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Review Archive 7

9 August 2010 No Comment

Tunnel Rats – Tunnelvision (Uprok Records)

You can always count on Uprok Records to release thought provoking albums. I believe there is a time for all styles of Hip Hop and I rely on Uprok to give me that stuff that will not only move your ass but make you think at the same time. Tunnelvision is just one of many releases from Uprok Records and I’d urge people to seek this stuff out.

This whole album is well produced and well written and most likely the mass will overlook this album which is a damn shame. The crap that is being put out by the majors should feel ashamed of themselves if they listen to this.

The track that had my eyes open wide was Sev Statik by Sev Statik. The content of this song deals with the shady people in Hip Hop and he even lashes out against promoters and websites who exploit artists just to get free promos. I know this is true because I know there are people out there telling outright lies just to get free records. Sev Statik is a good emcee and it’s easy to get his message because he flows nice and precisely. Elsie provides a dope hook but check out this verse that I was talking about earlier, it’s ill:

So whatchu mean/man you want my vinyl/and cassette for free/
for this I bleed burgundy but ya’ll knucka’s stingy with green/
that’s pitiful dawg/sound’s like I’m getting ripped off/
cough up the shipping and handling stop pan handling/
that’s an extra cost ya’ll often overlook/so keep in mind/
before you ask for mine/that I/
hope you come out your pocket with that with that request/
unless/rejection is something that you wanna digest/
invest back into hip hop/that’s the way it should be/
rep for these dj’s worldwide and we mc’s/
who sit up late at night/developing verbal techniques on mics/
with spider man vision/focusing on websites/
to get the word out/with out/waiting for a release date/
snuffing bootleggers state to state/killing my tape/
cuz I receive emails everyday/that go on to say/
can I get a promo wax? I’m a dj I make mix tapes/
I got a radio show/I’ll put you in rotation on my station it will give you daps in my location/
yeah whatever man/

The two women on this compilation namely Elsie and Zane contribute a really good track Ladies that had me thinking why have I not heard these people before? You really need to listen the words of this track to really appreciate what I’m talking about here. You know it all comes down to this, Hip Hop is seriously
lacking these type of songs. Peep it because the lyrics will make you stand up and think!

You know I almost had a heart attack when I heard Line Finish which is performed by Sev Statik, Elsie and Jurny. Damn this beat is hot! But that’s not all because just when you think it cannot get better you are treated to Tripped Over A Dream by Jurny, Elsie, Zane and Dax. Dert is a really talented producer.

Anyway as you can see I’ve gotten a bit carried away with this review so I’m going to have to cut it short here. Buy the album.

Deepspace 5 – The Night We Called It A Day (Uprok Records)

Deepspace 5 is an alliance that simply wanted to make groundmaking music and with this album they have achieved that. Consisting of members Dust, Freddie Bruno, Beat Rabbi, Sev Statik, Soul Heir the Manchild (Mars Ill), Listener, The Recon, Sintax, Playdough and Student. Wow that’s a lot of people but with all these people working on this album they really did something good here. The Hip Hop on here is well, to put it in no simpler words, real Hip Hop.

Being a fan of Mars Ill I was glad to hear on the first track The Night We Called It A Day you are treated to same formula production wise that they utilised on Raw Material. This track was produced by Dust and I think I heard this sample used by M.O.P. (If my memory serves me correct).

There are some really dope tracks on here that I will be pumping at shows for a long time and one of them is F-Words. The production on here is bumping and will make heads vomit their brains out. Another one that I couldn’t bear to ignore for this review was Murder Creek. This stuff is just raw.

One word of warning to deejays though, if you playing this expect heads to knock themselves unconcious because this is straight head nodder stuff. Highly Recommended by AfricasGateway.com.

Bullet And Shaolin – Small Town Livin’ Big City Game (EastSide Records)

From the first time I heard Bullet and Shaolin on the Northwest Ridin Compilation (released by Bow Wow Records www.bwr2000.com) I knew there was something unique about this rapper. Now joining with Shaolin they bring out this album together.

These two rappers are from Bellevue and Pasco which is in the state of Washington. The stuff on here is really dope and Bullet and Shaolin continue to impress as each track passes. On the Torrey Ward produced Smalltown Livin’ Big City Game you cannot help but take this out to the street. This is mob music to the fullest. Bullet really shines on this track.   Man I cannot understand why people (the masses) are not picking up on this coz they don’t know what they missing out on.

