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Wednesday August 20, 2014
Feature of the Week

[Preparanoia] ALL CAPS when you spell the man's name.

LMNO Review

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The (W)rap Up - Week of August 12, 2014

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

[Mega Philosophy] Cormega :: Mega Philosophy
Slimstyle Records

Author: Grant Jones

"Hip hop is often referred to as music of youth, which is great for keeping the genre fresh and forward-thinking, but leaves many artists with overlooked careers. So many projects get rejected by life-long fans for being too far from the original direction said artist took on their debut. Atmosphere's "Southsiders" is far from the likes of "God Loves Ugly", just as Pharoahe Monch has grown artistically from "Internal Affairs" through to "P.T.S.D." Cormega is an artist that I feel has blossomed from age, minimising the cursing and braggodocio of earlier releases to the point that his latest effort is bordering on family hip hop. Cormega is an emcee that is respected by many yet remembered by few. Establishing himself on the outer circle of popular New York rappers at the turn of the millennium, albums such as "The Realness" and "The True Meaning" mixed lyricism with street stories that exceeded the likes of what Nature, Mobb Deep and even AZ were doing at the time. Cormega was brash, yet intelligent enough to know that the criminal lifestyle he grew up in was only going to get him so far. Some regard "The Realness" as a classic, but I'd argue that 2009's "Born & Raised" was Cormega's best release. He's an emcee that has grown and matured in how he tackles themes that are more "real" to us folk that aren't street hustlers. "Live & Learn", "Love Your Family" and "Journey" leant his previous album a reflective, level-headed perspective that is often hidden amongst imposing authenticity claims on other albums such as "Raw Forever." It didn't hurt that DJ Premier, Pete Rock and Large Professor were supplying timeless instrumentals either. "Mega Philosophy" then, should be superb given that it is fully produced by Large Professor who has recently combined with Mega on songs such as "M.A.R.S.". I'm hard pressed to argue otherwise, but Extra P comes through with production that evokes timelessness. "Valuable Lessons" is the perfect combination of poignance and composure, utilising a delicate harp-like sound to great effect."

7evenThirty :: The Problem :: Mello Music Group
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[The Problem] "Gensu Dean produced this album. That one fact alone made 7evenThirty's "The Problem" worth the price of admission for me. The reasons to invest only increase knowing the release comes from the Mello Music Group camp. As a rule MMG doesn't tend to release whack shit - they may have a rare dud here or there but they set a reliably high standard for independent hip-hop. I imagine a lot of today's audience sees "MMG" and thinks "Maybach Music Group" and/or Rick Ross - not me. 7evenThirty is certainly not the "Mello" in MMG though. Before you've even finished the second track "Roach Spray" he's bragged that he's "A one-man zombie apocalypse/T-virus positive/I'm positive I'm never coming to your open mic night" and "something like Bruce Banner pulling up on that motorbike." 7even is Dallas, Texas by way of Jackson, Mississippi and the accent would tell you that even without a bio or this review - he says "hell" like you're in a "hail" storm. That's fine by me - let it rain - he's the authentic concoction and not an Australian imitation. 7even is what Snoop Dogg would sound like if his parents never moved to Long Beach. Speaking of bios the MMG one accompanying "The Problem" states that Gensu Dean and 7evenThirty were "fated" to work together due to "shared soil written in indelible ink." I'm hard pressed to argue after 42 minutes of this album - Dean is definitely 7even's Dr. Dre. You can speculate for a fortnight on whether 7even wrote the raps and Dean crafted the beats to match or vice versa - and ultimately it doesn't matter. The two are ideally met on each track. 7even gets personal on "Better Give 'Em Sumthin'" and the looped bass and light piano breathes the pain with him. "Making of a Vigilante" is appropriately menacing, finding 7even channeling the spirit of Kurupt. And then there's the brooding and aptly named "Hook Heavy" featuring Sean Price - a collaboration so natural that all parties involved may want to consider an EP together."

