The Wicked Sound favorite / best Beats, Instrumental Hip Hop albums of 2021:
01. Jazz Spastiks Camera of Sound [Jazz Plastic]
Jazz Spastiks aka The Slipmat Brothers (consisting of members Coconut Delight and Mr. Manyana) are underground Scotish hip hop beatmakers, producers and djs. More then eleven years in the game and still critically under ratted. They have collaborated with many different vocalists from around the world and like to produce music with a dusty, jazzy, classic sound but keep it fresh at the same time. On the Camera of Sound album the beatmakers have linked up with various emcees featuring Artifacts, Count Bass D and DJ Pocket, C-Rayz-Walz, Kool Keith, Phill Most Chill, The Procussions, Soundsci and Wee Bee Foolish (Yeshua DaPoEd and Ken Boogaloo). It tooks them 7 years to finish this album, but the effec is brilliant. The album is co complex, joy from the start to the end, full of excellent beats, samples, scratches, and lyrics heading you back to good old days in Hip Hop music.
We really love combining the rough and smooth elements od sound, juxtaposing some nice rhodes piano, with a gritty drum break. The rhytms and swing of jazz music are an integral part of good hip hop along with funk and soul, that's how Jazz Spastiks described their music.
02. Otis McDonald Beats Vol.3 [Track Tribe]
San Francisco-based artist Joe Bagale was commissioned by YouTube to write and record 30 new tracks to be available in the YouTube audio library, which was the beginning of a new project he calls Otis McDonald. Otis McDonald’s tracks reach millions of Facebook and YouTube followers as well as some of the biggest social media network accounts. Beats Vol.3 it's his third collection of beats released this year, on which he is playing all the instruments, writing, producing, mixing, and mastering. An eclectic multi-instrumentalist/producer in his music is bridging multiple styles and sentiments, his sound tangibly rooted in nostalgia is still fresh, full of funk and genuine soul.
03. Madlib & Four Tet Sound Ancestors [Madlib Invazion]
Madlib & Four TetSound Ancestors is a special album that showcases a two-decade long friendship that has resulted in an album that follows Madlib’s classics like Quasimoto’s The Unseen, Madvillainy and his Pinata and Bandana albums with Freddie Gibbs. (Madlib) is always making loads of music in all sorts of styles and I was listening to some of his new beats and studio sessions when I had the idea that it would be great to hear some of these ideas made into a Madlib solo album. Not made into beats for vocalists to use but instead arranged into tracks that could all flow together in an album designed to be listened to start to finish. I put this concept to him when we were hanging out eating some nice food one day and we decided to work on this together with him sending me tracks, loops, ideas and experiments that I would arrange, edit, manipulate and combine. I was sent hundreds of pieces of music over a couple of years stretch and during that time I put together this album with all the parts that fitted with my vision, says Kieren Hebden AKA Four Tet.
04. Snips 52 Beats [Barbershop Records]
Snips is the founder of Barbershop Records and co founder of Livin' Proof, with over 15 years experience as one of Londons most prolific DJs and over 10 years worth of production credits across Hip Hop's underground. In 2018 Snips relocated to NYC and emerged as a budding solo artist, fusing the production styles of Hip Hop, House, Soul, Jazz and Funk in the same fashion he's known for as a DJ. 52 Beats is project initially started on Bandcamp with Snips uploading 1 beat per week over the course of a year with an accompanying behind the scenes video. This is part 1 of 4 volumes documenting the first quarter of the entire project. Musically Snips stays true to his Hip Hop roots chopping samples and keeping the sound rooted in traditonal Boom Bap which birthed his style.
05. SGJAZZ SGJAZZ Vol 2 [Melting Pot Music]
With SGJAZZ, Dundiff pursues his passion for jazz. SG stands for the supergroup. The quintet plays jazz with a hip-hop state of mind. Classically trained jazz musicians – multi-instrumentalist Idris Frederick, Patrick Denney on bass, Anthony Keenan on guitar, Noah Reed on alto and tenor saxophone – are jamming with certified rap cats. SGJAZZ are not a random group of session players but five long-time friends who go way back. Their first album SGJAZZ Vol. 1 was released on Jakarta Records, for their new project, SGJAZZ have signed with Melting Pot Music. On SGJAZZ Vol. 2, they are putting their idea of forward-thinking and headstrong jazz into action without neglecting the groove.
06. Remulak Scrambled Eggs 2 [Remulak]
Remulak is a hip hop producer from the UK, specialising in various styles of the genre. From the emotive/jazzy beats, to the heavier boom bap sounds. Having started making music way back in 2001, Remulak now has several albums in his discography and continues to develop his music and production techniques. This is a second installment of Remulak's Scrambled Eggs series, follows on from the first edition and is a collection of revamped jazzy beats that were originally created between 2003 – 2017.
