"A little more than a year ago, while waiting to make my RapReviews debut, I continued to post reviews on my personal website to try and keep my skills sharp. While the jury is still out on that, one of those albums was 2008's "Landing Gear". The introduction that I wrote went a little something like this: "To the untrained ear, Devin Copeland may only be all about pussy, weed and alcohol, much like the 5th Ward Boyz song of the same name which he sang the hook on. While it's no secret that Devin loves to fuck, smoke and drink, his music goes beyond that. He also touches on heartbreak and often makes songs that are quite inspirational" I went on to say that "Landing Gear" was no different, and this time around I'm saying it once again. "Suite #420" retains the same characteristics."
"When we think of Texas, we think of Cadillac driving oil rich millionaires like those seen in the 80s show "Dallas" or perhaps men wearing 10 gallon hats that drive pick-up trucks with gun racks. Apparently, there is much more beyond the typical Texan stereotype that has yet to be unveiled. Dubb Sicks lives and breathes the Texas, but instead of maintaining the conventional label, he instead claims to be "basically a rock star that spits sick over beats" who makes downright grimy music. Originally from Odessa, but now Austin bound, Dubb Sicks has made a name for himself since his last album "Mind in the Gutter" while being featured in the 2009 SXSW festival and touring via Greyhound across the U.S. His uncanny storytelling abilities combined with his lewd, outspoken lyricism has shaped his character through the years and comes to life once again in his latest installment of "Lifestyles of the Sick and Fameless.""
"The improbable career of Radric Davis b/k/a Gucci Mane continues unimpeded. Early on a murder charge could have derailed his rise to rap stardom before it had even begun, but either due to good fortune or his genuine innocence Gucci beat the case and kept on releasing albums. In fact as the years have gone Davis' rap career has become more prolific. Gucci seems to be aware he got a second lease on life, and it's become difficult to keep up with the multitude of cameo appearances and mixtape releases he has done. In hindsight that was undoubtedly for the best, because even though Davis was able to shake the murder rap a dark cloud of legal woes continued to rain on his parade over the years."
"Kool Savas is one of Germany's most popular and respected MC's. What better opportunity for RapReviews.com to acknowledge his achievements than a best of collection? Savas (pronounced 'Saavaash') raps in German and represents the hold-no-hostage battle emceeing in a domestic rap scene that has particularly in its early days preferred to show a friendlier face. When reflecting on his career, Savas has always spoken with contempt about the more carefree manifestations of German rap during the '90s. He cites one particular underground single, 1994's "Ich Diss Dich" ("I Diss You") as the first rap in German to match his personal definition of the artform. It's a definition that says rap is a bloodsport where only the strong survive, that for a rapper the way towards respect is disrespect."
"Kurupt's maintained a hectic release schedule of late but unfortunately has little to show for it. In the last year and a half alone he's released two collaboration albums with his younger brother Roscoe, one with DJ Quik, a Dogg Pound album that was so poorly promoted it might as well have been a secret, and has already announced another DPG album due next month and a solo for 2011. There were countless guest appearances with everyone from longtime partner-in-rhyme Daz Dillinger to Murs to Brotha Lynch Hung to Sadat X, and even the ghost of Death Row Records got into the action by releasing a compilation of old cuts. Although the Quik album was a highlight of summer 2009, it was more for Quik's contributions than Kurupt's."
MC Ren :: Shock of the Hour :: Ruthless Records ** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series ** as reviewed by Pete T.
"Looking back two decades after the breakup of N.W.A., arguably gangsta rap's most influential group, it's fascinating to consider the path each member's career took. Ice Cube, Eazy-E, and Dr. Dre became three of West Coast hip hop's foremost figures, each establishing his own signature sound, releasing multiple platinum-selling classics, and putting on his own stable of rappers who in turn became influential artists. One compilation album and involvement in the porn industry notwithstanding, DJ Yella all but disappeared from the public eye. Then, of course, was the commanding presence and raw rhymes of MC Ren, whose solo career fell somewhere in between. As Dr. Dre was getting the g-funk movement rolling with his Death Row buddies and Ice Cube became "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted" with his Lench Mob crew, Ren stuck with Eazy in the wake of "Efil4zaggin," releasing his debut EP "Kizz My Black Azz" in 1992 through his Ruthless Records imprint."
