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Review Archive 12

9 August 2010 No Comment

Extended Fam -Happy Fuck You Songs (BP Distribution)

Who is Extended Fam? Well it’s Tonedeff, PackFM, Substantial and Session. This album is packed with retarded production by peoples like Tonedeff, Elite and Deacon the Villian.

The first thing you gonna think when you hear this is why haven’t checked them out before. You will slap yourself silly because you’ve been living in caves of the Tora Bora all this time. Extended Fam will bring you out of that cave and show you a whole new world in Hip Hop. The rhymes will make you laugh, they will make you repeatedly rewind to catch that one liner. The flows will make you jealous.

On “The Evil That Pens Do” they basically declare to the world that they can rhyme the craziest lyrics with their hands tied behind their backs. On “Line Drop” they show us that they can pitch up their rhymes without using a mixer. I was impressed with this track.

One of the nicest tracks on here is “Good Combination”. This ones get’s so much airplay on my headphones that people on my bus already know the lyrics. “Velocity” is another one I cannot stop playing. These guys just have that right formula. For me this is what hip hop is supposed to sound like. Innovative flows like you’ve never heard before.

On “How U Doing”, you will probably be irritated by the chorus the first time you hear it, but believe me, after a while you cannot stop saying it. What must be one of the funniest tracks on here is “Pebble Jam”. Check it for yourself.

This is a dope album, one of those that I’ll cherish in my hip hop collection. Get it for yours too.

Little Egypt – Straight Out the Sands

“In its most basic sense, the name Little Egypt represents Brooklyn, USA (a.k.a. the Planet). In a broader interpretation, the name Little Egypt signifies a return to traditional storytelling and artistic expressions in order to preserve one’s culture as well as building for the benefit of the community”.

Consisting of members Visual Poetics, Forge, Taajwar, Bravestar and Khordz-255 they combine to create an incredible group that is refreshing in this oversaturated market. These mighty lions grabbed my attention immediately for their flows and lyrical content.

On this sampler I am only treated to 4 tracks so let’s go through them:


This track is a perfect way to start off an album. Very similiar to early OGC. I’m feeling the emcees on here.

One Mind

Okay this is pretty tight. I can really get into what they saying on this track. Each emcee comes strong on here. Their flows are typical of what comes out of Brooklyn these days. I suppose this could give them a headstart? Probably the tightest track on here.

You Don’t Want To Be A Target

I must say these guys are good. I’m feeling the emcees on here but not the track.


This track is good for what they saying. However not as strong as the others.

Overall these guys are really dope. Their lyrical content is what counts most here. The first two tracks on here got me seeking the full album. Expect to hear more from them.

Jay Z – Blueprint 2 (Universal Music)

Jay Z has certainly come a long way.  Everybody knows of him these days and it’s hard to pick up a hip hop magazine without seeing his name in it.  Initially when he first came out I was trying to figure out why he was so successful.  Was it is rhyming, his words, what the hell was it?  I liked his Hard Knock Life track, but the rest I wasn’t feeling.  Then I saw him perform live on the Grammy’s which was awful.  I was sitting there thinking how can somebody like this deserve success?  The last straw was when the Source magazine called “The Blueprint” a classic.  By then I was so out-of-it that I just shook my head in disbelief.  But this time I was wrong.   Finally a copy of “The Blueprint” found itself over to my lap and I must say that it was dope.  It was dope enough for me to get me a tad excited about this new release “The Blueprint 2”.  

This is a double-cd and for once we have a double that is worth a purchase.  I can tell you that you will find something on here that you will dig.  You can trust the beats on here, e.g. on “Hovi Baby” Just Blaze contributes a freaking string infested beat that inspired me.  Is this because he is successful?  Is it because he is, as he says in this track “I am so far ahead of my time….”

But as they say on late night TV, that’s not all.  Dr Dre pops in to help out with a beat, but it’s so Dr Dre’ish you’d be forgiven for thinking you were listening to 2001.  What I’m trying to say is that Dre doesn’t offer something different here.  Nevertheless the track is addictive.  The track is called “The Watcher” and it features Rakim and Truth Hurts.

By now if you have not heard “03 Bonnie & Clyde” featuring Beyonce Knowles you either don’t own a radio or are deaf.  It’s currently hanging around on the Billboard charts, which by the way, explains why every radio station is playing it. 

Now we got some pretty good tracks on here, too many to mention.  For e.g. “All Around The World” featuring La Toiya Williams creates a good vibe and we got NO I.D. producing that.  Now there was a track that I’m really feeling and that is “Guns N Roses” featuring Lenny Kravitz.  Now get this, this is produced by Heavy D.  Shit, now I know what’s he’s been up to.  An interesting mix.

 Now one of my favourite groups kick in the studio doors at Baseline Studios.  Yes, who else would kick through the doors with Carona’s in hand?  Huh?  I’m talking about M.O.P.  They spray their vocals on this beautifully constructed Just Blaze track.  On this one he utilizes a sped up Bobby Byrd sample.  Freaking dope ish.

There are many other tracks on here that are dope.  But jeez, this double CD has 36 tracks on it and we don’t want to make this a long review.  Jay Z came off dope on this album.  I think this album was pretty good and while not worthy of a being deemed a classic, it is our album of the month.  Recommended.

LL Cool J – 10 (Universal Music)

Mr Cool J has come a long way.  He gave us classics like “Rock The Bells” and “Mama Said Knock You Out” plus many others that will forever bless our hip hop collections.  But can he manage to keep making classics?  Let’s see.

Now the first thing that you will notice about this album is that it’s very commercial.  It’s like these tracks were made for MTV.  Does he alienate his once faithful fans?  Probably but he’s moved on to other things now, like rapping about girls, girls and well ummmm, girls! 

Now there are a lot of tracks on here that are bound to make asses bounce.  But it will probably take the radio stations to force the people to like it by playing them over and over again.  There are some good tracks on here, e.g. “Luv U Better” and “Nigga Nuts” which has a slight down-south feel to it.  This one by the way is produced by the Neptunes so you can imagine the response to that. 

For the general population out there who are content with the Top 20 charts you will probably like this.  However you’d expect Cool J to at least put some street sh*t on here.  I mean that’s where he’s from right?  Or has he lost touch?

Supastition – 7 years of Bad Luck (BP Distribution)

For those who don’t know…If you didn’t check for the Esau CD you wont know about the track where Esau vs BlakMel. And you dont know BlakMel = Supastition!! Got the picture?

First off let me say I hate these CDs with the “promotional copy” announcement. At least these guys were smart enough not to ruin the lyrics with the placement of that sh*t. 

Somehow I was determined to do the review after more than just one listen. The CD kicks off strong with “Live like DAT” where Supa kicks those trademark punch lines aided by energetic production. The same formula that made Esau vs BlakMel a must listen.

Its rare that such honesty exists on albums and versatility is the key to “7 Years of Bad Luck”. Breaking it down about “Da Waiting Period” (shopping demos and all the bullsh*t) or on another track about going to heaven and being school on the appreciation of life by Hip hop personalities who have departed. He even got a track about he’s kid, just him trying to be the best dad he can be. “Dreamland” has to be the most honest track where he speaks on dreams and goals but admits that if he was rich right now, he’d be just as cold as most millionaires.

