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Tuesday November 25, 2014
Feature of the Week

[Dettwork SouthEast] Speakin' with a SouthEast twang.

Blak Twang review

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The (W)rap Up - Week of November 18, 2014

If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Ruane Maurice's "Ruane Maurice" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!

[Ruane Maurice] Ruane Maurice :: Ruane Maurice
Stars and Letters

Author: Patrick Taylor

"One of the things I love about UK hip-hop is that it doesn't share the same genre boundaries that American hip-hop has. Until recently, the people in the U.S. that listened to and made hip-hop music were very different from the people who listened to and made electronic dance music. Sure, early hip-hop was steeped in disco and there was some overlap with Detroit techno and Chicago house, but for the most part the kids who went to warehouse raves were not the same kids going to rap battles. The British have always been much more open-minded about mixing hip-hop and dance music. Many prominent British rappers, from Tricky to The Streets to Dizzee Rascal came up through dance music scenes. Birmingham trio Ruane Maurice are another example of how the Brit's combine dance music and hip-hop. Ruane Maurice started about a year ago when producer Matthew Forbes decided he was tired of making music on his own and enlisted producer Chris Caedus and rapper Sam Lewis to work with him. The result is a group that combines dub, house, ambient music, and hip-hop seamlessly. The most obvious comparison to make to Ruane Maurice is trip-hop giant Massive Attack. They share a similar depressive, sleepy vibe, and work at the intersection of several different genres: dub, house, ambient, and hip-hop. Both groups also feature growling, gravelly-voiced MCs. There is much less polish and sheen to Ruane Maurice's music, however. Massive Attack will spend years working on an album, obsessively tinkering with every second of it. Ruane Maurice is a looser, more spontaneous affair. "Ruane Maurice" is a dark album. It sounds dirty and a menacing, the sound of cruising the streets at three a.m. when whatever high you were riding earlier has worn off and you are left feeling alone and surly. Lewis's vocals are gravelly, not unlike a younger, less asthmatic Tricky. He doesn't so much rap his verses as croak them. The downside of this is that I found it difficult to understand what he was rapping about. There's definitely content in his rhymes, but it was lost on me.Whether or not I understood what Lewis was rapping about doesn't matter in the end, because Ruane Maurice are all about the production. "

Admiral Crumple :: Cryptkid :: Cataphonic Productions
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Cryptkid]"I have a grudging respect for Admiral Crumple, and not just because I dared him to include a backhanded compliment in his press next kit and he actually did it. No kidding - the last paragraph went out with copies of Crumple's latest album "Cryptkid." To use a phrase that was already out of date when I was Crumple's age, "The kid's got MOXIE." He's also one of the few rappers I know who is making references to Wanderlei Silva on his songs. Unfortunately for him Silva is banned for life from MMA competition in the United States for all intents and purposes (thanks to reciprocity between athletic commissions) but I still respect the science he drops on "Blue Carpet". He even pronounces the W correctly like a "V" so you can tell he's not a Johnny-Come-Lately mixed martial arts fan (or was at least schooled by someone who knows the sport). He's got a lot of combat related lines in the song like "there's always a loser involved" and "that's the difference between a novice and an expert/I'll make your neck hurt." I can picture Admiral Crumple rolling on the mat at a jiu-jitsu school in Toronto, rolling with people in his age range and/or weight class, vowing that he's "Still Here" when foes are tapping out. Now it's time for a compliment sandwich. Let's start with the positives - Crumple is definitely a better rapper than he was five years ago. The flow is tighter, he stays on beat on the "Cryptkid" tracks, and he gets props just for pulling double duty as both emcee and producer for all but two tracks. There's definitely a dark horrorcore appeal to Crumple, a rapper who brags "me and my crew will stick you with syringes" - not bothering to explain what might be in those dosages. Does he need to? No. Letting your imagination fill in the blanks actually makes the lyrics more effective."

