VIDEO: “Red Apple” – Khingz

Rapper Khingz revives his conscious, emotive roots with the emotionally bare “Red Apple.” This track recalls Abyssinian Creole — the musical love child of Khingz and Gabriel Teodros — in that duo’s ability to never let hate win even in the face of insurmountable odds. “Red Apple” sounds so soft, but its truth cuts like diamonds.

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VIDEO: “Sidelines” – Aaron Cohen (dir. by Jesse Diamond)

Aaron Cohen’s recent EP Home Less finds the Southend native aligning his sharp, nihilistic barbs with beats that trend low-end, boom-bap and crawling. The rapper has definitely found his sweet spot. “Sidelines” is the opening track on Home Less and it’s appropriately grimy like the LA River. Video directed by Jesse Diamond and song produced by JG Beats.

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VIDEO: “Chinese Tacos” – Avatar Darko (dir. by Avi Loud)

New hair, new steez. Avatar Darko with a new video directed by Avi Loud. Too many “Chinese Tacos” before bedtime and you end up crashing out in the bed of your El Camino. The beat(s) — and video — are a beast: somewhere between a nightmare and a beautiful sunset.

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VIDEO: “Hearin’ Nothin'” – Mackned (dir. by Will Hoopes)

The most buzzed about local crew in recent weeks is the Seattle and LA-based Thraxxhouse collective — though they don’t like to be referred to in that way. Co-ringleader Mackned has a new record called Female making the rounds on your favorite music sites and “Hearin’ Nothin'” is from that. Video directed by Will Hoopes and track by Tommy Kruise. Thraxxhouse had an epic (by many accounts) show at the Crocodile earlier this month. Check out the photo set from that evening here.

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VIDEO: “Oh Lord” – Raz Simone (dir. by Jacob Hill & Raz)

Raz Simone’s latest video entry, “Oh Lord,” finds the rapper speaking truth to power in a natural setting that looks conspicuously like the one Macklemore and Ryan Lewis used in their “Otherside” video. Raz name checks Macklemore in the third verse, noting the pop star’s as-yet unreleased “White Privilege 2,” a song rumored to be part of Mack and RL’s upcoming sophomore LP. (Some questions, though: How can a track called “White Privilege 2” be anything but reductive in an ongoing conversation about the very topic? At what point does Macklemore speaking openly about his privilege become more about him and less about the actual issue? After all, in about 99% of discussions about race it’s more productive for white folks to just shut the fuck up and listen than it is for them to ramble on about what it means to them.)

In any case, Raz’s output this year has generated more words-per-post from your loyal blogger than any other Town hip-hop artist, which means he’s either really good at pushing buttons, or he’s on to something much larger and provocative than his peers. It’s probably a bit of both. “Oh Lord” finds Raz at his best, reserving valuable bars for conveying concerns both communal and personal (see also: “They’ll Speak”). In other instances he can be frustratingly confounding — though no less visceral and inciting — which, I’ve mentioned before, engenders multitudes. That’s hip-hop, though.

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