If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Sean Price's "Mic Tyson" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!
Sean Price :: Mic Tyson
Duck Down Music
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Sean Price introduced the rap world to Mic Tyson in 2009 and ever since that mixtape we've all been eagerly anticipating the full length. It took almost three full years, but lo and behold, the official "Mic Tyson" album is finally available everywhere - from regular retail outlets like Best Buy to digital download purveyors like Amazon. That's not to say Sean PEEEEE hasn't stayed busy in the interim - in fact he was part of last year's hip-hop supergroup Random Axeand always seems to pop up with a freestyle or a semi-hostile takeover over the airwaves like his appearance on Shade 45's "Toca Tuesdays." Only the indefatigable and flamboyant Sean Price could decide that the first single from his first commercial solo LP in several years would be "Shut the Fuck Up, Part 2." Judging by the cover art, he's not kidding about that. It looks like his cartoon counterpart has been bashing people in the head with a microphone until the head wound up blood red. Then again it's no surprise Price would feel that ruggish when said same single is backed by a bugged out boom bap beat from everybody's favorite California lead-to-gold producer Alchemist. There are few people better at expressing inner hostility toward other emcees while simultaneously bragging about their own abilities than Sean Price. One of the other Alchemist produced tracks may explain this combination best, and in the process coins yet another new nickname for Sean Price: "Bar-Barian." In only two minutes time he manages to "bust heaters at your whole damn clique" while proclaiming "rap niggaz - I doubt if there's/another nigga doin it like me - fuck outta here!!" If you're a Price fan (which I freely admit I am) it only gets better on the song immediately following, as he goes straight for the jugular on the Amp produced "Pyrex," featuring some of the heaviest piano keys heard in hip-hop in some time. "
OST :: The Man With the Iron Fists :: Soul Temple/Universal Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Unfortunately this Travis Barker song is not part of "The Man With the Iron Fists" soundtrack, despite being featured prominently in the advertising for the movie. It's not even a bonus track. That's frustrating given that RZA is heavily involved in all aspects this movie, including writing and directing it, and releasing the OST on his own Soul Temple imprint. From a corporate standpoint this shouldn't have been hard to work out - Barker's group (Blink-182) is signed to DGC, which is an imprint of Interscope, which is owned by Universal Records. Coincidentally this soundtrack for the Soul Temple imprint is distributed under the Universal Records umbrella. We've got a classic "left hand doesn't know what the right is doing" situation here. Regardless things get out to a hot start with The Black Keys and RZA on "The Baddest Man Alive," a track also co-produced by said same. Wu-Tang Clan familia play a strong part in this soundtrack, which is exactly what you'd expect when one of the Wu's founders is in charge. Even when there's not obviously a Wu member on the song, such as with Kanye West's "White Dress," a quick look behind the scenes reveals that RZA splits the production credit with Mr. West. One can hardly complain given the song is one of West's better efforts of late, putting aside his absurdly annoying champagne flossing for a well narrated tale. The soundtrack's songs work in dialogue from the movie, such as Talib Kweli's smoking "Get Your Way (Sex Is a Weapon)" featuring Res. And if you're looking for a revival of the traditional Wu-Tang Clan sound in group form, "Rivers of Blood" featuring Kool G. Rap and "Six Directions of Boxing" are as close to it as we'll get in this decade - unless RZA can lock everybody in the studio long enough to finish an album together. For better or worse when you do an album that includes the WHOLE Wu familia though and not just the original Clan, you get branches of the tree like Killa Sin on "The Archer." It's not that Frank Dukes made a bad track or that Sin is a bad emcee, but his "these niggaz like March of Dimes rappers" punchlines don't take an average track and elevate it or vice versa. And if you're the hip-hop head who's not into R&B, songs like Corinne Bailey Rae's "Chains" and The Revelations "I Forgot to Be Your Lover" aren't going to do anything for you. "
DJ Paul :: A Person of Interest :: Scale-A-Ton/Select-O-Hits, Inc.
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Anybody who thought Scale-A-Ton was a weighty album in 2009 with 20 tracks, the co-founding member of Three 6 Mafia has upped the ante in a BIG way. 2012's "A Person of Interest" is nearly 20 minutes longer than his last solo album, and if you buy the physical version you ALSO get a bonus DVD with what the sticker on the cover describes as a "comedy/horror movie" and "never before seen cooking videos." Cooking videos?! If that comes as a surprise you haven't been checking out his YouTube videos, like the one below where he shows you how to make a barbecue style SMOKED pizza. He's quite the gourmand when it comes to cooking, which is why he and Juicy J ultimately appeared on the limited run VH1 series "Famous Food." That experience left me wondering why the Cooking Channel never tried to get him for another short series, or even a one-off special about Memphis barbecue. Regardless DJ Paul is nothing if not chronically busy - he's recording, he's filming videos for YouTube, he's putting out massive 80 minute albums like "A Person of Interest" and filming his own movies - all on a D.I.Y. level with Select-O-Hits doing the distribution. All of this might make you wonder what the future is for Triple Six, and the best I can tell you right now is "on hiatus." J doesn't make a single cameo on this album, and in fact he's busy with his own solo career, having recently hit the charts with his crossover single "Bandz a Make Her Dance." No matter what the future holds for Three 6 Mafia, you have to respect Paul Beauregard's hustle (and that of J) and the fact he's willing to give so much material to a still down and loyal fanbase. He's also the producer of record for every song on his new album, which only adds to the amount of work on his plate, although co-production credits can be found on every song other than intro, outro and song "Unstoppable." His top four collaborators are Shawty Trap, Premo Danger, Gtown Vega and Dream Drumz - the latter of which will already be familiar to many of this review's readers for the single "W.I.L.L. (What I Look Like)" featuring Gucci Mane."
