Word up, cousin, nigga/I seen it/Like a 27-inch Zenith/Believe it! —Cigar Shallah Raekwon the Chef, "Incarcerated Scarfaces"
Before he started a lucrative service setting up black dudes with older white ladies (you seen them "White Walls" spin), rapper Macklemore admitted to being maad jealy of a couple NW hiphop groups that had broken out of the NW's reaches via MPLS indie juggernaut Rhymesayers Entertainment (on his fantastic 2005 song "Ego"): the now-defunct Boom Bap Project, and their Oldominion cuzzos Grayskul—still rocking close to a decade later, now on their 10th album, fittingly titled Zenith. "Zenith"—if you ain't know, you proudly ignorant, big-word-fearing jum-babies—means the highest point of an arc. Onry Ozzborn and JFK had announced that album title at least a couple years back, when it was going to be their third album for RSE—and at the time, I was like, "Welp, better be their best shit." Welp, it is. Zenith—out now on Fake Four, and FREE CESCHI please—is hard as a Hadoken, fierce as the rightmost punch on Street Fighter 2. (Oh, and thanks for getting off GTA5 long enough to read, genius.) The intro is courtesy of Raekwon... Wu-Tang forever! The Skul spins through several fly chambers for the wardrobe, sonically speaking, including the epic dream-bap familiar to fans of Onry's Dark Time Sunshine stuff, hard-break boom-bap, and Siouxsie-ass goth rock, making for an unmistakably fresh fit. It all sounds unified and single-minded, a nice trick considering it was built on brolic production from Smoke, Marcus D, Kuddie Fresh, PeeGee 13, Aesop Rock, Void Peal, Bruce Wayne, Moodie Black, and 6 Fingers.