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The (W)rap Up - Week of July 20, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

M.I.A. -
M.I.A. :: Maya

Author: Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania

Click here to find out more!

"I have a theory about M.I.A.'s new album. This was supposed to be her version of "OK Computer" - or at least, that is what it started out as. She sat there heavily pregnant, so the story goes, unable/unwilling to do anything but sit on the Internet and explore. Naturally, she stumbled upon a whole bunch of weird shit on the web. Then she had the baby, begat to the heir of a billion dollar fortune, and probably thought about what an extreme world this child was being born into. The Internet has in a very short space of time taken over aspects of our lives completely and relentlessly - much in the way that Radiohead's masterpiece predicted. Yet, whilst their album used robotic voices, industrial sounds and digital effects too, they were all there in order to isolate a real voice, to humanise the plight of man against his own invention. Thus, part of the problem with this LP is that she runs away from commitment - to the music, the concept or the challenge of connecting with a wider audience. Either that, or she simply doesn't know how to carry the concept out. But eventually, listening to "Maya" unearths other redeeming qualities – we’re just not so used to hearing them from M.I.A. "

Capleton :: I-Ternal Fire :: VP Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"A long time ago during my college days I got my first exposure to Capleton through a remix of his hit single "Wings of the Morning" featuring Method Man. Given my near hero-worship of the Wu-Tang at the time, my love of the song had much more to do with Meth's rap than Capleton's crooning, though the catchy "there is no escape from King Selassie I" hook has stuck with me to present day. As such it was a pleasant surprise when Capleton's "I-Ternal Fire" landed on my desk, a long overdue chance to get reacquainted with what the soulful Jamaican superstar had been up to in the last decade plus. Doing my research before this review I found the artist born Clifton George Bailey III hasn't been without controversy in the intervening years, having had at least two concert tours canceled due to protests over his music's perceived homophobia."

Cola-Zone :: Immortality Skeems :: Catacomb Productions
as reviewed by Matt Jost

"Cola-Zone is an MC/producer in his mid-twenties hailing from Fort Wayne, IN. Like all creators he would like to leave something behind that lasts, hatching "Immortality Skeems," an album that's been a few years in the making. Produced by Cola-Zone und Tomar 'HQ' Tyler with additional instrumentation (guitar, keys) from Rob Robinson, the release exemplifies the maverick spirit of local independent artists. On a larger scale, Zone was able to represent on the recent "Midwest Block Starz" compilation, his song "Optimus Grind" being one of the more creative contributions. The album confirms the first impression."

El-P :: Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixxx3 :: Gold Dust/Definitive Jux
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Don't kick yourself if you're wondering how you missed Volume One and Volume Two. El-Producto released previous volumes spuriously just to compile creative output that didn't fit into albums he had done for himself or others. The third edition is much more cohesively planned, which is why it's getting a proper in store release, conceived as the stopping point between "I'll Sleep When You're Dead" and the long expected/anticipated sequel. El-P describes this third mix as "mini-movements that have a real beginning, middle and end" as opposed to just random instrumentals. A proper review will put that to the test. "

Johnny Richter :: Laughing :: Suburban Noize Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"The piano driven "Evolution" shows where Richter is at now and where he's headed on his solo album "Laughing." While he proudly professes to be "a member of the biggest underground weed band" he's also looking to branch out on his own as a soloist and try different things. Of course even while he's on his own trip sans the KK crew, there's still going to be at least one or more references to pot in every song, because some things never change and never should. Other than Cypress Hill the Kings may be hip-hop's biggest advocates of Proposition 19, which means many of the "underground" things they've done wouldn't have to be underground any more. By that time Richter may already be far overground, trading heavy beats and crunchy rock for smooth tunes like "Remember That Summer.""

