SBTRKT follows up the Ezra Koenig featuring ‘New Dorp. New York‘ with another stellar collaboration; this time, teaming up with Atlanta based wonderkid Raury on ‘Higher’. The track begins with an eerie atmosphere before the bass kicks in and Raury pounces with a killer and uber catchy chorus. Wonder Where We Land, SBTRKT’s sophomore offering is out September 22, for now though, stream ‘Higher’ above.

Having announced the release of You’re Dead last month, Flying Lotus has shared the first cut ‘Never Catch Me’ which features Kendrick Lamar. FlyLo packs quite a punch with the frenzied beat for Lamar to add his super fiery flow on to as a gentle piano-led melody underlines and brings the track together. These two were made for each other; collaborative project anyone? We’re in.

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We’re a hot minute away from Drake’s forthcoming – recently announced – fourth album Views From the 6 but it seems the project has already sprung a leak as the LP’s title track has surfaced. It’s unclear as to how the song found its way online, and its leak has already prompted featured rapper E Batt to dismiss that it had anything to do with him. On the upside though – it’s pretty exciting how strong this is sounds; I doubt it’s the final version, but #HiRihanna.

I don’t think anyone can release a better album this year than Shabazz Palaces, at least not for me anyway. Everything about Lese Majesty is supreme – from the endless influences they pack into every inch of their material, to their eccentric themes of tribal afro-futurism – it all works like a wonderfully chaotic symphony. Enter then their new video for ‘#CAKE’, masterfully directed by Hiro Murai – a beautiful post-apocalyptic visual that weaves in and out of kaleidoscopic urban landscapes, desolate locations and performance shots. File this next to their Kahlil Joseph directed ‘Black Up’ video (which incidentally was my favourite music video of 2011).

Futurist Kelela and hip hip radical Le1f team up for a new spaced out duet titled ‘OICU’ produced by P. Morris. The track pays homage to both their respective styles: Le1f’s fierce baritone cuts through the thickly textured atmosphere, while Kelela’s pristine vocal soars above it – the result of which is a hazey, eccentric melodrama disguised as undercover slow jam.

Watch as Haim take over the (fictional) Dallas Murphy show, hosted by SNL’s Vanessa Bayer, in the music video for ‘My Song 5′ featuring a guest verse from A$AP Ferg. With appearances from Ezra Koenig, Ke$ha, Big SeanGrimes and even their parents(!), the visual is pretty hilarious with cotton-ball-phobias, mime-fetishes and more. Take a look above!

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Oh, wait – you thought Beyonce’s was done? Nah.

Queen Bey calls upon the lyrical excellence of Nicki Minaj to accompany and help rework her hyphy single ‘Flawless’. In keeping with Yonce’s new found freedom “to speak her mind”, she raps about that elevator incident, as well as her rumoured divorce from husband Jay Z. Of course Minaj brings her own levels - no one can touch her when she’s grilled up like this. As remixes go – this may be one of the best ones Bey’s released so far.

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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.

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