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Monday December 22, 2014
RapReviews.com
Feature of the Week

[The Pinkprint] Did we dog her buns?

Wu-Tang Clan review

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Hip-Hop Videos - Pacewon, Havoc, PackFM, Brown Bag AllStars


You know RapReviews.com got'cha back! We're the cure for your Wednesday, hump day, middle of the work week blues with brand new hip-hop videos to enjoy. This week's selection of videos starts off with something a little more experimental from our friend Trends.

Here Pacewon & Mr. Green are rocking "Four Quarters" in a brand new video.

Long time underground favorite PackFM reveals what the FM stands for in a CultureVI interview!

Mobb Deep's Havoc would like to send a "Letter to P" with this new song.

Day 24 of the Brown Bag Season is represented via this painting by Critical.

Last but not last Kam Moye (Supastition) and friends show us the art of being STUDIO CRASHERS. Thanks for checking out the new videos!

Jay-Z Pwns This Week's Billboard Top Ten


Raekwon may have had the better album, but it was Jay who won the day. Check out the full Billboard chart below:

1. Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3 - 476,000 copies sold
2. Miley Cyrus - The Time of Our Lives - 120,000 copies sold
3. Whitney Houston - I Look To You - 88,000 copies sold
4. Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. 2 - 68,000 copies sold
5. Brooks and Dunn - #1s... And Then Some - 55,000 copies sold
6. Trey Songz - Ready - 45,000 copies sold
7. The Black Eyed Peas - The E.N.D. - 44,000 copies sold
8. Boys Like Girls - Love Drunk - 41,000 copies sold
9. Kings of Leon - Only By The Night - 40,000 copies sold
10. Taylor Swift - Fearless - 33,000 copies sold

President Obama Calls Kanye West a 'Jackass'


Kanye West public domain imageDo you agree with the President? Go to TMZ and check out the audio for yourself. Personally I don't know if he is or not, but I do think Kanye needs to leave the cognac alone when he goes to these awards shows from now on.
Jesal's Artist of the Decade Series - Jay-Z


Jesal's Artist of the Decade Series - Jay-Z

Realizing that this decade is nearly up, Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania decided to start a series of special features. The aim is simple: to find out precisely who the "RapReviews.com Artist of the Decade" is - and reward them of course. Expect everyone else to follow his lead! You can read the previous entry for Nas HERE.


If this decade had to belong to just one person, it would probably be Jay-Z. In terms of accomplishments, record sales and a general aura of artistic ability/business nous, Mr Carter (Senior) has done an awful lot in the Noughties. However, he has done a lot of awful stuff too: for every Blueprint, there has been a Blueprint 2; for every Black Album, a Kingdom Come has lurked in the shadows. Even his work as Def Jam President brought Ne-Yo and Rihanna, yes; however, the scrapheap of rappers neglected by Jigga (himself a rapper, oh the shame of it!) piled ever higher over his reign. But without all-round artists of his calibre acting as life jackets, hip hop may well have drowned young in a sea of beef, breakbeats and bullshit. Yet, his relentless pursuit of the Beatles will ultimately prove futile. As I said in my controversial "Blueprint 3" review, it feels as though "Jay-Z is so fixated on achievement that he is losing track of why he wanted to MAKE records in the first place, not just BREAK them." The majority of their number 1 records came in just over SIX years, and, as time wore on, it was in the name of artistic exploration - on the other hand, Jigga will realistically have to keep going until this time next decade to break it. Will he improve year on year? Doubtful.

"Hov's a living legend, and I'll tell you why
Everybody wanna be Hov, and Hov's still alive..."

