Friday May 25, 2018

The (W)rap Up for 2012 - February [2 of 2]
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013 at 4:35PM :: Email this article :: Print this article

various artists :: Enemy Soil - Free Sampler :: Enemy Soil Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Enemy Soil - Free Sampler]
"This is one of those "you'd be a fool to not take advantage of it" moments in hip-hop. If you've read our reviews of other Enemy Soil releases like "Heavy Metal Kings" and "Violence Begets Violence" and been interested but not felt like risking $5-$15 for a digital or physical CD, you have no excuse for not downloading the "Enemy Soil - Free Sampler" album from It quite literally does what it says on the tin - this is a free sample of the different flavors that Enemy Soil has to offer, starting right away with the JMT song "Target Practice" produced by Hypnotist Beats.

Although I'm already familiar with many of the songs and artists on this release - Ill Bill, Outerspace and Reef the Lost Cauze among them, the simply named Dutch is something of a revelation to me. She's on some Jules Verne shit with a song title like "2,000 Leagues Under My Keyboard," the crooning is more suited to what you'd hear from Adele or Beth Gibbons. I might have thought it was a one-time experiment from the label, but her track "Just Before the Rain" is more of the same. It's not an unwelcome sound - I like their mixture of her vocals with hip-hop style beats - it's just not what I expected from a label known for post-apocalyptic songs from conspiracy theorist emcees. If there was only one reason to download this entire EP though it would be the dope DJ Kwestion produced "Drag You to Hell," originally from "Season of the Assassin" "

BLACK MC :: St. Fallible :: Soul Model Records/Kunaki LLC
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[St. Fallible]
"In the past couple of weeks I've reviewed a couple of hip-hop albums with Christian overtones - namely Ohene and Soulbrotha. In both cases, and in particular with Ohene, I found their spirituality was not an impediment to their mission to make quality rap music even non-Christians could enjoy. On a personal level I've always felt this was a model for positive relationships with others - connecting with our essential humanity first and foremost and not allowing our differences in faith, race or gender to dictate how we regard each other. The sad things it that even having tolerance is often not tolerated these days, as I've often had friends take umbrage to my own philosophy that all major religions are more or less equal. For me it's personally liberating, but I know a few Christians who think their sect is superior to all other forms of Christianity let alone other religious beliefs or ways of life. To get along I try to avoid the topic with them whenever possible. With BLACK MC it's going to be tough to avoid the topics of religion or Christianity though. He puts it first and foremost in every song of his twelve deep "St. Fallible" album, to the point we can't even discuss a few select bars of any track without it coming up. As stated I have no objection to the thematic basis for the album - if he wants to rap about Christian morals and values or his love for Jesus Chris he's entirely entitled to do so."

Fred Knuxx :: RapMania :: Starcore Entertainment
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Here's a little background on Mr. Fredrick Shepeard, Jr. from his own website to kickstart our review: "Fred Knuxx started rapping at the age of six and has been training all the skills needed to be the next hottest rapper. For one to have a chance at becoming an elite rapper, they must be able to write and arrange their own music. Not only does Fred Knuxx possess these skills, he also provides messages that people of all ages can relate to." I'd like to focus on the last sentence of that quotation for just a moment, because Fred Knuxx has decided to drop a free album called "RapMania" in advance of a similarly titled annual sports entertainment spectacle called WrestleMania. There have been 27 editions of WWE and fans alike call "The Showcase of the Immortals" so far, with the 28th coming up on April 1st in Miami, Florida. The hook this year is that Hollywood movie star Dwayne Johnson, known to millions by his WWE nickname The Rock, is returning from the world of film to have a one-on-one match with the current poster boy of pro wrestling - John Cena. It's being billed as a once in a lifetime match, even though plans are already underway to do it NEXT year. "

