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Thursday October 02, 2014
RapReviews.com
Feature of the Week

[Neverlove] Juno what I'm sayin'?

Buck 65 Review

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Audio: Wolfpack - "Wolfpack Or Nothing" (@SasksWolfpack @RayneDrop)


Audio: Wolfpack - "Wolfpack Or Nothing"

WM: After a month of hard pushed promotion and a #12 peak on iTunes Charts, us Wolfpack boys have decided to give you a FREE stream of the album!! You can catch the melodic stylings of Chuck Woods on hooks and verses and the intricate scheme weaved by Mer overtop classic sounding Rayne Drop production.

Video: @RobStashiz - "Freak Show"


Video: Rob Stashiz - "Freak Show"

PM: Rob Stashiz is back again with his new debut release "Freak Show". Look out for more Rob Stashiz releases to drop in the near future.

PR: @PaulWhiteMusic's "Shaker Notes" Album Out Now


PR: Paul White's "Shaker Notes" Album Out Now

OHM: Paul White's new album, Shaker Notes, is out today via our friends at R&S Records. It's a very personal and hugely ambitious record for Paul, who plays almost every instrument, sings and produces the whole thing.

Audio: @Mallz - "That's How It Is" (Prod. @JMPro757)


Audio: Mallz - "That's How It Is" (Prod. JMProductions)

M: After a nearly two year hiatus, Mallz (@mallz) is back with a new album, titled "Hustler Of Culture" - produced entirely by JMProductions (@NoNDescript757 and @JMPro757) out of Virginia. The anticipated first single, "That's How It Is" features the NC emcee at his best over neck snapping production. Download this offering for free and get ready for "Hustler Of Culture", coming October 2014.

Video: @MedafOracle - "Fool!" (@mlmkareem)


Video: MedafOracle - "Fool!"

Kareem: This is a song and visual from medafOracle’s upcoming album entitled “The Soulowest”. This is the not often played role by the man. Consistently we see the woman playing the role of the fool in love or in the chase of romance. medafOracle and Palamora Productions show you the reversed tables from a male’s perspective in being the fool in pursuit of the opposite sex.

Audio: Mr. Fickle f/ Revalation - "We So Alive" (@RevOfEMS)


Audio: Mr. Fickle f/ Revalation - "We So Alive"

Chris: Mr. Fickle (Camden, NJ) drops off this New Joint "We So Alive" ft. Revalation (of EMS) off his newly released project "The 40 Year Old Nerd." The song has Fickle & Rev trading bars over Black Milk's "What I Write" instrumental with cuts by DJ Soul Buck.

Audio: Tory Lanez f/ @RLGrime - "I-95" (@TLanez)


Audio: Tory Lanez f/ RL Grime - "I-95"

Biz 3: Tory Lanez's new project Lost Cause drops Monday, but here's the latest track "I-95" featuring production by the white hot RL Grime along with Noah Breakfast, Grave Goods, and Tory himself. The Texas-via-Canada rapper/singer/producer shows his vocal prowess along with his distinct Toronto flow on this cut. Check it out below and catch him on his first headlining tour starting next week.



TORY LANEZ TOUR DATES:
Oct 2 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
Oct 4 - El Paso, TX - Lowbrow Palace
Oct 8 - San Antonio, TX - White Rabbit
Oct 9 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald's Downstairs
Oct 10 - Dallas, TX - Trees
Oct 12 - Atlanta, GA - Aisle 5
Oct 13 - Boston, MA - Middle East Upstairs
Oct 15 - New York, NY - The Studio at Webster Hall
Oct 16 - Burlington, VT - Signal Kitchen
Oct 17 - Buffalo, NY - Waiting Room
Oct 19 - Toronto, ON - The Drake Underground
The (W)rap Up - Week of September 23, 2014


If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Jeezy's "Seen It All: The Autobiography" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!


