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The (W)rap Up - Week of October 12, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

[I Am the West]Ice Cube :: I Am the West
Lench Mob Records

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Two years after "Raw Footage" proved that Ice Cube's rap career wasn't done yet, the self-proclaimed Mega Don of hip-hop has come back to make a powerfully broad assertion: "I Am the West." When tracking Ice Cube's relationship to hip-hop, he has routinely thrown a shoutout to the "Westside" or been the rest of America's Westside Connection to what's going on in Cali-for-nigh-A, but never until now has he proclaimed himself to be the ENTIRE West coast. Whether he means it figuratively (as in he inspired the majority of today's popular rappers from out West - a fair assertion) or literally (as in the West coast rap scene or perhaps the entire Western seaboard wouldn't exist without him) he's definitely not lacking in ego on this go around. Perhaps the lead single "I Rep That West" can expound upon this further: "

various artists :: Boyz n the Hood Soundtrack :: Qwest/Warner Bros. Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **

as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

[Boyz n the Hood] 
"When John Singleton's landmark film, "Boyz n the Hood" was released, I was about a month away from entering my double digits of age. I wasn't old enough to comprehend everything that went down in the movie, but even at that young age, I knew I liked violence and profanity. It's a bit interesting, now that I look back at it, but nevertheless, I found myself attracted to the movie and soundtrack largely because of Ice Cube, who was the biggest rap star I had heard of back then. Somehow, I got my hands on the old NWA tapes and Cube's solo debut album, "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted," and went into a frenzy. I remember asking my mother to buy the soundtrack for me, and she did, without question. She never paid attention to the Parental Advisory labels, so usually when I asked for something, she'd go to Camelot Music and pick it up for me. I was never bold enough to ask her to pick me up a Too Short album, I wasn't that dumb. "

various artists :: The Life and Times of Abdullah the Butcher Soundtrack :: Blacktree Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Abdullah the Butcher against Andy Ellison courtesy Marty555] 
"This CD came packaged as part of a DVD set of the same name sold by Wrestling Observer Shoots. As such the hip-hop tie-in might not be obvious at first until you learn that the executive producer is The Cancer a/k/a Ric Atari and some of featured artists on this soundtrack are from his Blacktree Music record label (namely Atari, Jai Black, Azar, Sam Freeze and Soto). It's worth noting that I don't think this CD can be purchased separately from the DVD either physically or as a download; furthermore if you're not a fan of the wrestler Abdullah the Butcher or what they call in the business a "shoot video" where they get wrestlers to break character you would never have come across this disc. That being said it's worth covering just because Ric Atari is one of Atlanta's most hustling hip-hop entrepreneurs. "

Absent Minded & Q ::
Gem Cutterz :: L.O.D. Development
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Gem Cutterz]

"Patrick Taylor first introduced us to Toronto, Canada rap artist Absent Minded back in 2007. PT was generally complimentary of AM's style, noting that the beats had a polished sound and "were definitely not hastily made on a crappy keyboard" and on the mic "he doesn't try to pretend he's a thug, he doesn't floss, and he keeps his boasting limited to his skills on the mic and prowess with the ladies." That's more than enough recommendation for me to check out the follow-up album "Gem Cutterz," and this time around AM has found a tag-team partner named Q. All I know about Q from the one sheet is that he's a competitor in something called the "KOTD Battle League" but one can presume the already promising AM wouldn't link up with someone who would prevent his progression in the music industry. The two split production and lyrical duties throughout on songs like "Doom""

The Burnerz :: Zumbi and The Are Present: The Burnerz :: Jah Works
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[The Burnerz] 
"The Burnerz are a collaboration between Zion I MC Zumbi and Trackmasters producer The Are. Zion I are Bay Area underground heroes, renowned for Zumbi's conscious lyrics and producer Amp Live's electronic beats. The Are is a Houston-based producer who has done work for Keisha Cole, Lil Kim, and Lords of the Underground. The two met on tour a few years ago, and the Burnerz is the result. The biggest difference between the Burnerz and Zion I is obviously the beats. The Are is from the Black Milk school of production, offering fat, hard-hitting beats lightly sprinkled with well-flipped samples. He doesn't break much new ground, but offers up fourteen tracks of solid head-nodders. The electronic music elements that make Zion I's work so interesting are absent, replaced by East Coast (by way of Texas) boom-thwap. The other difference between the Burnerz and Zion I is the lack of polish. "

cap D :: PolyMath :: All Natural Inc.
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"No stranger to fans of Chicagoland hip-hop or to the indie underground DIY aesthetic, cap D a/k/a Capital D has been steadily striving since the late 1990's to put out quality rap music. His membership in All Natural has only furthered those goals, leading to their independent record label of the same name and a wide variety of group and solo releases. If his respect among what often gets labelled the "true heads" were equal to mainstream exposure, cap D would be as well known as fellow Chicagoans like Common and Twista. The truth of course is that he's anything BUT as well known as the mainstream hip-hop successes coming out of the Windy City. That's not entirely a bad thing given cap D's obscurity comes from artistic integrity, refusing to pollute his All Natural sound with chemical fillers and create a pop soda sound that's all fizz and no real flavor."

