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Review Archive 7

9 August 2010 No Comment

S.M.P. & J.U.I.C.E. & DJ Rude 1 – Dumb Hot b/w It’s All About Me 12

First of all, you get Hip Hop and then you get what people call "Real Hip Hop". Well this is real Hip Hop. No doubt about that. On Dumb Hot it’s nothing but mad ill production. I’m playing this all day, I didn’t even put on another record. I already know all the words. J.U.I.C.E. is a talented lyricist and that is a fact. You need to listen to the words in order to understand where I’m coming from.

On the other side of the record It’s All About Me Now you are treated to another track that will make most emcees jealous. J.U.I.C.E. didn’t win the Blaze battle and Direct Effects competitions for nothing. You’ll be hearing more from the Single Minded Pro’s in the future. They also got an album coming up, so open your eyes.

Highly recommended by AfricasGateway.

Social Deviantz – Minimal (Sugar Shack Records)

Another release from Canada, and I need to stress this, coz Canada is releasing some good original Hip Hop. Social Deviantz caught my attention immediatley, coz being a deejay, this would suit my sets perfectly. On the first track Minimal I had to guess whether they were using live instruments. This track is extremely dope. The rhyming flows perfectly over the beat. This track just makes me want to dance. If you a deejay you need to get this. Extremely innovative. On Lucky 5 they feature DJ Wax on the turntables. Very nice. I must emphasise this 3 track CD showcases some really good talent. Do not sleep on these cats. Last but not least, Molehill is a slow and well produced track which would fit my rain filled days perfectly.

Soulviet U.N.I.O.N. – S.I.N. Strength In Numbers

The Soulviet Union is group of emcees, producers, deejays who put this album together. Until the day I received their package I had not heard of them before but I’m glad that I have. In fact I got a few tracks here that are constantly on my turntables. This shit rocks period. Members Jame, Don Heroic, Iz, DJ Rockon, Talib and Life bring together an album that got my attention quicker than a man next to a car bomb.

The second track Survive A Minute forces you to bob your head. Nice rhyming coupled with well produced beats makes this a winner. I need to check more of Don Heroics production coz it just gets better as you go to the other tracks. Now what I’m talking about is the ill track In The World. I play this shit so loud that my neighbour knocked on my door and told me turn the volume down. If people like Soulviet Union is gonna send me shit like this I might just get kicked out my crib. Another track that was really good was Do You which has a good vibe to it. The other dope track on here is Everydays The Same Thing but check it, coz the majority of the tracks on the album work. I could also relate what was said on the track When We Get On, this is some really good stuff. You need to go out and get this if you looking for some quality hip hop.
Each track is well produced and there are a good variety of emcees that bring different styles to the tracks.

I hope that in the future I can catch some of their future releases. Make sure you check back at this site coz there is an interview coming up with the Soulviet Union very soon.

Spooks by Lameez Abrahams (AfricasGateway.com Freelance Journalist)

Once in a while an album is produced that changes a musical genre for the better. This is the case with "S.I.O.S.O.S" (Spooks Is On Some Other Script), the debut album from the Spooks. The group has taken hip-hop to another level, with lyrics as bold as their sounds.

Spooks consist of Mr Booka-T aka Bookaso, Water Water aka Aqua Dinero, Hypno, J.D. aka Vengeance, plus the angelic-sounding vocalist, Ming-Xia.

It appears the group chose their name in order to convey to listeners their aim of bringing new meaning to old beliefs. This also seems to hold true when it comes to their approach to making hip-hop music: they bend the rules enough to be noticed as being different without being too "way out".

Their combination of killer sounds, sultry female vocals and a range of relatively heavy topics with the odd bit of humour thrown in is sure to make this album hard to forget.

It’s difficult not to draw comparisons between them and the East Coast group known as the Fugees. Yes, the Spooks are a group of male rappers with a female singer/rapper like the Fugees and yes, their music is original and soulful, which will undoubtedly make a huge impact. But the difference is simple – they are the Spooks.

Their debut single release “Things I’ve Seen” has been a huge commercial success, but if you listen closely to the lyrics of not only this song but all the others, you will hear that they have a very strong message. The fact that the song has a smooth beat tinged with sweet vocals does not distract from their goal of getting their message across to listeners. “You won’t believe the things I’ve seen/Far beyond your wildest dreams/I’ve seen chaos and order reign supreme/I’ve seen the beauty of the universe so peaceful and serene/In seconds turn to violence and screams”.

