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House of the Rising Sons EP cover | photo via evillesoauink.bandcamp.com

For local rapper, Eville, authenticity is not an option, but a necessity. Curating a collection of four albums and a number of collabs, Eville produces meaningful, retro-leaning rap that he describes as “firmly attached to the golden age of hip-hop when you had to actually rap to be a rapper.” In his recent Bandcamp release, Eville returns with frequent collaborator, German mixer, Zpu Zilla, on the prolific album House of the Rising Sons, which is a tribute to the great Nina Simone.

Some standouts from the release include track “Taken,” which samples Ms. Simone’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Ballad of Hollis Brown” with Eville’s powerful lyrics breezing across Ms. Simone’s upbeat, disco-esque, jazz piano riff.  “Winter’s Eve” is slower in tempo, but not in impact, with lines such as “a quiver clenches up my jaw when I see all the hung heads of the young bodies that clutter up your news feed / you sit back while you’re sipping on your brew tee.” And last track, “Risky Biz x aGG” dances alongside Ms. Simone’s orchestral beauty, “Take Care of Business” in modern fashion–trailing off into an intimate, reggae rendition of “Mississippi Goddamn,” then fading into a conversation with Ms. Simone on the concept of freedom.  Ending on a powerful note, Simone softly concludes: “what freedom means to me is no fear.”

Listen to this perfect blend of modern, retro, and classic in the Eville / Zpu Zilla / Nina Simone mashup below.

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