Who Got Next: Hip Hop Today

who got next?
I figure the horse isn’t dead yet, so I can add to the beating and give you my .02 on the state of Hip Hop right now. I think the way Hip Hop is now reflects who is in control. Back when Hip Hop culture was getting started, it was not only seen as a recreational activity that people could have fun with, but also a peacemaker between feuding gangs. People would get together, spit rhymes, listen to DJs spin, tag and do throw ups, or break. Nobody saw it as a business, and even to graffiti writers who went the commercial route and displayed their art on canvases in art shows were considered sellouts by fellow writers. Then things changed, and Hip Hop evolved. The emcee was valued more and the DJ took a back seat. Emcees got on records, and the Hip Hop movement spread like wildfire.For about ten years things were beyond great. Although the breaking and graffiti elements of Hip Hop sort of died out, and are not as popular today as they were in the golden age, emcees and producers perfected their crafts. Hip Hop went in so many directions all across the country, and so many new styles were born. You had the Wu bringing that rough & rugged grimy New York style rap and Dre bringing the laid back funk influenced songs. However, around this time the media and corporations acknowledged the power of Hip Hop. The media used it as a scapegoat for problems created by the government and the corporations pimped it out to get paid (C.R.E.A.M.).Not only was Hip Hop being exploited, but the positive messages of Hip Hop were being destroyed. Hip Hop was doing wonders for the black community. Young blacks realized they could be successful simply by expressing themselves and staying true to what they believed in. Although it may be hard to believe, ideas of respecting women, educating yourself, and giving back to the community were being played on the radio. Now I admit some may call me a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe that there were and still are powerful people who didn’t want these message portrayed (that’s a whoooole nother story). So positive Hip Hop stopped getting played on the radio. Hip Hop doesn’t have to be positive though. I can’t sit here and lie to you that in the 90s there were no songs about selling drugs or no misogynistic songs. But back then there was balance and variety. It wasn’t song after song about the same subject matter. Now the only Hip Hop being played to mainstream audiences it about getting bitches, busting caps, and selling drugs. The public eats it right up, because they think that’s what Hip Hop is all about.

Thankfully, the Hip Hop generation is strong headed, and some emcees refused to change their messages in order to get paid. Unfortunately, these emcees are rarely heard today. Hip Hop has been painted as a horrible influence by the same people who made it that way. It has helped brainwash the youth into a fascination of material objects (C.R.E.A.M.) and activities that damage people’s own communities (not their communities, mind you).

There is still hope. The real emcees might not get airplay, but true Hip Hop is very much alive and in great shape. There have been many amazing new artists and albums that people need to hear, yet haven’t. Hopefully, that’s where I come in. I made this week’s mix to show people that Hip Hop is still very much alive. There are still emcees talking about real life situations instead of acting like they’re Tony Montana. There are still emcees who create their own trends instead of following the media. There are still emcees who rap with such poetical lyricism that they remind you of just how deep this Hip Hop can get. Hip Hop is still very much alive, there are just some people who don’t want you to think so. Well…this mix should be proof enough. Pure Hip Hop.

Who Got Next Mix
18 songs, 1 hour 3 minutes but all killer no filler, DOWNLOAD/STREAMING LINKS BELOW

Just a few words about this mix. I often get approached by people wondering who I’m listening to and asking for recommendations on new emcees. Well, here you go. In my opinion, all these emcees or groups are going to become pretty popular in the next couple of years. Some will (hopefully) take over the mainstream, and others will rule the underground. This is a mix that I did spend a lot of time on, but it’s just straight, non-stop Hip Hop. There’s a real quick intro, followed by 18 great songs. I didn’t want to interrupt the flow, I want this mix to grab you and not let go for an hour. So check it out, let me know what you think, if you really like one song or one artist talk to me about it and I could give you more information on him/them. Oh and don’t come to me talking about who I left off, I know who I left off and I left them off on purpose for various reasons. Just enjoy it…


1. Goatit by Bishop Lamont (feat. Phat Kat & Elzhi) : I know ya’ll wondering who produced this joint. It’s by Black Milk out of Detroit. If you don’t know who he is, do your homework because this producer is getting a lot of hype right now. Bishop Lamont is an emcee outta California. He’s well connected with Dr. Dre and signed to Aftermath. He’s just waiting for his chance to make it, and if Dre ever laces him with some beats on an album, expect big things from this guy. This song is off of his & Black Milk’s Caltroit mixtape. Oh and the 2nd verse? Let me introduce you to Elzhi. Elzhi is simply the truth. His rhyme structure and wordplay is on a whole nother level, and when he does drop his debut album, he’ll finally get the respect he deserves.