Donnie Propa & Scor-Zay-Zee :: Best of Scorzayzee Volume 1 :: Bandcamp
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Grant Jones

[Best of Vol. 1] "Scor-Zay-Zee is a name that is revered in the UK, despite having never put out an album. You have got to have some huge cajones to drop a "Best of" mixtape that consists entirely of singles and tracks done with established artists like DJ Vadim and P Brothers, but all that remain unknown to most UK hip hop fans, let alone hip hop fans in general. Scorz (as he's affectionately known) is widely regarded as one of the best emcees in England, having built himself a reputation as a likable personality who turns up on other artists' work to body their shit, or occasionally delivers classic songs ("Great Britain"). Think of him if you will as the Percee P or RA The Rugged Man of the UK. What distinguishes Scorz from those heavyweight spitters is that he's not seen as a pure fire-breather in the booth. He usually has a message and when he does brag, it's done in a light-hearted manner that's ultimately harmless. It's worth noting that he has a strong Nottingham accent and a rapid-fire delivery, so any Americans reading this have been warned. To ease you in, a good starting point is the film/mockumentary "Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee". Starring Paddy Considine (of Dead Man's Shoes) as an irritating yet loveable agent trying to get unsigned rapper Scor-Zay-Zee a concert, it not only paints the picture of Scor-Zay-Zee as a talented rhymer, but contains some of that Ricky Gervais-style cringe-worthy humor that now seems mandatory in comedy. It's worth noting that Scorz semi-retired from hip hop for a few years, to practice Islam. He has also confirmed a reason he stopped rapping was because he didn't have anything to say, which would leave hip hop scarce of rappers if everybody followed that mind state. This mixtape then, is a perfect way to remind us why Scorz' Kickstarter campaign to get an album done is still anticipated by many hip hoppers."

Kingpin :: The Initiative :: self-released
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Grant Jones

[The Initiative] "You know that feeling you get when Twista jumps on a beat and his words combine so as to sound like he is saying one long word, every bar? It's a beautiful moment, and one of the reasons why Busta Rhymes' most popular track is "Break Your Neck" (according to hits on Youtube/Spotify at least). There aren't many emcees still doing that rapid-fire rhyming; Busta Rhymes just spits authoritatively these days, and Ludacris has decided that tongue-twisting cameos on pop songs is less lucrative than a movie career. Tech N9ne has got this style monopolized. Enter Kingpin, an English underground emcee, best known as a member of Caxton Press, a four-man (technically three men, one woman) crew from London led by UK mainstay Manage. He stood out on Caxton Press' debut "Shame the Devil" in 2012, and I figured he would have been dropping solo material since. From a little online research, Kingpin released an album in 2011 called "The Initiative" and judging by his Soundcloud page and the official Caxton Press website, he has left the group. In fact, there is no mention at all of Kingpin even being a part of Caxton Press, so I'm assuming there was some sort of fall out. In my review of the Caxton Press album, I highlighted that Kingpin was the most entertaining member, throwing down a fluid style of rap that had some positive themes backing them up. "The Initiative" follows that format and unfortunately proves that Kingpin is better suited to a group."

Micall Parknsun :: I Should've Done This Time Ago :: My Music Records
as reviewed by Grant Jones

[I Should've Done This Time Ago]"That's not a grammatical error in the album title - that's how we speak in the UK. I love the healthy banter between Americans and Brits when it comes to the English language, whether it's over why some use football for soccer or pronounce "Z" as "Zee" instead of "Zed". Or hearing aluminum pronounced without the latter 'I'. Anyway; before alienating and aggravating each and every English-speaking reader of ours, I'll explain why Micall Parknsun has named his album "I Should've Done This Time Ago". Micall is one of the most reliable, amiable emcees working the UK, stepping out of mentor Jehst's shadow to release some of the better examples of UK hip hop. He's always come across as a genuine, level-headed adult that is proud of being a family man yet is always drawn to his addictions - hip hop and smoking marijuana. Thankfully, he doesn't spend all of his time on the mic spouting how fantastic it feels to blaze one up, if anything he is one of the most respected in England because he makes what is often coined "positive" or "conscious" hip hop. "I Should've Done This Time Ago" is a statement from Micall that he is losing patience with the current state of hip hop, as this album is noticeably angry and reflective. There is more of an upbeat stance on "Land of the Lost", a song that has an infectious sample of what can only be described as a buzzing fly that's groaning. Even the insects in the studio are pissed off. Micall has to "Calm Down" by track nine, aiming his message at youngsters putting hustle over everything. It's ultimately a hollow song with simplistic lyrics, something that is often Micall's strength. That's not to say Micall is an emcee with basic ability, but in a genre still obsessed with wordplay and abstract lyrics, it's refreshing to hear somebody share their thoughts in plain, direct English. "