The fascinating part is that this is not the only groundbreaking track on the album. Each track has a unique twist to it, different from the last. To me, there are several tracks that stand out, which could go on to become classic cuts. The soulful voices of the vocalists complement each other very well and often cut through the hard-edged rap delivered by the other members. A dominant rapper or leader does not seem to have yet emerged within the band, which is probably partly because of the huge range of styles and influences they all bring to the table.

Other outstanding tracks include “Other Script”, “The Mission”, “Sweet Revenge”, “Karma Hotel”, “Something Fresh” and “Swindley’s Maracas”.

This album has taken a huge leap forward for hip-hop, a genre which has been marred by artists simply interested in making money from their music. Thankfully, the Spooks have returned to the essence of hip-hop – the message.

Various – Stray From The Pack (Stray Records)

The one thing that I must say about Stray Records is that they releasing some really good original unique Hip Hop. I would call it experimental Hip Hop because this is different to what you are used to hearing. This compilation contains tracks from their artists which range in styles from Hip Hop, Electronica, breakbeat and Drum n Bass. Azeem is an artist that I’m looking forward to hearing an album from. He contributes a track on here entitled "Duragz" which is produced by DJ Spin. Azeem has some lyrical skills. You need to hear him on this. What really caught me off guard was "Ebb Of Life" by Antares. This is the dopest shit I’ve heard in ages! I’m
definitely gonna check for him. And of course you cannot forget about The Coup. They hit us off with an ill track "Swervin" which had me playing their previous record all over again. This compilation is very well compiled and showcases a lot of (often) slept on artists that deserve to get more recognition.

Sunmoon Sekt – Sunmoon Sekt (Math Sound Workshop/Sunmoonsekt/Slumplords)

This cd landed in my lap just the other day, and playing it was most probably the best thing I did last night. This have some of the most unique sound I’ve heard in a while. They seem to be living one level underneath the underground. What may sound like totally simple beat patterns they twist it around which results in a totally abstract sound. On top of this layer they smear totally wicked rhyming styles. This is some next level shit.

Sup The Chemist – Dust (Uprok Records)

This is Sup’s first full length solo album, following the self released Raiders Of The Lost Art EP, and after selling 100 000 copies of the four albums by his original band SFC in the 90’s.

This is gospel Hip Hop meaning that you will not hear any profanity. Just tight beats and ill rhymes. This album is dark and should be a favourite on the underground. The tracks on here are dope and Sup never loses the flow. The whole album is tight from beginning to finish but there were a few tracks that stood out. For instance on the Sup produced My Shot he shows us that Christian Hip Hop can hold it’s own without being scrutinised how it used to be in the past. Sup is a good emcee that is underrated and so is his production. I liked his production on Gaiety which is a laid back track laced with a piano sample. Very nice. The tightest track on here is Zone featuring Nameless and Bam from Elevated. Also check out the humorous lyrics on Sup The Chemist.

I’d urge people to check this out. Check back at this site soon for an interview.

Mr DOG and Mac Money – Take It Off (Bow Wow Records)

This is the single that is currently heating up record pools in the USA. Listening to this will tell you why it’s gonna blow up. The beat was produced by Big Squeeze and is bass heavy, meaning that it’s gonna be a favourite in the clubs. The chorus is catchy and I cannot get it out of my head. And this is just after listening to it 3 times. Radio won’t have to play this single a hundred times in order to catch on. It’s one of those singles that catch on immediatley. DJ’s do yourself a favour and get this now and add it to you playlists. If you don’t then what kind of dj are you?

This is hot man I cannot even explain.

Original Soundtrack – Thicker Than Water (Hoobangin/Priority)

This double CD contains a mixture of both coasts with the Western artists contributing the majority of the tracks. Most of the stuff on here is laid back which unfortunately makes this soundtrack kinda boring. I know alot of people are going to like the first track on cd 1 which is Let It Begin by the Westside Connection. There’s a nice track called Thicker Than Blood by Fat Joe featuring the Terror Squad. Most probably the nicest song on cd 1 is King T’s I Don’t Wanna Die. King T has always been a good rapper. A nice suprise was CJ Mac’s King Of LA which has an old skool kinda twist. He also sounds similiar to Xzibit.

