Sunday January 20, 2019

The (W)rap Up - Week of February 6, 2018
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, February 13th, 2018 at 2:00PM :: Email this article :: Print this article

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

[Scary Hours] Drake :: Scary Hours
Cash Money/Motown Records

Author: Michael G. Barilleaux

"Rap titan Drake has released what seems to be a small appetizer of a project for his fan's pleasure. The new "Scary Hours" EP is the shortest extended play possible consisting of only two tracks. These tracks, "God's Plan" and "Diplomatic Immunity" show two different angles of Drake's artistry that we are already familiar with but that sound particularly interesting as the only contents of a project, causing them to juxtapose in a way that reaches beyond the surface value of this artist's typical rap-leaning tracks. The first track, "God's Plan" features a side to side, somewhat-airy beat with Wiz Khalifa-esque percussion backing an all but singing Drake. The rapper spits about his team, success and the the "bad things" that are supposedly being wished upon him, all in relation to the plan of a higher power. This track includes the viral (not necessarily in a positive way) line, "I only love my bed and my momma" and overall feels like the pseudo-r&b Drake that many have come to know and love. The second track, "Diplomatic Immunity" is a bit of a 'harder' placement that contains no chorus but instead just one extra-long verse. It finds Drake frustrated and tormented by taxes of his success as talks of his house being staked out, his Billboard awards and the careers he has witnessed turn to nothing. It contains some strong lines, such as "I call the house 'the embassy' the studio 'the chapel'" but also weaker bits such as "Promise s--t is gettin' outta' line like when you make a stencil/or gettin' outta' line like when you break a pencil."The track is supported by a retro-feeling beat covered in low hitting drums and gives the listener a side of Drake they've certainly heard before, such as on his 2015 effort "If You're Reading This It's Too Late."

Evidence :: Weather or Not :: Rhymesayers Entertainment 
as reviewed by Michael G. Barilleaux

[Weather or Not] "Rapper and producer Evidence is back again with his newest sixteen track effort "Weather or Not". This project is the MC's third solo album to date as he is also known for his membership in the underground famed Dilated Peoples. Evidence is also a signed member of the notorious Minneapolis label Rhymesayers Entertainment. "Weather or Not" finds Evidence in what seems to be a comfortable, confident place for him musically. He is a fairy-astute lyricist and consistently performs intelligently on his flow patterns as he is capable of making the beats he raps over conform to his serious but relaxed rapping style. This can particularly be seen on songs such as the title track where Evidence picks up the pace of his flow in accordance to the rapid beat but still continues to sound laid back to an extent. This can also be a weakness of sorts, however, as the rapper's serious but casual demeanor can get a bit stale several tracks into the record. It makes for a strong opening though on "The Factory" as a no nonsense street beat backs up Evidence's cool head flow and results in a low-tempo banger."

Kap G :: Mood :: Atlantic Records 
as reviewed by Michael G. Barilleaux

[Mood] "Kap G is no stranger to hip hop. With a slew of projects under his belt, the Atlanta rapper has done his fair share to earn his place in rap. His newest project, the "Mood" EP, is yet another contribution of sharp flowing, well-delivered bars from G. As they are on his much of his previous work, the lyrics and song concepts of "Mood" are not particularly complex or deep at all times but these rhymes are extremely deliberate feeling and delicately put into place. The first track of the EP "Slumped" contains a monotonously simple hook and lyrics that may not stick out, but even at face value Kap G's words exude a strong sense of earnestness and trap charm. This may seem like grasping at what is not actually there, but what must be noted is that the main ingredient in Kap G's work is his tonal delivery and flow. These tools transform what would otherwise bore the listener to death into a promising track."

Meyhem Lauren & DJ Muggs :: Gems From the Equinox :: Soul Assassins Records 
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[Gems From the Equinox] "Meyhem Lauren has nothing if not style. He's known to live the Lo-Life, an urban cult dedicated to the tailoring of Ralph Lauren. He's mindful of the ring names such as Buckwild, the Alchemist and Harry Fraud have in the world of hip-hop production. His releases carry choice titles like "Silk Pyramids" or "Piatto D'Oro." Although he's laid raps over tracks for at least ten years, he fits in with modern day wordsmiths that appeal to traditionalists and trappers alike. With his October 2017 release "Gems From the Equinox" he takes his hustle to another level by working with multi-platinum producer DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill. While it should be obvious what makes DJ Muggs attractive to Meyhem Lauren, there's some chance that Muggs is drawn towards Meyhem because the collaboration establishes a connection to his earliest days in Queens, NY, before he sought greener pastures and palm trees in California as a young artist. Since entering the hip-hop pantheon with Cypress Hill in the early '90s, Lawrence Muggerud has struck out on his own, most notably with his Soul Assassins compilations, but also exploring the concept of one MC over one man's MPC with GZA and "Grandmasters." This speed-reading of Muggs' career doesn't relate how rare studio sessions involving Muggs beats actually are. Thanks to Meyhem Lauren we now know that next to band and electronic activities he still specializes in dusky atmospheres, thundering drums and arresting samples."

Vic Mensa :: The Autobiography :: Roc Nation 
as reviewed by Ben Stein

[The Autobiography] It is rare for me - like, count on my fingers rare - to hear a hip hop song I'd describe as "beautiful." Common is responsible for one. Chance the Rapper another. Kanye West, four. There are probably others, but already the city of Chicago is disproportionately represented. And now, Vic Mensa's "The Autobiography" adds one more. "We Could Be Free" is the album closer (if you don't count bonus tracks), and it's in the vein of the others: built around a soulful hook, with vocals floating high in the mix and lyrics that embrace what another Chicagoan, Barack Obama, calls "faith in struggle" .Granted, I'm a sentimental guy. And granted, Chance and Vic aren't on the same level as Common, Kanye, and the 44th President. But for my money, Chicago produces the most beautiful music in hip hop. At its best -- on "We Could Be Free" -- "The Autobiography" adds to this reputation. At its worst, the album still sounds very good; aside from a pair of tracks that evince a teenaged boy's understanding of love, sex, and women (both of which -- "Homewrecker" and "Gorgeous" -- are musically pleasant enough), there are just two more that rubbed me the wrong way. And that's mostly because they have a sound that is currently on-trend, which me feel old and out-of-touch."

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