Georgia Anne Muldrow :: SomeOthaShip
Mello Music Group
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Based on past history we already know that Declaime and Georgia Anne Muldrow have "Beautiful Mindz," even if that beauty can be as hard to comprehend as the mind of John Forbes Nash, Jr. Thankfully the two artists involved have a cult following both individually and collectively, so much like other demented rap geniuses (from those wearing metal masks to those with 20 alter egos) it's not too much of a problem to keep their creative output flowing. Georgia gets every tag from "next generation Bahamadia" to "wannabe Erykah Badu" but the truth is neither fits - she's a beguiling mixture of both and on her own shit to boot. Declaime a/k/a Dudley Perkins isn't any easier to pin down - a raw hip-hop veteran since 1995 with ties to Tha Alkaholiks who sounds more like a lost member of Hieroglyphics."
Blakroc :: Blakroc :: Anti-
as reviewed by Eric Sirota
"Rock groups and rappers sure do like to collaborate. Sometimes this works. The historical significance of Aerosmith's collaboration with Run-DMC on "Walk this Way" needs no explanation. The Foo Fighter's backing Diddy on an "All About the Benjamins" remix is a pet favorite of mine. Still, such efforts just as often fail to justify their existence. Last year's "Spirit of Apollo" from N.A.S.A., a collab between rockers like Thome York and David Byrne and hip-hoppers like M.I.A., Chuck D, and a bunch of the Wu, was an exercise in mismatching. Linkin Park's work with Jay-Z is okay, but markedly worse than Jay-Z's solo stuff. R.E.M.'s teaming up with KRS-One on "Radio Song" was charming, but their featuring Q-tip on "The Outsiders" seemed a vacuous grasp for novelty. Blakroc, consisting of blues-rock band the Black Keys backing a litany of MCs, is the latest manifestation of a rock group's desire to collaborate with hip-hop artists. "
Canibus :: Melatonin Magik :: War Lab Records
as reviewed by Joe Howard
"In signing to DZK's War Lab Entertainment Canibus has aligned himself with the proper management and team of promoters to reinvigorate the man that was considered the latter-day Rakim twelve years ago. Over the years 'Bis has alluded to his disillusionment with the music industry and resentment towards the cruel set of circumstances surrounding his meteoric fall from the spotlight, but this time around, rather than rhyme about it Canibus settles old scores with a defiant display of poise. On the opening track, the Blastah Beatz produced "Melatonin Magik", Canibus tears shit down over a riotous beat that employs one of the most prominent music samples used in LL Cool J's "The Ripper Strikes Back". "
The Conscious Daughters :: The Nutcracker Suite :: Feline Entertainment/Guerrilla Funk Recordings
as reviewed by Matt Jost
"Needless to say, these reassuring names are just as often marketing gimmicks as they are artistic mottos. The Conscious Daughters don't need a throwback album title to pick up where they left off. Which was only 13 years ago. "The Nutcracker Suite" is their long answer to Nas' question "Where Are They Now?" The short answer was given by CMG on the 'West Coast Remix' to that very same song. So where they at? They're still signed to Paris' label and still reside in this "little city by the Bay." "That's where I stay / that's where I play / everyday in the O-a-k," as Special One puts it in the opening "Not Bad But Good." For better or for worse, there really ain't a damn thing changed for Special One and CMG. They are the same bossy broads rapping over Bay beats. The voices, the flows, the skills, the topics, it's all preserved. "
DaVinci :: The Day the Turf Stood Still :: Sweetbreads Creative Collective
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Despite there being over six billion people on the planet, including three hundred mill' in the United States alone, every hard luck hip-hop story seems the same once you've heard them enough. You would think they'd be as unique as the fingerprints and DNA of the people they come from, but the people who write these bios must be cribbing from each other's notes. Therefore I really can't tell you anything about DaVinci in this opening paragraph you haven't heard before - single parent, poor neighborhood, bad influences, running with the wrong crowd, homeless, selling drugs to survive, you name it. His neighborhood may be Fillmore, but his bio is straight outta Any RapperHood, USA. The only ways that DaVinci can distinguish himself are lyrical acumen and musical production and on "The Day the Turf Stood Still," and he can only take credit for the latter half in that he hopefully would refuse to rap over anything that's whack. "
Incise :: Nobody's Story :: Goon Trax
as reviewed by Pete T.
