Please visit this ad sponsor to help support the website!

Wednesday October 22, 2014
Feature of the Week

[Paperwork] No trouble this time, man.

T.I. Review

Latest News Headlines
The (W)rap Up - Week of October 24, 2014

If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Childish Gambino's "STN MTN/Kauai" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!

[STN MTN/Kauai]Childish Gambino :: STN MTN/Kauai
Glassnote Records

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Childish Gambino has come a long way from the actor who seemed to be rapping as a lark. We had no way to know whether or not to take Donald Glover seriously - after all his rap handle came from the Wu-Tang Name Generator. After some time went by though it became clear Glover was serious about his rap even if his moniker was an afterthought, and after he left NBC's "Community" he dropped his most sophisticated album to date with "Because the Internet." At this point I don't believe Glover will give up either acting or rapping, as he can flip and do one when he's not busy with the other. It's not as though he even has to give up recording if he's on the set of a sitcom - he can self-produce tracks when necessary and it's easy enough to get beats from producers via Dropbox without having to book studio time. Likewise given how in demand he is as an actor, he certainly has enough bank that he could afford to fly somewhere to do a show, then come right back and be on the set the next day. If Glover wants to juggle, we're certainly not going to hate on the hustle. He might just handle that s#%! better than Cube or Will ever did. Speaking of handling his business, Gambino has taken an unusual approach to his October return to hip-hop. "STN MTN" is available as a free mixtape with some bonus tracks from his retail release, and "Kauai" is available at retail for a relatively low $6.99 - although it's only seven tracks deep and one is a remix from "Because the Internet." How does one interpret this dual release? A fair assessment seems to be that Glover is encouraging you to sample the free mixtape and if you like it buy his EP to show your support. Another interpretation would be that if you were going to buy the EP anyway, the "STN MTN" mixtape is a free bonus/loyalty reward to thank his fans."

Diamond D :: The Diam Piece :: Dymond Mine Records
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[The Diam Piece]"One of hip-hop's most unpredictable niches is the producer album. It holds everything from beat tapes to self-produced solo rap joints to star-studded compilations, and despite often qualifying as hip-hop music Mensa meetings, the producer album genre is a source of perennial frustration. Especially since there is a substantial number of shining examples that absolutely live up to the promise, some even becoming all-time hip-hop classics. Diamond D set an early standard in 1992 with "Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop." Although his name was familiar to attentive readers of liner notes, even they couldn't possibly have expected to be hit by such a forceful double impact from the self-described "Best Kept Secret." "Write my own rhymes, produce my own shit" (or, in the radio version, "hits") became the basic formula for all contenders for the title of "best producer on the mic" - another famous turn of phrase coined by the man himself. In short, "Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop" remains one of the most astounding debuts credited to a hip-hop musician who's mainly lauded for his production skills. (Naturally when talking 1992 et seqq., it is overshadowed by Dr. Dre's gigantic "The Chronic.") His initial momentum killed by a lengthy legal battle, his subsequent solo efforts fell short. The thought of Diamond D making another attempt at an album in 2014 seems a stretch, sadly. But the impressive guest list not just reconfirms his standing in the industry, it also suggests D tries a new approach to his album projects. While "The Huge Hefner Chronicles" outsourced a substantial part of the production, "The Diam Piece" sees the Bronx native (for the majority of the time) ceding the microphone to established, experienced rappers while returning to the boards full-time. A number of features are actually old connections, such as Tha Alkaholiks, Ras Kass and The Pharcyde. (Where Fugees at? Kidding.) No other guest goes as far back with Diamond as Fat Joe, who was already rapping over his beats in the late '80s. But, alas, no matter the star power or close kinship of the collaborators, the producer album always is measured by the same yardstick - is the music any good? I'll get to that a minute, but let me state first that Diamond put evident thought into his fifth album. "