The track that I cannot stop playing is U R Bad. Just by listening to this album they have already added their names to my favourites list for this year. You know what else, after listening to so much of Mr D.O.G. I’ve grown to love Big Squeeze’s production and he contributes his production on My Folks. Nice beats man. But that’s not all because one of my favourite producers Funk Daddy lends his hands on I Want You featuring Kay Kay. It’s that unmistakable Funk Daddy sound.

Other tracks that had me open was Eastside Riderz featuring Jazz and KayKay with Arjay, For The World featuring Jazz and Arjay (This is tight!) and What I’m Looking For featuring Jaytee and Gino. This album features a host of well known NW artists such as Jay Tee (from N2Deep), Cool Nutz plus a few others. I really enjoyed this album and will have it playing for a long time and you know what else? They have tortured me by putting 6 bonus snippet tracks from their forthcoming album Dedication And Desire.   That’s total punishement!  I cannot wait for the next album!

Do yourself a favour and peep this. The track U R Bad will be doing the rounds on my show in the next following weeks so if you in South Africa don’t forget to peep it. Recommended by AfricasGateway.com.  Check for an interview coming soon!

Paragone presents Celestial Nometry (Celestial Productions)

This CD, more like a compilation of various unknown artists from the Celestial Production camp. The production is dirty and gritty, the whole album sounds very dark and this is the kind of stuff you should be listening to late at night in your bed with it raining outside. There is nothing here that is going to move your ass on the dancefloor. This is sorta like an epic album, sorta like a soundtrack to some revelations in the Bible.

On the first listen it was very difficult to get into this album. As I said before you need to listen to this in the right mode, in the right setting to fully appreciate what Paragone was trying to achieve here. However the direction of the album was a bit confusing and in some cases the tracks just made me loose focus. But that does not mean that are not any gems on here.

On Megaman with 33 The Great you are treated to some nice production by Paragone and a nicely constructed rhymes by 33 The Great. Just tweak it a bit and you got something good going on there. What I liked was Redefinitions by Sume. Interesting use of the piano sample. I can hear that the producer was having fun here.   The best track on here is We Burn Fire by Raadar Vantana.

Paragone has such a lot of potentional with his production and if he keeps on working hard he might just end up in the big leagues one day. Nice effort and I’m expecting to hear some good stuff from them in the future.

Zaire Black & June 22 – Experiments With Truth (Emmoworks)

This album is all about knowledge of self and about finding ways of changing the system that continues to swallow up the poor and make the rich richer.

The album utilises the true skool formula by making sure that there is a deejay on almost every track, a nice dose of familiar samples and podium style rhymes. Also if you listen to this album you will get a feeling that these artists are not really interested in making money, it’s all about getting a message across but how many people it will reach I don’t know.  That’s just the reality of this game, some people won’t even peep this because we got the bling bling that dominates the Hip Hop reality. But if you are not into wearing horse blinkers then you will enjoy this album just a much as I did.

The track that caught my ear at first was Initiation. The production is very moody but clever because it captures the mood of what they are trying to convey. However I found their flow to be lazy, simliar to Mobb Deep without the bass in the vocals, not sure if it was the herb that was influencing that? Most people would find the track Experiments Of Truth to be the best however that’s only because it’s catchy. Look beyond that and you will find some dope audio scrolls hidden beneath the audio landscape. The one that I’ve been playing over and over again is Stoned Lions which works extremely well, the dopest part being where the second emcee comes in. Sort of makes me want to jump up and down and raise my fist.

This is a dope album, an authentic hip hop album. The only slight thang that they could improve on is the flow. But that’s the least thing you’d be thinking about. Invite your most intelligent friends over, read a book about Lamumba or Garvey and use this album as a soundtrack to those discussions.

A good effort and well worth a check out.

The Unseen Featuring Malik Ameer – Drapetomania (HHI Recordings)

In order to understand this album you need to hang on a cloud and turn back the clock and overstand. The Unseen aint here to play around. He’s on a mission to tell us the disgusting truth about slavery in America. The first thing I noticed was that there was a lot of pain and anger coming from the emcee. Sort of like he’s trying extremely hard to get people to get the message and he comes across sometimes frustrated because he’s talking to a brick wall coz people just interested in women, jewellery, fashion trends etc.

