11 unreleased tracks featuring emcees of the calibre of Nems, Apathy, Planet Asia, Raekwon, N.O.R.E and others? From one of my favourite hip hop artists of the past 20 years? Oh HELL yeah. And that is exactly what hip hop heads have been treated to with Tragedy Khadafi dropping ‘Hidden Files‘ which we are glad have been found and released for us to bump on the regular.
My man Tragedy Khadafi just never misses. He knows how to rock a mic, pen quality lyrics and has that bullish flow that makes you sit up and take notice whenever his vocals grace a track. He is also one of very few emcees that has an ear for quality beats and never makes a misstep. Perhaps he’s just staying in his lane, sitting right in the pocket and just throwing TD after TD – but that is exactly what makes an artist great. Hidden Files is another collection of tracks that are classic hip hop – boom bap, street bars over a concrete shaking soundtrack.
‘Acid‘ sets the tone with the boom bap, while ‘Foul Opus‘ featuring Foul Monday steps it up a notch and kicks the door down with it’s grimey overture. ‘Lift Your Glass, Pt. 2‘ is a classic 90’s throwback with that CNN meets 2Pac’s ‘Pain’ vibe. One of the dopest joints on the album is ‘Animal Planet‘ featuring Nems and Apathy which is just mic bullies going IN on the track after a sweet, folk rock indie intro.
The bars on ‘Till Death Call Us, Pt.1‘ are as hard as any on the album, and that funky, synth loop just really sets it off. You’ll love the haunting, gruff soundscape on ‘Black Steel‘, while Raekwon and Planet Asia join Khadafi on ‘Enemies’ for a standout, street cinema joint that takes you back to the OB4CL days with a semi-western feel. ‘De Kruif‘ acts as a nice little palette cleanser.
Closing out the album are the soulful ‘Till Death Call Us, Pt. 2‘ which is a fitting yet stark contrast to Part 1. ‘We Still Here‘ which gives you superhero vibes with its anthem-style sound and ‘Royalty‘ is the final track, ending with a background guitar riff, passionate vocals and relatable content.
Bangers: Animal Planet, Enemies, Lift Your Glass Pt. 2, Foul Opus.
Score: 9.5 / 10. This is hip hop. It may seem simple, but when you do real hip hop justice, you deliver an authentic and relevant release. Hidden Files is exactly that, showcasing Tragedy Khadafi’s ill pen game and commanding flow over those real speaker shaking beats. The features pop but without stealing the shine. One of the best already in 2021.
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