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[Understand What Black Is]

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The (W)rap Up - Week of May 15, 2018

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

[Fever] Black Milk :: Fever
Mass Appeal

Author: Patrick Taylor

"Detroit rapper/producer Black Milk has been making consistently solid music for 13 years. To put it in baseball terms, he always gets on base, but he rarely hits home runs. Flashier artists make bigger splashes and get more attention, but have shakier batting averages. Milk hasn't ever had a huge hit, but his music is always worth listening to. The downside of this is that he gets taken for granted. The upside is that he's an artist who has maintained a trajectory of growth over his long career. His latest release "Fever" is one of his best efforts to date. While Black Milk was originally noted for his boom-bap bonafides, he's been moving more towards live instrumentation in recent years. His last record, "The Rebellion Sessions," was an instrumental. "Fever" continues this trend of using live instruments rather than just loops and drum beats. In fact, Black Milk is becoming more of a songwriter than a producer. There is a jazzy R&B feel to most of "Fever" that makes the tracks feel more like songs than just "beats," with more emphasis on melody than percussion. Even Black Milk's trademark banging drums have been toned down. I'm a huge fan of Black Milk's normal sonic attack, but even I appreciated his more subtle approach here. There is a smoothness to "Fever" that makes it feel more like an R&B album rather than a rap album, even though Black Milk's rapping is as strong as its ever been. I never think of Black Milk as a particularly strong rapper, but he's found his lane on "Fever." He has a steady, unadorned flow, and it works really well with the melodic, fluid beats. Lyrically, he's hit his stride. There is a world weary wisdom to the Black Milk's lyrics on this album. He's processing the current state of the country, and reflecting on how little things have improved during his thirty plus years on the planet."

Chris Orrick :: Portraits :: Mello Music Group 
as reviewed by Sy Shackleford

[Portraits]"Detroit rapper formerly known as "Red Pill" made a dramatic shift earlier this year. His rap moniker was originally a reference to the infamous "red pill/blue pill" scene from the 1999 sci-fi action film, "The Matrix". However, online social media participants co-opted the term "red pill" and grossly associated it with some of the worst aspects of the men's rights movement. Rather than allow any negative connotations to be attached to his person, he has shed that name entirely and now operates under his legal name: Chris Orrick. However, the name change itself wasn't the dramatic shift I was referring to. It was only the catalyst. On his previous albums (2016's "Instinctive Drowning" and 2015's "Drunk Day" and "Look What This World Did to Us"), he conveyed the image of a man with disregard for both his appearance and health, but rapped like a hip-hop Charles Bukowski with gems of wisdom. His fourth album, "Portraits", is what hip-hop would sound like if it was made in a smoky blue-collar bar during a long sudden moment of clarity. Listening to this album, it has a certain concept in it: Red Pill is dead and Chris Orrick is the Detroit working class hero who pulls no punches in his raps when it comes to himself and his life. And being himself on this album gives it a significant candor, all of which is embedded in his commanding flow and compound rhyme schemes. The production on this 12-track album is varied, but has a consistent use of piano samples and also begins & ends with emcee/producer and fellow Detroit native, Nolan the Ninja behind the boards. He starts the album off with "Self-Portrait", which is pretty accurate considering Orrick's lyrics are a self-deprecating self-examination of his psyche. The tongue-in-cheek humor comes when he rhymes, in the third person, about all of the aspects of himself that he despises (from his physical appearance to his taste for both alcohol and cigarettes). The Bruce Wein-helmed "Stories" shows Orrick's ability to flip hip-hop conventions. When it comes to storytelling in rap, I'm accustomed to its structure being a cinematic narrative with an aesop fable incorporated within. Orrick turns the idea of hip-hop storytelling on its head by rapping three stories about ordinary working class life with no climax or twists in their respective ends. Though comparable to the kind of everyman stories courtesy of Slug from Atmosphere, Orrick's take on the idea appears to be partly a sly parody of what a listener expects from rap narratives. "The Rubric", the title of which may be a nod to his former nom-de-rap, features Verbal Kent."

