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Review Archive 14

9 August 2010 No Comment

Solseekers – Halfway There (Syntax Records)

Capture the Elusive and DJ DNA are a duo who make up the group Solseekers. This group may not be well known to many, yet they still offer a significant contribution to this hip hop culture.

Hailing from California ,this is what the west coast offers on the underground scene. This ep is filled with funk samples that sticks to the basics of mc’ing and producing,”two turntables and a mic style”. 

Capture the Elusive kicks off the intro “All the way from….”, which introduces the group to new audiences. “Natural”, the second track, DJ DNA shows what he’s made of on the decks. A bumpy track with a piano loop and funk stabs that showcases that trademark west coast funk. 

“Substance Abuse” is a cleverly written track about hip hop being an abusive substance. Creativity and experimentation are the order of the day on this one. “Come and go” utilises the theme music to Swan Lake. Solseekers lets u know they are here to stay and wants u to know their fans are their friends. 

“Half way there”, the title track, feat the Inklings, exposes that Jurassic 5, Hieroglyphics, Blackalicious bay area hip hop sound. “Still Right Here” is a dedication to Capture’s mom with a touching rhyme about the good times they had as a family. This is the only track that employs the talents of a outside producer by the name of A.J. Star. All the others are produced by DJ DNA. 

While this group may not blow up and go on to sell a million records, their love for hip hop means much more to them than going platinum. A well constructed project that has it’s moments, “Halfway there” caters for an exclusive market which will allow crews like Solseekers to stick around for a long time. Why?…cos that market will always be there no matter what drama hip hop in general will encounter.

Propaganda – Out of Knowhere (Uprok Records)

Propaganda of the Tunnel Rats drops his solo debut “Out of Knowhere” out of nowhere. With a flow similar to that of Talib Kweli, Propaganda spits flames that’ll need to be extinguished by a tidal wave out the Atlantic ocean!!!!

The intro sees fello rhymesayers conversing about a show they been at and interested in recruiting the cat with the dreadlocks i.e. Propaganda. “Keep it live” sounds like a slowed down Swizz Beats creation. Although it’s not the Ruff Ryder himself, this keyboard driven drum track rolls through like a royal parade.

“I know”, featuring Dokument of Foundation, got me bobbin’ like I just purchased a fully stocked S.A.B truck. Knife edge rhymes over an ass whoopin production guaranteed to get the crowd live. “We are” featuring Sharlok Poems of LA Symphony, is a jazzed up beat that will have your great grandaddy tappin’ his feet. Slam poetry over an equally slammin production.

“My life, My music” feat. Macho of New Breed, with it’s carribean twist, is soulfully correct with a latin laced chorus by the guest vocalist Macho. “Keep on singin” feat. Dax of Lpg, another jazzed up joint, Propaganda let’s rip with a lesson about building your character. 

All 15 tracks on this album were produced by Donovan Luke Henry. While the name might not ring bells or sound as glamorous as today’s chart topping producers, this dude can definitely be ranked up there with the best of ’em. The combination of Henry and Propaganda works so well one would think they were destined to make music. It’s been a while since I’ve heard hip hop so inspiring. Propaganda, in my opinion, is more than just about dope rhymes. It’s floetry that very few can master. This one will be spinning regularly in my box for at least another 6 months before I make place for it amongst my other masterpieces……….

Big Rigg – 650 Originated Bay Affiliated (Home Team)

This is an album by Bay Area heavyweight Big Rigg. This is street shit so if you expecting back packer hip hop don’t read any further.

“My World” starts the album off as an eerie intro. On this Big Rigg is just talking some politics, he’s making sense, about the prison system, cemeteries, about how he’s had problems with the authorities, he wants you to know that there’s real and fake shit. He’s declaring he’s realer than real. I’m loving what I hear already so let’s move on to the next track.

“Cruel Intentions” featuring Black Rhino and produced by Black Rhino is a kick ass track that get’s me moving. This is that fat bay shit, thick bass and a nice arrangement of the instruments make this a top notch production. You can hear that they make this for the cars man. There’s no other way to enjoy this but to play it in your car and just drive, preferably at 20km/h. 

