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The (W)rap Up - Week of December 14, 2010

[Tha Thug Show]Slim Thug :: Tha Thug Show
:: EOne Music

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Stayve Jerome Thomas b/k/a Slim Thug exists at that curious nexus between commercially successful household name and obscure regional Texas rap star. He was "Already Platinum" in the streets before his first major label album was ever released, but success turned out to be his own worst enemy. Geffen had no idea how to market the Southern sensation when he blew up nationally off the success of "Like a Boss," and even though the song was popular enough to be parodied by SNL stars The Lonely Island he was bounced back and forth between independents and major labels afterward. As writer Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez noted, Thugga had to live with the irony that artists he once picked as top prospects of the industry like Young Jeezy went on to more commercial success and acclaim while his career stalled. Thankfully "Tha Thug Show" shows that the three things which made Slim Thug a crossover success on his first major label release haven't changed at all. His "Nawfside" Houston drawl is as long as it ever was. His wry sense of humor which translates to listeners in any part of the country still works. "


Diddy-Dirty Money :: Last Train to Paris :: Bad Boy Records
as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania

[Last Train to Paris] 
"I love the Eurostar from London to Paris. That relatively recent but now iconic train journey, connecting an island to its closest continental cousin is both symbolic, and functional. I've been on it many times over the last dozen years, and since I love trains a whole lot more than planes, it is a way to effortlessly visit France/Belgium for the day/weekend. That is one of the many reasons I approached "Last Train to Paris" with an equal mix of hope and trepidation: I too have caught the last train to Paris. Hell, I've even picked up a girl on the train there (now I'm just showing off). But I just hoped that Diddy wouldn't trivialise it for the sake of a story. I needn't have worried, as the "concept" behind this album is as loose as the girl I picked up that time on the Eurostar. In fact, it is barely worth paying any kind of attention to, as it is more a random anti-narrative, akin to a collection of vaguely interconnecting short stories (not entirely unlike "Paris, Je T'Aime"). It has a vast collection of authors, singers, rappers and producers; catchy choruses, solid lyrics, too. "


Fresh Cut Collective :: Fresh Cut Collective :: Unifi Records
as reviewed by Mike Baber

[Fresh Cut Collective] 
"Fresh Cut Collective isn't your everyday hip-hop group. In a day and age when only a handful of new artists manage to bring a fresh and innovative sound to hip-hop, there is something about Fresh Cut Collective that stands out from the start. Maybe it's that the Milwaukee based group is really a hip-hop band consisting of lead vocals from emcee Adebisi Agoro, two guitars, two keyboards, drums, backup vocals, and even a violin. There are definitely a number of artists who use a live band when performing in concert, but there are fewer that actually record every instrument live in the studio, as Fresh Cut Collective does. Maybe it's that the group lists influences "ranging from Outkast to Led Zeppelin to Bach" on their website, which makes it easy to see how they came about their unique style that expands the range of the hip-hop genre to include elements of indie rock, electronic, and soul music. Or maybe it's that the members of Fresh Cut Collective have a passion for their music that is evident from the opening track to the final song. Regardless, the group simply brings a newfound liveliness to the hip-hop game that makes their self-titled debut album a success from start to finish. "


KingHellBastard :: Remember the Name :: Unifi Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[Remember the Name] 
"KingHellBastard are a hip hop group that have been part of the Milwaukee underground for a decade.  From their unusual name, you'd think they sounded like some freaky anticon- type noise, but in fact their sound is new old school, the kind of Golden Age-leaning boom bap that has seen a resurgence in recent years. Their sound is an amalgamation of uptempo conscious rap like Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul rounded out with the harder edge of Showbiz and A.G. and Eric B. and Rakim. Their beats are less stark and their lyrics more positive than what fellow old-school revivalists like Duck Down or DITC are doing. KHB share more in common with positive groups like Ugly Duckling or Jurassic 5, although they do offer up some verbal beatdowns.  MCs Dana Coppafeel, Shemp, and DNA are capable rappers, if not quite at the level of the MCs they emulate. They hold their own with the guest MCs, and their decade in the game shows in their lyrics and delivery. The first half of the EP includes collaborations with Akrobatik, Raashan Ahmad, Stricklin of EMC, and Sadat-X. "


Lil 1/2 Dead :: The Dead Has Arisen :: Priority Records
as reviewed by Pete T.

