a dream team collaboration between 2 of my favorite alt rap emcees,


ALPHA: selected definitions

the first; beginning.

Astronomy. used to designate the brightest star in a constellation.

being the most dominant, powerful, or assertive person in a particular group.

the first in a series of related items: frequently used in chemistry and physics.


what better way to start off my music blog than with A7PHA's self-titled debut LP on anticon, which hits stores tomorrow, March 24th 2017! luckily i ordered my vinyl directly from the label & they got them out way earlier to the pre-orderers, so i've gotten 10 front-to-back listens in by now already & i can say it's an incredible record, in my humble opinion! A7PHA is an epic team-up of underground hip hop/ altrap emcees DOSEONE & MESTIZO who just happen to be two of my favorites, ever. here, peep their 1st video:

A7PHA is on some experimental, art rap electronic fusion ish that goes hard as fuck, not a quality always present in that particular style. if yr not familiar with the players, Doseone is one of my personal all-time-favorite alt-rap heroes (i have a fluid cast of creative 'patron saints' as i call them who inspire me the most and he's high on that list); cofounder of anticon records and pioneer in the experimental hip hop realm with some of his many groups like Themselves, cLOUDDEAD, Subtle, Nevermen and 13&God... or Greenthink or Deep Puddle Dynamics if you want to go way back. there is no one comparable to Dose, an abstract & bizarre emcee, producer & visual artist with a voice like none other - an acquired taste for most but his fearless individuality & stylistic exploration were always undeniable to me since i first heard him in the late nineties, early 00s and i've followed him since. haha while i've always been a proponent of physical music, i first experienced Dose through Napster back in those days! Mestizo has always been high up there for me too - his three albums on the underrated Chicago underground hip hop label Galapagos4 were all bangers - i consider his 2005 collab with producer Mike Gao, Blindfaith, to be one of the best of its era & he ripped some of the craziest flows on his debut album lifelikemovie. after that he formed like voltron with tha gawd Isaiah Toothtaker to form the Machina Muerte crew which boasted an incredible roster including Zackey Force Funk, Crimekillz, Existereo of Shapeshifters, and the late battle rap legend Cadalack Ron to whom this record is dedicated to. Since then he's been a little quiet on the music front, so i was beyond psyched when anticon announced this album, kinda out-of-the-blue. Dose & Zo's style's complement one other, creating a symbiosis which inspires each to up their ante, going full alpha on every track while flipping a crazy variety of styles.

A7PHA is probably the most hip hoppy release Dose has dropped since Themselves: CrownsDown & its excellent accompanying mixtape theFREEhoudini(deluxe) in 2009. i'd think it would make any long-term fan extremely happy & is also a lot easier to digest for people unfamiliar with him, so definitely a great album to start off with, yung punx. it's also a triumphant return for Mestizo & cause to celebrate - finally a full length album of his is available on vinyl! all of his G4 gems are only on CD, unfortunately - oh how i would love to get albums like that the vinyl treatment they deserve!

the production on the entire A7PHA LP is top notch, allowing the emcees prime platforms to flip a multitude of styles. i was more than pleasantly surprised to see that Letta handled the bulk of the production - 6/10 of the tracks are produced by him with Dose. Letta brings this minimalist, dark & deep instrumental grime these days - his 2015 opus Testimony is not to be missed! Before transforming into Letta, he was formerly known as Scumbag Tony in 8bit crimewave gameboy punk duo Crimekillz, more of my favorite shit we'll get to on this blog later! Alias handles the rest of the beats & kills it as always, he never got enough credit in that instrumental hip hop electronic realm he's been so consistent in forever. the vocal features are also off the chain, & yep you guessed it, more of my absolute faves, fr'real - Gonjasufi & Crescent Moon (Kill the Vultures, Oddjobs) plus Crash, Dose's co-conspirator in Go Dark who dropped a fire debut cassette, Bitchsword - i look forward to hear more from them heavy!  

So far my favorite tracks are "Sicked" "At the Alter" & "Hater Hate It" but i'm feeling every track - i can listen to the album all the way through front to back on repeat all day and not get bored even remotely. Biggups to Doseone & Mestizo and everyone else involved, this is absolute fire & i'll be rocking it non-stop, immediate contender for best of the year. check back soon for more like this!

in the meanwhile, just peep the hasthtag collecsch on my instagram for more music recommendations: