Monday May 21, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of September 21, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

"What does Lawrence Franks Jr. need to be redeemed from? Perhaps it's from being released by Jive/Zomba after his first album "Notebook Paper," although in his own words "You might be telling the truth/but really I released myself." Maybe it's from being perceived as too junior to be taken seriously, given his first album referenced schoolwork and the cover saw him sitting at a desk with a blackboard in the background. Education certainly isn't his focus on "Retarded" though, as Huey takes obscene amounts of pride in being materialistically shallow, bragging "I look blind but this money make me see things ... I'm handicapped but this money make me walk straight ... I get my retarded on when it's about cash, I get my retarded on with my retarded ass." Maybe he needs to be redeemed from feuding with Nelly, because it doesn't seem like St. Louis was big enough for both of them. There's little doubt that if the careers of the two were measured side by side, Nelly's about 20 million albums ahead. "

Black Milk :: Album of the Year ::
as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania
[Album of the Year]

"And that is what Black Milk has decided to do with "Album of the Year" – not a boastful, ill-advised title, but simply THE album of HIS year, describing his past 365 days. That it also happens to be the album of his career is a bonus, but AOTY is halfway between throwback and unique. The first couple of listens are bemusing, polarising and, to an extent, disappointing. However, persevere, dear Reader, and you will be rewarded with an LP that, through looking inward, almost faultlessly details the outside world that so many of us face right now. It is an album that feels like it could not have been released at any other point in the timeline of this illustrious genre. "Album of the Year" doesn't always work flawlessly, and one could strongly argue that it trades in thrilling one-offs in favour of consistency. For example, there isn't a single effort that matches the stunning sonic genius of a track like "Bounce" from his last LP, "Tronic." However, this time round, we are gifted a much more even listen, with virtually no peaks and troughs. "

Central Services :: Forever Frozen in Television Time :: Definitive Jux
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Forever Frozen in Television Time] 
"Right around the time RR was covering Camu Tao's final album "King of Hearts," the people at Definitive Jux decided to release a free EP in support of the album called "Forever Frozen in Television Time." The EP was the result of a collaboration between Camu Tao and his long-time friend El-Producto, which they had intended to release as a group under the name Central Services. For whatever reason, the EP got shelved and never worked its way to fans of either rapper/musician until this year - but better late than never as they always say - and besides it's free. Much like "King of Hearts," the Central Services EP features a side of Camu Tao which veers away from traditional hip-hop rhyming and jumps into heavily overproduced crooning, complete with echo effects, distortion and reverb up the wazoo."

Das Racist :: Sit Down, Man :: Greedhead Entertainment
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Sit Down, Man] "Das Racist is a very polarizing group, and that's without even taking their name into account. Though the spelling might be considered a tribute to Das EFX, it's more of a play on the background of rappers Himanshu Suri and Victor Vasquez, who are probably hip-hop's first ever Indian-American meets Cuban/African-American duo. If they aren't, well they're certainly the first to ever get recognized in the mainstream, as evidenced by the success of their single "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell." No, I'm not joking, but you can never be quite sure whether these two emcees really are or not. Their last album "Shut Up, Dude" had listeners scratching their heads trying to figure out if Suri and Vasquez were serious about rap music or whether it was all a big goof by two Wesleyan students who grew up in Brooklyn and felt familiar enough with hip-hop to be able to mock it. "

Hired Gun, Rabbi Darkside, & Zajazza :: Skillz to Take Brazil :: Say Word Entertainment
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez

[Skillz to Take Brazil] 
"Skillz to Take Brazil" is a collaborative effort from a group of very diverse people. Hired Gun and Rabbi Darkside are emcee/educators hailing from Brooklyn and handle most of the emceeing duties on the album. Zajazza is a French DJ/Producer who handles the production. The trio met up in Brazil for what originally was meant to be a tour. That tour led to late night recording sessions and collaborations with Brazilian emcees. Those recording sessions are collected here, a project born out of love for and exploration of the Brazilian culture. The album presents the age old question – Are other people's vacations really that interesting? "Skillz To Take Brazil" is filled with jazzy, head-nodding beats thanks to Zajazza. "Visas" is driven by a simple bass line and choppy piano sample. The combination isn't complex, but the result is dope."

Kam :: Made in America :: EastWest America/Elektra
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **

as reviewed by Pete T.