[The Dead Has Arisen]

""The Dead Has Arisen" by a Lil 1/2 Dead, you say? With a cover depicting some sort of Two-Face/Skeletor hybrid, better yet? Before you write this off as a trip down horrorcore lane, you might be pleasantly surprised (sorry, Flatlinerz fans) to know that Half Dead's debut is one of the smoothest, most well-produced g-funk records to emerge from the vibrant Long Beach scene in the great year that was 1994. A cousin of Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Daz Dillinger, and RBX, Lil 1/2 Dead fielded an invaluable shoutout courtesy of Snoop on "Lil' Ghetto Boy" from Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" ("Wake up, jumped out my bed / Hung in a two-man cell with my homey Lil Half Dead"). A tangential Dogg Pound affiliate, Young HD inked a deal with Priority on the heels of his buddies' success and released "The Dead Has Arisen" to little fanfare. While his pals' influence was certainly instrumental in Half Dead's getting his foot in the door, "The Dead Has Arisen" contains neither guest appearances nor production from any of the D.P.G.C., making its brilliance all the more impressive. "


Lowkey :: Dear Listener :: SO Empire
as reviewed by Trenton 'liquid_sky' Ray

[Dear Listener] 
"Straight from the top, Lowkey lets it be known that he's not expecting the longest of lives. From being detained in Israel following a pro-Palestine concert to seeing his fair share of public speaking at rallies in his native UK, Lowkey is far from the quiet youngster studying the game. Born to Iraqi and English parents, Kareem Dennis is a melting pot who spits lyrical lava. Lowkey's debut LP dropped harder than a bunker buster on the underground scene, but just like those bombs some tracks hit harder than others. From touching on the sickening nature of materialism taking the focus away from what he feels are the real stories and instead placing the attention of the people on mindless money chasing and lowbrow entertainment on "Tell Me Why," to what is possibly the albums highlight on the track "Relatives", which sees Lowkey and fellow UK rapper Logic exchange equal tales of the same war, from the newly enlisted British soldier seeking to provide for a growing family to the ravaged local turning to the Mujahadeen, there are real issues that Lowkey speaks of. There are also tracks that seem trivial in comparison to the harsh reality of the aforementioned subject matter. "


Redman :: Redman Presents... Reggie :: Def Jam
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Redman Presents... Reggie] 
"It's time for the return of Funk Doctor Spock - the marijuana smoking, fat booty slapping, New Jersey card carrying comic relief of hip-hop. When things get too serious in rap, you can always count on the impeccable timing of Redman's vocal delivery and witty punchlines to lighten up the mood in in the room. Apparently things got too serious for even Redman though, as he had to step outside of himself and come up with an album that's a break from his norm. As such we are being treated to "Redman Presents... Reggie," which for the know-nots refers to his given birth name of Reggie Noble. It's not the first time a rapper has needed a break from the gimmick he was trapped in on prior releases - in fact Kool Keith has based almost his whole career on it - but as successful as Redman has been to date it's a bit unexpected. To be perfectly honest though I'm not sure I can tell that there's much difference on this album between Redman and Reggie. Perhaps Reggie is a little more willing to use AutoTune, but this is 2010, and EVERYBODY is a little more willing to AutoTune their shit. "


T.I. :: No Mercy :: Atlantic Records
as reviewed by Pete T.

