Tag Archives: instrumental hip-hop

Album of the Day: Don Leisure, “Halal Cool J”

The title of Wales-based beatsmith Don Leisure’s latest instrumental album is a pun on the name of iconic rap star LL Cool J—but the vibe of the project is closer to the sort of dusty, mystical beats RZA perfected during the Wu-Tang Clan’s ’90s reign. Only here, the ’60s Stax soul samples and kung fu soundbites have been switched out for Eastern European loops and snatches of Turkish dialogue. It’s a head-nodding, static-coated musical blend that radiates a sense of sonic wanderlust.

Continue reading

The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: April 2019


This month’s installment of Best Beat Tapes showcases several records that challenge the traditional definition of a beat tape, skewing closer to jazz and soul than traditional hip-hop instrumentals. We’ve also got an incredible batch of skull-cracking instrumentals from one of the greatest hip-hop producers of the 2000s, electronically-inclined beats that incorporate everything from samba to cumbia, and a tape full of brilliant chops and dynamic percussion from a rising Bay Area producer.  Continue reading

Album of the Day: The Doppelgangaz, “Beats For Brothels, Vol. 4”

For the last decade, the Doppelgangaz—the New York-based duo of childhood friends Matter Ov Fact and EP—have operated according to weird, graphic specifics: a distinctive mix of demented nonsense and highly-specific culinary boasts. Listen to “Roll Flee,” a highlight off 2017’s Dopp Hopp, and you’ll hear EP namedrop a fancy Manhattan sushi restaurant in the same breath as he reveals a skin condition (“He got zoster…omekase from Masa / Dipping on the bill, for real cause a disaster”). Every Doppelgangaz song is a new, non-sequitur entry in a Jackass-like mockumentary. Continue reading

Killer Bee’s Lo-Fi Beats Pay Homage to Numerology, Dilla, & His Late Grandfather

Killer Bee

For an artist who tells his life story using only drum kicks and snares, producer Killer Bee sure has a lot to say. The 24-year-old has released six albums of instrumental hip-hop, each one serving as a diary entry writ in sound. Through stirring harmonic progressions and sampled dialog, he reflects on his childhood, past romantic relationships, and his ongoing search to find his place in the world. His beats can feel like a curtain drawn back from the most intimate parts of the producer’s psyche, revealing the heightened semi-reality of dreams and memories, where every conjured image and every triggered sample carries symbolic weight.

Continue reading

Hidden Gems: AntMan Wonder, “The Present”

hidden gems

In our new series Hidden Gems, writers share their favorite Bandcamp discoveries.

In the late ’90s, well before his ascent as AntMan Wonder, Anthony Markeith Reid was just a kid from Philadelphia, crafting beats on a modest Casio keyboard. After decades of tirelessly honing his craft, Reid has established himself as one of contemporary music’s most inventive composers. To date, his ever-growing list of credits includes work with Anderson .Paak, PRhyme (Royce Da 5’ 9” & DJ Premier), Rick Ross, and many more.

Continue reading

Album of the Day: Kenny Segal, “happy little trees”

Beethoven preferred the company of trees to people. Claude Debussy penned passionate essays on the symbiosis of music and nature, declaring it the supreme source of beauty in the universe. So when Los Angeles producer Kenny Segal decided to make an instrumental album that reflected the majesty of the natural world, he was in good company.

Continue reading

Album of the Day: Kiefer, “Happysad”

For all the subgenres that have emerged from the Los Angeles beat scene, Kiefer Shackelford has forged a path totally unique from that of his peers. As a trained jazz pianist deeply involved in the Stones Throw world, Shackelford has a take on electronic music that merges the chopped-up soul of J Dilla with the expressive soloing of McCoy Tyner.

Continue reading

Album of the Day: Paul White, “Rejuvenate”

Paul White has always thrown things against the wall to see what sticks. As a beatmaker for rappers Open Mike Eagle, Homeboy Sandman, and Danny Brown, White creates vast kaleidoscopic melodies that sample everything from African disco and psych-rock, to grainy folk and old soul. His music embodies the persona of its lead MC, and in the case of Brown (on his critically acclaimed 2016 album Atrocity Exhibition), White’s score felt dark and cavernous, clattering beneath the rapper’s distinctive squeal.

Continue reading