It's not often an independent artist features a rap legend on his debut album. Miami MC Shottie does just that with his latest single Skyrider featuring one of the West Coast's most highly acclaimed, Ras Kass. "I've always considered Ras Kass one of the best MC's in the game. We reached out with the record and he showed love… that's real." - Shottie
Shottie - Skyrider (feat. Ras Kass) (prod. by TeV95)
"If Aaron Yates wasn't constantly busy, I don't think he'd know what to do with himself. He's a relentlessly increasing ball of energy, and the only way to siphon off that excess output is to hit the studio and keep recording music. That's why just four months after dropping "Welcome to Strangeland" and nine months after releasing the MASSIVE "All 6's and 7's" album, Tecca Nina is back with six more tracks and a "Klusterfuk" EP. This time he's enlisted the help of the ¡Mayday! crew to provide all of the production. If you've heard the "Strangeland" album you will already be familiar with them, but there's fair chance you'd recognize Wrekonize from miscellaneous underground rap records regardless. Anyway N9ne uses the opening and titular track from this album to explain the whole "Klusterfuk" concept. Tech validates any confusion he may feel emotionally or musically as a result, and in turn you as a listener are expected to do the same when you consider his range of influences - everything from punk rock to Beethoven. The thing is that this prolific rapper has never needed any validation - not from critics, not from the music industry, not from his fans or anyone else. He left the same people who said a top flight rap star couldn't be from Kansas City in the dust ten million records sold ago. Tech's listeners have long since embraced his contradictions, as have his fellow artists, which is why he can count everybody from Lil Wayne to the SubNoize Souljaz as his homies."
"When it comes to being present across several critical periods of hip-hop history, Profile Records has little competition (Tommy Boy and Def Jam, mainly). The 31 songs collected on "Giant Single: The Profile Records Rap Anthology" span from 1981 to 1996. The sampler contains platinum singles, hip-hop anthems, huge and historical crossover tracks, influential old school tunes, funky joints, war chants, genius raps, broken language and plenty of jams that simply got mad play in their day. It features hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa, music mogul Andre Harrell, DMC World Champion DJ Cheese, tape editing masters the Latin Rascals and dearly departed musicians Pumpkin, Rammellzee, Jam Master Jay, Masterdon, Tony D and Big DS. Where to begin? From a personal and a historical perspective I'd begin with Run-D.M.C., the legendary trio from Hollis, Queens, that conquered the world in the name of rap music in the mid-'80s. As any legit anthology should, however, "Giant Single" delivers the tracks chronologically, so that you get the proper 'historical perspective' concerning Profile Records. Additionally, writer Dan Charnas and witnesses such as Dante Ross, Kenny Dope or Bobbito tell the Profile story in the liner notes. Profile's achievements are extraordinary. It was, to quote Charnas, 'The first record label to produce true rap "stars" who crossed over to the mainstream. The first to earn gold, platinum and multi-platinum rap albums. The first to get rap videos on MTV.' How'd they do it? Business aspects aside, what played no small part in this reviewer's humble opinion was the specific quality of the sound and the overall musical quality."
"As someone who is not very religious, I rarely find myself venturing into the realm of Christian hip-hop. I have no problem with the message that artists are trying to convey, and while there are some exceptions, my inability to relate to some of the lyrics makes it difficult to fully appreciate the music. In addition, some artists seem more focused on preaching their message of spirituality than on making quality music, and while their lyrics are certainly meaningful, it often makes for a one-dimensional album. I was interested, then, to see where CY's latest album would fall along the spectrum of Christian rap, as it was clear after listening to just a few cuts that his talent level was not in question. Rather, I wondered whether "High Wire Act" would be too spiritually-oriented to appeal to a more casual listener such as myself. CY's skills as an emcee are evident from the very opening track, "Musical Castle," as he raps with the hunger and aggression of an artist who has something to prove. Over heavy organ chords and ominous cackling and chanting scattered throughout the background, CY paints a picture with three verses full of vivid imagery. Although the second track, "Work For Hire," is less impressive, with lackluster synths and piano keys and a simple drum pattern that has a very synthetic sound, CY bounces back on the album's title track. A catchy drum loop and a driving brassy bassline lay the foundation for the head-bobber, with short, funky electronic synths to complement."
"Jonwayne is a Los Angeles-based rapper and producer who has been part of that city's Low End Theory for a while. He released his first beat tape, "Bowser," last year, and has put out several mixtapes. "Oodles of Doodles" collects two CDs worth of beats. Jonwayne is part of the same hip-hop/electronica scene that has produced Flying Lotus, Schlohmo, and Nosaj Thing, and he's on the same label that has released hip-hop instrumentals by Madlib, J Dilla, Oh No, and Dam-Funk. Jonwayne tries to meld these two worlds, combining IDM with funky, blunted out hip-hop.
