Monday June 18, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of October 27, 2009
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Sunday, November 1st, 2009 at 3:30PM :: Email this article :: Print this article

The Regiment :: A New Beginning
Long Range Distribution

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

Click here to find out more!"The Regiment first caught our attention in 2007 when Jesal Padania took the time to review their debut album "The Come Up." Jay Soul was impressed by the musical and lyrical direction of kids barely out of their teens who made up the group including O.S.I. on rhymes and The Arch-E-Tect on the wheels of steel. By turns Mr. Padania compared them to both the late great J Dilla and perennial RapReviews favorites Little Brother. That's high praise indeed given they were fresh to the scene, but his evaluation of their talents only got higher as the review got longer."

various artists :: Dat's Gospel Mixx 2 :: Godchaserz Entertainment
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor 

"In case you couldn't tell from the title of this compilation or the name of the label it's on, "Dat's Gospel Mixx 2" is Christian rap. Christ is front and center on all of the songs on the album. For the believers out there, that's all you need to know, and you can pick this up and bang it 'til your heart's content. For the non-believers out there, like your faithful reviewer, "Dat's Gospel Mixx 2" is a trickier prospect. Unfortunately, Christian rap often means Christian first and rap second, which can make for pretty mediocre music for anyone not in the mood for a Sunday school lecture. There's nothing worse than a bad rapper, especially when he's telling you how you should be living."

Aesop Rock :: Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives EP :: Defnitive Jux Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Eric Sirota 

"All types of rap, from the fringiest backpack rap to the catchiest club bangers, are filled with shout-outs to the past, declarations of geographic loyalty, and loop-recycling. Consequently, MCs and producers make constant overt efforts to pay homage to past greats, build a sound with those around them, and borrow already successful concepts. These tendencies result in hip-hop's rich history and sense of identity but also in rappers, too often, finding virtue in sounding like someone else, and, well, that pisses me off. Which is why I like Aesop Rock so much. This Big Apple native, Def Jux poster boy (now living in San Fran) is certainly a far from perfect MC. His breath control, while usually gifted, can be hit-or-miss, his verbiage obfuscating, and his tone oppressive. Still, from his surrealist rap-poetry, to his atypical flow, to his enchantingly ominous production, usually via Blockhead, he lives and dies by his originality, and that ethos alone commands my respect."

AZ :: Legendary :: Real Talk Ent.
as reviewed by Thomas Leo 

"Since landing on the scene with Nas on "Life's a Bitch" in '94, Brooklyn born AZ has consistently put out albums that make these fans proud. In fact, he has basically stuck with the same formula: combining slick wordplay, an amazing flow, and utilizing beats that embody the essence of the New York hip hop scene. Although his career might not have played out as he envisioned, it is an accomplishment in itself to last in the industry this long. What's more, he has always stayed true to himself and his roots, never relying on gimmicks to get his point across. His music gives off the impression that he doesn't care if he sells one or one million records as long as he makes real hip hop."

Betrayl :: The Life N Death of My Hood :: Long Range Distribution
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon 

"Hailing from New Bedford, Massachusetts may make it slightly odd for Betrayl to describe his sound as "Queensbridge influenced," but that's exactly what his bio would have us believe. He's certainly trying to live up to that in the guest list for "The Life N Death of My Hood" though - B's got Tragedy Khadafi for "On the Streets" and Big Noyd on "No Love," and it's possible some of his other frequently appearing comrades like Dezrt, Booda and Q may be too. Finding information on them is an exhausting chore though, as is finding out much of anything about Betrayl other than what's already mentioned - he hails from New Bedford and loves QB. Whether he's talking about his Massachusetts hood or his adopted QB hood, he's talking about "The Life N Death of My Hood," your hood and every hood where criminology rules and the only school is the education of the street life. And speaking of "Criminology," Raekwon the Chef drops in for "Untouchables.""

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony :: E. 1999 Eternal :: Ruthless Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace 

"I wonder what Rev. Calvin Butts is doing now. I doubt he ever dreamed that his castigating words against gangsta rap would become one of the most famous song introductions in rap history. "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" helped to thrust the Cleveland natives into the national spotlight, and eventually their debut EP, "Creepin On Ah Come Up" hit multi-platinum status. Bone remained a fixture through the second half of 1994. However, in March of 1995, disaster would strike as their mentor, Eazy-E would die as a result of complications from AIDS. His death left many wondering about the future of the group, but just a short four months later, BTNH would release what many (including this reviewer) consider to be their magnum opus, "E. 1999 Eternal"."