2. Say It! by J. Dilla (feat. Ta’Raach & DJ Exile) : Different regions of the country have their times to rule Hip Hop. Right now, L.A., Detroit, & Chicago are running things. This song’s from the late Jay Dee’s (see previous post) Jay Love Japan album. Ta’Raach is a real promising emcee and DJ Exile is a gifted beatmaker. Be on the lookout for Ta’Raach and Blu’s group C.R.A.C.’s debut album The Piece Talks dropping this April.

3. Keep On by Kev Brown (feat. Cy Young) : Kev Brown is one of my favorite producers right now. This song is off of his great debut album I Do What I Do. He talks about some real life issues in that album, so I recommend ya’ll check it out.

4. Women Problems by Pacific Division : I’m real confident to say these guys are gonna be huge soon. They’re outta L.A. and they’re kinda like The Cool Kids except they have more substance to their lyrics. Just a fun group to listen too. I’m guessing their first single Fat Boys ’08 is gonna blow up. Be on the lookout for their debut album, The Fat Album.

5. Wake Up Show Freestyle by Pacific Division (Like’s verse): I just had to include this one. Such deep lyrics, really shows you the versatility of Pac Div. Remember where you heard ’em first…

6. So Bad by Uncut Raw: These guys (Selfish & Fluent) are from the Green Llama record label outta Chicago. They’re keeping underground Hip Hop alive in the Chi. Their debut album First Toke was criminally underrated in ’07. It often got compared to Madvillainy, so if you liked that album check out First Toke. Now let’s just hope they can put together another album as good as their first.

7. Feelin’ Jack by Shawn Jackson: What a beautiful beat that SJ flowed over perfectly. It’s a shame this guy is so under the radar. He’s outta Cali (like so many dope rappers in today’s game) and he’s definitely got a lot of potential. His debut album, First Of All, should be coming soon and features production from Thes One of PUTS, Mekalek, Jack Sample, & Newman. Check out his myspace and uh…if you’re not easily offended download his new podcast Boner Jamz ’08.

8. Life Of The Party Remix by Little Brother (feat. Skillz) : If you’re not checking for Little Brother by now somethings wrong with you. These guys are one of the (if not the) best groups in Hip Hop right now. If you don’t know what I’m talking about just log off right now, and go buy The Listening, The Minstrel Show, & Getback. Plus I got a feeling Little Brother has plenty more in store for us. And their solo albums??? Damn, damn, damn.

9. Make Shit Bang by School Of Beats (feat. D-One) : These guys are outta D.C., and I’m not gonna lie, the lyrics aren’t anything special…but their beats are fucking ridiculous. As long as these cats don’t go deaf they’ll be making bangers for a long time. Check out their myspace.

10. Rebirth by One Be Lo: One Be Lo is one of my favorite rappers in the game today. I didn’t think that Binary Star’s album could be topped, but S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M (from 2005) is so amazing. If you don’t have that album go get it now. My expectations were so high after S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M. that his new album The R.E.B.I.R.T.H. kind of let me down, but I’m hoping he’ll get back to S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M. status on his next album. Another example of Michigan keeping real Hip Hop alive.

11. Better Than The Rest by Murs: Murs has been in this game a long time, so it’s kind of funny he’s on my list. But he’s just starting to get mainstream recognition, and some would say he’s at the height of his career. He’s recently made some great albums with 9th Wonder and this song is off his next album Murs For President. Check him out, he’s just a fun emcee to listen to.

12. Wonderful by CunninLynguists (feat. Devin The Dude) : This group isn’t new either, but they’re still making dope music and will be for the next couple of years. I think they can only get better. Kno’s production keeps evolving and the lyrics are improving as well. This is off their new album Dirty Acres and features the always entertaining Devin The Dude. Stop sleeping on this group, they’re way too underrated.

13. Gold & A Pager by The Cool Kids : See? Hip Hop can sometimes be about material objects. The Cool Kids are just so much fun to listen to. You’ve probably heard their song Black Mags on the Rhapsody! commercials. They’re reppin Chicago, and I swear they’re about to be huge. Their beats make you nod your head off like a fiend and they have catchy lyrics. Widdalittlebituhgoldandapager will be stuck in your head for weeks. Be on the lookout for their debut album The Bake Sale.

14. 50 Thousand Deep by Blue Scholars : I got no clue where these guys came from. Well I mean, they’re from Seattle, but it feels like they just appeared in the game out of nowhere. They dropped one of the best albums in 2007, Bayani. If you haven’t heard it go check it out now. The beats are something else and the lyrics are nice & reflective. Hopefully Blue Scholars can keep making dope music in the years to come.

