Sunday October 21, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of October 31, 2017
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 at 2:00PM :: Email this article :: Print this article

If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Yo Gotti's "I Still Am" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!

[I Still Am] Yo Gotti :: I Still Am
CMG/Epic Records

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

"It has been an interesting year for Mario Mims b/k/a Yo Gotti. The self-described "King of Memphis," a title that a lot of people from the city claim a piece of, has been involved in drama with fellow Memphis emcee Young Dolph for most of the year. Blac Youngsta, one of the artists affiliated with Yo Gotti's CMG label, allegedly fired over 100 bullets into Dolph's SUV back in February. He later turned himself in to the authorities investigating the attempted driveby shooting. On top of that Dolph was shot in Hollywood last month and Gotti was named as a person of interest in THAT shooting. It's fair to say these two men just can't get along, and it all allegedly stems from Dolph turning down an offer from Gotti to sign with CMG a few years ago. It's been on ever since. Personally I'm hoping someone can step in to mediate this drama before we lose more rap artists to violence. There have been FAR MORE than enough bodies caught by hip-hop beefs over the years. One of the unfortunate side effects of the rise of social media has been to amplify beef, because before people would have to wait to amplify the feud with diss records and mixtapes, things that would take time to record and release. Then you'd have to wait for the response record, or an interview on TV or the radio, and then there'd be another response and the whole thing would drag out over time. Eventually cooler heads could prevail with so much time going by. Now beefs can be made instantly and responded to even quicker with the push of a button, and everybody takes it more personally because they can't be insulted that way in front of ALL OF THEIR FANS ON SOCIAL MEDIA who follow them. Nobody wants to look like a p---y. Songs like "Different" off Gotti's new "I Still Am," the sequel to "I Am" from four years ago directly reference the feud and keep the beef cooking. There's at least a chance to get away from the drama with the lead single "Rake It Up" though. Featuring a hard bumping beat courtesy Mike Will Made It, Gotti brags about his pharmaceutical prowess all the way "back when Jay was still with Dame," then brings in guest star Nicki Minaj to give the song a little extra pop and crossover appeal. The video has already received 88 million views as of this writing, but for radio play they need to censor this one VERY heavily."

Brzowski :: Enmityville :: Milled Pavement Records 
as reviewed by Ben Stein

[Enmityville] "Last night, I attended a party with a bunch of writers, artists, and musicians. It was exciting: everyone was witty and stylish; the guests were all engaged in ambitious, slightly whimsical creative projects. It was the kind of party that makes you want to go home and write a one-act play, build a sculpture from found objects, record a demo. In the corner, working steadily through a 12-pack of Miller Lite, was a guy I didn't know. Black tee-shirt, cargo pants, work boots. He'd add to the conversation now and then, but his contributions always took some of the air out of the room; they were doubtful, maybe even despairing, about the purposes and outcomes of artistry. Deliberately or not, he reminded us all that the city, the world outside this cozy kitchen was not a place that's kind to creators. The odds are slim that this stranger knows Brzowski, but I bet they would really get along. Brzowski is a veteran of the gothic hip-hop scene, having self-released a couple of EPs in the early '00s before signing with Milled Pavement in 2006. Since then, he's recorded, collaborated, and toured steadily, spreading wintry gloom from his home base in Portland, Maine, around the US and to the shores of Europe. "Enmityville," his third solo album for MP, is rooted in the frustrations of a working class artist whose "work boots are full of lead." It's not an album that appeals to a broad audience, but Brzowski's base has plenty to appreciate here. On first listen, "Enmityville" is dour, the sonic equivalent of a New England town in perpetual mud season. There are moments when the backing tracks recall the music that goth kids were into when I was in high school: a grinding, distorted guitar throb; deliberate, processed percussion; atmospheric, minor-chord keyboards. That sound doesn't exactly abate, but after a few play-throughs, there emerge some almost-catchy chord progressions, like those behind the rapid-fire chorus of "Lachrymimosa," and some hints of a groove, as on the industrial head-nodder "Microplastics." Try as he might, Brzowski can't displease some of the people all of the time."

Mega Ran :: STRANGERS :: RandomBeats Music 
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[STRANGERS] EDITOR'S NOTE: If you haveNOT watched the entire first season of "Stranger Things" on Netflix, there WILL be spoilers in this review. Consider yourself warned.

"A few days ago - Octoner 27, 2017 to be price - the nine episode long second season of "Stranger Things" dropped on Netflix. The cult hit series has drawn comparisons to everything from 1980's TV shows to horror novels by Stephen King, but the truth is that it's a little bit of all of the above yet so much more. The first season starts with the seeming abduction of a young boy named Will Byers from the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. His three best friends go looking for him - Mike Wheeler, Lucas Sinclair and Dustin Henderson. What they find in the process is far STRANGER than they could have possibly imagined in the many role playing games they shared together. They meet a young girl named Eleven with psychokinetic abilities (manipulating physical objects with the power of your mind) and discover an alternate world christened the "Upside Down," a portal to which has been ripped open by the Hawkins National Laboratory during one of their experiments, through which came the monster that took Will. Mega Ran's new album "STRANGERS" is both a tribute to the first season and a preview of the second season of the show. It will take you far less time to listen to the entire EP than it will to watch a single episode of either season - in fact the running time of this release is 15 minutes total. That doesn't mean that you should consider it a throwaway project or a snack sized bite of no substance. This is a lovingly crafted project which samples from the source material and pays tribute to it at the same time. As Random notes in the intro to the title track of "STRANGERS," the town of Hawkins is reeling from the events of the first season. "It is now one year later. Hawkins is safe, and back to normal, or so it seems." That's when the rap kicks in."

Swifty McVay :: Grey Blood :: Black 17 Media 
as reviewed by Grant Jones

[Grey Blood]"It's easy to overlook Eminem's group D12 as a fun side project that ended up feeling the brunt of both Eminem's semi-retirement and Proof's death in 2006. Their low-point came in 2010 when Canibus made a bitch move (much like LL did a decade earlier) by putting D12 on a track that was actually a diss to Eminem. It was a terrible song with some really corny lines, particulary from Soundclick netcee DZK, but the rhymes from D12 were shoddy too. The group are very quiet these days, although Swifty has been releasing mixtapes regularly over the last few years. For the uninitiated, Swifty has always been the solid, overlooked member who was often overshadowed by Em's intense rhyme patterns, Bizarre's shocking statements or Proof's effortless ability to ride a beat. His solo career has never really hit the heady heights that being affiliated with Marshall Mathers should warrant, but it's good to see Detroit brethren Slum Village and Guilty Simpson on the tracklisting holding Swifty down. What's clear from "Grey Blood" is how much Swifty excels and benefits from being in a group. Storytelling isn't his strong point, with the likes of "Over Protective" lacking the right tone or emotiveness needed for an empathetic tale about defending vulnerable women. The production is largely unremarkable too, with a legitimate top-tier lyricist in Crooked I (or KXNG Crooked as he's now known) wasted on "You Ain't Real". Evidently, Swifty's returned to his underground roots whereby the themes of songs can lean towards generic. "Grey Blood" isn't completely redundant though, with the best tracks conveniently sounding like old D12 records. "Hands Up" is playful, snappy and Swifty's flow has enough punch to carry the loose concept of partying two days on the trot."

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