"In 2007, I came across an EP released as a free internet download called "I Miss 1994" by Toronto duo Prince Ali & Incise. The title probably evokes some incredulous connotations among wary listeners, and I'll admit I had them too. There definitely hasn't been a shortage of cranky MCs complaining about how bad today's music is in comparison to the "golden age," regardless of how well they even remember those years. Well, I was blown away by "I Miss 1994," which showcased an impressive Indian Muslim rapper sporting clever, thoughtful, and often biographical rhymes in a wide-eyed and technically sound manner, and for what it's worth featured such revered guests as Tragedy Khadafi, Kev Brown, and Craig G. "
Intuition :: Girls Like Me :: Hellfyre Club Records
as reviewed by John-Michael Bond
"At the risk of sounding like I'm trying to make a terrible pun Intuition's "Girls Like Me" is the kind of intensely satisfying album where the only weak moments appear when it seems as if the artist in question is second guessing his gut. The California based Alaskan has a natural knack for self reflection which he combines with acerbic wit to create relatable tracks that will still leave you smiling on the punch lines. Thanks are due to producer Equalibrum, responsible for all but two of the album's fifteen songs, for crafting beats that match Intuition's own voice. Each provides an undeniably Californian sound, Intuition raps about personal relationships and inner battles with the furious story telling of a gangsta rapper while Equalibrum refocuses the state's throbbing funk through keys instead of bass."
Myka 9 :: 1969 :: Fake Four Inc.
as reviewed by Pete T.
"Myka 9 (or Myka Nyne, Mikah 9, Mikah Nine depending on the album) is the rare hip hop figure considered a legend in some circles and an odd novelty in others; although his creative talent is rarely disputed, to label him an acquired taste would be an understatement. Coming into prominence as a member of Los Angeles' seminal collective Freestyle Fellowship, he impressed with mind-bending flows and rapid-fire free-association verses heady enough to make even the passing listener break out his dictionary on their early opuses "To Whom It May Concern…" and "Innercity Griots." "
Nickodemus :: Sun People Remixed :: ESL Music
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace
"As if I needed another reminder that the summer months are long gone, I looked out my window as the snow from the second blizzard in as many weeks blankets the ground. It's getting ugly. Luckily, Brooklyn's own DJ Nickodemus is back with a remix album of his "Sun People" album that promises to "heat up your sound system", per the press release. The original "Sun People" release was built around the concept of making songs for "people that love the sun, sunshine and brighter days to come". The press kit goes on to say that the original songs were inspired by "people that Nickodemus has met and places he's been, along with his collective feelings of optimism". "
OutKast: BET Offical Presents OutKast
Label: BET Official/Viacom
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Five years ago when "OutKast: The Videos" was reviewed, my write up walked a fine line between satisfaction someone had finally compiled their cinematic visuals and disappointment they did such a damn poor job of it. After a long struggle the former largely won out over the latter, but not without me asking why they hadn't titled the release "OutKast: ONLY the Videos." There were no extra features to speak of whatsoever, and even if you're a big fan of the song "Hey Ya!" there was no need to include it three different times and ways. The hardcore OutKast fans this compilation was meant for wanted and certainly deserved much more."
Gil Scott-Heron :: I'm New Here :: XL Recordings
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor
"Scott-Heron challenges the notion that a family has to contain both a mother and a father, that a child who grows up without either is missing something, that you can't grow up well-adjusted and happy in a broken home. He acknowledges that his home wasn't traditional, but his grandmother was such a loving, strong figure that she more than made up for any of the benefits of a nuclear family. These song poems also set the mood of the album: reflective, melancholy, nostalgic, the sound of a man near the end of his road looking back on all that he has done, and deciding he's done all right. The bulk of the disc is spoken word pieces, snippets of Scott-Heron reciting poetry or talking about his life, death, parenting, and accounting for your sins. "Being blessed is not just about being able to float on air," he explains on "Being Blessed (Interlude)." I'm saying if you gotta pay for the things that you've done wrong, ah, I got a big bill coming at the end of the day." "
Too Strong :: Rap Music Is Life Music :: Too Strong Music
as reviewed by Matt Jost
"If you're somewhat intrigued by the prospect of an album entitled "Rap Music Is Life Music" by a rap act called Too Strong, I have to disappoint you, the predominant language on it is not English. Too Strong are veterans of the German rap scene, going back to the days when the pioneering crews had English names, and, in cases like Too Strong's, were also rapping in English. Having formed in 1989, it took Too Strong some years to release material, but since their '93 debut EP they built a continual discography with full-length releases in '94, '96, '99, '01, '05 and '09. Even after longtime member DJ Funky Chris left, the repeatedly regrouping and reuniting Too Strong continue as a duo. "
Warren G :: Regulate... G Funk Era :: Violator/Def Jam
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Pete T.
"If there was any doubt that the g-funk era was in full swing after "The Chronic" and "Doggystyle," Warren G put an end to those suspicions with his tellingly-titled 1994 debut "Regulate... G-Funk Era." A childhood friend of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre's own stepbrother, the Long Beach native had already showed up on a few high-profile West Coast collaborations and even garnered a distribution deal with Def Jam for his upstart G-Funk Records. Then, of course, came the career-defining single that was "Regulate" from the "Above the Rim" soundtrack, and it was clear that Warren had made an indelible mark on the hip hop game. With the aid of longtime pal Nate Dogg, Warren narrates a late-night tale of cruising Long Beach in search of "skirts," complete with gambling, mugging, self-defense homicide, and a successful trip to the East Side Hotel. "
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