"It's not easy to start a Too $hort review at this point without a cliched explanation of his veteran status, an obvious acknowledgment of the size of his album catalogue, and an apology to the feminists reading for his misogynistic lyrics. Even though it's dangerous to make assumptions, I'm going to break the fourth wall here and assume you know who Todd Shaw is, and exactly what he's been about for the last 30 years+. If that turns out to not be the case, and you really need to be put on game, I recommend the following reviews from out large catalogue of coverage: "Born to Mack," "Short Dog's in the House" and "Married to the Game." Now let's move on to "No Trespassing," which is at least his 19th album, although there may be more if you count extended plays and compilations. Speaking of EP's, "Respect the Pimpin'" was partially recycled for this release along with the album "Still Blowin'." I can understand the motivation since those albums flew under the radar for some of his fans as digital-only releases. For the sake of full disclosure though you need to know that not everything on this album is brand new material. The title track of "Respect the Pimpin'" featuring Snoop Dogg is included, along with the freaktastic sex romp "Porno Bitch" from the album prior. Out of 17 tracks total that's not overkill, but it still needed to be made clear. "
"Things were happening fast in 1979. Once Sugar Hill Records came out with their Sugarhill Gang, everybody scrambled to put out a record. Among the first was Gabriel Jackson b/k/a Spoonie Gee, who recorded a solo platter while he was still considered a member of the Treacherous Three. His "Spoonin Rap" came out on Sound of New York, U.S.A., sharing its rhythm track with a spacey instrumental that appeared on the same label, Cloud One's "Patty Duke." Sound of New York, U.S.A. (not to be confused with Sound of New York, responsible for Indeep's club classic "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life") was one of various small labels operated by veteran record producer Peter Brown, the most prominent being P&P Records, a joint effort with fellow Harlem producer Patrick Adams. Spoonie remained his most famous rap signing (it was also very short-lived), but with dozens of - largely unknown - hip-hop tunes on his many imprints (up to 30), there's a lot to be uncovered. In 2006 Traffic Entertainment compiled a collection of Peter Brown productions patterned after an early sampler a sister label called Hit Makers of America released around early 1980 that gathered eight previously released 12-inches. Research suggests that at least three variations of the compilation were available on other Peter Brown imprints. The disc at my disposition has eleven songs, only three of which appeared on the original release. And for whatever reason there's no sight of "Spoonin Rap.""
""bell hooks" sets up expectations which are unavoidable based on its title, and whether or not you know the author it's named after we have to address them. hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins) is one of the leading authors, poets and activists of the last 35 years. She has written extensively on issues of gender and race inequality, has been branded both a neo-feminist and a rabble rouser, but most importantly she's known for stating her opinions and ideas with a lack of regard for the people or organizations they might attack. "Fearless" may be the word that sums her up best. To name an album after her is to imply an equally fearless experience - fiercely independent, intellectual and insightful. Songs like "The Hood" featuring GLC live up to this premise. Far from a preachy collegiate lecture though, "The Hood" is a swinging and bumping hip-hop romp thanks to a beat by the aptly named Classick. It's so catchy that it's hard to get out of your head once you hear it. That's something that more than a few of the songs on the hour long "bell hooks" have in common. I'd like to start by saluting Tony Baines, whose infectious guitar lick samples in "Jumpers" make me want to play it over and over again. He's also got an oddball futuristic style on "Kurt De La Rocha," which sounds like Seattle grunge meets folk pop meets hip-hop - and whether or not you believe it THAT WORKS. "
