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The (W)rap Up - Week Of April 6, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

Marco Polo and Ruste Juxx :: The Exxecution
Duck Down Records

Author: Patrick Taylor

Click here to find   out more!"Execution is right. From the Italian horror movie-inspired cover to the murderous beats and battle rhymes, this collaboration is a homicidal attack on all things wack. The album, a team-up between Brooklyn MC Ruste Juxx and Marco Polo, is on Duck Down, so before you even hit play you know you are in for some quality, hard-hitting East Coast hip hop. The label has an impressive track record, as do Polo and Juxx. Marco Polo's "Port Authority" and collab with Torae got high marks from this website, as did Ruste Juxx's 2009 debut, "Indestructible." Marco Polo is a sample-based producer, using his MPC to make the gut-punching hip hop in the tradition of Primo and Pete Rock. Ruste Juxx is a foul-mouthed battle rhymer, the shark you send in to take out haters with a verbal beatdown. It's a perfect partnership, since both artists are inspired by classic hip hop. "

""A Million in the Morning" is a mockumentary centered around a Netflix sponsored contest where contestants attempted to break the world record of movie watching. For those not familiar with the concept, a mockumentary is a mock documentary where comedy, usually dark humor and satire, is used to poke fun at the subject of the documentary. The genre became popular ten years ago with the film "Best in Show." That mockumentary poked fun at the obsessive and extreme nature of dog owners obsessed with their pets. It was a success, due mostly to the top notch cast and fresh concept. Since then, there have been plenty of attempts to capture the same magic, but very little success."

Birdman ::
Priceless :: Cash Money/Universal Motown
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Bryan Williams has been going by the name Birdman long enough that we can probably drop referring to him as Baby at this point. Honestly it was a bad nom de plume and even worse as a nickname - it implied that what Williams had to say on wax was childish and immature. That's fair though - a lot of what Williams had to say WAS. With marginal talent at best as a lyricist, Williams relied on catchphrases and funny noises to carry himself as a soloist when his real best fit in the rap game was (and always has been) as the entrepreneur and architect of Cash Money Records. Despite a lack of accolades for his rapping ability, Birdman has been a sales success for three reasons: well produced singles, a VERY tight relationship with Lil Wayne, and no shortage of TV and radio exposure for his singles. Since he's still releasing solo albums over 7 years after the first one dropped, you have to give him a modicum of respect and props as a soloist. "

various artists :: Bohemian Rap CD :: Free Ice Cream
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"The idea has lingered in the collective consciousness of hip-hop since the unfortunate rise and fall of Vanilla Ice - sample Queen's greatest hits to make even greater rap songs. It's really not a bad idea given the long-lasting musical legacy of Freddie Mercury, but Robert Van Winkle poisoned the well and nobody's wanted to openly advocate drinking from those waters for almost 20 years. Even on the rare occasions Queen samples have snuck into the mix, they've been carefully hidden in the background, and were probably prohibitively expensive to license from the corporate owners of that still highly marketable music catalogue to boot. Kats & Domer have their own solution to the latter. is literally what the domain name implies - great flavors you don't have to pay for."

Cool Breeze :: East Points Greatest Hit :: Interscope Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Pete T.

"Cool Breeze's resume speaks for itself. A longtime pal of Atlanta's seminal rap visionaries OutKast and Goodie Mob, his legendary verses on "Dirty South" and "Decatur Psalm" were enough to make any Dungeon Family fan put down the soul food and slow down his Eldorado long enough to wonder "Who IS this guy?" However, it wasn't until after OutKast's third multiplatinum effort that major labels began to pick up the duo's relatives, and in 1999 Cool Breeze's debut "East Points Greatest Hit" saw the light of day on Interscope. Blessed with the Midas touch of Organized Noize Productions and guest appearances from his D.F. brethren as well as Kurupt, 8Ball, and Nivea, Cool Breeze's debut LP set to prove that he would be the "Greatest Hit" to emerge from his East Point neighborhood. "

E-40 :: Revenue Retrievin' - Day Shift :: Heavy on the Grind/EMI Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Earl Stevens is back a little over a year after dropping "The Ball Street Journal" late in 2008, and like always he's doing it major, but this time he's doing it EXTRA major. For the first time since Nelly did it back in 2004, a major hip-hop artist has dropped two separate but related albums on the same day at the same time. E-40 is "Revenue Retrievin'" around the clock, which is why he's grinding on the "Day Shift" with one hustle and on the "Night Shift" with more muscle. Unofficially "Revenue Retrievin'" is a double album, but when they chart on Billboard they'll go up separately. Make no mistake about it - they WILL chart. E-40's cult following has grown over the years like Earl's wasteline, and the portly pimp of Vallejo knows how to appeal to that fanbase - keep it Yay Area and hella gangsta. So long as Stevens' stays consistent, so will his album sales. "

E-40 :: Revenue Retrievin' - Night Shift :: Heavy on the Grind/EMI Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"The companion album to E-40's "Revenue Retrievin' - Day Shift," the late night hustle picks up on "Night Shift" right where the former left off. The closer of E-40's new double wide project found Earl Stevens in search of better days and a better life, but once night fell Rick Rock and 40-Water worked together and found the key to getting ahead - keeping it cooking metaphorically and literally by going in "Over the Stove". Muscle and hustle have been the keys to E-40's success since the early 1990's and they're still working for Earl Stevens here in spades. Not surprisingly since this album is "Night" and not "Day" there's a much harder feel to the presentation. Rick Rock returns on the second track with another banger to remind us that "Nice Guys" finish last and stay broke while "bad guys finish first, and push coke." Things soften up for the third joint though, potentially a new single candidate not yet released off the CD - the Jazze Pha produced "Can't Stop the Boss" featuring Snoop Dogg and Too $hort. It's a West coast powerhouse lineup over a very mellow piano backdrop, with Pha singing the hook to boot."

