"Burners" by Damu the Fudgemunk ft. Insight, The Truncator & Blu

“Burners” begins with circa 1994 beats updated into a classier, more ethereal backdrop to smooth, yet still intimidating rhymes. Despite ditching the lo-fi edge that defined the sounds of the Wu-tang, Fudgemunk manages to retain the aggressive and sinister quality in the sound that made old school hip hop so intoxicating. As the song progresses, sounds are layered more thickly in the background, and in general progresses much more in the style of Gang Starr than Wu-tang, eventually turning into a drugged out, low-key dj set.

The choice to end the song with a dj set raises questions about the song's frequent use of ODB's line “burnin hot” from the 1995 song “Brooklyn Zoo”. The words were originally delivered in ODB's boisterous and unhinged style, in short a sort of musical polar opposite from the groove that “Burners” spends about the last 5 minutes of the song on. It seems almost like an unintentional statement about the replacement of old school hip hop's edginess with a turn to passivity, either in the form of consumerism, or in the case of “Burners”, drug use and mysticism.

Whatever the case, in sum the track is well worth a listen and delivers a fresh perspective on classic sounds.

-Mike Dranove

Pleasing rhymes from Xavier Ingram

Even, fluid rhymes over a chill beat give Xavier Ingram's song “Crash Freestyle” a sense of stature. While hitting on tropes about smoking trees to cope and police violence, Ingram steers clear of the tasteless, gaudy production values that doom other projects to total obscurity. The music is not an assault on the ears but rather a pleasing recitation of the litany of issues faced by the lyricist.


-Mike Dranove

Sounds of searching from Americana artist Lauren Calve

Solid voice, solid backing band, well thought-out lyrics dealing with feeling lost and out of place; all in all Lauren Calve makes a convincing Americana artist. “Be my home” she implores on the refrain to her latest single of the same name, as if she is being driven to desperation by feelings of being out of place. On the track, Calve yearns for the same thing every Americana artist yearns for, an idyllic, peaceful, rural America that probably never was, but nevertheless lives on in the popular imagination as something to give people hope for a different world.

You can catch Lauren Calve March 9th at Black Cat.

-Mike Dranove

Indie Folk dream team headlining Union Stage this Friday

Get hyped.  Handsome Hound will be hosting Andrew Grossman of The North Country, Nefra Faltas of Humble Fire, Kelly Servick of Near Northeast, and Kate Taylor Mighty in an epic night of covers and originals at Union Stage this Friday.  Featuring some of the biggest names in DC folk backed by a horn section, this event is guaranteed to be lit, or rather, in the words of the organizers, a “full-blown hullabaloo.

Tickets available here.

-Mike Dranove


Epic hype tracks from Baltimore's Hunit Stackz

This album is some serious boxing entrance music. Synth brass, synth strings, and synth choir over 808s combined magnificently with copious Dragonball Z references set the stage for an epic confrontation between Hunit Stackz and his arch nemesis: mumblecore rappers. By about a minute through the album's opening track, you almost feel sorry for the rappers who Hunit Stackz is eviscerating. As Hunit Stackz told the Manhattan Digest, “mumble rap is garbage...Overall it's a disgrace to the greats. I decided to step up as the anti-mumble rap spokesman in hip-hop.” As for his own tracks, Hunit Stackz is not modest saying, “I feel I deserve unprecedented superstardom.” And after listening for a while, I think I'm ready to live in a Hunit Stackz dominated rap market.

-Mike Dranove

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