Tuesday June 19, 2018

The (W)rap Up - Week of May 3, 2011
Posted by Emanuel Wallace at Tuesday, May 10th, 2011 at 12:00AM :: Email this article :: Print this article

"It may seem like a pun on "Hot Sauce" but it's really not when we say there's a burning question here: "What happened to Part One?" It was originally supposed to come out back in 2009 before the music world was stunned by the announcement that Adam Yauch b/k/a MCA had cancer. One single featuring Nas had already been released, but the rest of the album was put on hold indefinitely so Yauch could get treatment and recover. Nearly two years after that stunning revelation, the Beastie Boys are back on track with an album that is by most accounts largely comprised of what they planned for Part One ANYWAY. Confused? Don't waste too much time thinking about it dunn, just get down to the funky sounds of the party anthem "Make Some Noise." The self-produced track is a lyrical and musical venture back to their past, which seems odd given how many times the Boys promised via interviews that "Hot Sauce" would be new, unusual and even "bizarre" in some cases. Nonetheless it's nice to have an old school inspired Beastie Boys song to party to, and that's the level this works on perfectly. It's not meant to inspire deep thought, it's meant for you to slam down your cup then run out to the dance floor. "Too Many Rappers" will fill that intellectual void, with a drum track that borrows stylistically from the Bomb Squad and the Nasir lyrics that challenge hip-hop's fraudulent lyricists. "

Bloody Monk Consortium :: Bloodshed :: Johnny23 Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"The geographically diverse and musically lethal Bloody Monk Consortium hit the internet with a free release in August of 2010. Their music sounded heavily derivative of adrenaline fueled East coast rappers past and present like Wu-Tang Clan and Vinnie Paz, but it's not necessarily a bad thing to be derivative of good artists if it results in an above average debut EP. 48 studio tracks gave Lex Luger, FuckRICO and DJ ShadowFist the breadth and depth musically to set up Leeroy Destroy and LABAL-S for intense verses. The crew even shows their support for the elements of hip-hop by having an affiliated producer/graffiti artist named Kebo in the crew all the way from Italy. To make a long opening paragraph short, B.M.C. did a good job of setting the table and only needed to come back with an impressive full length album to prove their collective was not a hip-hop flash in the pan. One thing is immediately clear about "Bloodshed" on listening - the plan was to come heavy with content this time. 21 tracks clock in at over one hour and ten minutes total. By weight alone the album would be a bargain at Amazon.com prices, but true worth is measured by the quality of the contents and not the sheer amount. "


CF :: Storm Mode :: Creative Juices Music
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Storm Mode]
"The Creative Juices Music camp just laced us with the brand new "Storm Mode" CD from Nelson Morales III, a/k/a CF, a/k/a Constant Flow. You can call him whatever you want to, but the kids in Jersey City neighborhood probably called him a fatherless bastard. That's not intended as disrespect to CF in any way - he puts his whole life story on display on only the second song of the entire album. It's a gutsy call to go there so early since people who have never heard of CF before this album might want to feel his flow before knowing him that well, but listening to him spit over Niroshima's cello laced instrumental for "Another Battle" will convince you that conquering hip-hop is nothing to him after the life he lived so far. When CF says he's "dealin with it raw" in the chorus, HE AIN'T KIDDING. I respect CF's cajones for manning up and giving us his pain on wax, and there's no doubt it was therapeutic for him as well. On other tracks he's not just sharing his pain, he's dishing out a little to the ignorant know-nots of the world. The Scram Jones produced "Walk With Me" has no sympathy for people who view "the world in black and white" as he says "I'm not a beaner, jalapeno or a papi either/Don't call me mira and don't call my woman mamacita." He's also got no love for inferior unmotivated rappers on "Last Take""


Chubs :: Style Points :: Reverb Nation
as reviewed by Matthew 'Matt G' Gutwillig

[Style Points] 
"Though established in the early 1980s, Canadian hip-hop has only recently flourished on an international level. With Toronto-based artists such as Drake, Kardinal Offishall and K'naan going mainstream, Canadian hip-hop has finally started to get its shine on. However, the only things these artists share in common are their success and origin. Despite Canadian rap being popular at the moment, there has yet to be a defining style to catapult it to the level that G-funk and gangsta rap did for the west coast or crunk music did for Atlanta. Nonetheless, a diverse mix of music like American hip-hop, Caribbean sounds and Canadian and American rock music have undeniably played a significant role in influencing rap music north of the border. Released in April 2011, "Style Points" is the debut album from Victoria, British Columbia-based emcee Chubs. Much like Canadian hip-hop on the radio, this nine track album features an eclectic range of subject matter and sounds as Chubs looks to establish himself as a respected hip-hop artist. The first three tracks of "Style Points" are not indicative of Chubs' potential; however they do reveal that the rapper is a work-in-progress. "


