P.A.P.I.
“Built Pyramids” [ft. Large Professor]

Hip-hop law states that, in a given year, at least one major rapper must change his name. 2011 was the year of Mos Def’s transformation into Yasiin Bey, while 2012 will be remembered for Snoop’s evolution from a Dogg to a Lion. And now, less than a week into 2k13, we’ve got another name switch on our hands. Veteran Queens rapper N.O.R.E. (Niggaz On the Run Eatin’) has adopted the new title P.A.P.I. (Power Always Proves Intelligence). While Noreaga’s moniker may have changed, his flow’s just the same as ever. On “Built Pyramids,” a cut off his upcoming Student of the Game LP, P.A.P.I. effortlessly fires away punchline after witty punchline (featured couplet: “I know Jamaicans on drugs/ Call them cocoa heads”) over a brash, brassy guitar riff, with support from fellow New Yorker (and Nas’ mentor), Large Professor.

• P.A.P.I.: https://twitter.com/noreaga
• 57th Ave: http://www.57thave.com

Redhead

“Gold On My Macbook Freestyle”

“I’m the greatest rapper alive up in my mind, I guess.” This may just be the defining quote between who can release music on a monthly or yearly basis, and someone like Stephen Redhead, who has more of an inconsistent release schedule, releasing tracks on the level of “Gold On My Macbook Freestyle.” Yes, this is Readhead freestyling over that mixtape track “Gold On My Macbook” by Trinidad James. And not to throw shade, since it’s January and that shit would be COLD, but Redhead’s track reminds me of riding in my car, trying to rap to whatever beat is playing on my stereo. Which is neat, in a way that Redhead had (maybe) no intention of referencing.

But “Gold On My Macbook Freestyle” is probably a good sense of what you may be receiving in the new year. Y’all can purchase his single “White Talk” now. And as his email to me said, “Expect very interesting things from this artist in the months to come.” I mean, at least he’s not telling you he’s rare or his shit is a collector’s item, right? Respect to that!

• Redhead: http://redhead.bandcamp.com

DJ Earl

“Ball So Hard” / “Trippy 13’ (High Out Yo Mind)”

DJ Earl (#TEKLIFE practitioner and Traxman collaborator) is set to drop a new album, Audio Fixx 2, the follow-up to last year’s Audio Fixx (which was lovingly written up by TMT in-patient C Monster). Earl has already released two previews from the album: “Trippy 13’ (High Out Yo Mind),” which continues the TEKLIFE vibe with a minor-key battle feel, and “Ball So Hard,” a harder, club-ready juke joint. Both are classic Earl, but the subtle twist that happens roughly halfway through “Ball So Hard” is cold as fukk.

“Ball So Hard”:

“Trippy 13’ (High Out Yo Mind)”:

Look for Audio Fixx 2 on March 19.

• DJ Earl: http://soundcloud.com/djearlteckz

Branches

Ninguém É Como Tu - Reworks

In his recent interview with Maria Minerva, Ze Pequeno divulged a justifiable inkling that Lisbon, Praça dos Restauradores in particular, is becoming the new Berlin, a continental hub of creative energy that pulls and pushes impending talent in a range of fervent, unrestrained directions. With a sudden flurry of musicians swinging by Portugal to record albums and write fresh material, combined with a blossoming collective of local practitioners crafting reputations for themselves as resolute, enterprising producers, it came as little surprise to stumble across projects such as Branches, lingering discreetly under the surface in the country’s second city, Porto.

Pedro Rios has been dropping experimental soundscapes for Solid Melts and UUU Tapes (RIP) over the course of the past six years, with his latest solo outing, Ninguém É Como Tu, hitting virtual shelves in January 2012 and consequentially landing him a spot on microphonesinthetrees’ top cassette releases of the year.

More recently, Rios uploaded Ninguém É Como Tu - reworks for free on his Bandcamp. The album features a slew of equally intriguing Portuguese artists and their interpretations of Branches’ irresistible New Age electronic jams, making this a quintessential release for coming to terms with what is happening on the Iberian peninsula right now. It seems Ze Pequeno was onto something.

• Branches: http://branchesbranches.bandcamp.com
• Solid Melts: http://www.solidmelts.com

El Guincho

“Trances”

Starting the new year right with a hectic, get-off-your-ass 25-minute mix of new material, it seems our pal Mr. Pablo Diaz-Reixa finally moved off the beach and into the city. This dude’s been pulling club beats out of his special blend of tropixotica samples since 2008’s Alegranza, only this time around he’s replaced all of those steel drums and auxiliary percussion pieces with some serious trance grooves and heavy bass beats, all the while keeping those hints of Spanish-language samples in tact. Let’s hope this is a sign of more to come this year.

Stream the mix over at the cleverly URL’d tranc.es.

• El Guincho: http://www.elguincho.com

肉人形✰MEATDOLL

“秋のシルエット『 انتہائی شدی』”

肉人形✰MEATDOLL has been periodically releasing tracks via SoundCloud for over a year now, most of which appropriate pop tunes wholesale with creepy effects added to amp up the nightmare factor. His/her latest track, “秋のシルエット『 انتہائی شدی』,” is no exception. The source material is non-Western (of course) pop, but here it’s pitched-up and effected to create an unsettling warbling effect. And the pop element doesn’t make the song go down any easier. In fact, it’s this very Lynchian juxtaposition that’s most disorienting: your ear wants to hear the song a certain way, but 肉人形✰MEATDOLL refuses to let the original do any of the talking, despite preserving most of the track. Couple the music with the highly sexual, fetishistic, violent, and disturbing imagery, and you’re left with nothing to talk about at the dinner table.

I highly recommend listening to the rest of 肉人形✰MEATDOLL’s music at his/her SoundCloud. But be warned: the imagery is NSFW.

• 肉人形✰MEATDOLL (NSFW): http://nymphoworm.tumblr.com

  

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we'll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.