Thursday June 21, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of June 15, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

"Harsh words from one of hip-hop's most venerated statesmen - and not exactly unprecedented either. Lawrence Krisna Parker learned one of hip-hop's most important lessons over 25 years ago, and though his philosophy has taken many (and some would argue contradictory) forms over the years, this one lesson is still taught by The T'Cha every semester: HUMILITY DOESN'T PAY THE RENT. There are many words ending in -ist you can describe KRS-One with: humanist, spiritualist, activist, antagonist, but the most apt word is egotist. It's not a diss to say Kris is obnoxiously arrogant - it's a compliment. His belief in self has been both sword and shield, stabbing lesser foes who attempted to take his crown while protecting him from a music industry that tried to beat the defiant rapper into submission. His fame and fortune have risen, fallen and risen again with over 20 albums, hundreds (perhaps thousands) of lyrical and media battles, and millions who have seem him rock live worldwide. His contributions to hip-hop culturally and musically put him almost beyond reproach, and he's paid far more dues than most. In short when The T'cha speaks, I listen. "

various artists :: Jammy$ - From the Roots 1977-1985 :: Greensleeves Records
as reviewed by Matt Jost

"The Greensleeves compilation "From the Roots" documents Jammy's production career prior to "Sleng Teng," with an emphasis on roots reggae, the prevalent form of reggae in the '70s. In hip-hop, the equivalent of roots reggae would be conscious rap, with the difference that too much spiritual content would quickly cast it into the gospel rap category. With the rastafari ideology emerging in Jamaica and reggae music being an internationally recognized vehicle to praise Jah, spiritual songs are a sure thing on any compilation focusing on that period. "

various artists :: Never Not Fresh :: Decon Records
as reviewed by Louis 'Delicate Beats' Cloutier

"Ironically, it's the stuff that's not fresh that's best on this album. The records which pay homage to early nineties east coast Hip Hop are those I enjoyed the most. Also ironic is that the finest songs on "Never Not Fresh" come from two acts that are at the opposite side as far as their career. One artist just stopped, and the other's just begun. "Ducky boy" by the late Jurassic 5 is straightforward Hip Hop, with four verses and no chorus. Even though it is an eight year old mixtape freestyle, I was glad to hear J5 one last time."

14KT :: Nowalataz :: A-Side Worldwide
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Much like Dilla's "Donuts" each track is a very short but incredibly well crafted sugary treat of a beat, with only the album's finale "Black N Gold" clocking in at over three minutes. The patterns are as undeniable as they are enjoyable: the way 14KT stops, starts and stutters the staccato melody of "The Meaning," the friendly vibes that open and permeate "Hello" and are scratched back in just when you might forget the song's origin, the quiet storm meets hip-hop chop shop attack of "Cherish," some lovely "Sweet Tee Ish" that goes "on and on" and could have you sipping the flavor for days. Much like the album's title, 14KT feels these are songs you can savor, and thanks to the fact they are both free and a worthy tribute to the man he considers his inspiration, I'd have to agree."

Cecil Otter :: False Hopes :: Doomtree Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Eric Sirota

"Because at his core, Mr. Otter is American roots music spit over highly-distorted, minimalist boom-bap. He spits with an earnestness seldom heard. Fortunately, this Great Laker's earnestness is not a sterile, doesn't-know-any-better sort of mundane sincerity. It's more that his whole vibe has a truthfulness to it, free of gimmicks and polish, from that moment in "Blacklist" when our poet-MC decides to quit bitching and declares to the world, "My name is Cecil Otter, and I represent Doomtree!" to the downhome party-anthem "Lake Shore Drifter," which tells the autobiographical tale of a transient beer hound. A wise man once said, "Midwesterners are progressive because they can see so far," and I think, in a sense, C.E. typifies that sentiment. "

Cold Men Young :: Champagne Nights/Red Stripe Budget ::
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

"Although facing tough times economically (along with the rest of the country), the City of Detroit has a rather rich hip-hop culture. Many of its iconic figures, both past and present, can be recognized by the mentioning of a single name. Eminem. Dilla. Slum. Royce. Trick. Milk. Guilty. Esham. Boss. Obie. Proof. The list goes on and on, that's just a handful. Looking to add themselves to the list of the greats is the four man hip-hop/spoken word collective, Cold Men Young. The group's name is a derivative of Detroit's first Black mayor, Coleman Young. While other contemporaries such as current mayor (former NBA star and Hall of Famer) Dave Bing and the troubled (read: incarcerated) Kwame Kilpatrick seem to be more recognized across the country, Coleman Young was a legend in the City of Detroit"