"Gregory Hutchinson held tenures at the two most influential rap labels on the West Coast, Ruthless and Death Row. He laid down the blueprint for g-funk. He's been a recording artist for over twenty years, both as a rapper and as a producer. What's left for him to prove? Well, for instance: "Niggas always ask me, can a gangsta nigga flip on some new shit?" Big Hutch (I still call him Cold 187um) attempts to answer that question on his first free mixtape. "Otis"' soul-dripping beat and Kanye West and Jay-Z's showboating prompt him to turn up the swag as well, to the point where he promises to "update your swag / pull up with a bad bitch every nigga wish he had." And when he taunts, "Bitch, I'm royalty," you may take that as a response to the regal imagery of "Watch the Throne." "I heard they feel me in Paris too," he quips as he revisits another one of that album's songs, renamed to "Bitches Playin' Niggaz." Other than that the main message of "From Pomona With Love" is that Big Hutch is an OG and "hall of famer." Such attempts to reclaim status do carry the risk of making a rapper look desperate. Veterans like Snoop Dogg or Jay-Z have wisely avoided such obvious posturing while still giving off an air of seniority. As for the other, initially mentioned purpose of the tape, to combine an old head with new beats, it's clear that Hutch fares better with the sample-heavy "Otis" than the bare-bone "The Motto" (although it does have the raw bump of certain '90s Above the Law tracks). "
"In recent years, alternative hip-hop has reached an all-time high commercially. Mainstream artists like Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco and Drake have been tremendously successful with their heartfelt and emotional subject matter, while fusing various genres together in their music. Interestingly enough, in this day and age of hip-hop it is hard to find more than a few hardcore rappers achieving mainstream success. As pioneers of this progressive sub-genre for over 20 years, De La Soul emerged from an era where gangsta rap ruled supreme and alternative hip-hop artists struggled at times to sell records and receive recognition from peers and hip-hop fans alike. Amid the initial resistance toward this style of hip-hop, few artists or groups have garnered as much critical acclaim as De La Soul. For their soon to be released album "First Serve," Posdnuos (a/k/a Plug 1) and Dave (a/k/a Plug 2) attempt to take their musical ambition and fondness for crafting concept albums to another level minus third member Maseo. "First Serve" has Posdnuos portraying the character of Jacob 'Pop Life' Barrow, while Dave plays the part of Deen Whitter in a fictional story about a young rap duo struggling to succeed in the world of hip-hop. Much like film, the ability for Posdnuos and Dave to produce an interesting narrative that captivates the listener will ultimately determine whether "First Serve" is a worthwhile concept album. Luckily from the start of the record, the listener is able to immerse into the story and is given the chance to learn about the duo and relate with the various moods they feel as a result of the different situations they encounter."
"It used to be, in the days of wayback, that beatmakers could only make a name for themselves when somebody rapped over their stuff. Then came Shadow, Krush and RJ and changed the game. Today instrumental releases are a fine way for producers to connect with the listener. Or reconnect, in some cases. Kevin Hansford b/k/a K-Def once brought a breath of fresh air into Marley Marl's House of Hits on records by Intelligent Hoodlum, Lords of the Underground and Da Youngsta's. Then came his own shot at rap game fame with partner Larry-O as Real Live in 1995. But it wasn't until ten years later that K-Def resurfaced with production for the Theodore Unit album and a curious credit on Diddy's "Press Play." His contribution to the 2008 "American Gangster" remix mania, "Real Live Gangster," left many competitors in the dust, and after releasing two volumes of "Beats From the 90's," he returned in late 2011 with a brand new EP. "Night Shift" starts with a blast from the past as K pays hommage to Pete Rock's "Main Ingredient" track "Escape" with "Escapizm." He enlists the help of Pete Rock affiliate (and "The Main Ingredient" guest) Rob-O, who brings that relaxed Mount Vernon flair to a track that is quite true to the original. Inspired by "For Pete's Sake" but very much a creation of its own, "For Def's Sake" is another nod to the Soul Brother, the added Skull Snaps drums fitting right into the evoked era of the early '90s."
""Strays" is a bright, fresh-sounding solo debut from Those Chosen member Kornbread. Available for free download and produced entirely by fellow Californian and recent Mello Music Group signee J. Bizness, the record initially reminded me a lot of Trek Life's 2010 album "Everything Changed Nothing" for its upbeat synth-driven sound and Kornbread's nimble, talkative delivery. "First Is Last" supplies an early highlight with its uneasy piano-driven production and a commanding performance from Kornbread, who recalls a rough upbringing and its influence on his outlook. "All Day" sounds like a cut from Co$$' 2011 debut "Before I Awoke," with J. Bizness lacing a smooth piano-laden groove for a laidback Saturday afternoon. Although "Shut This Down" is lethargic, "Underneath the Cherry Skies" is a convincing declaration of perseverance and loyalty. "
"The news Erick Sermon suffered a heart attack last year hit me pretty hard, especially coming as it did just a few days after the passing of Heavy D. Nobody wants to lose two of their childhood idols and all-time hip-hop favorites in such short succession, but thankfully the Green Eyed Bandit pulled through. One could read "Breath of Fresh Air" as a celebration of his survival. Although the cover art looks like it's inspired by marijuana and boombox mixtapes, there's little doubt he had the air of life put back into his lungs at the hospital. You really can't get fresher than that. As an aside, I don't normally like to get on a soapbox about health issues, but I'd like our readers and rap legends alike to take this shit more seriously. If you're over 40, get a physical once a year. Take your vices in moderation. Nobody says you have to become a vegan hippie, but a little daily exercise isn't a bad idea, and lifting the remote to watch TV doesn't count. If anybody in music should be a caution to the dangers of drug abuse, let Whitney Houston be your example. Let's hope that the pioneers of hip-hop live to a ripe old age so that we can celebrate their achievements, while at the same time receiving their guidance to continue this music and culture. I'm done. "
It's time for another new edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #164 is dedicated to The Stars of the Black Cloud Tour. You've been peeping the interviews on the site since last week, so now is as good a time as any for Block McCloud, King Magnetic, D-N.Y.C. & Yung Steez and GQ a/k/a Nothin' Pretty among others to share some of their music with you! Check the links after the tracklisting for how and where you can support all of these artists. 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.
* King Magnetic & Reef the Lost Cauze - King and The Cauze * GQ a/k/a Nothin' Pretty - Top of the World * Block McCloud f/ Celph Titled, Words and Rhymes - RPG'z * D-N.Y.C. & Yung Steez - Underdogs (How I'm Feelin') * Reef the Lost Cauze & King Magnetic f/ Block McCloud - Nothin' * Block McCloud f/ Castro Fidel - Love and Respect * GQ f/ Da Solo, King Magnetic - Dead Society
King Magnetic and GQ a/k/a Nothin' Pretty sit down for an exclusive interview with RapReviews.com at the Bourbon Theatre in Lincoln, Nebraska! In part two GQ talks about growing up inspired to be an artist, King Mag talks his height, being a fan of Eddie Van Halen, and what's happening with "King & The Cauze." Expect one more chapter in this interview saga! Be sure to like this video and subscribe to this channel for more videos like these! Follow @kingmagnetic, @GQnothinpretty and @RapReviews on Twitter.
King Magnetic and GQ a/k/a Nothin' Pretty sit down for an exclusive interview with RapReviews.com at the Bourbon Theatre in Lincoln, Nebraska! In part one they discuss unique alcohol products, how K-Tel Records changed two lives across the country, the hip-hop scene in Europe vs. the United States, and what new projects are coming out for King and GQ. Stay tuned for part two and be sure to like this video and subscribe to this channel for more videos like these! Follow @kingmagnetic, @GQnothinpretty and @RapReviews on Twitter.
"We definitely want to thank EVERYONE that contributed to the tour/project! Without you a lot of things would not be possible. Namely, the tour! :) In these last hours we want to make one more push. If we don't hit the goal, they will keep a substantial portion of the money funded. This is also your only chance to get The VS Project! If you came and hung out with us on the tour then you most likely saw a small part of what me and Megaran are doing (Flashkick!!!!). We're also throwing around the idea of doing an internet only streamed performance to celebrate the completion of the project...
BUT....The stream will only be available to funders. So tell your friends! Tell your enemies! Tell your Frienemies! Tell your enemends! Anjd a very serious thank you to EVERYONE that helped us make the 1st VS tour happen!"
- Willie Evans Jr.
I'd just like to add that this tour has been amazing, and though we're wrapping up at SXSW this week, The VS Tour WILL happen again very soon! Thank you all for the support!