"Its been a minute since Prince Po dropped a full length album - 2007 in fact - when "Saga of the Simian Samurai" was released. That's not to say he's been inactive though. He dropped an EP, did cameo appearances, and he's been†steady touring and performing†as well. I can understand why Po would keep it on the humble and be quiet though - the fickle fans and foul music industry have done him no favors since†Organized Konfusion†broke up.†One thing Prince Poetry has never been though is a "regular nigga" - he's been an exceptional emcee expertly expressing his emotions since his inception. Comparisons to former partner†Pharoahe Monch†have served him poorly, since Po is better than 9 out of 10 emcees in general, and Monch just happens to be the 10th. What Po has needed to step out of his more celebrated friend's shadow is the right producer and the right marketing, and "Animal Serum" already has one out of two locked thanks to†Oh No. No's penchant for memorable instrumentals is only heightened when teamed with an advanced lyricist, as "Machine Rages" illustrates.†The tension in the air on the instrumental is as palpable as the crashing hi-hat cymbals and ringing melody, with Po's voice itself providing the tempo as much as the track. It's a powder keg of a song with Oh No holding a whole book of matches, lighting them and flicking them at your ears. The whole album has that edge of your seat cinema feel, from the harrowing heartbeat of "Where U Eat," to a "Toxic" song that has†NOTHING†to do with Britney Spears and everything to do with Po's rapid fire medical flow. "Starflyer Milez" sounds like a chiptune on acid, filtered and pounded with bass until it was beaten into hip-hop submission for Po's self-described "licorice hot licks" and "ice cold bars." Tasty!"
KISH ::†Order From Chaos†:: A&M Records† ** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Matt Jost
"High up my personal playlist for 2013 you will find a Biz Markie cover from three veteran Toronto artists, "Vapors 2012" by Dan-e-o, Big Kish and Maestro Fresh Wes. The collaboration was also included in Dan-e-o's "Immortal" EP as "Worldwide Vapors," albeit not to the beat of the Biz original. It was over the familiar James Brown loop that I sort of discovered Kish, who sported a cool, confident flow from another time. Coincidentally I came upon his first album the other day, 1991's "Order From Chaos." His name stylized in capital letters, KISH had the good fortune of being produced by First Offence Productions, the same team who had orchestrated the success of Canadian breakthrough artist Maestro Fresh-Wes two years before.†My hope of discovering a thoroughbred MC's slamming debut from the days of yore wasn't answered. The album's lead single was "I Rhyme the World in 80 Days," a novelty tune that finds itself in a no-man's land between dance, pop and rap. Despite female house vocals on the hook, it's not really hip-house, just a dancey affair suffering from a flat sound and a loose pace, lacking the clarity and precision of good dance music. Lyrically KISH takes the listener, as the wordplay of the title suggests, around the world in his rhymes. He finds romance in France and gets into it with the KGB as he invades the Soviet Union (virtually months before it ceased to exist) on a rap battling mission, before finally finding spiritual refuge in "the motherland." "Yo KISH, you went to Africa?" a voice interjects, to which he replies, "Nah - Japan." Indeed Andrew Kishino must have been one of the first North American rappers possessing Asian features, inherited from one side of the family tree. He pursues the theme in the track that immediately follows "I Rhyme the World in 80 Days," "Shogun.""
