Tuesday June 27, 2017
Feature of the Week

[Big Fish Theory]

Vince Staples "Big Fish Theory" review

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The (W)rap Up - Week of June 20, 2017

If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Faith Evans & The Notorious B.I.G.'s "The King & I" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!

[The King & I]Faith Evans & The Notorious B.I.G. ::The King & I
Rhino Records

Author:Steve 'Flash' Juon

"After "Duetsin 2005 and "Greatest Hits" in 2007, it seemed like we were finally done with posthumous releases featuring the late great Christopher Wallace better known as The Notorious B.I.G. slash Biggie Smalls. Not so. We still had the "Notorious" soundtrack coming in 2009. That's fair. If you're going to make a movie about the life and times of Mr. Wallace an album to go with it makes sense, and as I noted at the time it was in some respects "a better 'Greatest Hits' album than the actual one" released two years earlier. You could cynically call it a cash grab if you liked, but it was no more or less of one than anything else released since his death on March 9th, 1997.A little over 20 years after that date was burned into the memory of hip-hop heads (and made unforgettable by the countless rappers to reference it), Faith Evans and Rhino released "The King & I" on May 19th. While many in hip-hop accepted and understood the need for a soundtrack to go with a Biggie biopic, the reaction to this Evans album has been much more muted. The album did crack the Billboard Top 200 its first week out, buta paltry 9,000 units solddidn't exactly light the world on fire. There wasn't exactly a remarkable amount of promotion leading up to what could arguably be an "event" album given the historical timing, and although Evans and Wallace were estranged at the time of his passing, they were not in any way divorced. In fact if you saw the aforementioned biopic you saw their son together - one Christopher Jordan Wallace Jr. - portraying his father at a young age. To be honest watching the film it was kind of eerie how much like his "Big Poppa" the young man was. IfANYBODYin the music industry is entitled to make a posthumous Biggie album it's probably "Fay.""


Kool G Rap ::Return of the Don:: Full Mettle/Clockwork Music
as reviewed bySteve 'Flash' Juon

[Return of the Don]"Respect forKool G Rapis such in hip-hop that stories about him are apocryphal after over 30 years in the rap game. One such tale holds that Christopher Rios, the late greatBig Pun, held him in such high esteem thathe bowed down and kissed the ring on G Rap's hand when they met, a story G Rap later confirmed. Even if it was still out there in the unverified sphere that story would still come to mind when one sees that G Rap's new album is entitled "Return of the Don." That's the homage one would pay a "don," a title bestowed upon men of honor and seniority, an honorific befitting an elder statesman who has earned that level of admiration and loyalty. Nathaniel Wilson is just such a man both in and outside the confines of the music industry. Even though he tells the grittiest and grimiest of street poetry through his oratory, he does so as a skilled professional and conducts his business the same way. There's a reason you don't hear tales about G Rap being caught up in drama situations - he doesn't put himself on blast like that. As G would say himself he "keeps it 100" in all ways - musically and personally - so he gets respect as both a highly skilled lyricist and a wise business man that is a legend of the business. The title "don" should not be thrown around lightly, nor should any such honorific, but nothing in G Rap's life suggests it isn't befitting for him. Speaking of respect, hip-hop producerMoSSdecided to do his own version of "kissing the ring" by producing all of G Rap's new album from start to finish. In modern day rap it's increasingly rare to have that kind of one-to-one relationship between artist and producer, when it's all about shopping for the hottest talent or biggest names who can pop off singles for you, but it bears repeating that G Rap is a respected veteran so he doesn't need to go out like that. People will come to him and say "I can make a hot beat for you to rap on" and he can simply pick and choose who to work with, and he obviously liked MoSS enough to trust him with the entirety of "Return of the Don." He wasn't wrong to do so."

Editorial: Super NES Classic Edition - Here We Go Again!

Editorial courtesy of Steve 'Flash' Juon.

