A mix by FRIENDZONE for February's Champion Sound column by Drownedinsound on Mixcloud

Oakland citizens Friendzone dropped a nice mix this weekend for UK publication Drowned in Sound. Friendzone, you may have noticed, is the cloud production duo making it rain joyful synth beats all over your favorite rapper's tracks. They recently stepped way out of the bedroom and into the lime light working for the green ova' boys themselves, Main Attrakionz (Squadda’s I Smoke... mixtape inspired them to start making beats), as well as one take ‘em or leave ‘em A$AP Rocky, whose stupid raps on his hit track “Fashion Killa” float by so smoothly on Friendzone’s production cloud as to go unnoticed. Thanks, Friendzone. They then reached manifest destiny working with North Carolina’s Deniro Farrar and came back home to the Bay to help out Antwon on a teaser (and probably album-worthy) track called "Automatic." Their soundcloud is a beggar’s banquet of free downloads just dying to help you fatten up that enervated iTunes library of yours.

Speaking of Antwon, do yourself a favor and go download In Dark Denim. At least once in your life you should hear a tongue twerk itself into heterosexual descriptors that’ll make your shoulders bounce and cheeks blush simultaneously. His latest tumblr raps are out on Himanshu Suri’s (Das Racist) Greedhead label. Check that stringy seventies action movie score rubbing up against thunderous synth sounds, and dude’s Biggie cadence meets Heavy D good looks. As is, I still prefer Antwon’s last effort End Of Earth more, but I do appreciate dude’s lock on that early ’90s charm everyone begs for and somehow ignores while complaining that hiphop is either A) Dead, B) Homophobic or, C) Should return to that ’90s sound. Stay relevant, internet comment section experts.

Also from the bay: Kool A.D.'s most recent stream of consciousness mixtapes 63 and 19. Named after Alameda bus lines and chock-full-o' cool attention deficit style pop culture appreciation and appropriation, they’re free for download (after donation) over at Bandcamp. If you’re familiar with his work, you know what to do. If you’re not, let me just say: Kool A.D. is a rap game cubist, and when you look at a Picasso you don’t expect the pictures to straighten themselves out to look like other paintings. I invite you to jump into the rap avante-garde and hear his exploitation of your culture on jams like "Saved by the Bell," and "OK Computer." Kool stays on the offensive, straight stealing raps from Beck and declaring himself the "best white rapper" on the dis-titled "Rap Genius." Repeat offenders like Mike Finito and Amaze 88 on production make frequent appearances, as well as guest rappers like Meyhem Lauren and Kassa Overall, and personal favorite Busdriver. There’s a real production credit from Ad-Rock on a mediocre track, a fake credit (or just a sample) from Kanye on another, and even a Keyboard Kid-produced based gem titled “All Skreets.” If you don’t like his albums, maybe you prefer to buy some of his contemporary art?