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The (W)rap Up - Week Of November 10, 2009
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Monday, November 16th, 2009 at 7:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

Souls of Mischief :: Montezuma's Revenge
Hiero Imperium Records
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

"You can't call it a comeback, because they really have been here for years - almost twenty in fact. That being said, there's quite a few people out there in the atmosphere who haven't stayed aware of what Souls of Mischief had to share. SOM certainly didn't break up after 2000's "Trilogy: Conflict, Climax, Resolution" but they weren't releasing albums as a group either."

Fluent Form :: The Furnace :: Crate Cartel/Obese Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"It's safe to say Fluent Form doesn't have that problem, for a variety of reasons. The easiest way for me to start is to describe who Fluent Form would appeal to - fans of Jedi Mind Tricks, R.A. the Rugged Man and Ill Bill. Unintentionally that may be implying there's an ethnic factor to his appeal, but it's more a factor of the fact Fluent forms lyrics that are unapologetically dark and gritty, and the beats reflect that persona aptly. Few albums can make you picture a city landscape where towering monoliths abut dark smelly alleyways the way "The Furnace" does, which is surprising given that's a reputation associated more with Chicago and New York than the major metropolitans of Australia."

K-Rino :: Solitary Confinement :: Black Book International
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Conceptual music is often missing in the hip-hop scene. When an artist does decide to make a concept song or album, they often make such a big deal about it the music loses its luster. His concept songs are just one of many reasons K-Rino has remained a staple of the underground rap scene throughout his career. Each album is sure to contain at least one song that will have you hitting the replay button more than one time. "Solitary Confinement" is no different. Yet, even when you think you know what to expect from K-Rino, the man still hits you with surprises when you pop in the CD. His last album, "Blood Doctrine," was a fierce and focused foray into the political and social situation K-Rino faces every day."

Relic :: The Green Light :: Gamma Delta Productions
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon 

"If you have heard of Relic, you may have a few preconceived notions about his lyrical content. Rather than play to those stereotypes, I'd rather put that aside for a later paragraph and jump right into an album that aside from guest vocals was "written, produced, recorded and mixed" entirely by Relic. The amount of rappers who can pull off juggling all of these balls at one time can be counted on your hands and toes, and if you segregate that to SUCCESSFUL juggling you only need two hands - chop off one if you're extra critical."

Swollen Members :: Armed to the Teeth :: Suburban Noize Records
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace 

"I suppose it is apropos as such because the group Swollen Members is no joke. They've been on the scene for over a decade, their first studio album, "Balance" was released in 1999. From that point on, SM established themselves as one of Canada's premier hip-hop acts. With all of that exposure, you would think that I have heard more of their material, but just like the reviewer of their last effort, "Black Magic", my familiarity was minimal at best. I knew the name, but that was about all. Between the three years that have passed, the crew has persevered Mad Child's drug addiction, the collapse of their former label, and a handful of legal problems."

Tech N9ne :: King Of Darkness (K.O.D.) :: Strange Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon 

"Tech N9ne's latest album was shrouded with controversy and hype from the minute it was announced. The title was first announced as "K.O.D." with no information on what the letters stood for. It was rumored to be Tech N9ne's return to the darker sound which made him popular. If that were true, it would be a sharp departure from the image Tech N9ne has spent years building. After receiving backlash from his hometown fans, Tech N9ne made it a point to show that he was not the devil worshipping horrorcore rapper they stereotyped him to be."

Tito V. :: The Beginning of the End :: Free Thought Records
as reviewed by Justin 'Tha Shiznute' Chandler

"A writer's pipe dream is to complete a book, send it to various publishers wrapped in butcher's paper, it being discovered, both critically and publicly, as the elusive great American novel. Rappers have the same dream, similar to the plot of the film "8 Mile." Enter Tito V., a teenage Hispanic emcee from Alpharetta, GA, who wrote and produced "The Beginning of the End" in its entirety. It is admirable for an aspiring artist to actually get a project released rather than just lazily let the dream slide by, but does this LP establish Tito as the next big thing?"

Wale :: Attention: Deficit :: Allido Records
as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania

"The next big hope – or "saviour," as it seems to be spelt nowadays – to drop this year is Wale. Yes, something feels wrong – artists actually seem to be releasing music… All we need now is Dre and Saigon, and we'll know that the world is coming to an end. Wale has been simmering for nigh on three years now, having put out three mixtapes (one of which was pretty damn good), and the time has finally arrived for "Attention: Deficit" to makes a debut on the international stage. He clearly has some high profile friends, as the list of luminaries lending a hand is lengthy: Mark Ronson, Cool & Dre, the Neptunes, DJ Green Lantern, Dave Sitek, Bun B, Gucci Mane, Jazmine Sullivan, Chrisette Michele, Marsha Ambrosius, J.Cole, Lady Gaga… Can his identity survive that onslaught of talent and outside assistance?"

XO :: Monumental :: Studio 43
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

"XO is the stage name for DC rapper Jamaal Walton. I first heard XO on the Diamond District mixtape "In the Ruff." I was impressed with him on that project, so I downloaded "Monumental," which was released as a free download in June. I loved the Diamond District album, but I was thrown by the harder edge of "Monumental." "In the Ruff" had a classic East Coast sound, but "Monumental" is more present-day East Coast, complete with polished beats and ubiquitous references to getting high and getting laid. After half-listening to it once or twice, I decided I wasn't feeling it, and it got lost in my hard drive. A funny thing happened, though: Every once in a while, when my iPod was on shuffle, a banging track would come on that I didn't recognize. More often than not, it'd be XO. Finally, I decided that "Monumental" deserved another chance, and I came to like it."

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