In between retail store shifts in Daytona Beach, Fla., and navel-gazing about drunken boys, Kitty Pryde found something valuable in 2012. She delivers dream-pop rap that resonates with a restless sliver of hip-hop fans craving something smarter to savor.
Pryde's EP, "Haha, I'm Sorry," was welcomed by the few that noticed its free-via-Bandcamp release.
The complex, exploratory beats by producer Beautiful Lou are crucial to the polish of the five-track effort by Pryde, whose youthful banality oozes out of each savvy curse-free verse. Pryde's easy flow on "Ay Shawty" has nothing to do with the hip-hop you hear on the radio and everything to do with a snapshot of hip-hop fandom, growing in numbers, who seek something beyond the guns-and-drugs drill that often dominates the genre.
This is real downtime talk, not saddled with rough urban fantasies.
—Ron Harris, AP Writer (twitter.com/journorati)
Ana Tijoux, "La Bala" (Nacional Records)
Sometimes the most powerful sound is not a shout, but a whisper.
Chilean-French rapper Ana Tijoux proves the power of that phrase. This year she brought new life to hip-hop en espanol with her rich, intelligent and original album "La Bala."
Tijoux captures attention with a complex delivery that is both soft and harsh, warm in tone, yet chilling. Her lyrics reflect the politics that have shaped her world: She grew up exiled in France, where her family fled to escape the Pinochet regime.
Musically, "La Bala" is a gorgeous, potent and smoothly produced mix of bass, orchestration, rock and soul — with delicious use of G-funk styling. The rhythms are unexpected and enticing.
On the title track, Tijoux details the shooting of a man, rapping over a militaristic march: "That body without life was her son, stunned Maria falls to the floor, her deformed face turned into a cry that leaves only a hum meaning — assassin."
—Michelle Morgante, AP Writer (twitter.com/mmorgante)
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