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The (W)rap Up - Week of January 19th, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

Wu-Tang :: Return of the Wu & Friends
Gold Dust Media/!K7 Label Group
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

""Return of the Wu & Friends" can thus be considered a curious release because TECHNICALLY speaking it's nothing new. After carefully breaking down the album and scrutinizing the press release that came with this CD, it's clear that Wu family member Mathematics has COMPILED a new Wu album as opposed to the Clan recording all new material. A few tracks are correctly defined as "exclusive" for this release, but a 90%+ majority of what's here is material the Clan recorded between 2000 and 2008. What does this mean for the listener/consumer? It means some of the tracks here were intended for "The W," "Iron Flag" or "8 Diagrams" but ultimately got left on the cutting room floor."

B.G. :: Too Hood 2 Be Hollywood :: E1 Entertainment/Atlantic Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Chris Dorsey better known as B.G. can lay claim to the title "respected veteran" at only 29 in an industry where most people get that after 40. He's been able to earn that rank due to being an original member of Cash Money Records and one of the most popular artists on that label as it rose to prominence in the 1990's. The story of how dictionaries everywhere had to add a definition for "bling bling" solely because of him is often told but completely true, putting B.G. in a rarified air of pop culture relevance right next to Homer Simpson. He has over a dozen albums as a solo artist or group member, millions of records sold worldwide, and his N'Awlins drawl is one of the most easily identifiable voices in hip-hop today. "

Blockhead :: The Music Scene :: Ninja Tune
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

""It's Raining Clouds," the opening track on NY beatmaker Blockhead's new album, starts off with booming drums, a melancholy mood, and scratched-in samples.  It sounds like the kind of beat DJ Shadow was making before he changed trajectory after "Endtroducing..." So does the majority of "The Music Scene, Blockhead's fourth album of instrumental hip hop. Although best known as Aesop Rock's go-to beatsmith, Blockhead has been releasing solo work since 2004, almost all on London's Ninja Tune label.  "

Chipmunk ::I Am Chipmunk :: Columbia Records
as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania

"In that time, at lot has changed in the young life of Chipmunk, the annoyingly young and talented UK rapper. There are vague echoes of a Nas 2.0 in the build-up - he was only 18 when the album was released on Sony/Columbia, having already won a couple of trophies at the MOBO awards, besting the biggest American rappers two years in a row. It is safe to say that he had, up until that point, created a buzz that was probably unheard in the UK, especially for a kid finishing his A-Levels. Plus, he had MONEY behind him, being signed to a savvy major label that was willing to back him with production, marketing, promotion and all those other sickeningly inartistic ideals. "

Esinchill :: theFury EP :: RCeason
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Esinchill first crossed our radar in 2008 with an album staff writer Nervous summed up like this: "It is an enjoyable, safe listen for someone out on a first date with a lady who likes a little bit of champagne with her beer... but you will not be playing this one when you're getting ready to hit the bench press at the gym." In other words Esinchill's debut was a musically and lyrically interesting album, but generally a little too experimental to get over with the most hardcore of hip-hop heads. Having checked out his follow-up EP "theFury," it seems that E has made a little progress over his initial Bay Area debut.  "

Baron Von Alias + Arhat :: GMT+1-Timezones & Loopholes :: BurnBlock Records
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

"This time around, Alias aligns himself with his long-time partner in crime, Arhat. The last collaborative effort between these two, "The 13th Hour", was released in 2007. Keeping with the time element, this release is called "GMT+1-Timezones & Loopholes". For awhile, GMT was more like WTF to me. I'd see it when registering for a forum or something, but rarely gave a thought to what it actually stood for. As time went on, I just applied my now memorized setting of GMT-5 and kept it moving. Officially, GMT stands for Greenwich Mean Time and is the basis of world time. Baron and many of the guest emcees on the album hail from Newcastle which is in GMT+0. So why name the project "GMT+1"? Well, Arhat is from the Netherlands which is in the GMT+1 zone, but I think the bigger idea was to live in the future."

Lorenzo :: Rez Poetry ::
as reviewed by Matt Jost

"Lorenzo is, by his own account, an Anishinabe MC from the Little Saskatchewan First Nation located in the Interlake Region of Manitoba. "Rez Poetry" seems to be his first release. The download package contains 6 tracks and front and back cover. If you're wondering (like I was) about the title, rez is short for reservation, apparently a common colloquialism regularly appearing in album titles, artist names and lyrics of Native rap acts. As for most of us, this is foreign territory to me. I feel like I enter a minefield of stereotypes when trying to approach something I don't even know how to address properly. "

Shabazz Palaces :: Shabazz Palaces :: {self-released}
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

"Shabazz Palaces is the new group of Seattle-based rapper Ishmael Butler, better known in the hip hop world as Butterfly from Digable Planets. The whole project is shrouded in mystery, and until recently Butler was trying to stay anonymous. Shabazz Palaces has been germinating for a few years, but they really made a splash last year with two untitled EPS, both of which featured removable patches with Islamic art.  They played their first live show at Neumos in Seattle on January 8, 2010, which is how I found out about them. I got an email from a friend who was at the show and it said simply, "I think the Seattle hip hop is about to blow up. I went to see Shabazz Palaces on Friday night and had my mind blown."

Shiest :: They Call Me Shiest :: ODC Productions
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Shiest has been kicking it on the independent hip-hop scene for more than a minute now. In fact once you find his bio online you learn Shiest has been around longer than that - he's been rapping since the late 1990's and has opened for fellow Canadian all-stars like Rascalz and Kardinal Offishall. In some respects it would seem our coverage of Shiest is long overdue, so props to his publicist Noel for getting "They Call Me Shiest" to RapReviews for coverage. The lead single "Nuttin' New" has already gotten over 5,000 plays on YouTube, so that's as good a place as any to start. "

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