"That's a relief. I thought for a second he was going to show me Waka Flocka Flame or†MC AK. I kid. When you write all day long for a living, sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses, and make yourself laugh a little bit. Emcees understand this too - they are also writers for a living. That's why Malachi Grant is not afraid to take sly jabs at what dominates the airwaves in his press release, noting that his album swims in a sea full of "Bandz a Make Her Dance" and "Bitches in the Trap." Grant views himself as having a higher calling than these dumbed down raps - listing musical influences ranging from Big L to Biggie, from Rakim to Tupac. That's setting a high standard for a newcomer, but like they always say, if you don't shoot for the stars you're never going to become one yourself. Oh wait - that's what Mark David Chapman said. (Too soon? Nah. Its been almost 34 years now.)†In the background you can hear "My Life" featuring Mike Milan. It's the second song on "Welcome 2 My World" and shows much more promise than most newcomers have after their intro. Judging by a lack of liner notes I have to believe this is self-produced, but if not throw a shout out to Grant's unnamed beat wizard. I don't use the word "wizard" lightly in this context - the beat is a pleasant mixture of gritty and head nodding while keeping a carefully measured balance with the lyrics. I don't know Milan any better than I do Grant before popping this CD in, but I'm not mad at him singing the hook. They're a good tandem on the track.†Malachi gives up a little of his spotlight on three straight songs to another newcomer called Dunn Da God, so just when you think the God†IS†done, he's back for another one. That's alright because like Mike Milan before he's not taking Grant down a notch. He gets the solo shine back for "Flya Than," which is probably the closest thing to the people he was poking at in his one sheet. "
Rhyme Village :: Carcass in the Desert ::†Western Manor†
as reviewed Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Straight outta Lancaster! Crazy motherfucker named†Cleen. From the gang called Rhyme Village, seen? Even though he's from a city where he feels hip-hop isn't taken seriously, Lancaster is one of the 30 biggest cities in Cali, which given the population makes it one of the 150 biggest in the U.S. It's not surprising that under such highly urbanized circumstances he'd find a crew of like-minded emcees, band together for a common cause, and put out an album together. They are China White, Joe Sharp, Whut IAM, Sa'eed and Just Kauz respectively. Cleen did a promotional video for the album talking about life in Lancaster, including some of the surprising restrictions on freedom of speech there.†Individual credits are hard to find on "Carcass in the Desert," but if their†promotional videos†are any indication, it seems that Whut IAM is a DJ/emcee while China White is a producer/emcee. We already know that†Cleen can rap†as that's been well established in previous reviews, and his distinctive nasal tone can be easily picked out on most tracks. Authentic b-boy sentiments can be found on tracks like "Revenge of the Synth."†You could get the wrong idea that they're a pistol packing posse from song titles like "Duck Hunt" and "Beautiful Day to Die," but the only thing they strive to kill is competition on the mic. The songs with the best production, like the old school throwback "RV Radio," and the smokers anthem "Hella High" can help them achieve those goals.
various artists :: Wild'N Out Compilation Vol. 1 ::†Ncredible/RED Music†
as reviewed Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Heads up - the "Wild'N Out Compilation" is†EXCLUSIVE†to Walmart. If you go to†Amazon.com†looking for it you're out of luck. Heads up part two - if you thought that an album could get around the censorship the related TV show received on MTV - forget about it. Walmart would not even stock it on their shelves if it carried an explicit rating or parental advisory sticker. Nick Cannon and his friends cursing is just too much for America's fragile youth to deal with. After thumbing through "Wild'N Out" though I can see why this was targeted at Walmart. In fact take a look for yourself.†MTV's own market research shows their audience getting younger, so it's not surprising that they'd match this up with the purchasing power of Walmart's clean album buyers (fully ignoring the fact that Grand Theft Auto is one aisle over). If you're over 18 and you're in this for the hip-hop music that comes from Nick Cannon's brand of freestyle humor, the extras packaged with the CD won't be that extra. It's not likely you will make your own squads and play your own version of the show, nor will you be doing the crossword at the back, though you might linger on the picture of the Wild'N Out Girls and read some of their fun facts (measurements not included).†Perhaps nothing illustrates the schizophrenic relationship between hip-hop's adult themes and MTV/Nick Cannon's demo better than the album's finale "Show Me Love," a Troy Ave updated 2014 version of 50 Cent's "In Da Club" complete with G-Unit's Tony Yayo."
As promised, UTK (Universe The King) releases the first visual from the upcoming mixtape "Feels Great To Be Dope" (March 2014) for the song "Like Me" produced by UTK. This visual/short film adds to the collection of creative material he's known for displaying and is only a hint at what is to come from the mind of UTK. The video was directed by UTK and Davone Campbell (also known as Daylyt) and features model/designer Mari Ahadi. Enjoy! Like! Share!
As they prep the release of their new album, Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz of Onyx bring fans their new record "We Don't Fuckin' Care". Fredro and Sticky call on A$AP Ferg and Sean Price, who all go in over the Snowgoons' menacing production. Onyx will release their project "WAKEDAFUCUP" on March 9th, which features full production from Snowgoons. Check out "We Don't Fuckin Care" below, as well as their music video for the title-track, which features Dutch group Dope D.O.D.
