Perhaps it’s the inherent efficiency of the recording process –– a beat, a mic, and a rhyme are all that’s required –– but homegrown hip-hop continues to hit eager ears with the rapid-fire pace of a highly caffeinated Busta Rhymes verse. Like Lucy and the chocolate conveyor belt from I Love Lucy, it keeps coming so fast, it’s difficult to consume it all. Thankfully, the speed of the turnaround isn’t affecting the end product’s quality. Fort Worth rappers continue to prove they deserve the attention.
One project we recently missed was that of veteran rapper Dez 2-2. Last month, the alum of revered old school MC trio Fort Nox released his first solo effort, The Voice of Desmond Anderson. His is the second of a proposed trilogy of solo albums to be released by the three Fort Nox members. Last year, fellow Fort Nox-er Complete dropped his own solo venture, the much-celebrated My Three Cents. Like his cohort, Dez 2-2 commands the mic with a smoothness that can come only from decades in the game. With another introspective, classic-vibed project from the trio thumping speakers, we look forward to the forthcoming album from Solid, the last member of Fort Nox left to have his solo say.
Last weekend saw the release of Dreamy Life Records’ Group Therapy, Vol. 5 compilation. Though not a label necessarily synonymous with hip-hop, the record does feature a pair of must-listen tracks by two of the Fort’s premier rappers. One of the more sought-after collaborators in the scene, Juma Spears offers the mellow, smoke-friendly “Glow,” and mind-expanding guru Wrex lays out the perfect anthem for playing hooky with “Nothing Day.”
Philosophical flow-mason Clay Perry has perhaps been the most prolific rapper in town of late. He surprisingly dropped a brand new full-length just a few weeks ago. Sadly, due to a dispute with the record’s producer, Lyin’ King, the anticipated follow-up to his 2018 debut, IKIKN (I Know I Know Nothing), was pulled from all streaming platforms as quickly as it appeared. The blood has gone as sour as Tear Jerker™ candies between the two parties, so the release is unlikely to reappear in the foreseeable future. Not to be fazed, the shaggy-haired verse-shaman wrote and recorded an entirely new album in just one week, largely inspired by the disagreement. With production work by DJ Dre So Real and Lambeau, he’s ready to put the Lyin’ King fiasco behind him. Checkmate is already primed to drop this week.
Buzzy rapper Lou CharLe$ closed out September by dropping a new video. The live one-shot of CharLe$ fully pouring his heart into the microphone in front of him makes for a fitting visual for “Pray,” a moving homage to his late father. Soft choral vocals sit beneath a voicemail message left for CharLe$ by his father before a simple beat gives CharLe$ the vehicle to recount the tragic journey of his father’s cancer diagnosis. It’s a genuine and heavy track that again shows the open vulnerability local MCs are willing to display, a virtue quickly becoming a trademark for the genre in our area.
The aforementioned Wrex has been teasing several of his own live one-take videos in recent weeks. One of them, “Call Ticketron Freestyle,” features Wrex behind his signature red-tinted Lennon glasses effortlessly dropping a series of clever one liners like, “No, I’m not a thief / But I will steal a show,” around an insectine industrial beat. Though these videos appearing on his social pages are not proper releases, the impromptu peeks show that the nature-conscious lyricist is hard at work in the lab. His latest much-anticipated endeavor is a collaboration with local hip-hop icon Dru B Shinin’ called Bruce Leroy. If the live footage he’s posted of the two performing material from the project is any indication, hip-hop heads are in for a several-fire-emojis collection of vibed-out Enter the Dragon-toned bangers. Look for it in December. –– Patrick Higgins
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