07. Beatchild Nostalgia Beats of 2008 – 2020 [BBE Records]
Formerly known as Slakah the Beatchild then Beatchild & The Slakadeliqs, now simply Beatchild, Canadian musician, producer and songwriter Byram Joseph returns to BBE Music with retrospective instrumental collection Nostalgia: Beats of 2008 – 2020. Beatchild has selected his favourite cuts from his first three BBE albums, presenting instrumental versions for the first time alongside previously unreleased bonus tracks recorded over the last 12 years. These instrumentals let Beatchild’s natural musical aesthetic breathe, reframing his warm, uncluttered productions and letting his smooth, blunted, soulful beats speak for themselves.
08. Kiefer When There's Love Around [Stones Throw]
Kiefer assembled a band of his favorite musicians, including DJ Harrison, Andy McCauley, Josh Johnson, Will Logan, Sam Wilkes and other jazz luminaries. They laid the album down in three sets of sessions over 2020, including one stint at Jazzy Jeff’s studio after the DJ invited Kiefer to record there. Several songs were recorded in one or two takes, with any mistakes left in, true to Kiefer’s preference for music that feels spontaneous and from the heart. Kiefer has long performed with a live band, and found the setup suited the communal spirit he was striving for on this album: I find something about the Herculean type of jazz performer really alienating. I want to celebrate human connection, he explains.
09. Apifera Overstand [Stones Throw]
Apifera is: Nitai Hershkovits (keys), Yuval Havkin aka Rejoicer (keys), Amir Bresler (drums) and Yonatan Albalak (bass). Accomplished solo artists in their own right, the four musicians have come together for their debut album Overstand. Named after a variety of bee-attracting orchid, Apifera create organic-sounding structures, harmonies and arrangements intended to reflect the rich variety and equilibrium of the natural world. Apifera’s influences range from the folk music of their home country Israel, to Impressionist composers Ravel and Satie, traditional music from Sudan and Ghana, and the transcendental jazz of Sun Ra. Working intuitively, the quartet wrote and recorded Overstand mostly live in just three days, and the final album includes minimal overdubbing.
10. Elaquent, Boombaptist, Juicy The Emissary Komfort Food [Cream Dream]
Elaquent (Mello Music Group), Juicy the Emissary (Street Corner Music), & BoomBaptist (Insect Records, The Vapor Caves) have joined for this ode to the original. Mutually inspired by the work of J-Dilla, Komfort Food is a re-imagining of samples that the late Jay Dee masterfully crafted, produced in the styles of these three contemporaries. Pressed on a glazed donut, two-tone record, this album is packaged in what resembles a very familiar box of baked goods. What is inside? Komfort Food. A sure-shot for fans of Dilla & DJ's alike, you'll find that Komfort Food takes on a classy nod to his legacy, and also serves as a gem in the crates.
11. Funky DL Jazz Dust [Washington Classics]
Eloquently produced, Jazz Dust showcases Funky DL's eclectic creativity in producing some of the finest instrumental albums. In offering of a less polished sheen to the sound, the dust and crackles are deliberate and help retain the raw and authentic feel of Jazz and Hip-Hop. DL displays his instinctive nature in approaching the production. Nothing is overthought or over complicated, instead the album takes a smooth ride across a range of moods that work just for what they are. The musical themes (directly and indirectly) pay homage to both Pete Rock and Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest), the famed New York Producers responsible for a plethora of Hip-Hop classics over the years. Overall, this instrumental album pull no punches. Instead, what DL offers is an uncut insight into the sentiments that go towards being one of the finest Hip-Hop Producers to ever sprinkle.
12. Aywee Tha Seed Smokey Ways To Chill [Beat Jazz International]
Smokey Ways To Chill by Paris-based producer Aywee Tha Seed. 16 driving tracks full of head nod breaks and drums, always with that certain Aywee groove that we instantly felt in love with when we heard his demo's for the first time. The beats alternate relaxed between soulful boom-bap and very jazzy tunes. Features are provided by fellow producers Tech Flips, ØDYSSEE and Alcynoos.
13. Robohands Shapes [King Underground]
The third album from London-based multi-instrumentalist, Robohands. Shapes fuses elements of jazz, krautrock, hip hop and ambient music. For fans of Khruangbin, Yusef Dayes, CAN, Coltrane and 70s library music moods. the album has its spirit indebted to 1970’s aesthetics and to the work of artists like Piero Umiliani, David Axelrod, Brian Bennett and company. Building on these influences and incorporating modern motifs, contemporary jazz/hip hop drumming styles, Shapes is successful in creating this futuristic nostalgia, mixing vintage & modern instruments and production techniques.
