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Thursday November 27, 2014
RapReviews.com

The (W)rap Up for 2012 - October [2 of 2]
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013 at 8:35PM :: Email this article :: Print this article



Rizzle Kicks :: Stereo Typical :: Island/Universal Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Stereo Typical]"We continue UK Hip-Hop Month at RapReviews with this review of Rizzle Kicks. The duo of Jordan 'Rizzle' Stephens and Harley 'Sylvester' Alexander-Sule are something like a phenomenon, having sold over a million singles and 300K albums despite only releasing their first CD "Stereo Typical" a year ago. These two young and hip Brighton artists met at a time when they were studying for careers outside the rap field, but their mutual love of the arts became apparent when collaborating on a mixtape Jordan was working on where Harley sang on a few tracks. They adopted a football (to the yanks that's soccer) nickname Jordan had from childhood as their group name and officially became a group in 2008. Now in their early and mid 20's, it took Rizzle a few years of kicking around songs in their bedroom studios and releasing amateur videos on YouTube to build up their buzz. "Down With the Trumpets" was an early success online, pairing their verbals with an infectious Dag Nabbit and Mike Spencer beat. If you heard the instrumental and mistook it for a song by Cypress Hill or Frost that would be natural - these trumpets have a very Latin music salsafied feel. At over 12 million hits and counting, it would be fair to say Rizzle Kicks went viral, which makes it somewhat surprising to me as the auteur of this review that they aren't better known in North America. It would be like Psy's "Gangnam Style" going viral, but only being known in Korea, Thailand and the Phillipines. Their rapid ascent on the UK scene has also brought out their share of haters, and even though only 2% of the total feedback to the song on YT is dislikes, that still amounts to over a thousand people flipping a collective middle finger their way. I can't pick out anything about the rhymes or beats to hate on though. "

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_stereotypical.html

Zion I :: ShadowBoxing :: Gold Dust Media
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[ShadowBoxing]"Oakland hip-hop duo Zion I have been making music together for fifteen years. The duo has always been a balancing act: producer AmpLive balances hip-hop and electronic music with his beats, and rapper Zumbi balances conscious rap and party rap in his rhymes. Both men are new fathers who are struggling to reconcile their role as parents to their vocation as musicians and artists. The "ShadowBoxing" in the title refers to Tai Chi, which Zumbi has been using to center himself and help him put away the negative thoughts and practices that he doesn't want to teach his child. While you might think this would lead them to an introspective record, the end product is actually closer to "The Takeover," where they tried to mesh rap and dance music. AmpLive has been working with electronic beats for a few years now, and on "ShadowBoxing" he dives in head-first. From the sound of things, he's been hanging out at the same dance clubs as the Black Eyed Peas, and the results don't always work. "Re-Load" has Zumbi rapping over a beat that sounds like euro-trance circa 1999. He drops lines like "In the center of the dance floor/Sink in the ocean/My brother got the dank dog/Purple emotion/And I'ma keep soaking/Deep in the mystery." He recovers his footing on the bouncing "Human Being," which features throbbing synths over a snapping beat, erupting into drum n bass on the chorus. "Trapped Out" has a solid beat with electronic flourishes, and Zumbi raps about his struggles to stay on the righteous path. The title track features a pop-locking electro beat with some of the album's fiercest rhymes. "Whydaze" sounds like an indie pop song, with Zumbi singing his rhymes."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_shadowboxing.html

