For anyone trying to catch up on new music released over the holidays, the late-December output of Little Rock rap collective Young Gods of America should be at the top of your list. First up is Goon des Garcons‘ new tape, YOUNGDIRTYBASTARD,” mostly produced by the crew’s resident spaced-out visionary Mach Soul. Goon has outdone himself here in terms of conceptual coherence and sonic adventurousness, and it’s especially great to hear Taylor Moon reemerge on a couple of songs. Densely textured and bleak, the album rewards re-listening and is sure to be on rotation around here for a while. 

I wrote this about Fresco Grey’s latest, “Slump Sports,” before it was released last month, and I stand by it:

At a certain point last year, Fresco Grey started to worry that people would forget he was a rapper. It wasn’t false modesty; it was a time management issue: He spent a huge portion of 2014 directing videos and crafting wild, unpredictable beats for other people’s songs — for his friends in the rap collective Young Gods of America and other artists in Little Rock and around the country. His videos look sharp and he’s a great, intuitive producer, maybe even a vital one; but in the scheme of things, those are just sidelines. First and foremost, Fresco is a rapper. Now, the artist formally known as Fresco the Caveman has a new mixtape on the way, “Slump Sports,” that promises to remind the city of that fact

A late entry for album of the year. Recommended for fans of Spice 1 and James Bond.