Flow wise he is choppy at times but never uses jaw breakers that would require frequent visits to your nearest dictionary. 

There are no credits for the producers of the album. It’s all about back to basix without the frills; strong drum programming helps the majority of the albums tracks succeed.

A solid album no doubt, lets hope that “true” headz start digging for albums like this that fly below the radar. Lots of love went into the making of this CD and it deserves to be heard.

KGB – First Born (Mothermix)

I must admit I was a bit doubtful to whether this group would make any impact on the local hip hop scene. Before I had heard their music I was checking out their album cover in the shop thinking to myself that it looked so low budget. Automatically I was thinking that the sound would be low budget too. But I was wrong.

This album is refreshing. The Cape Town hip hop scene has such a uniform sound because we only have a handful of producers doing beats for hundreds of artists. So it was great for KGB to come out with a different flavour. This album was produced by Jimmy Rotten Jr who shows us that he can make those Bay Area type beats. KGB are a young married couple who gave us an album this year that will be remembered as one of those turning points in local hip hop. Why do I say that? Most artists in Cape Town are trying to emulate POC, BVK and Black Noise. Now here comes a group from nowhere who turn the tables showing that you don’t need to follow a certain sound to be relevant and successful in local hip hop. 

On the “First Born” you are treated to a radio-friendly track and this a perfect way to start an album off. The rhyming on here is so down to earth that you can actually relate to them. It’s like they living across the road from you. Apparently this song is heating up charts all over South Africa. 

“Open Your Eyes” is probably the best track on here. The production is tight like a g-string. The chorus is extremely catchy and it’s not often that a local song will give me goose bumps when I hear it. Too dope! 

"Kwaito" is the controversial one on here. I suppose we all need to question the lack of talent from kwaito artists. But to make a song about it? Damn that takes balls. There’s a lot of truth in this track, however there’s also a lot of name calling on here that will probably cause people to blush and run into the bushes.

“Evil Got Ya” has got some fat production. Shit this stuff is so much like Bay Area rap. Once the beat comes on you expecting C-Bo to start rapping. Dope track. 

“What’s Our Name” is freaking catchy. I cannot stop listening to this track. I actually had this track going through my head the whole week. 

“Get Money” is also a bloody good song. This couple certainly do have good concepts for their songs and they have a producer who can give them the right tracks to use. 

Overall this a good album. While the rapping ‘skills’ still need some polishing up, they have convinced me that they are here to stay and will probably knock our Ray-Bans off with their next release. My only hope is that they don’t give up when things get tough. This deserves to be in your Hip Hop Collection.

Doyen D – D Game (Street Legal Music)

Doyen D comes from Sheffield which is located in the northern part of the UK. He now runs his own label Street Legal Musicwhich now serves as a platform for him to realize his dream after 14 years of blood, sweat and tears. 

Now Doyen D is not new to the UK hip hop scene and that is pretty obvious when you listen to this album. You can hear that he has many years under his belt. For the most part this album is dark and gritty. It has a very warm feel to it, and without failing, Doyen D manages to suck you into his mind with every verse. 

Now when you hear the first track on here, “Sole Burnz”, it set’s Doyen D in concrete as an artist that must be taken serious. The production on this album is handled by Cocka who, I’m heavily impressed with. You can hear that his beats are well thought out. No rush jobs here. Carefully selected to ensure that people don’t reject this. There are some really dope tracks on here that will incite hard-on’s/nipple stands. For example on “Impossible” he creates a nice atmosphere over a gentle beat and laces it with grimy and snarly rhymes. Another one of our favorites is “Meglomania” that even got my neighbors nodding their heads. This song is helluva catchy. But, crikey moses, take a listen to “En-d.game” the production borders on brilliance. On here it is laced with the nicest piano sample and then in the chorus is sprinkled with lovely scratches. Doyen-D really shines on this track lyrically. He kicks shit like “…my business is on the DL like child pornography….”. This whole track is brilliant. Then just when you think it can’t get any better he orders an army of rappers on “Thik Az Theevz”. I mean on here he brings in people’s like Late, Tommy Evans, Lee Ramsey, Scorsayzee, Bungle, Junior Disprol, Cappo, Jibber and Usmaan. Not one emcee disappoints on here. A tight track. 

If you looking for top quality beats and hardcore rhymes then this deserves to sit in your hip hop collection. This is street music period. Doyen-D will often kick the funniest shit when you least expect it. On the Cd inlay card he mentions that “…I am one of the greatest rappers and lyricist that this country has ever seen…”. Well, after you hear this album you might have to believe him.

Da Ambush – Compilation (Make It Happen Records)

This is a compilation coming out of the States consisting of 13 tracks. This is underground hip hop mostly consisting of artists that some of you may never have heard of yet, however I’d urge you to peep this as some of them come with flows that are both interesting and relevant in terms of what they saying. This entire album is produced by Jay Allen for Heist Productions. 

The first track on here that I’m feeling is “Da Ambush” which features quite a lot of emcees on here. This is your typical head nodder but with the lyrics, coz on this track you more interested in the flows and words. On “Who Wants To Be A Terrorist” you are treated to some really laid back beats and electronic keyboards while the emcee declares that he was forced to a terrorist. Another track that I was feeling was “Final Exit” which has a morbid beat. This is the kind of shit that get’s you off the dance floor and rather pulling up a chair to listen to what the guy is saying. These cats are not interested in moving asses, they are interested in bringing messages to the masses. But as always the masses will ignore shit like this. But this emcee Mr Blackston is nice. He got a nice flow. Now this other track “Pressure” has a nice beat and then that’s followed by another nice one “Make You Laugh Make You Cry”. This particular track has a dope atmosphere to it.  Now this album will fly right over the heads of most people. Far from being perfect there are a few flaws on this compilation. For example this album is way too laid back save for the first track. This can be a bad thing if you trying to get people’s attention. There should have been more diversity in terms of producers on here as well so that there could be different atmospheres for each track. But that’s all that I was thinking. Nevertheless I thought the flows were on par with the industry and some of the emcees on here were really nice, really dope. Best tracks:

  • Da Ambush featuring Giz, Seldom Seen, Mr Blackston, Sean Brox, Hazidus da Fly Apostle and Smurf
  • Final Exit feat Mr Blackston

Nas – God’s Son (Columbia Records)

I’ve had to do some real soul searching when I set out to review this album and wanna get a few things clear before I get on with it.

Firstly, this is a review and not a critique or session of “let’s compare”, if you are only interested in the last two then I suggest you take your rather low IQ and roll the hell on by. I’m interested in the music and the music alone and will do just that and if ya’ll don’t like it, well then I’m just gonna have to not give a flying f#$%* yet again! 

I’ve seen people lose the plot one too many times and for reasons which I am not even gonna begin to rant about – I’ve had it. “Save the Music Ya’ll” – Nas!

Secondly, when reviewing hip-hop albums three things have to be looked at, lyrical content, delivery and production. If anything else is taking into consideration I’m afraid like the Ja Rule and Bobby Brown collaboration, it’s gonna be crap and drifting from the real deal!

Ever since Nas dropped this album whispers have been floating around and to answer some of them I’ll have to say yes, this album is indeed a classic and yes, he’ll be able to do one better next time round and just for those who are still stuck in 1994, this album is entitled God’s Son and not Illmatic!

