Hip-hop hopefuls

Boston's eclectic rap stars
By MATTHEW M. BURKE  |  February 27, 2007
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Daniel Laurent


Already it appears 2007 will be a big year for Boston hip-hop, since a number of pivotal releases are in the making. Some of the best local artists are beginning to broaden their approach, providing something for fans of everything from hardcore to old-school rap. Here are a few reasons to be hopeful.

Daniel Laurent, “Whole World”
This track is a departure from the upbeat and oft political commentary that fans are used to from Daniel Laurent (a/k/a DL): the rapper conjures Nas-like anger and frustration and then sets it against trumpet arrangements that sound suited to a movie score. The track also features earth-shaking bass drums and crisp snares that bode well for his mixtape STILL Can’t Get a Break, which is due in April.

Special Teams, “1 Call”

It’s official. Special Teamz, the Boston supergroup featuring Edo G, Jaysaun, and Slaine, are finally signed to a label, joining the Boot Camp Clik on Duck Down, an indie hip-hop imprint. “1 Call” is a perfect example of their blend of hard lyrics and signature braggadocio set to saloon piano and a funky West Coast “ridin’ ” beat. The disc is set to drop in July.

Jake the Snake feat. Letia Larok, “Long Hot Summer”
At the end of last summer, rapper Jake the Snake and hip-hop artist/singer Letia Larok decided to join forces in the studio to ask for help on behalf of the city’s violence-plagued communities. “Long Hot Summer,” off Snake’s forthcoming April release, At Close Range (Marxminship), is rife with contempt for the disintegration of youth programs and the lack of jobs. It’s all set to laid-back summertime jazz sax and piano complemented with a bongo-spiced beat. Truth never sounded so good.

Mic Stylz, “GrandSlam”
Mic Stylz stopped rapping in October of 2005 but returned to the game late last year. “GrandSlam” is a reflection of his new-found inspiration — a fun party track that features a slickly worded story about a four-way among Stylz and three ladies. With a golden-era-style beat from producer the White Shadow of Norway, Stylz re-establishes the relationship between MC and DJ — the essence of hip-hop.

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