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The Best Hip Hop of 2011


While 2011 will not be remembered as hip hop's greatest year, there were a number of noteworthy releases to celebrate.  These include the following:

REKS: 'R.E.K.S.' LP


Boston MC REKS proves that tenacity and talent will pay off in the end.  On this eponymous album REKS' rapid fire, intelligent flow is complemented by a stellar line up of producers including DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Alchemist and REKS' Boston buddy Statik Selektah.  Guest MCs include Freeway, L-il Fame and fellow Boston lyricist Terminology.  With such a diverse cast of contributors it would be easy for this album to become an inconsistent compilation.  However, the consistency of the album is one of its strongest points.  There is no fast forward material.  Indeed, plenty of tracks demand rewinds.  This is the album that REKS was destined to make.   


The Roots: 'Undun' LP

The words 'concept album' would have many hip hop fans running away in fear.  However, The Roots yet again provide an album as consistent as it is diverse.  This is one of The Root's most hard hitting albums to date and anyone fearing they may lose focus with their 'Jimmy Fallon commitments' can breathe a sigh of relief as this is another addition to The Roots' catalogue of classic albums.  As a side note, this album should join Dr Dre's '2001' album as a master class in how a hip hop album should be mixed.



Elzhi: 'Elmatic' LP/Mixtape

An 'Illmatic' covers album would be blasphemy in the hands of a lesser MC.  However, Detroit's Elzhi had the skills and sincerity to not only do justice to, but also put his own spin on every track he reimagined.  Many MCs would have just rapped over the original instrumentals.  However, by collaborating with the Will Sessions Band, Elzhi was able to make the project come over well in a live setting.  Listeners new to Illmatic were given a funky hip hop lesson and fans of the original were given an enjoyable trip down 'Memory Lane'.


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About The New Beatmaker

Hi!  I'm Lee.  Welcome to my blog.  Here we talk music: news, reviews, interviews, tips, tutorials and more.  I'm also working on the upcoming podcast Influenced as a guest, writer and researcher alongside music aficionado Mark Williams and friends.  Watch this space!

I have been a lover of music for as long as I can remember, an amateur lyricist for 25 years, a music writer for 15 years and a hobbyist musician and blogger for almost 10 years.

My tastes range from jazz to house to hip hop and I love helping artists from all genres develop their sound.

My music, videos, reviews and interviews have been featured in a variety of magazines and websites, including:

B-Boy Tech Report
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Push Power Promo
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You can find my music on Bandcamp:
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Georgel ‘Colibrí’

REVIEW: 'Colibrí' highlights Georgel’s potential as a superstar in the making

It is always an honour and a pleasure to receive new music to check out and review; especially when it's as enjoyable a listening experience as Georgel’s ‘Colibri’.


A slice of swaggering, sensual, big band pop, ‘Colibri’ is a superb offering from the singer songwriter. 
‘Colibrí’ immediately demands listener attention thanks to punchy horn stabs, satisfying drum fills and Georgel’s strong vocals.  Listener attention is maintained throughout due to the athletic and theatrical flair of both vocals and instrumentation. These theatrics never descend into ham or kitsch.

The hook is slinky and sensual, adding an extra layer to an already super-enjoyable cut. The memorable arrangement and vocals, together with professional mixing and mastering mean the song would be as much at home in a big-budget Hollywood musical or Broadway show as it would be on your favourite music streaming service.


A slice of swag…

The Theory For Our Revenge 'OBORO'

REVIEW: Japanese multimedia art duo make a great first impression with their mix of industrial, trap and operatic pop

The following is a paid for review and post, via humanhuman (see below). 

It is always an honour and a pleasure to receive new music to check out and review; especially when it's as enjoyable a listening experience as this first offering from The Theory For Our Revenge is.


The Theory For Our Revenge are COLD FAITH and Jhas; a Japanese music production, fashion stylist and visual art duo.

Their debut single ,'OBORO', is a slice of experimental electro-trap / operatic-art-pop.




Starting with an industrial sounding chugging and churning, the track moves into frosty, haunting melodies.

It's in these opening bars that the only potential hiccup occurs.

Around the 0:38 and 1:12 marks there's a jagged synth whistle which is potentially painful to an earbud wearing listener.

Admittedly I am very sensitive to certain high pitch frequencies.

However, to remedy this I wo…