If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Lil Uzi Vert's "Luv Is Rage 2" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!
Lil Uzi Vert :: Luv Is Rage 2
Generation Now/Atlantic Records
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
""YAH! YAH! YAH! YAH!" Regardless of whether or not you've ever bought a Lil Uzi Vert album or downloaded one of his mixtapes, his signature call on Migos smash hit "Bad and Boujee" and accompanying video launched the Philadelphia, PA artist into a new stratosphere of fame. His style fits into the modern trap/wavy era of hip-hop, with sung vocals that are heavy AutoTuned and/or modulated, where having a charismatic presence is at least as important (if not significantly more) than having incredible lyrics. Vert (real name Symere Woods) fits into this mold like alcohol into gelatin mold shots, which until very recently he wouldn't even have been old enough to legally consume. He's 23 and grown now, so Vert can party all he wants, and that's what his style and sound is definitely the best suited for. The title "Luv Is Rage 2" is a bit of a curiosity though and not just because his major label debut for Atlantic Records is already a sequel. That part is easily explained since his third mixtape "Luv Is Rage" came out late in 2015, so his official debut is just a sequel to something his fans would already know and appreciate. That's just smart marketing. Why the "rage" though? Vert is young and popular and in demand. He can probably get as lit as he wants anywhere he goes and always have a flock of h... err attractive female company. The rage may come from breaking up with his stylist Brittany Byrd though, something he may be addressing on "The Way Life Goes.""
Jakk Wonders :: Rookie Season II :: Bandcamp
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"I remember that very early on when Shaquille O'Neal was considered a can't miss NBA prospect playing for Louisiana State University, before he became the No. 1 draft pick of the Orlando Magic in 1992, some magazine I frequently picked up off newsstands (probably Sports Illustrated) did a profile piece on him. In the interview he mentioned his love of rap music, specifically shouted out Public Enemy as important to him, and to a young impressionable teenage "Flash" this was all I needed to know about the seven footer. I determined right then and there that if he made it to the NBA he'd immediately be one of my favorites. Now of course his OWN forays into hip-hop music made unwavering support more difficult. To this day I don't doubt his efforts were heartfelt, and some songs like "Biological Didn't Bother" and "You Can't Stop the Reign" have held up well, but he was always a more commanding presence on the court than on the microphone. I'm glad he wound up with four championship rings - those accolades suit him better. The irony of that intro is that other than Jakk Wonders putting him on the cover of "Rookie Season II" and sampling the 1992 NBA Draft in his OWN intro, Mr. O'Neal has almost nothing to do with this album. In fact you won't hear a Shaq Attack anywhere on any track of this album, nor any rap bars of any kind, because "Rookie Season II" is an entirely instrumental affair. Still given Jakk hails from Johannesburg, South Africa it reminds me that America exported more than just hip-hop music and culture when I was growing up. I had a bit of tunnel vision back then. Everything had to be about hip-hop, and just like my respect for Shaq doubled when he said he was a P.E. fan, anybody who represented that to me in any endeavor engendered the same interest. I looked at actors, athletes, talk show hosts and pop culture personalities through a very focused lens. If they said something positive about rap they got props, and if they said something negative I whipped out my pen and clipboard like Chris Jericho and they went on THE LIST."
Moka Only :: Concert For One :: Fontana North/URBNET
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"There's nothing absurd at all about saying in your press kit that your artist is "something of a super hero" or "an iconic artist in Canadian hip-hop" in your press kit. No, that's not overdoing it at all. I'm kidding - that's WAY overdoing it. I'd at least give Moka Only the latter though. He's not faster than a speeding bullet or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but in a career that spans three decades he's released dozens upon dozens of albums, many at a rate so prolific they'd make your head spin. I'm not using the word "album" lightly here. Allow me to say something Moka press kit didn't, probably because it was so obvious to them they didn't even think of it, but in 2017 it definitely deserves to be explained carefully. Anybody can release a dozen "albums" if all they are doing is rapping over the instrumentals of other hit rap songs, freestyling anything that comes to mind during a studio session, slapping a title on it and putting it out for consumption on DatPiff. Moka's prolific release schedule is worthy of respect because not just for his effort but for the QUALITY of the effort. Each track is an original Moka beat with an original Moka rhyme. He doesn't recycle s--t and doesn't half-ass anything. Here are a few words from Mr. Denton on just what it means to him. There's a bit of pretentious psychobabble to that statement, but there's also an admirable sincerity to the 'artness' of Moka Only's work. The business of selling music can make even the most well intentioned artist jaded, but even with a career spanning three decades Moka is still trying to "get back to soul power." A lot of the time that results in music that has a throwback J Dilla sound, including appropriately enough "Just Some Vibes" featuring former Jay Dee collaborator Dank (of Frank-N-Dank)."
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