Underground Hip-Hop Is Very Much Alive In 2016. One DJ Mixes It All Together.
Often times, the glory days of Underground Hip-Hop appears coincidental with the booming resurgence of vinyl records in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Out of a movement spearheaded by radio personalities such as Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito, and Sway and King Tech, a crop of hungry artists emerged that weren’t getting traditional marketing through music videos and promo runs. Instead, artists were using skills and perseverance to make names for themselves. Whether Yasiin Bey (f/k/a Mos Def) or Eminem, a lot of today’s stars started out of this berth.
In 2016, anybody can make music videos—and top artists do the sorts of guerilla marketing that once drove the underground. However, that does not mean that there is not incredible Hip-Hop that’s coming out on vinyl, going under-appreciated, and based largely around skillful display. Tucson, Arizona’s DJ Alias is one mixmaster who is keeping hope and awareness alive, the old-fashioned way.
His latest mix, Don’t Sleep II, does as it says. The mix looks back (largely at the last 12 months) and pulls some great Hip-Hop that casual Heads may have missed. Within, tracks by Gangrene (Alchemist & Oh No), Apathy, Blu, Torae, Apollo Brown, Your Old Droog, Vince Staples, and Evidence can be enjoyed, and cut up in sequence. Clocking in at nearly one hour, this mix will do what Hip-Hop is known for: turn listeners on to new, different music—and celebrate the artistic era we are living in.
The tracklist is embedded in the audio player.