15. The World Is… (Part 1) by Blu & Exile : I saved the best for last. Hmmm…..fuck it, I’ma say it, Below The Heavens is the best Hip Hop album of the past 5 years. This album is so amazing. I’ve had it in my car CD player since May and haven’t gotten tired of it. My favorite song on the album changes every two weeks. If you listen to this mix and decide to buy one album, buy Below The Heavens by Blu & Exile. The new Pete Rock & C.L. as they call themselves.

16. Fly (Song Of Liberation) by Blu & Exile : This song is off of Exile’s Dirty Science album and it just hints at the talent Blu has. I was considering doing a whole mix just on Blu’s music, that’s how impressed I am by him. He just raps about some real life shit that other rappers are scared to mention. I can’t even say enough about Blu, just go buy Below The Heavens. In my opinion, he’s tied for #1 in the game right now.

17. Act 1 (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) by Jay Electronica : Who else is tied for #1 in the game right now you ask? Meet Jay Electronica. This man’s lyrics are unlike any I’ve ever heard before. And who else would even think of rapping over the Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless mind score without even tweaking the music? When I first heard Act 1 I felt like I discovered Nas before Illmatic dropped. He’s got the internets going crazy and everybody is waiting on Act 2. I really think, and I’ma catch flack for this, that this guy has the potential to be one of the greatest rappers of all time if he stays on this path. He’s got big plans for ’08 too. I swear to god this guy is the truth, check him out, holla at me if you want more, and remember where you heard him first..

18. New Years Eve Freestyle by Brother Ali : I don’t know how I came across this song and I’m not sure if it’s a freestyle or a single from Ali’s next album, but it’s gotten a whole lotta plays from me. The beat is laid back and the lyrics are honest as always. I’ll admit, I kinda forgot about Brother Ali, but in ’07 he dropped The Undisputed Truth, which is a great album. Ali’s lyrics and flow are getting better and so is Ant’s production, so I think Brother Ali can definitely be regarded as one of underground’s greats in the next coming years.


Whoo…enjoy that shit, pure Hip Hop that’ll make you remember what it’s all about.




CLICK FOR .ZIP FILE (full songs, separate tracks, unmixed)

click for guide to downloading


on the real though, this is an important mix for me. It’s simple too, straight Hip Hop. So if you enjoy it, just tell all your friends who listen to Hip Hop to check out the blog. Thanks for continuing to show the love though, it’s much appreciated. Til’ next week, pz.


7 Responses to “Who Got Next: Hip Hop Today”

  1. 1 fade
    February 22, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    even though i got most of dez song props my man dis is a sick ass mix

  2. 2 Graham
    February 23, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Nice Matt-

    I really look forward to listening to this later today. I’ll post my thoughts on the tracks after I listen to it. I haven’t heard a single one of these songs, and am only familiar w/ like 4-5 of the MCs you feature.

    I gotta say, the last hip hop album that really knocked me on my feat was “Beauty & The Beat” by Edan, who is this goofy white guy from Boston but somehow he gets legends like Percee P on his records. Amazing producer + MC, although fairly unconventional.

    A friend of mine who is way better at keeping up with hip hop than I am these days has been trying to put me up on this dude Wah-Lay (I have no idea how it’s spelled, that’s just the phonetic way). His shit is really good, do you know that guy at all?

    On another note, I heard the new Rick Ross single w/ T-Pain yesterday and it was quite excellent.

  3. 3 mashpg
    February 23, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Yea I think you’ll like it Graham. This mix has variety too…it’s got the head nodding beats of The Cool Kids and the ridiculous poetic lyrics of Jay Electronica (I’m kinda obsessed with that guy, haha).

    And yea I got that Beauty & The Beat album, it’s real creative. Edan needs to come out with something new though. Wale is dope…he gets a lot of comparisons to Lupe. I think he’ll be pretty big in a year or two, but I don’t listen to him enough to put him on this mix. From the songs I’ve heard he’s good though.

    Haha, I haven’t heard that single. T-Pain entertains me though.

    Since I got the leaked version this Thursday I’ve been bumping Erykah Badu’s new album New Amerykah. It’s great, you should check it out.

    By the way I find it ironic how back when I was a shorty you would put me on to Hip Hop (Electric Circus n shit) and now I’m putting you on to some Hip Hop. Funny how things work out like that. Thanks for reading, lemme know what you think of these songs. Peace.

    p.s. your evergreen classmates tore shit up at the Dead Prez concert.