[Super Nintendo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]Here we go again! Last year Nintendo drastically underestimated demand for the NES Classic Edition, either intentionally or ON PURPOSE, leading to short supplies at all retailers and high prices on the secondary market for those scalpers who were able to scoop them up. Consumers pleaded with Nintendo to increase supplies so as to not give scalpers the upper hand. Nintendo responded by discontinuing the Classic altogether in April of this year after shipping just over two million units. Outraged Nintendo fans who never got their hands on one had to listen to flimsy excuses like this from Nintendo of America COO Reggie Fils-Aime: "From our perspective, it's important to recognize where our future is and the key areas that we need to drive. We've got a lot going on right now and we don't have unlimited resources."

In what's almost guaranteed to be a disaster of equal or greater proportions given Nintendo's track record, the Super Nintendo Classic Edition has been announced with a worldwide release date of September 29, 2017. The hype factor is going to be through the roof for this one, and there are so many reasons why that I'm going to have to make a list and go through this one point by point.

1.) Many of the 20+ games included on the SNES Classic go for insane prices in cartridge form if you want to own and play a physical copy on an original console.

EarthBound goes for anywhere from $150 loose to $625 complete in box. Secret of Mana goes for $50 to $160. Super Mario RPG goes for $48 to $120. That's just three examples. The suggested retail prices of the SNES Classic is $79.99 WHICH MEANS that you could buy all 20+ games for less than one complete boxed copy of any game I just named, and for almost half what a loose copy of EarthBound goes for. For people who just want to "play the games" in an official licensed Nintendo version, for whom any physical edition will do, this directly competes with the skyrocketing price point set for the cartridges by collectors and speculators.

2.) The + in "20+" refers to unreleased SNES game Star Fox 2, originally set to be released in 1995.

For video game fans and historians the cancellation of Star Fox 2 is one of the most infamous incidents of the 1990's. The sequel to the highly popular SNES game Star Fox from 1993 was 100% COMPLETE when Nintendo pumped the brakes on putting it out at retail. Many explanations have been offered as to why, some bordering on conspiracy theories about intellectual property theft and/or outright animosity toward developer Argonaut Games by Nintendo. A more generally accepted explanation is that Nintendo thought it would be poorly timed to compete with newer consoles coming onto the market that could render more sophisticated 3D graphics, including their own Nintendo 64 system. YouTube video game historian "Guru Larry" has a video on this subject I'll include below but suffice it to say including this unreleased game will drive demand up exponentially.

3.) SD flash card solutions can't play "enhanced" SNES Classic games.

For the home enthusiast with a vintage SNES console that still works but not the insane amounts of money to throw down for loose cartridges, one popular solution has been to buy devices like SD2SNES which enable you to use SD memory cards in a Super Nintendo cartridge shell. Although expensive these products still go for less than the games mentioned in my first point on the list, but there's a big reason that even MORE of these devices aren't out there in collector hands -- a lack of support for the Super FX coprocessor. This was an extra chip added to certain SNES games to boost the power of a Super Nintendo beyond the original manufacturer's specs. Guess what? Both Star Fox and Star Fox 2 require it, so unless your SD card intermediary can emulate it (none currently can though some have promised to in the future) you're out of luck. This also rules out Super Mario 2: Yoshi's Island, and ANOTHER unsuccessfully emulated enhancement chip named SA-1 also rules out Kirby Super Star and Super Mario RPG. As you can see with a great deal of "enhanced" titles on the SNES Classic, these offer an option to play these games that's cheaper than original carts and incompatible with SD carts.

4.) The same thing driving up SNES cart prices will drive up SNES Classic prices - nostalgia.

The very fact Nintendo manufactured the NES Classic and is now ramping up for the SNES Classic is because they've tapped into the fact that aging gamers pine for the retro games they played as a kid, a teen, or in their 20's. Two to three decades after the fact, we want to relive those old memories, and there's few better ways to do that than one of these handy devices. Even if you have an old Super Nintendo you may have a brand new HDMI TV with no way to hook it up. Uh-oh. "Upscalers" exist but those solutions range from cheap and tolerable to cheap and unreliable to products so stupidly expensive I won't even link to them here. If you want the "no muss no fuss" box with built in HDMI output to your HDMI TV, the NES Classic was a quick fix, although an unfortunately cost prohibitive one thanks to scalpers buying them all up. That probably drove some people to wolf down a slice of RetroPie but that again requires manufacturing and programming know-how. Is it worth the time to learn how make your own HDMI emulation box if SNES Classic prices skyrocket? We'll see. I know a few video game critics who might say Nintendo has it coming if people do.

