Rock’n’roll may be dead but psychedelic lives on. The legacy of legendary bands like the Jefferson Airplane, the Seeds, Love or ? and the Mysterians may not be easy to trace but, undoubtedly, some of the psychedelic vibes from the 60s have made their way through to modern hip-hop.
Check out the best 10 Best Psychedelic Hip-Hop tracks in our book:
East Flatbush Project – Tried By 12
Little is known about East Flatbush Project (also know as Spencer 4 Hire) but the genius beat from Tried By 12 will forever remain as one of the major landmarks in the history of hip-hop. Tried By 12 also features sick verses that make many a gangsta song look pale in comparison.
I sign my name on the book at your funeral
Heltah Skeltah – Letha Brainz Blo
Rock & Ruck dominated the 90s underground hip-hop scene with their dark and psychedelic sound whose beauty was only matched by their disturbing lyrics. Letha Brainz Blo is especially weird yet totally addictive with its ominous chorus.
Let the madness begin and let the brains blow if you grin
Freddie Gibbs – Thuggin’
A solid contender for the hip-hop album of the year 2014, Piñata is the result of what many fans had been waiting for years: the gansta rap of Freddie Gibbs entangled with the timeless beats of Madlib. The album is infused with psychedelic sounds and Thuggin’ stands out with its subtle mix of raw violence and classic sample.
Bitch, if you polices, then pay me no nevermind
Gravediggaz – Constant 1-800 Suicide
RZA had to come up at some point in this list but who knew it would be as the RZArector! The sample of Constant 1-800 Suicide is from Booker T. & the M.G.’s’ 1967 cover of Bobby Hebb’s Sunny. The result is a hip-hop classic whose organ takes us back to the golden age of psychedelic.
I’m the Rzarector, be my sacrifice
Commit suicide and I’ll bring you back to life
Jaylib – The Red (Deluxe version)
The alternate version of this massive Jaylib (J Dilla & Madlib) hit definitely has a nice psychedelic twist to it. It’s featured on the deluxe version of the great Jaylib’s Champion Sound album.
Anyway I’m straight high off the trees
Your girl don’t wanna lie she just wanna get on her knees
Joey Bada$$ – Christ Conscious
Talking about psychedelic hip-hop means talking about the Beast Coast and vice versa. It’s only natural then to feature the most iconic anthem of this new hip-hop scene, Joey Bada$$’ Christ Conscious and its hypnotic beat and incantations.
Wouldn’t want to be ya, dish lyrical fajitas
Got dragon balls like my name was Vegeta
The Underachievers – Generation Z
Another very young crew who came out on top of the Beast Coast along with Joey Bada$$ and the Flatbush Zombies, the Underachievers introduced a whole new freshness to hip-hop with their songs mixing new age vibes with hardcore gangsta rap.
No this ain’t a contest, but I’m leading though
O.C. & Apollo Brown – Fantastic
Years after the great chapters that were Word…Life and Jewelz, Apollo Brown gave a whole new shine to O.C. on the album Trophies. The grandiose instrumentals of the Detroit producer fit especially well with the unique flow of O.C. and culminate with this track where the Brooklyn rapper reflects on his journey so far.
Now look at the games, the same bunch of weirdos
Without sayin names, the weak you accept as your hero
Random Axe – Karate Kid / Never Back Down
Two for the price of one. Those two great (short) psychedelic hip-hop tracks are from the sadly unique eponymous album by Random Axe. With the late Sean Price and Guilty Simpson backed by the amazing music of Black Milk, Random Axe was one of the best hip-hop gigs in the last years.
My right hook’ll give you a large dent
On the side of your face for fucking with Clark Kent
ScHoolboy Q – JoHn Muir
After the massive success of his album Oxymoron and the single Man of the Year, Schoolboy Q took the challenge of deepening his hip-hop universe even further with yet more carefully crafted sounds that turned the album Blank Face into both a novelty and an instant classic. The track JoHn Muir perfectly embodies this evolution with a mix of soulful and psychedelic tones.
Ghetto bird hit a kid like ghetto hoop dreams
Any tracks to add to this list? Please share it in the comments and we’ll publish a follow-up post.