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Review Archive 16

9 August 2010 No Comment

Strongarm Steady – O Dog Series Vol 1 (Strong Arm Steady)

This mixtape is Hosted by Self Allah aka Will Blast and presented by Strong Arm Steady. There’s rumours that he (together with Xzibit) might be coming to South Africa this year (you heard that on AG first).

A good variety of hard underground tracks bless this volume. One of the songs that stand out are “What Is It” by Xzibit and Krondon. Mitchy Slick’s “Dying To Fuck You” comes up with a unique concept for a song. Keeps us focused on his verse with the story he’s telling.

Probably my favourite on here is Roscoe’s “Get Flipped”. A superior beat and second nature rapping makes this a highly sought out single. Also check out Ras Kass’s “Catch Me If You Can”.

This is an entertaining mixtape but let me warn you – it’s hard, gritty and don’t expect to stay relaxed when you listen to this because it’s very aggressive. If you want exclusive shit then I recommend you seek out Strongarm’s latest mixtapes. For hard heads only.

1. Intro Will Blast
2. O Dog Skit # 1
3. Xzibit featuring Krondon – What Is It
4. Micthy Slick – Dying To Fuck You
5. Krondon, Phil The Agony, Badd Azz – Sluggin You
6. O Dog Skit # 2
7. Roscoe – Get Flipped
8. Ras Kass – With Me
9. The Game – Freestyle
10. Will Blast – Drop
11. 50 Cent – Drop
12. O Dog Skit # 3
13. MIchty Slick, Phil The Agony, Chase Infinite – Trigger Side
14. Helen from the UK Drop
15. Krondon, Bad Azz, Ras Kass – Get Busy
16. The Game Freestyle
17. Self Scientific – Rap Is Outta Control
18. Phil The Agony, Kurupt – Give In
19. Sha Money XL Drop
20. O Dog Skit # 4
21. Ras Kass – Catch Me If You Can
22. O Dog Skit # 5
23. Will Blast Outro

Various Artists – Different Styles Organisation (BDK Entertainment)

This is a compilation which features none other than Bushwick Bill of the infamous Geto Boys. BDK Entertainment and Bushwick Bill are in this together as they bring together a host of underground rap artists for this mostly southern styled album. Was it worth it? Let’s see.

The first track “Do Tha Damn Thang” by DSO (feat. Bushwick Bill) is a typical down south bouncy track. While the chorus sounds familiar it is still something you can latch onto. However just skip this in the middle and go right to the next one. “Club Scene” by E.J. is a nicely produced thick and warm track and E.J. has flows which are reminiscent and similiar to Eightball and UGK. I’d like to hear more from this artist.

The killer track on here is “Bushmotherfuckingwick” by the Roket People and Bushwick Bill. Bushwick still displays that “I don’t give a f**k nonchalant rhyming style” which many of us middle university heads know him for. What I like about this track is that it’s raw. In some parts Bushwick really get’s into the track and you can hear that as his voice changes. “I swear on my fucking eye everybody dies!”

The next solid one is “U Gonna Be My Bitch” by Bushwick Bill. Now he is credited as the artist for this one but there are others on here such as Khaos and Kyhil. The first verse is very graphic as the female rapper talks about how much “I just wanna fuck your ass, I don’t wanna have your baby” and “as he opens my lips the one’s between my hips” and that she admits to being freaky and she doesn’t care what other woman think. I mean one of the lines that made me laugh out loud is “you be sucking it all because my juice is so good, I have you thinking it be 8ball”. Well anyway, if you like this kind of thing then you will probably enjoy this song. On the last verse Bushwick offers his positive response to her rhymes. Ja but the thing I like about this song is the chorus and the bass guitar going through. The track is so funky. Just don’t play it for your kids. 

The next ‘concrete like PPC’ track is “Blast” by the British crew Wolftown Committee. Neck snap! Warning. This needs to be played loud and be prepared to have migraines from the head nodding. 

There are a handful of good offerings on here but the majority of this cd is a bit off for me. However I’m ready for a Bushwick Bill solo album. So bring it on!

Playa Rae & DUGOUT Ent Present – Hustlin City 2 City (Dug Out Ent)

This is a double disc compilation courtesy of Playa Rae and Dug Out Entertainment. It features artists from all over like San Jose, Atlanta, Denver, Vallejo, Memphis, Seattle, Dallas, Witchita plus a few other cities.

It starts off with Playa Rae’s “You Can Get It” An emotional beat by Faded Monk Productions provides the backdrop for Playa Rae’s aggressive verses. Straight from the street and from the heart. 

“I’m sticking around so you n***’s can hate me”.

“You wanna feature you better come with the right price.”

Syko comes in with “I Does This” which is a slow ass song but that bloody bass kills me. There is no other place to play this but in a car. Pedestrians will fly off the pavement as you drive past. Syko is an ill rapper, check for his album Sykotherapy. Props to D-Sane for this sick beat. The chorus is nice! Roll down those windows!

“Killa Instinctz” by Young Cap featuring Blac reminds me of that mid 90′s Bay sound. “What U Know Bout Dat?” from DJ Cree & Platinumized Players is a very dirty ass grinding beat. Scattering hi hats and Lil Jon and Eastside Boyish chants in the chorus set the tone for this one.

Playa Rae comes up with yet another tight one on “Lite Em Up”. Sham is another artist who shows promise on “Desting”. Yun Gun ends off Disc 1 with “Mellow” which is a str8 killer track only appreciated by those standing on the corners.

Disc 2 opens up with “Small Townerz” by that unique group Moonshine Bandits. Young Life confronts us with “Aint Not Turning Back”, a track that tends to stick in my mind. Errelevent provides a nice one on “Strike First” – tight flow and fat production.

The one I tend to be bumping more than most is “Cold As Ice” from Scrilla Mac featuring 11/5 and Tekpot. That classic 11/5 sound comes through on this and since they have always been a favourite it’s probably the reason why I like this one.

“For So Long” by the talented north west artist Arjay and featuring Bullet is a favourite here at AG. A nice laid back R&B track with substance! Classic chorus.

Damn – you know what was tight? Listening to “Homies and Bitches” by Copenhagen (Denmark) crew U$O. I dig the drum pattern on here. The flows are sick.

On “Bay Luv” II Sicc and K9 provide me with my daily dose of the moog. That sound just appeals to me. Another one that carry’s on in that vein is the final track “My City” from Playa Rae and who can blame him for taking the last track because he put this compilation out and a dope one too godammit!

There are 36 tracks on this double disc. Not all hip hop heads will like this (like those who like the East Coast sampled sound). But if you have an appreciation for all styles (the Bay/South/NW/Midwest) then this will appeal to you. Check it out.

RedCloud – Travelling Circus (Syntax Records)

This album features 15 positive and uplifting hip hop tracks.

“Travelling Circus” featuring Sam Hart starts the album off and immediately forces you to “get into it”. The chorus on this one is sticky and you will find that it pops into your head at the most strange times.

The breakbeat (apache) driven “The Coming” featuring Def Sheppard (nice name) is a very weird song. It suits the “circus” theme of the album quite well.

“8000 RPM’s” has a strong hook and is another one that works well in the club. Heads at the bar are nodding to this one.

“Chit Chat” has a brilliant beat and everything from the rhyme flows to the chorus was well executed. A very solid song. One of the best on here.

I think that the strongest track on here is “My Way” which features Sackcloth Fashion. This a powerful song driven by acoustic guitars and singing. Redcloud rides the beat with his “stomping, walking in my big black boots” type of flow. It’s one of those songs you will find yourself coming back to again and again. Also I can’t help but think that it contains the same feeling of Eminem’s “Stan”.

However there were some tracks which did not meet expectations and at times his style can be too much to handle. I give props to Redcloud for being different. But the differences between some songs, some being extremely good while others…. – or maybe he can only be taken in small doses.  I’ll still listen to this cd often because there are a handful of outstanding songs on here.

Tracks that really stood out and that will receive repeated plays for a very long time:
8000 RPM’s
Chit Chat
My Way
 

Kwabulawayo Kraal – Emzansi Is Bhaxu (OAU Entertainment)

This hip hop duo has always intrigued me. Ever since I heard their song “Bhoza” I was so impressed that I had to learn more about them. In the beginning I had difficulty saying their name but ever since they broke it down for me (Kwa-Bu-la-Way-o) I’ve been telling everybody about them. 

Keep in mind that I don’t understand the language on here and that I cannot make any judgments on lyrical content. For that I asked a another hip hop follower (M. Sithole) to take this cd with him to Qwa Qwa during the holidays and this is what he said:

“Rapping in an African vernacular and still maintain depth has never been easy! This is a 14 track album with tight (beats) production laced over by conscious lyrical punches thrown in in Zulu and Sotho. Watch out for these tracks: Abadeli, Bhoza, 3 Words, Kings and Queens, Is’Bhaxu (title track and the anthem… well I think) Now, lyricists (and I am one) conveniently avoid MC’ing in Sotho/Zulu (among others) as this has a bad tendency of exposing one’s degree of lyrical content, depth and genius. I respect KK for taking this challenge head on and delivering quality production. You have to understand the vernacular first… even if you don’t, the beats will tell you that the stuff is deep! In summary, these are hungry MC’s brimming with (Social) Consciousness. This stuff doesn’t belong to the mainstream hip hop circles, this is consciousness and depth found only in the “Kraal”. To experience this, a crash-course in Sotho and Zulu is seriously recommended.

To get soul-charged, Stay in the kraal!” – M. Sithole

And many other people are feeling the same once they hear this album.  Let us get into the flows, song structure and production.  Here we go:

There are a nice selection of fat tracks on here. For instance I’m feeling “Abadeli” just by listening to the way they flow. It has a tight baseline and the way they come in for each verse is perfect. They chose this one correctly as the opening song. 

“Bhoza” is a very strong track. I’ve said it before. The beat, the verses and the chorus work extremely well together. That piano sample reminds me a lot of Nas’s Doo Rag’s track. I hope that they can make a music video for this. A classic!

“Mshove Part 1″ has that typical kwaito chant and the beat is more geared for shaking asses at the local braai.   “Is’Bhaxu” has a maskandi flavour and this is a sound I myself have been trying to master. I believe we need to explore more of this. “Mantombazane” boasts  booming bass and the keyboard melodies is enough to make me shake both their hands and buy them a case of Castle Milk Stout. The backing music is fat!  “Mshove Part 2″ is a good continuation where they capitalize on the strong hook and it most certainly warrants a second version.

There were however minor flaws like on “Kingz & Queenz” where the formula/structure was right but it felt like the wrong keys were used. A bit more work should’ve gone into this one. Regardless – after listening to this a couple of times you overlook that because overall this is a good song.  In addition the beat on “3 Words” didn’t really do the flows justice.  Like with the previous one I mentioned “Ngeke” has a nice format but the beat could’ve been stronger. “Famish Road” was a surprise because they break the theme of the album with a more urban hip hop sound and rap in English.  This is currently the one they have playlisted at Bush Radio.  

The Result

I feel that their strength would lie in their live performances because this translated to the stage will create an enjoyable atmosphere. It would break the mould of what we hear everyday on the hip hop stage. Strengths are also in the way they flow over the beat and in their moving/guttural choruses. The rapping is done with conviction and a gratitude for the music they are flowing over definitely comes through. 

The Kwabulawayo Kraal sound will play a very important role in the South African hip hop audio landscape. This album is a milestone for SA Hip Hop because they embrace the African sound wholeheartedly and speak on it like ancient orators. For future releases they should keep the current style (and I say that loosely because this is who they are and I doubt whether they’d want to change) because it works and there is major potential here. They have the right formula and it is now up to them to apply it with even more conviction in the next round. I always find myself coming back to this album – always within arms reach.  Probably one of the most important releases this year for SA Hip Hop. 

I suggest you pick up this cd very quick. Don’t sleep on these cats – mark my word.

