What's up with hip-hop

Last Wednesday's episode of RapFix Live, a hip-hop interview program on MTV Jams, featured members of the Wu-Tang Clan. But it also featured, in the show's "Get in the Game" independent artist-spotlight segment, Baltimore's own Jay Wyse. After an airing of "Dear World," the new video for his collaboration with Al Great, Wyse appeared via Skype from his mother's house, getting advice and encouragement from the Wu, including erstwhile Baltimore hack-driver Cappadonna, who wanted to hear what neighborhood Wyse is representing. Rap Sheet reviewed his latest mixtape, the impassioned and introspective Wyse Thoughts Wyse Journey 2, on the City Paper website in August.

Rapper and multi-instrumentalist Wombatt55, a veteran of Baltimore hip-hop for the past two decades, recently released a career retrospective CD in advance one final album of original material next year. The compilation, Wonder Ground, is available directly from the MC at wombatt55@gmail.com.

Attempts to rank the best of Baltimore's hip-hop scene seem to come at a greater speed than ever-CP's own Best of Baltimore issue ran a couple months ago, the Baltimore Crown Awards were held this month, and even XXL got in on the act earlier this year. The recently relaunched local mag Street Smart has unveiled its own "Top 10 Baltimore Hip-Hop Artists of 2013" video on YouTube, featuring interviews with all 10 rappers. Test (pictured), who recently signed a deal with Atlanta MC Future, who appeared on his single "Wut We Call It," topped the list, with StarrZ, Al Great, DDm, and Damond Blue rounding out the top five.

When RS recently interviewed rapper/producer Kenton Dunson for City Paper ("Bullish on Hip Hop," Music, Sept. 25), we were only able to hint vaguely at a high-profile artist who purchased a beat co-produced by Dunson and Phatboiz. That track, Yo Gotti's "Respect That You Earn," featuring Wale and Ne-Yo, will be out next week on the Memphis MC's new Epic Records album I Am. Yo Gotti is also featured on "Ain't Me"-from Meek Mill's new Dreamchasers 3 mixtape-a track produced by ascendant Bmore beatmaker J. Oliver.

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