The Lyricist Lounge brand has represented the best of underground hip-hop culture for at least 10 years.
The Lyricist Lounge brand has represented the best of underground hip-hop culture for at least 10 years. What began as a New York City-based open-mike competition has flourished into compilations and a short-run variety show on MTV, among other things. Previous compilations Lyricist Lounge Vol.1 and Lyricist Lounge Vol. 2 have introduced relative unknowns like Talib Kweli, Jurassic 5, and Royce Da 5'9" to the national spotlight. The latest Lyricist Lounge set, Underground Airplay Version 1.0, is poised to do the same with underground favorites Hom, Jane Doe, Mystic, and Phil the Agony—who all shine on their respective tracks. Also making their presence known on the 31-track set are Lounge regulars Punch & Words, Lord Have Mercy, and Rah Digga. Lyricist Lounge alumnus Mos Def blesses the lead single, a remake of Newcleus' mid-'80s electro-skewed dancefloor hit "Jam on It."—RH