El Kai – Album Sampler From Lesotho (Independent)

Lesotho is a small landlocked country squeezed within the borders of South Africa. It’s a country known for it’s beautiful mountains and of course who can front on the headgear. This is where El Kai and his crew are from. Whenever I get shit like this I always get excited because it proves that hip hop reaches communities in the most unlikely places of this world.

They say that “this is only the beginning, we improvising on dat” and that is an honest statement coming from the crew themselves. This is most def evident when you take a listen to this album.  I think there is a lot of potential on here e.g. track no 2, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 13. However this album is a bit premature. The beats need a bit of working on (but I can hear that they have the right idea in terms of drum patterns, melodies and song structure). I can hear that the producer has a good ear for music but he finds difficulty in transferring that to the beat making process. This is in no way a negative criticism. This is constructive criticism and I have this feeling that whoever is producing these tracks has the ability to make really ill beats after more practice. 

The rapping on here is sketchy. At times they come off correct but at other times there is a lack of flow. Again as with the beats, this requires more work. 

Overall this is a very promising release but should be used as an evaluation tool for the artists themselves. They need to keep on at this because I believe they can only improve with time. I have this feeling that they will follow this up with something that will make us nod in approval.

Track Listing

1. intro – [done by el-kai]
2. ducin’ – [core, reverend raven, conundrum]
3. skit – [done by a chick called 'Mampalo]
4. miracle in… – [core, conundrum, moss, reverend raven]
5. daily basis – [anonymous, reverend raven, conundrum, dunamis]
6. dedication – [reverend raven, conundrum, moss, el-kai]
7. untitled (from El Kai’s album)
8. untitled (from El Kai’s album)
9. my song.. – [done by a chick called Nomsa aka Kyalie Asmon]
10. untitled (from El Kai’s album)
11. ke ledimo (i’m a cannibal) – [done by conundrum]
12. the prophet – [core, conundrum, moss]
13. untitled (from El Kai’s album)
14. untitled (from El Kai’s album)
15. untitled (from El Kai’s album)
16. untitled (from El Kai’s album)
17. untitled (from El Kai’s album)
18. untitled (from El Kai’s album)
19. untitled (from El Kai’s album)
20. untitled (from El Kai’s album)

Brassmunk – Dark Sunrise (Battle Axe Records)

briCK note
I am not the most broadminded, in hip hop fundamentals, person in the world, so in order to illustrate my real un-biased feeling of the albums I review, all my reviews are all split into two, first off I take you the reader with me as I hear the tracks for the first time and I will type as I hear and feel it at “run time” as it were. So it’s a track by track documentation of my reactions as I hear the album, that way when I write a proper review you know how I felt it but also a spontaneous probably inaccurate first time review but I feel there is nothing like the first time you hear something and react to it so come along.

The second part is a much shorter and condensed summary of the album with more research, facts and knowledge and much much less drama. PEACE.
briCK

Brassmunk, review I am kinda depressed with girl issues and shit so maybe this is not the best mind-state I should me in to review but I need to pre occupy my mind so I will do it any way. No track listing again.

This is a 12 track CD

Intro

Them cats? , this means there is more than one person, nice detective work there Mr Holmes

Imagine feat. T.R.A.C.K.S. of IRS

They are signed to “Battle axe records” just like the Oddities. Aight, this track is straight, flows so far are on point the production is straight. These cats are focus and seem ready to drop this album. I love this track 16bar verse 8bar hook classic authentic hip-hop here. Nice cuts too definitely a complete track. Nice track nice DJ scratches on the outro for the track beautiful shit. Shit that’s a long ass outro

Whistle While You Work

What the hell is this? Ugly bass-line, I don’t have time for this, 1 more minute then I am skipping this. The beat is too creative, at times rather creativity should not be over done this beat is too creative, and its done wack and the MCs are kinda annoying me..fuck it…SKIP

El Dorado feat. Ivana Santilli, Kamel Klutch of Asassini

I like this so far 2seconds into it. The drum pattern sounds like a heart beat so you know I’m feeling this. This cats sounds like Nas yes Escobar him fucking self. I don’t know if I like this beat or not, crazy huh!. Dirty Brown is one of the MCs names his flow is straight. The other cats name is X Rock. I love this back and forth action between these two cats, they describing how they pull off a heist in real time commentary and its fucking dope, El Dorado ! that explains the sample. This track is real dope what what what oh shiiiit this is dope, back and forth real time rhymes done to perfection.

Track 4 (Plays at end of El Dorado)

This is the perfect kick, you know the one that hits your heart yeah it’s the shit. I love the girl singing in the background, her voice is angelic and full of emotion and passion, no I am not gay I am just in touch with passion…its an interlude…I miss my girl, bitch for treating me like shit! Whoa deviating. Nice short interlude

Oh Supaman (Kryptonite)

This is my kind of hip hop five tracks deep and I know I love this shit, these niggaz could sing less tho, shit nigga!. The track is called Superman I think it’s all about superman, think of every way you can look at the word Superman that’s how this track is done. The hero, “high nigga”, invincible..etc etc that’s the track in a nut shell. Nice uncomplicated beat the “oh superman sample” is somewhat annoying tho.

Born In Stereo

DJ Quik in the heazy!!!! .sounds like a DJ Quik beat and the track style is done Quik style. (Track is produced by Agile). Nice track. I am enjoying this track, this track sounds familiar, very familiar. I love hearing MCs having fun on the Mic. These cats enjoy rapping and making hip hop tracks makes you enjoy it too, if someone enjoys doing something you cant help but enjoy it too, I enjoy doing these review so hint hint hahaha. The beat has this choppy Pause and Play, Pause and Play type play feel to it really dope.

Dedicated 4 U

Every hip hop album has a jazz sampled track some do it well others fuck it up but I like the way its done on this track, I dunno the instruments name but its perfect. Not much more I can say about this track its nice well done and will be played in the car for months to come. Along with the MOP I got the MOP from my boy shit is straight.

[briCK Life break]

You think I should call my girl? She said not to call so why should I call, if I don’t she will be on some “nigga f*ck you for not callin” if I call she be like I said don’t call..shit girls

[End briCK life break]

Rise Up

Okay I am depressed I cant do this review anymore. Maybe later, I am off to eat ice cream and cry like a bitch peace for now. She called and I feel a lot better she claims it’s that time of the month. Onward with the review we go.
Nice sample classic example of what a hip hop track should be like, I love this. You know that snare that sounds like an axe hitting a tree, yeah that’s the one. Simple, yet well done beat. The MC mesh perfectly with the beat, a product like this is worth buying purely for the quality, work and thought put into it.

Live Ordeal

Hardcore beat Alert!!!!! Head banger Alert !!!! Shit my neck hurts and its only been 4bars. Rock guitar sample. Shit we have the best track so far. Energetic rapid fire track shit y’all need to hear this it’s hot to fucking death. Rhyme Alert!!!! “Another Guinness rhyme commander talking slander head-banger” shit this shit is wild. Definitely a window down volume up in your whip head-banging joint love it.

One, 2

What !!!! that soul food y’all. Damn completion for best track Rhyme Alert!!! “No diggy my squads fat like miss piggy” what !! shit nigga…damn this track is fucking blazing. perfect track again…shit…the MCs are just fucking crazy tearing shit up, and the beat? Lets put it like this..this a banger that would make Primo blush then turn Green in with envy. The DJ on this knows his shit I love the scratches and cuts.what what what…yeah what what what …shit this track is better than the previous not taking anything away from it coz it is the shit but this cats went onto another dimensional plain and just blacked the fuck out on a hot beat.

Stop, Look, Listen feat. C.L.A.S.

No he didn’t, I have never heard a vocal sample this good since way way way back..HIP HOP is ALIVE MOTHERFUCKERS ha…I love this shit, Rza would turn green green green after hearing this beat and the way the harmonic vocal sample is used. What Rhyme Alert !!! “Raps like teks wetting ya // please suckers cant see we buring your retina”. SHIT belive it or not this is better than the previous two tracks shit. Any album with three 5/5 tracks in a row is defiantly a must buy. Rhyme for rhyme..shit the sample, the melody, the drum pattern the flows all infallible perfect track I have not heard a totally perfect track in years there is absolutely nothing wrong with this track..yes,,,,,,yes…boom bap boom boom bap boom boom boom bap..you know I have to play this one again..REWIND. See the producer first plays the entire sample then the cuts a 1second sample from within it and loops it, I love this shit, shit I feel like breaking something. Frre advertising Alert !!! I love AMSTEL..i guess you figured that I am drinking as I write.

[Review]

Wow, is all I can say, this is a brilliant album. From hearing this once you can tell a lot about these MCs and they state of mind, hip hop is all it sayz. There is not much more I can say but cop this, its well done album a lot of hard work was put into making this.

Oddities – Scenic Route (Battle Axe Records)

briCK note
I am not the most broadminded, in hip hop fundamentals, person in the world, so in order to illustrate my real un-biased feeling of the albums I review, all my reviews are all split into two, first off I take you the reader with me as I hear the tracks for the first time and I will type as I hear and feel it at “run time” as it were. So it’s a track by track documentation of my reactions as I hear the album, that way when I write a proper review you know how I felt it but also a spontaneous probably inaccurate first time review but I feel there is nothing like the first time you hear something and react to it so come along.

The second part is a much shorter and condensed summary of the album with more research, facts and knowledge and much much less drama. PEACE.
briCK

Happy New Year while you out there drunk I am here doing a review of “Oddities” called “Scenic Route”, this better not fucking ruin my high. Aight lets do this!

Oddities

Not my type of beats but they nicely done, the first two MC s are solid as shit nice. Jay Star and Jason. Nice. The beats are very well done produced by Bookworm whom I assume from the hook makes the third link of the three man click oddities.

Weakdays

Nice cuts energetic beats. Rhyme Alert!!!! “Like helicopters I rotated to propel” Jason drops this line hahaha nice I like, this album sounds well planned and delivered. Hook Alert!!!! “I cant hold myself back from making a beat I cant hold myself from saying you weak” that’s a snippet from the hook nice track. There is nothing outstanding about it, just a straight track. Nice DJ cuts at the end.

Soundwaves (ft Ishcan)

Loving it!, the way the hook goes with the tight beats. Shit this beat is sick as shit, nice laid back mellow track defiantly a weed track. There is this brass instrument I dunno if it is a trumpet but it is the most beautiful horn I have ever heard, MCs blend beautifully with the beats shit a perfect track 5/5.You should hear the hook, the way the voices get inter laced. In comes Ishcan, nice nice nice !!!!. Fuck I love everything about this track, Ishcan confesses what I am confessing about his being a lovely beat, I am tempted to repeat but I can’t ah well.

Vortex

Rave sounding effects, but they not annoying, yet, experimental beat I like it tho, kick snare kick snare kick snare kick snare stop… kick snare kick snare kick snare kick snare stop…etc..oh it’s a skit nice

No Business

Nice sample + Nice drums + nice bass-line = nice beat, that’s how simple it is to make a nice beat, Damn all starving artist who are really down will relate to this. Fuck the music industry for real. HOOK “I make Music I don’t make hits, coz its real music it aint shit I aint paid to do it so I pay to do it”. Cliché alert!! But this track is REAL…these cats speak the truth on this I feel the emotion Fuck The Industry

Always

Dudududu du dudududud du dudududu du..shit I love this sample, Bookworm the producer loves his craft and really knows his shit, his beats are dope, I wish you could hear this instead of taking my word for it. I have nothing more to say, dope track. This album “scenic route” was dropped in 2003 under Battle Axe records. This is Hip Hop, yeah real life stories documented on wax….

Pick-Up Rhyme

Niggaz and ass !!!! damn it never ends hahaha, I swear every album that’s about real life has to have a track about woman and they asses and shit and how we wanna fuck all night long like a Mary J record, but beneath it all its just about showing love to females and this track does just that. Lovely jazzy sample I swear this is what love songs should sound like, none of that RnB lie to a hoe shit …tell a broad like this “Yo huns I like your phat ass and I wanna wax it all night long then maybe we can chill if the ass is good” hahahahaha you dig? none of that “I cried a river before I hit it shit”

Do Your Thang

Sorry gotta stop review now …gone drinking.

