Rap music for folk fans
October 27, 2005 7:59 PM   Subscribe

I love the music of the "freak folk" scene - Devendra Banhart, Animal Collective, Iron & Wine, Joanna Newsom, etc. What rap music would I like?

I really dig the Last Poets, but they're not quite "rap".

Please - no folk cover versions of rap classics.
posted by hifimofo to Media & Arts (36 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a huge fan of the freak folksters and here is some of the hip hop that I listen to:

MF Doom (and variations)
Aesop Rock
The Roots
DEL: tha funkee homosapien (and variations)
Prefuse 73

Also, check out the Voltron Clan Hip Hop IDM Sector podcast.
posted by panoptican at 8:05 PM on October 27, 2005

M.I.A. and The Streets.
posted by youcancallmeal at 8:19 PM on October 27, 2005

Will Oldham sang a song with Sage Francis last year. You might want to try checking him out.
posted by Doug at 8:27 PM on October 27, 2005

go for broke-- you can take it. spend 3 days with the RZA and GZA. 3 solid days with the wu-tang clan and it'll all make sense.

posted by markovitch at 8:30 PM on October 27, 2005 [1 favorite]

And one that I forgot (strange given that he is probably the one hip hop artist I listen to the most): Boom Bip.
posted by panoptican at 8:33 PM on October 27, 2005

I second the call for the Wu's. I listen to Newsome, Devendra, Jose Gonzales, Hanne Hukkellberg (sp?)and Jens Lekman (does he count?) and I still love the Wu Tang Clan. Really and truly, they seem to me - for whatever reason - to be a natural complement to the other stuff.
posted by bunglin jones at 8:38 PM on October 27, 2005

markovitch has probably got the best advice though. Go with the classics and you won't need to be listening to just hip hop that folksters like: Wu-Tang, Public Enemy, NWA.
posted by panoptican at 8:40 PM on October 27, 2005

Kind of a weird suggestion, but here are some less mainstream rap albums that I like (and I like freak folk too). Its all about not having the 'slick' hip-hop production for me.

WU Tang - 36 Chambers (great lo-fi production)
GZA - Liquid Swords
Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
Ghostface - The Pretty Tony Album

Viktor Vaughn (aka MF DOOM) - Vaudville Villain
King Geedorah (aka MF DOOM) - Take Me To Your Leader
Madvillain (aka Mad Lib + MF DOOM) - Madvillainy
DangerDoom (aka Danger Mouse and MF DOOM) - The Mouse and the Mask
MF Doom - MM... Food

Quasimoto (aka Mad Lib) - The Unseen / The Further Adventures of Lord Quas

Edan - Beauty and the Beat
Count Bass D - Begborrowsteal EP (fucking KILLER!)

Jurrassic Five - EP + Quality Control
Non Prophets - Hope
posted by Quartermass at 8:46 PM on October 27, 2005

I like DJ Format. Good videos, too.
posted by Triode at 8:53 PM on October 27, 2005

Invisible Struggle though I've always had problems getting their music. They sound like a under-powered Jurrasic 5, and remind me a little of Iron and Wine.
posted by holloway at 8:56 PM on October 27, 2005

Dr. Octagonecologyst, by Dr. Octagon (aka Kool Keith) is a hip-hop classic, and very freaky.
posted by flod at 8:57 PM on October 27, 2005

Well, Public Enemy is a direct descendant of the Last Poets. Listen to "Fear Of A Black Planet" or "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back" if you want some of that.

Jungle Brothers were kind of Last Poetsy.
posted by johngoren at 9:07 PM on October 27, 2005

Definitely Buck 65. He's great... check out Talking Honky Blues.

Also, maybe instrumental hiphop:

Oh, and maybe Cannibal Ox too.

I personally don't like Sage Francis, but maybe you would. I also second the nominations of MF Doom and M.I.A. and the suggestion that you seclude yourself with the RZA and the GZA. Definitely worth it... give Wu Tang a chance and you will be rewarded.
posted by The Michael The at 9:21 PM on October 27, 2005

if you did cLOUDDEAD, or at least the idea of it, you might get a kick out of one of Doseone's other projects, Subtle, and their album A New White...
posted by hototogisu at 9:23 PM on October 27, 2005

I'll second Prefuse 73. However, gotta disagree on Buck 65. He's poo.

That said, calling Iron & Wine Freak Folk is a stretch. Nothing freak about him.
posted by dobbs at 11:18 PM on October 27, 2005

wu-tang clan ain't nothin' to fuck with.

I'm sad I got here so late, but I'm happy to second a some other folks' answers:
Edan - Beauty & the Beat (this'll give you some good direction if you listen close to the lyrics--lots of namedropping)
MF Doom - basically anything. his collaborations tend to stand out (looking forward to the Ghostface project), but he holds his own on albums like Vaudeville Villain and MM..Food.
Madlib - again, basically anything. I can't get enough of his latest Yesterday's New Quintet offshoot, Sound Directions: The Funky Side of Life. it's funk/jazz crossed with hip hop and break beats, Otis Jackson Jr. on the compositions. hot! he goes the completely opposite direction--hoodlum street hop on helium--with the Lord Quas stuff. yet just as good.
prefuse 73 - Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives but again, almost anything. the fun part is finding it all. scott herren is this guy's real name, and it pops up everywhere. the prefuse stuff is relatively straightforward (heh) hip-hop production with occasional rhyming from guest MCs. his savath + savalas stuff is much mellower, less dance-oriented, and features nice Brazilian touches. the piano overlord stuff is really good, but not much different from the prefuse output. he'll guest-produce the occasional track as well. my favorite of these is "Every Party" on Erlend Oye's Unrest.
The California Art School Drop-Out Hip Hop Scene is fun, too (Anticon).

