Welcome to Underground Fossils, brought to you by Dimxsk and Trylemma. The purpose of this blog is to assist in the sharing of out of print and/or rare examples of the hip hop genre. We believe that every release we post is an integral part of history and deserves to be heard by older fans as well as new seekers. We do not post or encourage the posting of anything that can be bought easily from the artist, those can be found elsewhere. Furthermore, if any artist who is featured here wishes not to share their material we will remove it immediately. Most of the rips found here were made by other people, but some of them were made by us. We are not sound engineers, so while the quality will usually be 320 kbps, they will be recorded from the source material as is. Please message us if you are an engineer and want wav files to master. Enjoy!
PS: We also want to thank all of the women and men before us who shared music in this way. Your work made our collections what they are today, and we are grateful.
Friday, July 19, 2019
Today's fossil is Refrigerate After Opening by Provost, formerly of the FreePoets crew alongside Portland's own Peg Leg and Deficit (all three also of Science-Non-Fiction). FreePoets no longer make new music and their albums can no longer be purchased anywhere that I know of, which is really too bad because I've liked everything they've put out and this album is no exception.
Refrigerate After Opening has spacey, melodic yet hard hitting production and Provost's style manages to evoke feelings without falling into that trap of straight up emo. A bit like a more lighthearted take on Oldominion, this album is a catchy little piece of forgotten indie rap history. It's a lot of fun and deserves a spot on your digital shelf.
Short and to the point this Friday, enjoy the weekend!
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
So, as fans of Northwest rapper Grieves probably already know, the well renowned musician has spent the last several months dropping occasional tracks as a way to "express both his growth and hunger since releasing Running Wild" (his last full length album). The result is The Collections of Mr. Nice Guy, an EP that takes these singles as well as a few previously unreleased tracks and puts them together as a collection. A new release from Grieves in any form is great news for his hardcore following, considering the two year long period since his last full length offering.
I do want to state at this time that I'm not particularly a fan of Grieves. I actually don't dislike his music, and my hat is off to him for consistently releasing well produced, well written and well conceived songs that run the gamut from catchy to thought provoking. This sounds like an endorsement, and it is. However, my personal observation is that when I hear a track by him I find myself enjoying, I tend to listen through to the end and immediately forget about it. His style doesn't tend to vary much on any given release (especially his work following 88 Keys & Counting), and as he's grown as an artist I find his music has taken on a bit of bland and uninteresting quality. I have the same issue with Atmosphere, I feel like they reached a point where Ant and Slug know exactly what to do to make good songs, and the time and energy they used to spend creating the style in the first place and trying out new things has become unnecessary.
Grieves' music is all good, it's just not really anything to get excited about for me. That said, you guys may have already guessed that I like the weirder stuff, so please don't take my opinion to heart if you've somehow slept on Grieves and this is the first you're hearing of him. He's amazingly talented. I just want it known that I'm coming at this review from a place of some ambivalence. Anyhow.
The Collections of Mr. Nice Guy is still music that I don't find particularly original, but it's definitely worth a listen, and if you like Grieves' work to this point I guarantee you'll love this. The songs are polished, and his lyricism and dry wit are ever present and in top form. Songs like "Man Down featuring Chris Webby" display complex rhyming and a style that would certainly be at home on the radio alongside more well known artists (like Chris Webby lol). Catchy beat as well.
Stylistically this album is a bit closer to what's popular these days than we've heard from him before. There's less of the R & B / soul influence that made up the bulk of Running Wild and a bit more electronica. Lots of auto-tune, some trap drum sounds, and the cadence popularized by Lil Wayne that's popping up all over the place can be heard in a few places here. I guess at this point Grieves is mainstream (not sure what that even means anymore), and he sounds it. I do know he's worked his ass off to get where he is, and for that he has my respect.
So I don't know who gets production credit for any of these tracks, I did try to find out (maybe Grieves himself or Budo). The musicianship is superb as always, with lush and beautiful sounds from the keys, guitars and strings. Songs like "December" and "Caliber" are truly works of art production wise. And while I enjoyed them I did find myself thinking that Grieves could have injected a bit more personality into them somehow, maybe trying out different voices or topics. As it stands, The Collections of Mr. Nice Guy sounds quite a bit like what a lot of people are doing. The upside to that is that at least Grieves does that style well, maybe even better than most.
