"Ever since the early 1990's and possibly before, hip-hop fans and pundits have speculated on which unidentified mystery man was the "gay rapper" keeping his secret in the closet. In hindsight that's actually pretty silly, because if there are thousands of rappers in the music business, there ought to at a minimum DOZENS of homosexual male and female artists. That's just statistics and averages. What did people actually expect to do if they figured out who the "gay rapper" was anyway? Encourage him to come out? Stone him for not conforming to stereotypical norms of rap masculinity? Both? I really don't know. In a hip-hop collective (OFWGKTA) often lambasted by critics for its homophobic lyrics (particularly those of founder Tyler, the Creator) Frank Ocean is a very square peg surrounded by nothing but the roundest of holes. After all these years of searching for the mythical "gay rapper" a rapper/singer from the Odd Future clique came out and said "I'm the guy you're looking for," even though at 24 years old he wouldn't have been in the business at the height of this fevered hunt. He certainly would have read about it in magazines like XXL and The Source though, and seen articles about it online as the internet's scope grew. For a young man trying to figure out his sexuality as he came of age, what could the effect of all the hyper-masculinity in hip-hop be on his psyche? And how would a crew who tosses the word "faggot" around like a Brit asking for his cigarettes react to his revelation?
"I'd call them "France's best kept secret" but the Alterbeats collective has been visible for a while now. They've made their name providing beats for some of the most grimy artists on the East coast, ranging from M.O.P. to Termanology, and having made their bones working for everybody else it's time to get a little of the spotlight for themselves. "The French Revolution" is a bit of a misnomer though, since France has had a vibrant hip-hop scene for decades. At first it might have simply followed in the cutting edge footsteps of its New York counterparts, but as the music became a global commodity French artists stepped up and made hip-hop their own in all of its various arts. The only "Revolution" would be in giving these talented individuals their long overdue credit. An easy route to Alterbeats getting that acclaim would have been to seek out the best known names of American hip-hop for their major label debut - doing tracks with Lil Wayne, Nas, Jay-Z and Tyler the Creator among others. Instead Alterbeats took the more daring route of linking up with underground rappers and providing them with a healthy dose of boom bap that could turn the heads of Primo and Alchemist. Don't get it twisted - French artists like Lion of Bordeaux still get in the mix on songs like "Alter Ego," but they do so linking up with A.G. of D.I.T.C. and famed Brand Nubian emcee Sadat X. Most tracks are the underground's underground though. "
Fat Boys :: Fat Boys :: Tin Pan Apple as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace
"Before Biggie, Rick Ross, Heavy D, Big Pun, Chubb Rock or any other chunky phenoms in hip-hop, there were the Fat Boys. If you wanted to look at the Brooklyn-bred trio as a husky man's version of Run- D.M.C., I'd wholeheartedly agree with you. While immortalized first by Chris Rock in the movie "Boomerang" and subsequently in a famous lyric by Jay-Z, the Fat Boys are largely overlooked in the pantheon of hip-hop legends. For anyone who might've missed it, the Fat Boys were the first to record beatboxing on wax, part of the first corporate-sponsored rap concert, had a appearance in "Krush Groove," garnered video rotation on MTV and were one of the first rap groups to tour in Europe. The story of The Disco 3's meteoric rise to stardom is an interesting one. Prince Markie Dee, Kool Rock Ski and Buff Love the Human Beatbox met during their childhood in the eastern section of Brooklyn. Inspired by "Rapper's Delight," the guys decided that they would form their own rap group. There were originally three other members in the crew and they billed themselves as The Hypnotize Five featuring DJ Doc Nice (aka Buff Love). The group would become the Disco 3 after it became evident that the other three weren't as dedicated to the mission at hand. The 3 began performing at talent shows in the area and soon enough, the 3 found themselves entering WBLS' Tin Pan Apple Dance & Rap Contest. "
"We last heard from Batsauce almost a year ago on the album "Bat Meets Blaine," but for those who missed the review or don't remember who he is, let me offer you this brief introduction. With no cape or cowl, Batsauce is the dark knight of hip-hop production, lacing Beantown emcees like Mr. Lif and Akrobatik with dope beats. Interesting given that he hails from Jacksonville, Florida. Actually he's worked with a lot of people ranging from Bahamadia to George Clinton, but as producers go he's generally one I associate with the East coast emcees, because that's where you generally find his name in the liner notes. For "Starcrossed" Batsauce has decided to venture out on his own, going down the instrumental album path that feels increasingly familiar these days. I find myself taking a moment in the middle of this review to ponder why we don't see instrumental albums from DJ Premier and Kanye West, and then it occurs to me that anything good enough for such an album would be good enough for a top emcee or more in your rare music industry win/win where they both bank bucks off the units sold. I considered leaving that out though because it would appear I'm slighting Batsauce by saying Jay-Z wouldn't want to rap over his tracks. "
