Fantasy iTunes List For Week 8-17-09

FRONT
P.H.I.L.T.H.Y., Love Songs For Losers & Ballads For Ballers EP
What is love? Lansing emcee P.H.I.L.T.H.Y. looks to answer that question with Love Songs For Losers & Ballads For Ballers, his new EP with Los Angeles producer Jansport J. Whether it’s romance, family, friends or God, P.H.I.L.T.H.Y. covers all the bases with this concept project. The EP’s single, “Say It,” has been praised by URB, 2DopeBoyz, Kevin Nottingham, and other music blogs across the Internet. With Love Songs For Losers & Ballads For Ballers, P.H.I.L.T.H.Y. and Jansport J continue the rich tradition of quality hip-hop produced by meshing prime Michigan talent with California’s elite.
[Download at MichiganHipHop.com. Follow P.H.I.L.T.H.Y. and Jansport J on Twitter (@p2dahi and @JansportJ) and MySpace (/p2dahi and /JansportJ). ]

For the rest of this week’s Fantasy iTunes roster, check under the cut.

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Blitz The Ambassador, Stereotype
While I’m excited about the new trend of rappers bringing live bands to back their performances instead of instrumentals, I’ll be the first to admit that it doesn’t necessarily turn shit into gold. It takes a certain type of emcee to ably rock the stage with an ensemble of musicians, and when I saw Blitz The Ambassador do so at an AllHipHop.com Breeding Ground event in New York City last autumn, I pegged him as a member of such an elite class. He had also gotten the cosign by my homie Kevin Clark, and when I saw HipHopDX give him a coveted 4 out of 5 star rating, I decided to give this album a shot. And after putting this into full rotation, I’m thisclose to giving it a personal 5-star rating. A diverse collection of live instruments keep every song energetic and engaging, and Blitz doesn’t take one verse for granted. As the reviewer Andres Tardio wrote: “Whether speaking on the culture (“Breathe”), love (“Lover’s Remorse”) or political injustice (“Ghetto Plantation”), Blitz spits with purpose and skill evenly.” Do yourself a favor and get a hold of this album. Not now, right now.
[Listen to Stereotype at Blitz The Ambassador’s BandCamp page, and click on “Buy” to get your own copy. Trust me when I say it’s worth every penny.]


Diamond District (Oddisee, XO and yU), In The Ruff
Oddisee has been one of my favorite artists ever since he was the second artist I’d interviewed in my journalism career back in 2004. The Washington, D.C. dual threat gets my vote as the best rapper/producer in the industry today, and he’s got the catalog to back it up. His remix projects and freelance game have all been official – he’s crafted beats for the likes of Freeway, Talib Kweli, Little Brother and others – but his own projects are the strongest points of his discography. His beats maintain a versatile trademark sound with equal parts soul and trunk rattle factor, and his hooks are catchy as hell, despite him not being a “mainstream” artist. His rhymes are smooth and substantial: he’ll spit braggadocio, vivid narratives, or knowledge about the genocide in his homeland of Sudan with equal ease. His new squad Diamond District – the trio of him, XO, and yU – looks to use
In The Ruff to define Washington, D.C. the way that seminal East and West Coast emcees brought listeners to their respective stomping grounds with their music. Armed with able-bodied lyrics use local street names and landmarks to help depict their hometown and Oddisee’s incredible set of soundbeds, Diamond District’s mission is accomplished.
[Download at Diamond District’s blog. Also, check Oddisee Music.]

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Royce Da 5’9″, The Revival EP
My allegiances may  go back to politics as usual once Jay-Z drops
Blueprint 3 next month, but Royce Da 5’9″ is slowly becoming my favorite rapper; period. He’s always had great lyrics, but after adding in the flow he’s had since his The Bar Exam mixtape in 2007, he’s untouchable. He did his thing alongside Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I on the new Slaughterhouse album, but I’ve been listening to this The Revival EP on a more regular basis. He’s got the punchlines, he’s got the beats, and the mixes are great…but that damn flow is undeniable. The Revival EP is four songs from Royce’s upcoming album executive produced by DJ Premier, Street Hop. And if the rest of the disc is as solid as these tracks, Royce may have the classic that he’s always been capable of.
[Cop the EP for $3.96 on iTunes, but check out “Gun Harmonizing” and “Warriors” (feat. Slaughterhouse) on MichiganHipHop.com.
BONUS: Two other tracks from Street Hop, “Shake This” and “Part of Me”]

The other member of his week’s Fantasy iTunes roster – Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue – is getting a separate post, but here are a few “loosies” (©TSS), just in case you don’t have time to digest an entire album.

  • Bun B feat. Royce Da 5’9″, “Hood Love”  (prod. DJ Premier) – Nickel and Bun are focused as usual, but the best part about this song is hearing DJ Premier step away from his usual scratch-heavy formula to offer a reserved beat that’s conducive to introspective rhymes. [via MichiganHipHop.com]
  • Ryan Leslie, “You’re Not My Girl” – One of R&B’s brightest emerging songwriting/producing talents has a new single that lets people know that he’s not as sappy as he thinks. [via The Fader]
  • Black Milk, “In The A.M.” – Per usual, Black Milk spits hot rhymes over a beat that sounds that much progressive than what he had put out before. Banger. [via MichiganHipHop.com]
  • XV feat. Big Sean, “Life Vs. Livin” – There isn’t much that gets me more excited than hearing a song from an artist that I don’t know anything about, and getting excited at how dope it is. I loved Big Sean’s verse on this song, but XV isn’t a slouch himself. The beat and the format of the song are also well done. [via MichiganHipHop.com]