Nasir Jones delivers this album after coming off a highly successful year which involved releasing two critically acclaimed albums (Stillmatic/Lost Tapes). One would expect him to take time off and sit back but he came back blazin with an even fiercer fire.

God’s Son is laced with old school throwback beats, highly emotional driven lyrical content and clever delivery which will give Nas enthusiasts something to smile about. Mr. Jones takes hip-hop back to streets and from the offset with “Get Down” one is drawn into the world of New York rapper and taken on a journey filled with beats and bites from hip-hop’s late 80s.

Nas is and always will be an underground icon and one of the few rappers who despite having commercial success has the ability to stay true to the raw nature of hip-hop. For some strange reason for which we should be truly grateful, the Murder Inc crew are nowhere to found on this album. He relies on beats by Salaam Remi, Saukrates, Agile, Alicia Keys and Eminem.

Eminem’s production influence is clearly noted and given two thumbs up on track two, “The Cross”. Nas utters without blinking an eye that “If Virgin Mary had an abortion / I still would be carried in a white chariot by stampeding horses / I’m happy the streets is back in New York.

One of the highlights on the album “Made You Look” sees Nas come full circle flaunting his lyrical genius is the face of all who doubted him and sampling the Incredible Bongo Band’s reading of ‘Apache’ with ease and freshness.

If you are still breathing after Nas’ freestyle long after the beat ends on “Made You Look” you are in for a solid mind f#$% with the gem of the album ‘Last Real Nigga Alive”.

In 5 mins and 9 secs Nas manages to tightly pack the lunacy of the past and deliver what can only be described as pure gold. The production parades yet again simple old school drum loops, which suits his rhyming style like nothing before. His delivery is classic Nas and the lyrics well, he creatively tells a story which begins in 1993 and paints a picture as if he were inspired by Salvador Dali, here’s a teaser. “ Niggas started noticing my flow and was open when / The Golden Child closed em in with more style than them older men/ Puff tried to start a label / Prince Rakeem had formed Wu-Tang / Snoop and Dre had a new thang / So Puff drove his new Range through Queensbridge Projects / 
He let me drive it / before Ready to Die hit’

He intelligently disses Jay-Z without getting messy, a skill most lack, “I was Scarface, Jay was Manolo / It hurt me when I had to kill him and his whole squad for dolo.

Salaam Remi and Nas’s Bravehearts crew come into view on “Zone Out” and even though this song in my opinion is the only drawback on the album it still flosses clever production.

“Hey Nas” features the sultry voice of Claudette Ortiz and here Nas lets all know what type of Queen he wants. “Since Michael had Billy Jean / And Prince gave you diamond’s and pearls / But to be my queen you must… / Point out my enemies, a girl who’s into me / But not a hype chick- someone with proper energy.

One of my fav’s on the album has to be “I Can” a message to the youth done intelligently with a simple drum loop and piano sample. Nas with this song sums up what the essence of this album is – it’s a message to everyone telling all to “Save the Music Ya’ll”.

The Alchemist stepped up to produce “Book of Rhymes” which sees Nas flipping through his old book and laughing at himself for actually writing some of the things he did in the past. “Gandhi was a… what the fu..? / Gandhi was a fool, nigga fight to the death / The US Army is a school that teach ya plights of conquest / (I wonder when I wrote this. Nah it’s weak).

“Thug Mansion” as all must know by now features the late great Tupac Shakur. When two of the most talented lyricists are found on one track the outcome is sure to leave you with goose bumps. The two melt over the acoustic of the guitars effortlessly and their pain is felt in every word and Nas’ loss of his mother, who died of cancer in April, is evident from here on in the album. 

Alicia Keys offers production and vocals for “Warrior Song” and does a five star job at that. African drum beats, piano sounds, smooth vocals courtesy of Miss Keys and a stepped up lyrical delivery undoubtedly makes this another gem on the album.

Nas pours his heart out on “Dance” and one can’t help but feel for him as he wishes to have one more dance with his mother. “If only I could hear your voice and your laughter / Just one more time, my chest would be filled up with sunshine / April 7, 42 / That’s when the gates of heaven opened up for you to stroll threw / Beautiful Anne Jones.

The same can be heard in “Heaven”, which boasts an ear-catching 60s feel to it. “If Heaven was a mile away / Would I pack up my bags and leave this world behind? / If Heaven was a mile away / Or save it all for you? / If Heaven was a mile away.” 

Nasir Jones is undoubtedly one of the most talented artists to ever pick up a mic and the fact that he draws his strength from knowledge instead of money and hoes propels him into a league of his own. He has raised the bar up quite a few notches and it will be very interesting to see if other rappers will be able to step up their game as well.

It seems as though the more Nas matures the more his music matures as well. He made it clear that all he needs is one mic and one breath to change the world. The only time that I am going to look back at his discography is to pose and answer a question. Is Nas back? Well, he was never gone. It was the quiet before the storm so that the likes of Jay-Z, Ja Rule and Nelly, could demonstrate what they were making and thanks to Nas, hopefully all will see that they are just f#$%* faking!

#1 Stunna – Birdman (Universal Music)

Whilst driving to canal walk I went through my latest collection of discs to review, and I came across the new cd from cash money records. I knew about this disc sum time ago, I got the emails saying that it was gonna cum out. But I thought that this disc would only cum out next year(2003).

But alas, it’s here in my frontloader. One thing I gotta say about this disc is that it has alotta bass.  My amp nearly overloaded with heat as u know I have to play this shit loud!  This disc went down well with my beyoches as they just lurve the birdman.

The first vid and single DO THAT features P.DIDDY over a musical soundscape provided by VA natives Chad and Pharrel (Neptunes).  Every song on this album has got to do sumthing with birds or flying!  Or basically just being fly!  MS. BIRD featuring MANNIE FRESH is hot!  Typical CMR sound.  The tracks on here has got a lot of bounce to ’em and make for a cool disc to listen to.

A fave of Mr. B must be the Run Dmc influenced beat on NEVER HAD NOTHIN’.  Man it’s tight, tight like Megan Mckenzie at Teazers doin’ a table dance!  But alas! TONI BRAXTON does the chorus on BABY YOU CAN DO IT.  This song freaks a familiar sample and is off the hook, it’s cool for parties an bullshit!  HUSTLERS, PIMPS AND THUGS featuring 8BALL is also a track that made me nearly spill vanilla coke all over my burberry jeans and tims.  Luckily my teenybopper chick grabbed the cup.

This is a feel good album, through all the bad shit that we all went through this year we need sum feel good music, ya heard!  FLY AWAY is a typical pre 2000 CMR cut.  It takes you back to the good old days of CMR.  KEITH MURRAY pops up on the riot inciting SAY IT AIN’T SOKEEP SPINNIN’ is your typical down south bounce track that will instantly make your head bob.

