Veteran producer Blockhead has released a new album called The Aux. But rather than his intricate instrumentals he’s been pumping out since 2004’s The Music Scene, this one has bars—and lots of them. Guest vocals include Danny Brown, Aesop Rock, Hieroglyphics’ Casual, Armand Hammer, billy woods and Quelle Chris, a glimpse into Blockhead’s taste in MCs. While it’s not his first rap album, it’s one he’s been wanting to make for decades.
“This is an album I’ve been wanting to make since the late 90s,” Blockhead tells AllHipHop.”I made Free Sweatpants a few years ago, dipping my toes in the waters, but it felt like I could finally achieve the project now with the help of billy woods executive producing and aiding me in getting together this pool of talent. I wanted this album to cover a lot of ground musically with rappers I grew up listening to, rappers that are my contemporaries and rappers that I think are the future.”
The resulting 15-track offering delivers Blockhead’s pristine production topped with the wordplay wizardry of his peers. Aesop Rock, who enlisted Blockhead for a good chunk of his 2007 solo album, None Shall Pass, and has continuously been working with him since the late ’90s, contributes to two songs on the album: “Mississippi” and “Ponzu Sauce” featuring Breeze Brewin. Both are exemplary of their effortless chemistry and a welcomed reunion between the longtime friends.
The album closes with “Now That’s What I Call A Posse Cut, Vol. 56” with Brusier Wolf, Danny Brown, billy woods and Despot swapping bars over a funky, piano-tinged beat. Brown, in particular, crushes his verse with his unconventional voice, but each MC provides balance to the entire five-minute cut.
Blockhead, a Manhattan native, has released 16 studio albums over the course of his career, a handful of compilation albums and several EPs. He’s produced beats for Murs, Illogic, Vordul Mega, Cage and many other underground rappers. The Aux serves as his follow-up to 2021’s Garbology with Aesop Rock, the duo’s first full-length project together.
Check out The Aux above and, if not familiar, dig into his instrumental albums. (We hear they’re all the rage.)