Sunday December 04, 2016
Feature of the Week

[We Got It From Here] Phife named the album.

ATCQ review

Latest News Headlines
Audio: @Verbal_Emcee @TheRealReks @Journalist103 - "N16 6AH" (@ApolloBrown @NoCurePR)

Audio: Verbal Skillz f/ Reks, Journalist 103 - "N16 6AH"

Tom: Veteran UK spitter and hip hop artist Verbal Skillz returns with his 3rd studio album Old Man Rapper, following the releases of The Guillotine Album and Verbal Vision. Verbal lives up to his reputation as one of the UK’s hardest working emcees putting in the work and grinding hard, the London Emcee continues to produce some of the best independent music with some of the industry’s biggest names.

Audio: Mel Gates - "The Realest Chick Ever" (@rRAPpromo)

Audio: Mel Gates - "The Realest Chick Ever"

RRP: New York rap artist Mel Gates is back with the new dope single, "The Realest Chick Ever." Please check it out and let us know what you think.

Video: @RonBeattyNC - "Please Don't Leave" (@IStillLoveHER)

Video: Ron Beatty - "Please Don't Leave"

Wanja: Atlanta based MC Ron Beatty releases the visuals for "Please Don't Leave", the lead single off his upcoming project "BEATS, BEERS & BBQ".

Video: @Dumbfoundead - "Murals" (@NoiseyMusic)

Video: Dumbfoundead - "Murals"

Greg: Los Angeles emcee Dumbfoundead partners with Noisey to release his hauntingly vibrant tribute music video “Murals” from his brand new mixtape We Might Die. Produced by the Stereotypes, the hard hitting track shines a light on his urban upbringing in Koreatown while the music video directed by Jay Ahn of Transparent Agency paints his immortalizing future.

Video: @TheRealNature - "Keep Frontin'" (@bp11701)

Video: Nature - "Keep Frontin'" (prod. BP)

G.L.: Queensbridge legend Nature (The Firm) delivers a new visual for his 1st single "Keep Frontin'". Produced by BP, the epic choir sample is the perfect backdrop for Nate to transport us to Queens in this unique video directed by Mike Hanratty for Scientific Lens. "Target Practice" Deluxe is out now on all digital platforms.

Video: @DamondBlue1 - "For Sure" (@DMVLIFE1)

Video: Damond Blue - "For Sure"

DMV: Baltimore's own Damond Blue is back with some more heat! His new video "For Sure" has been one of the hottest releases to drop this month. Blue has been one of the most consistent artists in the area, putting out hit after hit... and his latest release doesn't disappoint.

Audio: Nikko Savage - "It's That Time Again" (@NIKKOSAVAGE_)

Audio: Nikko Savage - "It's That Time Again"

MAP: It's a track for the fans, to describe his return with a bang, and to hype everyone up for his new mixtape, More Than a Beat. NIKKO SAVAGE is a name to look out for in the coming months.

The (W)rap Up - Week of November 22, 2016

If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including A-F-R-O & Marco Polo's "A-F-R-O P-O-L-O EP" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!

[A-F-R-O P-O-L-O EP] A-F-R-O & Marco Polo :: A-F-R-O P-O-L-O EP
Duck Down Records

Author: Grant Jones

"Let's take a sec to think back. If you remember renowned freestyle rapper Supernatural's 2003 record "The Lost Freestyle Files" (because who could forgetÉ), or battle rapper Iron Solomon's failed transformation in to a recording artist, you'll be cautious of a freestyle rapper releasing music, and rightfully so. A-F-R-O is a 17 year old emcee who seems to be a favorite within hip hop circles because of his ability to spit off the dome using objects around him. I saw him perform with RA the Rugged Man, Locksmith and Eamon at a Pharoahe Monch show and while the novelty of freestyle rap is impressive in a live setting, it's difficult to replicate that spur-of-the-moment feeling on record, as highlighted by the examples above. A-F-R-O's age is the best and worst part of underground Hip-Hop: on the one hand it's refreshing to hear a teenager who clearly admires legendary emcees such as Pharoahe Monch (who features on "Swarm"), but on the other, it means there's a lot of talk about his dick. Sounding like a cross between C-Rayz Walz and King T, his voice is enjoyable when paced slower, and also means his lyrics tend to make some sort of sense. When attempting the lyrical gymnastics that his mentor RA the Rugged Man is renowned for (and arguably the master of), he resorts to incoherent filler without the reward of a punchline. The Halloween-themed "Nightmare on Fro Street" sees A-F-R-O excel lyrically, as it forces him to focus his writing abilities. Rhyming "hiding in the shed" with "night of the living dead" and "spider in the web" is where A-F-R-O puts his talents to best use."