The good, however, just about outweighed the bad - and if "Volume 3: The Life & Times..." had been released less than a week later, he would have released EIGHT albums this decade, even though he effectively took 3 years off in the middle. The guy is a pioneering genius in more ways than one, with a damn strong work ethic to boot, and as hip hop has descended into the bizarre organised anarchy that we are now witnessing in 2009, the continuance of Jay-Z (minus his temporary break circa '04) has been ever welcome. Be it holding us down most summers, feuding/making up with Nas, releasing shoes, his clothing line, the royal celebrity marriage to Queen Beyonce, being Def Jam President, signing a $150m deal with Live Nation, headlining Glastonbury... The list goes on and on. That is why, at this stage in the rap life cycle, a 40-year-old multi-millionaire is so important to an industry so allegedly young, raw and rebellious. His is the face of hip hop. Still.

"The Dynasty: Roc La Familia" (2000)
This is one of those strange albums that wasn't really supposed to be a solo effort - intended to highlight his burgeoning ranks of hungry young MC's (enter Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek and Freeway, Jay-Z probably made the right decision in bringing it under his umbrella-ella-eh-eh. It sold shitloads, mainly thanks to an all-time classic club banger called "I Just Wanna Love U". It also ushered in some low-key producers you've probably never heard of: the Neptunes, Just Blaze, Kayne West (I mean, Kanye). This was, along with "Vol. 3... The Life & Times of S.Carter" - which was released a couple of days before the millennium - him at his leanest and meanest fighting weight, as he prepared to step up his game to a higher all-round level. (7.0/10)

Cool Songs: I Just Wanna Love U, This Can't Be Life, Streets Is Watching, Parking Lot Pimpin', The R.O.C.


"Blueprint" (2001)
The Blueprint is probably the most important LP that Jay will ever craft. And that is a deliberate choice of word - he crafted Reasonable Doubt, American Gangster and this. The rest are just good/bad albums that he made. But the Blueprint was put together, carefully piecing classic soul-sampling beats from then-rookies Just Blaze and Kayne West (I mean, Kanye), and his rhymes, whilst initially lambasted as over-simplified, were actually the perfect statement of intent that he was going to rule this decade come hell or high water. Sure, technically you could dock half a mark for "Jigga That Nigga" but that would be churlish, since the album, 8 years on, is as fresh and vital as it was that tragic day it dropped. It is actually pretty easy to dislike Jay prior to this LP, but once BP landed it was impossible to see anyone else running this rap shit. (10/10)

Cool Songs: The whole album

"Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse" (2002)
This could be labelled as Jay-Z's version of "All Eyez On Me." A double-disc LP where he is buoyed by the confidence of having released "Blueprint" to such acclaim that he decides to bask in the glory of it all. I prefer to think of it as his overblown version of a mixtape - lots of remixes, trying out different genres and (generally) more technically lyrical than the previous LP. Obviously, as a hip hop double LP, it wasn't a classic, but hey, he tried - and there is something to be said for the consistency level. It contains a healthy mix of some fun tracks, narratives and autobiographical experiments. It is almost like he knew that "The Black Album"/Beyonce would be his last LP/woman so he fucks with/fucks as many songs/hoes as possible - kind of like some bizarre career bachelor party. (7.0/10)

Cool songs: A Dream, The Watcher 2, '03 Bonnie & Clyde, Excuse Me Miss, Guns & Roses, Meet the Parents, Blueprint 2, Bitches & Sisters, Excuse Me Miss (Again)

"The Black Album" (2003)
Originally a concept that the Notorious B.I.G. wanted to carry out (no promotion, all-black album cover) and refined - clearly as Jigga's "last album," there was no conceivable way that he wouldn't promote it properly. But it certainly was one "last" glorious hurrah, and contains some of the finest and most memorable rap tracks in history, not to mention, in my humble opinion, pretty much the best/purest flow that ANYONE has ever kicked. Don't forget the acapella disc that got remade a gazillion times (including the excellent "Grey Album" by Danger Mouse). Or the "Fade to Black" documentary (I still love that part when Pharrell is hyped up, going on about "Dead Presidents II" and "The World Is Yours" and how he gets Jay out of bed to the studio and plays him "Allure(??!!)" hahaha). So yes, there were a few clangers, including the weak Neptunes opening single "Change Clothes" and some strange sequencing that made "Encore" the fourth track. But the good was SO good on here, it overcame anything and anyone. He definitely "left" on a wonderful high note. (9.0/10)