  4. 4 Jordan
    March 1, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Matt, you have outdone yourself again! To tell you the truth, I listen to like no new hip hop; I guess I’ve given up on most of it. The Blu & Exile album is sick, but there weren’t that many others I bought from this year. This list really gives me something to work off of though. These tracks are great! Keep it up man!

  5. 5 Graham
    March 2, 2008 at 12:49 am

    Hey man.

    So this is really more a response to your “lesson” of sorts, not really feedback at all, just my thoughts on the tracks and recent hip hop in general.

    1.Each verse gets better. Phat Kat doesn’t do a lot for me but Elzhi is great as always (my friend Robjeezy, who produced Tandem Muzik LOVES Elzhi), but Lamont is especially sick. He reminds me of Qwel for some reason, which is weird cause I don’t even really like Qwel. Really curious to hear this dude over some of the production Wikipedia says will be on his debut (Dre, Primo, RZA, Pete Rock, Scott Storch!!!), although Black Milk is also nice.
    2.Dilla track is fine, he sounds better on the mic here than I remember. Dilla is great, but I really feel like he’s been a little too canonized since his death, he just BARELY scrapes into my personal top 10 producers of all time. GOAT, I don’t think so, but opinions are like voices 😉
    3.The Kev Brown is nice + elemental. It’s got it where it counts.
    4.This track + #5 are outstanding. Really playful, but like you said, they’ve got content. I’m definitely gonna be on the lookout for these guys.
    5.Again…Pacific Division is awesome.
    6.I like these guys, lotta references to golden age songs + artists which I always dig.
    7.This didn’t do too much for me, the chorus is bogus.
    8.Little Brother + Skillz are both awesome. I really need to get that new Little Brother record (Robjeezy also loves that one). It’s quite possible this group could have improved w/ the departure of 9th Wonder (who I only think is so-so).
    9.Hot production for sure.
    10.A friend of mine really loves this guy. I’ve seen OneBeLo before and he puts on a good show. Really an MC’s mc, if that makes any sense. I like Binary Star better than either of the solo LPs but they’re still solid. He’s kinda got the Mos + Kweli thing going on in that even though their solo work ranges from solid->excellent, their best work still is with their original group.
    11.Murs is fucking brilliant. I’ve been saying for a long time that if there was any justice in this world, Murs should be one of the biggest rappers on the face of the earth. A perfect blend of pure talent, impeccable taste, and most of all, really accessible.
    12.Never actually heard these guys before (seen their name a lot) but I quite like this track. And Devin is always nice, of course.
    13.First time hearing these guys. It’s fun, I’d be interested to hear the rest of their record. It’s kinda puzzling that so many hipsters love these dudes.
    14.As a resident of washington state for the past 5 years, I have a soft spot for this group. I can’t honestly say I listen to them that much or even think their music is that relevatory, but what they’ve pretty much single-handedly done for the local hip hop scene is remarkable. You also picked a really great tune, of which they’ve got 6-7 of. Mainly I just don’t think their albums hold together that well. But this is a great track for the mix nonetheless.
    15.These dudes are tight.
    16.Another B+E tune
    17.Really interesting MC, I love how he uses like 3-4 different flows in a single song. Conceptually the tune is really brilliant, it’s almost avant-garde in a way. I’m definitely interested in hearing more from this dude.
    18.Brother Ali is really tight and even though I have both of his albums I don’t listen to him nearly enough.

    I should also mention that it’s not like I’m totally ignorant of recent hip hop and dislike it. The last El-P record was pretty cool (although he still hasn’t topped Funcrusher in my eyes, but that’s hard cause I think its the best underground hip hop album ever made), and I really loved Cage’s record from 2005, Hell’s Winter. I love Clipse and their newest record was really excellent (although I think I like the first one a bit more), and the new UGK was really solid but way too long, as most double hip hop LPs are. I still have yet to hear American Gangster , Hip Hop Is Dead or 8 Diagrams and Graduation was my 3rd favorite album of all last year (common and ghostface were a little disappointing in 07, but still decent records). Anyhow, thanks for the lesson.

  6. 6 mashpg
    March 2, 2008 at 5:26 am

    Haha, ok Graham…you know your stuff. You made it seem like Edan was the last Hip Hop you listened to. Glad you liked it man. Your feedback has been real helpful and I hope you keep checking out the blog. Peace.

  7. March 6, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    this mix is ballin–ive been bumpin this 24/7

    i hadnt heard of hardly any of these guys; pacific division is real dope especially #5
    jay electronica is amazing as well as blu & exile
    && the first track is so bumpin


    there is a lot of garbage rap these days but theres definitely still dope shit in the mainstream

    lupe fiasco’s first cd is real good cools not bad either
    ghostface’s new album is legit
    kanye west

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