Tuesday June 19, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of September 29, 2009
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Sunday, October 4th, 2009 at 9:30PM :: Email this article :: Print this article

Ghostface Killah :: Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in the Emerald City
Def Jam

Author: John-Michael Bond

"Gone is the grimy street imagery and staged coke deals of past albums, and in its place is a magical wonderland of the kind of fucked up music Ghostface Killah thinks counts as a romantic album. At its most graphic this is R&B for the hardest of hardcore rap fans, capable of making 2 Live Crew join a Feminist Rally. However when Ghost puts his love of classic soul into his songs and eschews smut stereotypes he almost creates something you could play around your lady. Almost."


Awol One and Factor :: Owl Hours :: Fake Four Inc.
as reviewed by Eric Sirota 

""Owl Hours," the second collaboration between Shape Shifters crew MC, Awol One (short for A Walrus One), and DJ/producer, Factor, is a self-professed party album. This description is a strange one. Awol and Factor's "party" vibe lodges itself somewhere between the nihilistic decadence of N.E.R.D. and the nebbishy extroversions of WHY?. The album is a more appropriate soundtrack to a nitrous oxide filled high school debate kegger than a night on the town or block party. Indeed, our Cali b-boy does not seek to host a normal bash but rather to explore hedonism's dark, or at least awkward, underbelly."


Breez Evahflowin :: Breez Deez Treez :: Domination Recordings
as reviewed by Susan 'susiQ' Kim 

"It is the reality that everyone has their own battles. Even with his big break on MTV's "Direct Effects," proving victorious as a vicious battle rap champion and as an integral part of the Stronghold Movement consisting of Poison Pen, C-Rayz Walz, DJ Static, and Immortal Technique, New York's Breez Evahflowin lives to tell about his own struggles. Relocating to North Carolina and working with producer Dave Archuletta via internet, Breez honed in on his skills as a more insightful emcee and used his own knowledge to manifest through his music. With the time to gather his thoughts and reflect on his most personal accounts, Breez utilizes his unique artistry for his latest album "Breez Deez Treez.""


Brokencyde :: I'm Not a Fan But the Kids Like It :: Breaksilence/Koch Records
as reviewed by John-Michael Bond 

"E-40, what the hell are you thinking man? There's a difference between cashing a check and being paid in 30 pieces of silver. Doing a guest spot on a Brokencyde record is 30 pieces thrown right in the face of everyone who's ever bleed and hustled for this genre, and telling them getting a check is more important than everything the genre has stood for. Frankly sir this very un hyphy."


Debaser :: Back to Work :: Sandpeople Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon 

"Being part of Oregon's Sandpeople crew clearly sharpened the skills of both men long before the first Debaser album hit stores, but a stunned Jordan Selbo was still forced to proclaim their debut represented "a group transcending the current standards of the genre, concerned not so much with bringing it back as with moving it along." Thus the stage was set for Ethic and Sapient to be a modern day Guru and Premier, much beloved and often underrated, an outstanding team that musically and lyrically complimented each other perfectly."


Dr. Dre :: The Chronic: Relit and From the Vault :: WIDEAwake Music
as reviewed by John-Michael Bond 

"To understand the necessity of re-mastering "The Chronic" one must first look at what the album meant for the history of hip hop. Beyond being arguably the first Snoop Dogg album (this record is as much his as "Only Built for Cubin Links" is Ghostface Killah's) and featuring one of the most consistent series of guest spots in the history of hip hop, "The Chronic" changed the way hip hop was produced. More so than even Dr. Dre's previous work with N.W.A., "The Chronic" infused a sense of powerful melody and thunderous funk into hip hop's previous arsenal of snare hits and keyboard bleats."


Dynas :: The Apartment :: BBE Records
as reviewed by John-Michael Bond 

"Dynas is yet another rapper bursting with talent whose career fell victim to the curse of a dead end major label deal, only to find himself brushing off his shoulders and moving forward in the indie world. Right off from the get go "The Apartment" is a charming combination of street infused attitude and urban soul seasoned hip hop, but that same charm could hold it back. Despite the success of one Kanye West the rap world has been viciously slow when it comes to helping cats with a brain and a chip on their shoulder move significant numbers of records. "The Apartment" feels destined for this fate, and underground love, simply because it rides the space between radio hit and brain food by such a narrow margin."