Cool Songs: December 4th, What More Can I Say, Encore, Dirt Off Your Shoulder, 99 Problems, Public Service Announcement, Lucifer

"Kingdom Come" (2006)
Don't call it a comeback... Between tracks like "Diamonds (Remix)" and "Dear Summer" he never truly left. Unfortunately, you could call it a major disappointment, as there was too much filler, average beats and over-capitalistic lyrics about brands normal people hadn't heard of. There were a few special moments, like the heartfelt "Lost One" and "Minority Report" but it says everything that the bonus track "44 Fours" was head and shoulders above all else, easily good enough for "Reasonable Doubt." It wasn't a horrible album by any means - it's just that after all the hype, we were expecting a lot more.   (6.0/10)

Cool Songs: The Prelude, Kingdom Come, Lost One, Minority Report, Beach Chair, 44 Fours

"American Gangster" (2007)
Perhaps after that letdown, our expectations were tempered somewhat - the anticipation around "American Gangster" wasn't feverish by any stretch. Yet I remember the precise moment I popped the CD in and press play - an hour later I was in shock at just how stunning an album AG was. Certainly not a sequel of any sorts, but it definitely channelled "Reasonable Doubt" and Jay went all out to paint a picture perfect mini-audio movie. Of course, as it was one for the "heads" it went over many a head, and it had no universal hit singles, which led many normal listeners to simply ignore it. Their loss. For if you like brilliant music and exhilarating lyrics, this is chocked full of genuine greatness. (10/10)

Cool Songs: The whole album

"Blueprint 3" (2009)
Since the review was only posted last week, and the whole point of this is to use "the benefit of hindsight," we will revisit this circa December '09 and see whether time has been kinder than I was - so we will count this score in the average for now but the Overall Album Average could change a touch. (5.0/10)


Notable Guest Appearances:
"Crazy in Love" (Beyonce); "Umbrella" (Rihanna); "Encore/Numb" (Linkin Park); "Upgrade You" (Beyonce); "Diamonds (Remix)" (Kanye West); "Guess Who's Back" (Scarface); "What We Do" (Freeway); "Black Republican" (Nas); "Maybach Music" (Rick Ross); "Go Crazy" (Young Jeezy)

OVERALL ALBUM AVERAGE: 7.7/10
Yo Gotti f/ Gucci Mane, Trina - 5 Star Remix (Single)


Review by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Artist: Yo Gotti f/ Gucci Mane, Lil Boosie, Trina
Title: 5 Star Remix
Label: Inevitable Entertainment

Is it a bad thing if you are shown up by every single person on your remix? Perhaps not. Yo Gotit's "5 Star Remix" makes the star of the original practically invisible, but as writer Pedro Hernandez noted in a recent review, Gotti is "a staple of Southern D-boy rap" so he really doesn't need to worry about losing his spot in hip-hop. Hot Rod provides the kind of neo-Lil Jon beat that's infiltrating the Billboard charts and FM radio spots in 2009, and even though most of the biters owe the King of Crunk some royalties, the song works. Trina brags about having a pussy so famous that "all you gotta do is google Trina, see the poontang" (try that and see if it works) while Boosie shows love for a chick he swears is the "baddest bitch up in the zip code." Gucci Mane's performance, I could take it or leave it, but his obnoxious "Gucci this, Gucci that" style is at least distinctive and noticeable. Gotti is completely lost in the mix here but that's just fine - it's a fun if essentially vapid hip-hop song.