Back again, hung over as a bitch but whatever. Pretty normal track nothing really outstanding bout it. Real soul full beat. Hahaha nice this cat blacks out in his second verse and just kicks this nice sequence of tight flows “mono-rhyme” as I like to call it.
Nice outro to the track bookworm just lets loose with the beats at the end nice shit.

Late Again

This beats sounds dangerously like the previous one just louder drums. Nice vocal sample. The producer uses “African” drums so cleverly. It’s like he uses them as a snare and a kick at the same time I cant explain what I am hearing. its dope tho. The Oddities sound very focused when they did this album they put everything into it, I would buy this cd just purely for the work put into it you can feel the passion and hard dedicated work and late night rehearsals good album, MC quote alert “wanna tell me bout sleepless night, I can tell you bout wake less days” WHOA NIGGA

Wicked Man

Definitely a reggae influenced beat. I am loving this beat. It does how ever sound a bit too busy too many things happening at the same time, but its not at annoying levels. The DJs cuts are just flawless on the hook. That’s that, not much more I can say about this track except that the beat is straight the MCs do they part so does the DJ so proper track in my eyes

One Day (ft Katt)

This is my type of beat, I’d flip out and kill a man on this, so does Jason incidentally. He sets it off on a some laid back beat complimenting flow, this cat is a skilled MC. Katt also flips the fuck out just brutalizes the Mic not on a rapid fire tip nah on some chilled out brutality MC quote Alert !!!! “using wisdom can make something ancient seem wiser or verse visa my words are wiser”. These cats man…Damn these MC are fucking killing this beat, all of them are just smacking from right to left and back again, shit…this is beautiful. Easily the best track so far easily. St Louis is that where they from? This beat here was done by Bounce I feel he gave Bookworm a break but the beat is well suited for the album just as tight as all the other beats.

Revolving 

Energetic get up and kick your mum in the face type beat I love it, “briCK is sick make you wanna suck diCK” hahahahah…yeah I so wanna rhyme to this beat. The mix down on this is beautiful. The MC handle the beat very well I feel I could have done a better job killing this beat ;), this is the kinda beat that needs sticky fingas, busta and maybe ODB to ride to.

That’s Just Me

Very Emotional and personal track, but “that’s just him”, Jason sets it off talking bout himself and what he does, how much he hates his dad, how he smokes blunts the usual shit we all used to. Hook Alert!!! “That’s Just Me I smoke trees coz it’s a habit to me” Jason goes solo and delivers a tight track on a tight beat and shows that he can hold his own on his own.

Black Santa (Interlude)

They try to convince Jason to sing and he agrees and he sings some R. Kelly bump and grind shit …sounds crazy as hell but sounds like he can really sing

Given It Up (ft Black Santa)

Jason is singing the hook and does a really good job. Jay Star talks bout something all cats been thru, tryna get a girl to give it up, he goes back to when it was as simple as taking a broad to the movies and telling her you love her and she’d give it up but now we all know what’s up, the older you grow there is one of many guaranteed ways, “liquid panty remover ” commonly know as Alcoholic beverages. The entire track is about getting girls to give it up so all you no pussy getting virgins can pick up a hint or two.

Coming Down (ft Esthero)

I love string instruments. This beat was produced by Bookworm will help from Bounce, one of only two tracks not solely produced by Bookworm. There is really nothing I can say about this track. It’s straight.

Track 17 

First hidden track or not in the track listing I have. What is this?
Huh? Sounds like bloopers! Oh yes it is. Shit this is interesting. Its nice, feels like you in the studio. Hahaha I like this recording bloopers shit.

Track 18

I think these are all extras. The last 4 tracks in the album are extras. Sounds like a comedy one liner medley accompanied by a tight beat. WOW this is really a tight concept of adding extras after the album is done..kinda like DVD extras

Track 19 

Track alert, this cat has amazing breath control. He flows sixteen bars without breathing. well of course he does breathe but his amazing breath control makes it seem like he does not. The track is about booze(GIN) and hookers ,what ever you know about booze is what its about you will relate to every single bar. Shit I need a beer Free Advertising alert I LOVE AMSTEL…

Track 20 

Outro I assume.
“Buck Buck Buck Bookworm” haahahahahahahahah…”fucking touch your pussy” hahahahahahahahaha, “Big Fucking Mac make sure it Fucking BIG”…hahahahahahahahah “everyone love pussy” ..hahahahahahahahah “this is me “hahahahahahaha…holy shit !! the outro is a Thai restaurant owner complainin about Oddities he is funny as fuck…”I like to lick to touch your tities” hahahahahahaa

I am in stitches here…I loved this album. 

Review

This three man click drops a solid album, even though at times it gets a bit boring and uncreative, it is definitely an album worth coping. Bookworm lays an amazing array of solid beats and takes a break on one beat and allows his boy bounce to drop a really amazing an not out of place beat. The MC Jason and Jay Star do not disappoint and ride the beats very well. This is a truly hard worked on and executed album, you can tell it’s their first work but it sounds like a really good debut for a possibly entertaining future for these cats. We are taken on an epic journey, they prefer to call it a scenic route, and you will see what that means, the diversity of these cats is very remarkable the ability to go from a neck snapping head-bangers such as “Sound Waves” featuring Iscan who laces a dope verse, to a track about starving artists and how the industry fucks us over but we still survive track is called “No Business”. Dope album a must buy.

Emile – Who Am I? (Cape Flats Uprising)

We all know Emile as the lead rapper of one of South Africa’s longest running Hip Hop crews Black Noise. This new cd of his is dedicated to the memory of Ashley Kriel, Robert Waterwitch, Coline Williams, Ashley Forbes and Anton Fransch. These are the unsung heroes of the Cape Flats.

It has taken me a while to review this one but have been listening to this one on and off throughout the past month. The production on this album was shared by Patrick Hickey (Caramel) and Marlon Miller. There are some songs on here which you might have heard on earlier Black Noise albums. So what you get are a mixture of old and mostly new songs.

I Am Proud Of…

The beat on this one is the kind that will move you. The hook “I am proud of Africa and being black – I am tired of coconut Africans that act wack” moves nicely over the bass/moog melody. This is a tight one and Emile starts it off with:

“I love my kinky hair, big nose and dark skin
I’m learning more daily to love the Afrikan within
me and all of the African family
Every race can be traced to Africa originally”

This is sort of like an anthem because the hook is addictive. Emile wants the bling bling era to stop and then he moves on to talk about African stereotypes. You will find yourself chanting along. A solid track.

“5 severed fingers were once a clenched fist”. 

Coconut Man

Now this is the one that refuses to get out of my head. It’s like my brain put this on repeat. On this one he talks about the European wannabee wanting to infest our country with multinationals in this E-con-o-me. In the second verse he raps about the coloured kid who goes to a model C school (model C standing for coconut). Anyway so this kid starts using words like lank and kief and he dyes his hair blonde and goes to raves. “he’s the new klopse to come and dance at their circuses”. In the last verse he then raps about those who talk about their European ancestors. You know, we all know those people who say they have German surnames and pride themselves in that. 
“They tell their daughters not to bring home a kinky haired boy/
cause they don’t want their grandchildren looking like a Khoi Khoi”

The beat on this one is quirky but the hook and the words are brilliant. If you live in the Cape you’ll definitely relate.

Cape Flats Uprising

I don’t like the beat on this one. It’s sorta like an attempt to a bay area/west coast beat. On this one he talks more about stereotypes, politics, drugs and gangs. Emile really tries to set the record str8 by letting us know that:
“I’m tired of all the stereotypical views of me and my community/
klopse, gangsters and supporters of the NNP”

What The F… Is Real?

I don’t like the hook on here.  On this one he goes on about the TV then in the second verse he touches on genetics and cloning. What turns out to be a really weak ass line ends up being a line that comes off as really humorous:
Dollie are you a sheep, was making you real cheap
Dollie if you a sheep, if you’re really real then go bleep” 

Shit I don’t know whether to conjure up a hole and jump in it or laugh out loud.

Who Am I?

One of the dope ones. The beat is funky with a western cape twist and Emile comes off comfortably over the beat. The lyrics are funny too. I like the beat on here, especially how the samples (is that a liewe heksie sample?) work with the hook in the chorus. You will relate to these lyrics – especially if you live in the Western Cape.

Black Facts

The first time I heard this a couple of years ago I immediately got drawn in by the sample. I think it’s from the Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon album – but sped up and first few bars looped. Black Facts was on one of their older albums – Rebirth in 1995. A nice laid back one. It’s interesting to hear how the first first songs which are new ones work well with these old ones. The messages are consistent throughout.

Africa For Sale

Also from the 1995 album Rebirth. An uptempo track. Not really feeling this one.

African Sun

Taken from the 1998 Hip Hop Won’t Stop album. Tight traditional African samples. 

Civil Lie

Also from the 1998 Hip Hop Won’t Stop album. Not feeling this.

Who Taught You?

I remember this one, shit they used to play this on Bush all the time. This was released in 1994 by the way. The samples “Who taught you to hate yourself – this blue eyed man – a kaffer sal bly n kaffer, you will remain where you are – don’t let the white man speak for you and don’t let the white man fight for you” will make most white people cringe. Don’t expect them to play this on Good Hope. A powerful track. Even the deliveries on here are tighter than most of the songs Black Noise did. 

Best tracks:
I Am Proud Of…
Coconut Man
Who Am I?
Black Facts
Who Taught You?

At the end of the day we need to look at the bigger picture and this album basically looks at that. On this album you don’t get complicated rhyme styles and technically brilliant production. However the words speak for themselves. These are real issues that most of us can relate to. At times he holds a mirror up to us – either you will look away or you will see a new form of liberation in this audio mirror.

Will you like this album? I really don’t know. When playing this to some people I got mixed reactions. From one extreme to another. You make up your own mind. But for me this is an essential album. And without wanting to sound like the rainbow nation bullshit cliché it does contain messages that all races can get value out of and learn a few things or two. 

It would have been nice to hear different producers do beats on here. Both of the producers on here were so similar in style – and maybe he wanted to keep the sound consistent throughout but I feel the beats could’ve been tighter. At times they do sound outdated – but then again many of the songs on here were released a few years back. And why not put that ill Western Cape hip hop classic song “Color Aint Shit”? That would’ve been tight. 

Emile takes his work seriously and is a hip hop pioneer. He’s been at this for 20 years and don’t expect him to stop. He practices all the elements, yes folks, he is an active bboy, writer, emcee, dj, educator etc. I remember when I was still in high school and he was raising money to build parks in Mitchell’s Plain. I thought to myself – damn that’s dedication. Anyway I hear he’s working on a new album. And as with each album his aim is to educate and liberate. If you want to be liberated/educated/entertained then check this cd out.

Ambassadoz – Travelwyze (Independent)

The tracklisting on the cd cover shows only 4 song names but the cd is 9 tracks deep. But it’s okay because this is an exclusive album preview. This is crew coming from Ghana

“Interestingly the two emcees used to go under the name of (Foreign) Diplomats while Tanzania in the 90′s also had its crew Deplowmatz, but these are two different groups.” – Juma4 from Africanhiphop.com

There’s a whole other world in the rest of Africa as hundreds of artists are releasing albums. South Africans should really make more attempts to do collaborations with their continental neighbours. 

The first track on here starts off with a fat ass beat. Reminds me a lot of UGK. The rappers have nice flows and their African accents are not lost – thank God for that. Oh shit the track switches as they land at the airport. Okay I see now, the first two verses they are taking off on a plane then they land. Interesting track.

Yes this is what I like. The second song on here has a very strong hook. Can’t understand the language. But I like the fact they rapping in their own language. Damn I like the flows. The production is also dope – I hear rain and thunder in the background. Solid!

