Wednesday October 26, 2016
Feature of the Week

[Atrocity Exhibition] Laughter masks the pain.

Skyzoo review

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The (W)rap Up - Week of October 18, 2016

If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Apollo Brown & Skyzoo's "The Easy Truth" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!

[The Easy Truth]Apollo Brown & Skyzoo :: The Easy Truth
Mello Music Group

Author: Patrick Taylor

"Brooklyn Rapper Skyzoo (Gregory Taylor, no relation) is in some ways the hip-hop equivalent of a guitar shredder like Steve Vai or Joe Satriani. He is someone who is technically proficient in his craft to an extent that hasn't been fashionable since before the internet. He is talented and skillful in an era where bravado and attitude have become the currency of the day. ÊHe came on the scene ten years ago and has been steadily building his craft since then, releasing a series of excellent solo albums, mixtapes, and collaborations. "The Easy Truth," his latest album with Detroit producer Apollo Brown, continues on the themes that Skyzoo has been exploring throughout his career: how to avoid the temptations life offers you, and how to stay true to yourself. Skyzoo's rhymes are pure Brooklyn. He has Jay Z's swagger, some of Biggie's edge, and Talib Kweli's sense of right and wrong. The Jay Z comparison is almost inescapable. He sounds like Sean Carter's younger brother on "Jordans and a Gold Chain," rapping Ê"I thought Jordan's & a gold chain/was living it up/Like yo it is, ain't it?" Like Jay, Skyzoo flow is effortless and unhurried, with just a touch of world weariness. There's definitely a formula to "The Easy Truth." Apollo Brown lays down one of his signature sampled beats, something that hits hard but is sad at the same time. Then Skyzoo proceeds to drop bars over it, shredding his verses as deliberately and expertly as Eric Clapton laying down a guitar solo. There are only minor changes in drum sound, tempo, or lyrical themes."

Lord Finesse :: The Awakening :: Penalty Recordings 
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[The Awakening]"Moving as quickly as ever, the rap game had all but forgotten about Lord Finesse by 1994. It was up to the artist to bring himself back into play, first with a high-profile production slot on The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Ready to Die" ("Suicidal Thoughts"), and shortly after with the even for rap high-flying declaration "Rap without Finesse is like the NBA without Jordan" on Big L's posse cut "Da Graveyard." Coincidentally, Michael Jordan returned to professional basketball during the 94/95 season after a 21-month hiatus, winning three consecutive championships with the Chicago Bulls in the following years. Lord Finesse's comeback would remain his last new rap album for the remainder of his career, at least as of this writing. It would be easy to conclude that all evidence points towards Finesse being no Jordan, still in his days he was anything but a benchwarmer. Often referred to as the leader of the Diggin' In The Crates crew, Lord Finesse is an iconic Bronx figure, an MC's MC, whose influence on the art of writing raps ranks almost as high as that of the triumvirate Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap. Originally planned as an EP, "The Awakening" grew into a full-fledged comeback album, complete with guest appearances and interlude cameos from peers. At the same time the album set out to prove that one department he didn't need help in was production, only one beat (not counting an unlisted bonus track) being outsourced to Mike Loe. Sonically, "The Awakening" was a departure from the relatively simple, loop-centered bliss of his first two albums towards a more sophisticaed, predominantly mellow and melodic sound structure."
Editorial: Who Sampled It Better? #5 - Das EFX vs. Lord Finesse

[DJ Premier courtesy Wikimedia]Editorial courtesy of Steve 'Flash' Juon: It's the results from round five! Following the latest edition of WSIB two more battles have been chosen with incredibly similar beats and completely different outcomes in terms of their mainstream exposure.

I'm going to encourage you to think carefully about your vote though and not just go with the song that made the most noise on MTV or the radio. Familiarity shouldn't be the reason someone gets the win. "Who Sampled It Better?" means exactly that -- not who sold more records but who made the BETTER record. It's not a popularity contest -- it's a precise examination of who took the breaks and broke it better.

* Das EFX vs. Lord Finesse: James Brown's "Blind Man Can See It"

a.) Das EFX - "They Want EFX"

b.) Lord Finesse - "The Funky Technician"

Before we get to our next battle I'd like to thank RapReviews reader @GheeMoney for suggesting this underground hip-hop clash.

* Jedi Mind Tricks vs. Westside Gunn & Conway: Afroditi Manou & Giannis Fertis' "San Me Koitas"

a.) Jedi Mind Tricks - "No Jesus, No Beast"

b.) Westside Gunn & Conway - "Dinner Plate"

Ten Hip-Hop Videos Starring Big Daddy Kane

Editorial courtesy of Steve 'Flash' Juon.

[Big Daddy Kane courtesy Wikimedia Commons]Since I've already used the top ten to profile Kool G Rap it only seems right to transition to a fellow Juice Crew member and take a look back at one of my favorite emcees growing up -- King Asiatic Nobody's Equal a/k/a Big Daddy Kane.

If you were looking for someone to teach the craft of emceeing there were few more qualified to serve rookies by dropping knowledge than Kane. If you wanted someone to flip bars quickly but still spit each word clean and clear with flawless diction, Kane was your man. If you wanted someone to exude so charisma he could style himself as a "Taste of Chocolate" for the ladies and still keep his male fanbase, Kane was the "Smooth Operator" who could handle both without missing a beat. He had an incredible swagger and self-confidence on the mic to the point that even his most outlandish boasts seemed like matter-of-fact statements. In an talent deep crew that included G Rap, Masta Ace and Tragedy Khadafi among many others, Kane still stood out. If the Crew had a MVP it was him -- no question about it.

