Declaime :: Fonk
SomeOthaShip Connect/E1 Entertainment
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon"Thanks to Declaime's imprint SomeOthaShip Connect linking up with industry powerhouse E1 Entertainment, "Fonk" has a chance to be D's most widely available retail album to date. The good and possibly bad news is that the chance for mainstream exposure hasn't changed up his style one bit. It's evident from the jump when looking at the cover art what you're in for, as Declaime's disembodied head floats through a night sky with the light of distant stars reflecting off his sunglasses. His dread hair functions as a virtual black hole, creating a a completely impenetrable negative space in the universe. Make no mistake about it that D wants you to know he's OUT THERE, and yet the title "Fonk" is itself an attempt to keep him grounded."
http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_05F_declaimefonk.htmlJoe Gibbs :: 12" Reggae Discomix Showcase Vol. 5 :: VP Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon "While "Volume 4" did indeed reflect a reggae spin on 1970's disco music, the term "discomix" is a little more abstract on "Volume 5." That's to be expected given the songs collected on this edition range from 1980-1982, coming at a point after the world had declared "DISCO IS DEAD" in the summer of '79. One should take the term then as a declaration of what the selector (what Americans think of as the deejay) would play at the discotheque hence his "discomix" of music. While a comprehensive discomix from this era in reggae would also include songs NOT produced by Joe Gibbs, it's fair to say the diversity of artists he worked with and number of hits he had a hand in meant several or many songs played on any given night at the local reggae club would have his name on the label."http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_05_gibbsdiscomix5.htmlGrieves and Budo :: G&B Remix Felt 3 - A Tribute to Rosie Perez :: Bandcamp/Rhymesayers Ent.
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon ""Felt 3" was hands down one of the most important rap albums released in 2009. The perfect balance struck by Slug and MURS lyrically was ideally matched by production from Aesop Rock, creating a sonic masterpiece that will only improve as it ages. It seems Rhymesayers affiliates Grieves and Budo feel the same way, as they decided to pay tribute to this landmark tribute to Rosie Perez by taking some freely available acapellas and giving their own interpretations on the original versions. Reframing a classic used to be an act that took decades, but in our high speed digital times it makes sense for G&B to come back and do it only six months after the original. There's no reason not to check it out - after all it's FREE."http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_05_gandbfelt3.htmlKristoff Krane :: Hunting For Father :: Kristoff Krane
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon "RR staff writers have on occasion espoused the philosophy "it's more kind to be cruel" when reviewing albums, believing it's far worse to give a mediocre or terrible artist the hope they can succeed than to let them bluntly know their shit just doesn't work. That way instead of spending 10-20 years recording in the hopes of establishing a musical career, they can move on to more fruitful pursuits like opening a taco stand or getting a degree in business administration. That being said the members of Face Candy undoubtedly felt maligned after reading the review of "This Is Where We Were" three years ago, because even if it was meant as a mercy killing Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez certainly didn't pull his punches delivering the one-two blows. "The album has no theme or redeeming value." "You'll have no motivation to ever waste another 45 minutes of your life listening to this." "http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_05_huntingforfather.htmlMadlib :: Madlib's Medicine Show #4: 420 Chalice All-Stars :: Stones Throw Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor "As the title and release date suggests (4/20, ie. international stoner day), the central theme of this release is ganja, collie, bud, weed, pot, marijuana, whatever you want to call it. Pot is associated with reggae almost as much as the Rastafarian faith, and pretty much every reggae album produced since 1970 makes at least some reference to collie or ganja. The album comes with a list of information about California's medical marijuana laws, and a list of Hollywood and East L.A. pot dispensaries. It's actually pretty informative: I learned that the safest way to injest pot is to use a smokeless vaporizer, that you can pretty much google a doctor who will prescribe you pot, and that, while you need to give your name and ID to get medical marijuana, your name isn't stored on a DEA list."
http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_05_madlibshow4.htmlNas & Damian Marley :: Distant Relatives :: Republic Records
as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania "Never before in either genre has there been such a deeply successful collaboration album. Ever. This wasn't supposed to happen. That it has is a testament to talent, hard work and luck. The musical/lyrical talents of the artists and producers; the sheer effort and attention that has gone into practically each individual kick and snare, (reminiscent of the meticulous late great Dilla); and the sheer cosmic luck of a focussed Nas actually turning up. If that seems facetious, understand that this hasn't happened much over the last dozen years - on fire Nas plus brilliant music. But really, the star of the show is Marley. This feels like his baby, and he is a proud father that has nurtured "Distant Relatives". Nas is the close family friend that you're brought up to call "Uncle" and the backing band, your brothers. The mother? Africa. It is easy to forget, at times, the message of this opus - simply because everything else surrounding it is executed so wonderfully."
