Chuck D, "Generation Wrekkked"
In 1996, Chuck D released his first solo record, Autobiography of Mistachuck, which differs from a Public Enemy record primarily in that Flavor Flav wasn't involved at all. Because Chuck D was always part of the Bomb Squad, and therefore was involved in putting together the beats, and of course his stentorian voice was always the driving force behind PE, the record really just kind of fits in with the other mid-90's PE records. Probably better than He Got Game, maybe not quite as good as Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age.
Vince Staples, "BagBak"
Summertime '06 was a huge breakthrough, so there was a lot of attention on his followup, Big Fish Theory. And he very much delivered, with the record suffering in comparison with the first one only in that it's a shorter album. But there's nothing wrong with that, and his deft melding of electronic sounds with his skilled rapping sounded (and still sounds) fantastic.
Downtown Boys, "Dancing In The Dark"
Kind of a shame that we got a kinda jokey cover as our first song from Downtown Boys. I guess we'll have to wait for a proper track from them for a real intro. But the whole album isn't like this! Well, I guess there's still plenty of saxophone on it.
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, "Killing Floor"
Emma Ruth Rundle took her gothic folk and merged it with Thou's straight-from-the-swamps sludge and produced one of the best records of 2020, May Our Chambers Be Full. It's tempting to say that Rundle's presence softened the sound, but that's not really what's going on. Instead it's a counterweight, the bottomless heaviness having a counterpoint that both provides relief but also allows everything to stand out more. It's fantastic stuff.
Amp Fiddler, "Through Your Soul"
I think this was a pickup from a Bandcamp album of the day roundup, and I like it pretty well, although I'm not sure it's ever totally grabbed me. But it's certainly pleasant.