[The Heist]Macklemore & Ryan Lewis :: The Heist
Macklemore, LLC

Author: Zach 'Goose' Gase

"Is there anything more exciting than watching something grow and develop from something small into something huge and dynamic? This type of excitement can be found in several things throughout a lifetime from watching a flower blossom, to watching a child grow into an adult. As a 23 year-old music snob, my favorite thing to witness cultivate is budding musicians. The latest, and frankly one of my favorite examples, is the Seattle emcee, producer combo, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. I've been a fan of Macklemore since I heard him on track with my favorite group the CunninLynguists, in late 2009. A few weeks later, I stumbled on a track titled, "Otherside," which Ryan Lewis produced, and somehow made the classic bassline from the Red Hot Chili Peppers of the same name a mere afterthought in the song. And since then, I've been an avid supporter of the duo, writing countless blog posts about every brilliant music video they've released in the past two and a half years. I got to witness him perform in Ann Arbor back in April 2011, where Macklemore performed without a DJ, and still managed to make it one of the livest shows I've ever attended. And finally after about three years, I finally get to see Macklemore grow into one of the biggest independent success stories hip hop has ever witnessed. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' debut album, "The Heist" which was recorded and distributed all in-house, dominated the iTunes charts and debuted at number two on Billboard with 78,000 copies sold in its first week. Yes their commercial success has me leaning back in my recliner like a proud father watching his son take his first steps, but musically "The Heist" still manages to exceed even my highest expectations."

Brinson :: No Other Heroes :: GodChaserz Entertainment
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[No Other Heroes]"Brinson is arguably one of the more consistent gospel rappers out today in terms of his lyrical content and biennial releases. Now amongst the RR intelligentsia opinion varies somewhat about how effective his approach is. While I found Brinson to be a thoughtful rapper with good production who didn't overdo his Bible thumping, Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez took the view he was narrowcasting too much to a Christian audience and that while they would appreciate his message few others would. Nevertheless as the owner of his own GodChaserz imprint, he's got the means to bring his message and that of his labelmates to the masses. Now if I can pull back the curtain for a minute for the readers, Brinson reached out to me after our recent Lecrae feature. Nothing in life is guaranteed of course, but Lecrae certainly left me feeling more open to Christian rap than I had in a little while. After receiving both a digital and a physical copy I decided to delve into the review, but quickly ran into a problem - the GodChaserz website seems to be down. Every page comes up blank white, even the ones cached in Google, which leaves you with the uncanny feeling that the Rapture came and we've been left behind. That makes the digital copy convenient but useless for a review with no liner notes compared to the physical, so I broke the holy seal to see the real deal hidden inside. Unfortunately the physical turned out to not have any liner notes either, so ultimately I'm forced to offer you the scant information on the back cover: "Executive producer A. Brinson Wright; Co-Executive Producer Wilbert 'Juice2020' Thomas." As best I can tell that makes Juice2020 the producer of the tracks on the album, and not just an executive producer in the stereotypical "I own the label so I get to put my name on your shit" way we're all familiar with."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_nootherheroes.html

Chino XL :: RICANstruction - The Black Rosary :: Viper Records
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[RICANstruction - The Black Rosary]"I always thought there was a lot of truth to the opening sequence to Big Punisher's "Capital Punishment" album (an excerpt from the movie 'Fresh'), where two kids engage in an imagined battle of the superheroes (with The Punisher coming out on top, naturally). Oftentimes, rap fans make their favorite rappers out to be some comic-like character who possesses special skills and even superpowers. The rappers themselves are known to contribute to the caricature with varying degrees of irony, and some even create a second rap identity for themselves. But also most primary rap personas allude to superhuman qualities, or at the very least some kind of excellence that elevates them above us mere mortals. It's almost impossible to be a fan of rap without buying, to some degree, into all those antics and images. Rationally I have always rooted for the rare everyman in rap, and frequently for the less rare clown. But I too have been susceptible to rap hero worship. To the point where I purposely ignored the drama, the disappointments, the banality their private life holds just to preserve the image I had of them. Over the years I have developed a more mature relationship towards my favorite rappers, but knowing how much acting rapping requires I'd never dismiss a rapper just because he wears a mask and cape. Chino XL has been one of my rap heroes, precisely in his assumed role of superhero. "Here to Save You All," his 1996 debut, was a focused tour de force that joined high-level lyricism with a baring of emotions seldom heard at the time. In my recollection it remains one of the most awe-inspiring rap albums of all time. "