Even though his discography of full length albums extended from the late 1980's to the late 1990's, people were already asking "Whatever happened to Kane? just a couple of years after he misfired on "Daddy's Home," an album now best remembered for helping to put a young Shawn Carter on the map as much or more than The Jaz when he dropped bars on the posse song "Show & Prove." Nevertheless Kane continues to record, tour and drop cameo verses on tracks to this day. For those born in the 1990's or 2000's who don't have the indelible imprint of his deep rich vocal tone burned into their memory though, these ten videos will give you a unique insight onto why Kane is THE MAN.

1.) Big Daddy Kane - "Ain't No Half Steppin'"

2.) Big Daddy Kane - "Smooth Operator"

3.) Big Daddy Kane - "Lean On Me"

4.) Big Daddy Kane - "Warm It Up"

5.) Big Daddy Kane - "It's Hard Being the Kane"

6.) Big Daddy Kane - "Taste of Chocolate"

7.) Big Daddy Kane - "I Get the Job Done"

8.) Big Daddy Kane - "In the PJ's"

9.) Big Daddy Kane - "Nuff Respect"

10.) Big Daddy Kane - "Show & Prove"

The Hip-Hop Shop #398 - Shots Fired? Whoa Now

It's time for another edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #398 is called Shots Fired? Whoa Now. Today you'll hear new material from Serge Severe, Drama Sinatra, Elaquent and more! Follow us @RapReviews so you never miss a new podsafe free show - like The Drunk Train from Adam Bernard.

Download Here (right click to save)

Tracks featured this week:

* Serge Severe - Shots Fired
* DB Tha Rasta - Pour Sum Liquor
* Chevyquis f/ Dom Milli, J. Plaza - Come Up
* Drama Sinatra - Whoa Now
* Elaquent - Nollieflip
* P.I.T. - Devil Lurkin
* Keezy - Too Late
* Liana Bank$ - Plead the Fifth

Video: @RATheRuggedMan Surprises a Fan With Life-Changing News (@NatureSounds)

Video: R.A. The Rugged Man Surprises a Fan With Life-Changing News

N.S.: Legendary rapper R.A. The Rugged Man recently took a few minutes to surprise a fan with an unexpected phone call he won't ever forget. The fan's wife contacted R.A. online, explaining that she was pregnant and didn't know how to tell her husband. So the lucky fan got a surprise call from his favorite rapper, informing him that he was becoming a father.

Audio: @Divine_Council f/ Andre 3000 "Decemba (Remix)" (@OutKast @MsRiverCity)

Audio: Divine Council f/ Andre 3000 "Decemba (Remix)"

Ms. RC: Divine Council is a crew consisting of Richmond-based rappers Silk Money, Cyrax Bathbwoy, Lord Linco and Chicago-based rapper/producer ICYTW*T. They signed to Epic Records in 2016 and are debuting a remix of their latest record "Decemba", featuring the legendary Andre "3000" Benjamin. "Decemba" is a follow up to the viral hit viral hit single “P. Sherman (PS42WW$)” off their EP "Council World."

Video: @RyanCaraveo - "Grim Reaper" (@FlyLikeDove)

Video: Ryan Caraveo - "Grim Reaper"

Dove: Seattle songwriter Ryan Caraveo presents the ominous visual for "Grim Reaper" produced by Teal Douville. We follow Caraveo through the streets on an average night as he speaks on feelings of alienation while an unlikely visitor stalks him at every turn...

Video: Kool Keith x MF DOOM - "Super Hero" (@UltraMan7000 @MelloMusicGroup)

Video: Kool Keith x MF DOOM - "Super Hero"

MMG: Kool Keith & MF Doom flew in through Tulsa to anotha dimension right on time for the Heroes Hustlers convention this morning. This is two of the world's best, true Hiphop Super Heroes kicking it with the X-Men drinking tea watching D-cup chicks, eating shrimps, swanson frozen duck dinners, driving monster truck Lamborghini's, w/ some Cold Stone ice cream on the side. It doesn't get much better.

Audio: @DreadChild @TheRealRahDigga @AswadMikal - "Original Rap (Boom Bap)"

Audio: Dread Child f/ Rah Digga, Aswad Mikal - "Original Rap (Boom Bap)"

JGPR: The single is a taste of Dread’s forthcoming solo album NOT 4 $ALE to be released on Damali Urbana Records. News of the album follows on the heels of the announcement of the Knotz (consisting of Dread Child and Aswad Mikal) full-length collaboration with Outsidaz general Young Zee. That pairing entitled All Bars will be released in November (with release date to be announced shortly).

Video: sOuL from the O f/ Sonia Whittle - "DREAMS" (@sOuL11525 @IStillLoveHER)

Video: sOuL from the O f/ Sonia Whittle - "DREAMS"

Wanja: DREAMS is the second single off of sOuL from the O’s “Contraband Mixtape” - a dub reggae infused hip-hop anthem (prod. by DJ DSharp) about achieving one’s aspirations against all odds. The visuals for DREAMS (directed by Woodstock) bounce along to sOuL from the O’s imagery of creating the very things we envision, and seeing obstacles as opportunities.

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Welcome to for the week of October 25th, 2016!! Please shop Amazon through RapReviews and like us on Facebook so we can bring you new material every week. This week we've got TEN NEW ITEMS for you to enjoy: Brookzill!'s "Throwback to the Future," Danny Brown's "Atrocity Exhibition" (our featured review), Andy Cooper's "Room to Breathe: The Free LP," an editorial on Ten Hip-Hop Videos Starring Big Daddy Kane, Steve 'Flash' Juon's The Hip-Hop Shop #398 and Hisaki Kato interview, Kool G Rap's "4,5,6," Rugged N Raw's "Anomaly Book 2," Emanuel Wallace's The (W)rap Up for October 18, 2016 and "Who Sampled It Better?" #5 - Das EFX vs. Lord Finesse!

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