If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Lando Chill's "The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!
Lando Chill :: The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind
Mello Music Group
Author: Patrick Taylor
"The record industry may be in a free fall, but there is so much good music coming out that it is ridiculous. My theory is that the ease of recording and distributing music, combined with the lack of market pressures to make music that will move as many units possible has created space for unprecedented creative freedom. It's cheap and easy to record and distribute music, and since there's no money to be made the stakes are low enough that artists and record companies are more willing to take risks. Case in point, Tuscon, Arizona rapper Lando Chill's latest, "The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind." It's a dense, rambling album full of literary references and poetic interludes. Not exactly the kind of thing likely to light up the Hot 100. Luckily Mello Music Group's idea of success is more modest than Jive or Def Jam, so it has not only seen the light of day but has gotten a decent amount of promotion. As far as I can tell, this is Lando Chill's second album, or at least his second with Mello Music Group. His first album, "For Mark, Your Son," was about his deceased father. This album takes inspiration from Paulo Coelho's novel "The Alchemist," and tackles spiritual and personal transformation. It also deals with institutionalized racism, police violence, and the legacy of slavery along the way. As a rapper, Lando falls somewhere between Pharoahe Monch and Shabazz Palaces. There is a hazy, spaciness to his rhymes but he also has moments of intense lyricism that grounds his music. That applies to the production as well - there's a dreaminess to it, but also head nodding beats."
Mega Ran :: Extra Credit :: RandomBeats, LLC
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
My childhood was defined by hearing adults tell me that rap "wasn't really music." I was already used to ignoring the clueless opinions of elders who said things like "those blips and bleeps on your TV aren't really games - go outside and play" or "you shouldn't read that science fiction trash - here's come classical literature." Adults may think they mean well when they give you "advice" like this but they're just demeaning you by saying "the only things that matter is what WE say matters." I didn't trust them anyway. These were the same people who elected Richard Nixon and Ronnie Raygun and put us on the brink of nuclear war with people I had never met who I didn't even have anything against. Why should I trust them? Would you? And as I got older my belief in the things I liked seemed to be vindicated. Rappers became household names. Video games became bigger than Hollywood movies. Sci fi became chic. Everything they said about the things I liked turned out wrong and in the end they seemed out of touch and foolish for not being able to understand anything new that happened after they turned 35. I'm now the same age as some of those adults who used to look down their noses at me, and I have to resist those same urges to stagnate that I once so easily repudiated. Everybody is so happy that Sonic Mania brought back "classic Sonic the Hedgehog," but what if games like Dark Souls have something worthwhile to offer too? People will tell you not to watch the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 without even giving it a chance, automatically assuming "if it's not Joel or Mike it's trash." It's so easy for older rap fans to talk down about drill or trap that I have to imagine the kids growing up give adults the same side eye that I did hearing it at their age. "What would you know about it OLD MAN?" For some reason though society wants to enforce this notion that you can only like the things you grew up, hang out with peers of the same age who like said same, and never experience anything new."
Raekwon :: The Wild :: Ice H20/Empire Records
as reviewed by Grant Jones
"In my review of Wu-Tang Clan's disappointing "A Better Tomorrow" I talked about Raekwon and RZA's differences and how much better that record could have been if Raekwon's vision was realized, rather than RZA's. With "The Wild", Raekwon's eighth solo LP, we have proof why Raekwon should be leading the Wu-Tang Clan's next record, especially from a production standpoint. You see, "The Wild" is a consistent little record, confirming how the Wu needs Rae but also reminds us why Rae needs the Wu too. Minus the appearances of Lil Wayne and G-Eazy, there's a noticeable lack of backup which Rae's best work has benefited from. Partnering with Ghostface on "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx..." and then half the industry on its sequel, there's a disparate feel to "The Wild", particularly with the less energetic delivery as Rae approaches his fifties. It's a good thing then that the production is largely solid throughout Š despite the album title there's a clear decision to craft a mature, smooth sounding record. Storytelling remains the Chef's specialty; "Marvin" is a snapshot narration of the eventful parts of Marvin Gaye's life with Cee-Lo Green tying it together with one of his smoother warblings. The best tracks just so happen to feel the most Wu-Tang: "Nothing", "Crown of Thorns" and even the Weezy collaboration "My Corner" doesn't disappoint. The problem with the album lies in the decision to use dated beats. "Visiting Hour" is like a throwaway from the "Recovery"-era Eminem, built around Raekwon's message to those considering a life of crime and how he risked that 25-to-life lifestyle (conveniently, a song from Eminem's "Recovery"). "The Reign" and "M&N" feel like something Saigon spat over ten years ago on a mixtape. Again, solid tracks but nothing particularly memorable."
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