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_RICANstruction.html

dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip :: The Logic of Chance :: Sunday Best Recordings
as reviewed by Zach 'Goose' Gase

[The Logic of Chance]"It took me a while to really understand, appreciate and enjoy UK hip hop. I gave artists like Sway and Dizzee Rascal a few chances in my younger days, but could never get past their accents and didn't really take them or any hip hop outside of the US seriously (this is OUR music). But then around 2009, I kept seeing a group named The Streets appearing on Best Albums of the Decade list. After reading a synopsis of an album titled, "A Grand Don't Come for Free." At first I was put off by emcee, Mike Skinner's extremely thick accent, and the way he rode the beats. But I couldn't stop playing those songs because the production was so intoxicating. The beats were a unique blend of electronic and hip hop staples, and the end results were incredible. But as I continued to listen to these songs, I started to pick up on what Skinner was saying, and I noticed how excellent of a storyteller he was. Now "A Grand Don't Come for Free" is one of my favorite albums, and it served as a major inspiration for a UK-influenced album I recorded myself. But this review isn't about The Streets or me (well maybe a little bit). This review is about the UK duo dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip. I had been familiar with Pip since 2010, when he was featured on my friend and frequent collaborator (who also hails from the UK), producer FlamesYall. Initially I was blown away by Scroobius Pip's insight and content, and the fact that he rolls with Sage Francis and Strange Famous Records didn't hurt either. Producer dan le sac's style is deeply rooted in the electronic sound, but still has hip hop tendencies."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_thelogicofchance.html

Flying Lotus :: Until the Quiet Comes :: Warp Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[Until the Quiet Comes]"Stephen Ellison, AKA FLying Lotus has been deconstructing and embellishing instrumental hip-hop since his 2006 debut, "1983." His 2010 album "Cosmogramma" was his most fully-realized work yet. Each track was full to the brim with ideas and sounds, and Flying Lotus was channeling avant-garde jazz more than hip-hop. For his follow up, he has taken it down a notch, moving away from the noisier moments of his earlier work and instead going in a subtler and more subdued direction. Like "Cosmogramma," "Until The Quiet Comes" feels more like a unified composition than a collection of songs. There are eighteen tracks here, but they all blend together to an extent. Sounds and themes repeat through the album, and some tracks glide into others. If "Cosmogramma" didn't manage to distance Flying Lotus from being labeled a hip-hop producer, "Until The Quiet Comes" will. There's very little here that reads hip-hop except for the occasional head-nodding beat. Flying Lotus has left the orbit of hip-hop and gone off to different dimensions.. The dubstep and house influences that showed up on "Cosmogramma" are gone. There are several guest vocalists, including Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Erykah Badu, Laura Darlington, Thundercat, and Niki Randa. Their voices are used as instruments rather than centerpieces. They fade in and out of the music, never becoming the focal point. They aren't backed by Flying Lotus's production, they are part of it."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_untilthequietcomes.html

Grand Papa Tra :: Lost in New York :: Bandcamp.com
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[Lost in New York] "Mos Def taught us that hip-hop is not "some giant living in the hillside coming down to visit the townspeople." His statement was a product of the great '90s debates about what is hip-hop and what is not hip-hop, and by rearranging the question slightly - what hip-hop is and what it's not -, he provided us with a much needed reality check. "We are hip-hop," Mos continued, "Me, you, everybody, we are hip-hop. So hip-hop is going where we going. So the next time you ask yourself where hip-hop is going, ask yourself: Where am I going?" All this holds true as well for New York hip-hop, this monument that to some people seems untouchable in every sense of the word. New York City still stands, and everybody who wants to contribute to its hip-hop history is free to do so. Grand Papa Tra, a francophone Swiss beatmaker, understands that, and so he set off for NY to make a rap platter, not a merely nostalgic one but one that reflects his intake of and his take on the culture. If the opening title track is day one, he arrives on a cloudy day, the sky overcast with moaning and weeping instrumental fragments. But New York weather can change quickly, and it instantly clears up with Sadat X's "Gotham City." Tra creates an open space with clear, reverbrating tones and light-footed drums as the Bronx MC plays tour guide."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_lostinnewyork.html