Ja Rule – The Last Temptation (Universal Music)

After selling like over 6 million rap albums, one has to wonder if JA RULE would be able to do it again. I mean with IRV GOTTI and 7 AURELIUS hit making recipe servicing everyone from MARY J BLIGE, JENNIFER LOPEZ, ASHANTI and FAT JOE, one wonders (again) if they can keep the public still listening. The Murder Inc. formula has to some extent become very stale. I have to admit and say that the last JA RULE album was good. THUG LOVIN’ the first cut and single and video features BOBBY BROWN, which is very top 40ish. Now remember 7 AURELIUS has left IRV GOTTI due to the two not being able to agree on production credits and that. (7 claims that Irv does nothing and that he does all the production) So IRV now has a new dude CHINK SANTANA doing co-production with him. Gossip aside, MESMERIZE with ASHANTI has the makings of a hit radio song written all over it. I dig it, it’s cool and smooth like rolling in your X5 down 5th avenue.

Those Virginia natives, Messrs. HUGO and WILLIAMS provide the sonic soundscape on POP NIGGAS. They use their trademark, yet played out snare and base kick they are known for. And it’s always good to hear JA over some different shit. Nas and 2PAC appears on THE PLEDGE remix, which samples 2PAC’s SO MANY TEARS. Quite interesting with JA RULE saying “whut up Suge”. Is it just me or does CHARLI BALTIMORE sound like EVE? She plays tag with JA on the bouncy title track. Thing with JA RULE is he does not need a NATE DOGG or a BEYONCE to sing hooks for him as he has got his own gruff voice to give his tracks flavor. Seems like every track has a sample on here. From TOTO to LENNY KRAVITZ gets sampled here, damn! Latest inmates on THA ROW, EASTWOOD and CROOKED I also pop up on the filler cut CONNECTED.

My fave on this disc must be the rock influenced ROCK STAR. Probably because it samples the LENNY KRAVITZ hit I BELONG TO YOU, which reminds me of a chick I had bonked a couple of years ago. So far this here cd has gone platinum in the states and still selling. Before I say anything naughty i’mma end it right here.

Wolftown Committee – Legendary Status (Wolftown Recordings)

Straight out of Wolverhampton, England comes Wolftown Committee. A nine member crew consisting of, Late, Size 8, 10Shott, Jai Boo, Tricksta, Lee Dee, Pez, Wayney G, Conman and High Timez. I never knew Wolverhampton had a HIP-HOP scene. All I know of Wolverhampton is football and Steve Bull. But paging through the crews biog and album cover one immediately wants to listen to their brand of rap. Obviously the english accent will stick out like sore pinkie, but it’s the beats, the goddamn beats that will make you listen up. IT’S HOW IT GO featuring female rapper JAI BOO is tight. Her usage of Wolftown slang is cool, she is very humorous with her lyrics. She also raps that she aint’ no babymama and she don’t bare back. Her raps also has a Jamaican influence which definitely represents where she is coming from.

WV1 is also very excellent track featuring Late, 10Shott, Size 8, Jai Boo and Wayney G. It’s got that mid-western gangsta ish. The majority of the production is handled by Tricksta & Pez. For a crew coming out of Wolverhampton they do bring the heat. Another banger on this compilation is the hard knockin’ THIEVES LIKE US. MAINTAIN by Tricksta is what a true memory lane song is about, ya heard. It’s got that cool ass smooth roll to it.

This album contains 21 hot tracks and is full of dope synths and strings. They also got a cool little color mag out called RAGO, check it out if you can. One thing is for certain Wolftown Committee will be around for a long time.

DJ Jaycee & Emperor Searcy – CornerStone Mixtape 45

One of the most tightest mix tapes to cum our way this year ’02 must b this one!  I rate this one the tightest.  Everyting is on here and the mixing on here is off the hook, wireless!

I watched videos by Petey Pablo and Krumb Snatcha and a preview to FRIDAY AFTER NEXT!  What type a mix is this?  After surfing the net looking for pictures for Christina I got my orgasm whilst listening to this here mix-tape!  The mixing and scratches is tight.  The new GANGSTARR track makes an appearance on here. SKILLZ that’s the track we talking bout is butta/parkade.  It reminds me of MASS APPEAL.  50 CENT’s WANKSTA is okaaaaaayyy but it takes time to get used to.  I like it.  The Ras Kass freestyle over the WANKSTA instrumental is good, like sex on the beach in Monaco. 

Killer Mike also has a freestyle poppy on here and it’s gutter but I like his studio shit, can’t wait for the album. The BIRDMAN drops his brrrrrr brrr brr rhymes on here with Puffy on DO THAT.  And fa sho mayn it’s of da hizzle fa shizzle! 

But the BOMB must be the Biggie track featuring 50 cent,  it’s classic B.I.G man u cant be faded!  In my opinion B.I.G is better than Pac! 

Overall this mixtape on cd is good I can’t complain it’s good giddit or phone me.

Scarface – The Fix

I don’t have to tell you who Scarface is, because if I have to then you are probably a retard (mongolian).  I always look forward to a Scarface album, or any album that has been associated with the Geto Boys.  This Texas shit is what I like.  There is a gritty gutter feel to the lyrics and the beats that is hard to find on other albums.  Another reason is because I’m a fan of the Face himself and have every album in my collection.

But anyway this album is very dope, bordering on classic Scarface material.  I did a bit of reading around the net trying to gauge what other reviewers were feeling on this album.  What I found was that many people were not feeling this album.  But those other reviewers who have true knowledge on this dirty south shit gave it two thumbs up (or 2 fists in the air).   

Scarface doesn’t bother to offer the radio/TV any tracks.  This is straight street shit and this is how it should be.  We are not interested in moving pseudo weekend hip hop heads.  We are not interested in making albums for the MTV generation.  This is for the streets.  Bergie hip hop.  Drugs, money and murder.  A true reflection on what’s happening in the neighbourhoods of the world.  Unlike other emcees this style of hip hop is not here to complicate the masses with hard to understand lyrics.  Scarface tells it like it is without having to get complicated.

The song “In Cold Blood” is both a lyrical and production classic.  There are no words to express how dope this track is.  As I’m writing this I’m just shaking my head.  I don’t know what to write.  Just get it godammit!

Kanye West produces “Guess Who’s Back” which features Jay Z and Beanie Siegel.  However both Jay Z and Beanie irritate me on this song. 

The surprise track on here is “On My Block” which uses a catchy piano sample.  Scarface comes off just as strong, if not stronger, than when he started out.  This is classic shit.  Holy cow, now check out the next song “Keep Me Down” brags with tight as hell production.  You must also check out “What Can I Do” featuring Kelly Price.  This is such a nice song I cannot help but feel that Scarface is a legend. 

Now on “In Between Us” it features Nas.  The first time you hear this you are immediately drawn into Nas’s verses like a piece of metal to magnet. Scarface drops a short verse but engraves it so nicely on this track.

The other one I want to mention is “I Ain’t The One” featuring W.C.  Too dope for words.

This album, like every other one before that, declares that Scarface cannot be f****ed with.  This is a legend.  This album comes highly recommend.  I’ll be playing this one to death for many years to come.

Anti Pop Consortium – Arrythmia

Sometimes we have difficulty defining that underground sound.  If you are looking for an audio definition then it helps to listen to the Anti Pop Consortium.  The lyrical brilliance of this group coupled with really obscure production is what blesses this album.  This group consisting of Ball Beans, High Priest, and M.Sayyid show us that there is a place in hip hop for an avant garde sound.  Their name sums up their intentions 100%.  They are here to bring experimental sounds and flows rarely heard on a hip hop album.   Contraption This is a just an intro.

