Saturday May 26, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of April 25, 2017
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 at 1:30PM :: Email this article :: Print this article

If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Tech N9ne's "Dominion" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!

[Dominion] Tech N9ne :: Dominion
Strange Music Inc.

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

"The seventh installment of the Tech N9ne "Collabos" series arrived on April 7th of this year and is known as "Dominion." I feel the need to point out this out at the start because some might consider this to be a "Tech N9ne features all of his friends album" and not a "Tech N9ne album," but in my experience the difference between the two is not huge (or HYOOOGE). Whether you get the regular or the deluxe version of "Dominion," which is a three bonus track variant, there's only one song on either one that doesn't feature Tech and that's "Take You Down." The sound isn't even that different as resident Strange Music producer Seven did the entire album save for "Jesus and a Pill," which he co-produced with Joshua S. Barber. From my vantage point these are Tech N9ne songs on a Tech N9ne album, even if they might technically be "CES Cru featuring Tech N9ne" or "Darrein Safron featuring Tech N9ne." You call it how you want to call it. On a non-Collabos album all of these same artists would be working with Tech and making cameos as guests on his songs. I'm willing to concede they're not the same technically but I firmly believe it's not something the average listener or fan would be all that concerned about. A Tech N9ne album is a Tech N9ne album and a rose by any other name is still a rose. Incidentally that's a good thing because Tech N9ne albums are consistently solid from start to finish and feature a lot of tracks that sound good thumping out the speakers in your ride. Even though Mr. Aaron Yates is now at a point in his career where some artists might be having a mid-life crisis, Tecca Nina seems completely oblivious to his age and continues to drop one album afer another and do one tour after another. His only fair rival in consistently delivering to his fans is E-40 and they have something else in common -- an incredibly strong regional following. Earl holds it down for the West generally, the Bay Area locally, and Vallejo specifically. Aaron holds it down for the Midwest generally, Kansas City locally, and Lee's Summit specifically. It's the middle of the three people tend to think about them repping which is all to the good, but what has served each well is the ability to export this local flavor to a national market and earn more converts in the process."

L'Orange & Mr. Lif :: The Life & Death of Scenery :: Mello Music Group 
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[The Life & Death of Scenery]"Throughout the years Mr. Lif has remained a hip-hop enigma who defies easy definition. I first made a point of buying one of his releases on a visit to Boston while at a store I'm reliably told no longer exists (Biscuithead Records) because it's just in my nature to "support local" in hip-hop when and where possible. I buy Houston artists when in H-Town, I buy French rap albums when in Montreal, et cetera. Anyway I didn't really know what to make of Mr. Lif then and even today my sense of appreciation for his style varies greatly. He's not the most mellifluous rapper out there. It wouldn't be accurate to call his flow robotic, because there's still a natural organic fluidity to his speech, but the degree of emotional variance is incredibly subtle and difficult to catch. For some this makes listening to him a maddening exercise, but over time I've come to respect the intellect behind the words, and to gain an appreciation for his deft timing and breath control over almost any beat. He works even better when paired up in a group such as The Perceptionists, but is still intriguing even on your own if you take the time to truly let his unique vocal pattern sink in. Happily "The Life & Death of Scenery" does just about the two best things you can do for Mr. Lif -- pair him with an excellent producer (L'Orange) and pair him with fellow Bostonians, as you can hear his Perceptionist comrade Akrobatik on both "Strange Technology" and "The Scribe." The former brings out the kind of boom bap qualities one expects from a Czarface record, while the latter takes it up a notch from that level with some hard hiting ivories and scratches by the legend DJ QBert."

M.C. Chile' & The Koncrete Jungo :: Everything You Wanted to Know About Compton... But Was Too Scared to Go There and Find Out :: S.D.E.G. Records 
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[M.C. Chile'] "If there's a fine line between sobriety and satire, the title "Everything You Wanted to Know About Compton... But Was Too Scared to Go There and Find Out" steamrolls all over it. The album was released at the tail end of the boom years of Compton rap, at a time when those interested already got to knew everything they wanted to know about the aspects of the City of Compton the title alludes to. In fact, between 1988 and 1992 rap music created that very demand and simultaneously supplied it. N.W.A weren't the only ones to base their raps on the harsh reality of later '80s L.A. gangland, but "Straight Outta Compton" was not only an explosion that made gangsta rap spread like a wildfire across urban and subrurban (and even rural) American territory, but also a blessing for Hub City rap artists themselves, namely now historic West Coast figures DJ Quik, MC Eiht and King Tee. A number of people jumped on the bandwagon during that time, but few did it as unluckily as M.C. Chile' and his undefined crew (D.J. Faze is the only verifiable member). Based on the title alone (a spoof of 'Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)', the name of a breakthrough sex manual of the sixties, famously parodied in film by Woody Allen) there couldn't have been a single rap listener back then who perceived such an album as anything other than a - deliberate - joke. But M.C. Chile' (pronounced "Chili" - as in chili/chile pepper) tells another story. Completely unrelated to the CPT, single and opener "I Just Wanna Rock You" is the first taste of the relatively sharp pen he wields. Again the song title, as well as his self-description as "modern day Casanova," may obscure his intentions, but at its foundation "I Just Wanna Rock You" is about treating your love interest respectfully and honestly, "a side that's seldom expressed / the true feelings for the opposite sex." Accompagnied by an '80s sample and even a sax solo towards the end,"

R8ed R :: The G.O.A.T. :: {self-released} 
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[The G.O.A.T.]"You may have noticed that I mentioned R8ed R in a previous Mega Ran & Lynx Kinetic review, but that was far from my first experience with the rapper/wrestling fan. We had crossed each other's paths for the first time when I heard a song he sent toWrestling Observer for one of their podcasts, and was instantly struck by the quality of his flow and depth of his knowledge of the grappling arts. Sure every now and then you can get your one off hip-hop references to the squared circle from GZA (he breaks backs like Ken Patera) or Nine (he has a temper like Rowdy Roddy Piper) but few actually break it down and drop them bar after bar or do a whole song about sports entertainment. The aforementioned Ran does from time to time though and on "The G.O.A.T." we've got R8ed R doing the same. The album's cover art and indeed intro skit are both playing on the theme of "Nature Boy" Ric Flair being regarded as one of the all time best to ever perform in a ring, playfully dressing up a "goat" in one of Flair's signature robes. He might not appreciate the humor but I certainly do, just as much as I appreciate Mega Ran returning the favor and making a cameo on "Mega R8ed." R's tracks are self-produced so I'm guessing that he probably got a tip or two about looping up Capcom's chiptunes, and probably an assist on the clearance so they wouldn't have any issues down the road. The bars and the thumping drum track overpower the music just a little but it's not really a deficit since you want to hear everything that they spit on the track."

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