Big Bennett Bionic :: Art of Peace :: BBB
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Art of Peace]If that opening lyrical salvo seems incredibly crude I apologize. I didn't want to waste your time though and beat around the not-so-metaphorical bush that Big Bennett Bionic is on "Hiftbsycwmbs" - and since it's the first track after the intro there's no reason not to. You may be saying to yourself "So he's a little raunchy - so what? So was Akinyele." That's true. A lot of hip-hop's most successful rappers have been sexually crass - Too $hort among them - but what both Mr. Shaw and Mr. Adams have that BBB lacks is PERSONALITY. Too $hort convinced me that he could really turn a bitch out on the street, and Akinyele could certainly turn one out with his mouth, but Bionic sounds like he's trying to convince himself. A generous interpretation would be that BBB is intentionally rapping in a monotonal unenthusiastic way as an avant garde rap style - a style choice meant to turn rap music convention on its head the way that Death Grips has become famous for. I wish. BBB is incapable of rapping any other way and you don't need to sit through much of "Art of Peace" to figure that out. This is two-thirds of an hour I can't get back, and "Lilah" is 13% of an hour all by itself. "Yeah... we were there, on some honeymoon shit/I was sprung as fuck-in in love with this chick..." and the hyphen in "fuck-in" is not a typo. He raps so slowly it actually sounds like two words. Neither Evidence nor Parrish Smith were ever this Mr. Slow. The most perplexing thing here is that Mr. Bionic is obviously sincere. This is not a randomly distributed free to download digital album - it's a professionally packaged CD that pulls up a Gracenote song tracklist when you pop it in your laptop or computer. It's available for sale on in digital or physical formats. Despite the extremely minimalistic packaging and lack of accompanying press kit, I have no question that BBB is serious as cancer about rapping. The problem is that he raps like he's been treated FOR cancer. His tongue is slow, his words are plodding, and his lack of adrenaline make even potentially interesting beats like "Clack Clack" lack staying power. He describes the scenery around him, but there seems to be no point - it's like he's reading us his grocery list."

Buckshot & P-Money :: Backpack Travels :: Duck Down Records
as reviewed by Grant Jones

[Backpack Travels]"Whether you preferred Buckshot's Black Moon material where he was tearing it up over grubby Beatminerz productions, or the more recent, squeaky-clean 9th Wonder instrumentals; "Backpack Travels" feels very much like the happy medium. As enticing as Buck's vocals are, over 9th Wonder his rhymes became dangerously minimal to the point that unless the beat was an absolute peach ("You" on "The Solution", "No Comparison" on "Chemistry") - it became style over substance. It's undeniable that Buckshot has an exquisite voice, one that captivates without ever really saying anything memorable - an art in itself. Thankfully in P-Money Buck has found the perfect complement to his style that he hasn't had since the KRS-One project "Survival Skills" over five years ago. "Backpack Travels" surprised me, having heard all of the 9th Wonder records and ultimately being underwhelmed by hit-and-miss combinations of crashing soul samples and beats so polished they often lacked the necessary impact that Buck's smooth tones require. Don't get me wrong, pick up any of "The Solution", "Chemistry" and "The Formula" and you'll be entertained - it just felt a bit wishy-washy. That's not to slate 9th Wonder; I'm a fan and maintain that his work alongside Murs, Jean Grae and Little Brother is exemplary, but P-Money's style allows us to do as the hobbit of hip hop often says - "take a sec to think back". None of the songs drag thanks to a steady BPM that also seems to breathe a little more life in to Buck than usual. Even played out song names like "Killuminati" and "Just Begun" end up being the more addictive songs on the album, with P-Money laying claim to some instrumentals that deserves a wider audience than the secretive, underground hip hop crowd they will inevitably find favour with. For such a short record, there's so much replay value in the snappy, sing-a-long approach to tracks such as "We In Here"."

Crafty & Dkay :: Else :: Cipher9 Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Else] "It took me a minute to figure it out. They slowed the beat down. They changed the pitch. Neither man involved in the track is named "Nice" or "B." I thought about it for a minute though - literally 60 seconds - and it came to me in an instant. "I got a funky funky rhyme with a funky funky style." Crafty & Dkay either did it by accident or on purpose but either way the opening track of their album "Else" is like a chopped 'n screwed version of "Hip-Hop Junkies." I was first introduced to the Boston-based Crafty back in 2011, and though I gave him some shit about putting his answering machine on his album, I'm glad to be hearing from him again. Crafty showed some undeveloped potential that I rated as "solid (but) not spectacular" which could over time grow to being a better emcee. For the aspiring rap star the solution turned out to be forming a partnership with Dkay, which allowed him to split up the lyrical duties, and also gave him the flexibility to assume a greater role in overseeing the mastering and production of "Else." Dkay isn't the only one to make a contribution here. AlexKidOne and Peptalk produce a track apiece, and three guest stars work their way into the mix over an hour of beats and rhymes. "Blam" implies violence in its name and sample but is a relaxed cipher of bars with Exact Dose measuring out a precise contribution. "Same Old, Same Old" featuring Prophet opens with a diatribe that seems as much a message to Crafty as the listener - "do whatever you can for yo' life to be the shit." Finally the Mobb Deeply named "Hell On Earth" features Organismmic, which reads like it's a clever mixture of "organism" and "orgasmic" but is just incredibly awkward to say out loud. Change your name homey - but don't change your style."

