4.6/5.0
Download: http://www.datpiff.com/Winners-Circle-Winners-Circle-mixtape.494036.html

I’m uncertain that the name of an artist and album has been so fully realized in the actual corresponding content.  Runner Up for instance is an exalted ode, maintaining a delicate balance between reminiscing on conquests past while also expressing unbridled hope for future triumphs. The beat (laden with horns), lyrics and delivery all work together to convey that momentary feeling of unthinking. That combination of invinciblity and unbending confidence you feel while looking back on whatever obstruction that lies crippled in your wake. The rest of the mixtape is damn solid as well.

On a more primal level, I would love to indulge in some slow motion , gratuitous burnouts in the below Murcielago while listening. Or catching joy filled and glistening champagne drops on your tongue like snow flakes at Christmas. It also for some reason makes me wonder what it must feel like to drink and eat with a grill in. 



Artist: Soopah Eype
Album: What’s Up Sweatpants
Rating: 4.5/5.0
Download: http://soopaheype.bandcamp.com/album/whats-up-sweatpants

There’s a certain type of voice and flow that seems to disregard whatever beat it is placed on. Often times seemingly off rhythm, forcing words where they shouldn’t be, straddling the confines of the beat itself, testing its patience. It takes a real talent to navigate in this way, its exceedingly difficult, MF Doom is perhaps the largest pioneer of this style, and now Soopah Eype also comes to mind.

What’s Up Sweatpants is an outstanding mixtape, plenty of variety in samples and the complexity of rhyming schemes used keeps the listener deeply focused. There’s also a certain nostalgia invoked. I find myself wanting to play Double Dragon on SNES and spend my allowance on Star Wars figures and X-Men trading cards, and eat Warheads all day.

This mixtape demands play in any circumstance from relief to a banal commute to the blisses of an everlasting NBA 2K round robin, firmly cemented on your favorite over-stuffed.


Song: Valley of Kings
Album: Celestial
Artists: Blue Sky Black Death, SAS, Camron, P.A.P.I. ( N.O.R.E.)
Rating: 4.7/5.0
Download: http://bsbd.bandcamp.com/releases

The most versatile producing duo in the game has done it again. They’ve created a brooding, ominous petri dish of noise that allows any rapper to grow and evolve within its sullen yet frenzied grasp. It’s odd to highlight the production this much, but the beats Blue Sky Black Death and SAS are creating are unmistakable a complete and utter ode to the dark, a signature signed with a shadow.

Camron and P.A.P.I. are right at home here, delivering  contemptuous snarling rhymes and a hook that’s more like an anthem.  An impressive feat when a song captures the signature styles of both rappers and producers,  when two entities are somehow melded into one organism.  This was the perfect leak to truly unveil what this collaboration looks like, as the excitement grows for the full release.


Rockie Fresh Has Arrived

Artist: Rockie Fresh
Album: The Birthday Tape
Rating: 4.4/5.0
Free Download: http://www.datpiff.com/Rockie-Fresh-The-Birthday-Tape-mixtape.483370.html

Rockie Fresh is currently batting .1000 on mixtapes. Colossal, hulking Mark McGuire type home runs just crushing meatballs over the plate all the way to Jupiter. One release after another infecting your iPhone for weeks at a time as each song racks up more and more plays. This mixtape does some serious dabbling, ranging from the title track with its enormous orchestral sample to the more subdued lo-fi sounding “Life Round Here.

At this point it seems completely inevitable that Rockie (though already extremely popular) is poised to infiltrate the more than just the mixtape culture but rather something grander. It’s something special to see, such immense talent gain recognition for consistently putting out incredible and cost-free mixtapes. The only flaw in The Birthday Tape is it’s brevity, but who can complain when it’s a free mixtape packed with gems. It would be like complaining about getting skimped on chicken on free Chipotle day.

The Rush

Artist: J. Good
Album: Look on the Brightside
Song: The Rush
Rating: 4.4/5.0
Download: http://jgood.bandcamp.com/album/look-on-the-brightside

Every great love song ever written is mainly about apologizing for the year 2004 as we all know. And I’m not even sure if The Rush qualifies as a love song in the more traditional sense. It is in fact about love but more about the deterioration of that love crumbling under (among other things) the velocity at which it is demanded. There’s an oddly perfect combination between the seemingly forward motion of the beat and the subject matter being addressed. As the song and beat progress you can almost witness the dwindling hope of the relationship at hand. This coupled with an immensely catchy chorus makes for an incredibly enjoyable listen.

Absolute Summer

Artist: Kool & Kass
Album: Peaceful Solutions
Rating: 5/5
Download: http://koolandkass.bandcamp.com/

The CTA has caused me immense white hot blinding rage over the past few days. At one point I was stuck on a shuttle bus grid-locked in a complete log jam and the CTA driver virtually held me hostage in that urine soaked, chicken bone encrusted hunk of teeming tin. The absolute only thing that prevented me from taking things into my own hands with a sock full of quarters was the Kool & Kass mixtape Peaceful Solutions.

Unremittingly smooth. Ruthlessly chill. An absolutely perfect mixtape for summer. It should be playing on every rooftop and every patio in Chicago. The perfect remedy to blast off the heinous stink of the Chicago winter. It beckons you to sit in the Chicago sun sipping large format saisons and not budging an inch for hours. Wordplay is outstanding and the variation in the duo combined with the plethora of producers makes for a very distinct yet oddly consistent sound.

Most diffusing and favorite song on the album Pleasance: