"What happens when you combine one of hip-hop's fastest rising producers with one of hip-hop's favorite lyricists on one album? "Trophies." Apparently they've already started handing them out even before this review. Some would say that's arrogance, and some would say that's justified, but most of all most would say that's premature. After all Apollo Brown is pretty good, but he's relatively new on the scene; and O.C. is pretty good, but his most important and venerated album came out almost TWENTY years ago. Could an album between the two possibly live up to the kind of hype its title implies, or is this overzealous salesmanship for a car that might actually turn out to be a lemon? There's only one way to find out. I don't know name of the speaker on the opening (and titular) track, but he certainly sets the right tone for this album, by turning the title and the cover art right on its ear. Instead of being a boisterous declaration of what they deserve, "Trophies" instead becomes a wry joke with the punchline being they don't get them and don't WANT them either. The motto for this duo is creating worthwhile music and letting it speak for itself without the acclaim or the wealth, and if that creedo seems familiar it's the same one O.C. so eloquently articulated on the song "Time's Up" decades ago. If you haven't heard it take the time to check out the video below, and when you come back we'll continue this conversation. "
Fraction & Fresh Kils :: Extra Science :: Kilzone Productions as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Canadian hip-hop combinations are nothing new, but the collaboration of Kitchener, Ontario emcee Fraction with Toronto, Ontario producer Fresh Kils still feels like something original and interesting. It probably doesn't hurt that their publicity firm is called Must Be Santa, which is a eye-catching name for me, as is the fact their business cards come with a hole punched out so you can tie it to a present as a gift tag. Doing anything that makes your project stand out from the endless parade of digital and physical projects that come across my desk is highly appreciated, but the "Extra Science" this duo displays is what really makes them stand out. Things seem bad at this point but trust me they only go downhill futher, and the scratched in samples of "another sad story to tell" and cackling laughter create a track that could put any "reality" rapper to shame. It's also more horrifying because unlike emcees who try to shock and awe with their body count or ability to chop body parts, every part of the song sounds like a plausible real life scenario of how the monsters among us are madeThis is only one aspect though, one of eleven different chapters in the "Extra Science" story that Fraction & Fresh Kils tell. Some of the topics are familiar, but the quality with which they are delivered is not. "Change" is something people always call for, but Fraction and Fresh Kils personalize it by flipping the production for each verse. "
"First impressions can be totally wrong. I've been at parties where the shlubbiest, mousiest guy there was also a multi-millionaire. People I thought were stupid and shallow turned out to brilliant and deep. So it shouldn't suprise me that my first impression of reggae artist Gentleman's new album was off-base. I made my judgement in the first 52 seconds of the first song of his latest album, "Diversity." His bio had me skeptical: A white reggae artist? From Germany? The well-meaning but lightweight music on "The Reason" added to my suspicions. And then he dropped a cliche so tired that even the most patchouli-soaked hippie wouldn't say it: "Mother Earth is in pain/Oh how She cries." Mother Earth crying? Are you serious? With that, I wrote Gentleman off as a cheesy and completely ignorable. Luckily, I left "Diversity" on my MP3 player, and found myself not skipping the songs when they came on shuffle. I was initallly drawn in by the bass-heavy dancehall track "Tempolution." Over a thick, languid riddim that echoes Tenor Saw's "Ring The Alarm," Red Roze and Gentleman trade licks about killing a rival sound. I was sold with the King Jammy-produced "Good Old Days," which features late reggae legend Sugar Minott. Like the best singjays, Gentleman is equally adept singing and rapping."
"Here's a few random phrases from the press kit for "The Need For Speed" to kickstart your review reading experience: "underground Miami music scene," "this year's breakout rapper," "his popular Transformers based mixtape series," "reflect his hustle," "a representation of changing lane music." That's who J.Carr is, and while "The Need For Speed" might easily be confused for a similarly named video game on most Google searches, that won't stop him from taking his automotive theme "Full Throttle" on the album's first full track. Like his fellow "underground Miami music scene" rappers, J.Carr is brimming with confidence even though he admits he "has yet to see the charts." That's not going to stop him from making his "changing lane music" with 500 horsepower of attitude under the hood and in every song title. Even when his pedal to the metal attitude has his radiator reaching the "Boiling Point," he'll enlist a Marvin Gaye or Otis Redding soundalike to croon on his tune and cool things down: You might get the impression life's a bitch and then you die from a track like that, but most of the time the songs "reflect his hustle" and show he's already achieved the success he dreamed of. "
"Intentionally or not the Odd Future collective plan doesn't seem to be to "Kill Them All" but to outproduce them all. In the five years since they began their ascent to hip-hop stardom, they've spun off as many or more solo albums and side projects than the Wu-Tang Clan did in the same timespan. One of those many projects goes by the mysterious name of The Jet Age of Tomorrow - a collaboration between Odd Future's own Matt Martians and Atlanta producer Hal Williams. The story goes that Martians was producing more beats than OF's founder/leader Tyler, the Creator could use and that even though he liked them they didn't always fit his sound/style. It was only natural at that point for Martians to spin off a solo project. That doesn't explain the group's name though, because taken literally, it seems a bit absurd. After all we're already living in the jet age and have been for almost 75 years, dating back to the development of jet engines for aircraft use before World War II. If there was a "tomorrow" to the jet age that came decades ago when commercial air travel became affordable and accessible to the middle class, although with rising fuel prices and airline fees that trend seems to be inexorably reversing itself. By this point in recorded history that age seems almost antique, as we even had a short lived TV drama called "Pan Am" waxing nostalgic for airplane life in the 1960's."