Flying Lotus :: You're Dead :: Warp Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[You're Dead]"Stephen Ellison has been pushing musical boundaries since his first record as Flying Lotus, 2006's "1982." He came up in the underground L.A. beat scene alongside people like Shlohmo and Nosaj Thing. From the beginning he was straining against the constraints of that scene, which in itself was pushing in new directions by incorporating elements of electronic music into hip-hop production. By his third album, 2010's "Cosmogramma," Ellison was adding a jazz sensibility to his music, no doubt influenced by his cousin Ravi Coltrane and his aunt and uncle Alice and John Coltrane. Given that he comes from a family that completely blew open jazz music, it isn't surprising that Ellison is attempting to do the same thing with electronic music. Having already explored "Los Angeles," and the cosmos on previous albums, he tackles the afterlife on "You're Dead!" "You're Dead" has multiple meanings. On one hand the album is a concept album exploring the afterlife as described in the "Tibetan Book of the Dead." The album starts with the moment of death and explores the soul's voyage in the afterlife. The title started out as a joke between Ellison and his friend and collaborator Thundercat. They imagined making music that was so heavy and amazing that once you listened to it you'd die. The title also reflects Ellison's mixed feelings about the scene he came up in, and how it has died and mutated in the past eight years. That's a lot to tackle in a 38-minute album. "You're Dead" is the jazziest of Ellison's albums. At times it sounds like straight up 70s jazz fusion, something Herbie Hancock might have done. In fact, Hancock appears on this album, playing piano on "Tesla." There are still synths, but keyboards, saxaphone, flute, and guitar are more present. It sounds like a jazz record with elements of hip-hop and electronic music, rather than a hip-hop record with elements of jazz. That's ironic given that it is the first Flying Lotus album with actual rapping on it. Ellison appears twice as his alter-ego Captain Murphy, sharing the mic with Snoop Dogg on "Dead Man's Tetris." Snoop is an unlikely choice but his laid-back flow fits well with the spacey production. If you make an album about an out of body experience, why not with a rapper who is always out of his head?"

L'Orange :: After the Flowers EP :: Mello Music Group
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[After the Flowers EP] "Stik Figa gave me an increased appreciation for L'Orange as a producer - or arguably it was the other way around. Either way "The City Under the City" is the kind of album that put both on the radar to check for in the future, and I was pleased when a random notification hit my inbox that Mello Music Group was releasing a free L'Orange EP. That's a fine way to brighten my mood when I have to sort through a hundred daily inquiries of the "please listen to my demo" variety. It's not hard to see why both L'Orange and the label chose to let this one fly for free, and it's not due to a lack of quality - it's because it's a mere morsel to sample the flavor of L'Orange. At 19 minutes long you've barely had a chance to savor the taste before it's gone, but in that time you can enjoy ethereal experiences like "Grow" featuring Johaz and Blame One. The instrumental changes directions at whims only the producer knows or understands, but the real treat is 51 seconds in after the opening verse. Suddenly the song is a complete head trip, shifting back and forth from one ear to the other like a manic insect zipping around your heard. Put your headphones on for this one. L'Orange puts more thought into his instrumentals than the average producer. You're not going to hear simple loops repeated ad nauseum on tracks like "Entering the Silence" featuring Red Pill. The Ugly Heroes superstar is quietly creeping up to the highest echelons of underground/independent emcees, and L'Orange can only push him further with this dope backdrop. I won't use the word "dreamy" lightly, but Pill's lyrics really do seem to be carried on a cloud here - a cloud of hammering boom bap hip-hop. Contradictory? Not if you're a fan of The Roots' "Concerto of the Desperado." This track is on that level."

Mac Mall :: MACnifacence & MALLiciousness :: Young Black Brotha/Thizzlamic
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[MACnifacence & MALLiciousness]"Have you heard Mac Mall go off about competition on his tape with DJ Fresh? It was a vintage "Sucker MC's" moment. Agreed, it's not the ultimate damning verdict we'd all have to yield to, and some might scoff at the vulgarity, but it packs the kind of punch you're not likely to get from contemporary rappers. It's the raw beef I expect a veteran MC like Mac Mall to bring to the table. Alas, to entertain expectations regarding rap music is a sure way to set yourself up for disappointment. "The Rebellion Against All There Is," his last rendezvous with Khayree, the producer of his famed 1993 debut "Illegal Business?" was an unfocused effort, certainly not the first in Mall's discography. Two years later the duo's 'rebellion' has died down, and instead it's back to the punning of Mac Mall titles such as "Immaculate," "Mallennium," "Mac to the Future" and "The Macuscripts." But while the Vallejo rapper has been magnificent and/or malicious at various points in his career, real highlights are few and far between on "MACnifacence & MALLiciousness." On the emotional level, however, Mall got his groove back. But first the groove of the beat takes center stage with "We Don't Turn Down," equipped by Khayree with a repetitive Chipmunk chant and decidedly more beats per minute than your average contemporary club jam. You can feel the intent to stay up-to-date and remain original at the same time. A few tracks later "Millionaire" even makes advances towards the mainstream market with a male singer lending the song a distinct pop touch. If Mac Mall was your average simplistic rhymer, he might have a shot on national radio, but his characterization of the golddigger type is too detailed and nuanced. While "Millionaire" at least partially sympathizes with the women, they take all the flack in "Backwards," essentially a divorce drama that is not only overloaded with the typical misogyny but also rendered realistic by the rapper's undeniable storytelling abilities."