14. DJ Toner – Blessed Are The Weird People [Vinyl Digital]
Blessed Are The Weird People is the brand new album by the Spaniard Dj and producer DJ TONER. It counts 12 songs filled with the Lo-Fi and Jazzhop aesthetic. This album features the participation of trumpeter Erik Truffaz (Blue Note, etc), the renowned Spanish musician Jorge Pardo (Chick Corea flute and sax), and the Mongolian singer based in Spain Lian Faz.
15. Max I Milion Uncut Gems [Coalmine Records]
Swedish producer Max I Million is back on his hip-hop steez with Uncut Gems, an instrumental album that blends left-field creativity with boom-bap vibes. It’s equal parts futuristic and nostalgic, a distinctive combination of sounds that never gets too comfortable, nor too experimental. Pulling that off is no easy feat, and neither is making it sound this damn good. But that’s just what Max does with this project. Uncut Gems is pure audio dope that’s loaded with musical layers. And it turns out that Max actually produced these tracks with that concept in mind, so that listeners would play it, again and again, to unearth new sounds and production techniques with each spin. I want to elevate minds and make them feel inclined to, in the words of Dilla, 'Turn me up another notch in your system!', he says
On Rugged Tranquility Vol. 2, the latest cuts from Virginia keystone Ohbliv serve as a prescription for the ears from Dr. Sample himself. The 16-track expedition remains forward-thinking as Ohbliv paints detailed pictures of a reimagined past, laying brick after brick and beat after beat upon the sample-based works that many of us know him for. Ohbliv's first full-length beat tape released on vinyl, with the all-new cuts of Rugged Tranquility Vol. 2. Old favorites are suddenly re-contextualized via Ohbliv's refined chops, imbued with a sense of time and place while always remaining evergreen.
17. Elusive NU NU [World Galaxy Alpha Pup Records]
Planting a flag in the evolution of the LA beat scene's sound over the last two decades, West Coast beatmaker is pushing the boundaries of the music that has shaped his career over the last twenty-five years, Elusive is turning towards more jazzy and instrumentally rich compositions. His new LP, NU NU, is another leap forward in this context, featuring Los Angeles-based jazz musicians, featuring trumpet player and brother, Josh Koslow, and more stalwarts of contemporary jazz. Trumpet, harp, saxophone, bass guitar, and many other instruments extend the musicianship and scope of his latest works, defining a bridge between electronic, hip-hop, and jazz in a very personalized and technical form. NU NU continues the rich legacy Elusive has created with the label and his city of Los Angeles.
18. Moo Latte Snax [U Know Me Records]
A selection of short, gentle, and crispy instrumentals from producer Moo Latte on U Know Me Records The usual mix of beats and keyboards with a laidback approach and a contemporary vibe. Moo Latte said: Cooking those instrumental tracks, I yet again explored my jazz background and combined instrumental improvisations with hip-hop, ethno and soul inspirations. The whole album is kept in a non-binding lo-fi vibe but maintaining the hi-fi level of attention to details. With Snax I decided to go for a much wider palette of sounds unlike my previous, more conceptual albums. The last track Worth it features a charizmatic Philadelphia-based artist - Ler Stevens which has shed new light on my instrumental joint Coins.
19. DJ Friction Synesthesia [Berlin Production Music]
Martin Welzer aka DJ Friction is a producer, DJ, vinyl enthusiast, and sound artist. He developed his passion for music with films. The man from Stuttgart is particularly known for his love of experimenting with sounds: soft beats meet urban big city vibes, rhythmic percussion interweaves with soulful singing, smooth raps merge with a lot of bass. While he produces hip-hop beats with the band Freundeskreis, he rarely restricts himself to a single style as a solo artist. His creative work has been influenced by Disco and Italo Disco, Soul, R&B and HipHop since the 90s, which is why he is often referred to as an all-purpose weapon on the decks.
20. Flying Lotus Yasuke [Warp Records]
Netflix’s Yasuke is a six-episode anime series about a samurai warrior of African descent in a fantastical alternate universe version of feudal Japan full of magic, mechs, and of course, swordplay. A dream project for the producer, Flying Lotus consulted on the story, working alongside renowned anime creators. The skillset of the Grammy Award winning producer is on complete display on the album, hybridizing synth melodies, bass lines and machine generated drum patterns while exploring new sonic territory -- traditional Japanese percussion instruments like the taiko and hyōshigi and west African percussion — a nod to the Afro-Japanese, feudal yet futuristic world Yasuke inhabits.