Being that his first album was titled after Mario's nemesis Bowser and the cover used the Super Mario World font, it's no surprise that 16-bit sounds are all over "Oodles of Doodles." There is some dark, Mario-style funk on "I For Kutmah." "Dat Ass" sounds like a booty jam Samus would bump on her way to Zebes to kill some metroids. "Stellar by Starlight" sounds like the sexed-up end theme from a Final Fantasy game. Imagine if the dudes composing music for the Super Nintendo had been hip-hop fans with a medical marijuana card, and you've got Jonwayne. There is a languid, stoned swagger to the beats. The drums hit just a little bit slower than you'd expect them to, which makes the whole album sound a little off kilter and unsettling. While there are some banging beats here, I didn't enjoy listening to this as much as I wanted to. Part of that might be that I'm not a huge fan of video game music. Ever since my NES days I would turn the sound down and my stereo up."
"From the name you might think Iron Solomon was a member of the Wu-Tang Clan's extended fam; and in his bio Solomon does mention them as one of his artistic inspirations. He also credits N.W.A. and Nirvana as influences along with "New York City’s multi-cultural patchwork." It probably goes without saying that he's got a diverse range of influences. It might also go without saying that he's caucasian, something you might not immediately pick up on while listening to "Monster," but if you Google his name looking for a Wiki page one of the first hits you get is "7 White Rappers Way Better than Eminem and Asher Roth." So instead of trying to pretend there's not an elephant in the room, let's just put him in the same category as Action Bronson and be done with it. Solomon is a serious emcee collaborating WITH serious emcees like Talib Kweli on songs like "The Empire". Now I don't know about "way better than Eminem" per se, but I'd be willing to put him at or above Asher Roth, who I find relatively enjoyable but occasionally lacking the competitive cojones his urban counterparts have. Iron Solomon might be a N.W.A. fan, but he sounds like the New York City that he comes from, both in accent and in his attitude."
"February 28, 2012 was a significant day in the life of Jeffrey Atkins. Not only was it the onetime chart-topper's 36th birthday, it was also the release date of "PIL 2," his first album in eight years, billed as a sequel to his 2001 multi-platinum smash "Pain Is Love" and released during an extended jail bid for the Queens native. Releasing sequels to their respective opuses has become commonplace among New York's fading stars - in recent years we've seen everything from "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. 2," "H.N.I.C. Pt. 2," and "The War Report 2" to "The Hunger for More 2," "Bacdafucup Part 2," and "J.O.S.E. 2" - and for Ja seemingly signals a desperate attempt to cling to relevance even if it does place him among solid company. I was eleven years old when "Pain Is Love" took control of my New York-area airwaves. It might be no surprise, then, that it remains a sentimental favorite of mine. (I'd say I had a soft spot for it, but what other kind of spot can you have for Ja? Pete's got jokes!) While I'll forever hold dear the afternoons whiled away playing "Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2" with my sixth grade friends accompanied by "Pain Is Love" on the boombox, I'm confident that it was a bigger, better, and more influential album than most would care to admit or remember more than a decade on. Knocking none other than "The Blueprint" from atop the Billboard charts, "Pain Is Love" boasted no fewer than four top ten singles, almost singlehandedly propelled Jennifer Lopez into the J.Lo and Jenny From the Block we know and love, and made Miss Ashanti S. Douglas a household name."
"Let me just say straight up that Perfect Strangers is one of my favorite sitcoms of all time. I suppose it doesn't hurt that I grew up as a child of the 1980's, in a house that didn't have cable TV, and Lord knows 300 baud dial-up modems didn't make for a thrilling internet experience. For entertainment that didn't involve a paperback novel or an original (brick) GameBoy, watching the antics of Larry and Balki on Wednesday or Friday nights was about as good as it gets. Just give me a sandwich, a soda and a bowl of popcorn and I was good to go. Not watching my favorite show? "DON'T BE RIDICULOUS!!!" You'd have just about much luck asking me to turn off Doctor Who or The A-Team, but those are topics for another review. Besides it's conceptually easy to base a rap group on two distant cousins coming together to collaborate, though on the first single "Ghetto" that theme was put in the background as Promise & Dan-e-o focused on social commentary. Even though it may come off as harsh in print, there's actually a whimsy and humor to the song, thanks to the harmonica and the harmony plus a collaborative third verse about "a mindset that's monumental" like "shiny rims on the car (but) he can't drive you far cause his license was lost, there's nothing in the bank, so he's got an empty tank - now that's ghetto." It was a good introduction to the duo collaborating though, especially for those who know Dan-e-o better as a soloist, and "Series Premiere" is an excellent follow-up."
It's time for another new edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #166 is Wrestling x Hip-Hop (MANIA Madness). This is the time of year where even people who only see pro wrestling once every 12 months or less catch the fever, so I'm bringing you podsafe music from Viro the Virus, Moe Green, Madison Jay and an exclusive Chaz Kangas WrestleMania Predictions Freestyle. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ChazRaps and check out his album "A Personal Reference" on Bandcamp! 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.
* Moe Green - Top Turnbuckle Lifestyle * Action Bronson - Barry Horowitz * Madison Jay - County 3:16 * MVP f/ Dwane Sweazie - Holla to the World * Moe Green - Preliminaries * Viro the Virus - Chris Is Awesome * Chaz Kangas - WrestleMania 28 Predictions Freestyle