In my estimation, long summer days go best with breezy, beautiful music—which is not to say you can't bang that new Jacka album if that's what you're about ('cause that new Tear Gas album is dead-ass serious). But right now, the clarity and soulfulness of Mos Def's The Ecstatic is restoring not only my faith in humanity, but my faith in ol' Black Dante as a rapper/album-maker. From Madlib's dirty bazaar banger "Auditorium" (which Mos and Slick Rick—a legend who never forgot his own dopeness—absolutely perforate) to the "Final Breakdown" synths of "Life in Marvelous Times," Mos has finally, after 10 years and two undercooked albums, crafted an LP worthy of his classic debut, Black on Both Sides. More than worthy, to be real—The Ecstatic is mando, a must hear. If you're like me, you're swamped with music at all times, so maybe you haven't got to this one yet; bump this one to the front, patna.
It's the only thing that could've got me away from the other joints I been bumping all week—namely, the two Shabazz Palaces albums I am very grateful to have received in my mailbox. Surrounded by mystery, this project is short on frills (like writing/production credits) but very long on the boom. Egyptology, dancehall, future-beats, patois, slick talk—this is simply some of the heaviest shit out that could arguably be called Seattle hiphop, and it's probably not even on most of y'all's radar (a visit to www.shabazzpalaces.com can remedy that). My strongest suggestion is that you put a dub aside and cop both albums.
I do have another awesome local release in the mix: I just received High Society, the ass-spankin'-new EP from local heroes the Physics, which, by the time you read this, you can download for free right now at www.thephysicsmusic.com! Thig Natural, Monk Wordsmith, and Just D'Amato have homed in on their vibe and perfected it, bringing some friends along the way—namely Language Arts, Macklemore, and Thee Satisfaction—but nobody's out-shining the Physics trio here, who're at the height of their powers. Thig's stepped-up swag (and playfully sung vocals) puts the easygoing honesty-is-the-best-policy sex ode "I Just Wanna Beat" on insta-repeat. Monk Wordsmith (mostly absent on their debut, Future Talk) is the perfect bookend to his brother Thig, with nuff memorable verses—my favorite being his reminiscence on the gorgeous "Back Track," touching on his South End roots, his family, and the local impact of Do the Math (which clearly had a huge influence on the Physics' sound). Last but not least, Justo's mellow, jazzy knock sets the table perfectly and frequently surprises with its richness; it's Seattle to a T, sure to bring a smile to anybody who came up on that Tribal shit. This is the town's official grown-man rap (I'll take this over Little Brother's last two joints, too), and every last one of you should thank the Physics for throwing it out there. I'll start: thanks, fellas.