Underground ‘true school’ hiphop from the UK and the US.
UK wise I like Jehst, Task Force, Braintax, Maestro, Lewis Parker and generally all the guys associated with Low Life Records in London, Phi Life Cipher in Luton and Marc B and Blade (arguably the founders of UK hiphop). The whole UK scene is ridiculously underground with Roots Manuva being just about the only proper rapper to break through and have commercial success.
As for the US… I can listen to some mainstream for short periods because some of those guys do know rap and are comfortable with the basic techniques of it and can rip the occasional mean verse (I’m thinking Eminem, Snoop, Missy, Luda etc), and also I find the sheer success hiphop has had in the mainstream interesting, and how it’s spreading out to influence other forms of music. But the likes of Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples and The Roots have more skill than the majority of mainstream artists (excluding the likes of Eminem on absolutely top form) and I find I can relate to the content a lot better (I’m culturally biased but I find ‘indie’ rap a whole lot more intelligent than materialistic ghetto rap, on the whole). And then when you get to the really underground level of the guys at Definitive Juxtaposition records (Mr Lif, Aesop Rock, El-p, Cannibul Ox, MURS, C Rayz Walz etc etc) then well… rap starts to become something else entirely, something a lot more ambitious.
I’m going to see both Taskforce and Jehst live for the first time this month so it’s going to be a really special month for the evolution of my hiphop journey. Will probably post up show reviews here as the UK scene needs all the support it can get!!!