5.) Nintendo has already proven they just can't be trusted to make enough.

On the spectrum of "Nintendo fan boy" I fall in the middle between "sap who will buy anything they make" and "outraged nerd who thinks the company is bollocks." The pendulum has swung both ways although I'd find it more productive and pleasant if it didn't swing at ALL and stuck to the midpoint between of "they do some things I like and some things that I don't." Generally I can keep it an even keel right down the middle EXCEPT when there's no good reason for Nintendo not to shovel more silicon and plastic into the factory and MAKE MORE STUFF. The cost of the constituent parts is very low, the profit margin is VERY HIGH, and if they simply made more of everything they'd make more money AND deny scalpers the secondary market they profit from. They didn't do that with Amiibos though, and they didn't do that with the NES Classic, so if you think they're going to do that with the SNES Classic my advice is "think again" and pre-order if you want one. Don't trust the supplies in stores to not be scooped up and scalped out. It WILL happen.
The Top 15 Mobb Deep Videos (#RIPProdigy)

Editorial courtesy of Steve 'Flash' Juon.

[Prodigy courtesy Wikimedia Commons]"Your simple words just don't move me
You're minor, we're major
You all up in the game and don't deserve to be a player
Don't make me have to call your name out
Your crew is featherweight
My gunshots'll make you levitate
I'm only nineteen but my mind is old
and when the things get for real
my warm heart turns cold
Another nigga deceased
another story gets told
It ain't nothin' really
Aiyyo dunn spark the Phillie"

1.) Mobb Deep - "Shook Ones (Pt. II)"

2.) Mobb Deep f/ Lil' Kim - "Quiet Storm (Remix)"

3.) Mobb Deep f/ Big Noyd - "Give Up the Goods (Just Step)"

4.) Mobb Deep - "G.O.D. Pt. III"

5.) Mobb Deep f/ Big Noyd, Vita - "The Learning (Burn)"

6.) Mobb Deep - "Put 'Em In Their Place"

7.) Mobb Deep - "Survival of the Fittest"

8.) Mobb Deep - "Get Away"

9.) Mobb Deep f/ 112 - "Hey Luv"

10.) Mobb Deep - "Hell on Earth (Front Lines)"

11.) Mobb Deep f/ 50 Cent, Nate Dogg - "Have a Party"

12.) Mobb Deep f/ Young Buck - "Give It to Me"

13.) Mobb Deep - "Back at You"

14.) Mobb Deep - "Quiet Storm (Original Version)"

15.) Mobb Deep f/ Nas - "It's Mine"

"Who Sampled It Better?" #6 - The Results!

"Who Sampled It Better?" #6 - The Results!

As written by Steve 'Flash' Juon, and voted on by THE PEOPLE who read RapReviews.com!

This edition of WSIB featured Southside Movement's stone cold groove from the 1970's funk classic "I Been Watching You." Before you read the results listen to this classic track below!

Four different songs vied for "Who Sampled It Better" honors.

* Cormega - "American Beauty"
* Ghostface Killah - "Camay"
* Jadakiss - "Show Discipline"
* Scarface - "PD Roll 'Em"

Despite all four being equally dope hip-hop songs, one track emerged as the front runner right away and held the lead until the very end, pulling in 56% of all votes cast.

Your winner is "Camay" by Ghostface Killah featuring Cappadonna and Raekwon the Chef, as produced by RZA. The irony is this sample often goes overlooked when this track comes up -- most people talk about the Teddy Pendergrass "Can't We Try?" croon that punctuates every break between verses instead. Both samples combined make for a rap classic.

