• This week, rapper Al Great and producer Street Scott released the aptly titled collaborative album, “Great Scott.” Though the two previously showed great creative chemistry on several songs, including the popular title track to Great’s 2012 project “Summer Nights,” this is their first full-length project together.
  • DDm, recently crowned the city’s best MC in our 2014 Best of Baltimore issue, announced a new solo project, “Life On Sale,” earlier this year. And while it hasn’t gotten a release date yet, a surprise EP dropped earlier this month from his new group, Bond St. District. The duo is comprised of DDm (credited as Unkle Lulu) and producer Paul Hutson, and their five-song release “Everybody’s So Sleepy” includes the single ‘Matinee.’
  • 7th Floor Villains member Black Zheep DZ recently released his latest solo mixtape, “8th World.” The trippy, forward-thinking project and its single ‘Big Bank Rolls’ received widespread coverage on popular blogs and music sites like 2DopeBoyz and Earmilk. 
  • Last month Baltimore rapper StarrZ released a new single, ‘DUMPS,’ and it’s a big disappointment from a promising artist. With producer Ghost sampling Sisqo’s ‘Thong Song’ for a turgid, uninspired track, ‘DUMPS’ trades on the goodwill of an older hit by another Baltimore artist without adding anything new of worth. And on the heels of Nicki Minaj’s divisive ‘Baby Got Back’-sampling hit ‘Anaconda,’ it suggests a sad new trend: recycling old booty anthems instead of coming up with new ones. Hopefully StarrZ’s upcoming mixtape has some better songs more in the vein of his great 2013 single ‘Dope Trilla.’ 
  • The eighth annual Baltimore Crown Awards were held at 5 Seasons on Nov. 1. Eze Jackson and T.T. The Artist were named the Hip Hop Artist of the Year, male and female divisions, respectively, and Don Trunk won Producer of the Year. But the biggest awardee was Brown F.I.S.H. frontman Derrick “OOH” Jones, who passed away in June. OOH was inducted into the Baltimore Scene Hall of Fame, and his ‘Dope Boy’ single and Save A Dope Boy activist campaign won three awards: Song of the Year, Video of the Year, and Clothing Line of the Year. 
  • In October, rapper Dan “Height” Keech wrote a piece about his 14 years of relentless touring for Splice Today (a site owned by City Paper founder Russ Smith that I have written for). The article, “A True DIY Rap Scene,” is an interesting look at the evolving national hip-hop underground, from the perspective of a guy who has likely toured the country more than any other Baltimore MC over the last decade.