Capone-N-Noreaga :: The War Report 2: Report the War :: Ice Water/EMI Music
as reviewed by Mike Baber

[The War Report 2: Report the War] 
"A lot has happened since Capone-N-Noreaga released their debut album "The War Report" in 1997. The group changed record labels several times, splitting up in 2005 after Def Jam released Capone. Both Capone and Noreaga pursued solo careers, with Noreaga, aka N.O.R.E., moving his focus from hip-hop to reggaeton, until the Queensbridge duo joined forces again and released Channel 10 in 2009. Now, a year later, Capone-N-Noreaga are back repping QB again with the sequel to their debut album. It's no surprise that Raekwon is the executive producer of "War Report 2: Report the War." Less than a year ago, Raekwon released Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…Pt. II, combining the old-school grittiness that made the original Cuban Linx so successful with a slightly more polished, new-school sound. "War Report 2" follows the same path, and the result is a well-produced, surprisingly deep album that pays homage to the streets and to the lifestyle that Capone-N-Noreaga grew up with. "

Curren$y :: Pilot Talk :: DD172
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[Pilot Talk] 
"The name Curren$y first caught my attention when witnessing the dying days of the empire that was No Limit Records. The N.O. newcomer was loosely part of the 504 Boyz in '02 and appeared on Master P's "Good Side Bad Side" in '04 before switching to Young Money/Cash Money, where he was featured on albums by Birdman and Lil' Wayne. But Curren$y's reputation in 2010 has nothing to do with these stints on labels that weren't always the most reputable. Instead, it has everything to do with how the internet offers rappers the chance to reboot their career. Like in 50 Cent's days ten years ago the vehicle to make a name for yourself is still called mixtape, but today the format has lost its physical restriction as digital mixtapes are let free by artists to roam the globe. "

Dagha :: Noise Is the Trigger :: Progressive Compulsive Records
as reviewed by Mike Baber

[Noise Is the Trigger]

"This is Boston emcee Dagha's vision for his latest EP, titled "Noise Is the Trigger", which pairs the longtime underground affiliate Dagha with New York producer Psych Major. Fresh off his 2008 album "The Divorce," which focused on his real-life relationship issues, Dagha continues to rap about his everyday experiences and observations on "Noise Is the Trigger". Checking in at only seven tracks, one of which is an interlude, the EP nevertheless offers an intelligent and surprisingly political look at the underground rap game. "Noise Is the Trigger" has more than a hint of old-school flavor that resonates throughout the EP, brought on not only by Dagha's gritty voice but also by Psych Major's unique producing style. Psych Major samples from a wide variety of music -- including 90's hip-hop, heavy metal, and even reggae – and uses live instrumentation to create a sound unlike most hip-hop albums in today's day and age."

Dood Computer :: Rap Sale $5 Vol. 2 :: Home Records
as reviewed by Daniel Oh

[Rap Sale $5 Vol. 2] 
"This album cover conforms to almost every stereotype I hate about backpacking hip-hop. The first thing to greet my eyes was a shining sticker proudly labeling this album to be "The First Album in 2010 NOT to feature Lil' Wayne!" Superimposed in the front is an attentive-looking white guy with a lumberjack beard and a red flannel. Hell, even the title, "Rap Sale $5" just screams "I'm dope because I'm not mainstream!" Ugh. Nothing makes you look like an ass quite like jumping into a cliché to avoid the "mainstream." I mean, if you're going to be original, be original. Don't get me wrong, the album cover is the only thing I really dislike about this album. Dood Computer made me into a fan after the first few spins in the trusty Honda Accord. This album stays fresh even if it's not the most original album I've listened to. The production hits more than it misses, and Dood Computer can handle his microphone, and knows how to pick his guest spots to give the right amount of seasoning to the release. "

Dream Warriors :: And Now the Legacy Begins :: 4th and Broadway/Island
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **

as reviewed by Matt Jost
[And Now the Legacy Begins] 
"For whatever reason some songs just resonate with certain crowds, resulting in what we could call surprise hits. One such hit was "My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style" by the Dream Warriors. The Canadian duo's tune struck a chord in Western Europe in 1991, cracking for instance the UK's and Sweden's top 20. The rare groove/acid jazz movement was at its commercial peak in these spheres, and the hip-hop twist on Quincy Jones' "Soul Bossa Nova" was sure to fill dancefloors. Additionally, the sampled song had been present in pop culture in both Canada and the UK. In the latter it had been the theme song of an afternoon program on BBC Radio 1 in the '70s. Curiously, it didn't chart in its home country, even though "Soul Bossa Nova" had been used to announce a long-running game show called 'Definition,' which initially inspired "My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style."

MC Eiht featuring CMW :: Death Threatz :: Epic Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **

as reviewed by Pete T.

[Death Threatz] 
"What changed in Aaron Tyler's world between 1994 and 1996? Well, judging by "Death Threatz," not a whole lot. Sure, '94's "We Come Strapped" had been his most successful record to date, reducing the shell of Compton's Most Wanted to a supporting role as a veteran MC Eiht took the listener back to Compton aided by the masterful production of DJ Slip. Yeah, DJ Quik did record one of the most vicious diss tracks of all time, 1995's "Dollaz + Sense," in response to Eiht's "Def Wish" series, leaving fans on pins and needles waiting to see how Eiht would respond. And indeed, the West Coast spotlight remained largely focused on the g-funk phenomenon and the Death Row inmates up the road. But for the purposes of Eiht's second "solo" record, none of this was enough to make the CMW frontman slow his roll or break his stride, and "Death Threatz" picks up right where "We Come Strapped" left off. "

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