However I could not get with his flow. It is off beat and he sometimes stretches the verses to overlap the beat and that stops my head from bobbing because it’s like he’s going one way and the beat the other. But don’t let that stop you from checking this out because the album really has substance that you should not miss.

This is a listening album, something you should be listening to alone, preferbly on the headphones, with particular focus on the lyrics. Childen Of The Night will produce a lump in your throat. I can feel him on this track. The best track on here is Drapetomania. The song is just dope. One of the few tracks in Hip Hop that almost made me cry.

Peep this with an open mind.

Freshchest Prose present Jabs and Cut’s Volume One (Freshchest – BP Distribution)

This compilation made my day. I woke up in a bad mood and this album made me feel much better.

Almost every track on here will make you do a cart wheel down your passage. Shit it made me feel like taking out my cans and bomb a bus. Anyway, so let’s get in this coz I know that people want to hear about what’s dope.

On the first track Time To Listen the Lexicon consisting of members Nick Fury and Big Oak deliver nice rhymes over a piano laced beat. Guaranteed to break your neck and your ego as well. Somebody that caught my ear like Van Gogh was Oktober. This cat contributes 2 tracks namely Oktoberfest and Heavy Jewels. Shit man this is the ish. Deejays need to pick up this wax. Anyways, so you think that I’m just filling this page here, wait man there’s more dope shit on here. Xtracts Of Slang, the crew that did a lil’ freestyle on that CMJ Mixtape got a track on here too. Xtracts Of Slang is MC Sick and DJ Tommee and the verses are lovely, makes you laugh and the metaphors clever.

Oh man, I almost got a stroke when I heard All Day by Breez Evahflowin. The production is top notch. Shit if I could get JL and Johnny Cock to produce for me I’d be a happy man. Skip over to track 10 and you are treated to something that might just split your head open. The Moist Crackers (MC Sick, JL and DJ Tommee) show us on In My Arms that Hip Hop is still alive. Hot beats and hot rhymes is the only description that can fit this track. Another dope one was when Icon The Mic King brings Manifest for the track Madness. The album closes off lovely with Tommee VS JL by DJ Tommee and JL.

This compilation is a resume that is gonna land these guys some good jobs as emcees in da future. If you did not peep this yet and you got a credit card head over to their site and purchase the album or ask your local record store to order it for you.

Yukmouth – Thug Lord: The New Testament (Rap-A-Lot Records)

So here I am reading the Source Magazine and I check this album being listed as an album that should’ve been a hit, a slept on album. Not taking it seriously because the Source Magazine is generally crap I went out and got a copy and guess what, the Source Magazine was right for once. I could not believe that I missed this album. Yukmouth really went all out on this one and has made a fan out of me in the process.

Now I did not really like the Luniz that much but Yukmouth seems to come out better when his doing his shit solo.

On Thug Lord you might have mistaken Yuk for DMX. Nevertheless your neck might just break for all the nodding you will be doing.

LT Hutton really impressed me with his production on Oh Boy. A catchy track which some nice strings. However the Damon Elliot produced Clap Yo Hands it seems as though Yuk is trying to use the same formula that made Jay Z famous. Most fans might single this song to be the best.

Nothing special on the track Hi Maintenance. Lil Mo’s raps were boring. Oh fo sheezy, now we come to one of the tightest tracks on here. I’m talking about Puffin Lah. This has some of those metal drums that you hear on those islands. Nuff respect to P Killer from the Ruff Ryder Productions squad for this tight track. Benzalino provides the hook for this chorus. Nice stuff man.

We Gone Ride featuring Outlaws is okay, nothing special but it’s nice to see Rick Rock still producing. Can’t remember the last time I heard his shit.

One of the tracks that made me happy for acquiring this album is Thug Money mostly because Kool G Rap contributes a verse on here. Kool G Rap, as always shows why he is one of the tightest flowers in the game. I love this song. And of course, I just had to crack a beer when I heard the next song Do It Right which features one of my favourite rappers C-BO. He is joined by Yukmouth and Phats Bossilini on this Mike Dean produced track. This is mob music man.

Okay so we all heard this beat on Luniz previous album, but it came out stronger on this album. I’m talking about Regime Killers 2001 featuring Mad Max, Phats Bossilini, Tech N9ne, Poppa LQ and Governer Matic.

