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The (W)rap Up - Week of August 24, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

"To this point Klashnekoff albums have been the sole domain of fellow RR writer Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania. Given Jay's in the UK and that's where the rapper pronounced Kah-Lash-Ne-Cough has made his name and fame it made sense to have Mr. Soul broaden the horizons of our readers by reviewing his albums. As it's UK Month at though it makes even MORE sense for me to broaden my own horizons by reviewing his newest album "Back to the Sagas," a spiritual successor to "The Sagas" back in 2007. That's not to say I haven't been listening to K in the interim - in fact RR has featured several of his songs on Hip-Hop Shop since the show debuted. Klash has always struck me as a British hip-hopper with some Jamaican twang to his flow, not unlike Toronto's own Kardinal Offishall. Anyone who suspects they might be put off by a rapper with a strong British accent only need think of any BaKardi song to instantly realize that he's pleasant to listen to on the M-I-C. "

A-Diction :: Walkin' Alone :: Obese Records
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

"The Melbourne duo known as A-Diction is made up of emcees Breach and Boltz. The two have a few releases under their belts, including 2005's "To Be Announced" EP and last year's "The Three Year Itch" and "In Good Company" mixtapes, but "Walkin' Alone" serves as the duo's debut album. In the works for quite some time, A-Diction searched high and low for musical collaborators for this effort. Production comes from the likes of Jase, Lewis One, M-Phazes, Mules and Whisper. "Walkin' Alone" also features appearances from Haunts, G-Force, Scott Burns, Billy Bunks, Raven, Fraksha and the aforementioned Whisper. Vida Sunshyne and Bekah also lend their vocal talents to the recording. Throw in some cuts from DJ Mathmatics. Doc Felix and DJ Juice and we're ready to go. "

Arsun F!st :: Words of Essence EP :: Domination Recordings
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"This isn't unprecedented for Arsun F!st - he previously gave away his "Mood Points EP" for free through Domination as well, and in the process of doing so caught my ear for a review. Then as now I'm impressed by Arsun's flow - this is a brother who should definitely be getting paid for his work instead of giving it out for gratis. He's got highly polished breath control, and unlike his vow that he's "writing on instinct" each bar of his raps seems carefully crafted not just to rhyme but to make a point worth listening to. "Dream Chaser" melds a smooth piano, some old school R&B club crooning and the wisdom of someone many years his elder, as he vows to "keep things in balance, take care of fam and rise to the challenge." His vocal tone is a mixture of Talib Kweli and Malik B, and the practical nature of his rap reflects similar influences"

Bloody Monk Consortium :: Burden of Truth EP :: Bandcamp
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"The ever-growing Bloody Monk Consortium currently consists (but is not limited to) the following affiliates: rappers Leeroy Destroy and LABAL-S, producers Lex Luger, FuckRICO and DJ ShadowFist, and graffiti writer Kebo. It's quite the eclectic crew geographically, representing both coasts of the United States musically, while representing artists from as far away as Slovenia in ShadowFist's case. What could bring such a widely dispersed array of hip-hoppers together for one common cause? Well in the words of their own bio it's to create the sound found on the "Burden of Truth" EP, which is "utterly raw with explosively charged defiant combative rhyme sequences over dark brooding forceful beats" with a braggart's claim that "their tenacious and relentless approach to verbally assault the sharpest of tracks is cleverly laced with grimey, brutal, horrific yet witty wordplay." "

Freddie Gibbs :: Str8 Killa :: Decon Media
as reviewed by Guido Stern

"Of this year's crop of emerging hip hop artists that were named as XXL's 10 Freshmen for '10, Freddie Gibbs is not the most talented wordsmith (J. Cole, by some measure), nor the most comfortable with penning hooks (Wiz Khalifa or, perhaps, Donnis), and certainly not the most memorable of the bunch (OJ Da Juiceman, albeit for all the wrong reasons). More so than most emcees, especially fledgling ones, Gibbs requires some work on the behalf of the listener. That is not to say that his music isn't superficially enjoyable—aligning himself with ‘Bama super-producer team Block Beattaz and CunninLynguists' Kno is more than enough to make that out of the question—but Gibbs' flow is an unassuming creature, one that deftly adjusts from Motown multisyllabic patterns to a sonorous, slow flow on any given pair of tracks, sometimes even within a single verse. He is not, however, blessed with a terribly distinctive voice, and it's very easy to listen to his music without actually hearing what he's saying. "

Giggs :: Let Em Ave It :: XL Recordings
as reviewed by Matt Jost

"Upon first listen, Giggs didn't strike me as a poet nor comparable to any greats. He raps over clear, powerful synth productions in a very deep, very monotone, very mechanical manner. While the musical backing should be familiar, the delivery takes some time to get accustomed to. The first impression is listening to a robot version of Rock (of Heltah Skeltah/Boot Camp Clik) speaking with a South London accent but still using plenty of phrases that have been imported through rap music made in the USA. Once the initial irritation settles, two distinct qualities emerge - Giggs is believable, meaning his performance matches his lyrics (his Hollowman alias is actually dead on), and he expertedly welds together multi-syllable rhyme structures with short, simple words. "

Hidden Fortress :: Third Eye Cyclops :: Hand'Solo Records
as reviewed by Pete T.

