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The (W)rap Up - Week Of February 9, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, February 16th, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

Lil Wayne :: Rebirth
Cash Money Records
Author: John-Michael Bond

"The roar of people who didn't know what to do with Lil Wayne's self professed rock album started when singles like "Hot Revolver" and "Prom Queen" leaked, but didn't truly reach their apex until the record landed on the internet in December. When people don't know what to do with a record they pretend they do and, more damagingly, they pretend based on their preconceived notions of what they think they're hearing. This has lead to reviewers for respected publications, publications I look up to as a writer, comparing "Rebirth" to bands like Linkin Park. Any article that says Lil Wayne's "Rebirth" sounds anything like Linkin Park is written by someone who has never actually listened to a Linkin Park album. But that criticism has become part of the narrative of "Rebirth"s story, and I worry such laziness will inadvertently condemn "Rebirth" to being written off unfairly until kids finally discover it on their own years from now in bargain bins. Apparently hip-hop now has its own version of Jawbreaker's "Dear You." So first off let's clear the air, "Rebirth" is a rock album that features a heavy hip-hop influence, but it isn't a rap rock album. It isn't fucking nu-metal, and if you never listened to nu-metal beyond the Limp Bizkit songs you heard on the radio please kindly stop making this connection. "

Bekay :: Hunger Pains Remix EP :: Coalmine Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

"This EP is basically a digital 12" of remixes from Bekay's recent "Hunger Pains" album. The EP features two versions of "I Am" and "Brooklyn Bridge," one with new verses over the original beat, and another with the original verses over a new beat. It starts off with "I Am" featuring the Dilated Peoples rapping over the Alchemist's original beat, and Bekay throwing some new rhymes:

"For what it's worth
Hip-Hop's like Ma Dukes to me
She's been breastfeeding me since birth
She made me
Taught me how to talk this way
Run-D.M.C. taught me how to walk this way" "

Chris Young the Rapper :: 619 (Mixtape) :: Bananabeat Records
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

"The line between mixtapes and albums has gradually blurred over the past few years. Once a promotional item that could only be found on street corners and in barbershops, the mixtape is now a worldwide phenomenon with tons of mixtapes proliferating what many would call an supersaturated hip-hop landscape. Some mixtapes can even purchased at both major online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores. A lot has changed in the past five years or so. With so many artists clamoring for time in the limelight, it puts pressure on folks to have the wittiest rhymes, the hottest beats and top-notch marketing teams at their disposal.Enter Chris Young the Rapper. He was actually introduced to RapReviews readers as YoungOne back in 2005 with his album, "Let Me Live". The reviewer of that release was quite impressed by the then sixteen year-old emcee's scope of subject matter and how he utilized his voice. "

DJ Green Lantern :: MySpace Invasion 6 :: {self-released}
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

"As the title suggests, this mixtape features unsigned artists who are on MySpace. The title of the series probably made more sense when it started a few years ago back when MySpace was the king of the social networking block. It's been beat out by the leaner richer, whiter Facebook, and the million other social networking sites that have sprung up. Lantern even acknowledges that MySpace is on its way out in his between-song banter. It's still a useful tool for musicians, though, and offers artists a relatively easy way to post their songs online. Even established artists often rely on a MySpace page over having their own website. As a listening experience, "DJ Green Lantern Presents MySpace Invasion 6" feels like a club mix. Each track is about two minutes, and it's filled with sound-effects and voice-overs by Lantern ("GUESS WHO'S BACK MUTHAFUCKAS?!?!?!?!?! CH-CHCK BOOM!!!!!). He has collected thirty-four tracks by forty-four different rappers from all over North America."

Doomtree :: False Hopes :: Doomtree Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Eric Sirota

"Minnesota has burst onto the indie rap scene like a bat out of hell. Last year, the Minneapolis-based Rhymesayers label put out albums from the likes of Mos Def, Eyedea and Abilities, Brother Ali, Atmosphere, and P.O.S. Look at any "top 10 of 2009" chart and you'll find at least a couple of these artists listed. And from the news of El-P's departure from Def Jux management, it may be fair to say that Midwest backpackers have toppled the NYC giants. But one label does not a great rap city make. Fortunately, Rhymesayers is not the only crew holding it down for the Twin Cities. Doomtree Records, a tightly knit hip-hop collective, is also making waves, even if they are felt more regionally than nationally. I have gotten into at least one debate about who makes up Doomtree, but it seems that the ‘tree's core is comprised of MCs P.O.S., Sims, Mictlan, Dessa, and Cecil Otter and producers Lazerbeak, Paper Tiger, and MK Larada."

Fury :: Plan B :: Leathal Wreckords/Long Range Distribution
as reviewed by Pete T.