"Honestly this struck me as being a little bit pretentious for a completely unknown rap group. How many people brag that their music "defies the gravitational pull of mediocrity" in a press release? Does anyone in the real world even speak that way? Nevertheless by setting such an unreasonably high standard in their press kit they did manage to pique my interest in reviewing their EP. I went into this six song release with a healthy amount of skepticism, believing that their mission would at best be a "successful failure" like Apollo 13 or at worst a disaster like Apollo 1. In either case it didn't occur to me their escape from gravity would be anything other than fleeting. The track "Unity" set a high standard than expected though. A laid back groove of echoing guitar, softly played drums and mellow melody gave a pleasant Native Tongues vibe to the song, making me wish the unnamed rapper in the first verse had been identified in the promotional materials"
"The first Ghetto Boys album from 1988 doesn't nearly get enough props as a pioneering effort of badass, browbeating, menace-to-society thugging. Name any other album from that year with songs comparable to "Snitches" and "Assassins." You can't. Sure they took their musical style from Run-D.M.C, the Beastie and the Fat Boys and the whole thing was still rather artificial, but preceding the LP's majority of mid-'80s New York-influenced material are four tracks that go beyond the humble beginnings of gangsta rap that are usually brought up when the events leading up to "Straight Outta Compton" are discussed. That album sampled Tony Montana several times, before one Brad Jordan came out with the single "Scarface," let alone was chosen for the substitute team that came to be known as Geto Boys, where he would begin to shed his DJ Akshen moniker and fully morph into Scarface. "
"You count on me for great music every month, and this month’s podcast won’t disappoint. I even have an added bonus for you this time around, because this month’s ABX podcast isn’t just packed with great hip-hop, it’s also freakin hilarious. Apparently a total lack of sleep and the complete exhaustion that comes from writing a 32 page paper for grad school left me in a mental state where I’d say just about anything. So today I present to you 45 minutes of awesome. Enjoy! Hit me up with feedback at AdamB@RapReviews.com." The Adam B Experience is 100% PODSAFE and TOTALLY FREE so tell your friends to download ABX right here at RapReviews.com!
This week's Hip-Hop Shop is titled Rest in Peace Guru so I think the music should be self-explanatory. If you like what you hear be sure to e-mail email@example.com with feedback or to get more information about sponsoring the show. Hip-Hop Shop features podsafe music, so give a copy to your friends and tell them to check us out every week at RapReviews.com! PS: Be sure to check out our good friends mrob & The Cancer at K4D too!
* Guru - Lost & Found * Convinced f/ El Prez, Shawn Jackson, Tunji - Mass Appeal '09 * Guru f/ Doo Wop - No Gimmick Shit * Unjust & Opio - Aggression * Guru f/ Omar - Ride * Sene - Options * Guru f/ Solar - After Time
The Season of Sole comes to a close this week, and for the fourth and final feature in the series I’m bringing you an emcee whose kick game is just as sick as his lyrical one. His name is Taajwar and his song on the Know You Got SOLE soundtrack, titled “Kick Game Sick,” is no joke. A Crown Heights, Brooklyn, native who’s experience on the mic dates back well over a decade, and even includes recording at Chuck D’s home, Taajwar is just as serious about his music as he is his sneakers. In fact, it’s his love of hip-hop that keeps him rhyming, as he explains “once I started seeing it devolve I had to do something, cuz if we don’t steer the course of our own music its gonna change into something that we hate instead of something that we love and built.”
Taajwar has built something great with his music, and this week I caught up with him to find out more about what he’s done over the years, including the boost he received from his brother, how he’s looking to pay it forward, and the delivery he hopes to get from Nike Chairman Phil Knight.
From Matt Sonzala, formerly of HoustonSoReal and now of AustinSurreal
To Whom it May Concern,
And as this is an "open letter," I mean all y'all. All of you who are or should be concerned about the situation happening at 97.9 The Box in Houston."