Blade :: The Lion Goes From Strength to Strength (No Compromise) :: 691 Influential 
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[The Lion Goes From Strength to Strength]"There was once a young man determined to put out a rap record. Now a hip-hop veteran, Blade tells his story in the sleeve notes that accompany the 2010 reissue not of that very first record but one that was a direct consequence of it. His first releases, the singles "Lyrical Maniac" ('89), "Mind of an Ordinary Citizen" ('90) and "Rough it Up" ('91), were financed by a variety of people such as restaurant owners offering dishwashing jobs, record store owners wanting to start their own label, unsuspecting pick-pocketed arcade gamers and sympathetic bank clerks. Having established an audience by selling these records hand-to-hand on the streets of London himself, Blade distributed his first ('mini') LP, 1992's "Survival of the Hardest Workin'," mainly via mailorder. For his next project he was able to ask his thus established fanbase for financial support, which makes "The Lion Goes From Strength to Strength" the first fundraised full-length in hip-hop history. Donors were promised a copy of the new album (plus a limited bonus single), and once they came knocking asking where the album was, Blade knew he had to get going. He holed himself up for 16 days with aptly named engineer No Sleep Nigel and came up with nothing short of a testament to rap's enormous will power. Born to Iranian-Armenian parents, Blade lived in Iran and India before coming to the United Kingdom at age 7. The death of his father and the pregnancy of his girlfriend fell into the time of this major career move."

Bugzy Malone :: Facing Time :: Ill Gotten Records 
as reviewed by Grant Jones

[Facing Time]"Bugzy Malone had a buzz around him for a few years, known for being one of the fiercest Grime emcees outside of London (hailing from Manchester). To call a YouTube clip a "breakthrough" moment is reflective of how heavily Grime relies on social media these days. Mostly known nowadays for when he sent for Chip (fka Chipmunk), Bugzy is now a heavyweight presence in a scene that relishes authentic characters. "Facing Time" is his recent EP and it's less a Grime record and more an honest example of Road Rap (here we go again with the sub-genres). Bugzy surprised me with this album, as it's not often a tough emcee puts all his cards on the table and tells you what is on his mind. His imposing delivery coupled with the normality of his content is often refreshing, as demonstrated on "We Don't Care", especially given Bugzy's knack for a catchy hook. The track "Moving" best demonstrates this relatability, with talk of his mother's debt and how impressed he was at his uncle's flash car. There's a certain, somber tone to the production Bugzy uses on songs like "Beauty and the Beast" and "Moving" that add potency to his rhymes."

Cappo :: Dramatic Change of Fortune :: YNR Productions 
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[Dramatic Change of Fortune]"In 2003 Nottingham's Cappo was out to "Spaz the World," ripping mics over uncompromising production he spliced together with fellow Notts residents The P Brothers. Suppose that was the only or the last time you heard from Cappo and you now treat yourself to "Dramatic Change of Fortune," you're very likely to ask yourself, 'What happened?!' It's not as if the rapper had been idle in the meantime artistically. His release schedule has particularly picked up in this decade, including last year's full-length collaboration with DJ Nappa, "Rebel Base." But his conduct on "Dramatic Change of Fortune" is such that one is led to wonder if the artist indeed recovers from some kind of life-changing incident. Over the brief course of 37:32 minutes, he rides a stream of consciousness that takes him deep into the psyche of Cappo the artist and the private person. Recalling Kendrick Lamar's method of looping his lyrics about recognizing responsibility on "To Pimp a Butterfly," Cappo uses lyrical modules - three to be exact - that he returns to at various points. One starts off: "Dramatic change of fortune in the making / A change of fate / Shit - make you change your life." It's an unusual experience for listeners who are used to hear a specifically worded theme brought to a closure in one song. To complicate the listening experience further, on "Dramatic Change of Fortune" beats change and tracks end abruptly, Cappo's delivery is weighed down either by the severity of the subject matter or the mental burden. To illustrate the fundamental way Cappo looks at things, in some instances he phrases the same sentences in singular and plural, or in the first and second person."

Configa & HaStyle :: Hastility (H1) :: Configaration Records 
as reviewed by Sy Shackleford

[Hastility (H1)]"Making collaborations in hip-hop is pretty much a frequent time-honored tradition. Whether it's a two-man partnership or forming a large collective, the prospect of artists combining skills for an album is always intriguing. The team of Configa and HaStyle is unique in the same sense as Phonte Coleman and Nicolay; as well as Buckshot and P-Money: It's a foreign collaboration that extends across the ocean. HaStyle hails from Queens while Configa is a UK-based beatsmith. Though not their first time working together, this is, however, their first joint full-length LP. What brings them together is that they share an affinity for the same hip-hop aesthetic: '90s boom bap. "Hastility" appears to be a concept album, focusing on hostility. With influences ranging from Public Enemy to Nas, HaStyle takes the role of a street reporter. He's both the journalist and tour guide to the modern hip-hop era and the urban landscape, with a clear lamentation for it considering his admitted Golden Era upbringing. He's got a slightly raspy voice backed by a versatile effortless flow. Configa's a sample-based producer, having a penchant for dusty instrumental breaks and quirky sampled dialogue reminiscent of a 1989 Prince Paul. With similar styles, the overall effort is something of a homage to the east coast hip-hop from the '90s that had a bent towards lyrical skills combined with social commentary. With twelve tracks and just a shade under forty minutes, the length feels shorter than the actuality."