Geto Boys :: Till Death Do Us Part :: Rap-A-Lot Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **

as reviewed by Matt Jost

"Under the watchful eye of James Smith, the trio revisited some GB staples and introduced a few new nuances to the repertoire. With the Ghetto/Geto Boys being the label owner's vision from day one, it didn't come as a surprise to hear him open and close the new album. The "Intro" finds him talking in his careful, Corleone-like manner, mentioning "a lot of people mad about our success." If you think you've heard this one before and expect a tirade against haters, you must be a newcomer to the Rap-A-Lot saga. Referring to "the DEA, IRS, and other wicked people in high places," Smith for the first time alludes to a conspiracy to bring the label down on trumped up charges, which he counters as follows: "I didn't allow myself to be systemized by the welfare system and poverty that they try to handicap us with in the ghetto. I work my ass off, I pull brothers off the street. And together we built a multi-million dollar record company in a few years. I did it the way it was supposed to be done, by hiring lawyers and accountants, to make sure everything was done legally."

King Rhythm :: Hardships & Head Trips :: Catalyst Act Records
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

"What is rhythm? It's a word that's ingrained in our vernacular, but what does it really mean? In musical terms, rhythm is defined as the pattern of regular or irregular pulses caused by music by the occurrence of strong and weak melodic and harmonic beats. By this definition, just about everything has a rhythm to it, even when some would argue otherwise. Here we have Baltimore, MD native, King Rhythm, who seeks to continue creating his own unique form of hip-hop. His music is built on a foundation of dirty beats that are hard, funky and aggressive. Previous releases were focused on electric and dance sounds, but with the release of "Hardships & Head Trips", the synths have been replaced with guitars and drones to create some progressive hip-hop that is almost psychedelic in nature. "

Serengeti and Polyphonic :: Terradactyl :: anticon.
as reviewed by Eric Sirota

"Man, hip-hop sure has gotten interesting. I wish I could put a moratorium on people either hating rappers because they all sound the same or liking rappers just because they don't sound like the shit on the radio. Those with such opinions aren't looking hard enough. Hip-hop has long since moved past a place where it need be judged simply by how much it does or doesn't sound like the mainstream. Take "Terradactyl," the 2009 anticon debut from chicago MC Serengeti and producer Polyphonic. With 'geti's cerebral montone and Poly's dissonant glitchings, it is tempting to call the record brilliant because it sounds nothing like what is on the radio, but that would be too simple. "Terradactyl" operates on its own terms. Realize, this is neither a strength nor a weakness, but simply a reason to judge "Terradactyl" based on how good it is, in and of itself, not based on how much it does or doesn't sounds like something else. "

Erick Sermon :: Double or Nothing :: Def Jam Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **

as reviewed by Pete T

"He's gone by many aliases—E-Double-E, the Green Eyed Bandit, and Erick Onassis to name a few—but be it for his celebrated work behind the boards or his identifiably drawly rhymes on the mic, Erick Sermon has more or less been a mainstay in the rap game for over twenty years. Whether for his invaluable contributions as one half of seminal Long Island rap duo EPMD, his role as founder of the influential Def Squad collective, beats tailored for everyone from Too Short to Jay-Z to Ludacris to Shaquille O'Neal, and substantial latter-day solo catalog with multiple hit singles, he only rarely makes headlines but never fades from relevance. In 1993 while EPMD fans were still mourning the breakup of one of hip hop's greatest twosomes, E-Double hit the studio right away and rushed to produce his solo debut "No Pressure." Featuring his by-then signature bass-heavy East Coast production, "No Pressure" was well-received by fans and critics alike but displayed somewhat of a lyrical deficiency on Sermon's part as he struggled to handle double the mic duty in Parrish's absence. "

"Evan "Truthlive" Phillips is the co-founder and CEO of Interdependent Media, the indie hip hop label whose roster includes Tanya Morgan, Finale, J*Davey, and K'Naan. Interdependent not only puts out excellent indie hip hop, they do a great job marketing it, embracing new technology to create buzz for their artists and get them heard. For Tanya Morgan's sophomore effort, "Brooklynati," Interdependent created a website for the imaginary city. More importantly, they got people to actually buy the record. Like so many other hip hop label heads, what Phillips really wants to do is rap. He came up with his name when he was in the hospital awaiting one of three open heart surgeries for Supraventricular Tachycardia- "Live Truth, Truth Live." As you'd expect from someone who coined their rap name while awaiting surgery, Truthlive isn't a ringtone rapper, and he doesn't rap about getting drunk in the club or putting rims on his car. Like Chuck D, he's got so much trouble on his mind, and uses his rhymes as an outlet, addressing the injustices of the world and the sorry state of hip hop. "

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