Funk Volume's Jarren Benton Joins Tech N9ne's Independent Grind Tour
Courtesy Audible Treats.
Beginning April 9th, Jarren Benton from independent powerhouse label Funk Volume will be hitting the road as part of Tech N9ne's Independent Grind Tour. The tour spans over 3 months in more than 70 different cities across the country. In addition to Tech N9ne, the tour will feature Freddie Gibbs, Krizz Kaliko, and the rap group Psych Ward Druggies.
The Independent Grind Tour comes through Benton's hometown of Atlanta on April 19th, and then climbs up the coast and through the Midwest and to the West Coast, ending in June in Funk Volume's home base of Los Angeles on June 4th, concluding in Kansas City on June 28th.
Jarren is no newbie when it comes to rocking shows: last year he toured for almost 40 dates with Rittz on The Life And Times Tour, toured Australia with Hopsin for a week, and spearheaded his own 20-date My Grandma's Basement Tour, his first national headlining tour. The tour followed the release of his debut album, My Grandmas Basement. The album, which features labelmates Hopsin and Dizzy Wright, debuted at #4 on the iTunes Hip-Hop Charts and #4 on Billboard Magazine's Heatseekers Album chart.
Jarren and the rest of his Funk Volume labelmates will be performing at SXSW 2014. Details forthcoming.
2014-04-09 - Gillioz Theatre - Springfield, MO
2014-04-10 - The Rev Room - Little Rock, AR
2014-04-11 - The Varsity Theatre - (18+) - Baton Rouge, LA
2014-04-12 - Soul Kitchen Music Hall - (18+) - Mobile, AL
2014-04-13 - Iron City - Birmingham, AL
2014-04-14 - Vinyl Music Hall - Pensacola, FL
2014-04-15 - The Ritz YBOR - Tampa, FL
2014-04-16 - Culture Room - Fort Lauderdale, FL
2014-04-17 - The Plaza Live - Orlando, FL
2014-04-18 - The Edge Concert Hall - Jacksonville, FL
2014-04-22 - Tremont Music Hall - Charlotte, NC
2014-04-23 - The Howard Theatre - Washington, DC
2014-04-24 - The NorVa - (13+) - Norfolk, VA
2014-04-25 - Theatre of Living Arts - Philadelphia, PA
2014-04-26 - Starland Ballroom - Sayreville, NJ
2014-04-27 - The Worcester Palladium - Worcester, MA
2014-04-28 - Upstate Concert Hall - (16+) - Clifton Park, NY
2014-04-29 - The Water Street Music Hall - Rochester, NY
2014-04-30 - House of Blues - Cleveland - Cleveland, OH
2014-05-02 - Bogart's - Cincinnati, OH
2014-05-03 - Old National Centre - Indianapolis, IN
2014-05-04 - The Pageant - St Louis, MO
2014-05-05 - The Castle Theatre - Bloomington, IL
2014-05-06 - House of Blues - Chicago - Chicago, IL
2014-05-07 - The Rave/Eagles Club - Milwaukee, WI
2014-05-08 - Val Air Ballroom - West Des Moines, IA
2014-05-09 - Sokol Auditorium - Omaha, NE
2014-05-10 - Myth - (18+) - Saint Paul, MN
2014-05-11 - The District - Sioux Falls, SD
2014-05-12 - Clyde Iron Works - Duluth, MN
2014-05-13 - Sanford Center Ballroom - Bemidji, MN
2014-05-14 - Bismarck Civic Center Exhibit Hall - Bismarck, ND
2014-05-15 - Rushmore Plaza Civic Center - Rapid City, SD
2014-05-16 - The Gryphon Theatre - Laramie, WY
2014-05-17 - Babcock Theatre - Billings, MT
2014-05-18 - The Wilma - Missoula, MT
2014-05-19 - Nez Perce County Fairgrounds - (18+) - Lewiston, ID
2014-05-21 - Knitting Factory Concert House - Boise - Boise, ID
2014-05-22 - Knitting Factory Concert House - Spokane - Spokane, WA
2014-05-23 - The Showbox SoDo - Seattle, WA
2014-05-24 - The Showbox SoDo - Seattle, WA
2014-05-26 - Roseland Theater - Portland, OR
2014-05-27 - Midtown Music Hall - Bend, OR
