Kleptones

These “original” tracks feature some swell breaks ‘n’ beats ‘n’ what-not but, to be honest, the Kleptones aren’t nearly as interesting when abiding by copyright laws… This post is merely an excuse to plug their new mash-up-and-more theme album, A Night at the Hip Hopera. After giving the Flaming Lips a b-boy makeover with Yoshimi Battles the Hip Hop Robots, the audio kleptomaniacs are back at it with a similar tribute to Queen. To have a listen, head over to Waxy.org, where you’ll find the complete album for download as well as a collaborative dissection of the countless samples used therein.

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Approach

This one’s for my Mizzou people, you know who you are. Not only is Approach the best MC ever to hail from Kansas City, he swings a nice lisp (especially audible on “Hey Y’all”) and makes his own funky beats. This is straight-up party fodder for your mind à la J5, Lyrics Born, Talib Kweli — and ya don’t quit…

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Tommy Guerrero

Like his Southern California counterpart, Ray Barbee, Tommy Guerrero is a skateboarder turned musician, using simple, 4-track technology to capture his loose, laid-back grooves. Between the two they’ve practically defined a new genre: skate-soul.

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Headset

Allen Avanessian (Plug Research) and Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel, Postal Service, Figurine) hit the lab with a hard drive full of devolved beats and glitch-and-paste collages, then invite a who’s who of electronic and hip-hop innovators to muse over the sparse foundation. The result ranges from head-nodding to chin-stroking; this track, featuring verbal gymnast Subtitle flowing over what sounds like a dying music box, exemplifies the latter.

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Heiruspecs

Not rap, not jazz, not spoken word — at least not as you know it. Refreshingly tight live sessions that manage to reference Run-DMC and Mother Goose in the same verse with only a slight smirk.

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