Top Five Tracks From the New Darkest Before Dawn Bay Area Rap Compilation

Yesterday, Atlanta-based production unit SMKA released Darkest Before Dawn, a 10-track album compilation that showcases the best of the Bay's MCs spitting over their beats. Featuring a roll call of rappers that includes Shady Blaze, The Jacka, Mistah FAB, Richie Cunning, and MC Zumbi, here's our primer to the five freshest collaborations on the project. You can download the whole thing for free, or stream it on Soundcloud.

5. "Know About Us" feat. DB Tha General and DaVinci
The opening track on Darkest Before Dawn, "Know About Us" gives the album a fierce and brooding kick-start. As expected, DB and DaVinci air out their top-notch rap chops.

4. "Magic Spell" feat. Erk Tha Jerk, Symba and Nio Tha Gift
Remember Erk? With his malleable flow and ear for a catchy melody he dropped a great if overlooked project back in 2010. Now he's back with Symba and Nio Tha Gift for this good-time soulful workout.

3. "Higher" feat. The Jacka and Amaar
The Jacka's endearingly slurry flow pairs perfectly with SMKA's spaced-out production here, as the song holds down the mellow midpoint of the album.

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