Monday June 18, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of September 28, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

[Wake Up!]The Roots :: Wake Up!
Sony Music/Columbia Records

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

"The most surprising about the collaboration between John Legend and The Roots is that they haven't done it more often! There's an unforced musical synchronicity when they team up, as though they all grew up on the same block in Philadelphia and kept it all the way live from the 2-1-5 since day one. Of course that's not true given Legend was actually born and raised in Springfield, Ohio and didn't come to Philly until he attended the University of Pennsylvania, but you'd never know it by listening to them record together. The naturally invigorating sound of their union on "The Fire" fron "How I Got Over" inspired Black Thought to quip to that they "shine bright as the example of a champion." Absolutely true. Legend's soulful croon is deeply rooted in rap tunes, as evidenced by the multiple times he's worked with hip-hop's best from Common to Kanye West. Pair him with the live instrumentation of ?uestlove and crew though and BOOM! Pure dynamite. "

Dorrough :: Get Big :: E1 Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
[Get Big]"Dorwin Demarcus Dorrough took the hip-hop world by surprise with his first album "Dorrough Music." Coming straight out of Dallas, Texas the baller turned rapper turned even more ears with the runaway commercial success of "Ice Cream Paint Job." Even those who couldn't afford to floss candy paint like D could appreciate how catchy the song was and how natural his flow and sense of humor were. Whether it was his homemade mixtapes that built up his confidence or raw talent that just needed a major label and good producers to shine, either way Dorrough made an immediate impact and already had consumers and hip-hop followers anticipating how he could follow his unexpectedly strong debut. With the self-titled first single off "Get Big," friends and foes both got their answer: "

Ian Wellz :: Jim Beam: No Chaser :: {self-released}
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

[Jim Beam: No Chaser] "I'm not as much of a drinker as I used to be in my younger and wilder days. Maybe it's the recession or maturity or perhaps some combination of the two that has calmed me down. For a long period of time, I was a Bacardi Gold man and no one could tell me any different. I've since moved around a bit, experimenting with drinks like Crown Royal, Jack Daniels, Stolichnaya or whatever else I was in my presence. Lately, I've started drinking the same whiskey that my old man used to drink, Chivas Regal. It's not bad...a Scottish blended whiskey that has a slight edge over the Canadian blend, Crown Royal. Jim Beam is a bourbon whiskey, in fact, it is the number one bourbon whiskey in the world. Meet Ian Wellz, a producer, songwriter and performer from Newark, NJ who draws musical influence from Mos Def, Common, Ryan Leslie and Ne-Yo, among others."
Madlib :: Madlib Medicine Show #7: High Jazz :: Stones Throw Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[Madlib Medicine Show #7: High Jazz] 
"There's an ice cream shop in San Francisco called Humphrey Slocombe that specializes in "unique" flavors. So unique that they got written up in the New York Times about a month ago. Their most famous flavor is Secret Breakfast, which is vanilla with bourbon and cornflakes. Some of their flavors, like Secret Breakfast, offer a unique take on old standards, and end up being really good. However, a lot of them are just weird. I've tried their Peanut Butter Curry, which was edible but wacky, their Salt and Pepper, which was kinda gross, and their Balsamic Caramel, which was fucking nasty. My problem with Humphrey Slocombe is that their ice cream is interesting, but not particularly enjoyable. Which brings me to Madlib's latest installment of his monthly Medicine Show, "High Jazz." This disc contains thirteen songs of Madlib's various avant-jazz incarnations."

MC Eiht featuring CMW :: We Come Strapped :: Sony/Epic Street
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **

as reviewed by Pete T.

[We Come Strapped] 
"While virtually incomparable as musicians, many parallels can be drawn between the careers of hip hop pioneers MC Eiht and KRS-One, each a forerunner in his respective coast's rap history. Each came to prominence as a member of an acclaimed yet controversial collective, Compton's Most Wanted in Eiht's case and Boogie Down Productions in KRS-One's, and after initial success both watched their crews crumble around them as their larger-than-life characters commanded a greater portion of the spotlight. BDP's Scott La Rock died after their groundbreaking 1987 debut "Criminal Minded," CMW's MC Chill was sentenced to three years behind bars following their 1990 debut "It's a Compton Thang," and the rotating rosters of what were essentially supporting players led many listeners to consider Eiht and KRS as synonymous with their crews. "

Moe Green :: Rocky Maivia: Non-Title Match :: Interdependent Media
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[Non-Title Match] "Everybody will attest Moe Green to be a contemporary rap artist. His style and sound are that of credible mixtape grinders like Wale, Curren$y, etc. Yet although he gives it away for free, Moe is intent on calling "Rocky Maivia" an album, not a mixtape. This album then meets one major requirement - it's listenable. 17 tracks of new school production make for an unsually memorable free-download experience. Opener "Going for the Kill" makes good use of La Roux' "In for the Kill," the sampled vocals emerging slowly in a track stripped down to a dark, hovering bassline and a lone, airy keyboard. More traditional territory is covered with the jazzy, strumming "Non-Title Match." The Nick Maples-produced "Emerald City" lives up to its name with delicate, melodic instrumentation inhabiting a roomy track. Rumbling drums rattle in the background of DJ Ammbush's "Daydreamer" as chanteuse Ragen Fykes lends her jazzy flair to the breezy West Coast track."

