Step Brothers (Evidence & Alchemist) drop another loosey from Lord Steppington, dropping January 21st.  I’m 100% behind this project, considering Killer Mike and El-P linking up as a duo to do it for hip-hop last year with the Run The Jewels project.  Any attention to dope beats and rhymes in this day and age is good attention.

Years and years after the classic Cappadonna verse, Cap finally puts together some visuals for “Winter Warz”.  Video isn’t anything groundbreaking, but it’s good to see a performance of any kind from him.


Life’s gotta be crazy for TDE’s own Isaiah Rashad.  Hard at work on his debut album Cilvia, he gives us a dope single to hold us down in the meantime.


Jean Grae comes up off of a free single from her EP jeannie., which is set to drop later tonight.  Check out her Bandcamp to pre-order the full six-song EP.

New music fresh out of Detroit.  MAHD drops off “Godfather Favors”.


So I recently purchased a Wu-Tang hoodie online and I regret to say that I had to just sit it down in a corner and just kind of glare at it for about a week before finally putting it on today.  Had to put the Wu-Tang hoodie on punishment.  This was brought about by Ghostface Killah’s recent appearance on VH1’s Couples Therapy.  Now you’ve heard me discuss before how I feel about rappers on reality shows, but there’s a big difference between watching Consequence fall victim to the trappings of reality TV “stardom” and watching the special place that the Wu holds in my heart be diminished by having to watch key members acting a donkey on reality television.  This, mind you, is after a string of disappointments…moments I felt were obvious reaches for mainstream (read: the yute’dem) relevance years after the classic Wu-Tang Forever was released.

If you’re a regular reader of Front-Free, you don’t even have to ask me how I felt about Drake’s so-called ode to the Wu-Tang Clan, which to me seemed like a ploy to attract the ire of fans of the Wu who would naturally be averse to Aubrey’s style of rap-singering.  What was worse than that was the Wu’s support of the song, an obvious attempt to remain relevant and diplomatic within the current rap game, where most fans are too young to remember the significance of the classic purple tape, let alone “Protect Ya Neck”.  Nobody wants to be that old rapper who seems unreceptive to the new crop of rappers, but it’s admirable when you feel the authenticity in it, as opposed to Raekwon acting as if he plays Justin Beiber music in the whip when asked about his working with the pop star.  There aren’t enough woo blunts in the world to make me believe that was genuine props and not Rae trying to avoid burning any potentially lucrative bridges.


It’s a common misconception that one cannot or should not knock the hustle.  I think it’s very important to knock the hustle when it conflicts with who a person or entity represents.  Keeps things honest.  Naturally, Wu-Tang’s first LP was a long, long time ago in hip-hop years and a group that large is certain to grow apart and begin to have their own individual goals and ways of thinking after years and years of success and experience.  Method Man, for example, has been his own separate brand apart from the Wu for years, to the point his caricature-of-himself persona exists almost completely independent of his contributions to the whole.  But Ghostface joining the ranks of Joe Budden, Consequence, Li’l Scrappy and Benzino on the washed-up-rapper cavalcade that is currently VH1’s prime-time programming is just the last straw…and a wake-up call to fans that the Wu will never be the same…and not in the “oh they’re evolving” sense.  It could have all been so simple: build an amazing brand in hip-hop (check).  Release classic group albums that are true to said brand (check).  Release classic solo efforts that are also true to said brand (check).  Continue on in your careers remaining true to the brand and staying true to the core fans who got you this far and other fans will come (now this is where it gets iffy).

In closing, the Wu-Tang Clan have a catalog so impressive collectively that I could never totally give up my Wu-fan roots.  Raekwon and Ghostface are still both in my top five MCs list, even if one is going the VH1 route and the other may do some questionable features here and there.  At the end of the day, though, a true fan doesn’t just eat up anything an artists serves them with a smile on their face.  As with hip-hop itself, you’ve got to be in love with the art-form/culture enough to want better for it.  I just want better for the Wu.


Immediate download from the first note.  Berkeley, California (stomping grounds!) vocalist Xiomara lays down a tribute to both Outkast and A Tribe Called Quest on this two-track beast of a project.  Very few vocalists are dope enough to pare down the track and let the voice shine through.  Enjoy.


Allen Poe, one third of Kentucky rap group Basement Up, gives us his solo album, available free from DJBooth.  “Pocket Full Of Ohms” is a definite play on UGK’s classic “Pocket Full Of Stones”, but when asked what the fvck is an ohm? in reference to the title, the man broke down the science to me firsthand:

Thanks for checking it out.  An ohm is what restricts an electrical current so it doesn’t overload an electronic device, like an amp for a speaker.  It basically restricts the full potential of the stream in order to focus it in so it can be productive.    The way it relates to the record is that, what I tried to do was paint a picture that progresses from my early days and experiences with hip hop when it was just about the music and kicking it, up through the late 20s, when responsibilities (kids, wife, job etc) were thrown in.  As a kid it was all about the music, the responsibilities in my life were like the ohms, so while they restricted some of that hip hop experience as a youth (partying, girls, just rhyming etc) they wound up focusing and directing me into being a more productive artist.

Knowledge born.  Check it out and download below.

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