[Seen It All: The Autobiography] Jeezy :: Seen It All: The Autobiography
CTE World/Def Jam

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

"I can't really blame Young Jeezy for dropping the "Young" - after all he's 36 now. We posed the question on our review of his major label debut, and he answered it for us, so YOU GO JAY. Meanwhile Young MC never did drop the "Young" once he was in his 30's or 40's, which is either a tribute to his perseverance or a testament to his irrelevance. He hasn't had a song chart on Billboard since 1997 - at which point even he was calling himself the "Return of the 1 Hit Wonder." Back to the not-so-young Jeezy though, and his new album "Seen It All: The Autobiography." The one thing that Jeezy has always had which set him apart from his peers was not his rhymes - and his success has brought a slew of imitators who talk about the same things he does (for better or for worse). The thing that made Jeezy stand out was the one thing that really couldn't be imitated - his vocal tone and his delivery. Jeezy has a uniquely Atlanta, Georgia rap style - a drawl thicker than a Johnny Rockets milkshake with more gravel than a concrete quarry. Jeezy is arguably the only rapper alive who could make "yeah" into a seven syllable word, and it's that penchant for being uniquely Jeezy that makes him entertaining. Over the Don Cannon, Lyle LeDuff and Frank Dukes produced "Holy Ghost" Jeezy combines all of his best qualities into a track that really is autobiographical in presentation. Even though artists like Freddie Gibbs have questioned just how "real" Jeezy actually is, there's no doubt Jeezy's had his share of real problems - reading his rap sheet would take longer than reading this review. As recently as last month, Jeezy got arrested on the Under The Influence Tour for having an illegal assault rifle (an AK-47) on his tour bus. You could accuse him of getting caught up in his own hype and having to portray what he says on his albums in real life - "I don't eat, sleep or s#%! without my motherf#%@ing pistol" quips Jeezy on "Me OK" - or you could say that his own accounts of an "empty" childhood punctuated by narcotics arrests and stints in youth boot camps prepared him for a rap career punctuated by nihilism."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2014_09F_seenitall.html

Ariana Grande :: My Everything :: Universal Music Group/Republic Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[My Everything]"At 21, Grande is already eight years deep into a career that has spanned singing on cruise ships to singing in a Broadway musical to staring in a Nickelodeon show to releasing a debut album and touring with Justin Bieber in 2013. "My Everything" is her second album. Grande's main attribute is her voice, which is somewhere between Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey. (The fact that she is good-looking doesn't hurt either - there aren't any plain female pop stars, after all.) I get the sense from the music and marketing for Ariana Grande's "My Everything" that she and her handlers don't quite know what to do with her. Is she a teen pop idol or a dance diva or an R&B singer? Is she the squeaky clean Nickelodeon star or is she a sexy sexy grown up? Does she let the focus be on her singing chops, or does she hide her range with layers of Auto-Tune and EDM? The approach seems to be to try and maintain multiple conflicting images at once, even when they are contradictory. It seems to be working for her, but it's confusing. To start off with, Grande is old enough to drink but doesn't look old enough to vote. Her barely-legal looks give a creepy sheen to her sexed up image. She's posing in lingerie and heels on the album cover and she's wearing a miniskirt and high-heeled boots in most of her marketing material and videos. Yes, Grande is a grown-ass woman and can dress however she wants to dress and get as sexy as she wants to get, and no, she's not nearly as trashy as Miley Cyrus or "Dirrty"-era Christina Aguilera. However, while it seemed like Miley and Xtina's hyper-sexualized image was driven by the artists themselves, with Grande it just feels like a management-imposed marketing strategy. They are trying to get her to land somewhere between girl next door and high class call girl. Sexy enough to differentiate her from her Nick days, but not sexy enough to scare any of those fans (or their parents) off. Her sly, coquettish looks to the camera in "Problem" are stiff. Her hip-grinding is desultory and phoned in. It all feels as scripted and test-marketed as a Hollywood blockbuster starring an actress who is fulfilling a contractual obligation. Her visual presentation doesn't seems to be connected with who she actually is."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2014_09_myeverything.html