[Made in America] 
"It's no secret that West Coast rappers, in many cases, can trace their hip hop lineage like a family tree. In fact, gangsta rap's bloodlines have produced some of the genre's most celebrated collaborators—had Snoop Dogg's buddy Warren G not been Dr. Dre's stepbrother, who's to say to what extent the Compton and Long Beach connection might never have occurred? In that case, Snoop might never have had the chance to put on his cousins Nate Dogg, Daz Dillinger, Butch Cassidy, RBX, and Lil 1/2 Dead, themselves forming a hall-of-fame hip hop clan. That said, rare is the superstar MC who hasn't at least attempted to hook up his friends and family in the record industry, and all too often the case is that the apple falls outside spitting range from the tree—need anyone be reminded of Nas' next-of-kin the Bravehearts or Master P's efforts with Tru's second generation, namely Lil Romeo? "

Lil' Prophet :: Versatile :: Real World Records
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez

"At first glance, Lil' Prophet's latest CD gives no indication it is in fact Christian or Gospel rap. The cover features Lil' Prophet in baggy T with a big platinum chain around his neck. The back lists songs with titles like "You Don't Want Me," "Stupid Crazy Crunk," and "Never Scared." An adventurous consumer might purchase the CD expecting the next big thing in southern rap; precisely the goal of Lil' Prophet and Real World Records. Everything about Lil' Prophet, from his presentation to his music, is made to mimic the current trends in rap music. To that end, "Versatile" is a resounding success, but whether that is a good or bad thing is debatable. Production on the CD is handled mostly by Pettidee, an established Christian rap veteran. The beats are for the most part the trunk rattling, crunk beats that have been popular for the last few years. K-Drama produces a slightly generic, but very bumping track on "You Don't Want Me." Hard hitting bass, stuttering snares, and a smooth guitar make for a catchy beat. "

M.O.N.E. :: Music Only Needs Ears Vol. 1 ::
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Music Only Needs Ears Vol. 1] 
"Jamaica, Queens rapper Vic Damone was apparently getting tired of being confused with the famous crooner of the same name. He changed his name up to Vic D but that still didn't solve his problems, as some people undoubtedly confused Vic D with one hit (to date) wonder V.I.C.. What's a young rapper to do to make his name stand out in the world of music? Well Vic finally found the solution and took the last syllable of his original name and flipped it - now he's known as M.O.N.E. pronounced like MOAN. According to his new mixtape from DJ OnPoint and DJ LGee, the acronym stands for "Music Only Needs Ears." That's true and (at least slightly) catchy too, so maybe M.O.N.E. can finally break out."


"If you're wondering how it could possibly be over ten years since the last Rah Digga album, consider that when she blessed us with "Dirty Harriet" in April 2000 Bill Clinton was president, Barry Sanders was on the cover of Madden, and Dr. Dre and Black Rob each had albums on the Billboard Top 10. At that time, the Newark native claimed affiliation with both the Outsidaz and the Flipmode Squad, but she would never be labeled either crew's token female rapper—in fact, her vicious rhymes and rugged technique made her a star of both outfits regardless of gender such that her Elektra debut was more heavily anticipated than any member of either collective not named Busta Rhymes. Nor did "Dirty Harriet" disappoint—both a commercial and critical success featuring production by Busta, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Swizz Beatz, Rockwilder, Mr. Walt, Nottz, and others, Rashia appeared to be on the path to a stardom that only few females before her had attained. "

Super Chron Flight Brothers :: Cape Verde :: Backwoodz Studioz
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Cape Verde] 
"There are a few things Billy Woods and Priviledge a/k/a the Super Chron Flight Brothers are familiar with - in no particular order they are video games, Saturday morning cartoons, hip-hop rhymes, super-sized helpings of marijuana (whether bong, blunt or joint) and pop culture TV shows. Their 2007 hip-hop debut "Emergency Powers" only hinted at the blunted adventures to follow. What could have been a sugar puff packed bowl of crunchy green goodness was according to RR contributor Arthur Gailes held back more by the beats than the rhymes. "The production is spare, metallic. Most of it is very good, very dark, and definitely unique. It's not quite bass-first, but it almost uniformly lends itself to big, booming speakers. As a quiet listen, it is much more underwhelming, even somewhat boring." It seems that S.C.F.B. took those words to heart on their sophomore album "Cape Verde." "

DJ Smallz ::
The Future of Alabama :: Southern Smoke
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon 
[The Future of Alabama]
"The title of his latest mixtape "The Future of Alabama" caught my eye because I've always felt that the 'Bama hip-hop scene is a little slept on. Recently Gadsden, Alabama's own Yelawolf has been starting to blow up nationally, but before that you had
Rich Boy out of Moline, the group Dirty out of Montgomery, there's G-Side out of Huntsville, the list goes on and on. Gucci Mane is from Birmingham if you want to count him too - I don't but YMMV. ANYWAY talent runs deep in the heart of the South, in a state with well over 4.5 million people, one which has had the kind of tumultuous social and racial issues since its founding which for better or worse coincides with a strong artistic and musical culture. In other words Alabama has a lot to offer the world AND hip-hop music, and if DJ Smallz and his partner DJ Frank White want to shine a spotlight on that I say more power to them. "

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