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

[Heaven Razah]Hell Razah :: Heaven Razah
Nature Sounds

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

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"In April of 2010 rumors surfaced online that former Sunz of Man member and long-time Wu-Tang affiliate Hell Razah had suffered a brain aneurysm and was in a coma. Ominously Razah's Twitter account fell silent at almost the exact same time and hasn't been updated since. When Razah's label Nature Sounds sent out the following tweet, it all but confirmed our worst fears: "Please keep @Razah_Rubiez in your prayers. He's a strong brother who needs privacy while he focuses on his recovery." Speculation on the internet has been rampant ever since - what really happened to Razah, what does this mean for his recording career, and how is he doing these days? Sorry - "Heaven Razah" won't answer any of those questions. HR either had enough material recorded for Nature Sounds to compile it into an album and release it, or he recovered enough to finish the album he had started. "

Configa :: Pac to the Essence Volume 1 :: Configaration Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Configa]"It's not immediately obvious from looking at the extensive archive of reviews at RR that we've written about Configa before - you won't find any albums attributed to his name. If you dig deep enough though you'll find he was part of a release credited to the Slept On Fam. Matt Tomer was so impressed by Configa's production techniques that he was moved to poetic praise, branding the entire album "an attempt to compliment producer Configa and his splendiferous sonic scenery." Since Tomer works as an artist/producer himself under the name Remot (pronounced "re-mote") he's not going to offer such praise to an undeserving producer not worthy of holding his jock, so when Configa's newest release arrived at RR headquarters I was happy to give it a spin myself. "

Global Lords :: Global Lords Ent. Presents � The Epitaph :: Global Lords Ent.
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez

[The Epitaph] "If you want that hardcore, raw, pure hip-hop look no further than "The Epitaph." It's a collection of 16 tracks that harkens back to the raw, gritty hip-hop coming out of New York City in the mid to late 1990s. The most surprising thing about "The Epitaph" is that it's mainly a product of Canada. Sure, the album features a fair number of NYC emcees, but the backbone of the compilation is the production. Produced mainly by up and comer St. Peter, the production on "The Epitaph" sets the tone for album. With a Hell Razah feature, it'd be easy to compare the compilation to the Wu sound, but despite its singular theme of bringing hip-hop back, "The Epitaph" manages to give us enough variety to stand out amongst the pack of other similarly minded projects. "

Incise ::
Daily Methods :: Goon Trax
as reviewed by Pete T.
[Daily Methods]"As a newly christened RapReviews staff writer earlier this year I took it upon myself to review Incise's 2008 album "Nobody's Story." A simply gorgeous record musically, Incise raised the already high bar he set on his prior collaboration with Toronto rapper Prince Ali "I Miss 1994," an online-circulated release that served to quietly turn heads throughout hip hop's underground and proved his versatility and consistency on a second record that quickly became among my favorites of recent years. Having since dabbled in electronica and worked with a wide range of artists, the follow-up "Daily Methods" was unleashed by Japanese imprint Goon Trax just in time for RR's Canadian Month. Goon Trax is home to an eclectic and uniformly impressive group of hip hop artists yet caters almost exclusively to an international market with virtually no presence or distribution in the states."

Impulss :: Marie Laveaux's Hustle :: Quarter Rat Musique
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
[Marie Laveaux's Hustle] 
"The journey of Impulss as an artist is rooted in the tragedy and triumph of New Orleans. "Pleasure Club" came out right after Hurricane Katrina had devastated the city, but Impulss found reason to celebrate through good beats and rhymes, as if to say that his hometown's ruin was only a very temporary setback. When 2009's "Category Shybe" came out that recovery was fully underway, and just over half a year later the New Orlean Saints would win the Superbowl. There are still areas on the frontlines of the flooding that have never been rebuilt or still need assistance, but the victory definitely gave the hard working (and playing) people of the area an emotional lift. That sense of anything is possible informed the second album as well, with a fearless willingness to talk about anything from the mediocrity of commercial radio to violence found throughout the streets of N.O. - proving you can love your home turf while not turning a blind eye to the realities of the day to day life there. "

Kane and Abel :: Back on Money :: E1 Entertainment
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[Back on Money] "I never messed with anything on No Limit back in the label's heyday. I was turned off by the gaudy Pen & Pixel covers, the synth beats, and the label's tendency to promote a lifestyle rather than make good music. Master P may have been a brilliant businessman, but I wasn't feeling his or his label's musical output. Twin brothers David and Daniel Garcia, aka Kane and Abel, put out two albums on No Limit back in the 1990s, "7 Sins" and "Am I My Brother's Keeper." I haven't heard either, but judging from their latest, "Back on Money," I didn't miss much. The brothers have been out of the music-making game for about six years. They've been focusing on making street DVDs like "Da Block Party," "Death Toll," and "Father of Lies," the latter starring DMX. "

