The Swashbuckler, Vol. 1: The Viking Wars (Deluxe Version)

The Swashbuckler, Vol. 1: The Viking Wars (Deluxe Version)

An impressive compilation from the heads at Man Bites Dog Records, The Swashbuckler Vol. 1 is a throwback of sorts to the indie hip-hop heydays of the early- to mid-'90s and features a dizzying line of underground emcees, both young and old. Produced mostly by Kount Fif, Brinknam, and Jason Rose, the beats here are loaded with chopped loops, rugged drums, and dark yet soulful vibes. It sets up the perfect backdrop for the army of rappers to go nuts over. Though it's primarily East Coast–centric, we also get solid turns from Planet Asia, who shines on several tracks (especially "Year of the Hustle" alongside lost NYC favorite Nine and "Light on Time" with ex-Cannibal Ox-er Vast Aire). The other features play like a who's-who of underground VIPs, including Wu-Tang homies Inspectah Deck, U-God, Killah Priest, and Cappadonna, plus Copywrite, Heltah Skeltah, Roc Marciano, Awol One, Torae, Outerspace, C-Rayz Walz, Akrobatik, Gilla de Kid, Louis Logic, and many more. Don't miss "Early 90's," "Out of the Darkness, Into the Light," "The War Chant," and "Berserker (Hard Body)."

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