Deadverse Massive :: The Takeover :: Deadverse Recordings
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[The Takeover] 
""The Takeover" is the newest album from the East Coast Deadverse Crew, led by producer/rapper Dalek. I have to admit that I have slept on Dalek for the past thirteen years. His first album came out on punk label Gern Blandstein, and he has been associated with anticon, a label whose music I respect but don't like to listen to. On top of that, Dalek is named after an enemy from Doctor Who, the geekiest of geeky sci-fi series. I figured his music would be super esoteric and too arty for his own good. I've heard a few songs from his 2005 album "Absence," which were buried in industrial noise. So imagine my surprise when I bumped the "Takeover," which turned out to be grimy East Coast rap in the (cold) vein of Cannibal Ox and early Wu. Dalek produced the entire album, and his beats are all sample-based, flipping snippets of jazz and soul into a dark, foreboding backdrops. He flips Jimmy Smith's "Root Down (And Get It)," which the Beastie Boy's used for their track "Root Down." Dalek is accompanied on the mic by Oddateee, D.L.E.MM.A., Gym Brown, Dev-One, MoRikan, and Skalla, all of whom can actually rap, and drop the kind of tough-as-nails rhymes that the East Coast is known for. "


Dinner at the Thompson's :: Off the Grid :: Earth at Work Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Off the Grid] 
"This group name is provocative just by how ordinary it appears to be. One looks at "Off the Grid" and wonder just how far off it the Thompson family might be. Electricity? Check. Phone? Check. Cable TV? Check. You can probably picture yourself having Dinner at the Thompson's without having ever met them - an iconoclastic 20th century throwback to cornbread suburbia and all of its modern amenities. You certainly wouldn't picture them having solar panel hot water heaters or throwing the leftovers from dinner onto a compost pile. Maybe if you're an incredibly quirky individual you pictured the Thompson family as a quatro of bug eyed monsters from outer space, but I'll go out on a limb and say you read the name and thought WASP: White Angle-Saxon Protestant. Fear not intrepid reader - these suburban bugs aren't ordinary, they're EXTRAORDINARY. Even the story of how this group formed is incredibly unexpected. New York born and Cali raised singer and spoken word artist Lucille Tee was living in Prague when the French producer FabLive came there on tour with a backup band to jam, and so enthralled was she by their funky groove that she jumped on stage to sing for a few. "


Has-Lo :: In Case I Don't Make It :: Mello Music Group
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[In Case I Don't Make It] 
"Philadelphia-based producer/MC Has-Lo has been around for a few years now. He released his debut album, "Fuck Has Day," in 2007. 2008's "Small Metal Objects,"got a fair amount of love from fans of underground hip-hop. Now he's following it up with "In Case I Don't Make It." The title could refer to two things: in case Has doesn't make it as a rap artist, or in case Has doesn't make it out of this word alive. "Is this an unfunny joke or a suicide note?" he asks on the title track, which closes the album. Given the dire subject matter and depressive tone of the album, it sounds more like a suicide note than a letter of resignation from hip-hop. Over the course of the album's sixteen tracks, Has examines the trials and tribulations of his life, from his straggling career to his shaky faith in God to his relationship issues. Has excels at storytelling. laying out a series of vignettes over moody beats that paint a picture of a man at the end of his rope. The high point of the album is the devastating "Everything Is." Has drops a subtle beat built around a keyboard, and then raps about life slowly falling apart. "


JYoung the General :: Black History Year: Installment Two :: BLAT! Pack
as reviewed by Pete T.