DJ Kool Flash :: Underground Playground, Vol. 1 :: DatPiff 
as reviewed by Sy Shackleford

[Underground Playground, Vol. 1]"DJ Kool Flash has had a busy year for herself. The now 9-year-old DJ has stayed on her grind and garnered props from hip-hop legends and luminaries from all across the board. From the DJ circuit with the likes of Statik Selektah and DJ Tony Touch to emcees such as Rakim, EPMD, Sadat X, and the Duck Down collective, the youthful phenomenon shines brighter with the more work she puts in. With the connections she's made in the hip-hop world, she's recently released her second full-length mixtape. Hosted by M1 of dead prez, "Underground Playground, Vol. 1" is a blend of 20 tracks over the last five years from a collection of who's-who in subterranean hip-hop. While anyone with a vast collection of music can take some of their favorite tracks, throw them on a playlist, and then call it a day, there has to be some care and art, to an extent, in doing so. Carefully-picked choices and their proper placement order matter in the creation process, especially when you want it to sound good and suspend the feeling of randomness. Her debut, "Ladies First, Vol. 1", was conceived as a mix of tracks from mostly-all female emcees with the common theme of empowerment. Her sophomore mixtape, though pre-dominated by male emcees, is her own aural play area for underground rap's big kids where she makes all the rules. The first rule on the mixtape was obvious from the jump: You've got to be dope. As a testament to that dopeness, some emcees have been included for more than just one appearance here. Queens legend Pharoahe Monch appears as a star assist on two tracks: Torae's "What's Love" and "Swarm" by A-F-R-O and Marco Polo. The second to make two appearances are dead prez, capping off the mixtape with their two tracks "I'm an African" and "Hip Hop". Most of the mixtape songs were hand-picked from the New York/tri-state underground region given the prominence of their presence."

Izzie Gibbs :: Jutsu EP :: Dice Recordings Music 
as reviewed by Grant Jones

[Jutsu EP]"Northampton Grime emcee Izzie Gibbs is currently setting the scene alight with his release "Jutsu EP", boasting two of the year's most potent singles in "Mandem" and "My Life". Admittedly, these songs dominate the six-track EP, yet Izzie Gibbs' delivers a constant stream of heavy bangers. As a snapshot of aggressive rapping over surprisingly accessible instrumentals, "Jutsu EP" is the perfect gateway record for the Gri-curious (shut up). If "Bars" doesn't have you bouncing off the walls, I'm not sure what will. It reminded me of Fat Joe's thunderous single "300 Brolic", barking included, yet Izzie (who helpfully refers to himself as I-double-Zee for any American listeners) tears the beat a new asshole/arsehole without dropping any "dope" bars. His intensity elevates "Bars" so much that it may as well be known as "BAAARRRZZ" instead. That's not to say Izzie Gibbs is a lesser emcee - but it's the way he delivers said bars, not the bars' content. One of my most played tracks of 2016 is "Mandem", an insanely catchy single that should come with a health warning. Repetitive and ultimately hollow thematically (it's further talk about having bars), it's hard not to enjoy - if we were in 2004, this would be the year's biggest ring tone. Something that Izzie is clearly talented at crafting - Grime that's filthy, yet incredibly welcoming. I'd love to hear him team with Ghetts someday, it'd be like the UK's M.O.P.."
Video: @Jay_IDK - "Mentality"

Video: Jay IDK - "Mentality"


Audio: @Real_Trademark @Young_Roddy - "Family Business" (@rRAPpromo)

Audio: Trademark Da Skydiver x Young Roddy - "Family Business"

RRP: Longtime collaborators Trademark Da Skydiver and Young Roddy are like brothers, and on their new full-length collaborative project, Family Business, the duo gives their legions of diehard fans the album they’ve been waiting for.

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Welcome to for the week of November 29th, 2016!! Please shop Amazon through RapReviews and like us on Facebook so we can bring you new material every week. This week we've got ten new items: Dabbla's "Year of the Monkey," an editorial on Nintendo shortages, Steve 'Flash' Juon's The Hip-Hop Shop #403 and L.C. Davis interview, Kano's "Made in the Manor," NxWorries' "Yes Lawd!," Jesal Padania's Slick Rick concert review, A Tribe Called Quest's "We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service" (our featured review), plus Ten A Tribe Called Quest Rap Videos, and Emanuel Wallace's The (W)rap Up for November 22, 2016!

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