Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Witzard's Rap EP Wrap-up Feat. ALASKA & PJ Katz, Elaquent, Epic Beard Men, Luke Sick & Damien + MED & Guilty Simpson (March 2018 Edition, Part 1)

Over the course of the past month or so, there have been a plethora of solid Hip-Hop EP's released online; a quick, concise 30-minutes or less format that's seemingly, replaced the mixtape/"street album" format of years passed to become your favorite underground rapper/producer's go-to promotional tool. Here, for this inaugural edition of The Witzard's Rap EP Wrap-up, we'll be profiling eight EP's released throughout March 2018, as well as two released at the end of February that were honestly, way too dope to not include! Featured below, in no particular order, are EP's from the likes of ALASKA & PJ Katz, Elaquent, Epic Beard Men (Sage Francis & B. Dolan,) Luke Sick & Damien *, Madlib & J Dilla's proteges MED AKA Medaphoar & Guilty Simpson, Loretta Records founder Observe, Roughneck Jihad & IL Torsolo *, SULTANS OF SPRING touring mates PremRock & Fresh Kils, and Purple Dialect, as well as a posthumous Illa Ghee-assisted release from Sean Price. Along with a brief write-up on each release, you'll find a select track from each EP, as well purchase links to buy or stream online. If this one goes well, we'll plan to publish an edition of The Witzard's Rap EP Wrap-up each month or so. ARTISTS: feel free to submit your current or upcoming EP's to for consideration within The Witzard's Rap EP Wrap-up. This very post includes EP Selections I-V. while Part 2 of The Witzard's Rap EP Wrap-up, complete with EP's VI-X. can be viewed right here.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Founder & Senior Writer/Editor

I. ALASKA & PJ Katz - He's The PJ, I'm ALASKA (Pig Food Records)

He's The PJ, I'm ALASKA is a 9-track collaborative EP between Atom Family/ATOMS, The Crack Epidemic, Hangar 18, IT, and WORDS HURT emcee ALASKA and Mordella Music producer and part-time Jamo Gang bassist PJ Katz. Recorded back in 2012, He's The PJ, I'm ALASKA is an obvious reference to DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (Will Smith)'s 1988 sophomore album, He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper. ALASKA & PJ Katz recruited a slew of their rapper buddies and past collaborators to appear throughout He's The PJ, I'm ALASKA including Britt & Lex, Moses Rockwell & Gorilla Tao, Giant Gorilla Dog Thing (Dood Computer & DEZMATIC,) Elsphinx, Shyste, and WindnBreeze & Cryptic One. He's The PJ, I'm ALASKA is currently available on Apple Music. Amazon Music, Google Play, Napster, and like-minded digital retailers—excluding Spotify & Soundcloud—as well as cassette with a "Fly as f**k" 6-panel insert and download card from Pig Food Records.

II. Elaquent - Celebrate Life! EP (URBNET)

Celebrate Life! is the latest release from Toronto-based beat-maker and producer Elaquent released on URBNET—yep, that's the same label as Career Crooks and PremRock & Fresh Kils—in digital, CD, cassette, and vinyl formats. Elaquent's production work throughout Celebrate Life!, assisted by K, Le Maestro & DIBIA$E, has a quality similar to that of J Dilla's Ruff Draft EP (2003) as well as the Electronic/Jazz-Fusion sound of both Flying Lotus and Thundercat. Elaquent has previously worked with the likes of Moka Only, Thesaurus Rex, Iman Omari, O-Phrap, and Budamonk. He readily cites his greatest sources of influence as J Dilla, Madlib, Flying Lotus, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, DIBIA$E, Afta-1, Hi-Tek, Samiyam, Mndsgn, and Knxwledge. "Life sucks sometimes. With all the depressing things that happen throughout the world—to people you know, to yourself, even—it's important to take a moment and appreciate the beautiful things the world has to offer, to prevent from going crazy. Stay positive, celebrate life," Elaquent said on the running theme through Celebrate Life!

III. Epic Beard Men - Season 1 EP (Strange Famous Records)

Epic Beard Men is a 2-man Hip-Hop crew consisting of long-time rappers, producers, touring mates, and genuine buddies Sage Francis & B. Dolan; much like similarly-minded 2-man crews Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman, Career Crooks, The Hell Hole Store, and Run The Jewels, you can tell these guys are real-life buddies, who just happened to record an EP's-worth of Earth-shattering songs. Not only does Sage & B. Dolan's Season 1 EP showcase eight brand spankin' new tracks, it also features four retrospective collabos dating as far back as the inception of Epic Beard Men AKA 2009. Season 1 houses beats hand-crafted by Le Parasite, Cecil Otter (WUGAZI,), Swab, Reanimator, Alias, Buck 65, and Buddy Peace, as well as beats from both B. Dolan & Sage Francis. Epic Beard Men's Season 1 EP is currently available for FREE download on Bandcamp, as well as streaming services, while CD, vinyl, and cassette packages are available for pre-order from Sage's Strange Famous Records.

IV. Luke Sick & Damien - Strike The Clutch *
(I Had An Accident/Megakut Records)

Now, this is one of the two Rap EP Wrap-up selections not technically released during march 2008... but it was just too dope not to feature it within this inaugural edition! I first heard about Luke Sick & Damien's Strike The Clucth EP after John "Jumbled" Bachman posted about it on his Harford & Reckord Tapes Tumblr, which I technically, didn't see until mid-March. Strike The Clutch is a concise, incredibly too short genre-eschewing EP labelled on Bandcamp as "Experimental, beat, cassette, Chillwave, Hip-Hop, and Spokane." Unfortunately, there really isn't too much information concerning Strike The Clutch online, but from what I can gather, I believe emcee Luke Sick is somehow affiliated with California-based Megakut Records, while producer "Damien" is actually Damien Miller from Spokane imprint I Had An Accident Records. Strike The Clutch EP tapes are currently SOLD OUT online from both labels, but digital and streaming copies are still available online, as well as two Rippedopen Bymetalexplosions (Get it?)-directed videos lifted from the 4-song set.

V. MED & Guilty Simpson - LOYALTY EP (Bang Ya Head Ent.)

LOYALTY EP is the first proper full-length collaboration between J Dilla's protege Guilty Simpson and Madlib's protege MED AKA Medaphoar. Although, it's far from the first time Guilty & MED have collaborated, having previously worked together on: "Jungle Love" from Dilla's first posthumous album, The Shining, "The Future" from Guilty's Ode to The Ghetto, "Heaven Stairwell" from Bang Ya Head 4, and "Fitta Happier" from Portishead off-shoot Quakers' self-titled debut. Released digitally earlier this past month on MED's Bang Ya Head imprint, LOYALTY EP showcases production work from Guilty's one-time Random Axe bandmate Black Milk, Mndsgn, Exile, Preme, and Wajeed across its six tracks, as well as instrumental and acapella stems for "Pie," "Life's Good," and "Face Down." THE LOYALTY vinyl EP is currently available available for pre-order from Bang Ya Head with orders shipping soon. "From Cali to Detroit, MED & Guilty Simpson deliver a 10-track EP to get you ready for the album dropping later this year on Bang Ya Head Entertainment."


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