False Ego :: Nostradamus Beat Tape Vol. 1 :: Bandcamp
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Nostradamus Beat Tape Vol. 1] "Ordinarily False Ego's "Nostradamus Beat Tape Vol. 1" is the kind of thing I'd save for our annual "UK month" here at, since that's where the producer of this beat tape hails from. However I feel an obligation to the readership to provide a minimum amount of content per week, so False Ego makes the cut by virtue of me having stumbled across his work on a random Google search for rap instrumentals. Ego appears to be fairly new to the rap scene, having only amassed 7 tweets and 9 followers since he joined the world of social media. I'm sure he'll have a few more after this review. He also seems to be a little unsure of the stance he wants to take about his work - on Bandcamp he describes his beats as free "for non profit as long as credit is given" but his most recent tweet says "(I) wish I could find people who jack my beats, that shit annoys me so much." It's hard to make a name for yourself when people do use your work without crediting you, but at the same time if anybody famous was rapping over my beats and I was False Ego, I'd be bragging about how my beat tape made somebody's mix tape. Ego has a style that reminds me of Jet Age - it's trippy, synthetic, spaced out hip-hop music for the explorers of the mind. That seems to be working for Mr. Ego - four of the songs on "Nostradamus" have been marked *SOLD* and replaced with a 0:16 track of static followed by silence. If you download the entire thing as a zip file you'll want to delete those once you unzip it - and I wonder why Ego doesn't simply repost is beat tape with a new tracklisting and the ones he doesn't want floating around for free removed. It's honestly a bit of a cocktease to say it was good enough for someone to buy and then not even let us hear any of what they bought."
Editorial: Five Things the Ferguson Cops Got Wrong (#MikeBrown)

Editorial courtesy of Steve 'Flash' Juon:

[Mike Brown protest courtesy Wikimedia Commons]The sad truth is that on an average day in America the shooting of Michael Brown wouldn't have become big news. We've all become numb to the reality of police officers shooting young black men on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. It's a reality that does not exist in a vacuum - it's been a fact of life since before I was born. All hip-hop culture and social media have done is make the voices of the people protesting police brutality louder and more easily heard. The same people who decry rap music for glorifying violence are the often same people who have the luxury of not having to live WITH the violence - they're not in the same neighborhoods where kids shoot each other, so in turn cops shoot kids. It's all in the name of "public safety" but I haven't seen the streets of Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis or Los Angeles get any safer this year because Mike Brown got gunned down.

The sad truth is that society needs law enforcement. We obviously don't need cops who harass young men and women based on their accent, skin color, religious attire or any other trumped up reason a bully with a badge can think of to harass someone they view as guilty until proven innocent. We DO need cops because when someone wants to do bad things to you or your family, you as the victim don't give a damn about whether your assailant is black, white, brown or purple with orange spots. Police exist for the same reason that doctors and firefighters do - we need those services we can't provide for ourselves when bad things happen. Sometimes they even prevent bad things BEFORE they happen - let's applaud the public servants who do that honorably and professionally. Let's NOT applaud the police force of Ferguson for any of the five following things though:

1. Escalating a minor disturbance. Walking down the middle of a street blocking traffic is certainly annoying, perhaps even worth writing a ticket for, that is if you don't have some better way to be serving the public at that exact moment. The fact that Officer Darren Wilson just couldn't let it go has to have bearing here. Could he have turned around? Could he have stopped the car and flashed his lights? Could he have gotten out of the car and asked Mike and his friend to move? Could he have simply driven around Mike Brown and Dorian Johnson and ignored this minor incident? We've been told Officer Wilson had no other reason to stop them - it was all on his own initiative.