It pains me to write this letter, as this week, I along with every lover of hip-hop music and culture have already been hit hard by the passing of Keith "Guru" Elam. When Guru, the voice behind Gang Starr, passed away on Tuesday, I and plenty of other people pulled out our old Gang Starr records and celebrated the life of one of hip-hop's most engaging and important MC's. We listened to his music as we mourned our collective loss.
As I listened, I personally began thinking hard about hip-hop, and what it has become. Listening to his deft word play and deep, meaningful lyrics, often about street life, I felt a jolt of energy flow through me, like something I haven't felt in a long time. I realized while listening to this music, some of which is 20 years old, how much hip-hop music has taught me throughout my life. This week - tragically through Guru's passing - I remembered that hip-hop music is a serious gift to our generation.
And the loss of Guru made me think about how much we need to respect its power.
When I heard about 97.9 The Box (KBXX) banning Trae tha Truth, I honestly brushed it off. Fact of the matter is, Trae has the support of the streets of Houston. And I figured that an MC of his stature in the community probably doesn't really even need a station like The Box.
Then on the night of Wednesday April 21st, I got the news that the Kracker Nuttz - a group of three incredible DJ's who have been on KBXX for over 12 years, and were always rated extremely high in the market as they were not afraid to take chances and play certain hip-hop music that exists "outside the box," - had been fired from KBXX for playing a Chamillionaire song that featured a verse from Trae.
I then realized that this situation affects a lot more than just Trae.
Seattle, Washington-based emcee D.Black made waves late last year with the release of his highly celebrated sophomore album, Ali-Yah, on Sportn' Life Records/MYX Music Label. Showcasing his development as an artist since his emergence onto the hip-hop scene, Ali-Yah features 14 soulful, yet heavy-hitting, tracks chockfull of insightful lyricism, smooth delivery, and bangin' production, which was supplied by powerhouses Jake One and Vitamin D. "Yesterday" and "The Return" are just two of the many standout tracks that ended up on countless mixtapes and catapulted Ali'Yah onto many year-end lists.
With all the critical acclaim that the album has received, it seemed only natural to release an instrumental version for public consumption, which D.Black is proud to do. A lifelong advocate of music and its unmistakable power, D.Black hopes aspiring emcees will take these expertly arranged beats as a foundation for their own inspired verses.
Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, D.Black's musical roots are deep, with his mother and father both involved in pioneering hip-hop groups in the Seattle music scene. In 2006, D.Black released his debut album, The Cause & Effect, a huge regional success, allowing the emcee to share the stage with Nas, Freeway, Bun B, Clipse, Paul Wall, The Boot Camp Click, and more. After being mentored by Vitamin D, a staple and veteran of the Seattle hip-hop scene, D.Black began making a name for himself by working on projects with producer Jake One. One such collaboration resulted in D.Black being featured on Jake One's White Van Music, on the track "God Like," helping to cement the Seattle emcee as a household name beyond the Pacific Northwest. Jake One and Vitamin D were also both instrumental in helping D.Black create his new album, offering guidance and production on the record. D.Black's new album, Ali'Yah, is now available everywhere via Sportn' Life Records/MYX Music Label.
HIP HOP STAR JIM JONES TO TEACH 6 WEEK COURSE DESCRIBING THE IN’S AND OUT’S OF THE MUSIC.
INDUSTRY MUSIC BUSINESS 101 BEGINS SOON AS PART OF ENTERTAINERS 4 EDUCATION ALLIANCE MISSION!
(New York, NY) Class is in session and this time, hip hop superstar Jim Jones is the teacher. Tuesday, April 27, 2010 kicks off a 6 week high school course, entitled Music Business 101, presented by Entertainers for Education Alliance (E4EA). Jim Jones will be heading the class along with numerous selected guest speakers. After class Jim will head over to Fordham University to lecture on aspects of the music business at 6pm on April 27th 2010.