The Green Seed :: Drapetomania :: Communicating Vessels
as reviewed by Zach 'Goose' Gase

[Drapetomania]"Over the past decade, and maybe even longer than that, underground hip hop has had a fascination with 90s-sounding hip hop - or what I like to call "Nostalgia Rap." Some acts, such as Joey Bada$$ and his Pro Era crew, have been able to effectively execute nostalgia rap, but most fall flat, revisiting tired tropes and sounds that come off derivative and unimaginative. The Green Seed, a four member crew from the Birmingham-based indie label Communicating Vessels, is definitely a Nostalgia Rap crew, and their album, "Drapetomania," is definitely stuck in the 90s but is still an enjoyable, head nodding record. The Green Seed features two emcees (R-Tist and C.O.M.P.L.E.T.) and two DJs (DJ FX and Jeff C). Their sound reminds me a lot of throwback acts like Arrested Development and Jurassic 5. The Green Seed crafts a lot of excellent chant-like hooks throughout "Drapetomania" including standouts "Gotchoo" and "The Up Steps." The production, which is handled by R-Tist along with Jeffrey Cain and others, carries this album. There is a heavy 90s vibe, but the sound is more fleshed out and flourished than typical boom bap records. Tracks like the closer, "Town of Steal" uses both live instrumentation and samples. The first track, "Jude Law" is packed with energy and features horn chops that would impress Q-Tip. R-Tist and C.O.M.P.L.E.T.'s talents are more focused on rhythm and flows than stand out lyricism. When these two emcees are at their best, they're trading bars back and forth, playing with flows and singing catchy hooks. Tracks like "The Up Steps" and "Jude Law" are the best examples of that. "Amigos" and "Is Where the Heart Is" are stand out cuts about love and friendship, that provide some insight but are still fun. "Drapetomania's" nadir track is "Diss Connect," which is about the ill effects social media and technology is having on human interaction."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2014_09_drapetomania.html

Gripp :: Ansible :: glassEyeballs
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Ansible]"Gripp first grabbed ahold of us back in 2008. Reviewer Justin Chandler described him as the difference between "independent" rap and "REALLY independent rap." The Providence, Rhode Island native boasts the kind of credentials that might have gotten him pigeonholed as nerdcore - a master's degree in computer science for one, owning and operating his own record label for another, and self-producing and self-mastering his hip-hop albums would be the icing on that metaphorical cake. As long as we're being nerdy though let's just say that this cake is NOT a lie. Instead of letting his background and education stick him in a lyrical trap where he's only allowed to rap about video games and Star Wars, "As Knowledge Kills Beauty" was a heartfelt AND well produced album that Chandler summed up ideally as "hip-hop with meaning and purpose." Gripp's "Ansible" almost got axed by accident. Even though we received his new album with open arms earlier this year and a review was planned, one thing after another went wrong between January 3rd and now. Life has a way of screwing up the best laid plans of mice and men, and without going into sordid detail, it seems like 2014 has been the year just about everything that could go wrong did. Having just completed major structural repairs to my home, Gripp came along at the right time with a polite inquiry: "Hey there friend - are you still going to review my album? If not I'd appreciate some feedback so I can correct my mistakes the next time." Stunned I realized that three-fourths of the year had gone by and no one on staff had gotten to "Ansible" - for which I can and will only blame myself. I could have taken the ball and run with it, or I could have passed it to someone I was sure would have been as interested as I, but if the saying "better late than never" means anything I'm here to tell Mr. Gillson in five words "You did absolutely nothing wrong." It was just life man - life got in the way. It's fair to say that Gripp (and guest emcee Greydon Square) may go over the heads of some listeners on "We Should Be So Lucky." That's a good thing. Gripp's hopeful message that science and technology can cure disease and allow us to explore the galaxy is not the kind of message suitable for the lowest common denominator."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2014_09_ansible.html

