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The (W)rap Up - Week of March 2, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

Rel!g!on :: Revelationz I
URBNET Records
Author: Emanuel Wallace

"The doors of the church are now open! Canadian producer, Rel!g!on grew up in Ottawa listening to his father sing badly, according to the press release. His dad also played the organ, which seemed to fascinate the young child. He formed a group called Ardvark, but the group soon fell apart because none of the members knew how to play their instrument. By the time Rel!g!on hit high school, he was making beats and writing diss songs about his classmates, even playing them over the loud speaker on the school's radio station. Tiring of the diss songs and "cheap" sound, an idiotic insurance scam somehow left Rel!g!on and his producing partner with a professional ASR-10. Now based in Vancouver, BC, Rel!g!on works closely with Staten Island emcee Ny Oil (also known as Kool Kim of the UMC's), Moka Only, Jasiri X and e.d.g.e.. Those artists and many others are featured on "Revelationz I", including the likes of Planet Asia, Donny Goines, Shyheim and Chuck D."

various artists :: Long Range Distribution 2009 Sampler :: Long Range Distribution
as reviewed by Pete T.

"Having received and reviewed promo material from Long Range Distribution in the past, I've spent significant time perusing their website and must admit that it's fascinating. A Detroit-based music distributor, Long Range markets albums by literally hundreds of rappers, most of whom, based on their album covers, fall into one of a few categories: deranged horrorcore artists, the most generic-looking gangsta rappers imaginable, juggalos in full makeup, and goateed white guys sporting jerseys and bandanas. While many come from Detroit, others come from such non-traditional hip hop hotbeds as Toledo, Denver, Wichita, Kentucky, Rhode Island, and Ontario. While it's a bizarre sight to behold, it's also quite eye-opening; it's both hilarious and depressing to consider that so many odd artists from middle American cities believe they can make legitimate livings as rappers. Still, they have the same sort of mysterious appeal that some of the more obscure No Limit albums did in that they look so soulless, derivative, and downright bad that you want to hear them.  "

Abrasive Method :: Living a Nightmare, Chasing the Dream :: Rolemodel Records
as reviewed by Louis 'Delicate Beats' Cloutier

"I got to know Abrasive Method (A.M. for short) by watching the video for their newest single, "Rescue". It was a bad idea. If like me you think that rappers like Kanye West and Andre 3000 sometimes exaggerate about what a rapper should look like, then you'll be shocked by A.M.. Not because of their flamboyance, but rather because you have rarely seen two guys look more like average Joes. Pardon my shallowness, but because of that I was doubtful that I would like their music. For the most part, I was pleasantly surprised by their latest album, "Living a Nightmare, Chasing the Dream". I shouldn't have let first impressions discourage me."

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony :: BTNHResurrection :: Ruthless Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Pete T.

"After producing three multi-platinum smashes in their first three outings as a group, the rapid-rhyming quintet that put Cleveland on the hip hop map took the next step toward world domination by going on hiatus to embark upon solo careers. In the aftermath of 1997's successful "The Art of War," an epic double-album in an era where double-albums were symptoms of rap superstardom, members Flesh-N-Bone, Krayzie Bone, and Bizzy Bone released solo albums while the group took pains to establish the extended Mo Thugs Family in a string of collective compilations and related side projects. Krayzie, Layzie, and Flesh even attempted their own ill-fated record labels, ThugLine Records, Mo Thugs Records, and Flesh Bone Incorporated, respectively, and each rapper took turns making the rounds with high-profile guest appearances. To say that Bone Thugs-N-Harmony had a lot on their plates heading into the new millennium would be an understatement, and rumors of the group's splintering were by no means unusual."

Cleen :: Family Rapper Mixtape :: Cleen Music
as reviewed by Pete T.

"Cleen is a normal guy with normal ideas and experiences; it's easy to relate to most of his sentiments, even if they aren't especially riveting. He has an unassuming, conversational delivery and a self-deprecating sense of humor that he frequently employs as he chronicles the trials and tribulations of the everyman. This type of sarcastic rap has been done before to great success—rappers such as Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Devin the Dude, and J-Zone presented funny paradoxes between their surprisingly regular selves and the archetypal rap star lifestyle. Cleen is a good writer, but what he lacks in comparison to those rappers is charisma; he's hopelessly monotonous and most of the time his flow is so off-kilter that he doesn't seem to be rapping so much as talking. Guests are unimpressive and production supplied by DJ Hoppa, Offbeat, Elephant Gerald, SHK THT, and Cleen himself is extremely simple, even simplistic.  "

DJ Concept & DJ Mickey Knox :: The BYOB EP :: Execute Sounds/The Mix Chronicles
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"The line-up was enough to convince me to check out "The BYOB EP" without any additional hyperbole needed - after all I recognize all of the rappers involved save for Kaleber and Typ Ill. What about this "up & coming" cat Sickness though - can he come correct on the beats or is he just another Fruity Loops basement beat maestro who should have kept his music offline and out of print at all costs? The opening track "Ya Gone" answers all questions in one fell swoop, as the unknowns Kaleber and Typ Ill rap on the track and Sickness lives up to his name. The dusty beats are reminiscent of a Joe Budden freestyle joint, which is not really a coincidence since Kal himself sounds like Budden's long lost cousin. Is that a negative? Not for this reviewer. Locked in with his co-horts and tied together by Big L samples, this song is a winner."

