The 10 Best Rap Albums Of 2019

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At the end of 2019, rap is the most popular form of music in America, and maybe in the entire world. We know this. The data bears it out. But one thing that the data doesn’t quite show is us that rap, like every other genre of music in our atomized age, is not a … More »

The 50 Best Albums Of 2019

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For many of us, 2019 has been a year of flux — politically, culturally, professionally, personally. It’s hard to envision what the future might bring since the recent past has shown us that we don’t know half the things we thought we knew. In unsteady times, music can be a balm and also a mirror. More »

Mix: Chocolate Grinder Mix 126 – Day of the Dead: The Remake

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Every other year since I started Chocolate Grinding, I’ve done a Halloween mix. The past three were called Day of the Dead: The Halloween Hangover Mix, Devil’s Night 2015, and The World’s A Graveyard and Every Day Is Halloween. This one’s called Day of the Dead: The Remake, because I sampled some of the same vinyl I used for the first mix. Also, presumably, with the holiday falling on a Thursday this year, a lot of people will be attending Halloween parties during the Day of the Dead festival. Thirdly, I was going for more of a funny-scary mood this time around, like a bad-good remake with extra schlocky special effects.

Thanks to Geng a.k.a. King Vision Ultra, Ryan Graveface of Marshmallow Ghosts, Andy Koufax, billy woods and Blockhead, Spaghetti Blacc, and Seth Graham for throwing me tracks to use on this mix. The King Vision Ultra demo is for an upcoming project with Sour Spirit, the Marshmallow Ghosts track is out now on limited-edition vinyl, Andy Koufax’s “Issues” is an unreleased beat, the billy woods and Blockhead demo is an unreleased cut from 2015, Craymen’s “Succulent Manila Tamarind” will be on an upcoming album, and Seth Graham’s demo is an unreleased fragment. As always, the rest of the songs on here are from albums released this year.

Lastly, if you’ve enjoyed this and/or any of my Halloween mixes, some credit is due to former Infinity Records employee Damien. Yes, that’s actually his name. If you ever went to Infinity around this time of year in the late 2000s or early 2010s, you might’ve caught him making Halloween mixes or demo-ing them on the store’s stereo system. I haven’t seen the guy since he stopped working there, and I don’t have any of those mixes, but they were a big inspiration nonetheless.

I hope you enjoy it. Happy Halloween!

[00:27] King Vision Ultra – “Wretch” (Demo)
[01:10] Lingua Ignota – “Fucking Death Dealer”
[03:28] Shitao – “Castle”
[05:46] Joragon – “If you see a bad bitch with a Chainsaw Car RUNNN!!!”
[08:04] Yugen Blakrok – “Metallik Crow” ft. Jak Tripper (Sword Edit)
[12:40] Kinlaw & Franco Franco – “Eric Draven”
[15:43] Ghostride the Drift – “B2”
[16:20] The Marshmallow Ghosts – “S.O.S.” ft. The Casket Girls
[19:56] Andy Koufax – “Issues”
[22:15] billy woods – “Witching Hour” (Blockhead Demo)
[25:06] CARL – “The Arboretum”
[29:52] City & i.o – “Fatal Flower”
[32:56] Craymen (Spaghetti Blacc & Zenmaster Dead) – “Succulent Manila Tamarind”
[35:29] Seth Graham – Untitled Demo

Underground Rap Will Never Die

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AzChikeWe’re entering a strange new period where there’s no meaningful distinction between rap’s underground and its mainstream. A regional scene can catch fire out of nowhere. A 16-year-old can blow up on TikTok. After the stultifying years-long dominance of Atlanta trap, other sounds are starting to get their moment in the rap sun. Things can … More »

Stream billy woods’ New Album Terror Management

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billy-woods-Terror-ManagementToday, Danny Brown’s new album uknowhatimsayin¿ is out there in the world. It’s great. But Danny Brown is not the only person to release a great album of nerve-jangled, psychedelic boom-bap today. We also get a new billy woods album. More »

billy woods & Kenny Segal Made A Stressed-Out Rap Classic

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billy-woodsAt the end of “Spongebob,” the first song on billy woods and Kenny Segal’s new collaborative album Hiding Places, we hear an automated female voice delivering some bad news: “You have 10 dollars 22 cents remaining in your account.” For those of us old enough to remember calling bank 800 numbers to check … More »

Watch: billy woods & Kenny Segal – “Spongebob”

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“Did he just say ‘Spongebob, the whole operation underwater?’”


“Why didn’t you tell me this existed?”

I wanted you to pick it up yourself.

Stream billy woods & Kenny Segal’s New Album Hiding Places

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billy-woods-and-Kenny-Segal-Hiding-PlacesLast year, the New York underground rap duo Armand Hammer released their album Paraffin, a jangled and anxiety-driven masterpiece of sputtering, angular rap music. It was one of last year’s best rap albums. This year, billy woods, one half of Armand Hammer, has once again teamed up with a comrade and made one … More »

Blueface, G Herbo, & The Sudden Resurgence Of The Offbeat Flow

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BluefaceDoes Blueface know how to rap? As in: Is he even capable of it? That’s been the question that’s followed the 22-year-old LA rapper since he started blowing up a couple of months ago. This isn’t a question of people not liking Blueface’s rap style, or wondering why younger generations of rap always stick with … More »

Armand Hammer’s Paraffin Is A Disorienting Rap Masterpiece

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Armand-Hammer-Paraffin“Service weapon in my face, all I could see was his lips chapped.” That’s billy woods, one half of the New York rap duo Armand Hammer, on “Dettol,” a song from their new album Paraffin. He’s rapping, in hard and dense clusters, over a staggered loop of strings and pianos, the kind you might hear … More »