On the “My Shine” track it features D-Moe, Telly Mac. This is different stuff, the rapping on here is all over the place, pumped with testosterone and beat chesting. The snares and hi hats are shy in this track but it still kicks as Sideways ensures that the production is filled with catchy sounds.

Now the one that I’m feeling is “Get Gangsta” which features San Quinn and The Good Felonz. This one is produced by Sideways, the beat is driven by a fat bassline while the tempo is kept on tune with a simple clap. 

The one that almost gave me a stroke was “What You Know About” featuring Cellski, Ten Dolla and BC Playa. Let me tell you why. First this is a very old skool sounding production, which reminded me a lot of Ice T’s “Colors”. The drums are fat on here but the bass is even fatter. While some might listen to this and think it’s quirky, people who have this taste for the Bay will love this and appreciate the production of Sideways. A very strong track and I can’t stop listening to it.

Another tight one is “It’s All Real” featuring Ten Dolla and Black Rhino. Damn the production on here is nice. I like how the moog comes in after every other bar. The hook is also tight and this is one catchy track. “Hop In The Chev” is another one I can’t stop listening to. The moog on there is just nice man. This is a solid track. It takes a while to get into Big Rigg’s flow as it’s very different but once you on you hooked! The last track on here is just sick. “650 Affiliates” closes the album off and cements Big Rigg as a Bay heavyweight. Believe that.

Overall this album will require you to have an acquired taste for mob music and/or street hop. The producers don’t sample, it’s mostly keyboard / drum machine driven. A lot of purists will shake their heads and not even want to listen to this. But this is for the street and those who have an understanding of where these artists come from and if they know the scene they will appreciate this album. I’m gonna be playing this one for a long time.

The GoodFelonz – Organized Crime (HomeTeam)

Introducing San Francisco’s CuttThroat, Mr Red Eyez and Mr Swinla collectively known as The Goodfelonz. Again let me reiterate that this is the bay, more accurately mob style music, or street hop, so an acquired taste is required to enjoy this.

The first thing I’m noticing about the group is that they come with very different flows which can only be described as verbal bullets. There’s a lot of testosterone going through the tracks.

The opening track leaves no doubt that they are hardcore. The production on this one, handled by J.G, is different, with a shit load of sounds all over the place but he pulls it off nicely as the bassline grounds the tempo. But the first stand out one is “Money & Murder“. This one is produced by Kreep and features Authentic & Big Rich. There is no second guessing what the track is all about, this is evident by the title of the track. 

Geez, the production on “All On A Bitch” is extremely fat. Jimmy Weaver and Doc Bump spread their butter on this one. This is a strong track, the rapping, the beat, everything just works well together on this one. It also features Soda Pop. This one is going to get a lot of repeat plays.

The other ill one’s on here are “Open Chest“, “Klick Klack“, “4 The Money” and “Mob Muzik“. 

You want hardcore? Well it’s not gonna get anymore hardcore than this. I enjoyed this album and will be playing this for a very long time.  Not for the faint hearted.

J-Sce – Brain Food (Buy Mai Records)

From the same label that brought you Keltic Tribe. J-Sce (pronounced Jay-ski) aka Tha Masta Mind, brings us an album that is filled with street related tales and Irish pride. 

“Introducing” sets the mood for the album as you are treated to a hypnotic keyboard tune and then out of nowhere the bass and kick jumps in as J-Sce starts introducing himself to the world. 

The first stand out track on here is “Never Knew Your Name” which features Keltic Tribe. J-Sce produces this one and does a nice job of it too. The way it was produced compliments with what is being said in the song. The end result is a well structured and catchy track.

The next dope one is the banjo laced “F Allayaz” which can only be described as a rendition of an Irish Pub song. Highly enjoyable with a beer. And for that I raise my beer in the air for J-Sce and give nuff respect.

“J to the S” is another catchy one. This is a stand out track because it has a combination of a good hook and free flowing rhymes. Probably the strongest track on here.  Another one I enjoyed is the nicely produced “So Long”.

Overall an enjoyable album and enough tight tracks to justify checking it out!