2014-05-28 - The Historic Ashland Armory - Ashland, OR
2014-05-29 - Arcata Community Center - Arcata, CA
2014-05-30 - Knitting Factory Concert House - Reno - Reno, NV
2014-05-31 - Ace of Spades - Sacramento, CA
2014-06-01 - The Catalyst - (16+) - Santa Cruz, CA
2014-06-02 - The Regency Ballroom - San Francisco, CA
2014-06-03 - Riverside Auditorium & Events Center - (18+) - Riverside, CA
2014-06-04 - House of Blues - Sunset Strip - (18+) - West Hollywood, CA
2014-06-05 - House of Blues - San Diego - San Diego, CA
2014-06-07 - Marquee Theatre - Tempe, AZ
2014-06-08 - The Rialto Theatre - Tucson, AZ
2014-06-09 - Hard Rock Cafe - Las Vegas - (18+) - Las Vegas, NV
2014-06-10 - Saltair - Magna, UT
2014-06-11 - Mesa Theater & Club - Grand Junction, CO
2014-06-12 - The Black Sheep - Colorado Springs, CO
2014-06-13 - Aggie Theatre - Fort Collins, CO
2014-06-15 - Sunshine Theater - (13+) - Albuquerque, NM
2014-06-16 - Tricky Falls - El Paso, TX
2014-06-17 - Cactus Courtyard - Lubbock, TX
2014-06-18 - Diamond Ballroom - Oklahoma City, OK
2014-06-19 - Lucky Mule Saloon - (18+) - Abilene, TX
2014-06-20 - Emo's - Austin, TX
2014-06-21 - House of Blues - Houston - Houston, TX
2014-06-22 - House of Blues - Dallas - Dallas, TX
2014-06-24 - Cains Ballroom - Tulsa, OK
2014-06-25 - Cotillion Ballroom - Wichita, KS
2014-06-26 - R. C. McGraw's - (16+) - Manhattan, KS
2014-06-27 - The Blue Note - Columbia, MO
2014-06-28 - Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland - Kansas City, MO
It's time for another new edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #259 is Making Higher Power Moves to a new plateau of dopeness. Enjoy tracks from Reks, SeVen1, Reef the Lost Cauze and Supastition among others! Remember - you can follow us @RapReviews so you never miss a new show when it's released each Tuesday. All of our music is podsafe so feel free to share the show!
* Reks x Hazardis Soundz - 54
* SeVen1 - Higher
* Marcellus Juvann - I Got This
* Big Lo x DJ Fumo - Honey Trap
* Freddie Gz f/ Baby Main - Shut Up
* Verbal Kent - Sound of the Weapon (9th Wonder Remix)
* Doctor J f/ H-Man - Ray Bans
* Reef the Lost Cauze - Power Moves
* Supastition - Eardrum
HBK Gang's Kool John is from a part of the Bay Area that's often overlooked but provides the backdrop for many of its members. Although one of Richmond's claims to fame is that it's the largest city in the United States served by a Green Party mayor, the reality for most of its residents is grim. With one of the highest unemployment rates in the country (11.9% as of June 2013) and one of the highest murder-rates per capita in the country, Richmond is notoriously treacherous. Documenting his local soil is Kool John with the release of "Bang Bang Bang!" featuring Chippa$$ of NHT Boyz, produced by fellow HBK Gang cohort Jay Ant of The Invasion. His upcoming mixtape, Shmop City, is being released on April 7th for free download.
Pete Prince is a rapper/producer whose been living in the UK for just over ten years. Born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark he started rapping at the age of nine after hearing artists such as Jay-Z, Biggie, Tupac & Eminem. From there Pete Prince worked had studying his craft and it wasnít long before he started to produce as well as rap. This talented musician has a passion and a feel for music which comes from the heart. This music isnít forced, itís well thought out creative master pieces that are destined to resonate with urban music fans on a global level.