Third one. Nice commercial sound beat. Perfect for those hot African nights where the chicks are glowing with sweat on a beach night club. This one they doing in English. 

Track 4. Starts with scratching and is driven by a guitar sample. Bass comes in and they kick their verses lovely. It’s okay but let’s skip to the next one.

Mmm track number 5 is fucking fat. Head nodder. Synth driven. This is a bilingual track. A tight beat.

Track 6 starts with scratching as well. Intrusive bass dribbles throughout. Off centre broken english deliveries add a touch of panache. Track 7 begins with a synth orchestra and carries with a typical west coast drum pattern. Number 8 has a funky 70′s sample. Excited hi hats tickle the baseline in the background. I can’t help but get up and do a Johnny Clegg move in front of this monitor. You can hear that they are enjoying rapping on this one. The last song on here also has that 70′s style sample. The hook mimics the horn. Damn that beat is just too funky. Like Osibisa on mandrax.

After listening to this I can say I’m happy to own a copy. The Ambassadoz is just one of those crews I’d like to check out live. I believe the cd will be available to purchase on CDBaby.com soon – so when that happens at least check out some of the audio clips. Check their dope website out and look out for the interview coming here soon.

The Nextmen – Get Over It (Scenario)

Track Listings

1. Firewalking – Feat. Rodney P, Dynamite MC and Cutty Ranks
2. Listen To This – Feat. Penultimate
3. 31st February – Feat. J Live
4. Get Over It – Feat. TY
5. Hear What I Say – Feat. Rodney P
6. 20 Round Bout – Feat. Penultimate
7. High Score – Feat. Dynamite MC
8. Slow Burn – Feat. Soulson
9. RSP – Feat. Penultimate
10. Put Your Hands Up – Feat. Soulson
11. Silent Weapon – Feat. Cutty Ranks
12. Marlon Brando – Feat. Ty

Background

The Nextmen are Brad Balloo and Dom Search from Cambridge, UK. Their debut album was released in 2000 called, “Amongst The Madness”. Then in 2003 they released their much awaited 2nd album, “Get Over It”.

Review on each track

1. Firewalking – Featuring Rodney P, Dynamite MC & Cutty Ranks

Well, the first track on the album will make you buy it if your listening to the album at your record store. It has an addictive loop over a good beat and with mainly Rodney P spitting over the track it makes it for me. Rodney P is by far my favourite MC to come out of the UK and he doesn’t dissapoint on this track. There is a bit of a risky part in the track when Cutty Ranks comes in and says a westcountry “oo-arr” in his lyrics a few times, which at first makes you go, “hmmm, dodgy”, but after a second / third listen you get used it and in a strange way it really works. “Firewalking” gives you a phat beat, a catchy chorous and good lyrics in the unique style that is UK Hip-Hop.

2. Listen To This – Featuring Penultimate

I really like this track. The production is good but what really makes it for me is Penultimate. I like his style of rapping, it’s different, which gives it the edge. A good rapper is one that has a good flow and at the same time will want to make you listen to the lyrics word for word, Penultimate does this for me. Penultimate is definatly representing the U.S side of things on this album.

3. 31st February – Featuring J-Live

I personally wasn’t feeling this one but I’m not taking anything from J-Live or the production of this tack. I recognise that the track is good and I can see other people liking it, I just wasn’t feeling it. J-Live is a good rapper but it’s not one of his better ones.

4. Get Over It – Featuring TY

Yet another UK MC laying down the track nice. This one will no doubt make you bob your head from side to side. I’m a fan of TY, especially after seeing him live opening up for De La Soul in London. I don’t 100% like the way they ended the track because it takes away from the vibe, but over all; Dope production, dope MC, dope track.

5. Hear What I Say – Featuring Rodney P

The beat isn’t really a Hip-Hop one, it’s a more uptempo beat towards the likes of Ragga. It’s a good track, Rodney P definatly carries this one. It’s not one to chill out to but I can see it going down well in a club, the type of club that mixes Ragga, Garage, R’n’B and Hip-Hop (You know the ones). 

6. 20 Round Bout – Featuring Penultimate

Nice beat, good rapping. At times you feel that maybe this beat should have been given to a different style of rapper, almost like the beat and the lyrics were made seperatly and then just thrown together without one hearing the other first. Then after a few listens it comes together. Not the best track on the album but I like it.

7. High Score – Featuring Dynamite MC

Gooood track. The rapping is uptempo and fast but still clear, some may compare it to a Garage style (I’m definatly NOT a garage fan), I say to those people, “NO!”. I see what they’re saying but it is more of a Hip-Hop style of MCing. The key differences between a garage MC and a Hip-Hop MC is that a Hip-Hop MC can MC – Ya get me! Anyway, back to the track…. The chorous is brilliant, it will start you off chilled out and will get you hooked then Dynamite MC hypes you up through out the rest. Dope song. 

8. Slow Burn – Featuring Soulson

Yet another track that I wasn’t feeling. And again, like J-Live’s track, I can see other people liking it though. It’s just that I found the way they’ve sang “Slow Burn” as cheesy. Soulson seems like a good rapper but I won’t be overly looking out for any solo albums. Maybe I’m wrong but first impressions last a long time. It’s good enough to be have playing in the background but won’t in any of my DJ sets.

9. RSP – Featuring Penultimate

RSP (Regulary Scheduled Programme) is a phat track. It’s got a good beat, a catchy humming over the track, which usually works with most tracks, take the Bush Babees song “S.O.S” for example, and a good lyricist. This track caught me from the first few seconds. It’s a good one. 

10. Put Your Hands Up – Featuring Soulson

This track flows nicely from start to finish. His style of rap in this track reminds me of Eric Sermon’s (From EPMD) flow, paticulary from “Stay Real”. Not that I’m saying he’s biting Eric Sermons style, far from it, it’s just his rapping in this reminds me of “Stay Real”. There’s also definatly a Mos Def influence in there too.

11. Silent Weapon – Featuring Cutty Ranks

Not a Hip-Hop track. It has strong Jamaican influences. Once again it would be a good track in one of “those” clubs but it’s definatly not one for me. So I can’t really fairly comment on this track because I’m not into that type of music.

12. Marlon Brando – Featuring TY

The chilled out track of the album. It’s not the typical Hip-Hop style that I’d usually get into but I really like this one. Pass me the papers, the baccy and the weed for this one.

Album Review – Overall

The album as a whole is definately a good one. It’s well produced with a mixture of influences all tied up in one package. With a good line up of MCs from the UK and USA it’s a winner. I’m not saying this is the best album of 2003, NO!, I’m just saying it’s my personal favourite. Peace.

Immortal Technique – Revolutionary Vol 1 (Viper Records)

Not since the revolutionary days of Public Enemy has hip hop given birth to such an angry and outspoken mc. Immortal Technique is what hip hop and the world needs right now: knowledge and wisdom. 

It’s difficult to find a flaw in Technique’s lyrics as he backs up his statements with pure hard facts. Production is not what we need to analyse here, the lyrical content is what drives this powerhouse mc. 

On Revolutionary Vol 1, the track “Poverty of Philosophy” is the type of track that educational institutions should include in their curriculum. Immortal Technique breaks down social politics in spoken word form that highlights the plight of the poor and oppressed while at the same time criticising corrupt governments and corporate America who continue to ignore and oppress the poor. 

“As much as racism bleeds America, we need to understand that classism is the real issue”. 

This is just a quote from this six and a half minute track that you need to listen to to get the real facts!!! 

“Beef and Broccoli” is another stand out on vol.1. Immortal breaks it down as to why vegetarians shouldn’t criticize meat 
eaters and vice-versa. 

“I seen some of you herbivores and if you wanna argue, hell ya’ll need to eat some kind of supplement. Cos sum of you 
are so skinny it’s disgusting, looking like the only hip hop mutha fuckers on Schindler’s list”. 

Ha ha ha, that’s no disrespect to vegetarians, he’s merely throwing back at vegetarians who snub meat eaters. 

“The Prophecy” is a chilling scientific description of his role in the universe as a unknown entity. Well constructed lyrics that blend equally well with the opera voice sample that haunts the listener. 

Revolutionary vol. 1 is the perfect introduction of this focused and conscious mc.

Foreign Beggars – Asylum Speakers (Dented Records)

briCK note
I am not the most broadminded, in hip hop fundamentals, person in the world, so in order to illustrate my real un-biased feeling of the albums I review, all my reviews are all split into two, first off I take you the reader with me as I hear the tracks for the first time and I will type as I hear and feel it at “run time” as it were. So it’s a track by track documentation of my reactions as I hear the album, that way when I write a proper review you know how I felt it but also a spontaneous probably inaccurate first time review but I feel there is nothing like the first time you hear something and react to it so come along.

The second part is a much shorter and condensed summary of the album with more research, facts and knowledge and much much less drama. PEACE.
briCK

Intro 
Is that sample from the Matrix? I hear rain, could this mean an approaching storm by Foreign Beggars? Only time will tell. Clever producer, he really is not afraid of sound. I like his production style already. Boom Bap Boom Bap !  The scratches on this, damn I like this a little already, nothing like a DJ and Producer to introduce an album.

Stabilize ft Kashmere, Metropolis, Graziella

Bass line driven track, aight aight…First MC is straight fire. I don’t like the metronome like sound yuk…female on the hook I like how she sounds. The DJ gets about 30seconds worth of spot light and damn he does his thing.

Glacial ft Dr Syntax

Definitely Primo style production on this. Dr Syntax what what …I love this kid’s flow. The beat sounds very Primo like, not a cheesy Primo throwaway but a genuinely tight Primo track, damn as we speak my neck hurts from out of control head nodding/banging. Orifice? I think that’s who he said he was, the second MC and wish you could hear this flow, lyrical content? Time will tell, there’s none of that scientific far-fetched quasar, quantum physics and alien reproduction talked about here, simple basic pure reality, I love it. sick as shit.
Nice sample I have noticed these cats have weird accents, In comes the DJ again Hook Alert!   “I lost way home while exploring the Galaxy” sounds like Necro or Cage sample scratch blended with a Rae sounding sample…finished?  Damn nice track.

Where Did The Sun Go ft Anik, Tommy Evans

I love the voice that sets this off, not too sure if it’s a sample definitely sounds like someone singing.  The beat is playful don’t know if that makes sense? The rhymes and production definitely are on point, the second MC has a nice fierce verse, perfectly fits the beat like a glove. Third cat’s flow is sick.  I love this beat the sample is really nice, I dunno if its Sade who was sampled, I dunno but it’s a dope vocal sample nice accompanying / complementary drums too.

Flowing ft MrX, Carnage

Shit not another jazz sample, fuck man is every producer going to sample Jazz all the time… Let me give this the benefit of the doubt and check it out.  I don’t know who is who – the MCs that is, Fuck!  This sample is actually used nicely, I noticed the three last beats have the same / very similar snare. Flows are “aight” for a track called flowing, shit!, this is taking too long this track is quite monotonous, really, okay I am bored now. Shit 1 more minute to go. damn, this is my least favourite track already….aight some scratching at the end to try and save face. Nice!  Whoa Mr DJ saves the Day.  Nice outro to the track, I like this beat as a matter of fact but MCs really did not use it effectively.  One minute with no MCs rapping just the DJ and his decks I feel this track. On the second listen I am sure I will regret what I typed, but whatever.

Interlude

Nursery school memories, now I am definitely convinced it’s the same snare nice snare none the less.

One Take ft Metropolis, Grim Finsta, Anik

Snare change yay!. Nice first MC, this guy has mastered his flow, second MC let me hear. Whoa!  Is that French?  Really dope flow, damn for a French guy this guy has mastered English grammar no disrespect to any French readers intended just my natural reaction, third MC, shit this cats flow is the shit…4th cat, what’s that about New Zealand?  Shit .
Hahaha shit this cats is killing me, flow, rhyme structure, damn this cats practices his Flow, Metropolis is his name. This DJ is definitely dope… is that a Pharo sample? briCK says “aye this bloke has lost his 6ses and 9s I need a cuppa and I wanna watch cricket on the telly”…hahaha.  Sorry couldn’t resist I think these guys are British, well at least some of them must be.