Pop in Cd 2 and you are treated to the same vibe. The dopest track on here is Choclair’s Flagrant. Fat beats coupled with good rhyming flows make this one a winner. On Hate by CJ Mac, as said before, is extremely similiar to Xzibit. You might even make the mistake of assuming it’s one of his track. Mack 10 also does a remake of NWA’s Gangsta Gangsta.

Overall you would not be missing much if you don’t get this double cd.

Tunsi – The Omen (Parana Records)

Tunsi, born and raised on the East Coast is an artist who blends many types of unpredictable styles and delivers raw lyrical talent over strong beats. The Omen is a good album, and what I liked was that there was a consistent production style throughout the album. This is because Tunsi makes his own beats. Tunsi’s style is very underground and it would do well in underground Hip Hop clubs and mixtapes. Try playing this at a club with commercial heads and people might not catch it.

I loved this album especially the track Captain. Tunsi is good with the beats and equally good with the lyrics and delivery. In many ways he reminds me of Divine Styler which should be a compliment. The other tracks I liked was Step Up, Chains Change and Artifacts.

Tunsi is a talented all round Hip Hop artist and would recommend this album anyday.

Tunsi – Behold A King (Parana Records)

This is authentic Hip Hop. Tunsi is no stranger to Hip Hop. He is involved with almost
every aspect of Hip Hop including bboying. This is his other album and what better way to start it off with Behold A King. As I said before he is really a talented lyricist. The beats are on point and at certain points extremely original. What makes this album great is that you won’t hear this kind of production anywhere else. This is evident when you listen to Strategy which is unique with regards to production.

Man did I freak out on Ya Decision. What a freaking phat track. I’m gonna play this on my radio show.

If you looking for real underground Hip Hop then check out Tunsi. You will not be dissappointed.

Highly recommended by AfricasGateway.com. And we don’t say that often.

Various Artists – Urban Renewal by Lameez Abrahams (AfricasGateway.com Freelance Journalist)

"Urban Renewal" is an ode to Phil Collins, one of the best-loved vocalists in the world. The album features amongst the most talented artists in the R&B and hip-hop world – Brandy, Lil’ Kim, Brian McKnight, Debelah Morgan, Ol’Dirty Bastard and others – collaborating to cover Collins’ greatest hits.

The album has been in the making for three years and reflects Phil Collins’ attitude of not confining his music to one specific genre. It is an album which not only appeals to avid Phil Collins fans but also to lovers of R&B and hip-hop.

What must be stressed from the outset is that the songs on this album shouldn’t be compared to Collins’ versions – they are quality tracks in its own right.

“Urban Renewal” kicks off with Collins’ “Another Day In Paradise” from his 1989 album “But Seriously.” This version is done by the smoky-voiced Brandy and her brother Ray J. They pull out all the stops and the result is a familiar track done R&B style, which has already received a huge amount of airplay.

Track three “Sussudio” off Collins’ 1982 “Hello I Must Be Going” is one of the highlights on the album, simply because it’s Ol’Dirty Bastard at his best. He lets out a full-blown rap attack holding nothing back, in a track which must at least be played four or five times to get the full effect.

Track four “Something Happened On The Way To Heaven” off the “Serious Hits…Live!” album is done by soul diva Deborah Cox in a slow and moving rendition. Track five “This Must Be Love” performed by Dane Bowers (from Another Level) featuring rage-filled Kelis is also a cover that gives a whole new sound to this groundbreaking mix.

“In The Air Tonight”, track six, must be the best track on the album. This Collins’ classic is covered by bad girl Lil’ Kim and is nothing short of out-of-this-world. It’s the only track on the album featuring Collins himself and the result is a combination that simply cannot go without recognition. The collaboration of these two, both top performers in their own genres, produces a song that is a true classic. It begins a lot like the original with Phil doing his ‘I-can-feel-it-coming-in-the-air-tonight-thing’ but then does a total 360 degree flip when Lil’ Kim blows up, holding nothing back as usual.