"As a lifelong Connecticut resident, I like to fancy myself hip to most of our small state's hip hop lore. I know, for instance, that Stezo of "It's My Turn" fame now owns and cuts at the barber shop across the street from the University of New Haven. I know that the Milo Sheff often heard on Hot 93.7's local hour and seen periodically at Toad's Place is the same Milo Sheff who was lead plaintiff in the infamous Sheff vs. O'Neill school desegregation case in 1989. I watched as Slaughterhouse headlined their first show as a group in the Elm City last June, and I have friends who still pump their fists at the end of Raekwon's first verse on "Incarcerated Scarfaces." Although the Skinny Boys put CT on the hip hop map in the early '80s, for the most part the Nutmeg State has lacked national stars and even the regional identity of "New Jeruzalem" and Massachusetts; touring artists seem to view it as merely a stop between New York City and Boston. If you've stopped in at any of CT's hip hop spots in the last decade or so, you've probably seen MCs tellingly fitted in Yankees or Red Sox caps sporting decidedly East Coast styles over decidedly East Coast beats. "

Pitch Control: Mixtape Volume III
Label: REL Entertainment
Author: Guido Stern 

"Another problem is that hip-hop music videos are largely tedious in the first place. For every interesting Kanye West or Jay-Z video, there are a hundred that look entirely the same, money flashing and female exploitation abound. The Roots' video for "What They Do," directed by Charles Stone III, was ostensibly the perfect kiss of death to the million-dollar video, pointedly satirizing the phony, materialistic tropes of the genre. Instead, it seems almost like a blueprint for everything that's come since; while "Pitch Control Volume 3" doesn't contain enough rump shaking to warrant the hilarious butt cramp of that video, the sheer monotony of cuts between money being thrown around and nice cars has me ready to forsake rap videos as a whole. Many of the videos are clearly shot in the same day on the same set, and the rapid-fire cutting that tries to keep up with the beat would be more enjoyable if simply presented as sparsely edited concert footage."

Sadat X :: Brand New Bein' :: Ground Original/Traffic Entertainment
as reviewed by Pete T.

"Brand Nubian's acceptance as an essential rap act is, even today, pretty universal. "Edgier than their Native Tongues contemporaries and a little underground in comparison to some chart-topping neighbors, the New Rochelle trio put a new spin on the growing hip hop game with their seminal 1990 debut "One for All," an album that balanced sociopolitical thought and Five Percent Nation theology with technical excellence, great beats, and, perhaps most of all, a lot of fun. Even as the group splintered into episodic solo careers and reunion efforts, they managed to maintain a great deal of respect from fans and fellow MCs alike as they continued to release an impressive catalog of music including classic singles and albums. Between the in-your-face styles of leader Grand Puba and the understated cleverness of Lord Jamar, Sadat X was always the star of Brand Nubian to me. For one thing, his delivery is one-of-a-kind and still strikes me even today, with an unmistakable nasal voice, eastern New York accent, chatty drawl, and punchy, off-kilter flow that made the stuff of many an ideal guest verse. But more than that, Sadat was lyrically superb and balanced, maintaining a social agenda advocating education and justice. "

ScholarMan :: Free Spirit of a Troubled Soul :: Soganic Music
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

"Although he is known for socially consious and soulful music, Maryland-based artist and producer, ScholarMan, refuses to be boxed in a specific sub-genre of hip-hop. His message and lyrical style has conjured up comparison to the likes of Common, Masta Ace and Chuck D, while his production has been compared to that of Hi-Tek, DJ Premier and the late J Dilla. Pretty good company there, but instead of resting his hat on those laurels, ScholarMan is intent on getting better. Considering himself a student of hip-hop and an advocate of the culture, this emcee shares his beliefs and views through his music. After several local releases, his first international album, "Candy Medicine", was released in 2007. Due to the response by the fans of that release, SM now religiously drops an album annually. In 2008, he released "Soul Purpose" and 2009 saw "GameShift: The Movement". This time around the Soganic Music revolutionary is exploring the "Free Spirit of a Troubled Soul"  "

Team Rezofficial :: The World (And Everything in It) :: Arbor Records/EMI Music Canada
as reviewed by Matt Jost

"Team Rezofficial caught my attention on YouTube with their video "Lonely." The musical theme of the track instantly grabbed me, and the two featured rappers enhanced it with inspired performances. It was my type of current rap, daring, hard-hitting, melodic. Plus it had that certain something it needed to stand out. If I had to give it a name, I'd call it a touch of swing. I later learned that "Lonely" had been the first video by a Canadian native rap act to reach the top ten in MuchMusic's long-running Rap City show, even climbing all the way to the top. My natural curiosity led me to order a copy of the album that contained the song, 2008's "The World (And Everything in It)." The Team began as a production duo called Rezofficial Music comprised of Stomp and Jay Mak. They recruited MC's to expand to what since 2003 is known as Team Rezofficial. "

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