Wednesday June 20, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of April 29, 2014
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 at 9:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Mobb Deep's "The Infamous Mobb Deep," then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!

[The Infamous Mobb Deep]Mobb Deep :: The Infamous Mobb Deep
Infamous/RED Music

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

“It's not easy to come back with a sequel to a hip-hop classic, but that's not going to stop Mobb Deep from trying. The release of the "Black Cocaine" EP in 2011 was a teaser that this album was a possibility, but a very public feud (over Twitter) nearly put this album on permanent hiatus. When they reconciled last year it was revealed that "The Infamous Mobb Deep" would be not just a sequel, but a tribute to the original, featuring unreleased sessions from the original 1994 recordings before they blew up on the national landscape. Let's start with that second disc of unreleased material, which starts with a new and extended version of "Eye for an Eye" with an entirely different instrumental and never before heard verse from Ghostface Killah. "Today's math, fuck nothin but ass, take Cristal baths/go half on this robbery, we run up on Johnny Cash." That's worth the price of admission alone, but I can see why they dumped this version of the song - it's nearly 7 minutes long and the beat on the album version is better. It's paired with a skit of Ed Lover discussing the song with everybody on the album version and hosting a live freestyle session. This is followed by a Mobb song that's been bootlegged for years dubbed "Take it in Blood" that's actually called "Get it in Blood" on this disc.”

DJ Rashad :: Double Cup :: Hyperdub
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[Double Cup]“Chicago footwork DJ Rashad Harden died on Saturday at 34. It's always tragic when someone dies so young, but it is even more so with DJ Rashad given that he was just starting to truly blow up on an international scale. His last album was put out by Kode9's influential Hyperdub label, who are probably best known for releasing music by innovative dubstep artists like Burial. Listening to "Double Cup," it's not hard to understand why DJ Rashad's music excited so many listeners, musicians and critics. For those of you not familiar with footwork (as I wasn't until I saw it associated with DJ Rashad's music), it's basically ghetto house music sped up to ludicrous speeds. The name of the genre comes from the intricate and insanely fast style of dancing that people do to it. Watching footwork dancers is like watching normal dancers in fast-forward. It's become a competitive dance, with two dancers going toe-to-toe to prove who has the better moves. "Double Cup" gives several good examples of why footwork has gotten so many kids working on dance moves. It combines the janky, clattering snares of street rap with the BPM's and aggro of jungle. Rashad doesn't flip samples, he repeats them over and over again until it sounds like the singer has a stutter. Imagine the attitude of street rap with a touch of house soul revved up to drum n' bass speeds and you have footwork.”

Eligh :: Nomads :: G&E Music
as reviewed Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Nomads]“This is a direct sequel to last month's review of The Grouch + Eligh, because at the time I only had one album out of the triple disc set, and that was the "333" portion that the two recorded as a group. The ambitious triple disc set for "The Tortoise and the Crow" also came with solo albums for both artists individually, and while you can't BUY the albums individually, the good news is that I gave "333" 9 out of 10 across the board. The digital price is so low you might as well just cop "333" and consider the other two a bonus. Eligh's "Nomads" is one hell of a bonus at that. I'm used to Eligh albums being eccentric and unorthodox, but this album took his tendencies in an entirely unexpected and pleasant direction. He's known as a rapper AND producer, but this time around he decided to put just as much focus on the latter as the former. The first three tracks of the album are an aural trip across the cosmos, and like Neil Degrasse Tyson, the aptly named "Begin" will put you on a ship of the imagination. It flips back and forth between natural and synthetic instruments, weaving in and out a machine gun fast drum that's not at all tense - it's just the glue that holds the harmonies and ghostly vocals to the musical bind. "Paid the Price" is much more frantic but no less pleasant - it's like reimagining OutKast's "Bombs Over Baghdad" as acid jazz. The even MORE aptly named "Journey" takes you to the event horizon and beyond as Codany Holiday sings you "on the journey again" to the inner reaches of your mind.”

Ilyas and Juice Lee :: Double Dragon 2k11 :: Bandcamp
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Double Dragon 2k11]I was hipped to this album by well known gamer emcee Mega Ran, though I can't remember if the context was a blog update, e-mail exchange or newsletter blast. Regardless of the circumstances it's not a review I could pass on given that I actually own a Double Dragon cabinet that is on permanent residence in my rec room. I was looking for an old arcade cab to convert into a machine that plays hundreds of games instead of one, and knew a fellow gamer named Dan who was willing to help me do the work, so we went shopping at a warehouse that was more or less a graveyard for my misspent childhood. The man in charge was quoting us high dollar amounts for Ms. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong machines left and right, but the DD cab caught my eye right away. "How much for this one?" He looked at it dismissively and said "50 bucks." I would have called him a fool if it wouldn't have blown the deal - I just pokerfaced it and said "Yeah that sounds fair." 10 minutes later it was mine. If you've ever had the chance to hang out in my basement you know this cab is the shiznit, but it wouldn't have been mine if I hadn't been pouring quarters into a similar looking cousin in my teenage years. The NES home console version is described as "technically limited" compared to its arcade counterpart, but if anything I spent MORE time playing it given I knew a friend with a copy and it didn't cost me a quarter at a time.”

Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock :: It Takes Two :: Profile Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[It Takes Two]“Rob Base's eerily prophetic words on "Joy and Pain" would come back to haunt him just over a year later on his second album "The Incredible Base." In the late 1980's Robert Ginyard formed a successful partnership with Rodney 'DJ E-Z Rock' Bryce that led to the top ten hit "It Takes Two." If you're an 80's baby you already know the song's famous punchlines by heart: "Take it off the rack, if it's whack, put it back/I like the Whopper {fuck} the Big Mac." The up-tempo drum track, hypnotic "yeah... WHOO" sample and Rob's suave "ladies love me, girls adore me/I mean, even the ones who never saw me" confidence made the song a platinum hit that was as appealing on the dance floor as in the headphones of your Walkman. Unfortunately the overnight success of "It Takes Two" and the album of the same name went to their heads and fractured the group down the middle. Rob continued as a soloist with limited success, an an ill-fated 1990's reunion met with even less success. If you thought of Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock as your prototypical "one hit wonder" of pop or even hip-hop music you could hardly be blamed. The very fact "It Takes Two" is one of the most sampled and quoted songs in rap history speaks volumes. Base's distinctive high pitched voice is as memorable as it is reusable - much like Queensbridge's own MC Shan. The song is ubiquitous to the point that VH1 put it their top 100 of greatest rap songs of all time - and I wouldn't argue the point. The shocking announcement of DJ E-Z Rock's death at the age of 46 this weekend made me want to go back, reflect and reexamine the album as a whole. First though I want to say my condolences to Robert Ginyard, not just on E-Z Rock's passing but on that of his wife April's passing last October. That's a rough six month stretch for anyone to go through. Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock may have not have found success with their 1994 reunion "Break of Dawn," but it at least gives us some feeling they had reconciled their differences and were on good terms. In that respect Rob Base can look back on what the two accomplished on "It Takes Two" and be proud, because it did indeed take two to make a thing go right. In fact it took more than two - it also took Donald 'O' Bowden and Thomas Dean contributing on production, it took Profile Records promoting the duo, and it took a mainstream whose dawning awareness of hip-hop was largely limited to labelmates Run-D.M.C. to blow this album up. Four singles were released out of 10 total tracks, but even non-single releases like "Times Are Gettin' Ill" are enjoyable.”

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