Summer new releases can be strategic in the hip hop world. Festivals, summer jams, and lots of bored kids on vacation can all easily serve to augment the fan base of any rapper or hip hop super-group. Not to mention, summertime barbeque-ready beats will inevitably be in heavy rotation (right now, the immediate song that comes to mind is the newly released, yet unreleased new Wu-Tang joint, “Family Reunion”). However, beyond Wu-Tang, Kanye West, J. Cole, and other highly anticipated artists making noise this summer, you can bet that these following five artists are bound to create some major buzz themselves. While Summer of 2013 will be great for big releases, don’t sleep on these below-the-radar summertime gems.
1. Myron & E
Stones Throw Records has a knack for uncovering that dusty, timeless soul sound that still manages to maintain a balance between raw and accessible. Myron & E, a Bay Area-bred duo consisting of former Blackalicious tour members, are the latest addition to Stone Throw’s soul collection. Backed by The Soul Investigators, their forthcoming album, Broadway, may even spark a repeat retro-soul revolution in the independent music world, à la Hawthorne’s 2009 Strange Arrangement.
For fans of: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Lee Fields & the Expressions, Mayer Hawthorne
Handbook is one of the toughest musicians to Google. I put him up there with Real Estate, Inc, and !!!. However, Handbook is also one of the toughest producers to ignore, as his latest EP, Rare Ivory, offers production reminiscent of Nujabes’ Hip-Hop beat classic, Modal Soul. Even though there are only 4 original tracks on this one, along with remixes by Low End Theory regulars, Astronautica and Mike Gao, I expect this UK producer to be excessively Googled this summer for his near flawless piano-driven beats (quick tip: include “Filthy Fortune Records” in your Google search).
For fans of: Nujabes, Fat Jon, Ta-Ku
3. Eric Lau
For someone who’s received props from dudes like Phonte, and collaborated with the likes of Guilty Simpson, Oddissee, and Lupe Fiasco, Eric Lau remains relatively low key. This UK producer released his debut studio album, New Territories, back in 2008, and has put forth a good amount of singles, remixes, and EPs since then. Now he’s back with what we can assume to be an equally soulful new LP titled, One of Many. The track above features Okayplayer fav, Tawiah.
For fans of: Freddie Joachim, The Sound Providers, Kev Brown
4. Philip Owusu
Robin Hannibal has become a major subject of discussion in the music world, with the recent popularity of Rhye, Quadron, and Kendrick Lamar. However, the multi-talented instrumentalist and Boom Clap Bachelor also released a critically-acclaimed 2006 album on Ubiquity Records titled, Living With Owusu & Hannibal, which was created in part by, you guessed it – Philip Owusu. Owusu plans on releasing his own solo album, SUBS, and his first single, “Goodnight,” has been debuted by Gilles Peterson and premiered by Okayplayer. With these tastemakers endorsing Owusu’s efforts, I’m intrigued to hear what goodness SUBS has in store for us.
For fans of: Boom Clap Bachelors, Quadron, DeBarge
5. The Underachievers
Tailing the success of their Indigoism mixtape, recent Brainfeeder signees, The Underachievers, plan on releasing a collection of new singles this June. Their latest track, “May’s Patience,” features a Lamont Dozier sample and the same raw, rapid rhyme schemes that compelled Flying Lotus to sign them. The Brooklyn duo will be playing Los Angeles’s FYF Fest as well.
For fans of: Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, Kendrick Lamar
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