Wednesday May 23, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of May 4, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, May 11th, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

 8Ball & MJG :: Ten Toes Down
Grand Hustle/E1 Entertainment

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

"A lot of artists in their position would rest comfortably on their laurels, staring contently at walls lined with gold and platinum plaques, sipping juice out of a pimp cup while a beautiful and voluptuous masseuse tends to their every need. That's not to say Ball & G aren't doing that in their spare time - they'll certainly tell you so in their rhymes - but that's not ALL they're doing. "Ten Toes Down" represents yet another declaration of their suave, their cool, their mojo baby yeah. They don't have to do it, they just enjoy making music.Besides it's hard to imagine any two or more people working together artistically for 20+ years if they hated each other's guts. Maybe Metallica can pull that off but most people would call it quits long before that no matter how good the music or how full the dumptruck was with cash at their front do'"

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony :: Uni5: The World's Enemy :: BTNH Worldwide/Warner Bros.
as reviewed by Pete T.

"Not unlike the Wu-Tang Clan, BTNH is composed of such large and turbulent characters that to get all five in the studio together for a whole album is no small feat. Since the album's completion, rumors have already emerged that Bizzy has once again separated, refusing to join the group's national tour in support of the album. Flesh has run into further legal trouble, and even Krayzie Bone, normally the rock of the five, has made allusions to discontent. No wonder every group effort since "The Art of War" has been billed a "comeback" album—the single driving force behind "Uni5" seems to be that the potential first and last chance for Bone to record as a quintet presented itself, and that to fail to capitalize off it would be a disservice to their loyal fans."

Dark Time Sunshine :: Vessel :: Fake Four Inc.
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"The difficulty of Dark Time Sunshine is that it's much easier to define what they AREN'T than to explain what they ARE. Even their bio obscures their origins, calling them "two loggers from Northern Ireland" in one paragraph and "from Seattle U.S.A. and Chicago Illinois" in another. Well I can safely say there's no Irish brogue to their raps, so I accept the latter description as the more accurate one. On one hand they brag about touring with and/or opening for some of hip-hop's best acts - Del the Funky Homosapien, Jedi Mind Tricks and Sage Francis - and on the other they trip out like Tame One on acid tabs and brag their music "makes you feel as if time travel is surely possible with every listen.""

Das Racist :: Shut Up, Dude :: {self-released}
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

"They may act stupid, but they aren't stupid, and they have the student loans to prove it. Their influences include the Wu-Tang Clan, MF DOOM, dadaism, and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. In interviews, Himanshu name-drops literary critic/Columbia professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and claims that their music is protest music along the lines of 19th century African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. Those are pretty big words from a purveyor of jokey, stoner hip hop that is just this side of Weird Al territory."

Eulorhythmics :: Green St. & Avers :: All Natural Inc.
as reviewed by Pete T.

"Upon first listen I was struck by the fact that "Green St. & Avers" is both a musical and lyrical departure from "Extended Play." Kenny Keys' beats are more jazzy than soulful, often favoring descending organs and sparse percussion rather than the smooth bass and head-nodding grooves of the predecessor. The production strays a little toward the experimental at times, such as on the space-age instrumental track "Doos," which features an impressive keyboard solo. Adad also displays progression, sporting a more upbeat and energetic delivery and diverting his subject matter from the heady lyricism of "Extended Play" to more approachable rhymes about women and family, such as on "Shinin'" and the single "Hot ‘n Nasty." They assume a particular poignancy as many of his verses chronicle relationships in the second person."

Jazz Mafia :: Brass, Bows, and Beats: A Hip-Hop Symphony ::
as reviewed by Eric Sirota

"In this sense, Jazz Mafia is a logical extension, or perhaps, logical extreme, of jazz's influence on rap. Rather than using jazz loops or even supplementing hip-hop beats with live jazz musicians, this San Francisco based collective lead by composer, conductor, and arranger Adam Theis, is made up of a 60-piece jazz orchestra and MCs Dublin, Aima the Dreamer, and Seneca. The eight live tracks composing their latest release, "Brass, Bows, and Beats: A Hip-Hop Symphony by Adam Theis," tend to feature spoken word poetry over fully developed orchestral jazz numbers, supplemented by intermittent scratching. I'm sure this would make an interesting live show. "

Junior Kelly :: Red Pond :: VP Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"The music of "Red Pond" reflects that stand for positivity, but thankfully it doesn't do so in a preachy or tiresome way. Junior Kelly's voice isn't a bellowing rudebwoy bravado like that of Buju Banton, it's much closer in style and delivery to a mixture of Collie Buddz and Bob Marley. The majority of the album is produced by Melbourne 'George Dusty' Miller, and his cool and mellow sound matches the mid-octave vocal stylings of Kelly nicely. Appropriately enough both men open "Red Pond" up with the song "Celebrate Life," and you couldn't get a much more direct challenge to a nihilistic view than that."

Maundz :: Mr. Nobody :: Obese Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Straight out of the Northside of Melbourne, the self-described "Mr. Nobody" Maundz may be the angriest rapper I've heard come out of Australia in my entire time as a rap reviewer. Imagine if Muph & Plutonic met Onyx; imagine the Hilltop Hoods beefing with Eminem, 50 Cent and Ice Cube all at the same time; imagine clipping a taser to Urthboy and hitting the pulse button repeatedly - then imagine madder than all of that put together. Maundz is unapologetically pissed off at everything - rappers that stink lyrically, men that act too feminine, the music industry keeping artists in poverty, a lack of respect for Aussie rappers, all of that and then some."

Oktober Zero :: The Devil Smokes Dimebags :: Traffic/The Orchard/Kings Link Recordz
as reviewed by Pete T

"Bronx rapper Oktober Zero has become an underground favorite with his independent releases throughout the past decade such that I was surprised that his entire catalog had escaped the extensive scope of RapReviews. On celebrated albums such as 2004's "Projekt: Building," released on Freshchest Records when the label also housed Cunninlynguists and Tonedeff, and 2005's acclaimed "The Art of Raw," he endeared listeners with his gritty New York sound, heady lyricism, creative concepts, and collaborations with notable MCs such as J-Live. A member of the House of Repz and 2 for 5 crews, Oktober makes music that would make any New Yorker proud, embodying the city's spirit with classic battle rhymes and street narratives over rugged East Coast beats while offering fresh flows and infectious energy—imagine a more lyrical Noreaga combined with a mellower Sticky Fingaz."

Redhead Kingpin and the F.B.I. :: A Shade of Red :: Virgin Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Redhead Kingpin would be an almost forgotten note in hip-hop history if he hadn't gotten a shoutout in the very first line of Nas' song "Where Are They Now." That shoutout led to Kingpin rising like a phoenix from the ashes to make a cameo appearance on the 1990's Remix of said same song, bringing back fond memories of a time when you could pull up the staples inside an issue of The Source and take out a poster featuring Kingpin and his F.B.I. crew. Four years have passed since that watershed moment, and unfortunately we haven't heard from the Kingpin again. Fortunately old music never dies, the record jackets just get a little more dusty. I'm blowing the dust off my copy of "A Shade of Red" and taking a trip down memory lane. Most of you my age will probably remember his new jack swing crossover song "Do the Right Thing," a song which fit squarely between the musical vibes of Teddy Riley and Heavy D, and the track was quickly embraced by fans of both."

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