Godfather Don :: Donnie Brasco :: Traffic Ent./The Orchard
as reviewed by Pete T

"Despite staying busy as a producer, Don kept fairly quiet in the new millennium, although he was rumored to have recorded hundreds of unreleased tracks in his time out of the spotlight. In 2007, No Sleep Recordings released "The Nineties Sessions," a collection of vaulted tracks, demos, and b-sides, and its success led to renewed interest in his catalog warranting reissues of his '90s LPs. Now Traffic Entertainment seems to be subscribing to the better-late-than-never philosophy, releasing "Donnie Brasco," a shelved album recorded between 1999 and 2001, in 2010. Godfather Don is celebrated for both his beats and rhymes that embody a classic New York sound. "

Kae Sun :: Lion on a Leash :: URBNET Records
as reviewed by Susan 'susiQ' Kim

"Music is a culmination of roots, culture, and poetry, all of which rapper/singer Kae Sun consists of. Born in Ghana and relocating to Canada, Kae Sun's influences are unmatched. At an early age, he was exposed to cultural influences of Ghanaian folk chants, roots reggae in Accra, and soul music from his family. With this inspiration, Kae Sun uses this to express his music through poetic verses both sung and rapped. His deep rooted cultural influences flourish throughout his music as he incorporates his values of community and faith into his lyrics while maintaining a perfect balance. Backed by endless knowledge and influence, Kae Sun gathers his experience in the release of his debut album "Lion on a Leash." "

Lady Daisey :: In My Pocket :: BBE Music
as reviewed by Matt Jost

"Even though we can always make a good case for reserving this space for rap, we're known to make exceptions, and even when it comes to contemporary mainstream R&B there have been some careers (mainly: Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé, Erykah Badu) that have been so intertwined with hip-hop that it would be foolish to ignore them as a rap publication. And who's to say Lauryn Hill, Cee-Lo Green, or Drake are not hip-hop because they are vocally ambidextrous? I will still fight the notion that it's all the same, a confluence of urban styles just made for cross promotion, but even with a healthy distrust of all things R&B we do have some reason to be thankful for the additional exposure these singers gave to a lot of our rappers over the years. "

N.U.N.E. & Shade Sheist :: Movin Units :: PYO Entertainment
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"It's been a minute since Shade Sheist came across my desk or through my headphones. Somewhere in the stacks there's a copy of Damizza's "Where I Wanna Be" compilation. With Nate Dogg singing a chronic filled hook, Kurupt providing a cameo verse and a music video celebrating love of the West coast, Sheist had an undeniable hit with the title track in 2000. Not long afterward Sheist dropped his debut CD "Informal Introduction," it charted briefly, and then Sheist disappeared off the national radar. There were allegations Sheist got an undue amount of airplay on Power 106 in L.A. due to financial ties between his label Baby Ree and KPWR owner Emmis Communications."

Oxcyde :: The Aphorism EP :: Oxcyde/Boom Troops
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Let's take a trip on a bizarre ride to the Oxcyde. Ox is the latest rap export coming to us from Melbourne, Australia - a city and a country that both thrive on the ruggedly independent hip-hop spirit that was beaten out of many parts of the U.S. years ago. Eventually their scene may too fall prey to the woes of those who try to put on hip-hop shows here without a top ten chart hit, but for now their D.I.Y. cred is as good as any Bay Area rapper from California. The liner notes on the one sheet insert for this compact disc are short and to the point: "Produced, written, recorded and mixed by Chad 'Oxcyde' Waldron." I think it's fair to say that Waldron has put it all on the line here - if he succeeds he deserves all the praise and if he fails there's no one else he can blame."

Ragz Mo' Rocka :: The Ripple Effect :: Block Starz Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"While I don't really care for this poorly drawn class of Nickelodeon rejects and their wannabe virtual insanity, I do enjoy the reality behind some of their better songs. The short "Off the Hook" lives up to the description, a stomping heavy hip-hop anthem that you'd almost think was screwed and chopped. "Lately" is a sultry enough ballad that I'd like to meet the woman behind Topaz and not her insect alter ego. "Daymare" featuring Will Tell is a well produced appropriately menacing melody, and "Ultimatum" is some new era Soul II Soul that takes full control and (pun definitely intended) brings you back to life and back to reality. There is clearly talent hidden behind their masks, but this new attempt to cash in on the Gorillaz' success seems so poorly conceived I wish they'd drop the facade altogether. "

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