BDTB & BEAT! Presents: Favorite Releases of 2016

2 0 1 6. For a lot of people 2016 was not a very good year. We lost icons and heros. We went through political chaos. Perhaps these experiences served to inspire, as 2016 was actually a fantastic year for music, and a very fantastic year for beat music. There has been an overwhelming amount of high quality and creative instrumental beat projects from all over the world. A whole new wave of producers surfaced and began contributing to the movement. Instrumental beat music was taken to new heights, and found a wider audience.

Being the beat fanatic and head nod junkie that I am, I took the lead of the BEAT! Lo-Fi Social division of the Bringing Down The Band blog this past year, making sure you have a fresh beat tape to listen to almost everyday. Let me tell you, over the coarse of this year I have heard a lot of beats, and narrowing this list down to just 5 choices was very difficult. There are many others that I wanted to include. Ultimately, this list is reflection of what I feel are some of the best offerings from the year, and the list definitely reflects my personal taste in slightly experimental, Dilla groove, Boom Bap jazz and soul beats. These should really be appearing in no particular order, but if I had to order them I would probably do it like this. At least at the time of writing this. Open your ears and dig into my Favorite Releases of 2016:

5. Flitz&Suppe – “The Gradual Immersion” [DirtyBeauty]

German producers Flitz&Suppe really snuck up on me with this project. For those who don’t know, Germany has a really vibrant hip hop scene with a lot of extremely dope producers. I had not heard of Flitz&Suppe before, and came across this project through the German beat label, DirtyBeauty. I just found myself coming back to it again and again. Throw it on and let it ride from beginning to end. It plays super consistent and solid. These cats create a classic 90’s boom bap vibe, but with deep, moody jazz samples, vocal snippets, and fresh cuts. They bring in vocal samples from everyone from Big L to Bill Hicks. The Gradual Immersion is classy and smooth, but still knocks hard and keeps my head nodding.

Favorite Joints: Three Blocks, Overpopulation, Beirut, Bencao ft. Philanthrope, SkylinePath

4. Fuzzoscope – “EARWAX RE​:​COLLECTION” Compilation [Fuzzoscope]

Fuzzoscope is dope. The small tape label is run out of San Fransico, California, and puts out a grip of creative producers that offer something different. Fuzzoscope have been assembling some of the illest lo-fi producers from around the global for their yearly EARWAX compilations, and RE:COLLECTION is the latest addition for 2016. Everyone on this compilation is certified fire. Dive into all of their individual catalogs and be rewarded. RE:COLLECTION is sometimes grimy, raw, chill, hype, or emotional. It is stacked 41 tracks deep, so there is plenty to sink your teeth into here. For you experimental beat heads.

Favorite Joints: Tab Jones – “The Letter”, Tropes – “Mothershipgliding”, Dan – “Rolling”, ΔKTR – “Selkirkrex”, Loka – “Summerrrrr”, Mystery Cave X Kaya – “I Don’t Know What I’m Doing Anymore”

3. Foisey. – “4theQueens​.​prt3” [self-released]

Foisey. gets sensual for the ladies on 4theQueens​.​prt3. Smooth jazz, R ‘n’ B, and soul loops get run through Foisey’s unique chop science and restitched into these memorizing grooves. Foisey’s drum patterns sway and sputter with a unique bounce that swings into a perfect lock. The joints all have a glowing, ethereal quality to their production, giving the project a vibe of floating on cloud 9. You can tell there is a strong inspiration from producers like Knxwledge here, but Foisey finds his own voice, and continues to open up new possibilities of the hip hop groove. 4theQueens​.​prt3 could have easily been exchanged in this list for Foisey’s frutas. beat tape, which dropped in February which is equally as dope.

Favorite Joints: HoldMyHnd., KwalityTime., Silhouette., NoGaims., [urMy]SpecialTheng.

2. Ahwlee – “Life2” [UKNOWY Music]

Ahwlee‘s Life2 marks a major leap forward for the Los Angeles producer. Life2 is confident, polished, and sophisticated. This one for grown folks, but Ahwlee isn’t shy with the good ole fashion neck snappers either. Classy jazz loops laced with expertly cared for drums and percussion. Awhlee can get pretty creative with his swing and drum patterns on joints like no_kavi.[terri]. This released showed up at the last minute of 2016, dropping on December 27, so I haven’t had time to sit with it for very long, but it impressed me and it stacked up well against other top contenders of the year. Life2 gets ranked high for it’s crisp production, upbeat soulful vibe, and solid presentation. Look out for this dude in 2017.

Favorite Joints: lites, crybaby_think, coin-0p, no_kavi.[terri], only​.​.​human.

1. Sleepy Eyes – “Burnout” [Radio Juicy]

What can I say? I’m a big Sleepy Eyes fan. He’s got his own sound. After putting out a slew of beat tapes digitally and on cassette, the LA producer released Burnout as his debut LP with German beat label, Radio Juicy. Burnout is easily his most polished and professionally presented release to date. Sleepy Eyes makes chill beats, but god damn do his drums slap. Master of the west-coast bounce, Sleepy Eye’s drum patterns and distinctive swing is part of his trademark. Sleepy laces these drums with lush jazz and soul loops that have been filtered through his dream-like production magic. Let Burnout melt into the background, or enjoy a great active listening experience, as there is a lot of detail to take in. Definitely some of the most creative drum programming I heard all year. Burnout gets ranked highly for it’s cohesive and focused listening experience. It feels like it is going on a specific journey as a record, and offers more than just being a collection of hot beats.

Favorite Joints: Yesterday, Outlook, Allthesame, Burnout, Isitu,

Beats in the morning. Beats in the evening. Beats at supper time.

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