2. Refusing to release information. Transparency is necessary for the public to trust law enforcement. In my own city of Omaha, the name of any officer involved in a shooting is released on the news almost immediately, and even if the shooting is ultimately cleared (self-defense, protecting an innocent victim, suicide by cop) there's always an investigation and the officer is on leave until he or she is cleared. The fact that the Ferguson police refused to release the name of the officer within the mandatory 72 hours only aroused suspicion and destroyed the public trust, adding fuel to the fire of the protestors.

3. Militarizing the response. Instead of allowing the protestors to vent their much needed frustration over the death of yet another young black man at the hands of law enforcement, the Ferguson police force turned into heavy handed thugs, dispersing crowds with tear gas and even arresting the reporters who show up to cover the protests. If the people of Ferguson didn't already think the officers sworn to "serve and protect" them were heavy handed goons, now the whole world thinks so too - a brilliant PR move.

4. Blaming the victim. At the same time the police force finally decided to name the officer involved in the shooting, they also started casting aspersions on Mike Brown, despite the fact Brown had no criminal record and was unarmed at the time of his incident with Officer Wilson. There's been no shortage of revisionist history on the part of law enforcement though - he may or may not have been involved in a robbery (though that wasn't known to Officer Wilson), he may or may not have been high on marijuana (which isn't the kind of thing to shoot an unarmed teenager over), he may or may not have charged at the patrol car after a scuffle (ooh - unarmed black kid on foot is a danger to an officer with a gun and a car he could run him down with - scary). If you blame the victim you only enrage protestors even further - and they SHOULD be pissed off at the "blue wall" of cops covering their own asses.

5. Calling a curfew. At this point the tactics of the police force were clearly stirring up defiance instead of quelling the anger of the citizenry, so what good is giving the angry people of Ferguson one more thing to defy? Lawful citizens have the right to assemble and protest their grievances, even if the hours they do so are inconvenient for their neighbors or a nuisance to the cops. Clearly some people will take advantage of any situation to cause mayhem or loot, but those who do should be held accountable individually. Imposing a curfew puts the blame on everybody whether or not they are involved in criminal activity - and makes everybody in Ferguson a criminal by default just for walking out their front door.

This has to be the most mismanaged and mishandled case of police interaction with the public in at least 20 years. Unfortunately as I said at the beginning we've all become numb to young black men being shot down by overaggressive cops, and it only makes the news when people take a stand and protest. Amadou Diallo's shooters were acquitted and so were the cops who assaulted Rodney King - the names are memorable because the outrage was immortalized in films and songs. The protest of Mike Brown's death and the subsequent police response ensures he won't be forgotten, but the ones who they don't write songs about are just as dead as the rest. There's always a better way than putting 19 bullets in a man with a wallet or six into a teenager who was jaywalking.
Subways & Sidewalks #23 featuring Nackt!

S&S 23RapReviews' podcast lineup brings you another epic show from Jeep Ward a/k/a DJ Halo in his Subways & Sidewalks series. Here's what Jeep has to say about it: "So for this episode I thought it would be a bit more broken up but we just had a really great time going back and forth. 80% of the show is Johnny and I just going record for record having fun. Way smoother mixing, minimal cutting... I really like how it came out." Follow @Halo203 on Twitter!


Nackt/Halo Set
* Cymande - Crawshay
* Alan Harkshaw - Get Ready, Get Set, Fly
* Main Ingredient - California My Way
* Kings Go Forth - One Day
* Gigantics - The Explanation (ft. Aesop Rock, Reason, Eligh)
* Congo Natty - Jah Warriors (Jokerís Space Cake Mix)
* Nadus - Nxwxks
* Flossstradamus & DJ Sliiink - Test Me(Filthy Disco Remix)
* DJ Dodger Stadium - Never Win
* Kid Sister - Hand Up Hi (Caspa Remix)
* Masta Ace Incorporated - Jeep Ass Gutter (Aaron La Crate Remix Inst)
* Velvetine - Great Divide (Myron & Shane 54 Remix)
* Bodica & Joy Orbison - More Mame
* Stone Roses - Fool's Gold (Grooeverider Remix)
* Mak & Pasteman - Body Work
* Kelis - Friday Fish Fry (Rob Garza Remix)
* Sade - Couldn't Love You More (Matrix Man & Cunsoul Remix)
* Bosq - Paciencia (Tall Black Guy Remix)
* Plantlife - When She Smiles/Rollerskate Jam
* Edan - Emcees Smoke Crack Remixxx
* DJ Numark & Slimkid3 - Bom Bom Fiyah
* E-40 - Tell Me When To Go (Wigz Soul Remix)
* Modselektor - Grillwalker