SkyBlew :: SkyBlew's UNModern Life :: RandomBeats Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[SkyBlew's UNModern Life]"There's no way I could resist checking out this album. I'll confess to being a fan of the off-beat and whacky Nickelodeon cartoon "Rocko's Modern Life," and like some of Nickelodeon's other colorful offerings (such as "Ren and Stimpy") I often marveled at the gags and double entendres that were CLEARLY meant for an audience older than the channel's demographic would seem to indicate. Even though [adult swim] clearly defined the genre of late night cartoons that could carry a "M" rating as a popular and profitable niche, Nickelodeon was getting away with being adult on the low. Well... they didn't ENTIRELY get away with it. Episodes of "Rocko's Modern Life" often got censored before AND after they aired for the first time, such as Rocko's best friend Heffer (a cow) having a rated M moment with a milking machine. They even had to rename a restaurant from the series called "Chokey Chicken" by the fourth season. Even after the show was canceled they kept on editing the replays on Nickelodeon, and some episodes were pulled from air altogether. The show pushed the envelope and that envelope got pushed back time after time. Had it come along in the 2000's instead of the 1990's it might now have the status of "Family Guy" or "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." Instead it's a cult classic - but at least SkyBlew appreciates it too. The other reason I couldn't resist checking this album out is that it's the first release that's NOT by Random a/k/a Mega Ran on his own RandomBeats label. That kind of endorsement shows that Ran has faith in SkyBlew to keep his reputation for quality hip-hop in tact, as well as a boss minded expansion by Ran to become a full service hip-hop imprint as opposed to just being his personal distribution outlet. There's definitely nothing wrong with owning your own label just to put out your own ish, but the ever-prolific Ran can probably give himself a little breather just by having artists under his wing, and they in turn benefit from his name and popularity. Win."
Editorial: Five Rappers/Groups You Should Follow on Tumblr

Editorial courtesy of Steve 'Flash' Juon.

[Tumblr]You're probably already using Twitter or Instagram to keep up on the highlights (and lowlights) of your favorite hip-hop celebrities, but are you checking for Tumblr? If not we humbly suggest the following five accounts for you to follow, based on the signal-to-noise quality ratio of what they tend to post and/or reblog.

1. Odd Future.

This West coast collective has always been a little bit ahead of the curve. You may or may not agree with Tyler the Creator's tendency to use shock tactics in his lyrics, it's not surprising that he and the Wolf Gang are on Tumblr, the social media venue that doesn't require add-ons or plug-ins to share pictures and videos right away. For the highly visually oriented crew Tumblr is a perfect fit, and since new posts only come every few days you won't get dashboard overkill.

2. Wiz Khalifa.

A more recent convert to Tumblr, Wiz Khalifa's simple and clean layout emphasizes the pictures he has to share, and as you'd expect there's no shortage of sticky icky icky snapshots. Wiz is a fashionable dude though, and though most of his clothing shares would be out of my age range OR my price range, it's fair to say the "O.N.I.F.C." is gonna make it look hella good if you're sharing the cabin with him. Clothing designers should be reading his blog.

3. Chance the Rapper.

He went quiet for a couple of months in July, then came back with new music last week. What his minimalistic theme lacks in swag his posts make up for in whimsy, and you get the feeling Chance hasn't gotten a big head despite his rap ascent to rap stardom. He posts more than the average amount of videos to his Tumblr as well, which differentiates him from other users in that his Tumblr turns out to be a vlog - he's quite literally sharing his journey through hip-hop with his followers.

4. Prometheus Brown.

I'm taking a chance plugging this one because TUFKA Geologic hasn't updated his Tumblr since June. Nevertheless the thing that makes this blog stand out for me is that it makes me HUNGRY. Brown is proud of his Filipino background and his feed is peppered (pun intended) with video blogs he happily calls "Food & Sh*t." This one alone makes me drool.

Don't read his feed when you've been drinking or you're going to call a friend to take you downtown for something to eat. I'm also completely down with his profession of love for the Mountain Brothers, a group I have very fond memories of from literally buying the last copy of their CD at a store in New York City then later having them autograph said same after seeing them perform live.

5. iEl (Ilyas).

I'm going to preface this one with a warning - the former Tanya Morgan emcee has a blog that's NSFW. If you read this blog at your J-O and the boss calls you on the carpet, don't say I didn't warn you. Now that we've got that out of the way, iEl is a fascinating dude. You're going to see a lot of body art. You're going to see a lot of BDSM photos. You're going to realize Ilyas split from the group for a reason - his interests just didn't quite fit in with the rest of the crew. Thankfully that's exactly the kind of place Tumblr is made for - you can be whoever (or whatever) it is you want to be. He's different - so don't compare him to another.
The Hip-Hop Shop #296 - Dreams of Fat Laces

It's time for another new edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #296 is called Dreams of Fat Laces and features new music from BioLogic, A-Class, Mike Red and Tragic Hero among others! Follow us @RapReviews so you never miss a new show.