Cunninlynguists – Southernunderground (Freshchest Records)

When I popped this disc into my cd player, I sat down and gave it a good couple of spins before I decided to put pen to pad. Analyzing the name itself, I had to decide if this crew could live up to their name. Lyrically, these cats are every bit as cunning as those from the wild. 

Preying on carefully constructed beats, this combination proves to be a natural wonder. The intro to this album, produced by Kno, a dj by the name of Billy Bob, welcomes the listener to the southernunderground. A bass driven drum kick with a sped up vocal hook, this is the perfect start to this album. 

“Southernunderground”, produced by Domingo, is a looper’s paradise. A voice ad lib, sick piano loop, and an almost annoying metal guitar strum, this track forces you to listen. “The South”, with it’s Jurassic 5 feel, fuses that 1960’s blues sound with a bit of the modern day bay area sound. Cunninlynguists gives a poetical tour on the south as they see it. Kentucky being their home, we are welcomed to the south wishing we were there. 

“Love ain’t” featuring Tonedeff, is one of my favourites. An almost accapella intro, this mc spits some cunnin words that left the hairs on my arm stand on end. Flowin’ into a hard ass drum track backed by beautiful melodies, the message is simple:  “love will fit like a glove if you live your life right”

“Rain”, a ghetto love story with it’s classical violin backdrop, breaks down the male version of falling in love for the first time. “Old school”, not your average tribute track, pays homage from a different angle. It’s neck snappin drum track (bite hard, your dentures might pop out here), with a catchy trumpet/flute loop and 70’s soul samples, Cunninlyguists remember their days of old: “I was the first to pimp Jezabel and Mona Lisa, and made ’em famous way before Eminem could flow”

“Seasons” featuring veteran Masta ace, produced by Rjd2, Cunnin breaks down the different seasons hip hop’s been through over the years. A string sweep layered over a mellow drum track, this is blunt material for any veteran hip hopper. “Dying nation”, Cunninlynguists let’s you know racism, poverty and corrupt politicians are still rife in the old U.S of A. “War” is a nice instrumental you should listen to and reflect on the current turmoil the world finds itself in.

It’s such a pleasure to share my thoughts with the masses on music so positive. I can honestly say that one day when I’m an old ass man, I hope music of this caliber will be boomin out my great gran kids’ rock oxes. Southernundergroud is a package that carries all the materials to assemble the perfect bomb. The result………exxxplosive!!!!!!

Common – Electric Circus (Universal Music)

I’ve been following Lonnie Lynn aka Common’s career for as long as I can remember. The passion on “Can I Borrow a Dollar”, the maturity on “Resurrection”, the focus on “One Day It”ll All Make Sense”, the creativity on 
“Like Water For Chocolate”, and now the musicianship on “Electric Circus”…that’s what it’s all about…music with a capital M.

Hip hop is only one of the elements that contributes to this ensemble of master artistry. Mary J Blige, Prince, Cee-lo and Erykah Badu to name a few, are here to share their talents. What holds this album together so well, is the thought and vision that went into producing it. One can almost feel the electricity flow through it. Ahmir Thompson of the Roots along with Zap Mama kicks off this aural journey. “Ferris wheel”, the title, is a fusion of African drums, electric guitars, and cosmic sound effects with a African chant courtesy of Zap Mama. “Soul Power”, produced by Dilla, got my eyes shakin’ from it’s heavy bass. 

Common spits:

“I see niggas with flags who they wavin’ em for?/i’m the nigga that you put the chain on 
the door for/the nigga that you started changin’ the laws for”.