Download Here (right click to save)

The Hip-Hop Shop #284 - The One (But Not the One Behind the 1 in 21-1)

It's time for another new edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #284 is The One (But Not the One Behind the 1 in 21-1). Confused? Maybe but I know my wrestling friends out there will get it. Enjoy new ish from CuzOH Black, The Regiment, DK and MerCure Dior among others! Follow us @RapReviews so you never miss a new show when it's released each Tuesday.

Download Here (right click to save)

Tracks featured this week:

* CuzOH Black - The One
* Chippy Nonstop f/ Prince Zimbo - WATA
* Element Rhymes - King Slayer
* MerCure Dior - Monday Night
* Jay.B - 4DOOR
* Devize f/ Aral, Praverb, Sauze - The Fray
* DK - Still Holdin'
* The Regiment f/ El Da Sensei, Sadat X - Raise Up

Video: OHM x PLEASE - "King Dolomite" (@RapperOhm @IAmPlease)

Video: OHM x PLEASE - "King Dolomite"

PP: On Dolomite Bricks OHM spit conscious based mystical lyrics over top of an energetic dancey beat. He raps about ancient Egypt and uses it as a metaphor for current day perils. Vocals by OHM, Produced by PLEASE, Directed by Matt Larsen & Mastered by Max Prime.

Audio: Computa - "Spooked Onez"

Audio: Computa - "Spooked Onez"

Rich: Havoc's newest artist for consideration. His double single release of Spooked Onez and the Realist was on 8/5 on Universal Music. And the Release Party will be on 8/17 at the Player's Lounge.

Audio: @RapbiBenIsrael - "Diamond (Pound Cake Freestyle)"

Audio: Rapbi Ben Israel - "Diamond (Pound Cake Freestyle)"

Keith: "For he comes out of prison to be king,
Although he was born poor in his kingdom." Ecclesiastes 4:14

Video: Constant Flow - "Ascension" (@CF201 @ViperRecords)

Video: Constant Flow - "Ascension"

Viper: While countless rappers will get in the booth and speak on topics they know nothing about, a quick background check will tell you who's real, and who's in the game for the glory. That isn't the story with Constant Flow. As an emcee who has gone through some tough battles, his goal is to make sure the people around him don't have to go through the same violent struggles.

Audio: @Da_Mascots - "TWERK"

Audio: Da Mascots - "TWERK"

Mercy: "Twerk" by the Flint, MI - Atlanta based group Da Mascots is quickly impacting radio. The trio who consists of members Scoota da Jock, Bizz, M.I. & their mascot Woogie hit the dance floor with their latest single from their forthcoming debut album "Orientation".

Video: Q.Guyton f/ XO Vegas - "Beamer Life" (@THEQGUYTON)

Video: Q.Guyton f/ XO Vegas - "Beamer Life"

Gold Club: Nothing is ever simple with Q. Guyton. If his "Henny & Grand Marnier" was just a prelude then "Beamer Life", his latest track from his Reduction tape is just another visual appetizer for us to dine on.

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Welcome to for the week of August 19th, 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 your enjoyment: Apathy's "Connecticut Casual," Adam Bernard's Billy Danze interview, DJ Halo's Subways & Sidewalks #23 featuring Nackt, an editorial on the Ferguson cops, FlamesYall's "RaglandTape," Steve 'Flash' Juon's The Hip-Hop Shop #284, Le1f's "Hey," LMNO's "Preparanoia" (our featured review), Trey Songz' "Trigga" and Emanuel Wallace's The (W)rap Up for August 12, 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 Audio: Hilltop Hoods - "Walking Under Stars". also recommends AMP SummerSlam Recap from the AngryMarks Podcast Network. We appreciate your support and welcome any feedback you have. Thanks for visiting!!

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