""Previously on The Greatest Story Never Told..." is how the long-running episodic saga of this album's release is expected to begin, at which point one proceeds to detail Saigon's long and tumultuous rap career from the last decade plus. On the other hand a writer can easily think "There is almost NO chance the reader/viewer/listener would be here if they hadn't followed the last ten years of Saigon's career." If you've stuck with Saigon from the point this album was SUPPOSED to come out until now, congratulations on your perseverance. If you're the one who happens to stumble into this story halfway through and has no idea what we're talking about, flash back to episode one and episode two to bring yourself up to speed; if that doesn't get the job done then just Google his name. There's no shortage of coverage of Saigon's drama out there. It's a little bit odd to find that this stalwart of the Brownsville, Brooklyn hip-hop scene (Buckshot, Masta Ace and M.O.P. are all from around his way) is signed to a label that has at times in the past made Caspar Milquetoast look like a man with a tan. Suburban Noize Records continues to embrace hip-hop artists far from their middle class white rap rock roots though."
Dale Baker :: The Canary in the Coal Mine :: Long Range Distribution
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"From that point on Dale Baker begins to thank said cats in alphabetical order. Mr. Baker, consider that your notice that the liner notes to "The Canary in the Coal Mine" were in fact read. Then again as a music critic I may be the exception to the rule as I was trying to glean some sort of insight into who you are and what your album was about. Like so many albums I receive from Long Range Distribution this one was completely bereft of a press release. I'm not dogging or faulting them per se, I appreciate them servicing our website with material to review, it's just sometimes hard to get a handle on why someone is being presented to us for coverage. Usually the label has some sort of angle they're trying to hook you with - some interesting biographical fact, some locally successful single, some history of being a misanthrope that suddenly found the light through music, et cetera, etc. "
http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2011_02_thecanary.htmlThe BrainStormers :: The BrainStormers EP :: The BrainStormers
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"The BrainStormers make a bold statement even before you download the free EP on their Bandcamp page: "The BrainStormers were conceived due to the success of its predecessors - Wu-Tang Clan, Task Force, The Arsonists, Jurassic 5, Slum Village, and most recently Slaughterhouse." When you set expectations that high, disappointment is almost inevitable. No matter how good these BrainStormers might be, they now have to be a hip-hop group whose debut rivals the quality of "Enter the Wu-Tang" and the "Jurassic 5 EP" on their very first try. Being just "decent" or "aight" wouldn't do when you consider yourself to be the successors to hip-hop classics, conceived in their legendary greatness. We've got good news and bad news for The BrainStormers, but let's start by introducing you to their lineup. Cayoz Da Beast hails from California, A.L. Laureate is straight out of Florida, you've probably already heard Virginia's Praverb the Wyse by now, the newest member of the posse O*Zee is coming out of Maine, and Dj Grazzhoppa hails from Belgium. "
http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2011_02_brainstormersEP.htmlJungle Brothers :: Straight Out the Jungle :: Idlers/Warlock
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Matt Jost
""It's like a jungle, sometimes it makes me wonder / how I keep from going under" is one of the essential lyrics that have accompanied rap for much of its existence. After Melle Mel and Duke Bootee first made the statement on "The Message," it was sampled and cited many times. But what makes it so universal? As a summary of "The Message," it heralds rap music's role as a mouthpiece for urban despair and hope. "It's like a jungle" is both a finding and a warning. It cautions us to be alert when we enter the impenetrable, dangerous perimeter that compares to a jungle. "Sometimes it makes me wonder / how I keep from going under" is doubt and triumph at the same time - the triumph (the keeping from going under) always imperiled by the impending downfall. Since then legions of rappers have gone to lengths to explain how they keep from going under, with the most dramatic accounts often getting the most attention. Few, however, went about it as cool, playful and informed as the Jungle Brothers in 1988. True to their name, the Jungle Brothers presented themselves as a product of their environment. They came to us live and direct, straight from the concrete jungle. And as such they were well versed in the ways of the jungle"
http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/BTTL_straightoutthejungle.htmlMaggot Mouf :: You're All Ears :: Broken Tooth Entertainment
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor
""You're All Ears" is the debut album from Melbourne rapper Maggot Mouf. He offers up fifteen tracks of horror-tinged hip-hop, taking inspiration from the Wu-Tang Clan and Gravediggaz. The album cover let's you know what this record is going to sound like: it's an ink sketch on crumpled paper of a guy wearing a necklace of severed ears. The lettering looks like a message from a serial killer, and the whole feel is grimy. The opening skit on the album is audio from a horror movie, which further sets the tone for the album. "Village of the Damned" name drops every horror movie from "Children of the Corn" to "Bad Taste." The beat, supplied by the aptly named Joey Gargoyle, uses a loop of a stringed instrument to creepy effect. While "You're All Ears" is inspired by horror movies, Maggot Mouf doesn't do horror rap. Instead, he uses horror imagery to describe everyday life. The prime example is "Footrot Flats," an examination of a housing project that makes it seem like it should be on Elm Street. Maggot Mouf captures the drama, desperation, and despair of Footrot Flats inhabitants like Edgar Allen Poe spitting rhymes. "
http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2011_02_youreallears.htmlRichie Rocket :: Zero Gravity :: DatPiff.com
as reviewed by Mike Baber
"There's no denying that hip-hop has changed substantially over the past decade. The mainstream market today is dominated by artists such as Drake, Kid Cudi, and T-Pain, who blend elements of rap, R&B, and pop music to create a distinct new-school sound. The question of whether this is good or bad for hip-hop music as a whole is a debate best saved for another time, but the fact remains that, in the digital age where it is easier than ever for artists to get their music out, the market has become flooded with hundreds of new-school emcees who don't offer much when it comes to variety. While the Internet makes it easier than ever to drop a mixtape and gain followers, it also creates a free-for-all environment with low entry costs and lots of unfiltered music, making it harder and harder for emcees to distinguish themselves. Richie Rocket is a Chicago-based hip-hop/R&B artist who is trying to do just that – stand out amid a sea of mediocrity by producing meaningful and creative music – and his debut mixtape, titled "Zero Gravity" and presented by DJ Smallz, allows him to showcase his skills as both a rapper and a singer."
http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2011_02_rocketzerogravity.htmlTornts :: Deadbrain Diaries :: Obese Records/Hired Goons/Broken Tooth Entertainment
as reviewed by Pete T.
"Earlier this week I was moseying about Whole Foods surveying overpriced produce when my eyes fell upon the packaged peculiarity that is buffalo shrimp. Buffalo shrimp struck me as such an oddity not because it wouldn't conceivably be good, but because it requires that a consumer possess two distinct and simultaneous tastes: penchants for small, delicate crustaceans and smoky, spicy poultry. Australian horrorcore strikes me in much the same way—done right, I suppose it could be good, but it combines two subgenres with such restricted audiences in their own rights that marketing it could only be difficult. From where I'm standing, Australian rap in general is a tough sell already, mostly because it tends to be performed by Caucasians with the same accent as Steve Irwin, and the same can be said for horrorcore, the bastard stepchild of gangsta rap and slasher films. Regardless of whatever audience may or may not exist for such a product, Melbourne's Tornts makes no concessions in his hardcore style on 2010's "Deadbrain Diaries." "
http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2011_02_deadbraindiaries.htmlTravis Porter :: Simply Stylez Presents Travis Porter - The Down Pour :: DatPiff.com
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"The group Travis Porter is probably more known for starting shit than being the shit after a short three year hip-hop career, but they always say it's better to have people talking than to not be talked about at all. Based on that standard they can at least claim some level of success, as the Decatur rappers have already been embroiled in feuds with other notable successful Southerners like Roscoe Dash and Young Dro. For those not in the know the gist of the beefs between the Porters and these rappers is leaks on underground mixtapes with disputed ownership claims. To put it more plainly, they each accused the other of "Jackin' For Beats" like Ice Cube, with the most famous example being that T.P. claim to be the originators of Roscoe's hit single "All the Way Turnt Up." Quite frankly that's not one I would WANT to take credit for if I was the Porters, but the song did make Roscoe and Soulja Boy a grip of money and get hella spins, while Travis Porter is still being confused with the drummer Travis Barker of Blink-182. Ironically the group chose the name Travis Porter when they decided "Hard Hitters" wasn't distinctive enough."
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