And some new suggestions:
Heiurspecs - A Tiger Dancing. These guys get compared to the Roots a lot--hip-hop with no "producer," no turntables. they play upright bass, drumkit, and some guitar/keys, and the rhymes.
Headset - Space Settings. You know Jimmy Tamborello from the Postal Service and Dntel and Figurine. He and the Plug Research guy brought in some oddball underground MCs and hooked 'em up with some oddball beats. this is the "freak-folk" of hip-hop.
Adventure Time - Dreams of Water Themes break/broken beat oriented, odd sampling choices, minimal lyrics. RIY end up liking boom bip & prefuse 73
posted by carsonb at 12:16 AM on October 28, 2005

oh, and
Kid Koala - either of the 2 albums gotta respect the 'tables. fuck the microphone.
posted by carsonb at 12:18 AM on October 28, 2005

oh, and cocorosie do a track with a francophile rapper on their new album, Noah's Ark. the more that I think about it, cocorosie are like the REAL "freak folk" of "hip-hop." goodnight.
posted by carsonb at 12:41 AM on October 28, 2005

Another recommendation here for cLOUDDEAD if you are looking for a bit of strange.

I must check out that Doseone album - thanks for the tip hototogisu.
posted by hippyboy at 12:43 AM on October 28, 2005

Too bad Cocorosie also suck.
posted by klangklangston at 2:01 AM on October 28, 2005

Hot Chip - Coming on strong
Beautiful slightly meloncholy electronica/rap from South London. Just stunning.
posted by oh pollo! at 2:04 AM on October 28, 2005

They might be a little slickly produced for your tastes, but check out Deltron 3030 and MC Solaar. None of your usual dick-grabbing gun-waving bullshit.
posted by blag at 4:17 AM on October 28, 2005

Wu-Tang (Especially the RZA's own albums), Kool Keith/Dr. Octagon/Dr. Dooom, cLOUDDEAD (though most of it just sucks), Madlib/Wildchild/Lootpack, Redman, Jungle Brothers, MF Doom, Tha Alkaholiks.

I notice that a lot of the recommendations see "folk" in your query and simply recommend the trendiest, most currently "rock-fan-friendly" acts, and acts with poor lyrical skills, and instrumental stuff. I figured that wasn't really what you were going for.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:45 AM on October 28, 2005

Most of the recommendations I would've made are covered. You might want to check out Four Tet, who makes electronica music with tastes of folk and hip-hop flavors. No rapping, though.
posted by selfnoise at 5:18 AM on October 28, 2005

Oh! Also: Blackalicious! Great indie(esque) rap. (And anything Cut Chemist touches is bound to kick ass.)
posted by youcancallmeal at 5:19 AM on October 28, 2005

MF Doom (and his various incarnations), Sage Francis, Aesop Rock and Mr. Lif all blend very nicely in with the "freaky folk" as you describe. My random button seems to like to pair them up quite often. Mr. Lif also has another band that's escaping me right now. I know you said no covers, but you might also want to check out Jim Infantino- he ode a really great version of Feelin' Groovy where the song turns into Lodi-Dodi. It's silly but if you haven't heard it it's quite fun.
posted by rodz at 5:59 AM on October 28, 2005

Plenty of things that have already been mentioned, plus:

Princess Superstar
Jean Grae
Mike Ladd
Antipop Consortium
Mr. Dibbs
1200 Hobos
Eyedea and Abilities
Count Bass D
MC Paul Barman

And, yeah, probably quite a few others I'm forgetting.
posted by box at 6:16 AM on October 28, 2005

Selfnoise is right. You will like Four Tet.

Also, you may want to check out Red Snapper's first 2 "real" albums: Making Bones and Prince Blimey. Not rap, but there are elements of hip-hop and a few guest MCs.

Live Human is also worth checking out.
posted by mds35 at 7:01 AM on October 28, 2005

del the funky homosapien/deltron
posted by chuckforthought.com at 8:06 AM on October 28, 2005

Great stuff in this thread - everything I could think of has already been mentioned! I would strongly second (or third, or whatever) the following:

GZA - Liquid Swords
All the MF DOOM you can find (especially the new Dangerdoom joint)
Prefuse 73
Four Tet

Too bad Cocorosie also suck.
posted by klangklangston

Frankie says RELAX, klanger - I like me some cocorosie, and the O.P. might too.
posted by sluggo at 8:08 AM on October 28, 2005

Crunk is the new screamo.

If you haven't yet acquired the taste for cough syzzerp, there's always the greatest of all time:


("Eric B. for President" kills all)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:38 AM on October 28, 2005

Jurassic 5 seconded. Blackalicious, too.
There's a reason so many people talk about how good The Roots are.
Common is suddenly popular, but he's been really good for a long time; check out One Day It Will All Make Sense.
posted by willpie at 8:39 AM on October 28, 2005

Posters have already named most of the good stuff. Also check out:


Black Star

DM & Gemini

Seconding: Atmosphere, Blackalicious, GZA Liquid Swords, Blockhead, MF Doom, Del, K-Os, Edan, Jurassic 5's Quality Control, and Deltron 3030
posted by sigbigups at 8:56 AM on October 28, 2005

I think you should check out Busdriver, Aceyalone and other members of the Project Blowed crew. And Mr. Lif's group with Akrobatik and DJ Fakts One, The Perceptionists.
posted by jeffmshaw at 9:00 AM on October 28, 2005

Check out some Nerdcore hip hop. MC Frontalot is awesome. Most of his stuff is available for free on his site too.
posted by terrapin at 10:02 AM on October 28, 2005

i'd really recommend dalek, in particular, his 'from the mouths of gods and griots' album
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 11:21 AM on October 28, 2005

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