Music: The best artists you’ve never heard of (CunninLynguists Edition)

Hip Hop by Tom NashHello, dear reader(s- ever the optimist). The site’s been updated and now everything is in one, easy-to-navigate place and that’s super.

So what better way to celebrate the sleek, sexy new design and layout than a sleek, sexy new blog post? None, that’s right. Great minds, eh?

Last time out, I shared a selection of artists that make beautiful, yet gangsterific (it’s a word) instrumental Hip Hop type stuff. Now it’s time to look at some folk what do the rappity-rap stuff… Where you going?

Well that was the idea, anyway. Turns out this lot need a post to themselves.

People that know me well can click away now, as they are probably sick of hearing me witter on about this group. “Who, Tom? Tell us!”

Umm… It says who in the title.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present: CunninLynguists

Haha, that’s like the word for box-chomping… Seriously, look past the name. Since dropping Will Rap For Food in 2001, Hip Hop polymaths Kno and Deacon the Villain (and later addition to the group Natti) have repeatedly been guilty of that cardinal Rap sin: Artistic growth.

By making the mistake of mixing humorous tracks with social commentary and personal narratives on their debut longplayer and its follow-up (Southernunderground), some figured that was what they did. Makes sense, what with a comical moniker and that… So when their third album dropped (a focused concept record with no comedic cuts) many a internet critic loosened their grip, minimised Youporn and thumped their keyboards with disdain.

With five albums now under their belt and a selection of album-quality mixtapes also available, at this point CunninLynguists, in my humble opinion, can do no wrong and every album is a must buy, even before a single has been released. Shit knocks. Consistently.

We all know that these rapper types love their collaborations, well CL have worked with Cee-Lo Green, Immortal Technique, Killer Mike, E40, J-Zone, Evidence (of Dilated Peoples), Phonte (of Little Brother), Hilltop Hoods, Looptroop Rockers, Big K.R.I.T., Freddie Gibbs, Sean Price (of Heltah Skeltah)* and a load more critically acclaimed lyricists… that if you’re reading this are probably unaware of too. Huh. Flawed paragraph… Fuck it.

*if you don’t recognise any of these- you have a LOT of homework to do.

Those of you that have actually taken the time to listen to the tracks I’ve posted may notice something strange… At no point does anyone mention the weight they’ve pushed (drugs they’ve sold, Mum) or boast about their ‘gat’ or multiples of. What’s that about? I guess every Hip Hop act ISN’T the same, eh? I wonder what else you’ve misjudged…

And have you seen some of their cover art?

Pretty fucking sick, no? (source)

You can’t keep this level of amazing confined. Both Kno (Death is Silent) and Deacon (as N.W.L. with Sheisty Khrist) have put out albums that are just as strong as their group efforts and the prospective Natti solo will undoubtedly be quality too… But you might say I’m biased.

Like what you’ve heard in this post? Head over to their Bandcamp page and spend some time listening to more of their work. Whatever you do though, don’t listen on Spotify

Albums to look for:
Will Rap For Food (2001)
Southernunderground (2003)
A Piece of Strange (2006)
Dirty Acres (2007)
Oneirology (2011)
Kno – Death Is Silent (2010)
Deacon the Villain & Sheisty Khrist – Niggaz With Latitude (2010)

Mixtapes to look for:
Sloppy Seconds vol 1 (2003)
Sloppy Seconds vol 2 (2005)
Strange Journey vol 1 (2009)
Strange Journey vol 2 (2009)

So concludes part 2 of my Hip Hop trilogy. Check back soon for the third and final entry, before we get back to whinging about trivial things and being passive aggressive. You lucky things…