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This Week’s Essential Releases: Classic Soul, Indie Pop, Hip-Hop, and More

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Welcome to the first 2018 edition of Seven Essential Releases, our look at the week’s crucial LPs and singles. And since the world of Bandcamp is so vast, we also include one killer release from the vaults that you may have missed the first time around.

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The Best New Hip-Hop on Bandcamp: August 2017

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This month’s best rap albums showcase the depth and range of the hip-hop music waiting to be discovered in the Bandcamp vault. We’ve got throwback instrumental beat tapes lined up next to commercially slick electronic productions, funkdafied party jams giving way to rap confessionals. And don’t sleep on one of the year’s most peculiar releases, courtesy of a collection of underground eccentrics.

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Rapper Milo Doesn’t Spit Trauma Bars

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Photo by Kristina Pedersen.

Milo begins his new album who told you to think??!!?!?!?! by sampling author James Baldwin’s 1962 speech, “The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity.” “It’s not your fault, it’s not my fault that I write,” Baldwin says. “I would never come before you in the position of a complainant for doing something that I must do.” Near the end of the sample, milo recites the words along with Baldwin. His voice is strained yet resolute, as if the iconic writer is slowly providing the rapper with a theme for his latest masterpiece. “Rap is how we say our truth, catalogue our culture, develop our philosophies,” milo says. “This is my definition of rap. And James Baldwin said it a long time ago.”

Baldwin’s influence on milo is profound; the album at large is a direct response to fans who say his music is “pretentious.” Milo believes hip-hop artists must speak a collective truth, and who told you hones in hard on that idea, encouraging listeners to join him.

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The Best Albums of 2016: #60 – 41

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If there’s one thing we learned since we launched Bandcamp Daily this past June, it’s that the world of Bandcamp is enormous—encompassing everything from emo in China to cumbia punk in Tucson, Arizona to just about everything in between. So narrowing our Best Albums of the Year down to 100 choices was a daunting task. This week, we’ll be sharing our picks, 20 at a time, until we arrive at the top spot on Friday.

More “Best of 2016”:
The Best Albums of 2016: #100 – 81
The Best Albums of 2016: #80 – 61
The Best Albums of 2016: #40 – 21
The Best Albums of 2016: #20-1

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