Wednesday May 23, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of December 1, 2009
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

BeatMonstas :: Bomb 'Til We Hit 'Em
BeatMonstas Entertainment
Author: Emanuel Wallace

"The Chicago-based act joined forces in 2003 and released their first album, "The 3rd Weapon" in 2005. The reviewer of that album made it a point to mention that the BeatMonstas are at their best when diving head first into the murky waters of social and political issues. Upon reading that and the press mailer that pointed out the fact that most of their latest album, "Bomb 'Til We Hit 'Em, was recorded during the later years of the Bush Administration, made me think that every song was going to be a "Fuck George Bush" rally cry. To my surprise, they really aren't."

CounterParts :: The CounterParts LP :: Beat Rock Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

"CounterParts are a multiracial crew made up of MCs T-Know, Braelan B, Otayo Dubb, and producers Fatgums, Gamma Ray, and Vesk One. The crew hails from Norwalk, California, near Long Beach, and the San Francisco Bay Area. They mix the Golden Age hip hop sound of SoCal with intelligent, positive lyrics that reflect Bay Area culture. The beats are sample-heavy and loaded with cuts and scratches. Fatgums and Gamma Ray know how to work a dusty break, and create some classic boom bap that fans of old school hip hop will love. There are no synths here, just old funk and soul served up hot and fresh."

Darshan :: Lishmah EP :: Shemspeed Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"So sayeth the hebrew hip-hop artist known as Darshan on the song "Why Wait" from his debut "Lishmah" EP. This writer must confess to not really knowing much of the Jewish faith other than how it is portrayed in popular culture and having done a little reading on Wikipedia about what is and isn't considered "kosher" - and of course who knows if ANYTHING you read on Wikipedia is really accurate anyway. As a result I can't put the statement in his press release that Darshan is "astral rap, liturgical jazz, audio alchemy" who is "Harmonizing Hebrew chant with hip-hop, folk rock with electro-pop, love poetry with kabbalistic psychology" to any test of truthfulness."

Half-A-Mill :: Milíon :: Warlock Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Matt Jost

"Earlier in the '90s, Half-A-Mill (original spelling Half-A-Mil) would be one of the many fighting for airtime late at night on NY radio. His first break came when Mister Cee introduced him to Big Daddy Kane in 1993, who wanted him on his label (Black Caesar Records) that never quite got off the ground. Reportedly he also recorded a demo with DJ Scratch before self-releasing his debut single in 1994. He was signed to Penalty Recordings for a moment, which was bought and then discontinued by Tommy Boy. His Firm internship eventually led to a deal with Warlock Records, where he released two albums. While working on a third one, he was shot dead in his home in Brooklyn's Albany projects October 24th 2003."

Illy :: Long Story Short :: Obese Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Per capita I'm willing to wager the quotient of Australian hip-hop covered on is greater than if not equal to any other magazine online or off in the entire United States. I can understand when other publications avoid French, German or Japanese hip-hop due to the natural language barrier, but it mystifies me that more people don't embrace this scene in North America. The likely culprit is those stupid Crocodile Dundee movies, the ones that set up absurd stereotypes involving kangaroos, boomerangs and "throwing shrimp on the barbie.""

Mr. Lif :: Emergency Rations :: Definitive Jux Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed byEric Sirota

"Boston MC, Jeffrey Haynes, aka, Mr. Lif, released the "Emergency Rations EP" on Definitive Jux in 2002. For Lif fans, the album is essential, not because it is by any means his best work, but rather because the EP is perhaps Lif's most transitional album. "Emergency Rations" finds this Jukie in the middle of an identity crisis, as he struggles with which side of himself to embrace – old school b-boy or futuristic sci-fi geek, conspiracy theorist or everyman, inspirational speaker or nihilist."

O.C. & A.G. :: Oasis :: D.I.T.C./Nature Sounds
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"On behalf of and all of our loyal readers, I apologize. I realize a lot of you were upset with last week's review. I offered P a chance to revise the review once I obtained a full-length copy, but he was understandably dismayed at the negative reception the review got and felt he'd only be digging himself in deeper (no pun) by tackling it again. I offered the chance to several staffers to cover the album the full length themselves, but suddenly "Oasis" was the hot potato nobody wanted to hold. Everybody was afraid of the wrath of our site's loyal readers. That's either a compliment or a concern, but if you're checking out this review right now you deserve the credit either way. The voices of the people have been heard, they're not satisfied, and they want the legendary O.C. and A.G. to be given their proper respect."

Sage Francis :: Sick of Wasting... :: Strange Famous Records
as reviewed by Eric Sirota

"Sage Francis is passionate. He is passionate about his politics ("A Healthy Distrust," Epitaph Records, 2005). He is passionate about his personal life ("Personal Journals," Anticon, 2002). He is passionate about hip-hop (Non-Prophets, "Hope," Lex Records, 2003). Fittingly, on his newest "Sick of" mixtape, "Sick of Wasting...," we get a taste of all of these passions. On "Strange Fame," Sage gripes about his starving artist lifestyle. On "Conspiracy to Riot," he spits hot fire angst about our nation's political climate. On "SFR Pays Dues," Strange Famous Crew members, Sage Francis, B. Dolan, and Prolyphic, adeptly brag about their essential role in the rap game. Sage is ferocious and impassioned on every track. He has an ax to grind, and grind he does."

Type 4 :: For Sale :: World One Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"It's probably been a decade or more since I heard from Dave, and these days 181.4 is a minor footnote in my writing career, but at least one person out there didn't forget those days - Matt Reyes from Type 4. It seems the review I wrote of their debut album for Dave's internet rag was one of the most thoughtful, considerate and well written Type 4 received. After all these years, Matt tracked me down and asked me if I was the same man who reviewed rap for 181.4. It took me a minute to realize I actually was, because it had been that long since any thought of 181.4 crossed my mind, but Matt felt that after all this time I was the only one qualified to reintroduce Type 4 to the world. Tragically a lot of things have changed for Type 4 in the last decade or more - they lost vocalist Brian Cantwell in 2001 and drummer Eric Goodridge in 2002. As odd as it is to walk down memory lane back to my college days, it's even more odd to write a review of an album released in 2001 when a third of the band is now deceased - there needs to be a whole new definition of "late pass" for this one."

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