If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Dillon & Batsauce's "On Their Way" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!
Dillon & Batsauce :: On Their Way
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
"This is the kind of union I had never thought of before and immediately wondered WHY I had not. Fly producer Batsauce and underground Atlantian emcee Dillon coming together as a hip-hop team. Once I saw the two were working together on an album the slow CoFlow fire started to burn a little bit faster. What could they do in unison? Would this be another Guru and Primo? CL and Pete Rock? Not every team up of a good producer and rapper can be magic, but in a world that's full of disappointment it never hurts to get your hopes up for something good to come along. "Keep Pushin'" featuring Sadat X was exactly the kind of result I was hoping for. If this was any indication of what a full length album could be like I did indeed have reason to be hopeful. Shortly thereafter a watermarked copy of "On Their Way" was on its way to my desktop. At this point such preventative methods are unnecessary because this album hit retail locations on Friday the 13th anyway with apologies to you triskaidekaphobians out there. It leaves me wondering when everything switched over. It used to be that I'd go to the record store every Tuesday (or sometimes even at 11:59 PM the night before) to get all of the newest albums available. When did everybody switch to Fridays and WHY did they? There's that word again. "Ours not to reason why" was the beginning of a math lesson I heard as a child. "Just invert and multiply!" That was never good enough for me though. Why did I have to? What was the reason? For Dillon and Batsauce I know the reason - they love making hip-hop. That love comes through on "Magma Mouth," a track featuring familiar Dillon collaborator Paten Locke. That theme fits all of the guest stars for "On Their Way." Each one is a minor star in a universe of radiant WR 102 and 142's, but no less visible in the night sky of the dedicated rap observer including the aptly named Qwazaar, a collaborator as familiar to Batsauce as Dillon is to Locke. You'll have to forgive my stellar puns but you won't have to apologize for playing "City Lights" to anyone. I wound up mesmerized by this song and kept it on loop for a little while. The bassline is head nodding, the scratches on the hook are tight, and the sounds on the instrumental twinkle like little stars all their own."
Berner :: The Big Pescado :: Bern One Entertainment
as reviewed by Matt Jost
"Listening to Berner's "The Big Pescado" is how you satisfy your curiosity about Scott Storch without having to give in to your sensationalist insticts, but simply lending an ear to a producer who held the formula for hip-hop success in his hands at the beginning of the newly born millennium sounds nowadays, for which 14 full tracks offer undivided attention. Before becoming the possibly first rap producer to live the rockstar lifestyle to the fullest (which includes blowing a shocking amount of money), Scott Storch broke out of what he felt was an ultimately unrewarding role as a keyboarder with The Roots to become a hitmaker with successful mandates in R&B and pop. Keeping it limited to our genre, if you lived through the years 1999-2007, you witnessed Scott Storch going from being Dr. Dre's right-hand piano man ("Still D.R.E.") to sharing co-credits with the production overlord (Xzibit's "X," Eve & Gwen Stefani's "Let Met Blow Ya Mind" or G-Unit's "Poppin' Them Thangs"), to scoring season-defining singles like Terror Squad's "Lean Back" or 50 Cent's "Candy Shop." Storch was there when the industry embraced the south, working with the likes of Chamillionaire, T.I., Mystikal and Big Boi (2010's "Shutterbug" being one of his last higher-profile production jobs). Left to pick up the remains of his professional career, today Storch seeks the help of a man who can afford to take the risk. Berner operates in a zone of his own, financially independent of success in the rap world, but still caring about quality control. From the sound of it, Bern didn't ask the fallen star producer to search his harddrive for hits that never were. Neither was the goal to chase the latest sounds, or to hook up a prominent feature. Berner got the latter covered anyway, the guest list this time including Pusha T, Wiz Khalifa, The Game, Snoop Dogg and E-40. Like with all serious start-up couples, the focus here is on the collaboration between two artists, and it should be, because to get something out of the unique constellation was clearly the initial purpose of a Berner album exclusively produced by Scott Storch."
Michelle Cadreau :: Big Bomb :: Nub Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Stop me any time if this sounds familiar to you. You're at an all ages open mic session for aspiring rappers at a local coffee shop. The locally famous deejay, possibly on an off night from their radio show gig or donating the time to give back to the culture, has taken up residence on a hastily assembled stage and is spinning hot beats for anybody who will take the challenge. They may even be offering the winner a small prize - say $25 in cash or a gift card for some java and an appearance on said radio show. One emcee after another takes their turn as you sit and sip and wonder if you should have snuck in something to "freshen up" your drink. Some of the contenders are alright though. A few have enough brought along their friends to hoot and holler at their seemingly improvised but possibly memorized bars. All of a sudden a very timid looking rapper steps on the stage clutching a handful of bars they had written down in advance. The pages look crumpled and worn, ink marks bleeding through the margins from words that have been crossed out or written over. Their body language makes you feel as uneasy as they do. The microphone seems to be a venomous snake ready to bite them in the nose but they still step as close to it as they dare. Their body trembles like a leaf in the wind. If somebody in this place turned on the air conditioning they'd blow right out the front door. Looking down at the bars they've written, never once daring to glance at the audience, they stammer and mumble their way through a series of raps over the instrumentals. Their vocal pitch never changes. The deejay is dumbfounded and suddenly the beat stops. They keep going anyway like it's suddenly gone from "open mic night" to "beat poetry night." They rush even faster through the words, quietly mutter "thank you" and run off the stage without saying a word to mostly polite applause interspersed with a few chuckles and one person loudly remarking "What the hell was that?""
EYTREG :: One's Hidden Agony :: URBNET Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"It only took 33 seconds of EYTREG's "aprilfll" before I heard something so warm and familiar that I got an instant buzz from it. It's unmistakable if you're a hip-hop head of a certain age. For me it's even more treasured as I own a specially pressed double vinyl of the album the song is on, one where each record was made in a color you could look through when held up in the light. I know vinyl snobs turn up their noses at colored records, and the reasons I hear are usually (A.) The quality of the grooves is substandard compared to solid black PVC and (B.) Only 180 gram vinyl records can produce a rich and deep audio sound. To them I say "So what?" The sample of "Saudade Vem Correndo" for Pharcyde's "Runnin'" off "Labcabincalifornia" remains one of my favorite songs off one of my all time favorite albums, so to hear EYTREG salute this same sample on his "One's Hidden Agony" album is an unapologetic nod to the late great J Dilla's loop. It's in no way accidental. Even though I didn't pick up on his rearrangement until a half minute in, he's making liberal use of the original in ways that even Jay Dee didn't. Teppei Sano a/k/a EYTREG is a producer born in Niigata who currently makes his home in Tokyo, Japan. URBNET describes "One's Hidden Agony" this way: "EYTREG's music is an extraction of jazz, soul, RnB, and trap music, with inspiration and cues from legendary hip-hop predecessors." I definitely picked up on that with the respects he paid Mr. Yancey. They also add this: "His unique method of restructuring these genres and sounds results in the innovative creation of something that is his very own." That's what any producer of hip-hop beats should do though. Would you expect anything less from DJ Premier, Alchemist, 9th Wonder or J-Live? That's the POINT man. You take different elements from different sources, even wildly disparate ones, and you mix them together to create something beautiful. That's why the greats can be said to "cook up" their instrumentals, because they combine ingredients the way a chef does her/his greatest culinary works in the kitchen. There's not necessarily a recipe. A producer hears something and inspiration strikes. In that moment hip-hop music is born"
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