[Black History Year: Installment Two] 
"These days the general public is well used to mass media outlets cramming their dose of "Black History" into the year's shortest month, but Michigan rapper JYoung the General obeys no calendar's restrictions when it comes to celebrating and educating on his heritage and culture. "Black History Year: Installment Two" is a fine EP that finds a deft MC with a cause. "The Re-Education of the Negro" opens the EP in grand fashion, chronicling his own education of African-American history and pointing out the shortcomings and disparities he saw before college, then shouting out everybody from Langston Hughes to Alice Walker, hoping listeners will "burn everything they learned in their textbooks." In an effective and well-versed argument, JYoung discusses how primary education only tells half the story of black history, ignoring key artists and revolutionaries as well as factors and circumstances that led to landmark events. Perhaps what's most impressive is that he doesn't come off as preachy, angry, or bitter, but simply as an educated guy who's been there and sees a better way. "Panthers" features standout performances from Mae Day, J.A.E., and Michigan luminary One Be Lo yet maintains the inspired focus of the album's concept, calling for justice over a beat that sounds like it came from a Binary Star album."


Mez & Self Suffice :: The Manhattanites Present Manhattan Night :: RapOets.com
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Manhattan Night] 
"Self Suffice has the five tools in his arsenal every aspiring rapper should when seeking coverage on a hip-hop website: humbleness, patience, professionalism, politeness, and references. He started out with the last one by telling me he had heard about RapReviews through his friends Ceschi and Icon the Mic King. Suffice politely suggested that we might be interested in covering his new album available through Amazon.com. He wasn't put off by our disclaimer that not every album we're contacted about or sent can be covered, and stayed patient as our dialogue continued sporadically over a few months. Above all Suffice stayed humble. He never once suggested his project was more important than any other album we had to cover or took any umbrage if we put reviewing his work on the back burner. There's no chip on Suffice's shoulder, no inflated sense of ego, just a desire to shine. Having all those attributes can get any rapper a foot in the door, but certainly doesn't guarantee what's going to be written afterward. I wish I could tell readers that there's a one to one correlation where everybody that's humble and respectful drops a classic, and every mid-major to corporate self-assured cocky asshole dropped utter shit. Life is always far more complicated than that. Nice guys drop gems, but they can also be unfailingly polite to the point you have to put a foot down and say that skills need to come first before you review more of their work."


State of the Artist :: Altered State :: Members Only
as reviewed by Pete T.

[State of the Artist] 
"State of the Artist is a Seattle trio eager to join the relatively few rap acts from their hometown to make national waves, but I'm willing to forecast that their new EP "Altered State" isn't going to do it. Over seven tracks and twenty-eight minutes, it generally goes from bad to worse, with increasingly aimless raps and irritating electronica. Opener "Alive" is innocent enough, an expansive-sounding track built on tense pianos and strings with a dramatic hook. The rhymes go absolutely nowhere, but the track is still tolerable. State of the Artist's rhymes are decently-constructed and vocalized, but they have absolutely no continuity, composed of aimless meanderings that lends minimal effect or memorability to the listener. There are no themes or concepts, and they remain at a high level of abstraction tending toward clichés rather than personal accounts. I'm not sure if their theme-less stream-of-consciousness is meant to impress as artistic, but in fact it has the opposite effect: they rap about absolutely nothing. The thing is, musically it's actually worse. "Altered State" is a wash of mechanical synths, bad hooks, and autotune. If I'm ever called upon to brainstorm new torture techniques, "I Think I Love You" will be pretty high on the list, a mind-numbing track that sounds as if it were produced by a four-year-old."


Lil Wayne :: Tha Block Is Hot :: Cash Money/Universal Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **

as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

[Tha Block Is Hot] 
"Two things I always liked about the Cash Money releases of this era: One, Baby and Mannie Fresh talking shit on the album intros. It didn't really even matter what the topic was, but going in you knew it was going to be some outlandish, stuntastic shit. This time around, Baby and Fresh go off on a tangent about how hot the block actually is, referring to it as "hotter than a barbecue at Satan's crib." The second thing I liked about Cash Money releases of that day was that they gave you what made you buy the album right off top. It usually came right after the intro or perhaps two songs into the album. This is the case here as well as the lead single that doubles as the title cut is the second track on the album. With Fresh on the boards and Juve and B.G. assisting on the hook, things get off to a promising start. What follows is a track that I have often pointed to as a near-perfect example of Cash Money's synergy at the time. Turk doesn't appear on the song (hence "near-perfect"), but verses from the Big Tymers, B.G. and a hook from Juvenile helps to set up the dominoes on "Loud Pipes" before Wayne comes through and finishes them off"


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