Skrein :: The Eat Up :: Dented Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Grant Jones

[The Eat Up]"Skrein sounds like a nasty, dirty piece of filth yet until he released 2009's "The Eat Up", his tracks felt like warm hugs on a cold day. Timid, affable rhymes often wove their way across beats that manage to get the head nodding and the neck-hair standing on edge. Songs like "The Youth" and "The Return of Hip Hop" were sombre tracks from the mid-2000s that first put me on to Skrein and there was a decent level of hype for Skrein's debut in 2009, despite a lack of clarity on what his debut really is. It's unclear whether "The Eat Up" is a mixtape or his first album as DJ IQ mixes the tracks in to each other. There's brutal honesty that tells us Skrein had a buck-tooth, a side-parting and nerd glasses, but bringing home a bag of new vinyls was what he looked forward to, citing Slick Rick and The Pharcyde as his favourites. Their quirky styles are clearly an influence as Skrein has bags of character throughout and a similarly unique sense of humour. "Skrizzle" sees Skrein jokingly avoid women harassing his phones (including a Motorola brick) but descends in to a bunch of artists prank calling him. It's largely pointless, but nonetheless entertaining. While "The Eat Up" is scattered with enjoyable moments, it's executed haphazardly. Drifting between violent intimidation ("Reign In Blood") and laid back tales ("Mother Earth") means the listener is grabbed and thrown in to different parts of Skrein's life. "How's It Feel" is a standout track, not just because it's great but because it's a massive curveball in the middle of the record. It sees Plan B tackle the issue of gangs and knife crime in London - it's a chilling tale of peer pressure and bullying that has a smart twist, revealing itself to be a psychotic, schizophrenic's inner conversations. "

Verb T :: Verbs With a Vengeance :: YNR Productions
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Grant Jones

[Verbs With a Vengeance]"At school I recall being taught that a verb is a "doing word". It's hard to think of a guy who isn't constantly "doing hip hop" more than Verb T - since he emerged ten years ago alongside Kashmere, he's released eight albums and three EPs too. There aren't many emcees that release a record every year, particularly in England, but Verb T has and now stands as a reliable emcee you can count on to drop a strong album. I'm not going to delve in to too much history on the man himself, but it's widely believed that his 2010 release "Verbs With a Vengeance" is one of his better, if not his best album. The cover art shows an illustration (presumably of Verb T) as a Godzilla-like figure, boasting a tail and horns as he swigs at a can of beer. England has long had a reputation as a nation of drinkers; you only have to listen to 90% of guys dropping records in 2014 to realize that this generation of emcees are proudly addicted to drink. Watch any Don't Flop battle on Youtube and you'll see not just punters, but participants proudly grasping a pint of watered down lager. These guys aren't bragging about splashing cash on Henny or Cristal, they're boasting of drunken, reckless behavior that Spanish island dwellers witness on a daily basis each summer. If you can't re-enact Coyote Ugly with tribal-tattooed, 20-stone rugby players, apparently it wasn't a good night. This glorification of binge drinking has seeped in to hip hop, where emcees are now claiming to be proud of their drunken behavior. They revel in being grimy and broke, as if body odor and a lack of employability somehow make ladies labias foam uncontrollably. It's as if the skit from ODB's debut album (where a lovely lady finds Russell Jones' Neanderthal-like qualities irresistible) has been adopted as a whole mindset that stretches over the course of an album. Verb T however, has never fully embraced that aspect of hip hop, instead feeling more likable and approachable - he may be drinking excessively, but he's doing it at home in a non-provocative manner. He's lazy, but he's a procrastinator rather than an outright bum. It's these subtle differences that push Verb T in to a different group of artists."
Editorial: The Tarnished Image of William Henry 'Bill' Cosby

Editorial courtesy of Steve 'Flash' Juon.

