Clear Soul Forces - Still (LP)
2019 release. Nearly four years and a number of solo projects later, Detroit's Clear Soul Forces are back with their most impressive release to date. Still is what happens when four proven artists continue to hone their craft and find their collective flow. At 11 tracks deep, this album eschews trends and instead provides timeless, straight-up dope Hip-Hop. A sense of true teamwork and partnership is heard and felt on each track, from the neck-snapping opening track "Blaow (feat. DJ Odilon)" through to album closer "Don't Stop" that serves up a wild burner-to-banger beat-switch. Other instant highlights include "Hit Me Now," which Noveless says features "all of the random things that describe CSF," and L.A.Z.'s favorite track "They Shootin'," which is also the album's lead single. Those tracks, and the majority of the album, were produced by rapper-producer Ilajide, who complements his CSF brothers with beats primed for verses bursting with clever bravado, video game references, and head-spinning wordplay. Still is golden era Boom bap for the modern age, and it's delivered through a lens that's wholly unique to CSF. It's also one of integrity, because there's no fluff or superficial window dressing here-simply some of the best hip-hop you'll hear this year.