Gimme Dat

Damn I’d rip a beat like this to bits, the first cat has a nice fierce way of attacking the beat, did this cat say just say “petticoat” on cd? hahahahaha!  Shit this cats is killing this beat, this kids got flow and remarkable breath control.  I think I need to check out they website for more info www.dentedrecord.com. Rhyme Alert!  “My shit is bitching ..I rap for Brrrrrritain” nice!  This cat is from Britain. Or at least reps Britain.  Rhyme alert,  “Spank the monkey during detention” hahahaha this kid is sick. This DJ is really dope, and the producer is definitely ill. Both MCs fitted perfectly on this beat.

Wrong Move ft Tommy Evans

That violin sounds too familiar, I think these cats are from Britain, explains the “weird accents” nice breather from familiar “American accents”.  I like the second kids flow a lot and yes the DJ, From what I can tell so far there could be three MCs in the “Foreign Beggars”, I can distinctly identify three different rappers. And they really mastered they flows and the producer! damn!! He is nice with it. I always respect any album that gives the DJ and producer time to do they individual things. This definitely gets an official briCK stamp of approval …thumbs up.

Eurrr. Oh

French sample…don’t understand what been said. Sounds sad.. arrrrrrrrrrrg What’s wrong with my real media player? Shit I need to restart Real Media go figure. What track was I on? I can’t remember where I was. Track number 10? Okay. Don’t you just hate how computers never seem to work?  Makes you kinda wish it was like back in the day, walkman, pen or pencil to rewind your tapes and your headphones ?  I can’t review this anymore the CD wont play… “Please Insert Audio CD” what you talking bout? the CD is inside!  Bill fucking Gates . There we go back to review. Most definitely sounds sad I can’t understand him but sounds sad, it’s a French guy singing, I love the beat this producer is very thorough and has a good ear for music I like his production style…wait was that an interlude?  Yip.

What Goes Up ft Dr. Syntax

I definitely know that’s Dr Syntax, very nice flow voice control. Hook alert!  “what goes up must come down”…I like, that’s the hook incase I lost you.  Second MC I know him, definitely a flower hahaha as in flow-er not as in rose. That sample is the same one used in the BCC Album track called “Sleepers” check out they shit www.duck-down.com.  I had to put that in I love the BCC. In this case the sample is well used here it’s been chopped a bit different but nicely done, this producer definitely has an ear for good samples. “what goes up must come down…gravity won’t save you now” I love the hook …wait that doesn’t make much sense… “gravity won’t save you now” shit song finished already? Definitely my favourite track so far.

Hold On ft DVS, Skinnyman

Double time flow? I don’t really like double time flows, only few MCs can really do it well others just make the flow sound stupid and kills the track and sound retarded, Jay-Z can really do it well though at times he too fucks it up, the best I have heard it done was by Biggie on the track featuring Bone Thugs and Harmony “Got a gat, choose the right one” okay so I am deviating…nice kick and snare the drum pattern is definitely nice. I hate the melody…annoying…nice vocal sample or is that someone singing? Shit it is! Nice nice nice. I don’t like this track much.

Whose Next ft Wayne Wonder, Tau Rai

My kinda beat, I’d kill this one. Wayne Wanda sets it off.  How do I know you might ask well he sez “I’m Wayne Wonder here’s my name and number” damn I’m loving this cats semi laid back style very funny yet serious in his lyrics too. The second MC his name Orifice / Vulgatron and he is my favourite from “Foreign Beggars” he kills all the beats he is on, I wonder if he is diverse? Coz all his verses seem to be rapid mic attacking. MC number three has a sick sick sick flow its Tau Rai I should assume, well actually he says it “ Ayo its Tau Rai”…I think there should be an unwritten rule to MCs who are not known “TELL US YOUR NAME IN YOUR VERSE DAMMIT”. The producer on this is really dope…need more info on these cats go to check out they site www.dentedrecord.com Frosted Perspex ft Lena

I have to stop bumping hip-hop music for now my girls here. Weed , booze and sex over hip-hop. Well not really depends I am feeling horny today so peace out.  Bye but before I go I need to say so far this is a really dope album. I have to play “What Goes Up” one more time though …

Back to review…this beat is really nice. The production in this album is definitely on point really tight. Most of these rappers sound very local that Anglo Saxon type English, well mostly black kids who went to model–c whateva they called nowadays schools sound like this.  This must have something to do with the Queens’ English and the British having colonized parts of SA and forced English onto us, went over board there… Take it from me these MCs can really ride a beat they flows are so versatile and well worked on. Very focused. Hook Alert!  “I travelled the world ten times all I see is pain, came back home to find my peeps in vein” that’s part of a really dope hook. I love the harmonizing in the sample on this…I have the utmost respect for these cats, they give they DJ a chance to shine in most off they outros they also allow the producer /s to be as creative as he can, this is always going to be a winning formula, letting everyone showcase they skills in an album. Damn finished already!!

Code rhythm talk ft Farma G, Chester P

Another banger !  Surprise surprise I am not sure if its one Producer but I seem to pick up distinct production style differences. That sample sounds familiar, just can’t put my finger on it, damn a DJ like this is really what is needed to make a tight album tighter, he is not afraid to put cuts and scratches wherever he wants. The beats wow, I think we have a new favourite here. There should be a law about flowing this dope on such a dope beat with such dope cuts. These MCs are rippin shit apart…damn!  This is definitely a new favourite of mine.

Blue Gardenias

I love this producer, he is teaching other aspiring producers in this interlude, what he does is he plays the original 8beat vocal sample with the original instruments, we don’t see the process, but he then proceeds to cleans the sample, chops it correctly then he adds his drums and bass line and creates an 8 bar loop …nice way to show and prove, a practical demonstration in the art of beat making for aspiring producers also showing our younger generation the importance of crate digging and sampling as core fundamentals in hip hop Big up!  Youngsters don’t sleep. This shows that interludes are not just album fillers; they too have purpose in the album.  Big up!

Mind Out

I am assuming Skrein, the featured cat, is singing the hook nice voice no wait!  Shit I dunno I think he’s the MC, haven’t heard this voice so far, anyway. Soulful laid back beat delivered by the producer for these “London youths”, damn nice flow, this beat is definitely contender for best beat too. From what I can gather this Newcastle Born MC is having fun on the mic talking bout a typical day from where he’s at, you know the whole chill, smoke a spliff, listen to hip hop and shag your broad shit which we would all rather be doing anyway. Skill is not an issue for this cat, he rides the beat effortlessly, on some wave a wand and make the beat do as he pleases shit, classic track…oh PS .he says “fuck the Queen” hahaha defiantly not sexually of-course.

Prime Source ft Robin Goods

Ahhhhhh what better way to start a track, the DJ’s scratches set the track off, say again really dope DJ. Interesting thing I have noticed about these cats is a strong Jamaican words / mannerism influence. Listen to that snare.  I definitely love the production, as usual, I am sure you are sick of me riding this producer’s dick, if you heard these beats too, you’d understand, in the meantime take my word for it, and the DJ good lord. I can stop reviewing right now coz I doubt there is more these cats can do to impress me any more than they have. Nice beats, focused MCs, focused DJ all on straight well mastered and laced track, mixed professionally!  This album is just incredible. Reason I am typing so much is that the track is really laid back chilled. I love it. DJ is really dope, noticed I am on his jock too?

Getaway ft Pye, Supar Navar, Nassah, Highbreed

Fruity loops dry snare right there, nice piano and vocal sample, could be someone singing not too sure. Chilled soulful track, beautiful beat. I can feel the seriousness in the MCs lyrics, they really want to get away, passionate and real lyrics, I feel these cats struggle, something I can relate to, I suppose like most of us we need to getaway, think I’m going to cry! ha kidding but really passionate and emotion driven song.  Looks like we have a winner for favourite / best track.

A Day In The Life Of…

Classic boom bap pattern, all you aspiring producers learning material right here, with fitting alternating piano and violin samples, maybe cello or viola. I don’t know its definitely one of those, nice two minute instrumentals that every album with such a tight producer should have allowing uninterrupted production skill show casing nice panning too, this man knows his equipment ….. oh shit!  A vocal sample, talk about an pleasant unexpected surprise…Quote!  “A day in the life of a fool” ha nice short breather for the MCs.

The Bar Spitzvah Rabbi Shlomo

Holy Shit is that a beat BoX ONLY!  What the fuck!  Oh shit, wish y’all could hear this…fuck I am going crazy…this cats beat box is the shit….REWIND.  This cat has high hats, snares , kicks, scratches ,bass line and sample at the same time!
What the fuck this is impossible!

Damn the album is finished.

Review

Foreign beggars have made an amazingly fresh album, Asylum Speakers is a very solid and professional sounding album with 21 tracks.  Go to the site I will not tell you their history that’s why they have the web site I assume. www.dentedrecords.com

The beats are very diverse, the MCs and other featured artists definitely hold they own too so that’s cool. The album is very energetic not too serious and superficial just straight good music. Their knowledge of hip hop and its “rules” is evident in all tracks.  They have the ability to do all that’s required to make this a “hip hop” album. The concepts, well I don’t really get but that’s why you need to get a copy for yourself. These UK cats are definitely a relief from the usual American accents, I will admit that its sounds weird but after you get used to the accent you will truly enjoy this album. Not really my kind of hip hop but very entertaining and a good listen. All the featured artists sound as hungry as the main members and they don’t disappoint. I have been playing this in the car and it has some energetic beats to play loud in your car like “What Goes Up” featuring Dr Syntax who kicks lines like “Syntaxes white-face // means hip hop isn’t my taste? Your facts are light weight// like packs of rice cakes” showing that white people in hip hop all over are treated similarly by people who claim hip hop but yeah. I’m black so I can’t relate but it seems to be a topic of concern.   Some tracks are laid back others energetic/open full blast in your speaker tracks include Glacial featuring Dr Syntax again, while Orifice spits some nice verse. This is definitely a solid, action packed album, truthfully not my type of hip hop but well done none the less and I am sure it will appeal to a lot of people, as a product it is really well done varied solid album…get your hands on it.

Immortal Technique – Revolutionary Vol.2 (Viper Records)

Revolutionary vol.2 kicks off with “Point of No Return”. Close your eyes and you’ll be able to visualise Immortal’s lyrics being brought to life. A haunting violin sample serves as the back drop over a simple but effective drum track. 

“Peruvian Cocaine” describes the life of a drug dealer pushing coke supplied by the C.I.A. This track is a perfect example of how Immortal can base his rhymes on both fact and fiction. What I like about this track is the almost Cuban-like jazz loop that just makes you wanna bob your head all day long. 

“Harlem Streets” is an uplifting song dedicated to the hardships of ghetto life worldwide. A beautiful meditation-like sample washes over the drum track to pave the way for equally meditative lyrics by Immortal. 

“Obnoxious” is another gem of a track with Technique going about his business as usual. He spits: 

“I’m the best of both worlds without the hidden camera and the twelve year old girl”

The chorus is equally as powerful as he rhymes: “Immortal Technique, I made this to bump in your ride or burn it off the Internet and bump it outside, nigga we keepin’ it live”. 

“The Message and the Money” is dedicated to fake promoters and mc’s who use hip hop to fulfil their own needs. 

“Crossing the Boundary”, Immortal Technique gives a shout out to Cape Town, South Africa. Hard lyrics punch you in the face like a left upper cut from Lennox Lewis. Damn that hurts.. 

