Monday June 25, 2018

The (W)rap Up for 2012 - June [2 of 2]
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013 at 6:35PM :: Email this article :: Print this article

The Yes Yes Yalls :: 9000 :: {self-released}
as reviewed by Zach 'Goose' Gase

"The rapper who can sing (or singer who can rap) has long suffered from a condition I like to refer to as the "Wyclef Syndrome." There's no question 'Clef was one of the most skilled musicians of the 90s, as he juggled rapping, singing, reggae, hip hop, pop and other styles and skills. But when it came down to making a focused, cohesive record, his solo albums fell short (also see most of Cee-Lo's solo work). Rapper/Vocalist/Singer-songwriter, Shameless Plug, lead man of the New Jersey-based, Yes Yes Yalls has many talents no question, but does he fall into the "Wyclef Syndrome?" The Yes Yes Yalls consist of Shamelss Plug (Vocals/Lyrics), Chris Jenkins (Music/Production) and their Live DJ, Paul Nyce. Despite what their name suggests, their sound isn't traditional hip hop, in fact it's quite the opposite. And it's a point of pride as they describe themselves as "Originality from New Jersey...Think Gnarls Barkley meets Justin Timberlake meets Atmosphere meets N.E.R.D. meets Beck and you'd be close." And that's a pretty apt description of the group, as they juggle sounds from indie rap, to electro pop, to piano driven R&B, to just about everything short of country and heavy metal. But the surprising part is, they do it seamlessly over the span of nine tracks on their latest album "9000," which is both daringly experimental and surprisingly accessible. "

[Rejuvenation]Juvenile :: Rejuvenation
UTP/Young Empire/Fontana Distribution

Author: Emanuel Wallace"I'm going to go out on a limb and say this: YMCMB and anyone that currently reaps the benefit of their success owes a debt of gratitude to Juvenile. I'm not just saying that because Drake had the gall to put his own twist on Juve's "Back That Azz Up" on his own "Practice," but the sheer fact that Juvenile was the star that put Cash Money on the nationwide map. The Big Tymers, B.G. and even U.N.L.V. saw moderate regional success, but it was the inquisitive opus that is "Ha" that made people take notice of the New Orleans-based Cash Money Records. Just for kicks, feel free to read a questionnaire that a couple of my message board buddies concocted, based on the lyrics to "Ha." Now, back to the matter at hand. The acrimonious split between Juvenile and Cash Money has been well publicized and documented over the years, so there's no need to get into the details of it all. As time passed, the one they call Juve the Great continued to record and he actually landed his first #1 album with "Reality Check" in 2006, which reunited him with fellow Cash Money defector, Mannie Fresh. In a way, Juvenile became the unofficial spokesperson for post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans with songs like "Get Your Hustle On." Subsequent album releases "Cocky & Confident" and "Beast Mode" didn't fare as well on the charts, but they remained true to Juve's trademarked way of doing things... Tha G Code, if you will. "

House Shoes :: Let It Go :: Tres Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[Let It Go]
"Michael Buchanan, better known by his DJ name House Shoes, is Detroit's hip-hop ambassador. He's produced and toured with many of Detroit's better known underground rappers, including Guilty Simpson and Elzhi. He released a mixtape tribute to Dilla with Rhettmatic called "The King James Version" last year. Now he's releasing his debut album "Let It Go," featuring rappers from Detroit and beyond rapping over House Shoes' beats. His style combines a little of the late J Dilla's crisp precision, some of Black Milk's thumping boom-bap, and both artists' penchant for flipping samples from soul records and less likely sources. The spirit of Motown hangs over the tracks in the dusty grooves that House Shoes has mined, turning two seconds of a fifty-year-old record into hip-hop gold. It's almost like Detroit hip-hop has developed on its own timeline, where beats are still made from breaks and MCs are prided on their lyrical ability rather than image. If you like your hip-hop grimey, House Shoes has you covered. "Dirt" sees a reunion of the Greneberg crew (Oh No, the Alchemist and Roc Marciano) and it is as fierce as their 2011 EP. Guilty Simpson makes two appearances, first on "Crazy" with Black Milk and later on "Nails" with Quelle Chris."

