Keeping it gully is so important to Brooklyn rapper Maino that on "Paper Gangster" he actually says, "you rap / that ain't that hard to do." It sort of begs the question why he does it at all. But Maino does rap pretty well on his new mixtape, King of the City, relying on a concise, battle-friendly style, heavy on repetitive rhymes and tailor-made for anthems like "Stomp" with Lil Kim and "Thug Music". King also includes topical tracks like "Wishing on a Star", in which he speaks to his parents, and on the club ready "Hell No", with Scott Storch providing yet another bootleg "Lean Back" beat.
As The Final Year quietly argues, if the United States' electorate fails to elevate itself to a higher level of political vernacular than coarse tweets and reality TV-style colloquies, then 2016 may be the best year the US will have had for a long time to come.
New single from dark duo VOWWS conjures classic James Bond scores while avoiding all the stuff we've all heard before.
Soulful balladeer Reigen reminds us that sometimes not knowing is a real place to start understanding.
There's a ghostly suggestion of Philip Roth's writing voice in Portnoy's Complaint in this novel; a relatively calm voice, this time in the third person, documenting the madness.
The Hackensaw Boys reboot Blaze Foley's Reagan-era "Oval Room" in light of the current political climate with scorching results.
Eric Benoit fuses elements of dance, folk, and alternative styles in the experimental "Dragonflies", wherein the artist delves into some uncomfortable realities.
An avant-garde classic or a sneering joke? Third Reich 'n Roll may be over 40 years old, but it still sounds like it's been beamed down from the future.
Pulp functions less as a pulpy mystery or gangster tale than as a spoof of same, albeit a spoof that retains a noirish sense of fate and power.