Bubblz This one is more of a typical hip hop track with some synths with congas and handclaps providing the rhythm.  Check out this verse, “Like tits make milk / I was built on tilt / To talk with the stilts / Wild like a dragon suit / Blood-red silk / Up at the hilt / With a bottle of seltz / So it’s a rap, yo / Like six chicks in a quilt“.  This is funk filled track and even the mixing on here is strange.

Ping Pong Now check this, on here they use the simple sample of a ping pong ball bouncing and use it to drive the track.  This is then laced with strange bubble like samples and they spit crazy sick mad ill rhymes like, “My symphonic monopoly philosophy sloppily edges notes awkwardly“.  

Dead In Motion The sounds on this track are similiar to what you’d hear in an electro song.  Now they do some crazy things on here, like switching the tone of the vocals and all that shit.  This beat is like a rolling type, with a constant bass buzzing going through.  Then on the chorus there’s a high pitched sound that follows through.  These guys are sick with the lyrics.

Mega Probably the best track on here and my favourite at the moment.  These people are mad talented.  This beat is just so strange.  It’s got that crazy electro type feel and these guys drop some of the illest rhymes over it.  Then the track cuts off into an opera frenzy for a few seconds.  Then you hear an applause.  Then all of a sudden the track comes back and sends my armpits flooding with sweat.  Jumping all over the place are samples of animals like elephants and antelopes.  This is wildest shit I’ve heard and I had no choice but to take my cock out and have a wank in celebration of it.

Silver Heat By now I’m beat.  I’m sweating from head to toe.  I’m not reviewing this track. I’m skipping to the next one.
Ekg Just a nice interlude with a lekker beat of around 32 seconds to prepare us for the next track.

Ghostlawns Here we go.  Again a psychotic beat with a strange sample.  These guys rhyme on here as if they just came out of the Valkenburg mental hospital.  These people are retarded in a good way.  I am heavily impressed with their verses.  Their flows change like every 4 bars.  They keep you hooked right on through to the end.  I like it how they throw in weird keyboard sounds in the chorus.  

We Kill Soap Scum Where do they come up with these titles?  Anyway, this one starts out with an accapella.  Similiar to that shit that Aesop Rock did.  The beat is mad ill.  It’s got a worm type bass going weaving in and out of it.  This guy is rapping as if he’s standing in front of you telling you this story.  This is really impressive shit.  I like it how they add all this strange this and check this, they just switch everything up.  Like just before the chorus they slow down the vocals in the weirdest places.  This is too original it’s scary.

Traum This is a damn funny skit with this deejay taking a call and then this android figure phones in.  I’m not going to explain the whole skit but to make a long story short they are taking the mickey out of commercial radio.
Tron Man Speaks I’ve never heard rhymes and flows like this before.  You can hear that these guys are heavy into experimenting with different deliveries.  What’s really dope is that they switch it up at every moment when you least expect it.  The chorus on here is hella cheesy but they make it work.  Then at the end of the track it just changes to an offbeat drum pattern with a distorted vocal sample.  You are left thinking, “What the hell just happened?”.  

Focused This track is like a Bay Area moog laced beat.  It’s got all these crystal sounding synths all over the place.  Once again the verses are really nice on here.  

Conspiracy Of Myth All I can say is that these cats are experimental.  Their experimentation with different effects and tricks make this track an audio extravaganza.  There are times when the snare will just roll.  And then the vocals will just get chopped.  Sometimes you will hear them switching the vocals from 24 bit to 8 bit.  Strange stuff indeed but ill, ill, ill!

I might have left one or two tracks out in this review but don’t worry about that.  This album is a treasure for any true emcee or producer.  I doubt very much whether your average listener would understand this album.  This is also the kind of album that you need to experience yourself alone at 3am in the morning in the darkness.  Maybe smoke some weed and absorb the genius of this crew.  I’m really impressed.  This album has restored my faith in the art of rapping.

50 Cent – Get Rich Or Die Trying

Curtis Jackson, hate him or love him, but I tell you ou pellie, hie gat kak kom!’ Nine shots couldn’t stop him and getting dropped from Columbia records couldn’t stop him. For the last 4 years 50 did damn near every mixtape in FDNY land. Rumour has it that Eminem had a liking to 50’s ill rhyme technique and wanted dude on his side. 
When Tommy Mottola heard about this, he was rumoured to put up 6 figures to get him back. Irv Gotti apparently called certain record labels to say he will not do business with them if they signed bra Curtis. A million was dropped just to get Curtis Jackson aka Ferrari F50 bka 50 Cent to sign on the dotted line to be down with Shady/Aftermath. “Are you ready to make history?” Ask’s the Doctor named Dre who ‘kapped’ (produced) 3 ‘warme’ (hot) tracks on this strictly gangster rap album opus. This is the story of New York city’s own bad guy 50 Cent!

The album which was recorded in just two months starts of with the gangster club anthem, ‘WHAT UP GANGSTA?’. It has a very boombastic drum track with numero uno synths running thru. This here track sets the scene for a hectic album. This South Jamaica Queens native is no new jack. Suffice to say that dude reminds me of a vintage Biggie.

‘MANY MEN (WISH DEATH)’ tells the tale when he was shot nine times. It starts of with a skit where he sits in the back of a car, when the gunshots pop off. ‘MANY MEN’ has got a ragga ting to it which makes for a dangerous track. Gotta say that 50’s singsongy chorus’ grows on you. At first it might sound irritable but it fills a void. Dude is one witty lyricist, FA SHO! One thing I can say that the level of production on this disc is top notch. 

The Dr. Dre produced ‘IN DA CLUB’ which is also the first single is fuckin’ hot, “hotter than your summer jam!” (“Go, go, go, go, go shorty/it’s your birthday/we gon’ party like it’s your birthday /we gon’ sip bacardi like it’s your birthday/and you know that we don’t give a fuck cos it’s not your birthday”). 

21 QUESTIONS’ which features the hook master Nathaniel Hale bka Nate Dogg makes me want to get ‘up close and personal’ with (censored by MilkDaddy to protect the innocent). If you get time listen to this track, you will know what I mean. I will be Robert Redford and you be Michelle Pfeiffer. 

‘HEAT’ is a ‘jas’ (horny) track which has a gunshot as a snare which makes for a ‘jits’ (hot) track. While smoking a ‘pil’ ( slow boat/spliff) I listened to ‘IF I CAN’T’. Dre ‘kapped’ (produced) a ‘ woelige’ (hectic) beat for this track. You have to peep this track.  It’s butter (see kraft). It has all the ingredients of a good Dre track. 50 can easily flow for days on the good Dr’s tracks.

‘BACKDOWN’ is the Ja Rule/Murder Inc. diss that everyone was waiting for. I got an advance copy without any production credits, so I’m going out on a limb to say that Dre produced ‘BACKDOWN’.  Fifty attacks Ja heavy on the track stating that he is a ‘punk ass’ and that Irv Gotti is a bitch.

