Thursday June 21, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of November 16, 2010
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

[Mood Muzik 4]Joe Budden :: Mood Muzik 4
E1 Music
Author: Mike Baber

"There are certain emcees with voices so powerful that they can seemingly take over any track, regardless of who produces it or what instruments are used, and captivate the listener from beginning to end. While rappers such as Tupac and KRS-One immediately come to mind, one of the more underappreciated artists on this short list is none other than Joe Budden. This is not meant to suggest that he is in the same league lyrically as these hip-hop greats, but rather that, when Budden gets on the mic, his strong, authoritative delivery simply demands attention. Nowhere is this more apparent than on his latest mixtape, "Mood Muzik 4." Joe Budden's rap career has followed an interesting path, beginning back in 2003 when he dropped his self-titled debut album. The lead single "Pump It Up" was featured in the movie "2 Fast 2 Furious," and it quickly moved up the billboard charts and garnered significant radio play."

311 :: From Chaos :: Volcano Records
as reviewed by Joe Howard
[From Chaos] 
"There's something very special about 311, an unidentifiable element floating around somewhere in the elixir that is the 311 experience that has kept that elixir as fresh, bubbly, and sweet as it was when they released their debut album on Capricorn Records back in 1993. While I will never truly know what it was about their music that leapt out of my television during an episode of Total Request Live in 1999 and bit me, or why I spent two hours in front of Napster immediately afterwards downloading their music, one thing I am absolutely aware of is that I am thankful those things happened to me. My CD collection is pushing three hundred albums now, I've been to many life changing concerts, and I write and record my own music. Music is my salvation, and my heartbeat, and while there have been thousands upon thousands of songs that have broken into my heart and left something behind on their way out, the first song that I ever loved in my entire life was "Come Original", the lead single from 311's fifth album, "Soundsystem"

Danny Brown :: The Hybrid :: Rappers I Know
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[The Hybrid] 
"It was 1988 and I was in junior high when my friends and I got into hip hop in a serious way. I had been into breakdancing and the "Beat Street" soundtrack as a fourth-grader, but it was seventh grade before my friends and I started going to the Santa Cruz flea market and buying bootleg hip hop tapes. My brother was two years older and could drive, so we'd ride around in his VW Bug listening to Big Daddy Kane, Sir Mix-a-lot's "Swass," and Ice-T's "Power" over the rattling engine as we drove around looking for surf or somewhere to skateboard. Our favorite artist, hands down, was Eazy-E. He had the combination of killer beats backed with crazy lyrics with an even crazier delivery. He'd deliver tales of robberies gone wrong in his high-pitched voice, sounding like a menacing clown. He was foul-mouthed, vulgar as hell, and we loved him. I don't want to say that Danny Brown is the Detroit reincarnation of Eazy-E, but he does have some of the same energy and craziness. Brown has a similarly high-pitched voice, something like an unhinged B-Real. He shares Lil Wayne's love of drugs, and there is some Weezy in Brown's delivery, especially his clearly annunciated non-sequiturs. Mostly, though, this is straight up late-80s-style hardcore rap. "

Cee-Lo Green :: The Lady Killer :: Elektra Entertainment Group
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[The Lady Killer] 
"Technically speaking "The Lady Killer" is Cee-Lo Green's first solo album since 2004's "Cee-Lo Green... Is the Soul Machine." Technically. In truth the king of hip-hop singing has stayed busy that entire time, releasing two collaborative albums with Danger Mouse under the Gnarls Barkley brand name. One could argue these were Cee-Lo albums in all but name considering Danger Mouse laid down the beats and not the vocals; it was the passionate delivery of Thomas DeCarlo Callaway b/k/a Cee-Lo that carried the show. Depending on how you slice it then, 2010's "The Lady Killer" is either long overdue or a big return for the "Closet Freak." Recently reports have surfaced that Goodie Mob squashed any beefs that arose when Cee-Lo left the group back in 1999, and it seems they've even done a couple of shows together again as a foursome. Now considering their debut album is unquestionably a hip-hop classic most observers would consider this good news, but listening to "The Lady Killer" I really question if a reunion makes sense in 2010. Perhaps five years ago there was still a chance the group could have buried the hatchet and recaptured their original sound, but Cee-Lo has grown tremendously as a soloist in the last decade. "

Eligh :: Grey Crow :: Legendary Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Grey Crow]

"Reflections on mortality are not an idle exercise for Living Legends alumnus Eligh. This talented writer and producer was for a time knocking on death's door and just waiting for a response, living on the streets of Los Angeles as he went from one heroin fix to the next. How does an intelligent, artistic, creative person wind up in such a personal hell? It is a question that history asks over and over again about now departed musicians like Jimi Hendrix and Layne Staley - people who even at the height of their fame and success are brought to depths of depravity by their drug use and addiction. One cliched response is that those with the gift to see the world for what it truly is are driven mad by it and are driven to drug or drink (see Vincent Van Gogh) to dull their sense of it. Another is that the active artistic mind is firing neurons so rapidly it craves a heightened sense of experience more than the average man or woman and will thus drive a person to try dangerous (and possibly) destructive things to feed the brain's need."

