Dice Raw’s 2011 got off to a rocky start when his car was totaled back in January. Since then, he’s recovered, finished up his first solo album in over 10 years and been all over Twitter. Strangely, he hasn’t gotten the digital Questlove bump. Though, that will likely be changing soon.

Born Karl Jenkins, the Philly based rapper and close associate of The Roots spent muchof the last ten years gathering Grammy nods most recently for How I Got Over with TheRoots.  Curiously, the new album, The Greatest Rapper Never: Preservation is available exclusively through iTunes and local record shops only.

One of the first singles, ‘1995’, finds Dice Raw exploring a maturing sound. It features a smooth R&B hook that simultaneously laments and celebrates ‘what a wonderful time it was to be alive’ while recalling a plethora of 1995 references. Some are obscure (PHILLY), some fantastic (a slick Wu-Tang wordplay with intricate rhyme pattern), andsome just plain awesomely ‘95 (Brandy and Monica’s ‘The Boy Is Mine’ –obnoxious editor’s note: That was 1998). The drumbeat is large, rhythmic, and weaves the hook to the vocals perfectly.

If Kanye scorched hip hop during this freezing winter’s nightmare then Preservationdelivers the cool breeze you need on the hottest day of the summer.

Dice Raw – 1995 by Raw Life

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