"History's been kind to Juvenile. If you told folks back in '98 that "400 Degreez" would be considered damn near a hip hop classic a decade later, most of them would have called your bluff. Yet after a decade-and-a-half of recording, Terius Gray has attained unusual longevity in a career largely spent embodying the factors that made fans love and detractors love to hate the Cash Money Billionaires and New Orleans bounce music at large: shameless opulence and materialism, undisguised misogyny, sly humor amidst often simplistic lyricism, an inimitable swagger and style, addictive, irresistible cookie-cutter beats, and a penchant for making both club and street anthems and posse cuts. An excellent rapper but an even more likable character, Juve rose from the streets of the Crescent City to attain legendary status, pioneering his city's infamous bounce sound and selling millions of records both solo and as a member of the Hot Boys and UTP."
Eternia & MoSS :: At Last :: Fat Beats Records
as reviewed by Pete T.
"A few tidbits that may or may not be of interest regarding Eternia: she's a girl. She's white. She's from Canada. Heck, she used to date Apathy. Any three of these may comprise three strikes for some listeners, but if not then there's a good chance you'll like "At Last," her collaboration album with fellow Toronto native MoSS, a producer who has quietly amassed credits on albums by AZ, Big Noyd, Slum Village, KRS-One, Obie Trice, Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, Big Shug, Kool G Rap, Canibus, and damn near the whole Boot Camp Clik and Wu-Tang Clan. The scarcity of female MCs in rap's mainstream is the rare trend mirrored in underground hip hop, and having aligned herself with celebrated male rappers from across the underground spectrum, she joins a dwindling but elite few. "
Homeboy Sandman :: The Good Sun :: High Water Music
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor
"I first heard about Queens MC Homeboy Sandman when his second self-released album, 2008's "Actual Factual Pterodactyl," generated buzz. His complicated wordplay and non-traditional subject matter earned him critical praise, including being named album of the year by our own Adam Bernard, and a feature in the Source's "Unsigned Hype" column. He was flying pretty low under the radar though, so much so that this site never reviewed his two previous albums, and I never got around to listening to either of them. That's a deficiency I aim to correct with his new album, "The Good Sun.""
Kero One :: Kinetic World :: Plug Label
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"As self-produced underground rappers from California go, Kero One ranks at the top of most hip-hop lists with good reason. He got off to a well above average start on his first commercial album, 2006's "Windmills of the Soul," and subsequent follow up albums showed the "Early Believers" that they were right to hop on his bandwagon. His breezy style and infectious beats put him in the mix with veteran left coast artists like Hieroglyphics, Gift of Gab and Lyrics Born while simultaneously reinventing the potential of what hip-hop can be in ANY region of the United States. In 2010 Kero One should be considered a top dog but on "Kinetic World" he clearly feels he's still an underdog with much to prove. It's not accidental that his opening track is titled "Let Me Clarify" or that he feels the need to justify his spot in rap in his verses, because Kero is a book that has been judged by his cover once too often"
Metaform :: The Electric Mist :: Just Records
as reviewed by Pete T.
"About half of the tracks on "The Electric Mist" are instrumentals, and those outfitted with vocals don't have much rapping. Most of the vocals are heavily autotuned meanderings into the abstract—imagine Jason Derulo's "Whatcha Say" times ten. While I acknowledge this sound has a market—the prevalence of autotune in today's Top 40 has to be more than a coincidence—the robotic singing did not appeal to me, nor did the sappy, self-pitying lyrics that often border on emo. "RevengeOfANerd," which uses the same Art of Noise sample as Krayzie Bone's "Murda Mo," legitimately could be substituted for any of the weaker tracks on Kanye West's "808s & Heartbreak" and few listeners would know the difference. Despite a strong percussion arrangement, the shrieky hook of "Candy" borders on intolerable, and the silly lyrical wanderings of "Strange Girl" detract from a really cool beat."