Overall this is a well produced and well layed out album. This is the kind of quality I look for when purchasing an album. Nice stuff and umm… album of the month.

DJ Jelly – Down South Bounce Vol 1 (Warlock Records)

This mix cd landed in my lap the other day. I love the rap from the Dirty South and was pleased to see some of my favourite tracks on here. This was released last year however I see they put some songs on here that are quite old. That was good coz it shows some of this shit can be timeless.

Let’s start off with the ultra dope Sho Nuff from Tela featuring Eightball and MJG. Not sure if you checked the video for this but it was tight. Most people might not like the subject matter of this but there’s no pretending here. This is just about balling and most people only know that.  That’s keeping it real for you, even if you disagree with it.

Gangsta Boo also contributes Where Dem Dollars At which was a hit for her. Most people might not catch it at first but if you listen to it quite often the bassline grows on you.

The tightest track on here is Break Em Off from Master P featuring UGK. UGK is the best rap group from the South no doubt about it. They just got a flow for that ass.

There are quite a number of nice ass shakers on this mix cd and it’s perfect for an outdoor party.  However get volume 2 coz I checked it had better tracks on it.

Pastor Troy – Face Off (Universal Records)

Pastor Troy is one mean looking guy, and believe me his look is equal to his bark. If you think ODB or DMX got gruff voices you need to check this guy out. Sometimes I wonder if he gonna loose his voice midway in the song.

This album is aiight, 50/50 like wildlife. I liked the track This Tha City. Nice guitars and shouting in the background makes the girls in my street shake their bums. This guy uses the same formula that 36 Mafia use. So if you like them you might just like Pastor Troy.

Other tracks to peep are I’m Made, Rhonda and Eternal Yard Dash.

However this album can incite a headache in a minute. There’s just too much shouting on here. I won’t be
surprised if people go out and start riots after listening to this.

Pismo – The Game/Production Products 12 inch (Shou Records)

I can see this guy going far in this rap game, and it seems like nothing is going to stop him if he keeps on pulling out joints like this.

I was impressed with The Game, Pismo produced this one perfectly and I liked it
immediately without having to listen to it more than once. That counts for a lot. Pismo writes and produces his own stuff and it’s difficult to say whether he is a better rapper or a producer because he excels at both. On the lyrical department Pismo keeps you hooked throughout the track from beginning to the fade out and that’s what I like in a track. Tight!

Flip this piece of wax over and Pismo hits you with another joint that is going to make your speakers purr. On Production Products he is joined by Pep Love and A Plus who flow toe to toe on this blazing track. However it’s the Techni Cali Remix of this song that is a favourite of mine. A floor filler for real Hip Hop heads.

I cannot wait for his album High Definition. Highly Recommended.

Divine Mind – Frontpage/Centerstage 12 inch (Rent Money Recordings)

The Divine Mind production squad are looking good, and it’s impressive too when you see the kind of emcees they got lacing their tracks. On the A side we got the track Frontpage which features Rubix, Scienz of Life and Mikchek who flow lovely on this Chris Craft produced track. This is, without trying to sound cliche, a headnodder. However I must warn you that the track will grow on you so if you don’t like it first time round give it a few listens.

Turn this vinyl over and guess what, I just found a song I’m adding to my playlist. On Centerstage we are joined by MF Doom, Supremacy and Felix for this Resol produced track. The flows are on point just like in the previous track and this is what I’m looking for in hip hop.

The producers maintain the same sound throughout the 2 tracks which produces consistency but still allowing each cat to add his own personality to it. The main component here is the ability to
amalgamate tight beats, scratches and nice flows. This comes recommended by AfricasGateway.

504 Boys – Goodfellas (No Limit Records)

Master P, what can I say? I’ve known him from back in the days from his 99 Ways To Die release in the early 90’s and it’s almost impossible to count how many releases his record label has released since then. There have been so many. I think that might have been one of his reasons for success, consistency in releasing new stuff every month.

Here we have a release by the 504 Boys and as always when it comes to a No Limit release it’s all about taste. Most hip hoppers won’t even listen to this stuff. However if you have accustomed yourself to this style of Hip Hop then this album should satisfy your hunger.