"With five tracks including a short intro, "Third Eye Cyclops" clocks in at just over twelve-and-a-half minutes. The ominous "Brilliant Animal" is compelling and forceful musically, and while nofutureface's heavily fuzzed vocals are effective in creating a sonic mood, they are so distorted that it makes them difficult to decipher. He's more impressive on the bleak, stirring "Wasn't Me" with a stream-of-consciousness narrative seeping with paranoia. The driving, expansive "Fire Walk With Me" features strong production from UsdNeedls, and the closer "Path We Walk" is similar. "

Jay Rock :: From Hood Tales to the Cover of XXL ::
as reviewed by Guido Stern

"Now West Coast hip hop is long thought to have reached its apogee in the '90s, and experienced a relative dissolution in the past decade, so where, exactly, do these new guys fit into the mix of a dead genre? From listening to Jay Rock, it would seem that he believes the conventions didn't grow out of style, but rather the rappers who appropriated them. Content-wise, "From Hood Tales to the Cover of XXL" is no different than one of the Game's early mixtapes—a rapper who Jay Rock has and will continue to be compared to, if only because of their generic Blood repping and low-pitched, languid flows. Now prior to hearing his latest tape, released in March to capitalize on his XXL-driven buzz, I had only heard Jay Rock on guest verses and freestyles. His entry in the "Hottest in the Hood" jacking trend of last year immediately caught my attention as he displayed a palpable, arrogant hunger for success."

Kid Selzy :: The Creepshow :: Frank Castle Entertainment
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"It's clear from the second track of Selzy's new album "The Creepshow" that he has no desire to clean up his language, deal with his rage issues or become any less anti-gay. Sentiments like "got no time for homos imitating Snoop saying FO' SHEEZY" won't offend the majority of his listeners though. Now on one hand it's fair to argue that the way most rappers throw around the word "faggot" it's become a rather generic diss on anyone perceived to not be worthy of comparison as an artist. On the other hand Selzy does go out of his way to SPECIFICALLY question the sexuality of his peers, making a case that only straight is right and that if he implies you are a homosexual (or God forbid you actually are) you're automatically worthy of contempt and scorn or worse. "

Loose Change :: Loose Change :: Big Village
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

"As with almost all the Aussie hip hop I've heard through writing for RapReviews, the beats are solid. According to their bio, P Major frequently performs at jazz, African, and experimental music events, and his broad knowledge of music shows in his beats. There is a heavy jazz influence across the album, which references back to early 90s jazz-rap acts like Digable Planets, Tribe Called Quest, and Jazzmatazz. "Up the Shit" samples a jazz guitar; "Suitable" and "Those Days" are built around a piano samples; and "Cyber Lady" has a mellow jazz organ. It's not all jazzy though. "Fucked Up" and "Put Us On," are dirty funk, and opening track "Survival of the Fattest" mixes handclap beats with a funky guitar riff, while the crew crib from Digable Planets by declaring their "Beats so heavy, cats will gain weight." "

Professor Green :: Alive Til I'm Dead :: Virgin Records
as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania

"And so the UK hip hop movement continues to gather pace. Rounding off the recent spate of big releases, another commercial success – this time, courtesy of Professor Green. To put his "success" in perspective, the week "Alive Til I'm Dead" entered the chart at number two, it was sandwiched by Plan B's album (reviewed a few weeks ago), and beaten to the top spot by the artist to whom Stephen Manderson is constantly compared to: Eminem. Yes, the UK Album Charts had a trio of white rappers at the summit. A quirk of fate, or a pointer to a growing trend? Well, Plan B seems more interested in singing and acting now, considering "The Defamation of Strickland Banks" contained precious little rapping, but Professor Green has finally come good. The stars have aligned, and he has grabbed his chance – an opportunity that he has been waiting for patiently – with both hands. "

Quanstar :: The Underdog :: Bandcamp
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"The rapper who represents A-T-L is very humble and prone to crack self-effacing jokes about his music at all times, noting on "Mr. Blue Collar" that he'll be standing in the bread line if you're not buying his rhymes. The funny thing is that he doesn't really need to be humble when you look at his bio: he's been putting out music since 2003, has toured with Black Sheep, been featured on the Vans Warped Tour and even written for TV. Perhaps he could be accused of exaggeration when he describes himself as "the hardest working man in hip-hop to never be signed," but if the resume is everything it seems to be he's definitely not a lazy cat. In fact Quan is hustling so hard that he linked up with Akil the MC (formerly of Jurassic 5) to do music, and one of those songs wound up on this album: "Heart it All Before.""

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