Meyhem Lauren :: Respect the Fly Shit :: L.R.G./Greedhead as reviewed by Patrick Taylor
"Queens rapper Meyhem Lauren has been around since 2004. He's done a lot of work with J-Love, including a 2007 album "Acknowledge Greatness." He's part of the Outdoorsmen with Action Bronson and Jay Steele. A solo album is allegedly in the works, as well as several other mixtapes. In between working on those projects, he found time to record this album in a hotel room in Austin in two days during this year's South By Southwest festival. Meyhem Lauren is part of the new breed of underground New York rappers who are revitalizing hip-hop in the city where rap was born. He draws from classic 90s rappers like Ghostface Killah, but with a modern sensibility. He's accompanied on the mic by many of the other rappers helping to put NYC back on the map: Action Bronson, Heems, Sean Price, Smoke DZA, AG Da Coroner and Roc Marciano. He gets it started off right with "Fingerless Gloves. Over a menacing beat, he spits nonstop for two minutes. He starts off with "I ain't bringing shit back New York we never left/My flow is dangerous/Spit a banger that could sever flesh," and doesn't slow down until the 90 second mark. He gets romantic on "Let's Hold Hands," his first love song."
Progress Report (Eddie Logix & D. Allie) :: Summer School (The Remix Album) :: Progress Report Music as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"D. Allie and Eddie Logix are Progress Report, a Detroit underground collaboration of rapper and producer into one group, although it would be a mistake to say Eddie doesn't flex on the mic too. Now I must confess it feels a bit out of place to review this album, because although I'm familiar with D. Allie this is the first Progress Report album we've covered, AND it's a remix album to boot. I suspect I'd be better prepared had I heard the original versions of these songs, but I'll just have to roll with it. "Summer School (The Remix Album)" falls into that range of being too long to be called an EP, but feeling a little short for a full album, unless that album is "Dead Serious" by Das EFX. As for the producers providing remixes for the crew, it's a cornucopia of names that are undoubtedly friends with either or both members of PR: Mork Choklad, Doc Illingsworth, SKRAPZ, Semi-Tone and even British Knights - I can only assume no relation to the sneakers. There's an advantage to not having heard the originals after all - I can be completely objective about the work of these men."
"It's not just that Reks is pondering the problems and perils of life on "Sit/Think/Drink," it's that his impeccable flow is paired with the beautiful ivory melodies and softly strummed snares Statik selected, all with a cut and scratched hook of Common saying "I sit and think with a drink about how I'm gonna win." THIS is hip-hop. Whatever you're doing right now, if you haven't heard this song, scroll back up to the video and press play THEN continue this review. I implore you to not miss out on this song. Actually I implore you not to miss out on this album. "Straight, No Chaser" is 48 minutes of Reks that goes by too fast - and I'm not talking about the "Power Lines" featuring Ea$y Money seems to pick up tempo gradually from start to finish. It's probably my ears playing tricks on me though, or just the fact I get amped up listening. Guest appearances are kept to a minimum though, and only figure in where appropriate - such as Action Bronson on the buddy flick "Riggs & Murtaugh," Alias on "Sins" and Slaine on the title track. He's keeping things very East and very Boston, which is fine by me, because a Reks album wouldn't sound right any other way. "
Wordsworth :: The Photo Album :: Wordwide Communication as reviewed by Zach 'Goose' Gase
"When Wordsworth came onto the scene back in the late 90s (appearing on tracks with Black Star and A Tribe Called Quest), his aggressive flow and rhyme scheme was among the sharpest in underground hip hop. It's 2012 and not much has changed for the veteran wordsmith. It's been eight years since his last solo opus, "Mirror Music" and the Brooklyn emcee is back again with "The Photo Album," which is packed with both heavy weight lyricism and touching personal stories. Wordsworth is lyrically as sharp as they come, and he has not lost a step since "Mirror Music." His aggressive flow and intricate rhyme schemes are apparent on tracks like opener, "Destiny." Hip hop heads will come for the wordplay, but the album also consists of some pretty deep and moving subject matter. On the Are produced "Coloring Book," Wordsworth uses brilliant imagery, describing the colors of his neighborhood. On "The Oldest" he talks about being the man of the house, after losing his father. Lyrically, you're going to have a hard time finding many albums that match "The Photo Album," verse for verse. But similarly to his debut, Wordsworth's shortcomings taint what would be a great album, making it only a good, albeit a very good album."