Lega-C :: Off My Medication :: Block Starz Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Off My Medication]"To say Danielle McLean b/k/a Lega-C's life has been full of trials and tribulations would be an understatement. Having two pastors for parents didn't help McLean in her youth - if anything it made her even more rebellious. Perhaps it's a bad stereotype that white girls immerse themselves in black music and culture when they want to piss off mommy and daddy, but that's exactly what she did, and this future YouTube viral sensation was already performing her own rap songs at 10. The thing is that hip-hop COULD have been her salvation back then, but her desire to rap wasn't outpaced by her desire to get into fights at school, get suspended, then get arrested for identity theft while pregnant with her daughter. It may sound like the plot for a Hollywood movie, but this was Lega-C's real life in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Now if this WAS a movie, we could say "Lega-C cleaned up her life after giving birth to her daughter and lived happily ever after." That didn't happen. The next few years were just as turbulent as her high school days if not worse. While she was trying to get her rap career launched via Swishahouse, she was being victimized by an abusive boyfriend, who eventually got into an armed standoff with the cops. Fearing for her life, she left her daughter in her mother's care and fled to Seattle. This set her music career back at least three years, until she resurfaced in 2011 with the aforementioned viral music video "White Girl Raps Fast." The talent she displayed in this clip was enough to get her a record deal from Block Starz Music."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_offmymedication.html

Soldjasoulz :: Soulz of the Storm :: Bandcamp.com
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Soulz of the Storm] "UK month continues with a look at the Soldjasoulz, the hip-hop duo of DPF and Reds, both hailing from Norwich. I took the opportunity to educate myself not just about the group but about the city that they hailed from, which is older than any settlement in the United States, pre-dating even European voyages to "discover" the West (Spain or Norway - take your pick). It seems to be generally accepted that it was built on the ruins of a settlement abandoned by the Romans at about 450 AD, and by the 11th century had become the second largest city in England other that London. Famous exports include Colman's mustard and the Premier League football club Norwich City. (Soccer for the yanks reading this.) It's considered to be a prosperous area with a temperate climate, and census figures peg Norwich at over 93% white, with a small but significant minority of Asian ethnicities. Now if this doesn't sound like a hotbed for fiery hip-hop compared to the roiling economic, social and political turmoil of the London metropolitan area, perhaps you've drawn the same conclusion I did. Nevertheless the Soldjasoulz bio professes their music "owes as much to dancehall reggae as it does 1990's hip-hop" and that their work has impressed a wide range of artists on both sides of the pond and gotten them billing on the same stages as Souls of Mischief and Klashnekoff to name a few. Three selling points caught my eye beyond that though - the three tracks produced by Tricksta, the guest appearance by Main Flow on "Night Breed" and the fact it was offered at "name your own price" via Bandcamp - perfect for a first-time foray into their musical offering."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_soulzofthestorm.html

