Thursday April 19, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of November 24, 2009
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 at 1:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

Rakim :: The Seventh Seal
Ra Records/SMC Recordings
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

"In days of old a new Eric B. & Rakim album would be cause for euphoric celebration. In days not so old a Rakim solo album would be eagerly anticipated as the return of a rap legend. In days of recent new Rakim gets a "eh" reaction from jaded hip-hop heads who think he's past his prime and no reaction at all from rap fans too young to have HEARD his prime. That's a damn shame given the lead single "Walk These Streets" paired the R with Maino, a modern day rapper who is surprisingly well prepared to be a successor to Ra as a storyteller."

Almost September :: The Almost September EP :: One Records/Neo/Sony
as reviewed by Matt Jost

"Almost September is J-Lee, MC Lyte and Whitey. Wait, did I just say MC Lyte? I meant - no, I really meant MC Lyte. Unlike other hip-hop heroes from times past the Brooklyn legend popped up every now and then, but Almost September is her most professional return since "Bad As I Wanna B" back in '96. The Almost September project is the result of a chance meeting during the recording of Macy Gray's '07 album "Big." The three hit it off immediately, which led to the spontaneous creation of their first song "Beautiful." As a production/writing team (sometimes credited as Whiteleaf Productions), J-Lee (Jared Lee Gosselin) and Whitey (Phillip White) have brought you songs such as Cheri Dennis' "Alright", Chingy's "Kick Drum", India.Arie's "Wings of Forgiveness," or Floetry's "I'll Die." While their extended list of clients is even more impressive, Almost September make it clear that this collaboration isn't limited to one strategized song designed in a boardroom."

DMgee! dungMeistergeneRal :: Old Man Street Corner :: Charma Recordz
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"I regret to say DMG is one of the most definitive cases of ANTI-charisma I've ever heard. To get a general idea of why he utterly fails imagine someone who sounds the least bit vaguely similar to LL Cool J doing his whispered flow from "Phenomenon" - then imagine he does it for a WHOLE ALBUM. DMG seems genetically incapable of raising his voice, putting any emphasis on a single bar he speaks, and often starts a bar only to get quieter as he's spitting it. The hallway closet DMG seems to have recorded this album in didn't improve matters. The vocals bounce around, double up and overlap in ways that were undoubtedly intended to be artistic - they're just annoying though."

iLL-Literacy :: iB4the1.1 :: digit.ILL.funk
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

"A couple of weeks ago, I thought I had received an extremely oversized packet of tropical punch flavored Kool-Aid. Even more weird was the fact that I had actually purchased the traditional sized packet earlier in the day. However, to my surprise (and slight disappointment), it was the first release from Oakland trio, iLL-Literacy. The group consists of Dahlak, Drizzletron and N.I.C., and seems to draw influences from any and everything, ranging from afrobeat to X-Men. The self-proclaimed Ritalin babies have decided to release their album in three separate chapters, for the benefit of any others like themselves who lack the ability to sit still long enough to listen to an entire release at one time."

D.O. :: Stay Driven :: Northstarr Entertainment
as reviewed by Susan 'susiQ' Kim

"Toronto emcee D.O. (Defy the Odds) has been a definite trendsetter while setting a Guinness World Record for the longest freestyle rap of 8 hours and 45 minutes in 2003, as others followed his lead and was finally beat by emcee Supernatural in 2006 with 9 hours of freestyling. Nonetheless, his feat created media frenzy and aided in D.O.'s exposure as his ventured out traveling throughout Canada and parts of the United States. In addition to his mix tapes sold while performing abroad, D.O. debuted his full length album, "The Northstarr," in 2007 and with it came various Canadian awards and nominations. Alongside his solo endeavors, D.O. is also an integral part to the duo of Art of Fresh together with Slakah the Beatchild."