Mr. D.O.G. :: Streets of Tha Tac :: Bow Wow Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Streets of Tha Tac] 
"Asking yourself what "Tha Tac" is right now? Well we're not doing our job at if we don't answer questions like that so for our readers dying to know it's TACOMA, WASHINGTON. If you didn't know they got it in as hard and as gangster as Mr. D.O.G. seems to on "Streets of Tha Tac," it's worth noting that his fledgling Bow Wow Records label (no relation to Shad Gregory Moss) nearly got derailed when D.O.G. did a three year bid in federal detainment. In all likelihood Tacoma is long overdue for this kind of exposure, having to play second fiddle to its more famous sister Seattle, known to some for grunge music but to RR readers as home to everyone from Common Market to Sir Mix-A-Lot. Now is the time for Tacoma's hip-hop scene to step out of Seattle's shadow and Mr. D.O.G. is fin' to be the man to do it with songs like "She's 100." "

Nasty Nyne :: Digital Dope :: Smokebox Music Group
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez

[Digital Dope] 
"Michigan is usually known for horrorcore or gangsta rap, but Nasty Nyne is looking to add a new dimension to Michigan hip-hop. "Digital Dope" is 14 tracks of rough and rugged raps with east coast flair. While the style isn't new, it is a style you don't often associate with Michigan. Further differentiating Nasty Nyne from the pack is the fact he represents Lansing, Michigan, a town that to my knowledge hasn't produced a major rap star. With "Digital Dope," Nasty Nyne is out to prove a small city boy with a big city swag is enough "dopeness" to attract the fiends. The first thing one notices on "Digital Dope" is the complete lack of originality in the beats. I give credit to Nyne for not copping out by dropping a "mixtape" full of original beats, but he does use other beats enough for it to be an issue. The original beats on the album either use classic samples or are very generic."

Random (Mega Ran) :: Heroes, Volume One :: RAHM Nation
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Heroes, Volume One] "Raheem Jarbo is a hip-hop artist who maintains two different personas with one impressive voice. On the one hand there's Random, underground hip-hop rapper and producer. On the other hand there's Mega Ran, unapologetic video game enthusiast making cool concept albums and rhyming about robots. The good news for rap listeners is that he's never been forced to choose one over the other, and both have received critical acclaim for their releases over the last ten years. With his latest free album "Heroes, Volume One" Jarbo chooses to acknowledge both personalities in listing the credit artist, although it is telling that Mega Ran is put into parentheses. Random is not disavowing the dopeness of side scrolling, triple shot shooting, blue clad warriors from the year 20XX and beyond - rather he's putting that aside just for now to speak on something personal to him."

Duane Stephenson :: Black Gold :: VP Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Black Gold] 

"It's not every day you hear a reggae performer who could double for an soul singer from Detroit sans the Jamaican accent, but Duane Stephenson is not your every day recording artist. The 34 year old dread was originally the lead singer and songwriter for a successful vocal group called To-Isis, until in 2007 he decided to branch out on his own and try his luck as a soloist on "From August Town." The title track and the album both won praise from critics who appreciated both the range of his voice and the fearless way he documented the good and bad of his poverty stricken and war-torn Kingston community. Regrettably I missed that solo debut but having listened to "Black Gold" I think I'm going to have to go back and check it out. Stephenson is quite a wonder for the ear to behold. His accent and pronunciations are still wrapped in the island nation he hails from, but so powerful is his vocal tone and the diaphragm which pushes it out over the microphone that almost every word will make perfect sense to even the most jaded listener who thinks they can't understand Carribean music. "

[Thus Far]

"Tree City is a five man crew consisting of Cheeks on vocals, Clavius Crates on vocals and production, DJ Cataclysmic on the mic and (obviously) the wheels of steel, G.P. on vocals and M.I.C. on vocals and production. If the group's name is not familiar to you, you can check out our previous coverage of their collabo' with Black Milk entitled "Black Trees" or their shorter but equally enjoyable "TreE.P.." There's just something in the water out there in Ace Deuce (Ann Arbor) because these Trees have grown strong in hip-hop. It's a town that at times seems ready to tear itself apart at the seems, balancing a huge Wolverines college community with life-long residents who do not necessarily share their mindset on anything other than Michigan football - and not always that. Still having lived there and been to the "The Big House" myself I can tell you the game of pigskin is given more respect than the rap game, even though the influx of youth every year means the town always has a thriving underground hip-hop sound. "

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