Salemme f/ Red Cafe - It's Movin' (Single)


Review by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Artist: Salemme f/ Red Cafe
Title: It's Movin'
Label: Salemme Music

"Wait Cafe, shut down the whole city/Shine like Big, Bad Boy, P. Diddy/He's movin shifty in the E-350/Fo'-five rip through you see skin drippin/Not a mobster, more like a monster." Rhode Island rapper Salemme reached out personally to RapReviews.com for coverage, and from a glance around the internet I can see he's hit up boards from UGHH to Boston Hip-Hop. He's definitely hustling to get noticed, and I can respect that. Getting Red Cafe to bless your debut single definitely puts him a notch above the average unsigned East coast rapper. Salemme's flow is distinctive, a higher pitched gangsterish cross between AZ and Inspectah Deck, and the unnamed producer provides a nice albiet noisy backdrop. I'm not grousing about being unable to hear Salemme's rap though, because from what I can tell they're run of the mill kingpin of the streets lyrically. Salemme shows some potential though and definitely has the heart and desire to keep grinding, plus a few good connects that should help along the way.

2 Pistols - Whipped (Single)


Review by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Artist: 2 Pistols
Title: Whipped
Label: Cash Money Records

Unknown female singer croons "I've got you stuck on me, I've got you stuck on my pussy pussy pussy pussy YEAH" in the chorus. Unconvincing male rapper quips "Now, I ain't sayin' she a gold digger/But shawty, she don't fuck with no broke niggaz" - he makes me want to listen to Kanye West and Jamie Foxx do a duet instead. That's the gist of what 2 Pistols has to offer on "Whipped" other than a mid-to-uptempo beat for the club and the radio - that is if they can clean this one up enough for the radio. 2 Pistols has always been a lyrically mediocre rapper who gets by on the strength of his beats though, so "Whipped" is not likely to be an exception to the rule. His flow is null and void and his rhymes (when they aren't biting someone else) are unremarkable, but you'll be hearing this song everywhere soon.

Seven f/ Talib Kweli - Go Slow (Single)


Review by Matt Jost
 
Artist: Seven f/ Talib Kweli
Title: Go Slow
Label: Nation Music

Seven is Switzerland's premier soul singer. He entertains close ties to the domestic hip-hop scene, but on "Go Slow," off his 5th studio album, he reaches over the Atlantic for American co-signing. Talib Kweli blesses the track (in all versions) with a well written 16 fitting the theme of slowing one's hectic life down. The original is an engaging mid-tempo afffair with accentuated guitars and just enough bump to wake you up out of your daily grind. The Hustle Heart Remix by Shuko & M trims some weight and attaches wings to it, enabling it to reach the nirvana Seven envisions: "I wish everything could freeze / just one day all alone with me and peace." And then there's the 4:06 billed as DJ Premier Remix. Primo dips the song sparingly into g funk and sprinkles it with James Brown scratches. His contribution doesn't overpower the single, it simply adds an extra touch to an already worthwhile venture. Available at iTunes.

Hip-Hop Shop #47 with J-Zone


J-Zone - Sick of Being Rich

Hip-Hop Shop Episode 47 features an interview with the Old Maid Billionaire himself, the one and only J-Zone! We talk about his time playing football, how he broke into the industry seeing Large Professor do work, how early success led to artistic stress and much more! Be sure to check J out on the web at myspace.com/jzoneoldmaid for all of his latest projects and read his blog at DanteRoss.com. If you would like to sponsor Hip-Hop Shop please send an e-mail to dj.flash@rapreviews.com for more information. Hip-Hop Shop features podsafe music, so distribute the show and tell your friends to check us out every week at RapReviews.com!