Lost Boyz :: Legal Drug Money :: Universal Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Matt Jost 

""Legal Drug Money" has an undeniable place in 1990s East Coast hip-hop history. It doesn't deny its hustling roots, but it doesn't glorify the hustle. Rather it points out the hardships, both for real hustlers and for these self-described "Legal Drug thugs" trying to make it in the recording industry. There's a refreshing regular appeal to the Lost Boyz, who deliver an album ordinary people can relate to while still representing for their core constituency. Cheeks specifically can be considered a trendsetter with his melodic flow, foreshadowing a time when rappers would break into the mainstream with their sing-song style (Nelly or even fellow Jamaica, Queens native 50 Cent). Neither to be neglected are the hooks, which he delivers in a very memorable manner."

Rita J. :: Artist Workshop :: All Natural, Inc.
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor 

""Artist Workshop" is the debut album by Rita J., who hails from Atlanta by way of Chicago, but through New Orleans, and various points in between. She's not only a rapper: she is also an actor, dancer, and producer. Opening track "Introduction" makes it obvious that her music isn't restricted to hip hop. Kenny Keys provides a jazzy beat, and guest Dylan Jones provides a guitar solo to set the mellow, upbeat mood of the album. The album features production by Black Spade, Kenny Keys, Yuani, Rashide Haadee, Willowtreez, Forekast, and K. Kruz. The jumping-off point for all the beats is hip hop, but the producers explore jazz, house, and soul. The name of the game is smooth, and while the beats may not be rugged and raw, they always sound good."

Savant of RAREBREED :: The Delayed Entry EP :: {self-released}
as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania 

"One of the most important platitudes you will ever hear is something along the lines of a journey lasting a thousand miles really only actually starting with a single step. Yet, nowadays, it can also start with a single click (of the mouse) or stroke (of the pen). Being a rapper involves a series of mental hurdles that, quite frankly, only the delusional will attempt to jump over. You WILL - without doubt - be absolutely shit when you start rapping for the very first time, whether you are eight or eighty. It isn't like running, where you might have an instantaneous natural knack for it. Sure, every drunken tosser on a Saturday night starts trying to rap, then says that it must be well easy if they can do it. But to actually be a GOOD rapper takes time, passion, dedication… and whoever it is - Nas, Canibus or Savant of RAREBREED - they will almost certainly remain a work in progress for many a year to come."

Subnoize Souljaz :: Blast From Tha Past :: Suburban Noize Records
as reviewed by Justin 'Tha Shiznute' Chandler 

"This review is going to be short and sweet. There isn't really a whole lot to say. I can describe the album "Blast from the Past" with great accuracy using this simple phrase: Less talented emcees karaoking hip-hop classics. Personally, I don't see the point of rappers paying tribute by way of doing uninspired covers. The music is undoubtedly top-notch material, yet it's more difficult to stray from the original than a rock track – a lot of people think it's cool to do a stripped down interpretation of a rock song that has surprisingly engaging lyrics. The Subnoize Soujaz, who consist of Suburban Noize Records' mainstay of emcees, do very little to alter the source material."

Wax Tailor :: In the Mood for Life :: Le Plan Music
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

""In the Mood for Life" is the third album by French producer Wax Tailor, following his 2005 debut, "Tales of the Forgotten Melodies," and 2007's "Hope & Sorrow." I got my introduction to Wax Tailor when I saw him live a few weeks ago. He looked like a French Moby, hiding behind his decks and laptop, and was accompanied by not only rapper Mattic and singer Charlotte Savary, but by a cellist and flautist as well. It was the perfect compliment to his cinematic sound, and a clear indication that he's not your typical hip hop producer. On record, as on stage, Tailor comes across as a mix between DJ Shadow and Portishead. His music contains the brooding elements of trip hop, and Savary's beautiful voice is a nice substitution for Portishead's Beth Gibbons. This is paired with the hard-hitting beats of sampled hip hop." 

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