Phonte :: No News Is Good News :: The Foreign Exchange Music, LLC 
as reviewed by Sy Shackleford

[No News Is Good News] Phonte Coleman was always the more heralded lyricist of the now-defunct hip-hop trio Little Brother. With rhymes consisting of battle raps or introspective tales, the one constant within those extremes was his incisive cleverness. Along with Rapper Big Pooh and producer 9th Wonder, the North Carolina three-piece were grinding hard in the indie hip-hop circuit for years before being offered a deal with Atlantic Records and subsequently signing with them. However, being signed to a major label that didn't truly understand hip-hop resulted in the group being dropped after releasing an album that was a critical darling, but a commercial belly-flop. A few years later, the trio split amicably after releasing a fourth and final album in 2010. The point with that background information is this: Phonte is a grizzled veteran of the record industry, and it only served to add both realism and cynicism to his already biting sense of humor. A testament to this are the opening lines of his 2010 solo debut, "Charity Starts At Home", in which he begins with, "I do this all for hip-hop!" and then shifts to "I'm lying like shit. I do this shit for my god damn mortgage, nigga. For my bills." An elitist underground rap fan may eagerly take offense to that line and quickly label Tay a sell-out without even considering the wit of the message he was trying to convey: Rappers, even the best ones, struggle just like everyone else does. A theme that he's continued on his sophomore album, "No News Is Good News." The title is an ironic statement concerning the unreliable condition of current information and gossip. There's an infomercial sample later on the album which states that "you're only as old as your ability to process new information." It's also worth noting that this is Phonte's first solo effort in which he's completely shed his Little Brother skin. There are no reunions with 9th or Pooh, and there are no Justus League features either. Guest appearances notwithstanding, this 10-track album is all Phontigga. As far as his raps go, the man has bars no matter what production he lays his vocals over. The short opener, "To The Rescue", has an upbeat gospel feel courtesy of DJ Harrison, especially with the repetitive "Tigallo to the rescue" line. But then, there's a complete 180° on the next track, "So Help Me God". Produced by Marco Polo, the ferocity of the hard snares and the piano sample amplify Phonte's own ferocity on the mic. His wordplay and pop culture-referencing punchlines on this track make its hook ("So help me God, I murder you niggas") very believable. Come to think of it, my written praise doesn't do the song justice. "
Video: @DannyDelavie - "Break Interlude"

Video: Danny Delavie - "Break Interlude"

BGMM: Danny Delavie’s emotional single off his "High Tide" EP, “Break Interlude” expresses Danny’s conflicting combination of self doubt and glimmers of hope, as he battles to balance the struggles of life, and trying to hold his mental stability together.

Video: @therealFENDIP @CurrenSy_Spitta @EMPIRE - "Dayton's & Rollie's"

Video: Fendi P f/ Curren$y - "Dayton's & Rollie's"

Matt: Born and raised on the East Side of New Orleans, Fendi P’s (FKA Corner Boy P) unique voice and lifestyle raps caught the attention of Curren$y who brought him into the fold of his Jet Life Recording imprint where he has resided for the last few years.

Audio: @Tee_Grizzley - "Activated" (@Biz3 @300)

Audio: Tee Grizzley - "Activated"

Biz 3: Tee Grizzley has released his anticipated debut album, Activated, out today via 300 Entertainment. The album is a follow-up to his breakout mixtape My Moment, which earned critical acclaim led by his explosive RIAA Certified Platinum single "First Day Out." Activated features Tee's recent songs "Colors" (18.5 million streams), "Don't Even Trip" feat. Moneybagg Yo (16 million streams), "2 Vaults" feat. Lil Yachty (6 million streams), plus new appearances from Chris Brown, Lil Pump, Jeezy, Lil Durk and YFN Lucci.

Video: @Evidence @Krondon - "Bad Publicity" (@NottzRaw @Rhymesayers)

Video: Evidence f/ Krondon - "Bad Publicity" (prod. Nottz)

Rhymesayers: Evidence just released brand new visuals for "Bad Publicity", the fifth official music video from his critically acclaimed Weather or Not album, released earlier this year. The Nottz-produced track features cuts by DJ Revolution and a hook by Krondon, who some may also recognize as television character Tobias Whale, the key villain from The CW's Black Lighting series.

