Notes for Haiti 

Released June 1 — the day Hurricane Season was officially announced, as it were — the digital download album Notes for Haiti is, we're pleased to report, not a natural disaster. It is, however, a soulful compilation of cuts from some of the best Detroit and Los Angeles hip hop. The project was produced by Niles Heron (disclaimer: son of MT editor W. Kim Heron) and Sarah Lockridge-Steckel (native Detroiters now in L.A. and Boston, respectively) for Oxfam America to raise funds for Haiti, a nation still reeling from its devastating earthquake. 

With exclusive tracks from producers and rappers such as Karriem Riggins, Houseshoes, Jordan Rockswell, Now On, Blu, Exile, Aloe Blacc, CoSS & Sene and SlopFunkDust, it's a must-own. You'll note that the Elzhi, Fashawn, Crown Royale (Buff 1 and DJ Rhettmatic), Marv Won, and 14KT songs were hand-selected from previous recordings by the artists. 

One of the finest cuts of the collection is Invincible's "Taxicab Confessions," a tune created with Da Beatminerz during her ShapeShifters sessions. AloeBlacc's "Very First Time" sets the bar for the record as the first song you hear, and, though comprehensively cool from beginning to end, most tracks don't live up to this storytelling-style banger. Crowne Royal is a project from Beat Junkie DJ Rhettmatic and Buff 1, who left Michigan for L.A. in 2009, and their track, "Photographs" is a dope teaser for what's to come. Riggins, Marv Won, eLZhi and 14KT proffer smooth and sentimental songs, as hope, unity and love are all appropriate themes, but weird, exclusive jams, such as Exile's live MPC funkbomb "ExBox" are what should help make Notes ( a notorious summer go-to.

Travis R. Wright is culture and arts editor of Metro Times. Write to Travis R. Wright at

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