Get The Collections of Mr. Nice Guy as a digital download from Grieves' Bandcamp here, or pick up a physical (preorders start shipping around 8/27/19) and support the always dope Fifth Element Online here! See you guys Friday!
Friday, July 12, 2019
Today's upload is one of my favorite Canadian albums of all time - 2002's "Sonsrayz" by Devotea. Devotea got his start as DJ Ringworm and was the main producer behind the Submerged M.Seas (with rappers Vizion and Kay the Aquanaut.) He released several mixtapes under that name before switching to Devotea.
His only full length solo album, "Sonsrayz," is quintessential Saskatoon rap. To start off, the production is airy and dreamy while also quirky and offbeat. Devotea helped a young Factor Chandelier get started on both the DJ tip and the producer tip and if you listen to "Sonsrayz," you could easily believe that Factor himself produced it. On the rap side of things, Devotea is definitely influenced by guys like Isosceles and Vizion delivery-wise, but he actually has a slightly crisper flow which makes him sound better in my opinion. Think Self-Help. Content-wise, Devo tackles everything from small city politics to grand scale crises, and, in doing so, manages to balance playfulness and seriousness very well.
Devotea only ever released this one album, which is a shame as it's an amazing one and, with the eventual success that Factor found, I believe he could have easily made a place for himself in the larger world of indie rap. The download is an old FTD rip that has faded into obscurity. Unfortunately, I don't have any sort of album cover for this (I used a Saskatoon prairie for the photo above lol.) I've seen the CD, but unfortunately do not own it or have scans of the artwork.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Lyrics Born has always been one of my favorite rappers. His deliveries and overall presence on the mic are truly one of a kind. Unfortunately, over the past handful of years, his releases have been generally below par. Projects like "Real People" and "Quite a Life" had Born focusing on band-driven pop songs. This direction is fine in theory, but thanks to a lack of creativity and some very corny lyrics, the projects ultimately fell flat. Luckily, Cali producer Cutso has teamed up with Lyrics Born for the recently dropped "Rapp Nite" - and it's the best we've heard from Born in years!
Cutso lays the groundwork with some solid bouncy bassy Bay beats. Lyrics Born responds by flowing for days! Born drops the need to find some grand hook or overtly "conscious" message and things are made better because of it. Hearing Born rap is more than enough! The lyrics do get a bit cringy near the end, which is a slight problem as the project is only seven tracks deep. Overall, however, we're left with a lighthearted, very fun Quannum-worthy rap display from Lyrics Born - something we haven't gotten in a long while.
[Thanks to GarvinIII for hooking Dimxsk up with something off his wantlist.]
Friday, July 5, 2019
6 Months! Three rare EPs from Ape9, a Knowskills mixtape and a full rip of Crackbeat Society's The Cracker
Ape9 - Astronauts, Humble Gods & Malaki
First things first, we have three EPs from Colorado's Ape9 (aka James Vega). Called Humble Gods, Astronauts and Malaki, they came to me out of order without album art or year released so I don't know much about them. Please do drop a note or comment if you have art or information. According to Trylemma, they were made in high school, and I believe him as we are definitely hearing a younger Ape9 on these tracks. That being said, they're pretty good. Enjoy!
The Motherfucking Jizclot (Knowskills) - 60 Minutes of Hate
Next we have something special, a mixtape curated by Knowskills of Beat Comber (Saskatoon) fame. This contains a wide variety of 90's and indie rap with a clear preference for the more raw and gritty styles (old pre-emo Cage and Third Sight for example). Trylemma found this cassette along with a few more rare joints, and I ripped it. It's a good selection of tracks, mixed well and could definitely serve as a soundtrack for your Summer BBQs, so long as you're friends don't mind listening to someone calling themselves The Motherfucking Jizclot.
Crackbeat Society - The Cracker
No fan of Canadian rap can be satisfied with their collection without Crackbeat's full length effort The Cracker. Recorded in a dorm room, and consisting of all kinds of weirdos like Josh Martinez, Jesse Dangerously, Kunga219, Gordski and Moves, The Cracker managed to bring together all manner of talent, run with a general theme of humorous mayhem and make it sound dope. Trylemma informs me that a scene rip of this exists, but that it's only 8 tracks. This version is the full* 14 tracks plus outro, this is a rip of my copy of the cassette. Put it on and reflect how far each of these voices have come. A must have for sure.