Happy Tooth & Dug :: W.H.Y.G.O.D.W.H.Y. :: Happy Tooth & Dug
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[W.H.Y.G.O.D.W.H.Y.] "I have a tendency to associate Columbus, Ohio with dope underground rap music - after all it's where Blueprint and Illogic hail from. At some point somebody from Columbus will send me a horrible album to prove that I've developed an unfair and overrated perception of Columbus as a place where something in the water causes a genetic evolution toward rap greatness - an unseen DNA helix fracturing and combining to bring forth shit I love to bump. Happy Tooth & Dug won't be the ones to change my mind. Secretly I hoped they would break the mold. Some weeks I think I'm too damn selective about what I choose to review. I think I untentionally create the impression that I love everything I write about, when it's often that I just won't review something that strikes me as terrible right out of the gate. I do make exceptions at times, out of some inner desire to warn listeners, or simply because I feel guilty that somebody went to the trouble to send me a press kit - I should say SOMETHING even if it's terrible. Even so there are weeks I just kick myself for handing out more 7's than a Vegas slot machine ever will. Am I actually choosing stuff that good to review, or do I like way more than I should? Damn it. I like Happy Tooth & Dug. They hooked me from the beginning with lines like "I'm the reigning champ of nothing more than recognizing pestilence" and Squidbillies references like "Death to America!" It's even more appropriate that shortly after those words are spoken the background instrumental takes on a Kentucky bluegrass quality, plucked like you're sipping moonshine on the porch while making hip-hop. The self-deprecating lyrics of "Smoke, Steam and Dust" tickle my rib bone - right down to them reading it like a movie script and announcing "pause for dramatic effect" before taking themselves down a peg or two."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2014_09_whygodwhy.html

NjS :: Soular Power :: NjS Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Soular Power]"Naval Justice Society? Nearly June Sixteenth? Now Jun Seba? It could certainly be a tribute to the late great Nujabes, a man who some people (fairly) call the J Dilla of Japan. The truth though is a little more plain - it means that the duo of Zen and Kuga will Never Just Settle. There's no reason they should. The bilingual Bay Area based Japanese-American emcees were each successful working as deejays until a night in Osaka that is now biographical folklore convinced them to form a rap group and bring their take on hip-hop to the world. The influence of Asian culture in hip-hop is often overlooked and misunderstood - and the contributions are often pegged as taiko drums and shakuhachi flutes or samples from Shaw Brothers martial arts movies. Unfortunately sites which celebrated the depth and breadth of the Asian diaspora in hip-hop seem to have vanished, leaving behind Twitter accounts which haven't been updated in four years. On the other hand there are Tumblr sites and Asian rap blogs picking up the slack, so it's not as though there is no hope for an under-represented demographic to get its just due. If anything you could take the message of the opening track of "Soular Power" as an affirmation of revival for the scene, "Starting Fresh" with traditional sounding instruments while mixing both Japanese and English verses with crispy cymbals and snares. Speaking of percussion, "Soular Power" wins me over repeatedly with the strength and persistance of its drum tracks. The opening ten seconds of "Most Definitely" could be on an endless loop and I doubt I would tired of it - in fact it reminds me of Mobb Deep's "Eye For An Eye" to an uncanny degree. The gently tapped backdrop of "Across the Cables" featuring Champlu and Timeless gives you the feeling of floating across the instrumental, which makes sung chorus "Take me away to another land, you don't have to understand" lift you to a realm that's above the clouds like Guru and Inspectah Deck. There are no rock stars smashing guitars on "Better Days" - though it does have a funky guitar being soulfully played sans amplifier. Funky collaborations can be found throughout the 43 minutes, including the UK's Funky DL on the hip-hop and jazz union praise of "Can't Be." Even now you may still be wondering though - WHO IS NJS?!"