Other tracks on the album include “Against All Odds” by Montell Jordan, "I Wish It Would Rain Down” by Brain McKnight, “One More Night” by Changing Faces, “Can’t Turn Back The Years” performed by Joe and “Do You Remember” by Irish bombshell Debelah Morgan

If you like at least one Phil Collins’ song or one of the artists featured on this album then this you should check out this album. The exquisite line-up speaks for itself and you might just find that one listen is not enough.

Mr. D.O.G. – Wet (Bow Wow Records)

Mr. D.O.G. from Tacoma, Washington, has been working hard at getting the Northwestern region on the Hip Hop map. Besides releasing a couple of albums he has also opened up for Luniz, E40, Ras Kass, Mac Dre, Killa Tay, Richie Rich and Dru Down.

This album Wet is a very nice one, released in 1998 and worthy of a review on Africasgateway. I like this independent shit because in many ways you get a feeling that they are more real than the commercial ‘plush’ studio generated rap albums. The only way to describe Mr D.O.G.’s sound is to think of this as a mixture of the Bay Area (read: E40), that Dirty South and a West Coast twist. The first track on here Playa Playa is a dope kinda laid back track with some nice vocals by Mr DOG, YP, Squeek and Cool Nutz. You will find that Mr. D.O.G. has a unique style of rapping that is refreshing to the crap that we are accustomed to hearing today. Shit, I also liked that 4 Da Homies which is similiar to E40 rhyme wize, nevertheless the track is phat. Another phat track is Cold World and don’t forget to peep Aquaman.

Overall this is a straight up ghetto album, and keeping in mind that this is 3 years old, I think this is a decent effort, from what I can see, Mr. DOG deserves respect for bringing this shit out himself independently.

X ta C – Ball ‘n Play’n & Parlay’n (DP Entertainment)

This is your gangsta shit right here. X ta C, all the way from Kansas City come with a release on D.P. Entertainment.

Now this is nice stuff, especially the first track keeping in mind that this style of rap music is an acquired taste. You know what I’m talking about here, similiar to that South Shit/No Limit/Bay Area etc. I know not many people like this flavor of rap, especially that moog sounding shit. But you need to understand this sound is very big in certain parts of America. The first track Put Tha Heat 2 Dis has got an infectious hollow bass going through that just makes you want to bob your head. Other tracks that got me open is Ball Till I Fall and Playa Like Me. I would have to say the best track on this cd is It’s My Thang. Nice beat and a damn good song too man!

Overall this is a good effort, my only problem is that there should have been more dope tracks on here coz they got the potential to do it, which I assume will happen with their next release. Check out for the interview coming soon.

Young Bleed – All I have in this world are…My balls and my word (No Limit Records)

Five Gold, two double Platinum and one platinum album. That’s the figures of an independent Rap label from New Orleans, Louisiana. At the helm of No Limit Records is CEO Percy Miller aka Master P. Master P has incidently blasted himself to the number 3 spot on the Source magazines Power 30 from nowhere. Spot’s 1 and 2 is occupied by Puff Daddy and Russel Simmons (CEO of Def Jam). The first release this year by No Limit Records is Young Bleed hailing from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is also a member of C-Loc’s camp which Master P sort of hooked up with to release this album. As soon as it hit the shelves in America it blasted itself to the top 10 Billboard 200 album charts which is too dope for a debut artist no one sort of of never even heard of. The first single "How ya do dat" which appeared on the Platinum "I’m bout it" soundtrack, is a jam which features Master P and C-Loc. The track which will make you scratch your head is "The day they make me boss". It features the opening baseline by Fools Garden’s "Lemon Tree". It makes for an interesting track. This album has a nice suprise in N. Perez, the producer who did the majority of the tracks on here. "Bring the noise" features Mystikal and Master P and is as explosive as a trunk full of TNT. By the way, Pimp C, KLC, Mo B Dick and Craig B put this track together. Young Bleed has got a flow similar to Lil’ Dap of Group Home. It’s a good thing to hear some new voices on the rap scene. The South is slowly taking the majority of Rap sales in the States today. Other notable tracks that should be mentioned is "An offer u can’t refuse", "Pull it off", "Times so hard" and "Better than last time". Hope you have the balls to listen to this one.

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