‘P.I.M.P’ 50 Cent did for me, it’s a Caribbean influenced beat that is as pimptastic as Magic Don Juan in a lemon Burberry fur coat. The off beat, very hectic off beat ‘LIKE MY STYLE’ is so off beat I could only listen to it while driving with my man B to his mom’s crib, whilst rushing my ‘poes’ (vagina) off from a half a supersport (type of x – pill). This track and the Eminem produced ‘PATIENTLY WAITING’ I don’t like. Em is getting very boring nowadays, so I sort of don’t feel him anymore.

G-Unit member Lloyd Banks appears on the gangsta ish ‘DON’T PUSH ME’ with Eminem. Gunshots galore on the chorus. ‘WANKSTA’ pops up here as a bonus track with two other bonus tracks. Gotta say that although ‘GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN” debuted at number 1 on Billboard, 50 has got his street credibility intact from doing all them mixtapes. I dig this album it’s in my player everyday. I think Dre and Eminem started off this year with a ‘moerse’ (big) bang by releasing 50 Cent to the masses. With Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo in tow, 50 Cent is gonna still rip many mics, fo sheeeeeeeez!

Various Artists – DJ JS1 Ground Original

This is a rare find.  DJ-JS1 and Dub-L co-produce this brilliant compilation featuring tracks from a host of well known underground rappers.  While this originates from New York they feature artists from all over.  This album does not contain dance tracks, R&B songs, rock/rap, neo-soul, ecclectic crap, catchy jingles, singing thugs or wack emcees. Evidence, C Rayz Walz, Pep Luv and React start the album off with “Nowadayz”.  The production on here is driven by a constant piano hit with a sharp snare with a nice subtle classical/violin sample.  The chorus got a vocal sample “Nowadays it’s the wayz of the underground” cut up by the dj.  The vocals on here are no-bullshit just straight cold New York pavement cipher type shit.  

Kris Parker also does his bid for the streets by doing a track with Rahzel on “Essentials”Rahzel and DJ JS1 do their scratches (beatbox and turntables) which makes for a good listen.  Rahzel does some wicked turntablism mimicry with his parrot-style mouth.  

Akrobatik does a double-somersault into a head-spin as he comes through the studio and spits fire on “Ak Like U Want”.  I like the way he rhymes, he got a tight delivery.  

Royce 59 and DJ Ody-Roc drops a nice track “Lights Out” but skip to the next track coz, for f***’s sake, Ill Bill from Non-Phixion kills all haters by dropping beautiful deliveries on “License 2 Ill”.  This Ric Rude produced beat is tight and compliments his flows precise.  Fits just like a puzzle.  We need to check out more Non Phixion I tell you!  Big ups to them and Necro!

Masta Ace drops in to contribute “What Am I? Part 1” which is a nice laid back track.  Masta Ace still got his delivery that made him famous in the first place.  I can’t wait to hear his album.  

What must be one of the illest tracks I’ve heard in the last month must be “Unstoppable” by Planet Asia and Percee P.  Now check this, the production is so beautiful, it got those mad retarded piano samples that change through the track.  Planet Asia is really talented.  I don’t have to tell you that.  But check tis, Percee P dropped one of the nicest verses that just made me appreciate emceeing.  He got a mad wicked delivery.  I’m sweating as I listen to this.

On “Take A Loss” Kool G Rap show us why he is one of the best lyricists in the game.  This beautifully constructed sample laced beat with mad scratching in the chorus just makes me appreciate the hip hop culture.  Kool G Rap is a legend.

Casual also pops in with “X-Posed” and he sounds a lot harder than he did a few years ago by the way.  Punch-N-Words also contribute a track called “Turn It Up!”.  

I’m running out of space for this review but I’m just gonna mention there are other underground classics by Big Daddy Kane, Special Ed, Lifelong, Immortal Technique, OC (tight!), Prince Poetry, Substantial, Tonedeff, Pack FM, Rise, Dice Raw, Skoob of Das Efx, Strick and React.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this album and I’m not sure if you can buy this in South Africa but you seeking this out then head on over to DJ JS1’s website and enquire there.  This is an underground jewel.  This is a real hip hop album.  Why do I say that?  Just dope rhymes, the dj is in every track and the production uses ill samples.  

Highly recommended by AfricasGateway.

Kenny No Good – Unemployed But Never Broke (DCP)

Kenny NoGood is from Detroit and he claims to be telling you the news directly from the hood.  Now the first thing I liked about this album is the album cover and the whole concept around it utilizing the idea of a newspaper.  But as soon as I put this album in my cd player I was a tad disappointed. 

The majority of the production on this album was unimpressive to say the least.  I don’t know if it’s the rapper or the beats but they just didn’t compliment each other on this cd.  I don’t want to hate on this album because there are a few good tracks on here.  For instance the beat on “Tired Of Bullshit” is real gangsta and the chorus is tight too with a well used vocal sample.  On this particular track Kenny offers a good story in his verses but let me warn you, this requires a couple of listens to ‘get it’.   Also I liked “Hoe Sermon” as it has potential.  If Kenny can do tracks like “Hoe Sermon” then there is hope.  He also came off alright on “I Ain’t Him” and the production was catchy. 

This album would’ve been better if came off like he did in the tracks I mentioned.  Yet I feel that he can pull it off with his next album because there is a potential here.  I can feel it.  But this album I just didn’t feel.

Felony Entertainment – Welcome To My City Chapter One

The first time I heard about this label was on the siccness and raptalk boards.  I took note of these cats because they were from Tacoma, and as you should know by now I’m really interested in the North West region.  So last week I got his album in the post and the first thing I did was rush home to check this shit out.

This is a compilation that is being re-released this year.  Let’s get into this.

The first thing I’m noticing about this album is that although it’s coming from the North West it’s actual sound is a mixture of NW, Bay Area and got a touch Louisiana (early Master P – 99 Wayz to die type shit).  Case in point is “Ghetto Party” by Ghetto Baby which sounds very much like an early Master P, and that’s a good thing in my opinion coz Master P was doper in his earlier days.  It’s got that real gangsta hardcore gritty feel to it.  The production is nice with some dope keyboards coming courtesy of Jonathon C and Ghetto Baby

Tacoma legend Big Squeeze contributes a tight ass ghetto beat on Young Mason’s “Solo Creepin”.  Then I’m digging the O.G. Freeze track “Mob Wit Me” which has those tight mob sound which suits my car just fine.  Big up Hilltop!  I like it how this track switches up from time to time. 

The track that gives me a cold sweat is the very tight “I Live My Life” by Suede and Kaiser Soze.  This is a tight track.  The beat is on point and the samples used created this dope atmosphere.  The chorus is hella catchy too.  “Roc Da Mic” by T-Boy reminds me so much of that old Bay Area shit.  The beat got that old skool west coast sound.  Ghetto gangsta shit.

Overall I’d have to say this is probably the kind of album I’d listen to late at night while me and my crew are getting drunk on Brandy and Coke.  There are good selection of tracks and this compilation has me eagerly awaiting the album from Young Krime aka Da Ghetto Baby “Product Of Da Ghetto” which will feature Marvaless (remember the album, it was tight) and Bushwick Bill from the Geto Boys

This compilation is very ghetto and has an authentic unrefined sound to it.  This album will go next to my collection of the West Coast Bad Boyz compilations.  Good shit and I’m looking forward to checking out more projects from this label in the future.

