Listens for the Week #9: Boldy James & Futurewave, Madvillain, Skelbeats
Updated: May 14
Every week, I offer three recommendations: something new, something classic, and something I love. This week, I've been loving my dive into the unending discography of Miles Davis, but aside from jazz, I've discovered some incredible new hip hop and taken some time to revisit old classics.
Boldy James & Futurewave - Mr. Ten08 (2022)
This is the third album from Boldy James this year, so going into this record, I was cautiously optimistic. With each release, Boldy continues to climb up my list of favourite rappers, but I'm always wary of artists releasing too often and potentially watering down their sound for sake of quantity. Mr Ten08, however, exceeded all expectations. Boldy's lyrical touch is as sharp as ever and his signature cold and nonchalant delivery meshes so well with the grim and sinister tones of Futurewave's production. Futurewave is a producer I was unfamilar with, but after hearing this I'm encouraged to dive into his work. The bass is so heavy and, coupled with the jazzy samples and use of synths, it makes for one of Boldy's darkest records, sonically. Furthermore, the transitions between each song are so seamless, making this an even more cohesive and satisfying listen.
Madvillain - Madvillainy (2004)
This past Monday marked Halloween, but it also marked two years since the death of MF DOOM. On what fans are now calling 'Doomsday', I decided to revisit some of my favourite records from the legendary rapper, and I couldn't help but spin Madvillainy over and over. This is MF DOOM in prime form, with each verse packed with rhymes and double meanings. Hidden sentences which may at first sound nonsensical is so much meaning and character, making this an album worth playing again and again to pick up every last detail. For this album, DOOM adopted a darker, more serious tone, matching Madlib's abstract production perfectly. Madlib's work on this album is extraordinary. The sheer number of samples he used is incredible, weaved together into a string of sounds where each song leads into the next without the listener noticing. The brevity of each track keeps the album fresh, with Madlib knowing just how long to keep a beat going before a sudden production switch or warped transition to the next song.
Something I Love
Skelbeats - That's Not My Skeleton (2022)
Skelbeats is an underground hip hop producer who fittingly dropped his latest album on Halloween. His production style is groovy and fast-paced, with chattering drum patterns and catchy samples laced throughout the beats of this album. As a whole, the album embodies this sinister, foreboding sound, making it an apt release for Halloween. The album has a host of excellent features as well, with stellar verses from Unruly, Vic Spenser and Backwood Sweetie, among others. It's another tight and consistent project from Skel which makes his makes his future look even more promising.