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The (W)rap Up - Week of August 17, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

"Rap never ceases to come up with fresh concepts for compilation albums. Similar to MC Breed's "2 For the Show," Potluck's "Greatest Hits With My Buds" gathers collaborations between the main artist and kindred spirits, except that the sources are largely limited to Potluck's own albums. One could get the impression that the Northern Cali duo doesn't have much faith in its own abilities if it has to display the co-signment of celebrity guests (the big sticker on the CD's shrink-wrap announcing featurings from Kottonmouth Kings, Tech N9ne, E-40, Hed PE, Chali 2na, Twiztid, D12 and The Luniz covers up the album artwork entirely). But in the spirit of a smoking session the release makes perfectly sense, since it is, after all, callled "Greatest Hits With My Buds" (if you haven't noticed the play on words). "

Amad Jamal :: Barely Hanging On: The Chronicles of a Brotha Like Rodney King :: Urban Umpire/ABB Records
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

"With that said, "Barely Hangin' On: The Chronicles of a Brotha Like Rodney King" is Amad Jamal's debut album and features guest appearances from Dilated Peoples, Defari, Maaya Ota aka Lady Dragon, Doc One, Mean Green, Dirty Twan and Gotham Green. The album opens with a short intro, quickly followed by "We." The track has a sound to it that resembles something that might be found on a Swollen Members album. Jamal compares himself to Larry King: "Tap into the side of your brain that you don't use/ Hip-hop's like media, I report the news." Sharp piano loops accentuate "Believe That" which features an appearance from Dilated Peoples. Jamal compares his rap career thus far to being a second-round draft pick and likens Brisk One to Lakers coach Phil Jackson in terms of his discipline."

Justice System :: Rooftop Soundcheck :: MCA Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Pete T.

"As one of the few "hip hop bands" on the scene when they emerged in the early 1990s, Bronx outfit Justice System was often compared to the Roots, a likening that probably worked against them as much as it worked in their favor. While their tight jam arrangements and juxtaposition of poetic rap with full-bodied band orchestrations was certainly reminiscent of their Illadeph contemporaries' approach, Justice System had their own sound and were musical innovators in their own right. Their 1994 MCA debut "Rooftop Soundcheck" captures a young, visionary collective with a focused sound, smart production, and top-notch batch of material. "

Mad CJ Mac :: True Game :: Rap-A-Lot/Noo Trybe/Virgin Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Pete T.

"Like countless of his West Coast brethren in the 1990s, many listeners remember CJ Mac for a few minor contributions to the hip hop canon: a few strong but short-lived singles, a handful of high profile guest appearances, and the periodic acting cameo. Further examination of his output, however, reveals a versatile artist and unusually talented performer, provoking on the microphone and equally capable behind the production boards. Already in his thirties when he debuted with "True Game" in 1995, the South Central native dropped a quiet gem on the gangsta rap-listening populace that still shines even among the slew of potent g-funk-inspired records to emerge from California that year. "

Keith Murray :: The Most Beautifullest Hits :: Jive Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Pete T.

"Their glory years well behind them, it looks as if Keith Murray's legacy may be the least of the Def Squad, odd in that he was often the most captivating member on group efforts. Lacking Redman's legendary discography and the pioneer's resume of Erick Sermon, Keith amassed a significant catalog of acclaimed singles and albums alike, collaborating with some of the East Coast's finest MCs and becoming well known for his recognizably rugged flow and potent battle rhymes. 1999's "The Most Beautifullest Hits" makes a great case for why history shouldn't write him off as E and Reggie's tagalong. "

The Nocturnals :: Next Time It's Personal :: {self-released}
as reviewed by Jack M Silverstein

"And so begins "Next Time It's Personal", the debut LP from The Nocturnals, a rapper-producer collab between newcomer MC Rota and nearly newcomer The Letter N. Rappers are known for their bravado and bold self-assertions, and Rota claiming to have "a natural knack" for rapping (only nine seconds into his first, under-the-underground album, no less) plays as an intriguing aw-shucks hip-hop boast. It is also the challenge he must live up to, the question that will drive our reception of his performance over 13 tracks. "

Purify :: Remixes Felt :: {self-released}
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

"What the hell is Purify doing messing with music that has garnered that kind of praise? Purify isn't the only producer who has taken a stab at remixing "Felt 3." The fact that Accapella's of "Felt 3" are available on iTunes may have something to do with the number of indie producers taking a stab at it. Grieves and Budo did a remix earlier this year which Flash was less than impressed with. So how does Purify hold up to the original? "

S.A.S Eurogang :: Best of S.A.S :: {self-released}
as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania

"However, hip hop is different to R&B and through unlucky timing, a few acts got trapped in limbo – they were from London but "rapped US" just as the tide turned in the favour of UK accents. An amazing rapper/producer called Royalty (his "So Far, So Hood" mixtape still gets plays) and S.A.S (standing for "Streets All Salute") were some of the high profile casualties, indirectly lampooned by up-and-coming artists such as Sway and Akala who had a swell of UK youths supporting, fed up with the boring US scene of '02. So whilst S.A.S had some high profile connects – think Kanye West, Cam'ron, Dame Dash and Tim Westwood – they ironically didn't connect with the streets in the way they hoped. Part of the problem is that they can start to sound a bit samey after a while, lacking the genuine creativity in concepts that manages to separate the weak from the obsolete."

Skope MC :: A Play on Words :: CD Baby
as reviewed by Daniel Oh

"Skope MC is a different type of rapper. In fact, I'm not sure whether to define him as a "rapper" in the traditional sense. Listening to this record has taken me to uncharted waters as far as my listening catalog was concerned, and while sometimes I've been pleasantly surprised by new directions and approaches to hip-hop, sometimes I find myself in an alien place that discomforts me. Maybe that's the point, maybe Skope MC's intention is to shock you into feeling uncomfortable in the face of something undefinable. If that is so, than I would say this is a successful record."

STS :: The Sole Music EP :: HoneyMag
as reviewed by Guido Stern

"Presumably hoping to capitalize on his sudden thrust into hip hop's consciousness, STS put together a collection of new tracks to support "Sole Music," his single from April's mixtape "Demand More II." The titular song is a pleasantly quixotic love song to women and sneakers, sporting wood block percussion and a piano chord that's rudely interrupted by a lame "-izz" incorporated chorus. The EP also includes a slightly shorter, superior remix with Tanya Morgan's Donwill, who is audibly at home over this kind of beat. When STS sticks to this formula of sweeping, elegant production, "The Sole Music EP" makes for solid, laid-back hip hop."

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