All Flash, No Pan
For more than 10 years, there has been scant debate in Hub hip-hop circles about who the superlative of hardest duo belongs to. That honor likely goes to Natural Born Spitters, the massive force of Cambridge rappers E’Flash and Vee Knuckles. With an arsenal of pingpong rhymes and one-two punches, they’re a lot of M.O.P. and Mobb Deep, but with a heavy touch that’s undeniably New England. For years, N.B.S. has enjoyed success as a unit, even touring internationally. But on FlashLight, a new LP with producer Lightfoot (we know; considering that title, it almost feels like the hip-hop gods planned for this), Flash comes strong as a solo artist, breaking beats over his knee along with stereotypes about group members going at it alone. This is worth several full spins, but we predict you may get stuck on the coming-of-age tale “Fifteen.”
Each one teach one
Props to the Record Co. for being much more than a recording lab, and to Oompa for being more than just a performer. On March 11, the two are collaborating on “the first installment of a series of workshops aimed at supporting artists in getting and keeping gigs.” “Primarily for those looking to get their first gigs, or to increase the amount of performance opportunities they already have,” the event will feature facilitators sharing “best practices and experiences on how to make yourself bookable, where to look to get the gig, how to pitch yourself, and what kinds of tools you need to prepare for the gig once you have it.” More info at therecordco.org.
We’re still bumping Boston easy-go-rapper Nick Shea’s excellent Fran Jeffries Is My Valentine beat tape, which came out for that special February holiday, as well as his recent single, “Remember Me.” Another bouncy banger built on skill and wit, the track was written to coincide with his 23rd birthday and the 20th anniversary of Dr. Dre and Eminem’s “Forgot About Dre.” Seems absurd, sure, but a quick trip through Shea’s mental state and you will quickly begin to connect the dots.
Remember Daniel Laurent, who we last year reported always “makes it a point to come back strong [and] to leave a mark”? The Roxbury MC tapped Hub talents Rocklyn, Lucky Dice, Tek.MP, Chilla Jones, and Boston Royale to bless the remix of his single “Outside,” a preventative tale about life in the most complex, often dangerous places. With this crew added on, Laurent and company take the message beyond Boston. As battle rap champ Chilla Jones rhymes, “It isn’t Trump, it’s the billionaires advising him dog / He’s just a puppet, a figurehead doing as instructed / Distracting us with bullshit and screwing with the public.”