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Defari‘s latest album Street Music is aptly named since the hip-hopper points out that the genre is rooted and grew up on the streets. The lyrics reflect the mission statement of the whole album, which is to bring hip-hop back in to its true state, the one that existed before P Diddy and Kanye. The punchy rhythm of the vocals and no-nonsense topics he raps about further help Defari make his point.

This is the first release on his own Digital imprint (available exclusively through Dancetracks) for Jamal Moss, aka Hieroglyphic Being. Armed with budget mixers, a drum machine, and not much else Moss represents a new deviation in the term minimalism, one where the creative process is truly reflected in the finished product. Sounds are stripped down to capture the raw flavor of the instrument and remind us that sometimes less is definitely best.

Lazarus Taxon is the paleontological term for a species that disappears, then reappears in the fossil record, but we hope that doesn’t happen to Tortoise just because they’ve chosen to name their much-anticipated box set after the phrase. The collection of tracks includes rare singles, previously unreleased material, and the 1995 album Rhythms, Resolutions & Clusters, now out of print. Definitely not the stuff of fossils.

Oh No debuted with his 2004 release The Disrupt, and since then is known as a producer and MC in his own right instead of merely being Madlib’s brother. Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms further solidifies his reputation as an innovative hip-hop producer willing to take chances. The album is comprised entirely of beats taken from Galt MacDermot (writer behind the 60’s musical Hair samples. Now that’s a concept album.

Beeda Weeda is another artists in the crew of East Bay hip-hoppers devoted to spreading the gospel of hyphy and keeping their genre real and on the streets. The 22-year old producer uses his Oakland neighborhood, with its violence and mayhem, as a backdrop for his tracks, which are impressively produced and lyrically mature for someone his age. Beeda follows in the footsteps of fellow East Bay artists like E-40, Hieroglyphics, and Too Short, but don’t expect him to stay confined to one part of the country forever.