Bilal lays da smack down on “Aquarius” produced once again by Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson. A superbly produced track that Common almost outshines with his dangerous flow. “Electric Wire Hustler Flower”, with it’s Jimi Hendrix influenced electric guitar, brings the noise if not the house down! Common get’s frantic with his flow, bordering on a heavy metal vocal assault on the mic. “Come Close”, the queen of hip hop soul Mary J Blige spreads her royalty over a Neptunes concoction. Pharrel and Chad impresses me on this one. Goodie mobster Cee-lo shares a bit of southern hospitality on “Between me, you & Liberation”. A almost whispering Common drops a mesmerizing verse that’ll have Ashanti begging to be on the remix. Common’s spiruality runs deep as he pours his heart and soul over this piece. “I Am Music”, featuring Jill Scott, brings Common’s love of jazz to the forefront. Miss Scott provides the chorus in a sweet n sensual voice, philly style. “Heaven Somewhere”, brings the whole albums featured artists together on a warm grand finale. A gospel influenced song with beautiful harmonies that showcases the best r&b has to offer. Lonnie “pops” Lynn, Common’s dad, contributes a few lines on the spoken word tip.

Putting this album into words isn’t half as rewarding as listening to it. Pushing the boundaries of music to the limit is always the ultimate achievement. If this is what hip hop can contribute to music in general, then we should be proud of that. Thank you, Mr Lynn for showing the world what musicianship is all about.

Quasimoto – The Unseen (Stones Throw)

Madlib’s beats are sicker that most people can imagine, first time I heard one of his productions I was blown away, if Rza is the master of drums, this man is the god of basslines.  His production is bassline driven suprize surprize.. I mean the man is in love with jazz music.  Life’s a bitch innit.  Yeah we cant have it all and what he does not, and cannot do is rap but wants to hahahahaha.. It’s quite sad to hear this man rap, you almost wanna cry for him but mostly for you listening to him. It’s not that he can’t ride a beat or nothing like that.. It’s just that his voice SUX BALLZ… But don’t get me wrong this man is a genius.

Enter Quasimoto, Madlibs alter ego, cartoon character, this man is a genius, remember the Gorrilaz concept…yeah that is what Lord Quas is.  A Fictional ..mindless, bitch fucking , crate diggin pot smokin ..thing.

This is another one of those album’s that you have and don’t play it for one year.. Then one day you can’t stop playing.  I have had this for 2 years and I am playing right now as I write this review and I am rewinding it.. It is so good.

I swear if you are looking for jaw dropping punchlines, knowledge, clever rap and all that good shit, then I suggest you keep away from this album because…well yeah.. Just keep away, but if you can stomach things like

Yo Style sounds like you’ve been eating some bad vagina
The Unseen you Unclean Niggas mad cause you can’t find us

quasimoto we bring it in your area
bringing on the sick with it like malaria

Oh I gets high and starts taking out wack niggas
Then fly up into the sky and use my lyrics as a trigger
Always Pull It , let the bullet slide through to the left
Went so far underground with out diggin ended up in west

they are so horrible that you just gotta love them

nigga sed bad vagina hahahahaha

I swear to you this album is entertainment at its most and .  The character built by Madlib, the simple rhymes and all the stupid foul shit Quas sez is all part of the concept executed so if you wanna remember how fun hip hop was get this shit.. People need to lighten up and stop been too serious.  It gets boring and deviating us from why we got into hip hop…BECAUSE IT LOOKED LIKE FUN AND IT IS FUN..
so y’all better get with it and enjoy the fun aspect of hip hop, a place where its funny and fun to be stupid.

But on a serious note this album is a classic maybe not to the caliber of most classics, but it has the exact same effect as all other classic, it makes you say damn thank god I heard this.


beats will get a very strong 5/5
lyrical skill 1/5
lyrical delivery, relevance to concept 5/5
concept 5/5
overall 5/5

Trust me I am not one to really review rate albums because of the controversy involved and the disagreement taste and what not.. But Quasimoto the Unseen will be unseen and a timeless gem will not be seen and appreciated but I think albums like this need to be loved by a select few in order not to dilute its essence…but yo…this album is unreal.

Underground Source – Kaffee & Kuchen (Mzee Records)

When one thinks of Germany, hip hop music is not the first thing that springs to mind. Adolf Hitler, the Berlin wall, porno flix and football comes to mind. But let me tell you something else: the hip hop culture is alive and kickin’ in Germany.

Enter Underground Source, a hip hop trio hailing from the land of blue movies. Although I can’t understand or speak a word of German, hip hop is all that matters here. Funky jazz beats and mc’ing of a lukewarm nature drives this album. No matter what part of the world you represent, hip hop is a language understood by all in the four corners of the globe.