MisterE :: Dusting For Prints :: Backburner Recordings
as reviewed by Joe Howard

[Dusting For Prints] 
"Before I begin reviewing this album I want to take a little bit of time to reveal something to the faithful. It usually takes me around ninety minutes to write a review, not including actually listening to the album, and I'd be willing to bet that I spend at least forty five of those minutes on the first six sentences. Furthermore, at this point I can't help but to feel as though the opening paragraphs of my reviews are becoming a bit redundant, because of the last six reviews I've written for this site, five of them were by artists I'd either never previously heard of, or have heard of but never particularly enjoyed. MisterE's "Dusting For Prints" is one of those albums. I've never heard of him, never listened to him before, and I don't know where he's from. For all I know he could be the kid that got arrested for trying to sell 4Loko out of his car outside of the local club last weekend. All I have to determine whether or not I find MisterE worthy of being welcomed into your musical universe is a collection of seventeen tracks. The first of which is "My Turn", which sounds like something off of "Orange Moon Over Brooklyn" by Pumpkinhead. "

Shaun Scales :: DJ Gemini Jones Presents - Yours Truly Shaun Scales :: Yo! PR
as reviewed by Joe Howard

[Shaun Scales] 
"I've decided I'm gonna mix things up a little bit for this review. Since I'm not too familiar with Shaun Scales and I've got some conflicting feelings about this project I'm going to just treat this review like an employee evaluation.. or something.

Here are some of the things I like about this project:

1. Shaun Scales is a fairly polished rapper. His lyrics are on point for the most point, flow and delivery are no different.
2. Production is good, other than a couple duds ("I Got It" being the biggest offender), in regards to beats this is comparable to a standard Cam'Ron mixtape.
3. The project is pretty consistent, and it seems to me that Shaun Scales put an equal amount of effort into every song.
4. Shaun has a smooth cadence and performs with a degree of confidence that leads me to believe that he possesses the self-awareness that he has legitimate talent, and when you have that, good things usually come from it. (Unless you're awful and delusional)
5. Hooks and choruses hit when appropriate, and despite a pinch of redundancy at times, Shaun seems as though he has an ear for the "X-factor" in terms of replay value.
6. This project gives the impression that Shaun Scales really wants it. There's a hunger in his music, and something tells me that Shaun Scales is the type of artist that works to improve upon his flaws.
7. "Party Hard" is a pretty hot track.
8. "What About Me" is his best performance on the disc, and if he were to release a project full of songs as good as this one, Shaun Scales' next project may be presented by a major label, rather than a DJ. "

Shunda K :: I'm Da Best :: Fanatic Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[I'm Da Best] 
"Ostensibly this release is just a "maxi-single" from recently solo female rapper Shunda K, formerly one half of the rap group Yo! Majesty. There's more to this story than appearances lead you to believe though. First there's the fact the Yo! Majesty was almost as famous for being lesbians as for being a female rap sensation in the United Kingdom. That's right - they got bigger overseas than in their native Tampa, Florida turf, working with UK electronic and dub producers who played up the group's style and sound for the club. Oh wait - you thought them being lesbians was the biggest part of the story? Honestly to me it's the fact they blew up overseas before they even got known at home, but the public has certainly taken to the fact they are more into women and press coverage of it has followed. It shouldn't be that fascinating in 2010 that some women like women and some men like men, but I guess the ratings for shows like "The L Word" come from people who can't help their curiosity as much as from those who actually relate to the content. "

Twista :: The Perfect Storm :: Get Money Gang, LLC
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[The Perfect Storm] 
"In the meteorology of hip-hop Twista's career has gone from record temperature highs to barometric pressure lows over the span of two decades. When "Kamikaze" dropped it was hard to imagine any rapper being hotter, but for multiple reasons (including music industry politics) he was unable to maintain that momentum. What followed were underwhelming new albums that while still good by contemporary hip-hop standards did not hold up to Twista's previous efforts. To be fair though these albums could be considered classics compared to misguided side projects that featured Chicago homies and his Get Money Gang familia. Our staff writers were brutal in their assessment of these albums, but also entirely fair in recognizing these were ultimately destined for clearance bins. These albums slowed Twista's momentum even further, downgrading him from a once powerful hurricane into a much less devastating tropical storm.  "The Perfect Storm" attempts to put Twista back on the weather map for 2010, recognizing that the legendary rapper needs to appeal to both his commercial crossover base and his hardcore fast flow fans."

Kanye West :: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy :: Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam
as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania

[My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy]

"Fifth album in six years, Taylor Swift, "Through the Wire," Auto Tune, ego, soul, tantrum, producer-rapper, overblown, genius… You know the Kanye West story; it needs little repetition. The one piece of advice I'd dispense, if you were one of the few that hasn't actually heard it yet, is to leave your expectations at the door. That may be hard, considering the GOOD Friday free gifts, leaks, interviews and hype. But this is the kind of album you need to let wash over you, so don't expect it to give you "a happy ending." Lambasting critics (such as myself) in recent interviews, primarily for apparently neglecting to give him credit for the amount of influence he wields – that was never the issue, FYI – he seems to have at least focussed on, as I put it a couple of weeks ago in an editorial on the matter, the creation and distribution of his "art." And here is the short spoiler: Kanye West has made the most impressive album of his career, have absolutely no doubt of this. The music, the lyrical complexity, punchlines, the guest roster… Pretty much everything is an improvement."

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