The Internet :: Purple Naked Ladies :: Odd Future
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Purple Naked Ladies]
"The dichotomy of the Odd Future discography only becomes evident after you've spent an extensive amount of time listening to their catalogue. Circumnavigating one pole at the end of Odd Future is the "Crazy Profane Bastard" section of the Wolf Gang, led by Tyler, the Creator and perpetuated by his closest comrades such as Earl Sweatshirt, Hodgy Beats and Mike G among others. They perpetuate a continual atmosphere of juvenile antics, offensive behavior, conspicuous consumption and macabre shock theatre rhymes. Generally speaking, this pole draws in the bulk of their listeners, following magnetic North toward Tyler's bawdy charms. Even his critics have to admit his charisma makes him hard to resist, and his carefree #YOLO attitude is endemic of a generation who hasn't been left much to look forward to by the irrational exuberance of the 1990's. Traveling around the opposite pole in the world of Odd Future is the "Abstract Sensitive Artist" section of Golf Wang, led by Matt Martians, Syd Tha Kid and Frank Ocean among others. Theirs is a world of experimental music that often only slightly identifiable as hip-hop. They often need cameos by the likes of Tyler to keep them grounded, as they seem in danger of floating into outer space on the winds of their whims at any times. This is not the #SexyHotDangerous side of the crew - it's the #ClosetHipHopNerd side. "

Lil Wyte :: Still Doubted? :: Wyte Music Records/Hypnotize Minds/Select-O-Hits
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Still Doubted?]
"Lil Wyte (government name: Patrick Lanshaw) has a 10 year career under his belt and should rightfully be proud of that. Many people doubted that he'd have a long tenure, assuming that he was the "token white boy" of the internationally famous and award winning Three 6 Mafia, and once they were done fucking around with him as a side project he'd simply disappear. Wyte has consistently proved his doubters wrong though, repeatedly moving hundreds of thousand units largely without radio play of any kind. Word of mouth, a loyal fan base, and his continuing friendship with Three 6 are all he's needed to stay relevant and independently successful. He's even a budding entrepreneur, turning his name in music into his own label, Wyte Music Records. Fortune has indeed smiles on this former two-time high school dropout who can look at his daughters now with pride - daddy made good. 2012 is an interesting conundrum though, because the marketplace for music has changed, and the Hypnotize Minds website no longer seems to exist. Wyte freely acknowledges in the credits of "Still Doubted?" that he owes his existence to them and is thankful for the opportunity they provided him, but neither DJ Paul or Juicy J is on this album musically or lyrically - no production or cameos. "

Master Ace :: Take a Look Around :: Cold Chillin'/Reprise Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **

as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Take a Look Around]

"Weekly readers may have noticed your humble author has been in a nostalgic mood of late, dating back to when I reviewed the debut Leaders of the New School release in May. The recent buzz about the MA DOOM album got me nostalgic again for another hip-hop album I was quite fond of in high school - "Take a Look Around" by Master Ace. At this early point in his career, he hadn't made the decision to stylize his name and drop the "-er" for the only slightly shorter "Masta" spelling. It's not hard to tell they're the same person though, given that the Brownsville resident's accent and vocal tone have remained remarkably unchanged through a hip-hop career now spanning four different decades. This album came along at a perfect time in hip-hop before the media vultures descended on rap samples and ripped the classic funk right out of the culture. Marley Marl's fearless sampling for the majority of this album, and Mister Cee's sampling on the rest, result in songs which stand the test of time both musically and lyrically. One of the most famous of these breaks is Cymande's "The Message," which found its way onto the cult classic song "Me and The Biz." To this day I'm not sure it's well understood that Biz Markie is actually NOT on this song, because Ace did a passable imitation of his friend and labelmate's hyperactive lyrical style, allegedly because Biz couldn't make it to the studio for the ACTUAL recording session."

