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Quelle Chris — Lullabies for the Broken Brain

  The word lullaby means something different to you than it does to me. It is a word that immediately brings to mind a specific moment, melody, or image. Most associate lullabies with sleep, the inescapable consequence of being awake. Every living thing knows what it is to sleep. Some find tranquility, while others wrestle…

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Ché — SMALLtalk

  When the lean-sipping supergroup of Rich Gang, Rich Homie Quan, and Young Thug released “Lifestyle” in 2014, a movement that had been slowly marinating in the Atlanta club scene finally boiled over. Rappers who would have been considered outsiders are now commercially successful and taking over Top 40 radio. Future has found fame by…

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Eryn Allen Kane — Aviary: Act II

  At the end of 2015, I praised Eryn Allen Kane’s debut EP, Aviary: Act I, as one of the best albums of the year, going so far as to say “she could sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,’ and it would probably be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard.” Not one to…

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J Dilla — Dillatronic

  J Dilla’s Dillatronic represents just one of many posthumous releases from an artist who left behind countless tracks. The producer, who died from Moschcowitz syndrome only three days after his 32nd birthday in 2006, went “through [four] production phases in his professional career,” according to no less than The Roots’ Questlove. “He was able…

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Wolf Eyes — I Am a Problem: Mind in Pieces

  “Cynthia Vortex aka Trip Memory Illness,” the final track on Wolf Eyes’ latest album, I Am a Problem: Mind in Pieces, is an eight-minute-long lysergic slide deep into a troubled psyche, punctuated with incomprehensible, garbled moans, droning subsonic bass frequencies, lurching guitar riffs, electronic slicing and dicing, and a forlorn flute solo. It’s a…

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Doughboyz Cashout — BYLUG World

  West Detroit supergroup Doughboyz Cashout self-released BYLUG World late last year as a free mixtape, and not — as many were hoping — a proper full-length from their home on Jeezy’s CTE World label (their last official output from the imprint was a 2013 remix of “Mob Life,” which had come out a year…

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Deadbeat Beat — Only Time Will Tell

  Just like the title of Deadbeat Beat’s latest tape makes clear, Only Time Will Tell, as fans have waited for new material from the beloved trio for over four years now. Since 2011’s When I Talk to You, the group have amassed a cult-like following by playing shows here and there, while each of…

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Tunde Olaniran — Transgressor

  Tunde Olaniran’s ascent as an artist parallels bigger trends both in music and society at large. He got his start collaborating with the Berlin-based duo Chris De Luca vs. Phon.o, who discovered a track of his on MySpace in 2008. A European tour followed, with stops in the cities Olaniran lived in as a…

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Double Winter — Double Winter

  Being from this great mitten-shaped piece of land has its ups and downs. On the plus side, you can impress non-Michiganders by using the palm of your hand to explain basic geography. Then of course there are the majestic Great Lakes, providing natives with beautiful beaches in the summer and horrendous lake effect snowstorms…

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D12 — The Devil’s Night Mixtape: Reloaded

  Bugz has been dead for 16 years. Proof has been dead for 9. Eminem hasn’t been interested in a full-fledged reunion, and it’s been 11 years since their last album. The group now consists of Eminem, Bizarre, Kuniva, Swifty McVay, Fuzz Scoota, and Kon Artis, yet many questioned if we would ever see another…

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