Eprhyme :: Waywordwonderwill :: Modular Moods LLC
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez 

"Creativity is often overlooked in the rap game. Redundancy is often valued over variety and uniqueness. At least that is the current state of the rap game. In its infancy and growth, hip-hop stood for creativity and variety. Somewhere along the way, that was lost, and today you often see cookie cutter emcees rewarded and unique emcees ridiculed. Eprhyme is such an emcee who fits in the unique category. He looks nothing like you would expect an emcee to look like. His background and influences also fail to fit into the hip-hop mold. He claims to have been a big punk rock fan in his earlier years, something that is easy to believe considering he originally hails from Washington. His conversion to a hip-hop fan and performer was fueled by his wish to deliver a positive social message."


Flying Lotus :: Los Angeles :: Warp Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor 

"First off, I'm a year late on this: the album came out in June of 2008, before the economy collapsed, before Obama's election, and before "Imma let you finished" became the overworked meme of the week. It's not that I slept on the album, per se, it's that the album seemed sleepy to me. The snippets I heard of "Los Angeles" seemed too nebulous and mellow to warrant the $13.98 it was selling for at Amoeba down the street. Then I heard him do a few remixes I liked, and I saw him mentioned along with Nosaj Thing, whose "Drift" I was mighty impressed with. So I plunked down my hard earned money and bought a copy, fourteen months after it originally came out."


J-Swing :: Marked Man :: Recession-Proof Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon 

"When looking at J-Swing's bio, I'm hoping for something that exciting that will "jump off the page" too, and a few items do catch my attention."


Kings Konekted :: Trails to the Underlair: The Prequel :: Toaster Entertainment/Class A Records
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace 

"It's no secret that hip-hop is an art form that spans across the globe. If you need more proof, feel free to browse the RapReviews archives and you'll find a gang of emcees from all corners of the world. Furthermore, take this release from Australian duo, Kings Konekted. Dontez and Culprit are the protégés of Stricknine, and have been working with him since 2006. This mixtape is primarily produced by Stricknine, Dontez, and Trem, but also features some "jacked" beats from Alchemist, 4th Disciple, and Necro, among others."


LL Cool J :: Mama Said Knock You Out :: Def Jam/CBS
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Matt Jost 

"In the early '90s photographer Michel Comte shot nudes of an Italian fashion model by the name of Carla Bruni. 15 years later one such portrait was auctioned off by Christie's for $91,000, la Bruni now better known as France's first lady, recently married to President Sarkozy. Some years prior Comte also took pictures of a certain James Todd Smith, who presented his sweaty, muscular torso adorned with a solid chain hanging from his neck, a bracelet on one arm, a wrist band on the other, and, most prominently, an oversized four-finger name ring that said 'Cool J.' While Bruni was only just yet another mannequin to the world, LL Cool J, whose afore-described black-and-white portrait graces the cover of his fourth album, "Mama Said Knock You Out," was already an icon that you couldn't imagine being destined for greater things than being one of rap music's premier artists."


Sole and the Skyrider Band :: Plastique :: Fake Four Inc.
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon 

"Anti-commercial, anti-pop, Anticon icon Sole first offered these words of wisdom almost a decade ago on "Bottle of Humans." Judging by the artwork for "Plastique" he finally got his wish, although his skyscrapers are an alien landscape of monolithic emeralds grown to the desired size and shape for habitation. One gets the feeling they would surpass the Empire State Building in height up close, but to actually visit them you would have to stride into the artwork of an Isaac Asimov or Ray Bradbury album. In fact the figure on the cover staring at the Emerald City before him is no Tin Woodman or Scarecrow; he is an Illustrated Man with a story to tell us all."


Tyler Steven :: She Loves Me Not EP :: Grown Folk Music
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace 

"Tyler Steven is a nice guy. He really is, or at least that's what I read on his Twitter page. The EP didn't come with a press release, so I had to go above and beyond my usual research to get some information on the guy. He hails from Thousand Oaks, California, has a passion for baseball and he's an ambitious dreamer that likes to write about love from various perspectives."


Urthboy :: Spitshine :: Elefant Traks
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez 

"Australian hip-hop is fascinating. While not every album is a home run, a consistently high percentage of Australian rap albums I have come across have been dope. The minute I feel I have a good gauge of the talent coming from Australia, I become exposed to a new emcee with dope music to offer. The latest Australian emcee to hit my speakers is Urthboy, a veteran hailing from New South Wales, Australia. A member of The Herd, a group who has gotten positive reviews from us before, Urthboy hits us with his third solo album entitled "Spitshine." Packed into the album's 13 tracks are plenty of dope beats and a refreshing classic hip-hop vibe."







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