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RapReviews.com

The (W)rap Up - Week of June 1, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article



Apollo Brown :: The Reset
Mello Music Group/Groove Attack

Author: Patrick Taylor

Click here to find   out more!

"If the best hip-hop is born out of hard times and struggles, then Detroit is about to blow up. The Motor City has been getting kicked in the teeth for the past twenty years, and just when it seems like it has hit rock bottom, the bottom falls out again. Detroit suffers from the recession, foreclosures, a violent crime rate five times higher than average, and an unemployment rate of either 15% or 50%, depending on who you ask. Out of this mess comes some of the most promising hip-hop in the nation. Artists like Black Milk, Finale, and now Apollo Brown are making hip-hop that is gritty, urgent, and real. "

Richie Cunning :: Night Train :: Routine Fly
as reviewed by Guido Stern

""Night Train," Cunning's debut album, is the kind of buoyant, nuanced record we critics at RapReviews dream of getting assigned among the many fledgling independent submissions we receive. It's by no means superlative, but of the hundreds of albums and mixtapes that come out each month, it's deserving of your time—a statement you won't hear terribly often from this disciple of Sturgeon's Law (viz. "90% of everything is crud"). Essentially a solitary labor of love, "Night Train" is entirely self-produced and features no guests, giving it an air of intimacy. Subject matter varies from clever braggadocio to humorous storytelling and rueful anecdotes about poverty. Cunning's most valuable skill is his comical, often self-deprecating honesty."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_06_richienighttrain.html

DJ Quik :: Safe + Sound :: Profile Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Pete T.

"Musically "Safe + Sound" is leaps and bounds above all of Quik's work that preceded it, which isn't to take anything away from either of his earlier albums in the slightest. Both "Quik Is the Name" and "Way 2 Fonky" were phenomenal musically, showcasing his deft hands on the boards as he executed a seamless West Coast funk that would help to define the genre. Still, they sound decidedly old school and pale in comparison to the musical magnificence of "Safe + Sound," if not in quality then in complexity. Light on samples and heavy on live instrumentation, "Safe + Sound" catapulted Quik from the status of a producer to that of a full-fledged composer. It is this sound—the quick, winding basslines, tinny high hats, smooth instrumental solos, soulful pipes, and Roger Troutman's talkbox—that defined him as a musician and, with varying moderations, he more or less developed for the rest of his career."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/BTTL_quiksafesound.html

D-Sisive :: Vaudeville :: URBNET Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"D-Sisive has been on such a remarkable run that it can't be a coincidence any more. While it's conceivable that one individual writer might have a vested interest in a particular artist or group and thus overrate their work (something we try hard to discourage) there's no accounting for the fact that three different writers on RR felt so strongly about D-Sisive's work they gave his album 9 out of 10. For those new to the website, that's putting Derek Christoff in a very elite musical and lyrical category - right up there with the likes of Aceyalone, Gift of Gab, Nas, The Roots, Sage Francis, et cetera. So if you're asking yourself "Why haven't I heard of D-Sisive before now?" reading this review I'll give you three answers"

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_06_vaudeville.html

Heather B :: Takin Mine :: Pendulum/EMI
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Matt Jost

"So "Takin Mine" isn't a balanced record. That's one reason to champion it, especially if 'balance' means catering to as many demands as possible. Shoving aside all expectations except those from the hardcore constituency, Heather B rips through her material like an East Coast version of Lady of Rage. Defiant from the opening line "Raise yo L's and yo middle left finger," she combines freestyle aesthetic and personal drive in a potent musical one-two punch. Just to keep things in balance, however, after "Takin Mine" you might want to listen to Missy 'Misdemeanor' Elliott's own acknowledgement of MTV's real-life soap opera, "Da Real World," an arguably more complex and diverse piece of music. "

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/BTTL_heathertakinmine.html

Human Block :: Human Block :: Earsweat Music
as reviewed by Eric Sirota

"According to its renaissance man of an author, MC and software engineer, Rashenal, "Human Block" is quite an ambitious concept album. Indeed, according to the MC, this self-titled album by the Human Block project, comprised of Rashenal and producer and fellow Wild Life Crew member Jelts, is a concept album "exploring the most basic forms of human connection and how human lives are shaped around these connections." I would normally be fascinated by such sociological inquiries. The problem though, is that Rashenal is not a good rapper. "

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_06_humanblock.html

Mega Ran & K-Murdock :: Forever Famicom :: Neosonic Productions
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

""Forever Famicom" embraces the nostalgia for gaming's second era of home consoles, a time that blew away the simplicity of what could be done on Atari 2600 or Intellivision before it, yet still seems incredibly primitive compared to today's high-powered consoles like Sony PS3 or the X-Box 360. It's easy to argue that this is just a "throwback" retro movement, and if you like you can break out your Nintendo Power Glove and your Rob the Robot and relive the glory days, but "Forever Famicom" doesn't just cash in on a trip down memory lane like a tired VH1 TV concept. Like the Transformers toys of the same timeframe, this album is more than meets the eye - modern day hip-hop in disguise. When you play this album you discover that K-Murdock has pulled these old memorable tunes into today's hip-hop soundscape, occasionally kicking and screaming in protest, until he beat them into submission with scratches and beats that give them a totally now sound. "

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_06_foreverfamicom.html

Sage Francis :: Li(f)e :: ANTI-/Strange Famous Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"To some observers the product that remains on "Li(f)e" would be better described as spoken word poetry instead of hip-hop. I wouldn't argue with that distinction. Every great or poorly conceived rap line is a poem - and those who have studied poetry know that as long as it expresses something important to the author it need not necessarily rhyme. In that respect Francis is more like Saul Williams than Ludacris, more like Paul Beatty than Public Enemy, closer to Gil Scott-Heron than Gucci Mane. On "Li(f)e" Francis takes this one step further than he ever has before. When he sings that "London Bridge" is falling down, that's not just the hook - he freely alternates between singing and speaking his lyrics over a crunchy guitar riff that's more punk rock than rap. On "Slow Man" you could mistake Francis for Whitey Ford at times, right down to the white man blues Brian Deck gives this song. Even when he's rapping on "Worry Not," it's not the familiar hip-hop you know."

http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2010_06_sagefrancislife.html

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