The trio, Diamond District, founded by DC rapper Oddisee, have given us “First Step,” a preview of March On Washington, scheduled to drop on October 14. It’s been five years since DD’s debut album, In The Ruff, and they are now positioned to make a long-awaited return, likely to continue their thoughtful and socially conscious lyrics, a style clearly informed by their DMV roots and proximity to the Capitol. Check out “First Step” below.
Out of Los Angeles, Steven Ellison, known as Flying Lotus, has been working on his new album, You’re Dead! scheduled to drop on October 7th in the US. Today, he leaked “Never Catch Me” featuring Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick raps over a stream of jazzy, flying, tight production which demands attention as it changes key and pulls you along yet grounding you in the piano’s recurring theme. In his silence, wordless backing vocals add to the already crowded tune, and the title points to both Kendrick’s effortless and rapid flow and Ellison’s elusively abstract instrumentals. Check out a clearer version here.
In the 80s and 90s, Ishmael Butler, frontman of the trio Digable Planets, was one of the first to fuse jazz with hip hop–a sound widely unique to the time. While the group eventually broke up in 2011, the venture led Butler to form Shabazz Palaces whose latest album, Lese Majesty, continues to straddle the liminal space between genres, labeled “experimental hip hop” by Butler’s label, Sub Pop. Check out one of the album’s most popular songs, “Forerunner Foray.” You can read about Ishmael Butler and Shabazz Palaces here.