"We last heard from Ohene Savant in 2007 when he released "Inner City Soul." Reviewer Rowald Pruyn had a lot to sort out in coming up with his coverage, including the fact Ohene is Ghanian by birth but Illadelph 215 by trade and sound; not to mention the fact Pruyn is an avowedly unreligious man while Savant is proud to proclaim his faith. It turns out that wasn't an impediment to his enjoyment of Ohene's work though: "Because Ohene mostly tells about his devotion instead of imposing it upon me, he gives me a chance to listen with an open visor." By the end the devout rapper earned a fairly divine score: 8.5 out of 10. Initially I believed Ohene had disappeared off the scene after this stellar debut, but instead he went underground for a bit. He's re-emerging in 2012 on a new label, Soul Model Records, with a new full length album titled "I Am Ohene." As an artist Ohene is the total package: writing, producing, mixing and recording his entire disc all on his own. He can therefore own the success or failure of this release himself and not have to share the glory with anyone save perhaps God. Of course when you have to be your own producer and studio engineer, it can lead to the kind of long delays between albums seen here. "
"Anybody who knows me will know that an album that opens with an auto-tuned shout-out to 'hustlers, ballers', 'gangstas' and 'scholars' is hardly my musical dream come true but that's exactly where I found myself fifteen seconds into this release from Kansas City native Alias IQ. It's an unashamedly hollow start to an album that pretty much sets the standard for the ensuing forty-five minutes. Alias IQ is another MC hailing from the currently thriving KC rap scene for which artists such as Tech N9ne and Mac Lethal have long been flying the flag. Despite both of those artists putting in work for many years it is only recently that they have started to gain the attention that they both deserve albeit for very different reasons; Tech's recent collaborations with Lil' Wayne opening him up to a broader audience while Mac's YouTube appearance of him, umm, rapping really fast about pancakes has reached over twenty million views to date. With these two gents smashing the door open for the Kansas City scene the time seems right for other likeminded artists to grab the opportunity with both hands and make a name for themselves. Unfortunately Alias IQ doesn't really do that and instead opts to recycle rather tired rap clichés over an often uninspiring selection of beats."
""Thematically speaking 'True Underlord' is a post apocalyptic journey into the mind of a modern day anti-hero." That concept may be rather bold for a new and completely unknown rap artist, but Darkmonk's grandiose conceptual design is bolstered by the big names associated with his "True Underlord" CD. He benefits from having the backing of long time hip-hop favorite MF DOOM, who is releasing Darkmonk's album on Metal Face Records. He's also got a who's who of hip-hop producers making the beats for his rhymes including Madlib, Jake One, DJ Kool Akiem and Daniel Dumile himself. He's also got some lesser-knowns on the boards too such as Wesutrxx, who produces "Nervous" and "Text Off Da Celly" among others. The beats on both songs are acceptable, if not spectacular, but listening to "Text Off Da Celly" one can't help but notice the rhymes are not living up to the hyperbole. Deltron 3030 was a post apocalyptic anti-hero without even needing to say so over a decade ago. He took us on a journey to a place and time where urban cyberpunks rebelled against an oppressive world state by downloading viruses into government mainframes. Del's spectacularly freeform flows mirrored the anarchistic hip-hop values he wanted to inject into the masses of his dark future, liberating them from a totalitarian mainstream."