Nikki Lynette :: The Strong Survive EP :: Team Bad Ass/
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[The Strong Survive EP]"One thing you'll want to know about Nikki Lynette right from the jump is that three of her songs to date have been featured on MTV's "Jersey Shore." I can't say I've watched more than 30 seconds of the program, but given how many photos and how much publicity the stars of it get (both good and bad) I can't help but feel like I know who Snooki, The Situation and JWoww are anyway. Having checked out her personal website I can't say that Lynette looks like the much-maligned "Guido" stereotype of the show, which both Italian-Americans and New Jersey residents have gone out of their way to say is a total falsehood (not to mention most of the TV show's stars are actually from New York City). I wouldn't have been bothered if she had per se, but it also wouldn't have surprised me for MTV to have picked an artist to feature whose gimmick matched the show perfectly."

Pimp C :: The Naked Soul of Sweet Jones :: Fontana/Rap-A-Lot Records
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace
[The Naked Soul of Sweet Jones]"In hip-hop, the posthumous release is a touchy topic. In it's current form, things really got started when 2Pac and B.I.G. died and left fans starving for new music. In subsequent years, we'd come to see releases from other deceased artists like Big Pun, Big L, Eazy E, Ol' Dirty Bastard and Camu Tao to name a few. In some situations, the posthumous release results in a stature that becomes much larger than it was when the artist was still alive. One of the greatest manifestations of this is in the case of J. Dilla, whose standing in hip-hop history has taken a meteoric rise since his passing in 2006 from that of a dope producer to that of a hip-hop icon. There seem to be two extreme stances when it comes to many of the posthumous releases where one side of the argument feels that the work of the dearly departed becomes tainted when reworked and released, and the other side is just happy to hear some new shit that would have gone on lost forever in the annals of time. "

Qwel and Maker :: Owl :: Galapagos4
as reviewed by Susan 'susiQ' Kim

[Owl] "Throughout the years, Chicago label Galapogos4 has become a household name in the hip hop scene as they've churned out stellar artists one after the other. Any underground hip hop enthusiast should be familiar with the label as I have been a long time follower ever since I first heard Typical Cats in 2000. With this in mind, Qwel was definitely a standout emcee in the group and remains an all-time favorite of mine so you can envision how ecstatic I was when I received Qwel and Maker's third full length album of "Owl." Qwel and producer Maker create music that seems effortless. The collaboration brings together a unique, unmatched sound and has only grown stronger since their four horsemen/seasons project of "The Harvest" and followed by "So Be It." They now take on a "full-fledged endeavor," further exploring their talents, sound, and artistry in "Owl." "

Shad :: TSOL :: Black Box/Decon Records
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez

[TSOL]"Shad is finally back! After going almost three years without an album, he returns even bigger and better than ever. While "The Old Prince" was an album that gained traction through critical praise, "TSOL" comes to us a much hyped and highly anticipated album. Though the album has been released in Canada for a few months now, October 5, 2010 marks its official United States release through Decon Records. Those of us who have kept "The Old Prince" in constant rotation for the last three years likely already paid our import fees to get "TSOL" a little early and it was worth every penny. Shad's success obviously presents a challenge to his humble, struggling rapper persona, but even with that challenge Shad manages to deliver another heartfelt, clever, soulful album that shows he is worthy of all the praise he's received. "

New Jack Kings :: New Jack Kings ::
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[New Jack Kings]"From time to time (oh who am I kidding, quite often) we like to quote from an artist's own press kit to let them explain to you just who in the blue hell they are. The New Jack Kings both need and deserve that chance too, so in their own words "Two unsung heroes from two of Michigan's most influential crews combine forces to author a coming of age story inspired by the infamous era of high top fades, eye brow parts, and house parties. The album revolves around life, love, women and fashion as a solute to artists such as Teddy Riley, Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson, New Edition and Kid n Play who made songs that everyone could relate to." Or to sum it up in one sentence, T. Calmese and Vaughan T. decided to make a Brand New Jack Swing for the 21st century."

LMNZ :: Worldwide Rap :: {self-released}
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace [Worldwide Rap]
 "Back in 2003, the RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan released a compilation album entitled "The World According to RZA." This album featured production by RZA and all of the guests were from European locations including France, Scandanavia, Germany, Italy and the UK. Fast forward to 2010, and we have Berlin-based producer LMNZ (pronounced as "elements") who had the vision and desire to produce a hip-hop album to serve as a vehicle to bring the world closer. To do this, LMNZ embarked on creating an international and multilingual album along the lines of RZA's 2003 release. However, there is one major difference between the two albums. LMNZ' album has representatives from all six habitable continents, whereas RZA's only explored Europe. In total, "Worldwide Rap" boasts seventy-six artists and features twenty-nine different spoken languages. "

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