Tag Archives: Kev Brown

The Best Albums of 2018: #100 – 81

Best of 2018 100-81Let’s be honest for a second: No one clicks on these lists for the introduction. I don’t blame them! This is usually just the place where some routine throat-clearing goes, before we get to the main event. It’s also the place where I confess to the amount of anxiety involved with putting together a list like this—last year, I said, “Right now, there’s probably someone in their bedroom in Buenos Aires, making a record on their computer that is going to end up on next year’s list. So as comprehensive as we’ve tried to make this list, we realize that, even at 100 albums, we’re only scratching the surface of what’s available.” Guess what? That’s still true in 2018. That said, the albums that made the cut, to us, represent the breadth and scope of the many worlds available to discover on Bandcamp, and feel like the best musical summation of the last 12 months. When we make this list, we’re not only trying to assess the year’s best music, we’re also trying to tell the story of 2018, album by album, song by song. As always, being a part of Bandcamp Daily in 2018 was a true joy; we took a look at Extratone, the world’s fastest musical genre, got familiar with the New Face of Death Metal, and spent time with artists like Yugen Blakrok, Suzanne Ciani, and Kamaal Williams. Once again, the world of music is bigger than any one list can possibly contain, so consider this a starting point on the neverending journey to discovering new sounds, new scenes, and new voices. Alright, that’s enough throat-clearing. Let’s get to the list.

—J. Edward Keyes, Editorial Director

Best of 2018 Schedule:
December 10: #100 – 81
December 11: #80 – 61
December 12: #60 – 41
December 13: #40 – 21
December 14: #20 – 1

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Album of the Day: Kev Brown, “Fill in the Blank”

By his own admission, Kev Brown is a producer first, rapper second. As he once told me, writing rhymes feels like homework, making beats comes naturally. So it’s unclear what clicked for Brown on his new album, Fill in the Blank, his third record in 2018—this is his best vocal performance since 2005’s landmark I Do What I Do. Brown doesn’t discuss anything groundbreaking: He talks about shoveling the snow, using an inkpen from Vietnam, and old Mary J. Blige songs. Much like rappers Mick Jenkins, Open Mike Eagle, and yU, Brown finds comfort in the mundane. He isn’t lying about what he has for the sake of phantom street cred or likes and retweets on social media. Brown is a regular dude; his music resonates because he’s in the trenches, dealing with the BS like the rest of us. As with any of his releases, none of these songs hang around too long; he usually spits one verse—in his usual laid-back flow—and cuts quickly to the next track. Brown does this masterfully on Fill in the Blank, leading to a seamless 30-minute suite of incisive lyrics and superb instrumentals.

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The Best Albums of Summer 2018

Quarterly Report

To describe this summer as “turbulent” would be an understatement. And while you could say roughly the same thing about the spring and winter before it, something about the ever-present sense of global unease, coupled with (depending on where you live) oppressive heat made three months that are usually associated with beach parties and cookouts feel especially fraught. As always, though, there is music—not only to be a comfort and a lifeline, but also to be a vehicle to discover new perspectives, and to learn to look at the world through someone else’s eyes. As always, the albums in this list represent a wide range of sounds: there’s an album that fuses death metal and jazz, a meditative hip-hop record with soul-searching lyrics, a vibrant indie rock record made by four classically trained musicians and much, much more. These are our Best Albums of the Summer.

Read Bandcamp’s “Best Albums of Spring 2018
Read Bandcamp’s “Best Albums of Winter 2018

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Artist of the Week: Kev Brown’s Master Class Is In Session

Kev Brown

Photos by Jati Lindsay

Landover hasn’t changed much since the 1990s—that is, unless you count the massive football stadium where Washington’s NFL team plays football. The municipal buildings all look pretty much the same, and the weeds still crack the sidewalk along Martin Luther King Jr. Highway near Hill Road. Up the street, the Booker T. Homes community winds around to the neighborhood basketball court, where you’d get the best, and toughest, games ever. Sometimes you had to fight your way out. The local McDonald’s got remodeled, though. And it looks like the Cedar Heights Community Center is still hanging on.

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This Week’s Essential Releases: Electronic, British Folk, Hip-Hop, and More

7 essential

Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums that were released between last Friday and this Friday, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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Kaimbr is The Wu-Tang Disciple You Didn’t Know You Needed

Kaimbr

Hip-hop fans who are prone to nostalgia reserve a special reverence for the 1990s, a time when the beats were made of hard drums and dusty soul samples, and lyricists spit vivid street tales above them. The DMV rapper Kaimbr evokes that era in his music, which at times plays like a refreshing take on the Wu-Tang Clan’s gritty sound. (Fittingly, on 2015’s Bronze Horse, Kaimbr rhymed over restructured Wu samples.)

As part of the D.C. area’s Low Budget Crew, Kaimbr has carved out a quieter career than his compatriots Oddisee and Kev Brown. The artist, born Alexander Green, is a remarkably skilled rapper and producer, and while he eschews the trap and bass-heavy tone of today’s hip-hop, his brand of Golden Age boom-bap still feels vital and contemporary.

Kaimbr’s new album, Share the Shelter, is a solo album in name alone. He may be the lead rapper, but with features from Brown, yU, Sean Born, Awthentik, Kenn Starr, RODDYROD, and others, Shelter feels like a group effort in the spirit of Ghostface Killah’s Ironman and Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. We spoke with the DMV swordsman about his recent album, the legacy of Low Budget, and what’s next for the crew.

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