Music: Five of the best artists you’ve never heard of (The Instrumental Hip Hop Edition)

Hip Hop by Tom NashSo I just realised that since I started doing this, my bio has mentioned my love of the oft-maligned genre of music known as Rap or Hip Hop (I know, white suburban fella likes Rap… Shocking!) and I’ve never written about it.

While those of you remember me mentioning that I write for Music Liberation will know I’ve covered a couple of Rap albums over there, other than the occasional tweet, I’ve never written anything about the music I claim to be ‘passionate’ about. Well, we’re going to change that.

In a break from the usual moaning about stupid people/things, the following is a list of (in my humble opinion) AWESOME Hip Hop artists that you need in your life. I’ll ease you in with some instrumental stuff.

*Please note, if your taste in music is dictated by Fearne Cotton, Kiss 100 (Is it still called that? Don’t answer- don’t care), or any television music channel, this piece won’t be for you.

Same goes if you’ve ever said “I can’t understand a fucking word they’re saying” or “it all sounds the same to me” when the topic of Hip Hop has been brought up in conversation.

Something vacuous is bound to be on E4 or ITV2, go gurgle in front of that while the grown-ups talk.*

So. For the one person that’s still reading, here are a few artists I think are pretty shit hot and well worth a listen:

Blue Sky Black Death
This pair make lush, layered, symphonic, cinematic epicness.

Look; here’s a track with an airy, artsy video:

A bit too wanky for your tastes? What about a song made exclusively of Wu Tang Clan samples? That’s what I thought:

Call it ‘Downtempo’, call it ‘Shoegaze’, call it whatever you want; everything they’ve released is awesome.

Albums to look for:

  • A Heap of Broken Images
  • Late Night Cinema
  • Slow Burning Lights (w/ Yes Alexander)
  • Third Party (w/Alexander Chen)
  • NOIR

Glen Porter
This fella has mastered sampling, making simple, yet atmospheric bangers:


More? Why, certainly:

Albums to look for:

2econd Class Citizen
Before anyone claims this list is focusing too much on artists from the gun-toting, batshit insane side of the Atlantic, here’s a fella from Huddersfield with another video devoid of rented mansions, cars and girls:

And here’s a badass track he did for his first album featuring vocals by Ceschi (we’ll get to him on the Hip Hop Edition):

Dude calls this brand of awesome ‘Folk Hop’ but we’ll overlook that because of the eargasms (Yes, it’s a word).

Albums to look for:

  • A World Without
  • The Small Minority

Low in the Sky
Not strictly Hip Hop, but you can hear the influence. Low in the Sky is a group of musicians led by Joseph Minadeo who have made an EP and three chilled, ambient instrumental albums on Minadeo’s Ohio-based label Patternbased.

Here’s yet another arty video (can you see a trend yet?):

My personal favourite from their latest opus:

Albums to look for:

  • Dear Birds
  • We’re All Counting on You, William
  • A Shared Rainbow

Deadly Avenger
Yes, he’s somehow managed to choose a cornier name than Blue Sky Black Death, but bare with me; our man is worthy of inclusion for this track alone:

If you’re not the patient type, skip to 3:40 and thank me some other time.

Albums to look for:

  • Deep Red
  • Blossoms and Blood

That’s five, right? I’ll let yous get through that little lot and drop the Hip Hop Edition later this week then.

Happy listening.

2 thoughts on “Music: Five of the best artists you’ve never heard of (The Instrumental Hip Hop Edition)

  1. Dany Sorce

    you’ve definitely introduced me to some new peeps that i haven’t heard about. Do you frequent this genre of music?

  2. Tom Nash

    Hells yeah, Instrumental Hip Hop is my shit! I find that Instrumental/Electronica makes great background music for writing.

    Sampling is an art, but most people think of Puffy ripping off The Police and David Bowie when the subject is raised.

    Hopefully, this post and the next one I’m putting together will show those people that there is more to it than that- it can be beautiful and new AND original.

    There are a whole host of musicians in all genres that make great music and have artistic integrity- let’s celebrate that and show the ignorant that there is more out there than the made-to-formula, corporately funded shite that is forced upon us on TV and the radio.

    So… I think my answer is ‘yes’, Dan…! Got any ‘must hear’ artists for us?

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