The course will give 25 lucky students a once in a lifetime opportunity of learning the behind the scenes of the music industry. “Jim has been a longstanding E4EA board member,” said Tonya Lewis, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Entertainers 4 Education Alliance Inc. “He is a true hip hop talent who will teach and inspire kids about the many aspects of the music industry. We know he will have a positive impact on the kids.” As a recording artist and industry executive, Jones will provide a real life perspective to students. Music Business 101 will reveal the fundamentals and business practices of the music industry and also explore creative content, artist management, music operations, music business threats, opportunities and networking. Even more interesting Jim Jones will discuss intellectual property issues, production and distribution models and potential entrepreneur opportunities that are available.
WHO: HIP HOP SUPERSTAR JIM JONES and Entertainers 4 Education Alliance
WHAT: Music Business 101, 6 week course
WHEN: Launch date April 27th, 2010, and every Tuesday thereafter for 6 weeks 3:30-5:30pm
The final single from Skyzoo's critically acclaimed album THE SALVATION. Produced by Best Kept Secret. Directed by Artemus Jenkins. Starring Skyzoo, Skarr Akbar, & introducing Shaunetta Squalls. THE SALVATION is in stores now via Jamla/Duck Down Music. Click here to purchase: http://bit.ly/bzyHPx
After releasing a slew of tracks off their compilation project, Invasion Vol. 1, and a successful Dope Winter Ball Tour, the Town Techno purveyors League510 are proud to release the title track and first single off their album, To The Beat. Playing off League510's imaginative back-story, "To The Beat" depicts their exciting journey to planet Earth as TK, Mont, Mr. Knowitall, and DJ Blacksmith lead an alien invasion landing in the Bay Area.
Joining forces with their extraterrestrial sound waves and eccentric effects, "To The Beat" explodes with color, animation, and outlandish costumes, courtesy of Axiom Media Group and Tim Lillis. The video looks like a scene from a video game with League510's laser guns and power meters ranging from "Normal" to "Town". League510 explains, "With the help of a young Oakland native, we transformed ourselves to fit in, then realized the ills of this new planet and the mistake in adopting those new behaviors." They continue, "Instead, we set out to right these wrongs with the help of our newfound friend. All is well until the villain, the embodiment of all ignorance and cause of Oakland's turmoil, shows up and an epic battle ensues." Rather than death rays, League510 shoots Town Techno rays, injecting their music into everyone around them. Spoken like the leaders they are, League510 proclaims, "We may be aliens and you may not understand us, but there is no need to fear us. Believe in the League!"
Look out for League510's Earth invasion from Clear Label Records, To The Beat, in Spring 2010.
Emcees TK, Mont, Mr. Knowitall and DJ Blacksmith better known as League510 are pioneers of a sound that is all their own, Town Techno. With a sound that is out of this world, League510's musical journey began in a galaxy far away from ours. After traveling the universe for years, they entered our galaxy and our planet shortly thereafter. With sights on our world, the quartet chose to land in the hills east of Oakland, CA. After hiding their ship deep in the hills they approached this new town with great curiosity and were immediately amazed by the vibrant culture that they found. Adopting the Bay Area scene as their new home, League510 wasted no time in beginning their new musical journey here in our world. Using advanced abilities, the four emcees quickly mastered the art of sound and gave birth to Town Techo, a form of music that would unite the people in heightened awareness; to show them to take action, to appreciate the fun in life, to believe in themselves and to believe in The League.
About Clear Label Records:
Founded in Oakland, CA in 1999, Clear Label Records has established itself as one of the top independent labels in the Bay Area. The company is owned and operated by Tajai Massey, renowned recording artist with the group Souls of Mischief and the crew Hieroglyphics, who brings a unique perspective to the label utilizing his experiences as a major-label recording artist turned independent label owner & successful touring musician. Clear Label is home to recording artists of many genres such as Chris Marsol, Baby Jaymes, FamSyrk, Deep Rooted, League510, and more. Through a partnership with Pushing the Beat (PTB) called ClearBeat, the label is also home to Oakland’s hottest street artists including Beeda Weeda, Shady Nate, D-Lo, Sleepy D and others. Look for full-length releases from all of these artists in the near future. For more information, please visit http://www.clearlabelrecords.com