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The (W)rap Up - Week of April 27, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

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"Back in January of this year, I wrote an informal "Reasons for Rap Renaissance in 2010" feature that declared my optimism for the coming year. Something went wrong, however, and although I thought I had included B.o.B it seems that he just completely slipped my mind. Costly error. He has since become a hip pop star achieving stunning commercial success, and his album has been pushed FORWARD to capitalise on the singles (remember when they used to do that?). Even worse, I can't claim to be the smart-ass that predicated his fame (damn!). But the album in question is a fascinating one that encapsulates the struggle between what Bobby Ray wants to achieve, what his record company think, and what he is actually good at. Part of the problem is that yes, the album is occasionally impressive, but the MC doesn't make that much of an impression, he is still finding his distinctive voice."

BLESTeNATION :: mBugout City :: Suburban Noize Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"There's at least a small chance you've heard of BLESTeNATION before reading this review; that's pretty remarkable given they've only had one album at retail in the last ten years (two if you're willing to count an out of print mixtape). Exposure counts for a lot though and this self-described crew of "three crazy ass bugged out white boys" have gotten it in big ways. Their revision of the Bananarama pop hit "Cruel Summer" appeared on the "Blue Crush" movie soundtrack, they did work for Maynard James Keenan (of Tool and A Perfect Circle fame) on his side project Puscifier and were even featured on a remix of the popular Ladytron song "Ghosts" - the latter track also being included on their new album "mBugout City.""

BURNTmd :: Let's Get Ill :: GTD Entertainment
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"RR's history with BURNTmd goes back to January 2009, when he sent us the track "Microphone Doctor" hoping to get a spin on the Hip-Hop Shop podcast. The implied EPMD reference and bugged out beat punctuated by gunshots got my attention, so the new era hip-hop MD got his degree on our show. Since concluding BURNT had a lot of potential we've featured his tracks regularly, including most recently the title track of this album "Let's Get Ill" featuring Copywrite, Phil Da Agony and Reks. Although we respect the "Brooklyn made, Vermont raised" rapper for his ability to pull big name guests from the underground (more on that in a minute) it's really on his solo songs like "Rap City" that the gruff voiced MC shines the brightest"

Circle Research :: Gardiner Express :: URBNET Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Beat tapes are nothing new to hip-hop. Although the late great J Dilla may be the best recognized purveyor of this product, it was never hard to come up on unsold and non-commercial entries in this field. After all for every Polow Da Don or Alchemist who made it big for their beats, there's literally thousands of aspiring producers out there trying to get out there and get heard. Thanks to technology this analog form has gone digital, saving thousands of producers the thousands of dollars they would spend duplicating tapes and sending them to labels, artists and studios. It's all about the dot com - or at least the dot com that forwards you to a MySpace page. That's technology - improving lives and saving money - but it also takes a little muscle out of the hustle at the same time. "

Cypress Hill :: Rise Up :: EMI/Priority Records
as reviewed by Eric Sirota

"In "Half Baked," Bob Saget famously pointed out that weed is not much of a drug because, as he put it, "You ever suck dick for some marijuana?" You haven't. Similarly, political thrillers are seldom about the weed trade (I can see it now: "Traffic II: Cruise Control" starring Method Man and Redman). I just finished watching the first season of "The Wire." It would have been pretty pointless if it centered around Baltimore's finest trying to bust up an inner city grass racket. The point is, unless you're a stoner, weed just isn't that interesting. "

Kokane :: Gimme All Mine :: Bonzi Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"That's the voice of experience speaking - a wisened music industry O.G. - so all young players out there take note and heed the word of Jerry Long Jr. Doesn't ring a bell? Perhaps you'd know him better as Kokane, the self-professed expert on making "Addictive Hip Hop Muzick." A bold title to be sure but one he earned as a rap star during the original heyday of Ruthless Record. As cousin to Above the Law founder Cold 187um he could have easily just slid in by nepotism and held down a spot, but Mr. Kane was not interested in taking it easy. He dropped his own albums, he contributed lyrically to Above the Law and to other projects, and made a name for himself as one of the auteurs of the rise of West coast gangster rap. Early success was squandered though as Kokane was on hard times by the end of the 1990's, working in the porn industry to make ends meet, until the aforementioned Snoop Dogg gave him a second career where he became as well known for crooning hooks as he had for his gangster lyrics. "

Opio & Unjust :: Mark It Zero: The Big Lebowski Tribute Album :: Hiero Imperium
as reviewed by Pete T.

"One of my favorite albums of 2010's first quarter was Donwill's "Don Cusack in High Fidelity," a clever record which adapted one of my favorite films, "High Fidelity" starring John Cusack, for the hip hop full length. It appears that veteran Souls of Mischief and Hieroglyphics rapper Opio and his friend Unjust, producer of the new Hiero-affiliated group Chosen Few, were similarly inspired by a turn-of-the-century blockbuster comedy and recorded "Mark It Zero: The Big Lebowski Tribute Album" in celebration of the Coen brothers' 1998 cult classic starring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman. Available 4/20 as a free download, "Mark It Zero" aims not only to provide a suitable soundtrack for the herbalists' favorite holiday but also serves as a prelude to upcoming projects from both parties—Opio's "Vulture's Wisdom Vol. 2" and Chosen Few's "New World Symphony"—both slated for May 25. "

Sheek Louch :: Life on D-Block :: Real Talk Records
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

"Here at RapReviews, we find ourselves covering a lot of albums. Every now and then, a few will fall through the cracks until most have seemingly forgotten about them. Such is the case with this album. Chances are, if you're on this website, then you've at least heard of The Lox. The group is comprised of Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch. At one point in time they were on Bad Boy Records, but ended up jumping ship to the Ruff Ryders imprint after an ugly "Let The Lox Go" campaign. They went on to release one more official album as a group before branching out and releasing their respective solo efforts. Jadakiss is without question the most popular member of the trio. Styles also has a cult following of his own, but where does Sheek fit into the equation?"

Styles P & DJ Green Lantern :: The Green Ghost Project :: Invasion Music Group
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

"The "Project" kicks off with "Nothing To Lose" and "Double Trouble". Both tracks are backed with frantic beats from Green Lantern. The latter features scratched in samples of Chuck D and also a verse from Sheek Louch. "Callin Me" contains a hook from Tre Williams and Styles raps about how the streets seem to be calling for him to make a triumphant return to them for one reason or another. Showcasing his willingness to take it on the chin, Styles tells his people that if he happens to get locked up, he won't be constantly calling or asking people for money. Instead, he simply asks them to "Send A Kite" and send a little love."

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