2007′s First Local Hip-Hop Highlights Part Two
After running down Charm City hip-hop’s Top 5 for the still young year last week, here’s the rest of our Top 10 local rap favorites of 2007′s first quarter:
6) NC-17 – Oscar Night
Some rappers don’t know how to be funny even when they’re trying–usually on their labored skits–but NC-17 can’t stop saying hilarious shit, even when he’s rhyming about serious topics. The South Baltimore native (currently living in Los Angeles) lines his lyrics with pop-culture detritus and gives his songs titles like “DJ Tanner” and “Bayside High”; he might actually get somewhere with his career if he ever stops watching TV and blogging–at least that’s what Mom always tells us.
7) Ace – The Product
One of the problems with underground rap mixtapes is that, in the rare event that the beats are original (and good), the liner notes are so sparse that you’re left with no idea who’s responsible for them. While he might not be the most distinctive MC out of the For the People Entertainment crew–that would be Billo, who steals a little of the spotlight on “Slow Ya Speed”– for The Product, Ace does get the best beats of anyone in the camp, slow and woozy grooves that fit his husky voice perfectly.
8) B.I.G. Status – Green Day
Green Day features the same kind of tough-talking and materialistic boasts we hear on an exhaustingly large percentage of mixtapes these days–but it’s also way better than the overwhelming majority of them, mainly because B.I.G. Status can actually rap, unlike a lot of the MySpace gangstas out there.
9) Pro and Reg – Bricks 2 Bmore EP
Pro and Reg come off as a couple of seriously pious old-school backpack rappers, talking about turntables and microphones, and even saying stuff like “we came to rock it” in earnest. But they also have enough of a sense of humor to sample the “Rocky and Bullwinkle” theme on their own theme song, “Pro and Reg”–which, frankly, is awesome. And on the title track of their new EP, they unite Baltimore with Jersey for a collaboration with indie-rap icon Tame One.
10) Mike Malachi – The Collection: Greatest Hits
Mike Malachi is a pretty obscure guy to be putting out a greatest-hits CD. But by cherry-picking through his catalog, he ends up with a more consistent product than previous mixtapes, like Malachi’s Way, and improves on some of his older tracks with imaginative new remixes by Baltimore club producer DJ Ron Rico.