Fleeta Partee, real name, no gimmicks—son of a Panther, Reign City MC true to his Central District soil, a veteran who's been around the scene for years as part of the Shabazz Coalition and as a solo artist and founding member of the Sportn' Life Records camp. Partee released his solo debut, LifeMuzik, produced mostly by the god Vitamin D (with one heavy knock courtesy of Jake One), and put it out on his own label. On the record, he despairs over the state of the art, the children—raised on the internet, unable to relate to the world—and his people, getting caught up in the trap, hustling for material wealth, finding themselves in the modern-day plantations behind penitentiary walls. Partee's from the generation that was "raised on gangs and Old English," but was clearly influenced by Nas's Queensbridge project-window perspective, with his own narration similarly fragmented and poetic. Partee's a man of the people, his roots and familial ties to the Black Power movement subtly shine through and give LifeMuzik a strength and purpose deeper than the average ego-driven MC.
I fell through the homie Castro's spot on Beacon Hill, and he was good enough to bless me with High Rhymes Smoking Jackets, the new Black Stax project he produced. Silas Blak, a true knockout artist, comes right out swinging on those claiming he's too old to showcase his gift on the mic, Jace follows right behind with a verse heavy with spirits, and Felicia Loud stoically, soulfully ties it all together over Castro's haunting lo-fi wardrobe. If you are a fan of BS, Silent Lambs Project, or just generally like it heady and meditative, somber as the Wu-Tang in their darkest hours of reflection, then this is for you.
Tacoma-based producer Marcus D dropped his newest a while back, titled Melancholy Hopeful, with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign, showing he's got a growing network of folks who love his sound. It's charged with the emotive and jazzy boom-bap he's known for from here to Osaka, aided and abetted by MCs like his Bop Alloy partner, QN5'er Substantial, plus One Be Lo, LaRue, and Luck-One, just to name a few. Marcus's stirring rainy-day production suits the voices he recruits (Choklate on "Fly" is particularly buoyant) and serves as a more than fitting tribute to his biggest influence, the late Tokyo-based producer Nujabes. Hopeful succeeds both as a real-rap compilation and as a travelogue through Marcus's far-off soundscapes.
On Sunday, August 19, you'll find Neumos stuffed to the rafters with up-and-coming local talent, via the New School Noise show—headlined by Garfield student and Raider Klansman Key Nyata. Nyata released his debut, Two Phonkey, last month, evoking some '90s Memphis rap flavor with a heavy dash of sun-damaged, half-eaten tape warp—the latest permutation of the sounds-great-on-codeine wave originated by the Texas titan DJ Screw. Also on the bill are Dave B., Antbeezy, A-Rawlo, Rebel, Seaan Brooks, and Fresh Preserves. Lend them your ears—they are your neighbors.