It was a spring day way back in 2010 when Seattle's Vitamin D decided to drop his Born Day EP off on the internet. Largely recorded on his b-day that year, it was a gift no one really expected from the extraordinarily smooth producer/emcee, but one we were glad to receive. Has the local rap legend had a birthday since then? Perhaps—though he still sounds young and spry as ever—but they've passed by without new musical fare. Now four years later, he's finally followed up BD with Bornday 2, another stoney collection of jams with the glorious lyrical irreverence his group Stahi Bros' brought to the dub-sack-stuffed stocking that was Chrismas Trees, and all the soul and funk crosshatching of Born Day's first installment.
"Thirty-Two Ouncer" is probably my favorite of the bunch so far ("32-ounce super sip/always talkin' 'bout who you with), but it's a tight mid-length album packed with cuts disguised as a free-time jam session.
UGLY FRANK sounds like he's out to ruffle some feathers with his new BOBBY HILL EP. Not that he hasn't been spitting corrosive bars for some time with his Tacoma outfit ILLFIGHTYOU, but he's out to show and prove on this one. Firing off slurs and obscenities like he's checking them off a list, FRANK sets out to damage the egos of "Puss ni**as," "b*tches," "fa**ots," "slut hoes"—I mean, you name it—with equal force. His spite-loaded turret spraying generally outward, delivering hate to the masses in bulk, rather than anyone in particular. His deranged stress-unloading mechanism: talk first, think later. The twist there is that FRANK's clearly taken his time chopping up his cadences with fresh wordplay, leaving his verses harsh yet polished. Take it for what you will, but in a musical context, it sounds crisp and shocked with energy. FRANK cuts through the bass rumbles and hi-hat ticks with a growl, yes, but you can almost hear the smile on his face. Damn.
The EvergreenOne-featuring "90" undercuts his group's venomous cult-hit "92" by about two give-a-fuck notches, and "LEFT OVA" packs odd syllables like loaded weapons in a suitcase. Fear not: FRANK has your daily slap-in-the-face covered.
Pete Marriott is a transplanted Brooklyn producer with a fondness for the past. Though an album name like #REALHIPHOP might cue a few rolled eyes in 2014, the 13-track album is actually very listenable, and has some interesting backstory. He's lifted the guest verses—a mix of new rhymes, and rhymes he personally recorded in the late '80s/early '90s in New York—from their original four-track format (only the new ones were digital housed), and set them over his updated true-school beats in a seamless manner, suspended in time, for those with a taste for old school beats and raps. Check out the cool video for "100 PROOF" below.