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2014_09_soularpower.html

Snootie Wild :: Go Mode :: CMG/Epic Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Go Mode]"Snootie Wild has been handpicked by Yo Gotti to be the future of his Collective Music Group imprint. On a surface level the connection is obvious since both artists hail from Memphis, and not surprisingly Gotti appears on two tracks from his retail "Go Mode" release. It's certainly not the worst idea for Gotti to parlay his sudden success of late into a fledgling music empire, given he's been around since the early 2000's and only recently gained some mainstream notoriety. Cash in while you can and plan for the future. What is mildly surprising is how quickly Snootie's track "Yayo" blew up commercially. The K. Figz track didn't strike me as anything particularly special - nor anything terrible either. It featured the same trademarks as most of what's popping lately - machine gun drums, heavy piano keys, a repetitive melody and instrumental dropouts to punctuate the punchlines. I'm not sure I'd punctuate lines like "Moving weight like Macho/I be eating nacho/cheese, guapo" though. I've gone over the six tracks of Snootie's "Go Mode" forward and backward trying to figure out what makes him stand our lyrically or musically from his peers. The constant vocal pitch tuning and manipulation makes him sound like Future and if you're going to rock Future you might as well stick with the original and not a carbon copy. The verbiage isn't any different from what's charting and hitting in the scene from other trap rappers. Take "Made Me" for example. Snootie's rhyme schemes tend toward the basic and banal. "Paper, hater, later." "Best, impressed, finesse." "Yayo, say so, oh no." If you listen to these 22 minutes enough times and find somebody shopping around trap beats, you can probably buy a few and use AutoTune to make yourself a Snootie Wild track. Keep it real simple: "I get so much money/it's not even funny/you be countin ones/I be stackin hunn'ies." There you go."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2014_09_gomode.html

VISUAL :: Supreme Science :: Community Service Records
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[Supreme Science] "A characteristic of contemporary rap is its lack of life experience. These days aspiring rappers often have a very vague outlook on life, and if they do know where they want to go, you can tell they don't really know how to get there. That's totally understandable, especially when we consider the sheer youth of these artists and how the internet presents them with a world of (phantom) possibilities. Thinking back, it perhaps wouldn't have been all that different in the '90s were it not for the era's specific styles, which automatically put a lot of the new music into an adult context. So-called conscious and gangsta rap made a lot of MC's seem wise beyond their years simply by dealing with existential themes such as violence, poverty, imprisonment, death, faith, etc. Chicago representative VISUAL has been around long enough to remember those days, in fact there's a peculiar undertone to his latest release, "Supreme Science," that points back to that time. There are hints that he spent some time under the spiritual guidance of the Five-Percent Nation, which can seem like a bit of a paradox considering his white skin. At the same time he mentions his Hispanic heritage, and after being born in the United States, he spent his earliest years in Mexico. Bottomline, VISUAL has perhaps a wider horizon than your average unsigned type. His sense of reality is especially apparent in "The Dream Is Free" where him and Chi-Town vet JUICE bring dreamers back down to earth. Their Boogie Down Productions interpolation goes, "The dream is free - but this life cost money," but the entire song is a wake-up call, counting the brilliant cautionary verse from JUICE. Musically the track stands out as the most offensively modern with squeaking synths and loud drums, while sole producer Loose Canon opts for soulful soundscapes elsewhere. "Intro" immediately establishes the link to similar modern manifestations of spiritual street rap (think Seven Gems) via female hums and Ghostface scratches. The following title track gives off a slight Asian vibe while VISUAL's gritty performance recalls New York Latino artists like Joell Ortiz and Immortal Technique."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2014_09_supremescience.html