Nevermind the mc’ing, the production is what interests me the most here. Old jazz horns, funky scratches and effective drum programming gives this album a warm, friendly sound. Underground Source sticks to a particular formula that sits well with the listener. All this music was put together by the artists themselves. It’s not a album you’ll find on the shelves at your local music store, but should you ever venture beyond the borders of Africa and roam Europe, check out Kaffee & Kuchen by Underground Source. You’re guaranteed satisfaction.

Pete Miser – Radio Free Brooklyn (Ho-Made)

Pete Ho aka Pete Miser, a Brooklyn native of Chinese descent, comes through with a album that reflects his true culture: hip hop. Radio Free Brooklyn is a collection of acid jazz/old school/funk break beats that keeps things plain and simple on a street level. While this style may not bring new ideas to the table, the musical content and lyrical intent, although average, gets a thumbs up.

Radio Free Brooklyn jumps off with “Bring It To The Masses”. Pete Miser introduces himself over a old school break with funk stabs, DJ Premier style. Pete breaks it down:

“The track’s gonna fold you/you still mad about the oregano I sold you?/
I hold you responsible for your own actions/fuck around and get your face wrecked like Michael Jackson’s”

“Radio Free Brooklyn”, featuring Farrah Burns and Blowout, Pete Miser puts himself in the victims shoes of a terrorist attack i.e. 9/11. A near graphic description that one could almost picture,

“Sick stench penetrates my nostrils I pinch them with one hand/
didn’t make a difference/
I’m done man/ninety percent of my body burnt without a sun tan”

“Endure”, produced by Pete himself, is a laid back groove suitable for Sunday easy listening. A jazz guitar peppered over a acid jazz break beat capturing that whole Brooklyn vibe. “Got That” utilises a cleverly disguised Steely Dan sample made famous by Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz. The turntable trickery is mind blowin’. “Might Be”, another anti-war song, Pete questions his government’s motives for going to war:

“Knowing deep in my heart that it comes down to politics/and who died and lied electing George jr.as god?/
and who supplies the arms that usually get used for the job?”

This whole track makes an interesting listen. “Just One Rhyme” and “Links” are end-fillers that’s worth a mention.
On the whole, this album produces the goods worthy of a spin. While Pete Miser might not be the hottest mc out right now, his message definitely comes across strong. The production on this joint is solid enuff to carry Pete through 15 plus tracks. If you looking for a musical journey through one of New York’s most famous borough’s, let Pete Miser start you on that trip.

Common – Resurrection

Common Sense first caught my attention while sittin’ in the passenger seat of an Isuzu Rodeo, in the video of the “Soul By The Pound (Remix)”. At the time, I thought the witty pop culture references laced in those rhymes were funny, yet somewhat smart. I would later cop his “Can I borrow a dollar” LP and think the same of the lyrics on that joint. Much can be said about his first LP, and the fact that a great promise showed. However, it was only on his sophomore effort (far from sophomoric) where his aptitude was realized. If ever there was an album that epitomized the word ‘classic,’ it would undoubtedly be “Resurrection”. At first listen 10 years down the timeline, listening to it reminds me of “Low End Theory” in terms of absolute timelessness. Words of wisdom laced throughout it still ring true today, and the music sounds fresher than spring lettuce on March 21st. 

The album opens up with the title track, and the scratches by Mista Sinista blend harmoniously with the jazzy melody. Common opens it up by spittin out how he is literally immersed in his music. All he does it to “bathe in basslines, rinse in riffs” and “dry in drums.” I’m embarrassed to call Track 2 an anthem, because that does not do it the justice it deserves. Boasting quite possibly the fattest beat ever constructed, “I Used to Love H.E.R.” is a metaphor of a lifetime long relationship between Common and a woman; aptly named hip-hop. Not only does this cut give us a history lesson into how hip-hop changed from where just “a few New York niggaz, had did her in the park,” to the glamour and glitz of Hype Williams-directed videos, it also conveys Common’s passion and reliance for the artform for self-expression: “I met this girl, when I was ten years old/ And what I loved most she had so much soul/ She was old school, when I was just a shorty/ Never knew throughout my life she would be there for me.” From this point on, Common displays his wit and creativity with the laid back groove, “Watermelon”. This is where he showcases the same lyrical charm from his first LP: 

“I express like an interstate
Hyper when I ventilate 
My rap pieces penetrate 
and infiltrate your mental state
Just to reiterate
That I innovate..” 