Describing Immortal Technique’s music does not have the same effect as when you actually listening to it. As I’ve pointed out in a previous review, Immortal Technique is exactly what hip hop needs right now. His wealth of knowledge is highly impressive and he uses it effectively. These albums come highly recommended and bring with them the facts on social and political affairs.
Dub B – Seareality (Sea Real Records) When I first got given this album to review, I had never heard of Dub B. Well, all I can say is he’s based in Seattle and is an offspring from the Bone Thugs n Harmony family tree. It didn’t take long for me to figure that one out cos’ his flow almost immediately gave it away. 

On the album’s opening cut titled “Yippy Ky Yo”, the almost sing-a-long type of flow is very reminiscent of the Bone Thugs style. A west coast flavored bounce track with all sorts of electronic sounds making up the extras. 

“For My”, with it’s funky drum loop and thumping baseline will definitely get the head moving. “Made It Through The Rain” is a nice melodic composition that flows so nicely one wouldn’t mind the mediocre flow that washes over it. 

“Get With It” thumps like there’s no tomorrow. The southern influenced vocals and lyrics is for all the sex fiends. “World Keeps Changing” goes out to all the fallen soldiers. The r&b crooner on the hook doesn’t do a bad job at all. 

On the whole, there’s only a handful of tracks that’s really worth mentioning out of the fourteen. One can tell a huge budget wasn’t injected into this project as most of the tracks sounds like the resources available were limited. As for Dub B, lyrical content seems to be a bit of a struggle. 

This album’s combination of different styles becomes a bit too experimental which doesn’t really give the listener a chance to get the overall feel of the album. Too much electronic driven productions doesn’t really give it a good listening experience.

Spex – Nothing For Mahala (UPEnterprises)

Over the past five years or so the emergence of hip hop artists from all over the country has grown in leaps and bounds with Gauteng leading the assault on the market. Producer’s , mc’s, indie labels, and demo’s are cropping up nearly on a weekly basis. While all this might be good for the advancement of hip hop in S.A, there still seems to be the un-answered question of what all these mc’s and producer’s roles are in this market. 

Spex, a Jozi based mc, has been around for a while and recently released his latest effort titled “Nothing for Mahala”. One 
can hardly call this album a stand out amongst so many hungry cats who are fiercely battling it out for top honors. The album’s intro kicks off with “Scene One”, featuring stand up comedian David Kau. 

“All My” is a funky track that is a pleasant start to the album. Layered with subtle keyboard and guitar loops with effects that fills up the gaps nicely. On “Hey So”, the guitars take over drowning everything swimming in it. The chorus doesn’t do it either as it sounds like not much thought went into it. 

“In It” features production by Boss of Skwatta Kamp. This track sounds effective cos nothing gets over-done here. It’s simple drum track with a simple baseline, is nicely structured with a sample that has been processed to make it sound complete. 

“I’m Sorry” is a wishy washy love story that should’ve stayed in the basement. “Today (Be Free)” is another Skwatta Kamp affiliate production. Once again simplicity is the order of the day. The production could’ve been damn near flawless if just a little more effort went into the arrangement just to break the monotony of the track. 

“Celebrate”, is one of the few worthy mentions on this album. A jazzed up production that sees Spex and the featured artist spit venom in both English and native tongue. The chorus also compliments the feel of the track quite well. 

“City To City” sounds like a west coast joint made for the trunk. A weak chorus and watered down lyrical content just doesn’t sit well with this one. The rest of the album sounds pretty much the same. What this album lacks is thought and creativity. The twenty plus tracks makes it too long cos you’ll soon hear the lyrical content becoming a bit stale. 

I think more effort should have gone into producing a twelve track album to make it more precise and to the point. Spex also needs to put some work into the vocal side of things as his voice and flow can become a bit boring at times. There’s so much potential here but not enough vision to outshine the rest. Don’t get me wrong, I give nuff respex to Spex for doing what he’s doing, but loosen the shackles a bit and don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas. Track listing 

1. Scene one
Produced by: stevie ntwana. 

2. All my… ft: howza: 
a song for amajimbos eloxioni that get up to go blom by the shops and hustle money for booze, spykos and/or zol.
Produced by: Afrika Mkhize

3. Hay’ so: “others are nice maar hay so!”
Produced by: ace

4. In it ft: boss (skwatta kamp): 
First single. Video on rotation on channel o. Spex and boss talking about how they feel about mzansi hip-hop.
Produced by: boss

5. I’m sorry: 
a guy apologising to his woman for doing whatever. Also from the rage compilation, expressions. We call it the strip show because Spex really undresses himself on this song to expose his inner feelings.
Produced by: battlecat (tongogara)

6. It’s a hijak (skit)
Produced by: iko

7. Today (be free) ft: fusi: 
even though people complain, things have changed a lot and conditions have actually improved for us since the fall of apartheid. We now have plenty opportunities to get out of situations of poverty so we must make use of them.
Produced by: nemza (skwatta kamp)

8. Ndo vha vhudza ft: zesta and r-onenda: 
it’s venda for I told them. Basically we told them that we’d still be around after a lot of them have fallen off. The we is the group METAMO’FORCES (Spex and Zesta).
Produced by: beatmaker

9. Tom dollar (fokol): 
a story about a guy whose dreams get destroyed in just one day. His whole life changes in that one day. That’s all it takes.
Produced by: nemza (skwatta kamp)

9. Scene two
Produced by stevie ntwana

11. Celebrate ft: zamani and Zenzi lee: 
a musical joint about people overcoming their differences and coming together for a common good. Third single.
Produced by: afrika mkhize

12. City to city: second single- 
Spex gives props to all the people that have supported him all around the country-“from city to city”.
Produced by: boss (skwatta)

13. Mr. Snyman: 
Spex talks of the days when he used to sell zol to get by.
Produced by: fortune

14. Tahtah II: 
when they don’t call him Spex they call him tahtah. This is Spex playing around for the “f” of it.
Produced by: stevie ntwana

15. Move on ft: howza: 
Lerato’s back!!??
Produced by: afrika mkhize

16. Scene three
Produced by: stevie ntwana

17. Kwaito raps: 
word play like only a good lyricist should. Spex talks about various things using kwaito song titles as metaphors.
Produced by: fortune

18. D.i.f.y. : I’ll Do It For You.
Produced by: dj blackchyld

19. Stereotypical: 
a lot of rappers just sound like a lot of other overseas rappers and Spex expresses how he feels about that.
Produced by: Richard the third

20. Nothing for mahala: 
title track produced by iko (hizo, matters of the heart). There is always a price to be paid for success.
Produced by: iko

21. Scene four
Produced by: stevie ntwana
BONUS TRACKS

22. Vurhonga (new day) ft: howza
Produced by: t-style

23. Fake that
Produced by: t-style

Crisis Center – Beautiful Music (Crisis Center Recordings)

Here’s a group we should be taking more note of. I remember hearing of them a year or two ago. Undefined (Emcee/Producer) and DJ Concept (DJ/Producer) step up and release 3 bangers that taste better than Renown Pork Sausages. These two hip hop torch bearers come from the big apple. Let’s get into this.

Beautiful Music

Now this is what I like. Produced by Undefined himself this one is set to become sticky. Undefined rhymes about real shit – things that make us go “yes I know what you mean brother”. It’s about doing for self. Many of us as young kids were exposed to money problems which were actually the problems of our parents – yet as kids we were also the ones who also couldn’t sleep at night. Music is the savior for many of us. Undefined relates his story in that kind of way. Maybe I misinterpreted it? Who cares – this is what dope music should be about – touching on real issues. For others music is something they play to pass the time. For people like CCP, it’s their way out.

“Sacrifice for years/barely scratch the surface”

Vodka & Milk

Head nod like a walking pigeon. Style Massive features on here. A vocal sample hums like a gyrating Emmanualle pomping session. DJ Concept plays with his turntables and mixer to provide the cut like Boeta Salie at Greatmore Butchery in Athlone. 

Corner The Block

The cutting on here is dicing that sample in the intro. Hey where did that vocal sample come from? I like the horn that appears momentarily and that sneaky little cymbal. This beat is beautiful like Lena Horne when she was 21. 

These 3 tracks get the AG Stamp of Approval. Please get it now.

SNR – Demo CD (C & P)

SNR are two brothers, Steve (Ghost) and Rick (Vito) Gillespie. The beats on here are either produced by themselves or Big Tye. Apparently they can be found performing at various Columbus night clubs. 

I had listened to this demo a couple of times trying to fish out the best parts. However you cannot write a review without giving constructive criticism which could help the artist find their weak spots. The weak spots I’m talking about here is the rapping. I wasn’t feeling the rapping at all. You can hear a big dirty south influence in their rapping. At times they don’t sound like themselves. Being yourself is key. In their bio they said they were influenced by rappers like Slick Rick and Too Short. That’s some good influences. Now those 2 artists are legends in their own right because they were different. They were trend setters, not followers. I was hoping that SNR (when it comes to the rapping) would look at that and come to the conclusion that being yourself is the key to the success. The rhyming on here just doesn’t sound right.

But this is not all bad. They are actually quite dope with the beats. SNR come across as stronger in the beat department. They should capitalize on that. The production on tracks like “Slap Da Hell Outcha“, “Pop & Shake It” and “Boi” are dope. This is definitely the best part of this demo.

SNR have much potential if they look at their strengths. They get a good review for making those crunk beats but if they still believe they can make it big with the rapping then they should work at proving us wrong.

DJ Graffiti – Bling Free Vol 3 (Bling Free Records)

Introducing DJ Graffiti. A good choice for a dj name by the way. He comes from Michigan and has made a pretty good name for himself. Now he calls this one Bling Free but check the definition as it is on the cd inlay:

“Being bling free does not mean that you refrain from wearing jewelry, buying quality clothing, driving a luxury car or drinking champagne. The choice to be bling free does not at all conflict with the best that life has to offer. Saying that you’re bling free is not something you do simply because you can’t afford to bling. However, if you are bling free, you control the bling in your life, it does not control you. If you are bling free you shine on your own.” 

-DJ Graffiti

After reading that and then listening to this mixtape (it is more than your average mixtape – it is a licensed compilation project with International distribution) you cannot help but think that he does shine. This mixtape has 32 tracks with an additional 6 bonus cuts all mixed in like the ingredients of a potjiekos – the result will make your stomach grumble. This is hip hop food, and we need to eat, so let’s review this album.

The first thing you realise is that you gonna feel gratified after spending your money on this. Firstly, I don’t think anybody can front on the track selection. Secondly you get all the best underground tracks stuffed on this cd. So after forking out money you worked hard for you will feel that you have bought something of value when you listen to this. Okay I didn’t pay for this cd, but if I bought this I would not feel like I wasted my bucks. 

When the intro starts don’t be fooled by the relaxed beat. He’s just warming up. He talks, does a little rap, then like bang, in your face, hier kom kak, it starts. 

Damn, who’s this Elzhi guy? The song is called “It’s Your World” and the production is so empty but it’s so dope. Man, just listen to it. The producer, how does he make a beat like this? It’s so light but so tight. 

Finally I get to listen to The Procussions, the song is called “Just Over Broke”. I like their style, and that sample that’s singing somewhere there in the background is fresh. Their flows are on point. Enjoyable to listen to. Need to get their album. By the way DJ Graffiti is a master when it comes to moving from one track to another. 

mmmm I don’t have to tell you how dope Dilated People’s “Bullet Train” is. In fact I only met one person who told me they hated it. What? Man get out of town. This is beautiful stuff. I’m talking about when you meeting your girlfriend and instead of taking her for lunch you buy a cd instead. 

Man I’m loving this cd. I got a feeling a lot of people are going to ask me for this. Okay, what’s this? Little Brother & Fakts One. It’s okay, let’s wait for DJ Graffiti to mix in the next one. J Live, Wordsworth & Soulive’s “Bosoms Rmx”. The use of the samples are good. I’m getting impatient here, hey wait a minute, that’s the same bassline that ATCQ used, they use it for their chorus on here. Lawless Element is next with “Against The Rules”. Too short but it’s an exclusive so we’ll let it slide. 