Krayzie Bone :: The Fixtape Volume 3: Lyrical Paraphernalia :: RBC Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"The press kit that came with my copy of "Volume 3" was somewhat spartan, but it does promote a June 1st release date. disagrees and suggests this one is coming out on July 27th, two weeks after this review. Ironically the promo CD is a little bit more like an old school mixtape from the mid-1990's - it comes in a slimline case with no cover art and the rapper's name printed in block letters with plain black ink. We did track down the artwork for this review but there's not much to say about it - Krayzie's sitting in an alleyway full of dumpsters. Exciting. If it's meant to convey the gritty atmosphere of Cleveland though, job well done. While the album was recorded well before King James decided to pack up his bags and set sail for Miami, there's a dark depression found within this Bone's thuggery that goes far beyond the failures of a local sports team. "

MF DOOM :: Expektoration... Live :: Nature Sounds/Gold Dust Media
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"By most standards this might be considered the nerdiest introduction to a rap album of all time, but for the "Dead Bent" rapper who insists that you use "ALL CAPS" when you spell his name, there's almost no better way to begin a live CD. Daniel Dumile has worn many faces in his hip-hop career, but he's still best known as the Metal Face Villain, whose exterior appearance was based off the Fantastic Four's archenemy Dr. Doom and whose musical stylings were punctuated by audio clips of F4's adventures. He's also well known for his love of brew, having dedicated more than a few songs to his unquenchable thirst for ale, while occasionally seeming to be literally spitting his loquacious flows totally inebriated on record. "

Side Effect :: Grown Man Grizzly :: {self-released}
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

"Side Effect has a new CD out on Karma Response Records called "Cabin Fever." This is not that album. "Grown Man Grizzly" is a mixtape that he released for free two years ago, and that just now found it's way to my inbox to review. I'm not going to question the delay, but it does explain how old the freestyles are. Half of "Grown Man Grizzly" 26 tracks are freestyles over beats so old they have cobwebs, like the Game's "Westside Story," "Life Is Too Short," and "It's Hard Out There For A Pimp."  If the purpose of a freestyle is to prove that you can go hard over a contemporary beat, "Grown Man Grizzly" falls short. "

Tony Hall :: The Tony Hall Show :: Cream Factory Records
as reviewed by Daniel Oh

"Tony Hall is not a mixture of anything. He's the hamburger before you put it in your mouth, only when you bite into it, it's not a harmony of flavor. Rather, it's just a bland segmentation of lettuce, meat and bread until you force it down your throat. Tony's flow isn't any different from most other Southern rappers. The quality artists use their accents and dialects to complement their strong rapping. The average artist will use their twangs as a clutch. The difference between Big Boi and Lil' Scrappy is that Big Boi rides the beat like it owes him money, Lil' Scrappy just sounds like he's talking shit over drums and synth sounds. When I listen to the "Tony Hall Show," I hear that Lil Scrappy drawl but not enough of that Big Boi flow. "

E-40 :: The Mail Man :: Sick Wid It/Jive Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

"While many emcees both past and present are adamant about how their lyrics are one hundred percent true and are things they've done themselves, 40 is quick to point out that he is an entertainer in addition to being an emcee. In a statement that should probably accompany the lion's share of today's releases, 40 felt it was necessary to make this point on the introduction: "I'm not just no rapper...I'm a muthafuckin' entertainer, and the shit I be speakin' about on shit that I done heard or seen. If I was really out there doing that ol' shoot-em-up shit, bang-bang shit...I'd be either dead or in jail somewhere. Po-po stations, player haters and E-40 imitators...y'all need to relax." "

Thug Life :: Thug Life: Volume 1 :: Interscope/Atlantic
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Pete T

"Perhaps most significantly, the Thug Life project is the only full album that places 2Pac in the context of a rap group. Shakur was affiliated with a few different lineups in his recording years, beginning of course with Digital Underground in the early 1990s. After achieving superstardom as a solo entity, another group of friends and frequent collaborators credited as Dramacydal began to appear on his records, the group that would later evolve into Outlawz. With 2Pac as the obvious focal point, the Thug Life lineup included Inglewood's Big Syke, who would go on to a moderately successful solo career and record with Outlawz as Mussolini; Los Angeles rappers Macodoshis and Rated R, who would later be convicted of murder; and 'Pac's elder stepbrother Mopreme. While not an official member, 'Pac's friend Stretch from the Digital Underground days, a frequent producer and guest rapper on the first two 2Pac LPs, raps on two tracks and produces five; he too would be gunned down in late 1995. "

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