"Jamaican singjay I-Octane has been generating buzz for a few years now with singles like "Lose A Friend" and "Nuh Love Inna Dem." He released a mixtape last year, and an EP earlier this year. His debut album, "Crying to the Nation," contains his early singles as well as new tracks. Those expecting hard-hitting dancehall might be put off by I-Octane's kindler, gentler take on the genre. The opening track, "Rules of Life," is a mellow Caribbean song that is more suited to a tourist resort than a sweaty soundsystem. Surely there's more to I-Octane than lightweight reggae sung with a gruff voice? Thankfully, there is, although he has definitely gone mellow on this album. He immediately ups the ante with "Help I Please." The riddim is dirty, R&B-inflected reggae, and I-Octane's voice has just the right mix of earnestness and roughness. The man can hold a tune despite having vocal chords that sound shredded from years of yelling into a mic. In both his lyrics and his persona he comes across as a someone who has seen the drama of life on the streets first hand, and has decided to live a more righteous existence. He's not trying to be the toughest or most virile. Instead he aims at being wise and honest. "
"This is the third solo album from Lone Ninja dating back to 2008, though he's also one half of the hip-hop tandem Twin Perils along with June Marx. The latter normally provides capable production for most of Holographic Pagoda's releases, but on this new album Ninja reached out to British producer Blaq Masq to hook up the audio. You probably wouldn't be aware of the fact he was British were it not for the fact he introduces "Fatal Peril" himself, "shoutin' from the UK" as it were. I tried to get some more background on the elusive Masq for this review but all I could find was his YouTube channel, which not coincidentally features songs he produced for "Fatal Peril." One of his uploads is "Equilibrium," well named for the audio balance Masq obtains from symphonic elements. Being that this isn't an instrumental album from Masq though (which I'd be interested in checking out) we also have to take a look at the mysterious martial artist Lone Ninja. There are three trademarks to his flow on previous releases: a fascination with militaristic imagery, a RZA slash G. Rap lisp to his vocal delivery, and an occasional lack of emotional resonance. The latter I attribute to the same disease that infects so many emcees trying to make their name in hip-hop: seriousitosis. "
Maggz :: Soundscapes: Winter Selection :: Bandcamp.com as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace
"I'm sure Al Gore is somewhere right now polishing his Oscar, looking out his window and thinking to himself "I told you so." I'm not sure where you stay dear Reader, but in my neck of the woods, this winter season has been fairly mild when compared to others on record. There really haven't been any major snowstorms or anything and come to think of it, my biggest complaint would probably the early morning temperatures that can be bitter at times and one spell of freezing rain that fell while I was out at a birthday party shooting some photos. I wonder how Maggz feels about it all. As you may have read in my reviews of Maggz' "Maggnetic Opposites" and Soundscapes: Autumn Selection," Maggz hails from Rock City aka Rochester, New York but he currently makes his home in Columbus, Ohio. The last set of instrumentals featured titles that reflected the autumn season like "Brown Leaves" and "Late Sunrise." This time around, we get tracks like "Cold Mornings," "Slow Falling Flakes" and "Warm Fireplace." "
Robby Wildebeat :: My Salad Days, Vol. One :: Bandcamp.com as reviewed by Patrick Taylor
"February 10 marked the five-year anniversary of the passing of James Yancey, AKA J Dilla. Dilla was a master at pairing an obscure soul sample with crisp snares. He left behind a large body of production work and several albums, including the sold "Ruff Draft" and essential "Donuts." While he wasn't well-known during his life, he has been lionized in death, and has influenced an army of young producers. One of those producers is fellow Detroit denizen Robby Wildebeat, who has released an album of instrumentals that all owe something to the late Dilla. "My Salad Days Vol. 1" is a 26-track collection of hip-hop instrumentals built around familiar-sounding crisp snares and soul snippets. It's probably unfair to compare Wildebeat to a legendary producer, but there's no way around it. He's clearly cribbing from Dilla's stylebook, but doesn't quite have the skills or genius that made Dilla's work on the boards so amazing. This is all stuff we've heard before. Sped up soul samples? Check. Samples chopped up into abstract chunks? Check. Seventies lite-rock samples? Check. Rattling snares? Check. Wildebeat definitely doesn't break any new ground here. "
