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Next week the PinBoard mob will be heading to Amsterdam once again for Appelsap (August 9th), the cities fast rising festival dedicated to hip hop and electronic music. The one-day event has grown significantly over the years, with this year being no exception. Oosterpark will play host to a healthy mix of local and international talent which includes Glasgow’s very own super producer Hudson Mohawke, Travi$ Scott, FS Green, DJ EZ and a whole host of others.

Tickets are still on sale, so if you’re in Amsterdam on August 9th – get you some.

I must admit I wasn’t expecting to love Common’s new album Nobody’s Smiling (out now) as much as I do. Because as much as I loved Lonnie’s Kanye-era (Be still stands), I grew a little tired by The Dreamer / The Believer and I’ve been a die-hard Common fan since Can I Borrow a Dollar, not to mention I belong to the minority group that considers both Electric Circus and Universal Mind Control among the most underrated albums of his career. Yeah, I said it.

Anyways, turns out Common and No I.D still have mad chemistry because Nobody’s Smiling is fire from top to bottom. The LP’s second single ‘Diamonds’ which features an infectious hook and confident verse from Big Sean is a strong example of the richly produced beats and affected flow that both producer and emcee bring to the table. Welcome back sir.

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Shabazz Palaces produced one of my favourite hip hop album of recent years with 2011′s Black Up; An album that represented what I felt many hip hop albums have lacked – genuine experimentalism and creativity. Following their acclaimed debut album Ishmael Butler (of the legendary Digable Planets) and multi-instrumental genius Tendai Maraire have returned to the fore with their much anticipated sophomore effort titled Lese Majesty. Released next week, the album is available to stream now via NPR, and marks an exciting second chapter in this wonderful duo’s musical exploits.

Tuck in over at NPR now.

HEL made quite the impression back in May when they dropped ‘BODDLE‘, a mere teaser for what was to come… THIRSTY, the debut EP out July 21, is the result. The four-track project sees the Swedish hip hop trio back up their clever lyricism and unique flow with crisp, lush beats and sugary melodies.

Still just a teen, Swedish rapper Yung Lean first caught our attention a year ago when he dropped his stellar debut mixtape Unknown Death 2002. Since then, he’s continued to deliver the goods, most recently ‘re-charge’. A mellow, slow burning beat holds things together as Lean reflects on life. Listen up.

Following the success of his Would You Like a Tour show earlier this year, coupled with the unanimously positive reception of last year’s Nothing Was the Same, Drake has announced the title of his next album. As reported by Billboard, and even though recording has yet to begin, Drizzy’s fourth LP will be titled Views From the 6. This follows yesterday’s announcement that OVO Sound will also be dropping PARTYNEXTDOOR’s second full length PARTYNEXTDOOR Two as well as Majid Jordan’s debut EP Place Like This later this month on July 29. That’s a lot of OVO.

Haim are currently working on the follow up to 2012′s Days Are Gone, but while we wait, the sisters have shared a reworking of ‘My Song 5′ which features the Trap Lord himself, A$AP Ferg. The clattery instrumentation and menacing drums are given a refreshing edge as Ferg’s verse gives it that extra kick. Give it a spin below!

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Usher teams up with Pharrell once again to deliver yet another showstopper, named this time as ‘She Came to Give It To You’. It’s no ‘U Don’t Have to Call’ – which is a real shame - this is a smoother, more refined and even more MJ-inspired affair (lest we forget ‘U Don’t Have to Call’ was originally penned for the King of Pop). Raymond’s performance once again proves that while others wane, some vocalists only get better and better with time. ‘She Came to Give It to You’ features a solid verse from Nicki Minaj – you know when’s not singing those ridiculous tween hooks, she’s a beast. Listen up. 

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Following the global success of his partnership with Hudson Mohawke, Lunice returns – finally releasing the official version of his near-mythic single ‘Can’t Wait To’. Crisp hi-hats, flossy drops and enough ignorance to satisfy the most ratchet among us. Listen below.

‘Can’t Wait To’ is out tomorrow via iTunes.

Junglepussy’s ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed’

Back in March, we introduced you to Junglepussy and her blazing single ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed‘. Today we’re graced with her debut album, also called Satisfaction Guaranteed. And just as we guessed - it’s pure fire! JP spits with confidence and ferocity over darkened beats penned by Shy Guy. This is life according to Junglepussy and we’re listening…

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