Album of the Week: Domo Genesis & Evidence’s Intros, Outros and Interludes (2022)

This release from two LA-to-the-core hip-hop artists is an overlooked joint project. It’s a merging of two different generations: The 31-year-old Domo Genesis cut his teeth as a member of Tumblr-era phenoms Odd Future, and the 46-year-old Evidence co-founded the group Dilated Peoples in the 90s. What the two have in common is a laidback, uncomplicated approach to rap music. While this trait may have kept both artists from achieving the mainstream success achieved by some of their peers, it rewards listeners as they age with confidence and consistency in their respective outputs.

Evidence and Domo first collaborated on 2017’s “Deez Nuts”, a Domo track produced by Evidence. A year later, Ev rapped on Domo’s “Fuck a Co-Sign”, from his brief yet excellent Arent U Glad Youre U tape. Evidence produced the entirety of last year’s Intros, Outros and Interludes, and his beats are absolutely lush. I find myself playing this album early in the morning as it relaxes me. “Trust the Process” finds Doms riding over a 70s soul sample, his lyrics unadorned observation: “This hash is in my lungs / a bunch of plastic in the ocean”. The sunny “Stay One More Day” sample fades in and out as Evidence proves himself a master beatmaker.

Ev’s one guest verse is smooth: “Drive slow, homie / Like my son is in the car / My summers as a kid in Brooklyn made me to a star”. This is a reference to canon hip-hop (Late Registration), a sly nod to his age, and a reflection on his come-up in one rhyme. Domo follows with “I never had a chance / I lose my life to seek a new one, look we movin’ through the dance”. It’s just two guys ruminating on how they got where they are, but in the context of the album it feels almost like a passing of the torch moment.

The beat on “December Coming” is heavenly, another delicious piece of a brief yet worthy album from two rap devotees. Here’s hoping they team up again.

Listen to Introshere.

Album of the Week: Allblack’s No Shame 3 (2020)

First off, I want to give a shoutout to DJ Fresh. For 15 years he’s been making killer beats for artists in the Bay Area and elsewhere. His Tonite Show series of full length collaborations with various rappers never fails to impress me. He only produced 2 tracks on No Shame 3 (“All My Children” and “S.H.E.”), but they both stand out.

I first heard Allblack on Nef the Pharaoh and 03 Greedo’s “Ball Out” (2018). That one’s a slapper, opening with an Allblack verse over a beat from DTB, who produced almost half of No Shame 3. Allblack is from Oakland, but he has a fast, punchline-filled approach that would fit well with the contemporary Detroit sound. Indeed, Detroit’s Helluva has 2 beats on here including the title track.

The vibe throughout No Shame 3 is fun, an impressive display of lyrical energy with distinctive Oakland swagger in both beats and rhymes. The aforementioned DTB pumps bass into tracks like “Pizza Rolls”, with its hilarious depiction of drug-induced paranoia (“I watched Silence of the Lambs and had a bad dream / I stopped smokin cause I caught my potna lacin weed”). Overall, I’d call it one of the more under-appreciated rap full-lengths of the last couple years.

Stream No Shame 3 here.

Album of the Week: NoCap’s Steel Human (2020)

In the streaming version, the eagle has a chain, too.

NoCap! If you’re unfamiliar, the name might be too ridiculous for you to commit to the music. But I implore you, if you’ve never heard “Ghetto Angels”, listen to it. The song is an incredible ode to the artist’s fallen friends, expressing a vulnerability (“I end up cryin’ on my best days”) that is often missing in hip-hop, over an appropriately heavenly beat.

It’s hard to say “Ghetto Angels”, from The Backend Child (2019) isn’t the young rapper’s best song, but lately I’ve been stuck on Steel Human, which as it stands is the most recent project from the 23-year old artist. Like a lot of newer rappers, Cap does the rap-singing thing. He stands out for a couple reasons: for one, he has a great voice and ear for melody. And lyrically, he has a unique and clever approach. The song that really sold me on NoCap (besides “Ghetto Angels”) was Lil Baby’s “Dreams 2 Reality” from 2018. Produced by frequent collaborator and fellow Alabama native Al’Geno, it features the NoCap line, “I’m on top of all these n****s, I can see when all these angels piss.” It’s such a weird way of bragging that it stuck with me.

Steel Human contains similarly confounding gems. “If I leave the game, will my Xbox love me?” “I’m a drunk boxer / I pour lean in my Hawaiian Punch”. “Playground love / I let her slide and she got mood swings”. The more you listen to NoCap, the more wordplay you uncover. As far as younger rappers with a pop/melodic sensibility, NoCap is one of the best. Also, all the features here are great. Here’s hoping for more from NoCap.

Listen to Steel Human here.