Download Here (right click to save)

Tracks featured this week:

* BioLogic f/ Flow Patrol - Dreams Made From Dust
* A-Class - Super Fat Laces
* Mike Red - Are U Down
* Westbay x Prestigious - Lithium
* Tragic Hero - L.O.N.E. Wolf
* Cliff Po f/ Metafor Manson - Pass Me Da Green Remix
* Marcel P. Black - Black Collar
* Shabaam Sahdeeq - Skillet

Video: Innocent? f/ @NittyScottMC - "International" (@PRDean @INNOCENTFLOW13)

Video: Innocent? f/ Nitty Scott MC - "International"

Dean: Off Innocent? "Love It or Hate It" Album Out Now! Featuring: Sean Price, Roc Marciano, Tek & Steele, Nitty Scott MC, Megadon, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Mic Handz, Rustee Juxx & More...

Audio: RIZ - "All About the Money" (@RIZSELFMADE)

Audio: RIZ - "All About the Money"

Dove: Harlem is notorious for churning out talented, fashionable MCs, and Riz (AKA RizSelfMade) is no exception! As he prepares his official album, he will present an array of freestyles and original songs to acquaint the masses with his broad spectrum of songwriting skills.

Video: J. Keys Performance at @A3C Festival (@JKeysMusic)

Video: J. Keys Performance at A3C Festival

J. Keys took the stage for an impromptu performance on the A3C Main Stage during the Beatz and Lyrics Show 15yr Anniversary Show hosted by Jay Force Friday, October 10, 2014.

Video: @ZachFarlow - "For Me" (@JoeBayer)

Video: Zach Farlow - "For Me"

Joe: The rising rapper from Atlanta by way of Tennessee, known as Zach Farlow, is back with the official visuals for his new single "For Me". The Ricky Racks-produced strip club anthem gets the proper optical treatment as Farlow takes over the infamous Magic City strip club in Atlanta. Farlow is currently readying a new project that will come with features from the likes of Snootie Wild, Rich Homie Quan, and Young Thug.

Audio: Mike Red - "Iffy Girl" (@MikedotRed @Bro_dini)

Audio: Mike Red - "Iffy Girl" (prod. Brodini)

Mike: After releasing an EP with California native MC Rai P, Mike Red has continued to make a name for himself in Houston's rap and production scene. Mike Red is ready to hit the online world with "Are U Down" Produced By Brodini. Musically, Mike Red and Brodini come together to present this southern fusion for their first time around, and surely not their last.

Video: @AncientMith - "Ciroc Shot Kool Herc"

Video: Ancient Mith - "Ciroc Shot Kool Herc"

Ancient: Any real hip hop fan during the 80ís and 90ís can appreciate the juxtapose of hearing a rap song in the grocery store in present day. Even the thought of such mainstream acceptance, at the time, seemed light years away and the real life trajectory, most likely unforeseen by the biggest enthusiasts. Ciroc shot Kool Herc is an ode to what was, what is and what might have been, in the evolution of said circumstance.

Ciroc Shot Kool Herc from Ancient Mith on Vimeo.

Video: @KoshaDillz - "In Da Club" (prod. Jesse Shatkin)

Video: Kosha Dillz - "In Da Club" (prod. Jesse Shatkin)

KD: Multiple 24 hour escapades through out Holland and Belgium over two summer festival tours (Mundial and Incubate) helped create the dance rap alternative video for "in da club" which takes pokes at normal hip hop stereotypes for 50 cent' s nostalgic club banger. Along the way to Tilburg, NL nightlight, Kosha Dillz ends up in da club with underground rapper Planet Asia, random dutch girls with shaved heads, dances on the roof of a car, and falls asleep on a bench outside the club as pictured above.

Pages: << Prev Next >>

Welcome to for the week of October 21st, 2014!! Please like us on Facebook and shop Amazon through RapReviews so we can bring you new material every week. This week we have TEN new items for you! Check out the 5 rappers to follow on Tumblr article, Akrobatik's "Built to Last," Steve 'Flash' Juon's The Hip-Hop Shop #296, MarQ Spekt and Blockhead's "JustPlayWitIt," Saigon's "G.S.N.T.3. - The Troubled Times of Brian Carenard," Smoke DZA & 183rd's "Ringside EP," T.I.'s "Paperwork" (our featured review), Vince Staples' "Hell Can Wait," Emanuel Wallace's The (W)rap Up for October 14, 2014 and Ray West & O.C.'s "Ray's Cafe." Please note the Vince Staples review is the debut of new staffer Clara Wang. Big up Clara!!

Be sure to check the RapReviews newsfeed for the latest news and updates. Subscribe to the newsfeed via your browser for daily updates like Video: A-Hi - "Oh My". also recommends The SmackDown RunDown from the AngryMarks Podcast Network. We appreciate your support and welcome any feedback you have. Thanks for visiting!!

©, a Flash Web Design Exclusive