"This one comes as a surprise. Just when I thought Mac Mall was content with being a Mac Dre disciple and observing the teachings of Thizzlam, he comes back with one of the most radical rap album titles of all time. Question is, does the content match the headline? The lead single and titular track suggested as much. To a fragile beat consisting of little more than sparse drums and faint synth flares, Mall spits incendiary lyrics in his characteristic sharp voice that carries indignation well. With "The Rebellion Against All There Is" Mac Mall doesn't break personal ground. On the contrary, with Khayree on the beat and Ray Luv featuring in the third verse, the song harkens back to his '90s material. Besides serving game and serving dames, Mall always had a social, even political streak. That doesn't change the fact that calling an album "The Rebellion Against All There Is" raises expectations that aren't met with a title track alone. He casts the first stone on the opening "Mac Manifesto," lashing out at mainstream rappers who are "quick to do they dance and show they teeth as we dyin' in the muthafuckin' streets." Wondering how "we go from 2Pac to this pussy-pop disco cornball crossover shit that they claim is hip-hop," Mall builds a momentum that is instantly undermined by the following tracks, "Dayz Like This" and "My Room," which both shoot game at an object of desire. Mac's pimp game may be sharp, but after such an introduction and under such a motto lyrics like "I keep a hardheaded hoe on a real short leash" and Khia samples result in one of the most absurd album sequencings in recent memory. "
"In the beginning Muneshine made his name as a cross-border hip-hop producer, lacing American and Canadian talent alike with top quality beats. Eventually he flipped the script and dropped an album of original raps, relying on others like Illmind and Oddisee to provide the sonic landscape - with effective results on both counts. 2012's "There Is Only Today" is a return to that form, with the producer turned emcee relying on the beats of others to largely carry him forward, though he does sneak in a couple of his own here and there. One such track is a song where he shares billing with Canadian rap favorite D-Sisive. One of the beats really caught me out there though - Jeff Spec's production on "Home Sweet Home." The beat is dope, but I've heard it before and I know exactly where - Rasul Syed's "Hi" from the DJ Cosm "Time and Space" album. Given everybody involved is Canadian this is definitely more than a coincidence - either Jeff Spec produced the Syed track uncredited (and I was sure DJ Cosm produced his own album based on the press kit), or Mune liked the beat and decided he could flip it his own way with a few minor variations. Arguably a third possibility exists - they independently arrived at the same break and both decided to flip it in almost the same way - but to me that seems exceedingly unlikely. Whatever the reason I like the break so much that I'm going to give everyone involved a pass. Things are much more clear cut on the other 13 tracks though. M-Phazes flips the bopping and colorfully melodic "Do Me" with Dminor providing a lyrical assist - and trust me it's no Father MC track."
"Looking for something different from the weekly regimen of albums I review, I was happy to take on Sheena G's "The First Class," as the one-sheet that came with it promised she was "a combination of Fusion Urbana, Reggaeton, and Hip Hop, all with a distinct Latin flavor." Her story was also different from the usual albums I cover - she has an El Savadoran mother and a German father, but still somehow wound up being born in Portland, Oregon. Even though she could have stayed in the United Stats as a result, her parents moved to El Salvador, not returning from Central America until she was 11 years old, at which point she was stricken by the rare and occasionally fatal autoimmune disorder known as Kawasaki disease. She survived the experience and vowed in her own words to "never give up on living life to the fullest." A self-made woman, Sheena actually doesn't need "The First Class" to be a success in the music world to be a success at life, as she's run everything from espresso stands to a chain of night clubs in her career. That makes it all the more interesting that she decided to pursue this life, and even more curious that a Portland based artist would seek out the help of Vallejo, California's own E-40 to get her start - they collaborated on a song called "Smell the Money." A mixtape soon followed, ultimately leading us to this album. And now for a revelation - despite the promises of the press kit that came with "The First Class," I can't say that the words "Hip Hop" really fit the "combination" they describe."