[No Mercy] 
"T.I.P., comin' live from the V.I.P.? Well, not quite—this time around T.I.P.'s comin' live from the penitentiary, a fact lost only on his most inattentive of listeners. Mr. Harris' legal troubles have kept him in the news, but his seventh album "No Mercy" arrives in a typically busy fourth quarter sandwiched between most of 2010's biggest rap releases including records by Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Nelly, Lloyd Banks, Nicki Minaj, and Ghostface Killah. Not to be outdone or overshadowed, "No Mercy" enlists the talents of literally dozens of hip hop and R&B's respective A-lists, attempting to build upon the double-platinum crossover success of 2008's "Paper Trail." Hip hop's fascination with embattled, embroiled, and incarcerated figures is no secret, and this year alone yields multiple examples—fans have mourned Lil Wayne's jailing and celebrated his release, watched DMX's various run-ins with the law like a train wreck, and heard speculation that Lil Boosie may be the next member of Louisiana's death row. Examples from years past are similarly abundant—Sadat X's gloomy, jail-bound narratives of "Black October" and X-Raided's albums infamously recorded entirely over the prison phone are further cases of rap listeners' obsession with the criminal."


Hip-Hop Shop #103 - Xmas Is a (W)Rap

It's time for another dope edition of Hip-Hop Shop! Episode #103 of the show is titled Xmas Is a (W)Rap. Celebrate the season with Moka Only, Sweet Tee, Young Stroke and Spandex Moose among others!! Send your feedback, podsafe (RIAA free) music, advertising requests and all feedback to dj.flash@rapreviews.com. Thanks for listening and remember to share the show with a friend and tell them to check out the replay every Tuesday on RapReviews.com!

Download Here (right click to save)

Tracks featured this week:

* Moka Only - XMAS GWOP
* Sweet Tee - Let the Jingle Bells Rock
* Young Stroke, MC ZudoBird, Spandex Moose, Fatback Supreme, Whyamihere & Manna - I'm Coming Home for Christmas (Remix)
* Moka Only - Spruce Control
* Derek B - Chillin' With Santa
* Moka Only - Wubba Wub

Video: Blueprint - "Radio-Inactive"

Buy now on iTunes:
Explicit: http://bit.ly/fMCt8j
Clean: http://bit.ly/eJSDGu
Instrumental: http://bit.ly/h9AiDQ

Critically acclaimed mc/producer and Soul Position frontman Blueprint, returns with his highly anticipated sophomore solo release Adventures in Counter-Culture. Experimenting with synths, keyboards, and drum machines, Adventures in Counter-Culture touches on Blueprint's cynicism with the world, his disdain for pop culture, the state of politics and an apathetic, uninspired society. The album encompasses every facet of music Blueprint knows. It blurs genre lines and connects his hip hop pedigree with his early days in the church choir, to the R&B bands he was a part of in high school, to his new found interest in rock and electronic music.

After a five year musical journey, Blueprint has emerged with his greatest effort to date. A culmination of self discovery and societal critique, Adventures in Counter-Culture is just that. The adventure begins March 1st, 2011.

Video produced by Bangland Media

Video: Rain - "Love Song"

From Dove:

Video: Rain - "Love Song"

Today Rain celebrates the launch of his official website http://Rain910.com, and the release of the new video "Love Song" from his street album The Magic Hour!
The "Love Song" video was filmed by Grammy-nominated director Scenario!
Follow Rain on Twitter http://Twitter.com/Rain910

PR: 50 Cent Launches New Label - G Note Records

From BF Blasts:

PR: 50 Cent Launches New Label - G Note Records

Hot Rod - "Dance With Me" (Explicit Version)

Press release
December 17th, 2010, Hot Rod released his single "Dance With Me" to the world on 50 Cent's new label G Note Records.
In 2008 Hot Rod's "I Like To F*ck" leaked onto the web and instantly won worldwide applause and attention. Underground clubs and online sites rang off with posts and conversation of how different it was. Perez Hilton posted it front-and-center on his site for the entire Memorial Day Weekend and Youtube lit up as well.
Since then, Hot Rod has toured the world doing shows in markets such as Turkey, England, France, Australia, United Arab Emerites, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, China, Denmark and countless territories around the world. As his underground hit grew, Tila Tequila jumped on board and rapped a verse adding to the fanfare of "I Like To F*ck". The world took notice.
Calls continued to come in from areas all around the globe. Even though Rod was freestyling to and remixing hits from artists such as David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia as far back as 2006 and 2007, he began rapping on even more from artists such as Lykki Li, La Roux, Portishead, and others. Rod grew to love his new flavor of music and went full speed ahead carving a place for himself among his peers

