"HOW DO YOU DO? HI MATT. SORRY FOR [BEING] LATE. I AM MAIKO. MUNGUNI'S AGENT. THE VINYL I WANT WAS DECIDED. WHICH PICTURE OF MUNGUNI'S DO YOU WISH FOR?" read a rather interesting hand-drawn Instagram message I received from Japanese artist @munguni's agent early Friday morning. "I WANT MADLIB'S NEW EP. 'THE UNNAMED' OUT JULY 18 ON RAPPCATS' POP UP STORE," Maiko specifically requested in exchange for a custom-designed piece of original artwork. Miraculously, I was somehow able to score two screen-printed copies of Trouble Knows Me EP from Rappcats' first limited small batch pressing, which reportedly sold out in just under an hour. Egon & Rappcats then hosted a special one night only live screen-printing pop-up event with Hit & Run following Madlib's Friday night show at Chicago's own The Mid; a second similar event was additionally held yesterday (Saturday, July 18th) at a Los Angeles Rappcats pop-up shop from 12 noon to 4PM Trouble Knows Me EP pre-orders are currently being taken and are expected to ship by September 1st. It's since been revealed that the mysterious "unnamed emcee" rhyming at top Madlib's dusty neck-snapping beats is in fact Future Islands frontman and amateur rapper Sam Herring aka Hemlock Ernst; rather than Snoop Dogg or Zamrock-centric collaborator Mos Def, as I had previously speculated.
Herring has only rapped on a handful of select tracks thus far alongside Gangrene, Earl Sweatshirt, Scallops Hotel, Du Blonde, and Rapdragons, as well as at a number of apparent 8 Mile-style Underground Hip-Hop cyphers. Madlib & Sam Herring's premier Trouble Knows Me EP consists of "three rap tracks + three instrumentals on Side A; flipside has instrumentals of the rap tracks." Jeff Jank & Gustavo Eandi designed some 15-20 unique variations of their "bats & razor blades"-centric Trouble Knows Me cover image, each of which will almost instantly become one-of-a-kind pieces of art when hand screen-printed by Hit & Run. Madlib & Sam Herring aka Trouble Knows Me aka SamLib aka MadRing's inaugural self-titled lead single, "Trouble Knows Me" is cleverly anchored beneath a dusty "soulful, brass-driven groove sampled from Sunny & The Sunliners' "Should I Take You Home,'" as noted by diligent Rolling Stone staff writer Ryan Reed upon the track's Friday release. It's currently unclear whether Trouble Knows Me EP is just a one-off or merely the first in a long line of possible SamLib collaborations (fingers crossed). I would almost assume the latter, simply based on the nature of Rappcats' previously-released three EP roll-out leading up to Freddie Gibbs & Madlib's critically-acclaimed Piñata full-length... and because let's face it, Madlib honestly wouldn't waste his time recording a mere 3-track EP + 3 companion instrumentals with such a strong new-found collaborator!!!