Detroit’s Ty Farris, formerly known as 40 Flame, returns this year with his elegant new track Dirt Naps. A silky smooth beat from Stu Bangas starts Ty’s even flow, combining effortless punch-lines with no holds back bars. Both Stu and Ty bring a soulful vibe to 2018, and I’m excited for his upcoming EP No Co-sign, Just Cocaine. Dirt Naps is the first single off the upcoming project, and it’s looking like Ty has just scratched the surface of what he can bring to the table.

Mikey Hash never skimps on dense, complex lyricism coupled with grimy beats – and that’s exactly what we’ve gotten with new video HEAVY METAL. Yes, Mikey has always shown skill on the mic, but dude sounds more confident and competent than ever. The black and white staticy visual by JASPERISDEAD along with Walter Wax’s piano laden beat sheds new light on this talented wordsmith.

Last year Chicago MC MPulse outworked most with a 52 week series. 52 songs in 52 weeks, which, if you aren’t aware, is a full year. He proved he can out-work, out-rap, and bring excellence to any beat. Pulse has turned 26 this year, and after showing us what he can do on the mic, he felt it was time for us to get to know the Pulse behind the grind. M has given us 9 minutes of honesty and insight in his new EP 26 that is an essential listen for any hip hop fan.

One of my favorite producers in the city, Lasko, has put out a plethora of work that is a joy to digest. Back in November he made one beat every day, but held back on releasing it. Obviously Lasko loves to make music, and luckily he has curated the best of those beats into thirty days past november. This is one of the finest instrumental projects I’ve heard this year, with hints of cosmic jazz, relaxed hip-hop, and an ever flowing mix of progressive and sensual sounds.

Brooklyn artist Asoh Black! is one of my favorite discoveries of this year. He hit my inbox with his newest record Word Of Knowledge, which brought hope into my life and the current state of hip hop. Thomas Klimek handled the beat on Episode 4 of #AsohAttacks, while Asoh speaks the truth on a number of important topics. He told me the track was meant “for a brother as a means of coping with mishandled responsibility. Through the expression of this song’s guilt and promise, hopefully people can listen and understand that is sometimes ok to not be okay.” A powerful message that is much needed.