PR: @SVNTY6 Flips Peanuts on "Peanuts&Coffee"

PR: SVNTY6 Flips Peanuts on "Peanuts&Coffee"

FTR: SVNTY6 combines two of his favourite things into a beat project for all ya'll... Prepare for that jazzy, Vince Guaraldi, dusty, boom bap goodness.

Audio: @JesseandTheWolf @GhostfaceKillah @JuelzSantana - "Selecta"

Audio: Jesse and The Wolf f/ Ghostface, Juelz Santana - "Selecta"

T.A.: “Selecta,” released via A-Trak’s Fool's Gold Records in January 2018, finds legendary emcees Juelz and Ghostface doing what they do best flexing their lyrical chops, while fellow NY-rapper Telli holds his own weight on the triumphant hook. Premiered via Rap Nation, the Travis Labin-directed video finds Ghostface and Juelz manifested as children, a mischievous counterpart to the track’s hip-hop meets electronic soundscape.

Video: @JSakaTheBest - "100 Dollar Bill"

Video: JS aka The Best - "100 Dollar Bill"

JS: This year JS has done work on the latest Honey movie featuring Teyana Taylor, Selena Gomez 2018 Coach campaign, Netflix's TV show On My Block, & more.

PR: Crescendo by Jackie Hill Perry Now Available

PR: Crescendo by Jackie Hill Perry Now Available

Humble Beast is proud to announce the release date for Jackie Hill Perry's Crescendo. Her second solo LP with Humble Beast is due out May 11th. As with all Humble Beast releases, Crescendo will be available for free download on May 11th. However, supporters who wish to financially support the movement can pre-order the project now on iTunes. Pre-Order today and receive "Fall Away" instantly.

To our family, friends & supporters we proudly present Jackie Hill Perry's new album "Crescendo". From the beginning we have been committed to radical generosity, which means that all our music is freely given.

You can download "Crescendo" now as our gift to you, and please share it with others.
Download as our gift.

Consider Becoming a monthly supporter of Humble Beast. We are a family of creatives, pastors, writers, theologians, and musicians who leverage their talents to see the Gospel go out into the community and transform lives. We do this as individuals and as a family. Individually, we live our lives as missionaries, disciple-makers, and culture-creators. As a family, we combine our efforts to create a hub of Gospel-saturated resources, communicated in compelling ways and freely shared with everyday people. Humble Beast is the home of Propaganda, Beautiful Eulogy, Sho Baraka, Jackie Hill Perry, Braille, Odd Thomas, Courtland Urbano, Citizens, and Alert312.
PR: It's Here! Get-A-Check Records' New Project "Strictly 4 The Summer" (@rRAPpromo)

PR: It's Here! Get-A-Check Records' New Project "Strictly 4 The Summer"

RRP: Ladies and gentlemen, Get-A-Check Records' new project, Strictly 4 The Summer, is out now. The new mixtape features music from the whole roster including Cerious Note, Wu, Geeksquad100, Gonzo, Oh Soo Breezy, and Soso Ish. Check it out on your favorite platform below and let us know what you think about it.

My Mixtapez:

For booking & other inquiries:

Follow the roster on Instagram:

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Welcome to for May 22nd, 2018!! Subcribe to this channel on YouTube to help support the website. Please excuse any decrease in amount of reviews as we are trying to overhaul the site behind the scenes and it's taking up a lot of our time. This week we have EIGHT new items total for you: Denmark Vessey's "Sun Go Nova Beat Tape," The Last Poets' "Understand What Black Is" (our featured review), The Mighty Rhino's "We Will No Longer Retreat Into Darkness," MMA Mania interviews with Phil Davis and Michael "Venom" Page, a two part Fresh Kils interview that was recorded at The Hideout and a Back to the Lab review of Tim Dog's "BX Warrior!" Incidentally you can also shop Amazon through RapReviews and like us on Facebook to support the site.

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