Okay now I’m looking up. We got Izreal & MF Doom with “Pop Quiz”. Finger licking good. This beat is awesome and the rapping is extraordinary. Shit this is classic? Could be. I’m gonna take note of this song and listen to it a few more times. 

Who’s next on the turntable? The Feenom Circle. What kind of name is that? Who cares what their name sounds like. This is good stuff. I can hear the emcee knows the flow, and I like the hook, it’s refreshing. But that beat. Tsk tsk, I have so much to learn when it comes to making beats. Just when you think you yourself are good, somebody comes along and sends you back to the drawing board.

Okay, I think this is the coffee break, let me pour myself a cup of Nescafe, no I’m not into that cheap tinned Ricoffy shit. That’s wack. Okay, I hear a beat coming in, let me start writing again. This is Finale and the song is called “Change”. Man, you know hip hop is like the IT industry, it’s so difficult to keep up with everything that’s coming these days.

Brother Ali & DJ Graffiti do this one together. He’s rapping and there’s somebody beatboxing and DJ Graffiti is skratching. Wait a minute did you hear that outro? What the hell are you still reading this review for? Get this album now. 

Brother Ali get’s a full 2 extra minutes in the form of his track “Champion RMX”. The beat is bouncy and funky. Got a rasta element to it. The next one that comes along is “Talk To Us” by Voice Watson feat Luckyiam.PSC. The beat is sick.

Hey who is this? Sounds like Talib Kweli with the pitch turned up. He (they?) are called Now On. The song is called “Stop”. Please don’t stop. Oh wait the second emcee comes in. Now On is then a “they”. The flows are hyped up. Please play this at so called hip hop gigs so people can stop staring at the floor and dance.

The beat on Jeru’s “War” is fat. Jeru has not lost his touch since the days of “Come Clean”. But check how DJ Graffiti mixes in the next song. A flawless mix. Big Tone let’s rip with “La vida Loca”, another exclusive on this CD.

Dead Prez make me open my eyes with “Window To My Soul”. The way that sample was flipped is unbelievable. Reminds me I must go and buy more vinyl. Another favourite of mine on here. Here’s a strange one. AML is the name and it’s called “Feel It“. This is pretty innovative. Fakts One, Mr Lif & Akrobatik jump in with “The Show Starter”. The drum pattern is unorthodox. How much better can this cd get?

What are these producers thinking when they make these beats? Listen to the Boom Bap Project. Case in point. Here’s an interlude. DJ Graffiti tells us that we gotta take care of our families, and that we should in fact get our money, because how can you help other people if you are broke?

How appropriate after that message that we got Slum Village’s “Get Yo Paper”. The production makes me snap my neck. Does this cd have a flaw? Not yet.

I’m having a stroke here. I’m sweating and I’m not exaggerating. This beat on “The Clap” by The Grouch and Eligh is just torture. Superb!

Diverse’s “Aint Right” boasts production by Madlib. Vitamin D is next with “No Good”. Graffiti is having a little fun with the beat here. A funky track. Need to make a note of these songs and get the 12inches. 

We on track 27 now. It’s Tajai with “The Dum Dum”. Man this is not normal. Every track on here so far has been above average. Very abnormal for a record these days.

EPMD come with “Look At You Now”. A well known song this one. Another underground banger is DJ Vadim’s “Headline News”. Props to Vadim. I remember he sent me this track before it was released. Heads up on that.

What’s next? It’s Soul Position (that’s RJD2 & Blueprint) with “Share This”. Very heavy sounding production. Makes a lot of use with the panning. Works well though. DJ Graffiti wants to thank you for listening to this cd. He tells us to listen to his radio show as well. He ends off this with D-Minor featuring Louis Logic’s “Could Be You“.

Then after all of this we got an additional 6 tracks. 

I’m going to stop here because this review definitely got out of hand. I usually only write like this when I’m drunk but unlike myself I’m sober. This cd impressed me. I highly recommend you buy this (or at least listen to it at the shop). Essential for your collection! 

Track Listing:

1. DJ Graffiti – Intro [Produced by DJ Graffiti]
2. Elzhi – It’s Your World (Unreleased)
3. The Procussions – Just Over Broke
4. Dilated Peoples – Bullet Train (Unreleased)
5. Little Brother & Fakts One – Grown Folks
6. J Live, Wordsworth & Soulive – Bosoms Rmx (Unreleased)
7. Lawless Element – Against the Rules (Exclusive)
8. Izreal & MF Doom – Pop Quiz
9. The Feenom Circle – Subtle
10. Finale – Change (Unreleased)
11. Brother Ali & DJ Graffiti – Me & Ali (Exclusive)
12. Brother Ali – Champion Rmx (Unreleased)
13. Voice Watson f/Luckyiam.PSC – Talk To Us
14. Now On – Stop (Unreleased)
15. Jeru The Damaja – War
16. Big Tone – La Vida Loca (Exclusive)
17. Dead Prez – Window to my Soul
18. AML – Feel It
19. Fakts One f/Mr. Lif & Akrobatik – The Show Starter
20. Boom Bap Project – (Exclusive) [Produced by Jake-One]
21. Interlude – Don’t Get it Twisted
22. Slum Village – Get Yo Paper (Exclusive)
23. The Grouch & Eligh (Living Legends) – The Clap
24. The Strange Fruit Project – All The Way
25. Diverse – Ain’t Right [Produced by Madlib]
26. Vitamin D – No Good
27. Tajai (Souls of Mischief) – The Dum Dum
28. EPMD – Look at you Now
29. DJ Vadim f/Adad & DJ Woody – Headline News 
30. Soul Position (RJD2 & Blueprint) – Share This (Bonus Mix – “The Vibe”)
31. DJ Graffiti – The Vibe Intro
32. D-Minor f/Louis Logic – Could You Be (Unreleased)
33. Cornbread – One Fly Gemini
34. Nicknack – Mustard Seed
35. Science Fiction (aka Wale Oyejide) – Sunshine
36. Dabrye – Magic Says
37. Phat Kat – Destiny [Produced by JayDee]
38. DJ Graffiti – Outro

Swollen Members – Heavy (Battle Axe)

This hyped up Party orientated hip hop crew from Cali know how to put together ass moving tracks without failure. Having worked in the studio with the likes of Evidence from Dilated Peoples, Everlast, Abstract Rude, Moka Only and many more these cats are not new to hip hop in fact they have released quite a few great CD’s such as “Monsters in the Closet“, “Bad Dreams” and “Balance“.  This is their latest work and I can’t say I am disappointed.

It starts with a spacey metallic voice intro thanking all those who have been loyal to them and have been listening to their music since their first cd’s.

Block Party: the first track is very up beat and would work well in a party environment a very festive sort of beat the chorus goes” nuclear power you can feel how we changing up the game things wont be the same…after we done wit it we hollering at you all like come get it”

Watch This: the second track is also a good party track but also a good display of MC Madchild’s skill with lyrics like “my motor cycle brains are flooded I’m star studded you ma fucker not gonna be able to cut it, listen bitch I’m a tough act to follow suck my dick and here is a nut sack to swallow, when get personal up close and intimate, listen kid I’m a whole different intermit mental I am not sentimental I’m intricate its impossible not to get into it”

Bottom Line: using a classical beat and turning it into a club beat with tight rhymes what I would call a bounce beat. Crazy ill rhyme and beat co-ordination with lyrics like “I’m a small giant trying to find success, you look upset stupid fuck head, lock stocked and loaded the most devoted keep bring the pain till your brains exploded”.

Burn It Down: also a House/spacey/retro/new age/unique party sound. 

I am not gonna go through all the tracks but I will say that this is completely different to any other under ground I have heard. It’s not hardcore gangsta beats or heavy scratch mixing it’s really party hip hop. This is for those who wanna party to hip hop music and this CD proves to all the people that said underground has no good dancing beats.

Peace out I hope you go and get this cd or just listen to it. It’s a new hip hop experience.
 

Sick With The Flow – Innovators Mix Tape (Independent)

When you see mix tapes like this floating around then you know for sure that South Africa has a long future in hip hop. First let me say that the cover is unique and real. No fancy whiteboard in the background with flashlights. I like this look, reminds me of a particular early Geto Boys album.

In the beginning when I first heard of the Innovators and their music I was intrigued. Who were these guys who suddenly appeared from a small town called Grahamstown on the Eastern Cape? These guys were different. 

1. Second Son Intro

A little intro, just them introducing us to The Innovators. 

2. The Innovators – Dream

Knockout is all I can say. The production is dazzling. The song configuration is faultless. The singing in the hook united with the rhymes and instrumentation makes this a sparkling start to this mixtape. It has a late night feel to it. I can’t seem to get this one out my mind. I’ll be playing this daily.

3. The Innovators – Some Of You Swear To Be Mc’s

“Some of you swear to be emcees, but to me you sound like Jam Alley wannabees”.
The beat on here is kinda funky, particularly with the synth in the surroundings keeping it thorough. It’s nice to hear them making references to local things. The rhyming is pretty ordinary but passion comes through.

4. Second Son/TNG/Essence – Bubonic Chronic

The verses on this track are striking (esp the first one). I like how they pour over this beat. The way the rappers “play” with the beat in terms of the flow makes me think there’s something unique about this crew. That last verse (I’m assuming Essence) drills the track with soul – and he does it properly. Get’s better the more you listen to it.

5. ZEN/Second Son – Zenith

These beats are rather eccentric. Sounds like something you’d hear from a Kraftwerk album. I’m feeling this. Zen and Second Son kill the track.

6. The Innovators – Get Up (Stay Grinding)

So far so good. The beat is bass heavy and the flows compliment it. You probably won’t hear the bulk of SA emcee’s rapping like this, the Innovators are not here to complicate, they are more of a str8 to your face type lyrics. 

7. Second Son/TNG Skit

I’m not into skits. Skip!

8. The Innovators – The Story

Nah man, this shit reminds me too much of uhhhh, Neptunes? You know those type of beats? ag man skip this….

9. The Innovators – Can’t You See…

Reminds me a lot of Jozi late at night while watching the Ponti from my flat window. Very laid back but got a lot of essence with a tinge of house synths.

10. TNG – Big Bad Wolf

I’m not feeling this. There’s nothing that grabs me here. Skip.

11. The Innovators – Huff & Puff Freestyle

I’m not into this. That beat is not nice and the freestyles are not dope at all.

12. Second Son – Cold World

The verses are nice but I’m not feeling this beat. It would’ve been better without that vocal that comes in now and then.

13. Outro

The outro, same instrumental that was playing in the intro.

On the whole this is dope mixtape. I’m happy to have this in my collection. The first part of this cd was fresh but it kinda slipped towards the end.  If they can maintain with their excellent tracks such as “Dream“, “Bubonic Chronic“, “Can’t You See“, “Get Up (Stay Grinding)” and “Zenith” then they will certainly have a first-class future in the African Hip Hop scene. Probably the best song on here has got to be “Dream“, no wait, maybe it’s “Bubonic Chronic“, shit I can’t make up my mind. Get this mixtape for those 2 tracks and listen to it over and over again and see why I say these guys have got something “unique”.   TNG’s contact details for info on how to get your hands on a copy:
Mobile: 072 170 7391
Email: djtng@hotmail.com
ALt. email: tng81@hotmail.com

Jay Jai – Variety Pack (Variety Pack Ent)

Urban, pop, rock. All of these ingredients create a new trend of music. A new era of sound, a rare blend of creative energy called Variety Pack.” Jay Jai is 20 something years old and from California. During the late 90′s he was in a Bay Area R&B group. Now he has set out to push the envelope creativity. Let’s see if he achieves it.

The first track “Drop That” has a P-funk feel to it, especially with the singing in the chorus and the keyboards. The song is pretty slow. I’m not feeling the rapping on here. It doesn’t come across as strong enough. 