Mixtape: Elion the Great - "The Elion Show 2"

From DubMD84:

Mixtape: Elion the Great - "The Elion Show 2"

"The Elion Show Two" has been some time in the making. North Carolina based emcee Elion The Great wanted to make sure this mixtape sounded more like an album and show off his different dimensions as an artist, for this project he teams up once again with producer 2mindz (Michigan) and the combination equals classics.

Their first project "The Elion Show" in 2008 was successful and people wanted a sequel. Real hip hop to the fullest, point blank, period. This download features Dasan Ahanu, C.Neil and Baker (VA). Elion would like to welcome you all to the Elion Show.

For more information on Elion The Great make sure you follow him on twitter @elionthegr8 and check out www.reverbnation.com/elionthegreat .
01.) The Elion Show 2 (Intro) (Produced By 2mindz)
02.) Poetic License (feat. Dasan Ahanu) (Produced By 2mindz)
03.) Ron Burgundy Speaks
04.) Lovely Ladies (Produced By 2mindz)
05.) Matinee (Produced By 2mindz)
06.) Better Know That (Produced By 2mindz)
07.) Time 2 Time (feat. That Kid Era) (Produced By 2mindz)
08.) Don't Come Close (feat. C-Neil) (Produced By 2mindz)
09.) Tainted (Produced By 2mindz)
10.) Mine (Produced By 2mindz)
11.) I'm On It (Produced By 2mindz)
12.) The Letter To My Ex's
13.) My Baby
14.) Cheats On You (With A Basketball Player) (Remix)
15.) In Your Dreams
16.) How Many MC's 2010 (feat. Baker)
17.) Fergie and Jesus
18.) Picture Perfect (Snippet) (Produced By Duke Hugh)
* http://elionthegreat.bandcamp.com/album/the-elion-show-2 *

MP3: Rick Ross f/ T.I. - "9 Piece"

From M3W:

MP3: Rick Ross f/ T.I. - "9 Piece"

* http://tinyurl.com/RickRoss9Piece *

MP3: NOTAR - "Bills, Bills, Bills"

From Amanda C:

MP3: NOTAR - "Bills, Bills, Bills"

Up and coming New York based rapper/performer/emcee, NOTAR just dropped this gem called "Bills, Bills, Bills."  It's  a take on Jay-Z's "Girls Girls Girls" and he pretty much kills it. It's a tale about being broke and dealing with, you guessed it, bills to pay.

NOTAR - "Bills Bills Bills" http://www.mediafire.com/?6rmc3dj0e1j23t2 .

More info on NOTAR: http://listn.to/NOTAR and http://www.notarnyc.com/ .

MP3: Jamie Foxx f/ Ludacris, Soulja Boy - "Yep Dat's Me"

From BF Blasts:

MP3: Jamie Foxx f/ Ludacris, Soulja Boy - "Yep Dat's Me"

* http://www.mediafire.com/?4bg3kdor3vfej7i *

Video: Jola the Trunk Boi - "Potential"

From Sam Cuddy:

Video: Jola the Trunk Boi - "Potential"

Here's the World Premiere from Jermaine Dupri's artist Jola the Trunk Boi. It's directed by Aris Jerome of Taj Mahal's film group "The Popular Kids" [TPK]. Thank you for your support!!

Jola the Trunk Boi - Potential [Directed by Aris Jerome]

[Mp3 Download] http://www.limelinx.com/files/256d0ba0c1f952bceaae7cf2334a393a


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