ricky :: Pre-Millennium Tension :: PolyGram/Island Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[Pre-Millennium Tension]"British rapper Tricky first made a name for himself as part of Bristol's Wild Bunch, which morphed into Massive Attack. After rapping on that group's albums "Blue Lines" and "Protection," Tricky struck out on his own with his 1995 debut "Maxinquaye." The mix of hip-hop, soul, electronica, and reggae was a hit, and won a Mercury prize. Tricky retreated to Jamaica to make his follow-up, determined to make a punk record that shed the trip-hop label he had been saddled with. The result is one of the darkest, dankest, paranoid albums ever made. Right off the bat, Tricky is hitting you with a heavy sense of suffocation, and hinting at some disfunction in his relationship with Topley-Bird. The next track, "Christiansands" is Tricky at his best. The beat layers sounds on top of each other, including rumbling bass, heavy drums, and assorted ambient noises. The cherry on the cake is a heavily reverbed guitar line that adds just a touch of melody to the proceedings. "Always, what does that mean?/Forever, what does that mean?" Tricky asks. Tricky delivers his lines in a deadpan, and a guest MC shouts alongside him frantically. The song feels like it was recorded at four in the morning after an all-night drug binge while Tricky was wallowing in paranoia and the ill-effects of heavy cocaine use. In fact, a lot of this album could be seen as highlighting the downside of heavy drug use. There was a lot of ecstacy, speed, and coke being used in the U.K. club scene in the early 90s. By the time the millennium was closing in, music started to reflect the darker moods that come with constantly jacking up one's dopamine levels. The giddy rave of the early 90s gave way to darker jungle and drum n' bass, and "Pre-Millennium Tension" seems to reflect this transition towards darker, more introspective electronic music. "

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/BTTL_pretension.html

[good kid, m.A.A.d city] Kendrick Lamar :: good kid, m.A.A.d city
Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope Records

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

"At 25 he's fully arrived on the scene, flanked by his Black Hippy homies Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and ScHoolboy Q. The only jealousy he has to worry about now is if they become envious of HIS success, because "Section.80" propelled him from "regional artist with a strong mixtape following" to "major label artist signed by Dr. Dre to Aftermath." Not only does that give Lamar distribution in every retail and digital outlet in North America, it gives Lamar the chance to work with Andre Young himself, who made two cameo appearances on his new album "good kid, m.A.A.d city" as well as giving it his seal of approval with an executive producer credit. For a young man from Compton who grew up idolizing Dre, it must feel like hitting the lottery. Maybe that's why he can afford a swimming pool full of liquor. The instrumental behind "Swimming Pools (Drank)" is one of the most hypnotic of 2012, which means T-Minus and Nikhil S. have handed crossover success to Mr. Lamar on a silver platter. Drinking songs tend to go down easy with the public anyway, pun intended, but even with the party vibe of the mellow song there's a surprising undercurrent of awareness about alcohol's negative side effects. It would be easy to get caught up in the sing-along chorus and miss it, but his opening verse talks about being influenced by peer pressure to abuse alcohol and his second verse refers to it as "poison." This song is a certified hit, but it's not a simpleminded one, which is what makes Kendrick Lamar such an appealing artist right now. He may be young and he may like to have fun, but he's also gotten depths of thoughtfulness that you don't have to dig deep for before they shine."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10F_goodkid.html

Casual :: Respect Game or Expect Flames :: Nature Sounds
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Respect Game or Expect Flames]"Casual is hands down the hardest member of the Hieroglyphics crew to write reviews about. Certain members of the gang fall into different molds - Del is the avant garde experimentalist, Pep Love is the slept on underground emcee, Souls of Mischief are those kids who formed a cool group you figured would break up someday - and happily they never did. Casual remains an anomaly though because you can't pin him to anything. Is he a great lyricist? Sometimes. Is he the thuggish ruggish member of the group? Sometimes. Is he fearless about trying the unconventional? Sometimes. He's a little of a lot of different things, never all one thing. Producing legend J. Rawls tries to use that to his advantage in crafting "Respect Game or Expect Flames." Aside from the expectation that various Hieroglyphics members will make cameos, he's got a pretty much blank slate on which to paint. And yes the Hieros are in the mix right from the lead track "Reign" featuring Pep Love and the title track featuring Del, but aside from one song with the Souls later on the rest of the album is wide open. That's why Casual can flip the script with "La Danse Du Fessie," loosely paying homage to the African dance style of Mapouka. The song's name translates to "the dance of the behind," and almost every hip-hop fan should be familiar with a little booty shakin'.The best line in the song may be when Casual boldly proclaims "Ay J, just pause, we don't need a hook/if I just gash they ass, be a sweeter look." J heeds the advice and the track keeps rolling, and you quickly get lost in the rolling melody and clapping claves. Casual's swagger is easily one of his best traits as an emcee, one which well befits his big booming voice. He titles a song "Surely, I'm Right" as thought it was even a question - listening to the track proves otherwise. "I'm from the rap marathon defcon triple six paragon terrordome era" quips Casual, noting his generational gap but still sounding menacing in the process."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_respectgameor.html

