If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Tanya Morgan's "Rubber Souls" or the Year In Review pieces, then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!
Tanya Morgan :: Rubber Souls
Imprint One80 Inc.
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
"The line-up of Tanya Morgan has shrunk by 33% over the years. If your last exposure to them was "Brooklynati," then you don't know that Ilyas has departed, and now only Donwill and Von Pea remain. That's okay though - they came back with a 2011 EP to show and prove they could do just fine as a duo. The concept behind "Brooklynati" still works even now, since Don is from Cincinnati and Von is from Brooklyn, so it's fair to say that the more things change the more they stay the same. It's also fair to say that about the music of the latest Tanya Morgan album "Rubber Souls." The irony here is that last week Grant Jones noted this as one of his Top 10 of 2013, and it suddenly occurred to me none of us had reviewed this album. For my own part I didn't want to step on any toes, since TM is traditionally an underground rap favorite, and I expected every single staff member would fight over the chance to do this one. As it turned out I was overly conservative - I've had this album since it was released and could have done it at any time. Since it's still 2013, I don't know that we waited TOO long, but we're probably cutting it a little close."Never Too Much" is the textbook example of why I was sure the entire staff would clamor, claw and fight me to review this album. The video enhances the presentation, but the song is visual without it."
Quez :: Declaring Shenanigans!!! :: glassEyeballs
as reviewed Steve 'Flash' Juon
"The press release for "Declaring Shenanigans" declares it to be an EP, but at 11 tracks and 35 minutes long, I declare it to be a little more than most EP's. Now let's be clear, three of those 11 tracks are Quez reading off his self-composed haikus, but unlike most throwaway albums skits I wouldn't skip over them. In fact it was "Haiku #348" early on in the album that woke me up and made me think Quez might be worth more than just a cursory glance. The kicker is that a concerned Paul Rosenberg type immediately runs in and proceeds to tell Quez he can't say things like that - and that his views do not necessarily represent glassEyeball LLC - but they PROBABLY do. That laugh is a good reprieve before the heavier "Crazy Like a Fox" featuring Gripp, who also produced the track. The tandem declare themselves a new kind of "mad rapper" than the ones you might be familiar with, and slam what passes for hip-hop today. WOW. I think some emcees are going to take that personally, but they clearly don't give a fuck - they even put a mock response of an angry rapper at the end of the track as an illustration. Quez' willingness to attack himself before a critic or hater can do it makes him a unique commodity. It makes me wonder where Quez has been and why I've been sleeping on him. All I can say for sure is "underground Atlanta" since there was no bio in the press kit. I do like that he describes himself as "emcee, husband, poet, father" then notes they are "not ranked in order of importance." Quez seems to have his priorities straight, and a sense of humor to go with, which serves him well on commercial sounding songs like "Motivate.""
Slim Thug :: Thug Thursday :: DatPiff
as reviewed Steve 'Flash' Juon
"A "Boss Life" review is in the works, so if you Stayve Thomas fans are impatient, this "Thug Thursday" review is just meant to tide you over in the meantime. Officially the last time we checked in on Slim was on "Tha Thug Show" back in 2010, which was also his last major label album before "Boss Life." That hasn't stopped him from releasing mixtapes prolifically though, and with the amount that come out these days, you have to pick and choose. "Thug Thursday" is one of the better you can choose though. If you don't already know the Thugga, he has a uniquely identifiable deep vocal tone and raspy vocal drawl, one which sets him apart even from fellow Texans in general and Houston rappers in particular. When you hear Slim Thug, you're hearing the South, and the South sounds good. Even when he just does a cameo verse on a song, he has a dominating presence, to the point his raps become the most memorable and imitable - a quality that served him well on the "Still Tippin'" Mike Jones single that gained him national recognition. This also lends itself well to Thug freestyling over the beats of other famous rap songs - it gives him a presence like the songs are actually his instead of simply being recycled beats. Songs like "Swimming Pool Flow" wind up giving you the Kool-Aid smile as a result. Of course it's fun to hear Slim Thug rap over good songs, but I also feel he and his cohorts bring enhancement to rap songs I previously considered mediocre. I got tired of "No Lie" when 2 Chainz and Drake did it, but Thugga, Le$ and Propain breathe new life into it. "Geez In the Trap" does the same for Nicki Minaj. "I Don't Like" was a decent song (thanks mostly to Pusha T and Big Sean) but again it's fresher here thanks to Thug and Young Von. Rick Ross' "Amsterdam" was arguably better than any of these, but even a Maybach Music track benefits from Thug and his former Boss Hogg Outlawz affiliate Killa Kyleon flowing to a Cardiak beat."
Year 2013: The Year 2013 in Review
* Adam Bernard
* Zach 'Goose' Gase
* Jesal Padania
* Pete T.
* Emanuel Wallace
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