http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_05_distantrelatives.htmlNEFEW :: The Antihero Begins :: On Our Feet Entertainment
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace "Polemikk and PA-Double make up the duo NEFEW, an acronym that stands for New Education From Every Word. The two exchange students from Switzerland met in kindergarten and have gone through life experiencing the traditional things that most kids are into. Eventually, they progressed into the world of hip-hop. Towards the end of last year NEFEW dropped an EP entitled "Homesick" which was rather well received and featured an appearance from Consequence. The two have even earned an endorsement from Puma International. The company backed them on their aforementioned EP and also their current release, "The Antihero Begins". This time around, the crew also has the support of 2DopeBoyz.com. The project is described as "prolific lyrics and odes to things that matter""
http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_05_antiherobegins.htmlPower Struggle :: Remittances :: Beatrock Music
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor "Nomi's lyrics are mostly concerned with fighting injustice and the challenges facing immigrants in this country. It's what I've come to expect from Beatrock Music; hip hop activism coming from a Philippino-American perspective. Nomi lays out his history on "Mr. Sagittarius...A Proletarian Path To Englightenment," which discusses his journey from Minnesota to New York to the Philippines to San Francisco, and from a rapper concerned with partying and bullshit to someone looking to make a positive change in the world"
http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_05_psremittances.htmlRon Contour and Factor :: Saffron :: Fake Four Inc.
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez
"Moka Only's staggering rate of album releases continues with his latest Ron Contour project. "Saffron" is the third Ron Contour project released in the last 12 months, following "The Beach" and "The Summer of Ron." Ron is one of Moka Only's alter egos, a cousin who decided to follow Moka in his rap aspirations. Ron released his debut close to ten years ago with "Moka Only is Ron Contour." The title is explained as a deception used by Ron to piggy back on his famous cousin's name, but Ron insists he is his own man. The light hearted, humorous aura surrounding Ron translates well to his music. "Saffron" is a laid back affair that will surely be enjoyed by Ron Contour fans. The first significant thing to note about "Saffron" is the fact Moka Only doesn't handle the production."http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_05_ronsaffron.htmlSecond Family :: Caskets and Funeral Homes :: 25th & 3rd Entertainment
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez "Tacoma, Washington is not known for hip-hop music. While Seattle and even Portland have gained some recognition for the northwest, Tacoma has remained overlooked. Second Family looks to change that with their debut CD "Caskets and Funeral Homes." Consisting of rappers Element and NoQuestion, the duo represents Tacoma, or Tac-Town as they call it, to the fullest. NoQuestion's relaxed brags contrast Element's commanding flows as the duo tackles a little bit of everything on the albums' 18 tracks. "http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_05_casketsandfuneralhomes.htmlErick Sermon :: No Pressure :: Def Jam/Rush Associated Labels
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Matt Jost "One of the marks of a true champion is his ability to handle pressure. Erick Sermon had a fair amount of pressure resting on his shoulders when it became clear that he would continue his career as a solo artist after splitting from Parrish Smith, with whom he released four gold albums in five years as EPMD. His reputation was at stake, and not just in regards to how he would fare without his former partner, but also how much a solo album might reveal about his role in the duo. Witnessing Sermon and Smith separately was seeing the fortress EPMD broken down to its components, subject to an analysis of which member had contributed to the success in what capacity. Essentially their solo careers would decide who would artistically lay legitimate claim to the EPMD legacy (and, in if they decided to surround themselves with crews, to the Hit Squad legacy)."
http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/BTTL_ericknopressure.htmlSuff Daddy :: Suff Refills :: Melting Pot Music
as reviewed by Matt Jost "Berlin beatmaker Suff Daddy puts his own twist on Mr. Combs' moniker, 'Suff Daddy' approximately translating to 'wino,' 'Suff' meaning the act of drinking excessively or the state of being addicted to alcohol. He may cite Tha Alkaholiks as his all-time favorite rap group, which we don't doubt, but a more immediate inspiration (than, say, E-Swift) is yet another renamed rap producer (it's a broad umbrella) - J Dilla, originally known as Jay Dee. Or more precisely post-Dilla Detroit hip-hop as represented by artists such as Guilty Simpson, Black Milk and Young RJ. "http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_05_suffrefills.html
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