WestsideGunn :: Hitler Wears Hermes Deluxe :: Digi Crates Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Hitler Wears Hermes Deluxe] "Everybody's used to hyperbole when it comes to new rap artists and new hip-hop albums. It's routine for emcees to be described as "the next Shawn Carter" or "the next Tupac Shakur." The comparisons are meant to evoke the idea that said young'un can achieve the same level of commercial success and hardcore hip-hop respect, because it's easy to have one or the other and awfully rare to have both. It's also fair to say very few people called "the next Christopher Wallace" or anything like it come CLOSE to justifying the comparison. It ultimately renders what should be rarely used and highly sought after praise as utterly meaningless. Digi Crates chose to go a completely different route by calling WestsideGunn "the next best thing since Raekwon's 'Cuban Linx'" in their press release. There's no doubt that's a large serving of hyperbole, but it stands out for picking an artist known for influencing OTHER artists. Though "Cuban Linx" would eventually go on to sell over a million units in the nearly two decades since its release, the artists referenced in the first paragraph woud sell a million in the first MONTH and go multi-platinum in the first YEAR. Raekwon the Chef metriculated his way to a platinum plaque while reinventing rap slanguage, creating a new lane for New York artists to drive down and reinforcing the notion that the Wu-Tang Clan collective was the cutting edge of rap music. He certainly evokes Rae in the intro of "Me and My Eagle": "Aiyyo, aiyyo... luxurious fly shit..." The vocal tone couldn't be more different though. While Raekwon was known for his deep raspy "politic ditto" delivery, WestsideGunn sounds like he swallowed a tank full of helium and then had Madlib tune it up a pitch or two. He's definitely got the accent though - and kept it even though he moved from Buffalo, New York to Atlanta, Georgia. On "Messhall Talk" he winds up coming off like a curiously addictive mixture of Raekwon, AZ and Action Bronson - or as he says "bear witness to the flyest mu'fucka living." He's certainly got the braggadocious swag of a mid-1990's Wu-Tang solo album: "Biggest chain you ever seen on/gettin my Kareem on" while referencing Godfather films and bragging that his "mentality is like Escobar." He punctuates the end of the above track with a sample of The Sopranos, firmly cementing what his influences are - it's the mob life and the gangster rap pioneers of the East coast. At times it's easy to imagine he's what a pre-teen Kool G. Rap would have sounded like, right down to the lisp."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2014_09_hitlerwears.html
Video: West Coast Wyn - "Flexin" (@WestCoastWYN @JoeBayer)


Video: West Coast Wyn - "Flexin"

Joe: At only 22 years young, Los Angeles' own West Coast Wyn has been living with hip-hop in his blood since he was just 7 years old. After dropping his first solo mixtape at the age of 15 and landing multiple performances in the years that followed, Wyn was able to catch the attention of Freestyle Records CEO Big Marv, which resulted in him signing to the label.



Now that he has a full team behind him, Wyn is ready to give the world his debut album. "Flexin" is the lead single off Wyn's upcoming project and it sheds light on the California native's knack for the finer things, including women, diamonds, and fancy cars.

Wyn's debut LP, 2K Ballin, will be available in stores via Freestyle/SMC/INgrooves Music Group on November 25, 2014.
Video: @RabbiDarkside @DJRobSwift (X-Ecutioners) "You And I And The Moon"


Video: Rabbi Darkside f/ DJ Rob Swift (X-Ecutioners) "You And I And The Moon"

Matt: On the heels of headlining NYC’s Blue Note Jazz Club last week and kicking off his 2014 European Tour next week, Brooklyn’s Rabbi Darkside offers the latest visual, “You And I And The Moon,” featuring legendary turntablist DJ Rob Swift of the X-Ecutioners from his chart topping solo LP (reaching #4 on CMJ Hip Hop Charts and #1 on College Radio Charts) Prospect Avenue; proving that Rabbi’s global fan-base continues to grow while he obscures the lines between Hip Hop, Jazz, Folk & Poetry.


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Welcome to RapReviews.com for the week of September 30th, 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 All the King's Men's "All the King's Men," Adam Bernard' Adam B Experience #78, Buck 65's "Neverlove" (our featured review), an editorial for The War on Nostalgia, Zach Gase's Aahh Fest 2014 Recap, Steve 'Flash' Juon's The Hip-Hop Shop #293, Madchild's "Switched On," Royal Flush's "Grand Capo," Emanuel Wallace's The (W)rap Up for September 23, 2014 and Wara from the NBHD's "Kidnapped."

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