On “Something” you are greeted with a haunting bass which is tight for the car. I gotta give it to them that they at least come up with original hooks. But the rapping just doesn’t sound right. 

G.T.P.W.T.W.” or Give The People What They Want is a better track. In fact I think it’s the first track so far that sounds pretty decent. Reminds me of a mellow 36 Mafia style. Here he is talking about what people like. 

Malibu” is a track that particularly stands out. Production wize and rhyming is tight. Damn there’s some heavy bass on here.

Put It Down” is like a freaky R&Bish style track, similiar to shit like H-Town. Hey this is a good song. I’m feeling this.

Probably my favourite one on here has got to be “Finer Things“. On this one the emcee comes across stronger in the style he’s rapping. I’d like to hear more tracks like this coming from Jay Jai. 

In terms of originality listen to the last song, “The Pain“. Strange production and song structure.

Overall I would have to say that this is a distinctive album. What I did not like was that it did at times come across as too clean cut. Clean cut as in terms of the mastering, which to my ear seems that it would’ve been more suited to rock music. There are clearly strong tracks on here which would allow Jay Jai to carry on with his career. Personally I believe this album is a step in the right direction but more focus should be placed on the vocal deliveries.

Dopest Tracks:
G.T.P.W.T.W.
Malibu
Put It Down
Finer Things

Musik G & The U.A. – Underground Can’t Be Stopped (Activity)

Hey check this out – I knew I remembered his name from somewhere. He was on that H.E.A.L. cd (Human Education Against Lies) – remember that? Damn. I need to pull that out again. Musik G has performed with the greats such as KRS One, Crash Crew, Slick Rick, ED OG, The Awesome Two etc. He also hosts “The Original B-Side Show” on WBAI 99.5FM. 

I didn’t want to write about each song on here like we normally do. I’m going to go straight for the juggalar and give an overall opinion.

What grabs me most about this album is that even though it was released in 2003 it sounds like something from 1990 to 1992. How should you perceive that? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Well it’s bad when you got a lot of new jacks out here today who probably wouldn’t appreciate an album like this. So perhaps it will go unnoticed. But for people who’ve been living this for a long time they will love this album. I found this album refreshing to listen to since it conjured up memories of the middle university period. 

The rhymes are blunt and straight, nothing complicated here. The production has a lot of booming bass, simple drum patterns and what I appreciate in this album is that there are dj cuts in the choruses. This is seriously lacking in most hip hop albums today. 

The dope tracks on here are “UGA Throwdown“, “All Rights Reserved“, “Can’t Be Stopped feat The Wonder Twinz” and “Worldwide“. 

Would you like this album? I honestly don’t know. But I come from a period where I listened to groups like X-Clan, Jungle Brothers, Divine Styler, 3X Dope, ED OG and DA Bulldogs, Public Enemy, 3rd Bass etc etc. So for me after listening to this it kind of reminded me of that time. 

This album is kinda short but I read in the cd inlay card that a full length is coming soon. It’s great to see veterans still bringing out shit these days. Check it if you can understand.

Vintage Imperial – Synergy (Vintage Imperial Records)

Vintage Imperial are a hip hop duo from Atlanta, Georgia. Last year I received a nice piece of vinyl titled “Mic Club” which I played quite often. So it was no surprise for me to receive their length “Synergy”.

The first song on here “Combining Perfect Rhymes Part 2” has a piano sample which repeats itself throughout the song (except for a few variations here and there). The drum pattern is swift and does the job of carrying the sample to provide a perfect platform for them to spit on. On here they just talking about wack mc’s and haters.

The End” has the same beat as “Juicy”. It probably is the same break. A constant piano sample rains over it. The deejay on here does a dope job of cutting up the vocal parts. I like this one.

On “Verbatim” (featuring Bloodfang) you have vintage snares and hi hats piercing this one. Sounded like they were having fun in the studio on here. Sounds like a jamming session – check the end of the track. The emcee’s handle this one easily.

Out To Get Ya” is an MOPish sounding track (minus the aggro rappers). But typical of production you’d find on an MOP track. This is evident by the sparse and outlandish samples and highly sped up vocal snippet running through the chorus. Easily addictive this one.

Mic Club” featuring Jax and Flux is one many of us on the underground probably know already. This is more of a track that should be tight to watch them perform live. There is heavy crowd participation potential here – especially the chorus.

Back To The Future” is the next one. This is my favourite on here. I give much props to VA for doing something like this. This is fucking tight shit! No wonder they call it Back To The Future. Just listen to that. People don’t make shit like this anymore. It’s sad. I’m talking about hip hop from, like err, 1988 to 1992. This is exactly where this song should be placed. High tempo beats, heavy horns and lots of skratching. I love this track.

Fast forward to today. One of the best beats on here is on “Out Of Work“. Heavy brass instruments, segmented horns and sporadic vocal choruses make this one hellavu beat. And you know on this on VA really shine because they divert from just talking about wack emcee’s and come with a topic many of us can relate to – being unemployed and having bills. Put this one at full blast and watch your cd’s fall off the speakers. Good one.

Okay the next one is “Got To Be”. Here they talking about what makes a good song. So the entire verse has the phrase “it got to be” and then they add a few sentences. This one is okay but I prefer to skip it. So let’s skip it.

Boiling Point” is the name of the next one. Hey wait a minute wasn’t this on the b-side of “Mic Club”? Could be. Can’t remember right now. The guitar sample in the background has the same sound as a Gibson Les Paul. Think Ronny Jordon here folks. Trumpets (or are they horns) jump in now and again. A cut off vocal sample pops in now and then. mmmm yes, I like this one.

Ya what’s next here. “Lifestyle Is Vintage” featuring Rising Sons starts off with a massive bassline. It’s so loud that it almost drowns the rest of the song. But it’s done just right without spoiling the song. I like how the production was done on here. The song has a lot of movement. If I rhymed (which I don’t) I’d like a beat like this to spit on. You can hear the emcees are hugging this beat.

You Don’t Want No More” the remix is a fat track. An upright bass sample shakes the hardened cement of this one. One of the stronger songs on the album.

“Back To The Future”
“Out Of Work”
“Boiling Point” 
“Lifestyle Is Vintage”

Their sound is heavily laced with old rusty jazzy/ragtime sheets while the feet of this audio bed are firmly piercing the pavement. At best this is a winter album because listening to this in hot weather further induces fatigue. Their sound is warm therefore better experienced when it’s cloudy outside.

Indie Sessions – Vol 1 – Various (Ocean Records)

This was the same label that put out the much respected Azarel album and now they back with a compilation featuring a host of underground and well-known rappers on this coast to coast compilation. First let me say that the overall package looks pleasing to the eyeball and I gotta give mad props to Mad Flava Dzine for the ill artwork. Props should also go to Steve O for getting this thing together. Let’s see how it turned out.

1: Wojack- The Beat Box- Tacoma WA

If you remember in 1988 he signed a contract with Nastymix and was known as McDeff in Criminal Nation. I was expecting a full track but this is just him rapping over a beatbox and is used to introduce us to the cd.

2: Prophetix- Tru Urban Grit- Atlanta GA

This is a song I’m very familiar with since this group sent me their album last year. This just happens to be one of the dopest cuts on their album and it makes it’s way to this compilation.

3: Doujah Raze- Irish Cream- Alexandria VA

I get a shipment of emails from this guy about all the shows he does. He has been full of activity for a long time and he contributes this banger. I like assembly like this, ill samples and cutting in the breaks.

4: Mr. Dog Feat: Mac Money & Young Have Not- Get It Craccin- Tacoma WA

Mr DOG has contributed a lot to the Tacoma scene. If I’m not misguided I think he must still be in prison. Not sure which album this is coming from but after a couple of listens it’s an appealing song. I can’t wait to hear what MR DOG will offer us when he returns to do his next album. 

5: Splitt- All Day- Croydon PA

A laid back song with an acoustic type looped sample in the back. An okay song but not my flavor.

6: Strik & Krusal Feat: J1- So Freaky- Tacoma WA

I’m sorry to say this but I hate this kind of production. It’s too MTV carbon replica. I don’t doubt that this will shake an ass but you won’t hear me playing this. I do have people that like playing this at the house party, so I guess it depends on your tang. I like the emcee’s flows though.

7: Mr. Supreme Feat: Al Tariq of The Beatnuts- Run The Show- Seattle WA/NY NY

A typical track, funky beat though. Song just doesn’t seize me.

8: Redskin Feat: Krumbsnatcha- This Goes Out- Tulalip WA/Boston MA

I don’t know man, I be acquainted with this song, hear it often but it doesn’t merit a full play. skip.

9: Mz. Tasti- Hey You- Rialto CA

This is the one song I find myself playing quite often from this cd. It’s likable, it’s headnodding material and the beat has movement. And props for getting a female on here.

10: Ab Normal- I Can’t Do- Washington DC

I love the sample that’s used on here. Just hate the preference of snare. Ab Normal comes through adequately but that sample just kills me. Nice one.

11: Funk Daddy Feat: Willin- Makin Moves- Seattle WA

Funk Daddy the producer, if you got a gang of North West albums you will find his name on them. Nothing much else to say, it’s a party track. I find the lifespan of songs like this are not very long…

12: Knowa Lazarus- My Vida- Queens NY

This is poles apart. I like this one. Need to find out more about this Knowa Lazarus.

13: Divine MC- So Beautiful- Daytona Beach FL

This is a strong track. Very laid back but has all the ingredients of a long-standing song. There’s movement and strong lyrical content that keeps the listener hooked.

14: Storm The Unpredictable- Contradictions- Oxon Hill MD

Good song, just as in the preceding one, subject substance keeps you on the song. Bass is foolish heavy, need to fiddle with the amp…

15: Bill Yuns Feat: Mycle- Bread & Meat- Seattle WA

This is fat, that beat is superb. This is a very strong song that needs to be pumped often. The singing in the chorus does remind me of Nate Dogg type singing.

16: Black Caesar Feat: Rock of Heltah Skeltah & Supreme of The Boot Camp- Set Trip- Tacoma WA/NY NY

A Tacoma and New York collabo? Who would’ve ever thought? This is a good song, flows are strong and the production is heavy and firm. Strange to hear a collaboration like this but entertaining to say the least. I’d like to hear more of this.

17: Nokturnal & Li Fee- Seattle Holla- Seattle WA

Attention-grabbing drum pattern, lot’s of changes and twists (occasional cut off breaks). Pushy bass will disintegrate eardrums. Rhyming is sturdy but abhor the singing in the chorus.

18: Starchile Feat: Bleek- Afta Party- Portland OR

I’ve been hearing about Starchile for such a long time but never got a chance to hear him. I noticed that he’s quite big in Oregon and now I can hear why. Sanitary production and shiny raps. 

19: Skuntdunanna Feat: Wanz- All I Got- Seattle WA

Another name I’m seeing a lot all over the net these days. Funky beat and you can hear that Skuntdunanna is feeling the beat he’s flowing over. P-funk type of singing in the chorus completes the song to make a full package that’s worthy of repeat plays.

Repeat Plays:
Prophetix- Tru Urban Grit
Doujah Raze- Irish Cream
Mz. Tasti- Hey You
Ab Normal- I Can’t Do
Divine MC- So Beautiful
Bill Yuns Feat: Mycle- Bread & Meat
Black Caesar Feat: Rock of Heltah Skeltah & Supreme of The Boot Camp- Set Trip
Skuntdunanna Feat: Wanz- All I Got

All in all this is a well-built compilation. There are adequate first-rate songs on here that justify a purchase. Many of the songs will grow on you but once they do they will attach. What I liked is that even though there are dissimilar styles due to the regional artists appearing on here they complimented each other quite well. This is an easy flowing compilation which means that one can play this at pretty much any function, from bbq’s (braai’s), road trips, street corners, clubs (selected tracks), drinking sessions etc.

Ocean Records has a reputation for releasing good quality music and you can easily hear from the track choice that the correct criteria was used. Will there be another volume? I hope so.

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