Janelle Monae :: ArchAndroid :: Bad Boy/Wondaland Arts Society
as reviewed by Eric Sirota
"Janelle Monae loves music. I don't know her personally, but, what I do know, is that she loves music. She doesn't just enjoy making music. She doesn't just enjoy some particular genre of music. She loves music. All of it. How do I know this? Because her recent release, "The ArchAndroid," begins with a classical overture, and, after this overture, Janelle dabbles in rap, soul, folk, psychadelia, metal, and more classical overture with features ranging from Saul Williams to Big Boi to Of Montreal to Deep Cotton. "ArchAndroid" is a truly ecclectic album, in every sense of the word." http://rapreviews.com/archive/2010_07_archandroid.html Necro :: DIE! :: Psycho+Logical Records
as reviewed by Matt Jost "With rappers often relating how they escaped death and celebrating their survival, the idea of one of them facing fatality unflinchingly is refreshing. "DIE!," however, is a very literal title, it is the raging yell Necro lets out as he draws the gun, pulls the knife, or, more creatively, proceeds to "twist your spine like a Pilates class." He takes delight in ending your existence, with very little motivation shown as to why exactly. Lacking any psychological element, lyrically "DIE!" is strictly splatter rap. Maybe Necro would, in light of the album cover, want to make the argument that he rises from hip-hop's grave and back it up with the odd statement about "pop fags in the game claimin' to be true lyricists [that] give hip-hop a bad name," but these remarks are largely unconnected to the gorefest." http://rapreviews.com/archive/2010_07_necroDIE.html various artists :: Pollen: The Swarm Part Three :: Wu Music Group
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon "One would assume when Wu-Tang Clan use their logo themselves to release an album on their own label that's a "legit" seal of approval. Method Man's third cousin twice removed or the rapper who made one cameo on a Shyheim album might CLAIM Wu, but "Pollen: The Swarm Part Three" is an officially endorsed product. The compilation is printed and manufactured by the Wu Music Group and the Clan logo appears everywhere on the product - even the spine of the disc uses it once on either side of the title. Unfortunately the value of their logo has been substantially diminished in the last five years. The time and money the Wu could waste to stamp out all perpetrators and frauds is ridiculous using their logo is so ridiculous one can hardly fault them if they don't bother. "Caveat emptor" is the watchword - a little caution can serve the consumer well." http://rapreviews.com/archive/2010_07_swarmpart3.html Vinnie Paz :: Season of the Assassin :: Enemy Soil Entertainment
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon "Vinnie Paz is one of the angriest men in rap. He's been snarling and swearing his way through songs as the frontman of Jedi Mind Tricks for 15 years, a critically acclaimed hip-hop group that has released six LP's and sold over a quarter of a million records in the United States. Wait - a quarter million TOTAL in 15 years? Eminem did more that in a WEEK. That may just be one of many reasons why Paz is charismatic, political, lyrical, and pissed the fuck off. When Paz growls "The best motherfucker in the street that you never heard" on "Pistolvania," he might just be right, but ultimately it wouldn't make sense for Paz to be better known. It's hard to imagine this gun toting, hollow tip loading Philadelphia rapper ever being as beloved as Will Smith or even Schoolly D. You can't tie a pretty bow around his looks OR epiglottis and sell it to the masses as Paz is hocking up a lyrical loogie on every verbally terse verse he spits." http://rapreviews.com/archive/2010_07_seasonofpaz.html Twinz :: Conversation :: G-Funk/Def Jam Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Pete T. "Around '94 and '95, young West Coast rappers were in a pretty darn nostalgic state of mind, and it wasn't just happy-go-lucky folks like Ahmad, Domino, and Warren G reminiscing over ballgames in the park and auntie's home cooking—even certified gangsters like DJ Quik, Lil 1/2 Dead, and South Central Cartel could be found waxing poetic over their relatively carefree earlier years. While this might present an apparent paradox—these same MCs each went to great lengths discussing their everyday struggles growing up and the untold danger lurking around each corner in their rough neighborhoods—it might actually be more natural than you'd think. For these young men, many of whom were caught up in California's gang culture by their late teens, childhood was a simpler, more innocent time just like everyone else's, even if they were only a few years removed from it. " http://rapreviews.com/archive/BTTL_twinzconversation.html
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