Big Toys is a track that will get you hopping. Carlos did a great job on this beat. On this track Mac, Krazy and D.I.G. contribute to provide a catchy track that might just have your cd on repeat.  On Whodi you cannot get the chorus out of your head. It’s strange because it is so uncatchy. Maybe it’s because they show the video almost every day on BET’s Rap City. Anyway Mystikal got the tightest verse on here.

The classic track on here is If You Real Keep It Real which uses an element from “Free”. Again we got Carlos handling the beat here with Master P and Silkk The Shocker doing the verses. I can’t get with Silkk’s verses, he doesn’t sound powerful enough however the track is still tight.

Thug Girl II is bound to shake that ass. This is a bouncy track but the chorus sounds a bit flimsy.  D Game is probably the 2nd best track on here, produced by none other than the Neptunes.   But the dopest shit on here Soulja’s where Snoop came off really strong. This track makes the purchase of this cd all worth it.

Overall this is not a bad album but not a good album either. I’ve heard better No Limit releases.

Cool Nutz – Speaking Upon A Million (Jus Family Records)

The first time I heard about Cool Nutz was from a compilation that Mr D.O.G. put out about a year or two ago.  Cool Nutz is from Portland, a city in the States not really known for Hip Hop, however he has done a lot of work in getting hip hop recognised in that city and even making a nationwide success with his group D.B.A. which was featured in the Source Magazine. Every city has their big bossalini, the main man who runs shit and he does that for Portland.

Cool Nutz is an above average rapper, and from listening to this album you can check that there is a lot of focus and direction on here. I fail to understand how people can sleep on this. Cool Nutz should be a hip hop household name.

I get cold sweats when I listen to this album, it’s that hot. On the Cool Nutz produced Spread Love, Cool Nutz let’s people know that “I put’s nothing above for my niggaz, I spread the love“.  On Eyez For The Prize featuring Bosko you are treated to the nicest bassline that can only be appreciated at full volume in your car.

Keep My Soul, produced by legendary Bosko, is top notch, phat bassline and again another track for the jeeps on a late night creep. The other one that almost had me falling over the place was the Torrey Ward produced What I’m About.

Another one that I can’t stop playing is Roll Call which is about 10 minutes long. It features a tribe of artists namely BA of 3X Krazy, Bosko, L Profound, Kenny Mack, Mr D.O.G., Young Randall, Nyquil, Ray Ray, Maniac Lok, AL C, Mackin Rob, Michael Crenshaw, HTK, J.Dee, Pete Miser and Libretto. Damn that’s a lot of rappers on there.

This album in my opinion was on another level for it’s time. Cool Nutz has created his own sound without isolating himself from the other regions. There are elements of the West Coast, Bay Area and touch of the dirty South but it’s all his own sound which should make this album a healthy addition to your hip hop collection. Highly Recommended.

Cool Nutz – Verbal Porn (Jus Family Records)

When was the last time I declared in the first paragraph that we already have our album of the month? Well this album won that contest as soon as I put into my cd player. This is our album of the month for March 2002.

His flow is strong, there’s confidence in his delivery that is seriously lacking in many other emcee’s vocals. The quality of this album is in many ways better than most of the shit being released on the major labels today.

The production on here is superior, with Cool Nutz, Bosko, Torrey Ward, Jumbo, Philly Blunt, FunkDaddy and Dubb Flex all taking turns in the production lab.

I almost had a stroke (and almost caused a motor accident) when I heard Major Pain. This track is hotter than the African sun. Produced by Torry Ward and featuring Toni Hill, Cool Nutz raps with confidence and I can appreciate his flow caused he raps his words with precision. You better believe him when he rhymes:
While my shit sells
you the dust on the shelves

On Freq featuring Jumbo and Donnie you are treated to a commercially friendly track that is bound to attract radio attention. It’s bouncy, catchy and will most probably appeal to a lot of people.

Can’t Hold Back feat DBA is a brilliant track. Bosko did an excellent job on the production and the way this track was constructed was just dope. The chorus is the bombay. This is a superior quality A1 prime cut right here. My problem is why are such dope tracks being withheld from the general public? Radio is crazy not to pick up on this shit. As I’m writing this review I’m stuck on this part coz I can’t stop playing this track.

This album is testament to the fact that there is real talent elsewhere other than LA or New York. Cool Nutz, as I said before should be a hip hop household name. This album comes HIGHLY recommended by AfricasGateway.

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