Audio: Dae Dae - "New Wave" (@DaeDae @300)

Audio: Dae Dae - "New Wave"

AKW: Following the release of his breakout debut mixtape, 4 Reasons, featuring hits "Wat U Mean (Aye, Aye, Aye)" and "Spend It," Atlanta rapper/singer Dae Dae continues to deliver melodic metaphors over hi-energy trap production with "New Wave." The Nitti Beatz-produced song shows Dae Dae in prime form declaring that a new wave is brewing in music and he's to blame. Premiering on WorldStarHipHop, the catchy track will be available on all DSPs next Friday, June 30th. It comes in preparation for the 300 Entertainment artist's upcoming mixtape, 5 Reasons, due out this summer!

Audio: PA's @Mazon717 Reflects Lyrical Intensity on Self-Titled Album (@FlyLikeDove)

Audio: PA's Mazon Reflects with Lyrical Intensity on Self-Titled Album

This week Mazon is celebrating the release of his self-titled album, which is now available on all digital outlets for download and streaming worldwide via ONErpm. With this project, the Harrisburg, PA songwriter explores life, relationships, career and more with a variety of intense wordplay.

In addition to the full-length album, Mazon also recently released a series of noteworthy freestyles, as well as the official video for his single "Banger" which has received critical praise from media and fans alike.

Listen to Mazon below via Spotify, and get the album on all digital outlets here: https://lnk.to/Mazon

Mazon on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/46mH2Pzzqd7ycIuM2GLO66

Follow Mazon

Audio: @QuakeMatthews @OurNeonDreams - "Confessions"

Audio: Quake Matthews f/ Neon Dreams - "Confessions"

M.S.: Rising rapper Quake Matthews has released the first single "Confessions" featuring Neon Dreams from his forthcoming album Celebrate The Struggle, which artfully blends the wide array of rap styles and sounds he's increasingly becoming known for. Name checked as one of Canada's top up-and-coming rappers, on "Confessions", Quake's raspy voice and raw emotion takes you inside his mind as he copes with his inner demons.

Video: @SoloForDolo - "Don't Rap!"

Video: Solo For Dolo - "Don't Rap!"

PP: Solo For Dolo drops the first audio visual experience from his upcoming "Last Call For Apathy" with the self produced "Don't Rap!" Single available now via iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora and all major digital outlets. Look out for the album "Last Call For Apathy" coming soon on Litehouse Musiq.

Video: @PartTimeCooks @WellWellWells - "Obey"

Video: Part Time Cooks x Well$ - "Obey"

PTC: "The music video is a look into Well$' first visit to Korea last summer. With cameos from some of the biggest names in Korean Hip Hop, footage from Anderson .Paak's first show in Korea, and Well$' first encounter with Kimchi, this video is a must see."

Video: @DisgoFeva - "Class Picture" (@MoneOnDaBeat @DMVLIFE1)

Video: DisgoFeva - "Class Picture" (prod. Mone On Da Beat)

DMV: The talented DMV artist DisgoFeva just dropped his new music video on us, "Class Picture". The video has been receiving a great response since its premiere on DMVLIFE. The song os one of the stand-out tracks from his recently released "Zoom (New Lane)" project. Checkout the video and be on the lookout for big things to come from DisgoFeva in the future!

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Welcome to RapReviews.com for the week of June 27th, 2017!! Please support us at our Patreon page and we can go 100% ad free when we hit the target goal. You can also shop Amazon through RapReviews and like us on Facebook. This week we have TEN new items for you: Bonelang's "Venn Diagrams, Pt. I," DJ Khaled's "Grateful," an editorial on Super NES Classic Edition, MMA Mania interviews with Michael Chandler and Douglas Lima, PremRock & Fresh Kils' "Leave In Tact - The Remix Collection," the top 15 Mobb Deep videos (R.I.P. Prodigy), Vince Staples' "Big Fish Theory" (our featured review), our Who Sampled It Better #6 Results and Emanuel Wallace's The (W)rap Up for June 20, 2017!

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