Soulbrotha :: 4letterwrd EP :: TheVine/SoulB.net as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Early on in Soulbrotha's career fellow writer Matt Jost took a look at his "Ezekiel Hanani LP and found it wanting in some aspects while succeeding in others thanks to production from Roeg du Casq. The Nigerian born rapper has stayed busy since then, linking up with different producers and representatives along the way, until finally landing here and now in 2012 with his new "4letterwrd EP." Taking a rather personal tack, SB sent out an e-mail to let us know Whitney Houston's funeral service affected him deeply, reminding him that life and time are both precious and not to waste either. He feels that his music is a gift to share with the world, and as such "4letterwrd" is being offered to the masses as a free download. Soulbrotha's producer of choice on this seven track EP (five songs plus an intro & interlude) is Aeon, who lists Tanya Morgan as among the artists produced for to this point. The website I was linked to for Aeon was all about photography though, not music, so I don't know if it was a mistake or even the same person. Aeon's production is definitely not a mistake though. There's a light, minimalistic, upbeat swing to "Happy Valentimez." As you might expect from the title this song was first leaked on February 14th, though I suspect people will be listening to it all year long. "
"It's debatable whether or not the SubNoize Souljaz are a group, since the entire roster of Suburban Noize Records qualifies for membership. "All true soldiers return to the pit" is their explanation for how and why the combinations on compilations like the two-disc "Underground Collabos" occur. Other sources have referred to the SubNoize Souljaz releases as mixtapes, and there's at least a hint of truth to that description. There are times when a mixtape can be a collection of greatest hits, obscure non-album tracks, or collaborations with other artists. In the traditional sense of either songs blended together, or a deejay shouting his name loudly over and over, this wouldn't be a "mixtape" at all. Tech N9ne fans will no doubt be happy with this compilation, especially given it doesn't repeat any songs from his own "Collabos" album. While it's true Tech N9ne is not part of the Suburban Noize roster, there's a like-minded independent hustle connection between them and the Strange Music label that frequently leads to both camps touring and recording together. As a result Nina is on three of the first five songs, the best of which is "Bollywood Chick" featuring Kottonmouth Kings & Swollen Members. In total between both discs of this set he can be found on 13 songs - nearly half of this compilation. "
It's time for another new edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #162 is called From Dallas Out to Kalifornia. This week's show opens with a cut from long-time friend Ric Atari but you'll also enjoy some hot tracks from Blacastan, Fatal Lucciauno, Kaliraps, Copywrite and more! 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 so you never miss a new episode.
* Ric Atari f/ Stone Cold Pack of Weirdos - The W in Dallas * Blacastan f/ V-Zilla - Concrete * Fatal Lucciauno f/ Spac3man Beaumonte - Black Hoody Rap * Aspektz - Richard Branson * Kaliraps - Why I Came to Kalifornia * Copywrite f/ Casual, Evidence, Roc Marciano - Golden State (of Mind)
1.THA MIND OF LIL RICH 2.I'M ON 3.YEAR OF THE UNDERDOG 4.I GO 5.OUTTA MY MIND 6.PLAYA'S ANTHEM(REMIX) 7.SHAKE THAT 8.MY LIFE 9.ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE 10.RAINY DAY 11.AMILLION TIMES OVER 12.SO HIGH 13.I'MA HIT THA STREETZ 14.SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD 15.BOTTLES GON POP
Trey C & Playa Rae's 2nd video off the I.L.A.M. project for "Not The Same" just dropped on Vevo & YouTube a few days ago. Part of it was shot in San Luis Obispo, CA & the other in Moraga, CA (near Orinda).
Why: Alot of people are probably caught off guard, and happily surprised about a Currensy and Styles P joint EP being announced. You're probably wondering, "how the f*ck did that come about?!" A few months back I had the opportunity to introduce Styles P & Curren$y, Styles P had reached out to see if i had a connect on Spitta because he wanted to get a feature. Me, being dumbfounded that these two OG's never met before in all their travels, immediately jumped on the opportunity to link the two. We recorded one record then (unreleased, about 2 months ago) and while Styles P was visiting New Orleans this past week, him and Spitta linked for a memorable studio session that brought about this forthcoming 5 song collective EP. I know everyone will enjoy it, with these 2, how could you NOT?!
Video: Big Dutty Deeze - "Poison Ink" (prod. Rediculus)
Courtesy Park Street PR.
Taken from the excellent Knowledge Giving Birth release Masters Of Conversation 'Punchlines & Parables' produced by the talented Chicago producer Rediculus, comes this excellent new music video to the track 'Poison Ink'. Produced & edited by Triple Fear Films, this video has already received over 3000 hits within its first week of being on You Tube!