Chloe started building a buzz last year when she dropped a video of herself walking down the streets of LA in nothing but a bikini and followed that quickly with her debut mixtape Free PXXXY. As shocking as the p-word can be, it actually stands for (in this case) “Parties Unlimited Single Sexy Youth”, which is how Chloe would describe herself. It’s not a sex movement but a youth movement of individuality, fun and confidence. The slim-built singer/rapper is already coming in with her own tailor-made sound that is one part crafted from her days as a go-go dancer in San Diego’s club scene, and one part built off her YOLO production team.
Below is Chloe’s new video for her single “I Got A (Bitch in the Back)”. The song is the latest single from her forthcoming mixtape Hollywood Playground, which will be released this summer and followed by an album she’s currently in the studio prepping.
Kreayshawn's Debut Album, Somethin 'Bout Kreay, To Be Released August 14, 2012
Following a year full of shows, travel, press, photo shoots, and personal projects, Kreayshawn, one of 2012's most talked about sensations, will release her debut album, Somethin 'Bout Kreay on August 14, 2012 via Columbia Records. Drawing inspiration from a myriad, of genres including everything from sissy bounce to juke to 80's rap, to pop and beyond, Kreayshawn's album is a reflection of her vast musical taste.
This past year has been a flurry of excitement and new experiences for the 22 year-old Oakland, California native, who abruptly gained the attention of millions when her undeniably catchy anti-materialism anthem "Gucci Gucci," became an instant viral hit. "Gucci Gucci" garnened over 200,000 views within its first 48 hours last May and over 2 million views in just two weeks, with over 34 million views to date. Kreayshawn worked on her debut album in between performances around the world in Japan, the UK, France, and Canada and US major festivals like Voodoo, POPPED!, Bamboozle & The VICE Noisey tour, which she co-headlined with Neon Indian. Says Kreayshawn, "I feel so accomplished, having finished my album; I got to travel the world, perform for crowds of tens of thousands, be on covers of magazines all over the world, and finish a whole album in less than a year."
Setting the tone for Kreayshawn's debut album is the single "Breakfast,", produced by Free School. The video, which she directed and produced in Atlanta, features 2 Chainz. "My favorite part about the video shoot was the breakfast party in the kitchen. It was so colorful and just how I envisioned it when I wrote the treatment." With the album release date now on the horizon, Kreayshawn's excited to share her eclectic style with the public. Says Kreayshawn, "I just want everyone to be ready for a mystical musical journey through genre and sound. There's just somethin 'bout Kreay..."
Free Album: L PRO - "Vertigo" (Re-Release + Bonus Song)
L PRO presents Vertigo, a collection of joints produced by native Portland producer 5th Sequence. This record is the follow up to their EP “Equilibrium” which was released earlier this year. Equilibrium did well with its release by getting fans around the world familiar with L PRO and 5th Sequence. Both L PRO and 5th Sequence were said to bring back the template of historic veterans, Pete Rock and CL Smooth; and 5th Sequence and L PRO with their release of Equilibrium truly brought back the flavor of the golden age of hip hop.
MP3: Dirty Den f/ Heather Victoria - "Ride With Me"
North Cackalacky's Derty Den has 9th Wonder's songstress Heather Victoria accompanying him on this unreleased song entitled "Ride With Me." Derty leans back on the track, rapping about his day-to-day street life while Heather provides the smooth melodic vocals over a Half Man Half Amazing production.
Video: Awon & Kameleon Beats - "Back With the Tracks"
The duo's aim is to return viewers to a more visually artistic era in Hip Hop where story lines, creative angles and colorful filters were used to create moving works of art. In comparison to today's staged shots this video was shot in raw form, capturing the essence of Awon & Kameleon Beats creative process as a whole. From digging for samples to writing lyrics to recording vocals all elements are captured here.
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Crime Loops 3 the latest installment to an instrumental series by Brooklyn based TeV95. Crime Loops 3 is a collage of beats, edits, and loops that exude a taste of urban culture with a hint of Brooklyn's art renaissance. Influenced by everything from Charlie Parker to Jack McDuff and more. Crime Loops 3 combines jazz and soul loops with electronic downtempo elements and explores many different methods of sampling and editing, from the classic to the obscure.
It's time for another new edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #174 is Featuring Songs With Featured Artists. While the stars this week are the likes of Savant a/k/a Stanstro, Casual and Benefit, they FEATURE everybody from Mr. Miranda to Mr. Town to Jaz-O! Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or @RapReviews on this episode! Thanks for listening and remember to share the show with a friend and tell them to check it out every Tuesday on RapReviews.com! Don't forget to subscribe to our RSS newsfeed and follow us on Twitter so you never miss a new episode.