I’m not the only one out there who’s disappointed with the current state of hip-hop. There’s the nostalgia, obviously, and the delusion that all things past are better, the idealization of a golden age when things were more “pure,” yada yada yada. We all know that’s not always the case. There was a lot of crappy rap music released in 1988, too. But one can’t help looking back to that era, when sampling was fresh and lyrics were dope and to get on the mic you had to have skills. You can’t help but wish things kept evolving in that direction.
Argentina’s top beat-maker, Gas-Lab, has established himself as one of the most sought-after producers in Latin America and with this new release he’s successfully crossing over to the Anglo market. This is mainly due to his stubbornness, remaining loyal to the way hip-hop beats were made back in its more soulful days, before synthesizers, club beats, and auto-tune took over. That’s why he’s such a perfect match for the flow of Brooklyn’s Traum Diggs. Together they released this sublime new EP, which includes collaborations with prominent Latino MCs like Mexico’s Bocafloja and Dominican Republic’s Hache ST, giving it a bilingual twist. Now, that’s definitely something that you’d never find in any golden age release, so I guess it’s not all about looking backwards after all. These cross-cultural collaborations should make us feel more optimistic about the current state of hip-hop. And its future.