Identical :: Still Hostile Assassins EP :: Neighborhood Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Still Hostile Assassins EP]
"It's not just a name for Identical - it's who they are. Real life twins Santoine (SJ) and Antoine (AJ) Jackson are out to represent their hip-hop heritage dating back to 2001 and their hard knock life from the streets of Inkster, Michigan - a majority African-American neighborhood of Metro Detroit. They'd certainly have no shortage of material for the latter, because in the ten years since I left Eastern Michigan, things have not necessarily changed for the better, and the auto crisis and subsequent bailout of the late 2000's almost completely derailed the automotive heavy economy of the area. Things have improved in the last year, but one does not necessarily think of prosperity first when thinking of Detroit. Still with an average median income of $35,950 according to Wikipedia, Inkster is probably better off than some of the more blighted neighborhoods. One thing's true about Identical on the "Still Hostile Assassins EP" that was true on their last album and the one before that - these (literal) brothers are unrepentantly hard. Even if their neighborhood was or is doing good, things just aren't good enough for these twins, and opening this album with a song called "Gun On My Lap" might just say it all. The Lenn Swan produced "Don't Impress Me" is even more explicit. If you're flossing around Identical, you might just wind up gaffled."

Jon Lajoie :: You Want Some of This? :: Normal Guy Productions
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **

as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[You Want Some of This?]
"2008 was the first time I heard the name Jon Lajoie, although he had been working as an actor and comedian in Canada prior to that. He would go on to achieve mainstream fame as the hapless stoner/musician Taco MacArthur in the FX fantasy football sitcom "The League," but in between obscurity and TV success he became a viral YouTube sensation with songs like "Show Me Your Genitals." I had NO idea what to make of him the first time I saw this video. To call Lajoie's rap style awkward might just qualify as understatement of the millennium. He comes across in the song like someone who admires everything commercially popular rappers have in their videos: nice cars, women with big asses and titties, and lots of money. After spending so much time being envious of their sex money and drugs lifestyle, he came to the conclusion most people who know nothing about hip-hop do: "Hey that rapping stuff can't be hard! I could make up a rap song right now." And so he did, but lacking a filter for crassness even Too $hort has, the song was hilariously offensive. The rapper in this song is like a retarded pervert who sneaks into dressing rooms to see women get nude. "

Random :: TOUR: Date With a Dream :: Mega Ran Music
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[TOUR: Date With a Dream]
"To start this out on a rather unexpected note, I'm always a little disappointed when I hear about someone who quit teaching. I realize that teaching is one of the most demanding jobs, but I like to believe that it can also be one of the most rewarding jobs. Apart from it being a most noble task. Humanity needs as many educated, dedicated, level-headed, adequately paid teachers as it can get. What the world doesn't need is more rappers. At least I don't see an immediate need for more. With so many of them asking me to lend them an ear nowadays, I've become increasingly selective in my listening habits. So far I've had, pun intended, merely random encounters with rapper Random's music, not being attracted to his video game adventures as Mega Ran all that much, for instance. And, I have to admit, I just might hold somewhat of a grudge against Random for abandoning his educational duties in favor of some lofty dream to be a professional rapper. One release by Random I could unreservedly relate to was his audio gallery of inspiring figures, "Heroes, Volume 1." As I listened to him pay tribute to the likes of Marvin Gaye and Martin Luther King, it dawned on me that maybe Random was still an educator, just one flowing over hip-hop beats, as were many illustrious MC's who came before him. "

Yury :: Curriculum Vitae ::
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Curriculum Vitae]
"As best as I can tell, Yury is a Pittsburgh hip-hop artist who enjoys a good A$AP Rocky song now and again, has opened for the slightly more famous rapper Chris Webby at least once, and has an unnatural (possibly unhealthy) obsession with weed and peanut butter (not in that order). That's as much as I can tell you from looking at his Facebook and his Tumblr in lieu of an official bio, which it doesn't appear he's ever gotten around to writing. Maybe he should given his album is in the top 150 of free downloads on, and when you segregate by rap he ranks even higher - #5 overall. That puts him in the same company as Public Enemy, Scarface and Jedi Mind Tricks. In fact I'd say an in-depth bio should be priority #1. To be fair I wouldn't even have been looking for more information about Yuri if I hadn't stumbled across "Curriculum Vitae" while researching what IS top ranked on right now. It's not a bad idea to know what's charting, although it occurred to me recently that I paid far more attention to the paid albums than their free releases. Perhaps that's because I'm so used to getting free albums from and it doesn't occur to me to look at other places. In fact "Curriculum Vitae" is also available from the latter, so if you're interested it really doesn't matter how or where you get it from. "

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