What's up with hip-hop

Last year, I spoke to prolific Baltimore underground rapper Height for City Paper about the album his collaborative project Height with Friends had just released, but he was more excited about the next LP he was already at work on ("Towering Achievement," Music, Aug. 22, 2012). That album, Height With Friends Versus Dynamic Sounds, a unique and creatively devised homage to bootleg live recordings of early hip-hop performances in the late 1970s and early '80s, is finally out this week. The release party is at the Metro Gallery on Saturday, Aug. 3, with openers including Height with Friends members Mickey Free and DJ Secret Weapon Dave.

Street Scott is known around Baltimore as an MC/producer who works frequently with local artists like Al Great and Nova Starz, but years ago, when he was making tracks under the handle Street Heat, he was a favorite producer of Harlem's Diplomats and ByrdGang crews. One of that circle's most beloved cult heroes, Max B, has spent the last couple years behind bars, but Complex magazine, for whom I also sometimes write, recently ran an interview with the incarcerated rapper, along with a feature on Max B's 25 best songs on complex.com. Three tracks Street Scott produced in 2007 and 2008 made the list, including the fan favorite "Flash Dance."

Veteran Baltimore conscious rapper Wordsmith has announced a Sept. 17 release date for his next album, The Blue Collar Recital, out nationally via indie distro giant Fontana Distribution. The video for the lead single, "Living Life Check to Check," has already been released.

After a few years of inactivity, the Baltimore-based hip-hop and spoken-word magazine Mic Life recently announced that it would soon relaunch (I wrote a few articles for the magazine in its previous incarnation). To that end, a campaign on the fundraising website Kickstarter has been launched to raise $2,500 over the next month to get the new Mic Life off the ground. You can learn more or donate at Kickstarter.com.

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