[Bill Cosby]You would have to make a concerted effort to turn off your television, unplug your radio, avoid all newspapers, cancel your internet service and not visit any public place in the United States to not hear the allegations about Bill Cosby being a serial rapist.

Like most things that seem to go viral on the internet, whether memes or actual news, the original source probably had no idea how big the end result would be. Stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress, best known to many of our readers as the comic foil of The Eric Andre Show, referenced Cosby's constant cultural criticism in one of his live performances. Buress is not alone in thinking the elderly comedian is out of touch with the young people who he chastises for "their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack" - but when Buress took his shot at Cosby he opened up Pandora's Box.

"He gets on TV, 'Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!' Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches."

This could actually have gone complete under the radar had Cosby (or his social media manager) not had the unfortunate suggestion to turn a smiling photo of Bill Cosby into a meme. This created a firestorm of recycled Cosby photos with captions about wearing his "raping hat" or being "America's most beloved serial rapist." Old allegations that had been dismissed by Cosby and his legal team began to resurface in the media, while new additional ones came to light. Here's one example.

Now to be perfectly clear, these allegations that Bill Cosby is a rapist are exactly that - ALLEGATIONS. Bill Cosby has never been convicted of a crime, never plead guilty to sexual assault, and has never even been prosecuted on the grounds of these accusations. Some of his accusers may simply be jumping on the bandwagon now that the allegations have caught media attention. In other cases that's not so clear. One district attorney in Pennsylvania actually wanted to prosecute Cosby and found him "evasive" in interviews about his alleged crime. Lacking physical evidence he had to drop the case, and Cosby eventually settled out of court with his accuser for an undisclosed sum.

Out of court settlements are by their very nature neither proof of innocence nor guilt - they are after all "out of court" meaning both parties agree to dismiss legal proceedings and move on with their life. You can settle a claim to make it go away if it's a waste of your time and money, and Mr. Cosby may have felt that way. You can also settle a claim if you think you may not be exonerated in court, and settling with your accuser/alleged victim is easier than the hit your public image will take. A settlement can create the appearance you have something to hide though - just ask Michael Jackson. Mr. Cosby is within his rights to refuse to respond to what his lawyer calls "groundless decade-old allegations," but to some observers that refusal to comment is in itself troublesome.

Neither I nor RapReviews take a position on Cosby's innocence or guilt in the multiple allegations against him, but what's certainly noteworthy is that Cosby is unable to contain or control the firestorm that's swirled around him. The same young people he seems so out of touch with are so much more adept at using social media and spreading the message about his accusations than he is, and by refusing to comment he's letting their voices be the only ones heard on the subject. Some might argue he should spend a little less time worrying about kids with their saggy pants and backward hats (and even those notions of hip-hop fashion and urban culture seem as out-of-date as Cosby) and a little more worrying about the fact all of his comedy specials have been canceled and TV Land no longer wants to air reruns of The Cosby Show.

William Henry 'Bill' Cosby may just hope that if he says nothing and ignores the situation that eventually it will all go away, but if cultural critics should have learned anything by now, it's that any skeletons they have in their closet will come to light the moment they act holier-than-thou when criticizing the morals and values of other people.
The Hip-Hop Shop #301 - No Rap Songs About Thanksgiving

It's time for another new edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. On Episode #301 there are No Rap Songs About Thanksgiving. I think any of the original/aboriginal/native people of this country can understand why. My silence on this episode should speak volumes on that topic, but do enjoy family and fellowship on "Turkey Day" anyway. Follow us @RapReviews so you never miss a new podsafe free show.

Download Here (right click to save)

Tracks featured this week:

* Radio B x Cane - Body Drop
* Tragic Hero - School Bus
* Suave x Prospek - For My People
* D.Chamberz - Heart So Cold
* Nametag - Irregular Heartbeat
* Charles Joseph - Just a Game
* Kosha Dillz - Fun Fest
* Cris Streetz - Face Time

Video: Rob Stashiz - "My Life" (@RobStashiz @QTheQuestion)

Video: Rob Stashiz - "My Life"

Q: Rob Stashiz comes back with another banger produced by EyseDaSupa & visuals shot by 42Films which gives a detailed story on his life journey as far as dealing with cancer, raising his family and survival in the streets of Philadelphia and holding down a 9 to 5 still focusing on a music career while his team dismantled all in one.