Evian Christ :: Kings and Them :: Triangle Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[Kings and Them]"For decades the British have taken homegrown American music, put their own spin on it, and ended up creating something incredible. The Beatles took early rock n' roll music and ended up reinventing pop music, the Rolling Stones and Led Zepplin took the blues in totally new directions, and the Sex Pistols turned early Ramones singles into something much more menacing. Joshua Leary, aka Evian Christ, is doing the same thing, taking American street rap and giving it his own unique British spin. The Stones and Beatles pounded out their sound through playing clubs and recording at a relentless pace. In contrast, Leary is a university student messing around on his laptop. In fact, he said in an interview that his love of playing and watching soccer rivals his love of making music. The songs on "Kings and Them" were originally put on YouTube by Leary before he got a proper label deal. The low-key vibe of the EP is a product of this careless, organic approach. These songs aren't part of some huge statement Leary is trying to make. They are just some ideas he was fleshing out in between schoolwork and playing soccer with his friends. Like Clams Casino, Christ mashes together ambient music with street rap. There's elements of Bay Area mobb music, West Coast gangsta rap, screwed and chopped vocals, and Southern trap rap in his drum sounds and effects. Pneumatic hissing, snapping snares, and rattling hi-hats are all enveloped in layers of ambient melodies."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_kingsandthem.html

Plan B :: Ill Manors :: 679 Recordings/Atlantic
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[Ill Manors]"I went into "Ill Manors" with the preconception that it was an act of atonement for "The Defamation of Strickland Banks." After hitting big with a fictional drama told through lots soul music and a little bit of rap, it looked like a return to rap's and Ben Drew's stomping grounds. As it turns out, "Ill Manors" is not only that, it also actually trumps its predecessor in that it is accompanied by a feature film of the same name. Or rather, given filming budgets and workloads, it's the album that accompanies the movie. Acting gigs, smaller directorial ventures and last but not least the success of his sophomore effort enabled Drew to realize the project that had been in the works since before "Defamation." I haven't seen the film, so I can only speculate as to the degree the songs here correspond with the content of the film, but it would probably not be completely wrong to say that "Ill Manors" the album deals with the same issues as 'Ill Manors' the film, just moreso on a musical and poetical level than visually and verbally. Plan B zooms in on the pressure cooker that burst open just a little over a year ago when London and other cities were hit by a wave of civil unrest as adolescents were rioting and looting for several days in a row. A native East Ender himself, he paints a grim picture of the UK's deprived urban areas and its disenfranchised youth."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_illmanors.html

Razor :: Progression :: Hoodtapes.co.uk
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Progression]