Madecipha :: Word Is Bond :: Long Range Distribution
as reviewed by Louis Cloutier

"It's fair to assume that most of you don't know who Madecipha is. He is an obscure artist trying to make it in an obscure genre. I'm not alluding to Hip-Hop here, but rather one of its red-headed stepchildren: horrorcore rap. With "Word Is Bond", Madecipha follows in the footsteps of artists like Gravediggaz, Esham and the roster of Psychopathic Records. While I can hardly be considered an expert in this genre, it is with enthusiasm and open-mindedness that I will proceed to review this young musician's debut LP. What immediately caught my attention when I received this album was the Pen & Pixel-style graphics used to make the cover. For those who don't know what I'm referring to, Pen & Pixel is the design team behind the legendary artwork of such camps as Cash Money, No Limit and 8ball & MJG. Gold frame, fake glittering effects, cash...all that's missing from this album cover is the white tigers and luxury cars."

O.C. & A.G. :: Oasis :: D.I.T.C/Nature Sounds
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

"First off, this isn't a review of the entire album of "Oasis," but rather a four-track press advance for the album, which should come out on November 24th. I say "should" because it's original October 27th release date already came and went with no album. Secondly, I'm not familiar with A.G. or O.C., I've never listened to Showbiz and A.G.,  and I don't own anything by the Digging in the Crates Crew (D.I.T.C.). Not because I have anything against them, understand, but we've just never crossed paths. Finally, I'm not a huge fan of the hardcore East Coast style of rap that O.C. and A.G. specialize in. I respect it, but It's not my thing."

Oh No :: Dr. No's Ethiopium :: Stones Throw Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

"Oh No's beat record "Dr. No's Oxperiment" was one of my favorite records of 2007, and I loved hearing his beats turn up on Mos Def's last album, and I was excited when I heard that his next project was a beat record based on Ethiopian music. So excited that I almost ordered the special version complete with a pound of Ethiopian coffee from Intelligentsia coffee. See, while I enjoyed the Mediterranean psych music that Oh No sampled on "Oxperiment," I love Ethiopian funk and jazz. It's funky, grooving, but totally unique. It's form and instruments are much different than Western music, so it's recognizable yet exotic. It's the perfect source for hip hop beats, and it's high time a producer mine some Egyptian crates."

Phatchance :: Inkstains :: {self-released}
as reviewed by Eric Sirota

"Put some shrimp on the barbie, Mate, because it's time to dig into "Inkstains," the new release from prominent Australian MC/producer Chance Waters, aka Phatchance. The LP is his second solo release, though he has been featured alongside a bunch of famous Australian rappers that you haven't heard of and I hadn't heard of until I read the "Chance Waters" Wikipedia entry. Indeed, I'm not too familiar with the rap from Down Under, but if Chance is representative, then Australia-hop seems to takes its cues from the U.S. This is neither surprising nor problematic. Hip-hop is an American art form, and while it is great that South Africa put its own spin on rap with Kwaito, and England did its own thing with Grime, it would border on bigotry to expect every rapper from another country to bring something totally new to the table simply because they are foreign."

Slug & MURS :: Felt 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez :: Rhymesayers Entertainment
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"2009 has been the year for new rap supercombos to take the industry by storm, from regional teams like KRS-One & Buckshot to nationwide collaborations like Slaughterhouse. All of these groups have awakened a slumbering hip-hop fanbase, but when one examines the recent history of 21st century rap Felt pre-dated the trend and may have set the example for all to come. Few people would have imagined the dope results to emerge when Minnesota and California collided, but two successful albums later MURS has vowed that his Northern compatriot Slug is the rapper he likes working with the most. It ain't hard to tell when you listen to their previous collaborations - Slug & MURS bounce raps off each other like an underground Run-D.M.C. They alternate bars and verses, finish each other's punchlines, and construct complex songs like one body with two heads - different personalities that still work together towards a common goal."

Willy Northpole :: Tha Connect :: Disturbing Tha Peace
as reviewed by Justin 'Tha Shiznute' Chandler

"This one came in completely off the radar. Whether it was because of a lack of interest in the artist, bad marketing, or the death of music legend Michael Jackson, that detracted from Willy Northpole's debut "Tha Connect" from getting its proper dues, the lack of sales is glaring. One has to wonder what kind of impact Willy would have if he ended up on G-Unit, which seemed oh so likely only a few years back. Don't count him out yet though, in part because of the high quality of this freshman foray into the rap game."

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