“Book of Life” follows and takes one on another headtrip. An autobiographical tale, Common relays his trials and tribulations over the years, and puts a few things in perspective. If you thought that this LP was gonna be full of hilarious punchlines and ill metaphors only, then you are in for a bit of surprise. What made this LP so resonating is that a jarring amount of realism breaks through some of the tracks. One line sums up the underlying message. “It itself life is an obstacle/ As I maneuver through the manure I try to be responsible.” 

One minor drawback that this LP has, is the fact that track 5 is wasted! A wicked fuckin’ beat just plays out, without anyone spittin over it. For such a tight track, we would have at least hoped that someone woulda graced it with their lyrics. Imagine how disappointed you woulda been if Biggie never rapped over the “One More Chance” beat, and he just let it play through for a minute or so. Injustice. “In My Own World (Check the Method)” is done with fellow crewmate and producer, No ID. Here, he waxes lyrical about the economic hardships of MCing. Track 6 is a throwaway insert about a macking session gone wrong, and “Nuthin’ to Do” highlights the ‘ample’ ways to wile away the time in the South of Chi-Town. “Communism” epitomizes what Common Sense can do as an artist; combine extremely clever, insightful yet thought-provoking words over an intoxicatingly-hypnotic, jazzy beat: 

“Com is on a mission
not to work for commission
It’s a common market and it’s so much competition
but to me, competition is none
To my comp I’m a ton
I get amped like Watts in a riot
my compact disc is a commodity, so buy it…” 

The same can be said of “Orange Pineapple Juice” and “This is me”. The other track, “Chapter 13 (Rich Man vs. Poor Man)” is a collabo with Y-Not, and offers a humorous anecdote. “Maintainin” and “Sum shit I wrote” are yet more showcases of Common’s penmanship. His supreme lyrical ability is on display like Entemann’s doughnuts. Finally, the LP closes out with Lonnie Rashid Lynn’s father philosophizin’ about the current state of affairs. At the time, I found that a first amongst the image-driven hip hop. Common opened the door into his world, and was not afraid to say to the hip hop community, “I was born in Chicago raised on Planet Rock.” Despite all the thuggin going on at that time, Common refrained from hiding behind an image to sell records. He was an artist who just wanted to say that “I love my music, I love my momma.” And like what Chris Rock also said about cornbread, ‘aint nothing wrong wit dat.’ 

Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 10 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 9.5 of 10

Stark Reality – Now (Stones Throw)

The first time I heard Miles’ revisionist “Bitches Brew” my scalp twisted into a convertible. Miles flipped my wig with those compositions. The sound on that groundbreaker was peculiar and extraordinary, compelling and mind-blowing. The same can be said of the Stark Reality anthology, “Now”. Stones Throw Records has decided to give true heads, novices and beat junkies a glimpse into the fascinating world created by Monty Stark (vibraphone), Phil Morrison (bass), Carl Atkins (reeds), John Abercrombie (guitar) and Vinnie Johnson (drums). 

As part of their funk re-issues, Stones Throw is putting out cuts from “The Stark Reality Discovers Hoagy Carmichael’s Music Shop” (AJP Records, 1970) together with some previously unreleased material on the disc. The original music was composed by jazz legend Hoagy Carmichael Sr., and his son Hoagy Bix Carmichael Jr. collaborated with the Boston TV station WGBH to work on an “educational television program that would focus on” Hoagy’s children’s songs that he’d composed in the 50s. Some crazy cat, an “Oklahoma-reared youngster” named Monty Stark who fronted his ‘fledgling band,’ The Stark Reality, joined forces with Bix Carmichael and they all sought to give the “songs a contemporary work out.” Thus, spawned the title of the LP; “The Stark Reality Discovers Hoagy Carmichael’s Music Shop.” 