Be sure to check out their site www.felony.net for audio samples.

Cadence – Poisons The Mind Of The Children

Cadence dropped panties recently when he dropped a killer verse on 7L & Esoteric’s “State Of The Art” along with Esoteric, Akrobatik and CheckMark.  Just by the way he is the other half of Raw Produce, a Cambridge MA based crew.  This album is dedicated to his mother who recently passed away with lung cancer.

Now Cadence can be described as someone who is equally good as a producer and an emcee.  It’s very rare that you find this these days.  His productions are painted with intelligent samples and then to just add that touch he rubs on a deejay to feed the hooks in the chorus.;

The first track, “Intellectual Property” will make a monk see his hard-on for the first time.  He got some beautiful piano samples on there, so much so that if you had to put a microscope under my armpits you’d see Niagra Falls.  His delivery is precise and you can hear that he takes his work seriously.

On the second track “The Odds” you are reminded of when hip hop was about giving the deejay a place in the chorus.  Because that’s what he does for most of this album.  Now formatically (I just made that word up, thanks to Edward De Bono for showing me the way), this is a true hip hop album.  The scratching in the chorus is lovely and interacts beautifully with the sampled extravaganza.

On “An American Dream” you cannot help but appreciate what Cadence has done.  You just wanna go up to him and shake his hand.  The structure of his tracks are enjoyable to listen to.  He takes the best of the early 90’s/late 80’s hip hop and brings it to the current year and makes it sound fresh.

Yesterday (as my aunty used to say), Cadence must be a genius.  “Always” is a track that uses a cleverly placed vocal sample that becomes so catchy that you will find yourself singing it much to the dismay of your work mates.  I like it how Cadence drops his verses in here.  And that’s the beauty of having a producer and an emcee as the same person.  In many cases the producer has his own idea of what a track should sound like and then the emcee would come and just change the direction.  But if you doing your own beats you can very much make it sound with your rhymes how you imagined it.

There are other tracks on here I enjoyed like “What I Do”, “The Mighty Pen” (damn the sample on there is tight) and the rest were ill too.  It’s not very often that an album like this comes along.  In my opinion this is a brilliant album and this definitely deserves 5 stars.  I could listen to this in the future and still find it tight.  Shit before I finish off this review let me quickly mention the extra tight track “I Am Myself” which is masterfully produced.

Other than that Cadence is a top notch rhymer with equal strengths in the production department.  Right now I’m itching to have this on vinyl, it’s that worth it!  Highly recommend by AfricasGateway.

Ritual – The Crusade Of The Lyrical Avenger

Ritual is from the UK.  Write to them at PO Box 648, Lincoln, LN5 7XU or give em a call at 07812-483560.  Let’s get to the review.

Zordon (Intro)

Just your typical demon voice intro with guns and shit, you can hear sirens and fire burning.

I Wreck A Rapper featuring C-Mone

Beat starts off nice on this one with a looped horn or tuba.  The emcee sounds very much like a British Kool Keith.  This track features a female rapper C-Mone.  She’s giving the hook in the chorus, but doesn’t drop a verse on this track.  Pity though, coz I like her accent.  This is good way to start off an EP.

The Stereo Suicides

The production on here has got a looped high synth over a basic drum pattern.  The beat goes like this throughout the track.  The chorus is nothing original.  The emcee doesn’t come off as dope on the first track.

Demon Eyed Brainiac

Starts off with a ticking hi hat and then goes in the beat.  This one has a nice sample playing throughout the track.  It gives an eerie feel to the song.  I like this beat though coz it makes you nod your head.  Once again the chorus is nothing special as it uses the same formula as used in “The Stereo Suicides”.

Relentless If Defenseless

This track has the same beat as “Demon Eyed Brainiac” except that it is slower and is laced with a different sample.  This is not bad stuff and the producer at least switches the sample in the chorus.  However I’d like to see more variety in the chorus instead of the emcee repeating a few bars.

The Reaction Part 2

Here the producer takes a well known movie sample for the intro to the track.  The beat is not bad.  This beat sounds a bit like the theme to the TV series Knight Rider.

U Know That’s Ritual

The producer starts off the track lovely and then together as the drums come in the emcee drops his verses.  The sample on here creates a morbid atmosphere.  This is a dope track.

Lyrical Asylum feat Cappo

The beat on here is tight.  It kicks.  However I’m liking the verses on here especially the second verse.  I assume it’s Cappo dropping this tight verse.

Overall I’d have to say this is a decent EP and I’ve got around 3 tracks on here that I would listen to regularly.  The only problems I had with this EP is that the choruses needed more variation.  Somebody once told me that if you cannot come up with a chorus then rather switch up the samples and get a deejay to cut it up.  Otherwise I give it two thumbs up

Scott Cain featuring Ekko – Oceans Between Us

Scott Cain, a singer, got Ekko Gaha to feature on this track written about September 11th.  The rapper talks about what he experienced when it happened.  The track has a lot of emotion  Just for interests sake Scott Cain is a hot commodity from Australia and the rapper is from the USA.  It talks about how this act affected people all over the world.

With just one track offered on this cd single I can’t say much else except that this is a well thought out and structured track. Why do I say this?  Because it uses tactics, production tactics that is and song structure methods to get a certain reaction. The reaction is for people to share their emotions.

It seems the track was made to appeal to a wide range of people and why not?  But I don’t really think this track would appeal to the underground hip hop heads but is more suited for people checking out the Top 40 region of the charts.  I’m not sure if Scott Cain and Ekko will be collaborating on other songs in the future but they got a good chemistry and would like to see how they’d do in another song .  Check it out.

Roots – Phrenology (Universal Music)

Philly’s finest returns with yet another solid display of “beats, rhymes and life”. Since their 1996 classic Illadelph Halflife, the Roots have managed to
consistently maintain that smooth philly sound as only they know how. Nowadays with all this R&b/hip hop fusion or corporate hip hop as I like to call it, running rampant on pop charts, the Roots refuse to sell out to the masses. If anyone knows the philly sound, they’d know the difference between R&b and soul. The latter is what the Roots fuse so well wih hip hop. Just like Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff made that philly sound famous with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, the Roots has been and continues that legacy with their soul inspired brand of hip hop, and my they do it so well. Question: what is the definition of “the complete mc”? answer: Black Thought!!! Lyrics, vocal delivery, aggressiveness…..This is an mc’s mc.

On the first track,“Rock You”, a DJ Scratch production, Black Thought get’s right down to business and blesses this track with a hyped up delivery. DJ Scratch chops up an orchestral sounding sample on a fairly simple sounding drum track. The track carries nicely as producer and mc compliment each other quite well.

The Nelly Furtado featured “Sacrifice” is one of those inspirational tracks. No preaching going on here, just straight up “inspiring poetry”. “My spit take critical political action/the hustle is a puzzle each piece is a fraction/and every word that’s understood is a transaction“……tight shit! You’ll get goosebumps when u hear him drop those lines! This track is a classic example of that philladelphia soul influenced hip hop.

“Rolling with Heat” features Brooklynite Talib Kweli. While the combination of Talib Kweli and Black Thought works like a nine to five, the beat is more suited to Kweli’s flow. This break beat gets decorated with a synthesised horn with an occasional piano sweep.

