Monday June 25, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of September 4, 2012
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 at 1:30PM :: Email this article :: Print this article

[Dedication 4] Lil Wayne :: Dedication 4
Dat Piff

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

"If Dwayne Carter says he's bored with rap one doesn't have to look further than "Dedication 4" for the reasons why. He tries to play it off like this was all for lolz (JUST KIDDING WAYNIACS - DON'T STOP BUYING MY RECORDS & MERCH) and he was just kidding when he raps the lines "I'm skatin and rappin at the same damn time/I said I might retire, but y'all know I be high" on "Same Damn Tune." The problem with that is that these 15 tracks are not a joke. The Dedication series has over the years been Wayne's "thank you" to loyal fans who stuck with him through all his legal problems and industry drama - truly a dedication to the fans. Now he seems completely indifferent to them. Now let's break this down to the organic compounds. First and foremost he's rapping over Kanye West's "Mercy" beat, which is a strong contender for the most overexposed song/instrumental of 2012. Secondly the movie references he's making are really dated - Unbreakable came out 12 years ago and Sister Act came out TWENTY years ago. Arguably even the Michael Phelps reference is dated since his most historic Olympic performance was 2008 - for a swimming reference Ryan Lochte would have been more apt. Hell for the 2012 Olympics in general he'd have done better with Gabby Douglas or Jordan Burroughs. The sample here also shows off his obsession with Trukfit, his own line of skater apparel, which gets referenced in seemingly every song. "

Antibalas :: Antibalas :: Daptone Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

"Antibalas are an 11-piece band from Brooklyn that have been perfecting their version of afrobeat over 14 years and five albums. The group is modeled after the late Fela Kuti's Africa 70 band. They even wrote and performed the music for Fela! the Broadway musical based on the late musician's life. Antibalas are not a mere cover band, however. They use the afrobeat template that Fela created, and add on to it other influences, including latin music, hip-hop, funk, and jazz. Their latest album is their first with New York funk label Daptone, and in many ways sees the band finding their sound and their home. The band started out on dance label Ninja Tune, and their last album was on indie label Anti-, a spinoff of punk label Epitaph. Daptone is the label closest to the band's spirit. The label is home of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, the Budos Band, and the Menahan Street Band. All of these bands make funk and soul music that hearkens back to pre-digital days, when it was musicianship, not production, that made the band. Antibalas' latest album was largely recorded live, which gives the music an energy and vitality that you usually only get with a live show. While the band's sound has not changed dramatically over their five albums, this record sees them paring back their sound and presenting an even tighter package. Their earlier records had a stronger latin funk infuence which has been largely toned down for this album."

C-Rayz Walz :: The Code ::
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[The Code] 
"To put a fine point on it right from jump, "Ravipops" is one of those hip-hop albums everybody heard about that most people never bought. It deserves all the accolades and acclaim it got, as Walz was already ahead of his time when it dropped in 2003, which means hip-hop probably just caught up about 5 minutes ago. The boom for independent labels going underground gold was in the late 1990's though, and Def Jux is to hip-hop like Ring of Honor is to pro wrestling. If that doesn't make sense, it boils down to being able to sign the best in the world, then not be able to market or promote them like it. The underground fans will support it and the world will ignore it. C-Rayz Walz is CM Punk, only he didn't get discovered by WWE (Def Jam)... yet. Walz has kept hustling despite the handicaps, dropping albums like "Chorus Rhyme" and "Freestyle vs. Written" over the years, and getting a mixture of praise and indifference for each one. The buzz he had in the early 2000's is gone though, and record labels have increasingly given up on the idea of signing anybody who doesn't sound like the next Kanye West or Gucci Mane. What's a talented and underserved emcee to do in such an environment? Bandcamp. If ever a better purpose for the site has been invented than for a rapper like C-Rayz Walz to direct market to his fanbase, I can't think of it. This is not a bedroom emcee with his GarageBand app working overtime - this is a real legit spitter straight from The Bronx."

Gotham Green & Quickie Mart :: #HDv4 ::
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Picking up where "Haze Diaries Volume 3" left off in 2010, the unusually third-coastal team of Gotham Green (New York) and Quickie Mart (New Orleans) have not missed a beat on #HDv4. Sounds like a whole review doesn't it? Damn, I wrote the conclusion before the intro. Well just play this movie in reverse and it will make more sense. To be honest this album is kind of backward for me too, as it came in an unsorted zip file with 19 songs in alphabetical order. Thankfully their Bandcamp page clears up the order it's supposed to go in, but since I was already listening to it in a "so-random it's sorted" order out of sync with that prescribed format, I've got a different and possibly better appreciation for this release. It starts with the highly enjoyable "All I Know" featuring Freddie Gibbs and T. Mills. Soon enough I'm hit over the head with the pothead anthem "Break it Down," and the instrumental raises goosebumps on my arsm because it re-interpolates the instrumental to Artifacts' "Cummin Thru Ya Fuckin' Block" featuring Redman, one of my favorite rap songs of all time. Appropriate that it's a weed smoking anthem too given the proclivities of the emcees I first heard on the beat almost 20 years ago. Listen to their version on Bandcamp, then listen to Tame, El and Reggie Noble below and tell me that I'm wrong. Goosebumps. "

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