A good EP is always a nice listen. Here are my 10 favorite Milwaukee EPs from 2011, in alphabetical order.
After taking a frenzied approach on their 2010 EP "Sidewalk Tectonics," Antler Antennas slow things down to a more groovy level on "Autumnal Equinox." AA brings to the table a style of music that is a social bastard child of hip-hop and electronica that should be readily embraced by those who enjoy going between the two genres of music.
Though he hardly ever gets mentioned in many different circles, Bandana is a dude who clearly knows how to rap and is perfect for the fans of Dipset/Diplomats – though with less talk about the material. Bandana is a talented artist that doesn't deserve to be constantly overlooked, and "Return of the Heartless" is the pudding the proof is found in.
After hearing Reason's work with KingHellBastard it's no surprise that an EP full of his production and the artistically peaking Dana Coppafeel worked. The high pitched nasal tone of Dana's voice is balanced out by the rich lows of Reason's basslines and drums, which creates an interesting listen.
It's not that often that a Milwaukee rapper puts out a holiday project, but this year marks Gerald Walker's second foray into the world of holiday music, and it's a good one. Walker takes a modern tone throughout his "Christmas Time" EP, which adds some cussing alongside his praise of Christmas's namesake. Walker is saint and sinner on the EP and that's an approach that anybody can understand and appreciate.
Frost is an extremely witty and funny pop crooner that deserves to be considered a next-level style talent and "Can You Hear The Colors" is the perfect example of why. The songs are simple, catchy and paint broad enough strokes that people of several different generations could embrace it as their own. If there was a list of musicians that I'd love to see be one of the new faces of Milwaukee music, Frost's name would be on that list.
Neo-soul, when done right, will never grow old to my ears. The turn of the millennium saw a wonderful revival of soul music under the guide of some extremely talented artists. Lili K. and Peter Cottontail capture that wonderful feel on "Prelude," which goes by all too quickly. If this is the moment before the introduction, then that moment is akin to an elevated heartbeat after seeing one's soulmate for the very first time.
¡Oye! is a creative guy that brings to the table subject matter that is frequently poignant and noteworthy. "The Brown Bomber" delivered one of my favorite songs of the year in "On The Menu." He seems to release something every year and each project has shown improvement.
Signif, who doesn't let a lot of time go by without a new release, teamed up with producer Gee Wiz to create this EP and the continuity created by having the same producer craft the sounds for this entire project leads to it having a similar feeling throughout, and it did its job in creating more anticipation for her album.
"Milwaukee's Nas" Rock La Flow may not currently be in the music game, but his contributions to a former generation of Milwaukee hip-hop shine as bright now as they should have done back in the '90s. The second installment of "The Flogram," produced entirely by Tory Tee, is immaculate grimy hip-hop that belongs in the same breath as Pete Rock and CL Smooth, EPMD, Main Source, Gangstarr and Brand Nubian.
Two Rock La Flow project releases in one year is more than the needles on your turntables can handle, but Dope Folks Records decided to test your gear. Recorded in '92 and '93, once again produced entirely by Tory Tee, "The Ultimate" shows why Rock La Flow should never be forgotten and that the new school of artists should become real familiar with what he brought to the table.
Born in Milwaukee and raised in the Milwaukee suburb of Brown Deer, Concordia University Wisconsin alumnus Poppe has spent the majority of his life in or around the city and county of Milwaukee.
As an advocate of Milwaukee's hip-hop community Poppe began popular local music blog Milwaukee UP in March 2010. Check out the archived entries here.
Though heavy on the hip-hop, Poppe writes about other genres of music and occasionally about food, culture or sports, and is always ready to show his pride in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.