Video: Audible Doctor EP Promo (@AudibleDoctor)

Video: Audible Doctor EP Promo

Doc: I just put together a little promo video for my "Can't Keep The People Waiting" EP that's dropping on Tuesday...any help by posting or sharing would be appreciated!!

@MegaRan Drops New Video, Celebrates 300% of Kickstarter (@Duncecap_)

Mega Ran Drops New Video, Celebrates 300% of Kickstarter Goal

Random: Random (aka Mega Ran) drops a scathing, honest visual for his new track "Venting"- directed by @Duncecap_.

The former teacher turned rapper offers some unique commentary on both professions with the equal parts smart and scathing track "Venting."

Over a chilling, trippy visual direction by Mike “Duncecap” Petrow, and the haunting track by El Huervo (best known for his work on the new classic game Hotline Miami), Ran goes in, with fiery red eyes and a menacing delivery we have yet to see from the normally optimistic rapper.

On rappers: "dudes brag about their riches then asking me for free beats”

On teaching: "I don't hate much, but schools who give hard working teachers pay cuts"

The song comes from the new EP “A Gamers Anthem” with Detroit group The Regiment, available now from HiPNOTT Records.

The song comes from the new EP “A Gamers Anthem” with Detroit group The Regiment, available now from HiPNOTT Records.

Ran has just finished up a Kickstarter, raising $18,000, 300% of his goal for his new solo album coming in February.

get more at or on twitter, @megaran
Video: Ariano - "Strange" (@ArianoMusic @IStillLoveHER)

Video: Ariano - "Strange"

Wanja: Ariano Releases video "Strange" off his singer/song writer Ep "Sad Songs Make Me Happy" out now on Camobear Records. The new single "Strange" is a mid tempo sample driven hip hop track showcasing Ariano's production, soulful vocals and songwriting range. The single is out now with artwork by Sapient & the video will drop soon.

The Monster Van Album - Free Download (@ShinobiNinja)

The Monster Van Album - Free Download

Shinobi: When we were on tour this summer, Monster Products hooked us up with their newest lil' touch screen DJ and Production toy to keep us making music in between cities. We made so many jams riding in the van that it became an album!
Audio: Snxo - "Hold You Down (Cover)" (@IAmSnxo)

Audio: Snxo - "Hold You Down (Cover)"

Y.T.: State of Mind Muzic is back with their new artist Snxo. She drops a dope cover to the track “Hold You Down” By DJ Khaled featuring Chris Brown, August Alsina, Future, and Jeremih. She has a crazy voice and super talented. Check it out and see what you think about it!

Audio: @TriggerTreach @HusKingpin - "Bonez Bent"

Audio: Treach f/ Hus Kingpin - "Bonez Bent"

Matt: The new collaboration, "Bonez Bent," from Treach of the legendary Naughty By Nature and fast-rising upstart Hus Kingpin will be featured on the upcoming debut album (2015) from Croatian producer RawLand.

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Welcome to for the week of November 25th, 2014!! Please like us on Facebook and shop Amazon through RapReviews so we can bring you new material every week. This week we have TWELVE new items for you! Check out Blak Twang's "Dettwork SouthEast" (our featured review), a Bill Cosby editorial, Jack Jetson's "The Adventures of Johnny Strange," Jister & The Lion Ranger's "Absurdism," Steve 'Flash' Juon's The Hip-Hop Shop #301, Jesal Padania's UK Hip Hop Month 2014 outro, Professor Green's "Growing Up In Public," Rashenal's "Life Learner," Rick Ross' "Hood Billionaire," Tinie Tempah's "Demonstration," Too Many T's "Running Wild EP" and Emanuel Wallace's The (W)rap Up for November 18, 2014.

Be sure to check the RapReviews newsfeed for the latest news and updates. Subscribe to the newsfeed via your browser for daily updates like Cool C's incarceration update. also recommends AMP w/ Paul O'Brien from the AngryMarks Podcast Network. We appreciate your support and welcome any feedback you have. Thanks for visiting!!

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