Download Here (right click to save)

Tracks featured this week:

* J-Zone - Colorz! (2008 J-Zone Jack Move)
* Atari Blitzkrieg - Write Wrongs
* Kam Moye a/k/a Supastition - Blue Skies
* Rob Muray f/ Kidz in the Hall - Dilemma Remix 1.0
* Dominique Larue - Kill That Shit
* Tha Connection - Raw Skills
* Chino XL - Nahh
* Danny! f/ Von Pea - Hoedown Showdown

Sole and the Skyrider Band Hit the Road


Press release from Ballin PR:

SOLE AND THE SKYRIDER BAND HIT THE ROAD THIS OCTOBER FOR NEW ALBUM, PLASTIQUE
 
SEPTEMBER 14, 2009--Fakefour Records proudly presents Sole and the Skyrider Band's new album Plastique. The follow-up LP to Sole & the Skyrider Band's debut of the same name, is Sole's most cohesive, dynamic, listenable and interesting record to date.  In contrast to the apocalyptic imagery of the first record, this album adopts the Jean Beaudrillard idea that "when the spectacle took over, man ceased to be man." 

Skyrider's music finds itself more sparse and deliberate on this record.  The idea behind this album is less about politics and more about reflections on the postmodern mess that is the "me" generation. Sole bounces from the ironic to the iconoclastic, from the worldly to the deeply personal.  Unlike many previous recordings, sole's rapping is at the forefront and his lyrics are clearer than ever.  This is partly thanks to more immaculately composed music, and partly to Son Lux collaborator Doc Harril on the mixing boards.
 
Sole has spent the last two years living in a cabin in the midst of the Coconino National Forest in Arizona with no mayor, no phone lines, broken cell phone reception, just books and environmental canyon sprawl.  This return to analog life inspired much of the reflection found herein.  Everywhere man goes he is in conflict, and such conflicts are found throughout the album: the interpersonal, the political, the anti-social, the city, the desert, the industries and the anti-ideologies wherever they are found. Sole touches on everything from touring in a recession, media and war, race, rap, wildlife, space, identity politics and the insane tightrope one must walk to talk about such issues without sounding like a book report.  
 
While Sole was communing with his inner Walt Whitman, the Skyrider Band relocated to Los Angeles.  While there, multi-instrumentalist William Ryan Fritch began working on film soundtracks and as a session musician while working on his solo projects.  John Wagner(drummer) and Bud Berning(producer) formed a new group with Telephone Jim Jesus called Furious Stylz. The trio have brought their dubbed out electro outfit up and down the west coast and have joined the rotation at the world renowned Low End Theory in LA. 

ITINERARY:
10-15 - LA Knitting Factory
10-16 – San Diego - Kava Lounge
10-17 – Oakland - The Uptown
10-18 – portland - Rotture
10-19 – seattle - The Nectar
10-20 – missoula - The Palace
10-21 – boise, id - Neurolux
10-23 -  SLC – Urban Lounge
10-24 – Ft. Collins
10-25 – Denver, Co – Hi-Dive
10-26 – ABQ – The Launchpad
10-27 – LV, NV – The Bunk House


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Welcome to RapReviews.com for the week of December 16th, 2014!! Please like us on Facebook and shop Amazon through RapReviews so we can bring you new material every week. This week we have SIXTEEN new items for you for WOMEN's WEEK! Check out Jhene Aiko's "Sail Out EP," Azealia Banks' "Broke With Expensive Taste," two editorials on The Top 20 Female Rap Artist Videos from part one to part two, the "Fly Girls! B-Boys Beware!" compilation, Ghostface Killah's "36 Seasons," Iggy Azalea's "Reclassified," Steve 'Flash' Juon's The Hip-Hop Shop #304, Steve 'Flash' Juon's Welcome to Women's Week on RapReviews, Nefertiti's "L.I.F.E. (Living In Fear of Extinction)," Nicki Minaj's "The Pinkprint" (our featured review), Nitty Scott, MC's "Boombox Diaries Vol. 1," PRhyme's "PRhyme," Queen Pen's "My Melody," Emanuel Wallace's The (W)rap Up for December 9, 2014 and Clara Wang's "Verses and a Beat" editorial!

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