Mann :: Hated :: Long Range/Metro Wealth Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

""Hated" is the third album from Detroit rapper Mann, AKA Metro AKA Macidsadour. If the title of the album doesn't give you enough of an idea where Mann is coming from, the CD insert will. He thanks "all the hating ass niggas and bitches that made my verbal tattoo (hated) true to life," and adds, "the 'N' word was used on this CD 53 times before it was buried (07/09/2007), and 117 after...real niggas don't die!" The opening track, "Opposition," reinforces his me-against-the-world attitude. He's not on some self-pitying trip, though. What separates Mann from the legions of similar street rappers is his sense of humor. "Hated" is interspersed with six "Foolish Skits" where Foolish talks shit. His funniest bit is a skit about his three degrees in getting drunk, a bachelor's in Grey Goose, a cognac degree, and the 151 tequila degree, "when you talk to that ugly bitch in the middle of the dance floor and tongue kiss her and kiss her on the back of the neck and fuck your whole life up at child support by an ugly bitch that look like Danny Glover." I hope he isn't speaking from experience."

PNS and Zavala :: Canciones Modernas :: Fieldwerk Recordings
as reviewed by Peter D'Amato

"Today's abundance of beatmakers producing only instrumental hip-hop encompasses a broad range of incredibly solid, nuanced music. Madlib brings the warmth Dilla brought to his instrumental records, wrapping his music in his own hazy style. Prefuse 73 chops up his samples and mixes them with electronic beats to create frenzied concoctions. Blue Sky Black Death brought a symphonic approach to hip-hop, on their work "Late Night Cinema" creating instrumentals that swelled and receded in masterful ways. The list goes on and on. Into this subgenre come PNS and Zavala, two Chicago producers who have joined forces to release the ten-track instrumental album "Canciones Nuevas." Each artist contributes five songs: PNS has the first five with Zavala rounding out the second half of the album."

Rec-League :: Season Two :: Routine Fly
as reviewed by Pete T.

"The press kit for "Season Two" likens Rec-League to the Beatles, Wu-Tang, Living Legends, the Likwit Crew, and the Juice Crew, warning listeners, "Every once in a great while, God-given talent and geographical proximity combine to form a kind of perfect storm of artistic expression." A tad pretentious perhaps, but then again the Rec-League boys aren't exactly newcomers to the game. Chief among them is Grip Grand, the acclaimed Bay Area rapper whose sophomore effort "Brokelore" was one of the best albums of 2008 and along with his 2002 debut "Welcome to Broakland" comprised one of the decade's most criminally underrated catalogs. On songs such as the heavily inspired "A Penny" with Richie Cunning and "Poppin' Pockets (Remix)" featuring A.G. of D.I.T.C., he humorously explored the struggle of life on a budget constraint. Both an excellent lyricist and producer, he displayed a great ear for soulful grooves and dramatic hooks"

The Residents :: Open House :: Domination Recordings
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"2009 proved to be a good time to release their debut collaboration in Japan, but unless you could read the tea leaves or feel the boom bap floating across the Pacific, the majority of North American listeners remained just as clueless about the music. Muneshine and Saint don't fall into the piss and moan clique though - they decided to go in the bold direction of offering their album for free. If you were already feeling Mune or Saint individually before reading this review, there's no reason to wait - go hit up the download. If you don't know them yet, heed the words in the review, take your time and make your mind up. The digital copy won't cost you anything but time and hard drive space, and there are gems aplenty to enjoy, such as an unexpected update to A Tribe Called Quest's "Midnight" called "Nocturnal" "

Smokehouse Junkiez :: Act 1: Inhale the Violence :: Roach Records
as reviewed by Guido Stern

"So begins "Roach Dick," just one of the many unbearably awful tracks from the explicitly sadistic, chain toking dudes that are Smokehouse Junkiez. Never heard of them? Don't sweat it-you'll never have any reason to. In the year and a half I've written for RapReviews, I've never had less fun listening to an album (Gutta Boyz, consider yourselves discharged). It can sometimes be exhausting to listen to and critique extremely amateurish records when you get a few duds in a row, but rarely do I consider the task sonically assaulting. What's more, Smokehouse Junkiez do nothing to mask their nauseating lewdness. The cover of the album: two quasi-skinheads chewing blunts, names superimposed over dripping blood, with ugly, matching roach tattoos on the back of their hands. Sensing a roach motif? Good work-Roach Click is the name of their extended family. Viewing the cover for the first time, I tried to convince myself that there was perhaps some decent horrorcore within, or at least some competent musicianship."

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