Double A.B. & Dub Sonata :: Media Shower :: Man Bites Dog Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Denying the progress of technology is absurd unless you choose to completely isolate yourself in an Amish community or a log cabin up in the mountains. Whether or not you like how interconnected to the internet we all are now, it's a 21st century reality we all have to accept. The manifesto on this disc suggests this is somehow inherently evil using buzzwords like "techno-craze" and "hypnotic" to suggest we've been brainwashed by our cell phones and iPads, leaving us vulnerable to the influence of an omnipresent New World Order. I refuse to view technology in such a reactionary way - it made my childhood better, my teenage years tolerable, my college life more exciting and my current adult career possible. On the other hand, I'm just as frustrated as Double A.B. and Dub Sonata by the manufactured and forced obsolence of every new cell phone or game console, a system that requires you to either constantly shell out money or be left behind in a technology ghetto where you can't do live video chat but all of your friends can. As for the artists themselves, Double A.B. and Dub Sonata have been featured on this website since 2007, individually rather than collectively, and both have earned praise for their work. The former is a Blaze battle competitor who despite the accolades of his peers and numerous websites is far from a household name, and the latter is a producing wunderkind who made one of 2010's most intriguing albums - "Nights In Cuba." Sonata lived up to the album's title, LITERALLY spending his nights in the still Communist (and hard to visit) country so he could capture the authentic Cuban sound in his sampling and recreations. Though it lacked lyrics, the album was unquestionably rap, in that it had the bold vision to mix Cuba's forbidden flavors with Sonata's hip-hop sensibility. "Media Shower" is well served by having Dub Sonata as the producer, as it gives the album a unified sound and Double A.B. a maestro up to his emcee capabilities to craft his sonic landscape. One can't deny that "Doub' and Dub" has a good ring to it rolling off the tongue either, which makes it a natural from a marketing standpoint. A.B.'s delivery is as deliberate as it is constructed, not in a jarring or stilted way, but in the sense that he's an emcee who chooses his words carefully and wants to make sure you understand his point. "
Revolution of the Mind :: Honor in Sin :: Splntr/DJBooth.net
as reviewed by Matt Jost
"Revolution of the Mind caught my attention on this year's Snowgoons double barrel "Snowgoons Dynasty." The beat for "Missing Pages" was probably the weakest of all 32, but the MC's politically charged rhymes made me listen up regardless. I pursued Revolution of the Mind and found out they released a free album via DJBooth.net earlier this year. Comprised of rapper I.Sheik and DJ Dfi, the duo has been together since the early '00s and has the co-sign of former Non Phixion MC Sabac Red, who executive-produces "Honor in Sin." Name and title suggest a rather serious affair, which is the case to a large degree. "New Mourning" sets the tone, I.Sheik maintaining a finely balanced vocal intensity, deploying lines like "Revolution of the Mind, a call to the conscience / like Rage in '99 cause 'all hell can't stop us'" and "No justice, no peace; dude, I'm not your slave / Got me on a short leash like this was Abu Ghraib" not at the top of his lungs but still with clear conviction. The most obvious point of reference are Dilated Peoples, only that Rakaa and Ev emcee more smoothly than Sheik, who like many political minded rappers may be just a little too eager to get his message across. Nevertheless he is clearly a dedicated West Coast representative, putting in work for the Bay Area over Keelay & Zaire's blaxploitation background for "Block's Conscience," the album's most relaxed offering (also featuring a strong, soulful but unfortunately uncredited hook). Keelay & Zaire produce two more cuts and the Snowgoons connection results in more quality production. Dfi's own contributions (two beats, plus the DJ track "Gun Talk II") are so solid his talents have to be considered underused on ROTM's sophomore effort. Either way the focus is necessarily on the lyrical content. Born into the turmoil of the Iranian revolution of 1979, I.Sheik still cares about his native country. "Day That I Die" portrays him as a man who hardly abandons his mission, whether as rapper or as political activist. On "Die For My People" he explicates his feelings towards Iran's political history of the last 30 years. Relating how a father dies at the hands of the Shah's henchmen and his son is sacrificed by the regime of the Ayatollahs as a human shield and minesweeper, the song is a powerful reminder that revolutions often simply replace one evil with another. In the final verse I.Sheik arrives in the present time, voicing his support for today's dissidents."
Shyne :: Gangland :: DatPiff.com
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"A RapReviews.com reader encouraged us to cover Shyne's free "Gangland" album from DatPiff.com, noting even as he did so that Shyne should be back in the spotlight but "not for the wrong reasons" like his public feud with Kendrick Lamar. That got me thinking for a minute about whether or not Shyne had ever been in the news for any of the RIGHT reasons? The first time his name even came up in 1998 was controversial as Sean 'Puffy' Combs was accused of trying to find a new rapper to replace the late great Notorious B.I.G., and one has to admit that from the very first Total remix he did the vocal resemblance was eerie. As if Shyne didn't already have that black cloud hanging over his head, he got into a shooting altercation at a New York nightclub late in December 1999 while there with his girlfriend, Puffy and Jennifer Lopez. Some allege that Shyne may have taken the fall for Combs in the aftermath of the incident, but whatever the circumstances, Shyne was sentenced to ten years prison in 2001. Despite that he was still able to put out a new album in 2004, but to make a long story short his criminal record continued generated more hits than his commercial one. THAT record wound up getting him deported to Belize, because it turns out that Jamal Michael Barrow (or if you prefer his new name, Moses Michael Levi) was never naturalized as a U.S. citizen when he came to the States at the age of 13. As if that weren't bad enough the United Kingdom barred him entrance in 2010, deporting him the second he arrived. Shyne doesn't need his feud with Kendrick Lamar to be in the news - he seemingly never hasn't been."
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