Download: Montage One f. Ras Kass, Guilty Simpson, "Beat2Def"
From Dunn Deal PR.
Cali emcee Montage One premieres brand new single "Beat2Def", featuring Ras Kass and Guilty Simpson. Producer Jlisted combines organs, cuts by DJ Revolution and even what sounds like a very brief sample of Mobb Deep's "Quiet Storm". "Beat2Def" will be found on Montage One’s forthcoming album 10.6.3 OGX, set for release on September 11, featuring guest appearances from Aloe Blacc, Evidence and more.
You first heard them on The Alchemist's new album Russian Roulette, and now they're back with a brand new leak track, "The World's Most Dangerous." Durag Dynasty is a new super-group featuring West Coast emcees Planet Asia, Killer Ben, and Tristate. Durag Dynasty's debut album 360 Waves, entirely produced by The Alchemist, is set to hit stores later this year.
GhostWridah release Downtown Lights 2.0 (Remastered) which features new music, better quality audio and a documentary which will be released this afternoon. "We felt it was a necessity to enhance the listening experience for those who enjoy our music. There are a few added gems to the project, hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them. Hip hop continues... Be on the look out for visuals from Downtown Lights this coming august." -Wridah
1. Charlamagne Tha God [Intro] 2. Lights (feat. Earthtones) [Prod by Stroud] 3. Touch Down (Man Of The Year) [Prod by Freeway TJay] 4. Look What I'm Becoming (Brief Intermission) [Prod by Lowkey] 5. Heart Of The City (feat. Brisco, Billy Blue and Nehemie)[Prod by The Inkredibles] 6. Die [Prod by J Rock] 7. I'm On [Prod by Lowkey] 8. Smoke It All Away (feat. Stoney)[Prod by Cozmo] 9. Talk My Shit [Prod by Phoenix Of TSK] 10. I Get It (feat. Brisco) [Prod by Lowkey] 11. Father Forgive Em (feat. Billy Blue) [Prod by Smash] 12. Lost & Found (feat. Jase) [Prod by Freeway TJay] 13. Eyes Closed [Prod by Cameron Wallace] 14. YBA (feat. Nehemie) [Prod by Freeway TJay] 15. Skittles And Iced Tea (feat. Nehemie) [Prod by DJ Relly Rell)
Executive Produced by Troy "GhostWridah" Jeffery For L.Y.F.E Music Recordings, Inc Recorded & Engineered By Nick Fury, Anthony "Asap" Johnson, Midi Lord, and Those One Two Kats Mastered By Midi Lord
The duo from Brighton, MA have been busy this Summer. After performing all three days at Bamboozle festival they set off on a 34-city US tour in mid-June, alongside O.C.D. Moosh & Twist. Prior to the tour starting Carter & David von Mering of Aer put the final touches on their debut album, 'The Bright Side,' which was released today as a digital-only project. The genre blending group created an album that finds its roots in reggae, acoustic pop and indie rock, with smooth guitar riffs and a strong rap component.
Aer has released two music videos from the project for their songs "Floats My Boat" & "Like The Way."
Fans in NY & Boston can look forward to album release shows on: August 4th - NYC In-Store from 2PM to 3PM at New Era's Flagship Store August 4th - NYC @ Irving Plaza August 11th - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
This Fall, Aer will be embarking on a 50-city 'The Bright Side' North America tour with opening performances from David Dallas & Yonas. The east-coast leg of the tour has been announced and starts September 7th in Ithaca, NY. Midwest & Westcoast dates coming soon.
Key Links: YouTube.com/music Feature (streaming sampler of the album) AOL Listening Party iTunes Download Link Album Artwork
Stay up-to-date with Aer: Freshaermovement.com @theaermusic facebook.com/theaermusic youtube.com/theaermusic
Following on from their massive debut club smash 'Wine de Best' ft. Busy Signal, Fatman Scoop & Kano still currently a hot fave with dj's, Orange Hill Productions return with their new single, this time collaborating with dancehall supremo extraordinaire, Vybz Kartel.
It's time for another new edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #184 is Back to Flash Picking His Faves. Your host Steve 'Flash' Juon brings you hot tracks from V!rtu, Zilla, Action Bronson and more! Send feedback to @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.
* V!rtu - Step to It * Zilla - No Hook #1 * Ground Up f/ Action Bronson - Hold Me Down * Spoat f/ King David Sanotra, Ramon - Indica & Champagne * LeLe f/ C.P. - Life * 40Love f/ Zumbi - Tiki Tiki * Trek Life - What Y'all Know