SpaceGhostPurrp :: Mysterious Phonk :: 4AD
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[Mysterious Phonk]
"Not only did he sign beats on "Live.Love.A$AP," one of 2011's most acclaimed mixtapes, he called A$AP Rocky his "twin" on the latter's "Purple Swag: Chapter 2." But while Rocky encodes his affection for Houston rap and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony in a relatively open manner, SpaceGhostPurrp immerses himself into the music he adores to the point where he envisions himself as an obscure regional rap artist from the era when 'tapes' were actual cassette tapes. Born in 1991, he stickers his nettapes with slogans like "Dopest album in 1991" or "Trillest album in 1995." He also actually travels further back in time than his "twin," to the early to mid-'90s, the days when Bone were still in Cleveland waiting to be discovered by Eazy-E, and DJ Paul, Juicy J and Lord Infamous were in a group called Triple Six Mafia. From the Memphis underground in '92 to the Miami underground twenty years later, SGP translates the dabblings of local gothic do-it-yourself rap to modern times. Fully titled "Mysterious Phonk: The Chronicles of SpaceGhostPurrp," his first retail release compiles mixtape tracks into a cohesive whole. They have been professionally polished (at London's Abbey Road Studios, nonetheless) but remain shrouded in a ghostly, musty atmosphere. SGP sets his music up meticulously, usually combining spooky synths with slender percussion to create unobtrusive but hypnotizing beats. "

T.I. :: I'm Serious :: Arista Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **

as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[I'm Serious]
"It's a testament to Clifford Harris' consistency that this braggart rap from the title track of "I'm Serious" sounds just like anything he would have released in 2012, save perhaps for the cameo by Beenie Man. These days if he had some spitting chatta on his album, it would be Nicki Minaj. Despite that this song and its respective album represent the only commercial failure of T.I.'s career to date. It's remarkable that he rebounded from being dropped by Arista Records to becoming a worldwide hip-hop icon in less than a couple of years. His rap clearly wasn't the issue. This Maseo produced track has enough thump for the ride, but it's the thought-provoking lyrics that really carry the track. Despite being young and fairly unknown at the time, he was already taking the chance to speak to his audience personally, as opposed to just maintaining the hip-hop status quo. Speaking of beats, most of the production of "I'm Serious" is on point too. The crawling funk that Brian Kidd provides on "You Ain't Hard" is among my favorites, and makes me wonder where that Kidd went. The first of what would be many collaborations with Jazze Pha took place on the pimpalicious "Chooz U." Around the same time The Neptunes turned into NERDS, they took the time to break off their signature sound on "What's Yo Name?" And quiet as kept, Maestro got one of his earliest chunks of funk off on T.I.'s "Hotel" featuring Too $hort."

Waka Flocka Flame :: Triple F Life: Friends, Fans & Family :: Warner Bros. Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Triple F Life: Friends, Fans & Family]
"I'm just gonna be honest here - I didn't want to review this album. I think it's fairly obvious by now Waka Flocka Flame doesn't impress me. There's a diverse range of opinion on this site though, and I'm very thankful for that, as writers like Patrick Taylor see things in Flocka that I'm not able to. I avoided this album as long as I could hoping that another writer would pick it up, but as this is the last Tuesday of the month and the album came out two weeks ago, I feel obligated to cover this for the readers before June turns to July. I can say this for Flocka, and he's not a rapper I'm normally prone to shower with compliments, but he does know how to create a crossover hit. With Lex Luger on the beat and a cameo verse by Drake, "Round of Applause" made the transition from "another insufferable song by a waterheaded pea brain mush mouth" to "something I won't turn the radio in my car off for when it comes on." Anything that can make me not turn the stereo off that involves Waka Flocka deserves SOME kind of recognition. Coincidentally "Triple F Life" follows that song with another one getting radio play I find more or less tolerable - "I Don't Really Care" featuring Trey Songz in a prominent role. Skyy Stylez and Troy Taylor hold this song together, even though after hearing Waka say his own name and the word "swag" enough times, it's a close call. "

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