"As our UK monthat RapReviews winds to a close, I'm taking a moment to check out the free "Progression" mixtape from Northwest London's own Razor. He's been getting some accolades of late in the scene, including a nomination for Best Urban Act at the Exposure Music Awards, and he was featured on "The Hoods Got Talent" documentary. His PR people describe Razor this way: "Through his established blend of sincere tracks and heartfelt lyricism, Razor brings to light the difficulties of balancing these two lives." All of this could easily be hype and not heat, but his "Hometown" video has received over 20,000 views and nearly 270 likes with less than 10 dislikes. Seems to me there's more than just a publicist and a press kit behind Razor's success - he's making a genuine connection with the people he reaches and he's got a message far beyond the bling. It's dangerous to make such ballsy political statements when you want to appeal to the masses, but his words turn out to be exactly what an audience who finds substance lacking in mainstream rap are looking for. At the same time, Razor goes just about as far deep in the UK underground as I've dug at any point all month long. I don't recognize a single one of his guest artists - not their fault of course - but KD Blockmoney, Big Cakes, and Jamm Tyme may need the help of a publicist far more than Razor does. "Progression" is also a big album for a first time listener of Razor to digest, a free album clocking in at over 70 minutes and 21 tracks total (though you can throw out the "Intro" and "Outro" if you like). I would have preferred a shorter introduction, perhaps an EP or a 40 minute LP, but never mind my bollocks. Like most mixtapes there are no production notes, in part because the beats on many mixtapes are recycled, but also because when it's not sold at retail nobody thinks crediting everybody involved is that important. That's a shame because whether original or reused, I'd give a shoutout to a few people."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_progression.html

Robust :: Fillin in the Potholes :: Galapagos4
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Fillin in the Potholes]"What do you do if you've got potholes in your lawn? Fill 'em in. In all seriousness though it's RapReviews who needs the bag of soil, because we've got an eight year gap of NOT covering Robust, and I personally want to apologize to the artist in question for that. Despite having an archive of thousands of reviews, Robust's 2004 Chicago classic "Potholes in Our Molecules" slipped through the cracks, and in the interim none of his other independent releases was covered either. "Fillin in the Potholes" is a spiritual sequel to that album that goes by far too fast at only 45 minutes long, getting off to a very fast start on the 2:22 long title track. The news snippets included in the song mock an epidemic of potholes on Chicago's city streets, but it's just a set-up for the metaphor of Robust's quest for success. "Yo I'm tired of potholes/my tires have got holes/drivin on the rocks, puttin fires to hot coals/bros been callin me back/gold just falls in my lap/roses grow too close to call, the laws of the track." His topic matter spans more than just his own quest for success. "Tortured Soul" is a frank portrait of poverty and failure with a note of hope weaved throughout yearning to rise above it all through mic skills. "Loop Dreams" is a song of lust, though he's got equal measure for hip-hop and the girls "under the moonlight at night when the freaks come out." He tries to break the mold of nostalgia tracks on "Remember When" with the words "This isn't just another beat for me to rap to/it's the feeling you once had, I bring you back to it." Now that's word. "

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_fillinpotholes.html

Seth Sentry :: This Was Tomorrow :: Intertia/High Score Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[This Was Tomorrow]"If you're a fan of international hip-hop music, the online retail movement has been the best thing to ever happen to you. There was a time when you would have spent $20 BEFORE shipping on an album like Seth Sentry's "This Was Tomorrow" to get it all the way from Melbourne, Australia. Thankfully times have changed and it's now easy to purchase for $7.99 from Amazon.com. No currency translation, no global postage fees for the airfare, just a direct download to your PC or cloud storage. Pretty damn sweet if you ask me. Everybody who claims digital downloads have killed the music industry can take this Melbourne boot up their arse. Back to the music though. Why should you want to check out Seth Sentry and his "This Was Tomorrow" in the first place? Well you could take the word of their publicist, who says he debuted at #6 on the charts over there, or that he was the most talked about artist at some festival cleverly (or humorously) called "Fat As Butter." They've obviously got a vested interest in his success though, so you have to take their butter with a pat of salty vegemite. It's a little more convincing to look at the list of producers involved, a who's who for the scene when it comes to the other big names. Trials has produced for Drapht and Funkoars, Matik has produced for Bliss N Eso, and so on. He's got the right crew rollin'. More than that though, Seth's accent may be hands down the mildest Aussie you'll hear on the mic - almost like an actor from down under who comes to Hollywood and convincingly sounds like a U.S. resident."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2012_10_thiswastomorrow.html

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