“Waok(ay)rollcall”, a well known break beat filled with 70’s funk samples, once again reminiscent of the classic philly sound. This one feels like an old school hip hop anthem, philly style. “The Seed(2.0)” is produced by “?uestlove” of the Roots. What I like about this one is how they venture off into unknown territory. Laced with a Ralph Mcdonald sample, featuring Cody Chestnut, a Marvin Gaye sounding crooner on the chorus.

“Break You Off” features Musiq on hook duty. Another ghetto “love song”. I don’t really mind this one creeping up, simply because the track has substance. No Ja Rule/JLo b.s. here. No thug shit, just realism, genuine emotions…..

Scott Storch (Dre’s ex keyboard wizard) lend’s a hand on “Pussy Galore”. Subtle keyboards over a equally subtle drum track. Black Thought deals with the “sex sells” issue. With lines like “you see life is marketing pussy galore/everytime I turn around there’s more pussy galore/nations goin’ to war for the pussy galore….thought provoking stuff.

This album, in my opinion, is what I’ve come to expect from the Roots. I don’t say that in a negative way, in fact, I say that with a great amount of respect. If u a true Roots fan, you’ll know where I’m coming from. You see the formula they’ve used and stuck by over the years hasn’t let them down yet, nor will it ever. That’s the key to enjoying a successful career as a hip hop recording artist. Find a formula that works, stick by it, and you’ll still be hip hopping at the age of sixty!!!

Talib Kweli – Quality (Universal Records)

Conscious spitter Talib Kweli first burst onto the scene in 1998 as one half of the duo Black Star. Their debut “Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star” recieved overwhelming response from hip hop audiences worldwide. After the success of Black Star, the two decided to release solo projects proving their maturity as individual mc’s. Their success story is quite impressive considering the multi-platinum artists they’d had to contend with of that era. They say success comes at a price, and while that may be true, it’s how you choose to conduct yourself as an mc in this do or die business that will ultimately ensure your status as being one of hip hop’s elite. Having had a huge underground following, appearing on the lyricist lounge compilations along with numerous underground mixtapes, I reckon these achievements already had the makings of a success story. Backed by Rawkus records along with it’s impressive line up of acts, Talib Kweli returns with a fifteen track gem fittingly titled “Quality”.

The album’s intro titled “Keynote Speaker”, tells the story of Kweli’s “qualities” as a human being, narrated by Dave Chappell.

The Megahertz produced opening cut titled “Rush” definately gets the adrenaline pumping! What really surprises me is how Megahertz can flip his production skillz to suit Kweli’s flow. I mean, one can easily identify a Neptunes or Dre beat etc. I suppose everybody had to bring a certain type of “Quality” to make this project work and trust me it works. A dope beat layered with eery piano stabs and a cleverly disguised metal guitar loop. Kweli drops Bin Laden missiles like “can’t hold your mic like your liquor, your style lite like amstel/smack a nigga till my mutha fuckin’ hands swell”. phew!

The Kanye West blessed “Get by” is again an example of how beat makers can switch their normal style up to suit the mc. This one features a Nina Simone voice sample sprinkled over a jazz influenced piano loop. This is the type of track I’d enjoy listening to in a smoke filled coffee lounge where poets get down to do their thang.

One of the album’s stand out’s appears in the form of the Dj Scratch produced “Shock body”. This one borrows a sample from who I think, could be a relative of Chuck Mangione. The sample “Diana in the autumn wind”, comes courtesy of Charles Mangione. Nice vibes here, sounds like a theme song from a seventies blaxploitation flick.

“Gun music” features Brooklyn’s favourite sons, Cocoa Brovaz. Megahertz comes through with a ragga/dancehall influenced beat. As it states in the albums inner sleeve, don’t get the title twisted. It’s not what you think. It’s just pure creativity…

The album’s single “Waitin for the Dj”, is purely for the club cats. Produced by newcomer Dahoud Darien, this one is all about what goes down when you and your boys are hangin’ out. Bilal brings a bit of soul on the hook, whom for a second I thought was Curtis Mayfield.

A Talib Kweli project wouldn’t be complete without Mos Def droppin’ in. He does exactly that on “Joy”. A song about the joys of being a daddy. Produced by Ayatollah, Kweli makes no secret of the fact that he’s a proud father. This is not just about takin’ care of your seeds, but a call to the world to realise that the children are the future! Quote “so busy ignorin’ them you can’t see what they showin you/and you wonder why we called baby daddys and baby mommas/when we grow up we can act like adult mothers and fathers”.

“Guerilla Monsoon Rap” features Black Thought and Pharoahe Monch. This, undoubtedly, is the album’s highlight!!!! Kanye West puts in the work and wow! The outcome is explosive!!!! Just the mere (black) thought of Talib Kweli and Pharoahe Monch teaming up is enuff to send shivers down your spine!!! Nuff said.

West Coast veteran Dj Quik makes a surprise beat contribution on “Put it in the Air”. Classic west coast funk. Don’t get it twisted yall, Quik can definately blow tha spot!!!

Overall, a nice blend of beats on “Quality”. As for Talib Kweli, well what can one say except we hope this brother doesn’t
disappear into obscurity. When hip hop takes that more than occasional sell out route, we can always count on this brother for being a breath of fresh air when there’s no hope left. So if you’ll excuse me now, I’m going to roll me a phat one, light it, then watch the sun set while listening to Talib Kweli telling me why this thing we call hip hop is such a beautiful thing……….

2 Ban – Walk A Mile In My Shoes (2ban)

Made in Africa and unleashed in the UK.  2Ban drops this 13 track album with stories of slavery and about how much little has changed today for African peoples. Just from reading his bio this rapper has experienced everything from civil war to poverty.  He was born in Uganda and moved to UK at the tender age of 10 seeking refuge from the external problems that was facing him at that time.

The first track that I was feeling was “Selah Akbah” which starts off with quirky island style keyboards that help the track get this eerie feel.  2Ban is not a bad emcee, in fact he delivers his lyrics quite well with confidence and keeps you hooked throughout the track as he tells his story.  What I like is that he does not take on the American accent which is what a lot of African emcees do. Anyway so what I like is that he has a message.  He doesn’t mess around, he tells his story to you directly.  He wants to wake the African people’s up and show them what colonialists have done to them.

On “Personality” you cannot help but stay focused on the track.  He delivers this track with such a lot of passion and the chorus is painted with African vocalizations.   Take a couple of listens to this track because it’s takes a few listens to get into it, but once you get into it you will feel the intensity.

Another one I liked is “Love We Made” where he takes the process of love making and makes it sound totally interesting.  One of the nicest tracks on here is “My Reign Of Wisdom” where he raps about social issues over a well produced reggae tinged beat.

Overall this is good album and that you should check this for his good fact telling abilities.  His strength is in keeping you listening.  He has a message that he is desperate for people to listen to.  I was impressed with many of the tracks on this album just for the messages contained in here.  I feel that people of all races can learn alot from this album.

I leave you with a verse from from one of the tracks:

Negroes were obtained by barter
Sold out by our own fake arse rulers
Or tribal chiefs in West Africa
In exchange for cowry shells and copper
Slavery was a lucrative trade
For the empire or to put it straight
If you weren’t dark then you were safe

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