So it's been a fun half a year, and there's still more to come. I've got several more interesting fossils I've been holding back for the right time, and Trylemma has even more. So keep visiting every Wednesday and Friday for reviews and free music, and thanks again for the interest! Enjoy the summer!
*Disclaimer: The number one smash hit "Who's Tony?", while listed in the liner notes, is regrettably missing from the actual cassette. I know, I almost demanded my money back...
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
This being the 26th week (half a year!) of Underground Fossils, I figure that all bets are off and I can share something that might not fit with our normal routine, but that I believe y'all would enjoy. What I'm offering today is not exactly a release. Rather it's a collection of rare songs I put together documenting some of Edison of Papervehicle's earliest days, along with some talents and voices that I've always really enjoyed.
These songs come from different places, some were on a compilation type thing that I believe was called Kitchen Kuts and others were ripped from streaming sites. They feature Edison not just on production (the man is and was insane behind the boards, check out some of his more recent work if you're inclined to disagree) but rapping as well, something that I'd only ever heard before on his albums with Papervehicle. He's not bad at it, but I guess he decided to concentrate on his production making his vocal tracks a rarity.
We also have on here a rapper / singer / guitarist who goes by Lewee Regal, but is also the lead singer of the folk / punk outfit Get Dead. He's got an awesome voice and he uses it well both singing and rapping. He's got some solo songs on here as well as work with Edison, my personal favorite being what I chose to make the closing track "Debbie", a cynical pseudo-country joint about a bad (meaning goodish) woman. Some of his work on here is punk, some of it's rap. You may know him from his split album 8th World Jamboree with Babelfishh and his features on Visitor's solo album, lost forever when Decorative Stamp's Bandcamp sadly disappeared. Here's a music video of one of his songs. It's interesting for sure:
Home of Papervehicle makes an appearance as well on songs where the artist was labeled "Sutherland Collective" when I found them. The entire album I've put together uses this as the artist name, mostly because Sutherland Collective appeared to encompass all three of the rappers and it made the entire thing fit neatly into a single place on my iTunes.
While I like all kinds of rap, this type of music really appeals to me. These songs are clearly home made, the bitrates jump around and never peak 128 kbps, but they're good songs and having the history of an influential presence in the modern indie world like Edison on record is something I value. None of these songs came with album info, they seemed to be isolated experiments, so putting them together seemed like a good thing to do. Not exactly a fossil, but rare and important all the same.
We're still accepting requests for Friday, we decided to do another post like our first one with three rarities up for download. What those are could be up to you...
Also BIG UPS to BIG BEAR for sending some Deepcave gems our way!
Friday, June 28, 2019
Hey, so I'm covering for Trylemma today, he's got a lot on his plate right now. Anyway for today we have JD Walker's debut EP Bleed the Reservoir. I know next to nothing about this album, but on one of my trips to Facebook someone was asking about this guy in a group I get notifications from. It reminded me about this humble offering.
JD Walker hails from Maine; he was one of the founding members of one of Sole's earliest groups Live Poets along with Moodswing9. His music often has a folk flavor, but is essentially good old fashioned abstract hip hop. He's put out a few vinyl singles, an EP and two albums, one under the alias Loganprojects. All of these are worth a listen for fans of Anticon and Fake Four; they're weird in places and clearly independently produced and recorded but they've got a ton of personality.
Get the album below, and excuse the brevity of this post, it's been a long week!
I did want to take a moment and recognize that next week marks the 6 month anniversary of Underground Fossils. Plus we recently reached 9,000 views and as someone who's never done much social media I'm pretty damn happy about it. So I was thinking that next week could be all about sharing some rare music, but maybe there's other ways we could celebrate. Who knows, but I promise this: next week will be epic.
If anyone has any ideas, or requests free to comment below or reach out via the contact box, and *Thank You* for your support!
Oh and please no more comments with hyperlinks, or stories about your successful insemination (although I'm very happy for you).
Oh and please no more comments with hyperlinks, or stories about your successful insemination (although I'm very happy for you).