If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Wiley's "Godfather" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!
Wiley :: Godfather
Author: Matt Jost
"If I had to explain Richard 'Wiley' Cowie to myself (which is a big part of thinking about an artist) by the time of "Godfather," it would be that he is Black Thought in terms how he's completely in his element, that he is Biggie Smalls with his ambition to be a well-rounded rap artist, and that he is RZA when it comes to occupying a pioneering role in production. Too much? Too many American rap references? Don't fret, there is some serious evidence that you'd be hard pressed to find such an essential individual figure in almost any artform. If the British music scene, if the streets of London can lay claim to something own and homegrown named grime, they largely have to thank Wiley for it, who by all accounts carried the genre on his back for a substantial period. Not only emerged a number of the earliest white labels from his laboratory in the early 2000s, he also - before the new sound eventually became known as grime - helped define the aesthetic with a string of instrumentals that followed a below-zero nomenclature - "Snowman," "Eskimo," "Frostbite," "Avalanche," "Snowball," "Ski Slope," "Ice Pole" etc. While performing on the club and radio circuit with bigger units (Pay As U Go Cartel and Roll Deep), Wiley Kat was soon making a name for himself and only himself. His solo debut "Treddin' on Thin Ice," arriving shortly after grime's breakout album "Boy in Da Corner," paved a way that he himself would regularly leave in more commercial directions but which he even more regularly came back to. "Godfather" then is the ultimate return. It revisits fundamental elements of the music and its history. 'The dance' - the rave, the stage, the booth, the park, that one night, that one place, is at the center of grime's endeavors. And Wiley is keenly aware of what brought him here. With "Godfather" he finally embraces the title many have given him and demonstrates why he can rightfully feel entitled to it. "
Milano Constantine :: The Way We Were :: Different Worlds Music Group
as reviewed by Grant Jones
"Who said New York hip hop was dead? It's harder than ever. The shift from traditional rhyme-machines such as Papoose and Lloyd Banks towards slang-heavy storytellers has brought a Wu-Tang feel not even the Wu can deliver themselves. There are so many artists in this field now: Action Bronson, Roc Marciano, KA, Planet Asia, Freddie Gibbs, Your Old Droog, Hus Kingpin, Ghostface Killah, Meyhem Lauren and Eminem's recent signings Westside Gunn and Conway the Machine. Granted, they are all unique and utilise different production styles (and of course, these aren't just New York artists), but other than perhaps Planet Asia's earlier work, they aren't exactly getting busy over traditional 90-BPM boom bap beats. This does mean some projects need the listener to be in a certain mood to fully appreciate; the primary reason why I wasn't enjoying "Rosebudd's Revenge" as much as previous Roc records. Thankfully, Milano Constantine's down with D.I.T.C. and comes equipped with more traditional fare. As an unofficial member of the Diggin' In The Crates crew, Milano has gone under the radar in recent years but has returned with a quintessentially NYC slice of rap governed by the reliable hands of Marco Polo and DJ Skizz. There's little to fault on "The Way We Were" - it is what it is. Nothing quite matches the classic 2008 single "In A Zone" (produced by P Brothers) but there's plenty to enjoy. The yearning for an earlier era is frequently talked about in underground rap and Milano shares his memories on "The Way We Were", trying to bring back "That Feeling" associated with classic Biggie. Any doubts over his spitting ability are laid to rest on "Cocaina" as he gets busy over a faster DJ Skizz instrumental. Lil Fame pops by for "10-4", but the standout guest is Conway who murders "Rasclat" as you'd expect given his recent run."
Words Hurt :: Soul Music for the Soulless :: Bandcamp
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Until recently when you Googled "Alaska Twitter" or even "Tim Alaska rapper" something unfortunate happened. Instead of getting Timothy Baker a/k/a Alaska of Atoms Family and Hangar 18 fame, you'd get a white rights troll named Baked Alaskainstead. It's an unfortunate coincidence because both have the same first name and B.A. is actually a FORMER rapper who hails from Anchorage. The vile sentiments that B.A. spits have gotten him suspended from Twitter (apparently for the second time) but that fact just points out the hypocrisy that they will go after a low level target instead of the Troll-in-Chief who spends his days attacking black athletes and praising Nazi protestors in Charlottesville. For the time being at least the rapper who isn't carrying tiki torches comes up first. Alaska has been working with producer Lang Vo for a while now under the group name Words Hurt and "Soul Music for the Soulless" is their third album together. It's an apt name for the times especially considering the OTHER Alaska mentioned in the first paragraph. In fact songs like "High Water Mark" reflect the depressing reality of this era, punctuated by samples from the movie adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" as played by Johnny Depp: "With the right kind of eyes, you can almost see the high-water mark." Vo's simple but effective low end piano keys punctuate Alaska's dark lyrical tone."
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