Dig this – in a letter Bix Carmichael wrote to his dad upon completion of the LP, he wrote: “Enclosed you will find what I hope is one of the most unusual treatments of your music that you have ever heard.. Monty is on vibes (vibraphone) and also did the vocals. He also did all of the arrangements. You will also hear drums, amplified bass, guitar and vibes.” Bix then goes on to describe the different contraptions and gizmos utilized “for some of those strange, almost string sounding, sounds.” The legend’s own kid attempts to describe to his dad what they done did to his music. Though full of confidence, he closes the letter to his old man by stating, “I think you will be happy with what we are doing, as I can tell you we are having a ball doing it.” 

From the opening track “Junkman’s Song”, the listener is sucked into a wormhole and transported to a place where the music plays as freely as wisps of smoke. Stark Reality’s group members describe their playing style as ‘free jazz,’ as a means of showing their ‘improvisational style’. Their phonic exercise has also been depicted as “psychedelic jazz-funk” by other aficionados. The only way I can see fit to explain this aural poetry is ‘Brownian Motion music.’ Scientists define Brownian motion as the movement of “small particles as they are randomly bombarded by the molecules of the surrounding medium.” The effect created by this phenomenon is a random, unguided, haphazard movement of an object. Stark Reality seemingly plays in this manner, which is illustrated superbly in the second track “Thirty Days Hath September”, where Stark goes to town on the ‘vibes,’ and then the grammar is flipped as he starts to ‘croon’: 

“How many days in the weeks?
How many weeks in the year?
I’ve learnt that lesson
But I’m still confessin’
The following isn’t too clear…
Thirty days, hath September
April June, and November
All rest, have thirty one
Except that quiet and dreary… February
Which has twenty eight, most of the time
But in leap year twenty nine…” 

You gotta hear it to believe it. Stark’s “colorful, distinctly Midwestern patois” literally ships you deep into the subconscious of his mind, and you get a hold of whatever it is they tryin’ to say. On “Rocket Ship,” the answer will become more lucid when you hear Stark tryin’ to hit the high note. 

Words simply cannot encapsulate the listening pleasure that this album is. Do not hesitate to cop it as it will broaden your music horizons. I’m willing to wager that after a listen or three, you may find yourself singing along ‘Sesame Street-style’ to the drawl of Monty Stark, while your ears are bathed in the “swinging jazz rhythms” and “deep funk grooves” of The Stark Reality. This is marvelous stuff. Go an’ get it. 

Music Vibes: 10 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 9 of 10

Big Ice & Oral Bee – Da Playboy Foundation (Noble Records)

What happens when you get 2 extremely talented producers from Norway making music for some of the best in the underground? A killer ass compilation that’s what! The reason why I say talented is because they have a knack for producing hits. Big Ice & Oral Bee have produced for Certified Platinum recording artists N2DEEP (Back To The Hotel, 1992), Certified Gold Recording Artist Kid Frost (Eastside Rendezvous, 1995), as well as Bay Area legend Mac Dre. Almost every song on here is catchy and has maximum hit potential. Just looking at who they’ve produced for is impressive to say the least. Needless to say I’m impressed with this cd and part of the reason why it’s taken me 2 weeks to review is because I’ve been playing this in my car all that time!

“Last Night” sees Jay Tee, Frost, Bullet & Arjay bring a feeling of nostalgia with this bass heavy track that makes for the right soundtrack to your Saturday BBQ (Braai). 

When the shooting stops and the sun shines again the streets will probably be playing “What’s Goin On” by Jay Tee, Baby Beesh and Frost. A catchy feel good track utilizing a Marvin Gayish hook with vocoder singing going through the track makes this one a favourite. The production on here, especially the level mixing on the vocals shows just how good they are and how serious these two Nordic’s take their work. 

The keyboard kaleidoscope on the beginning of “We Ride Hot Cuzzin” is breathless. Man gotta get these folks to lace me with beats! Anyway on this track Jay Tee, Frost, Bullet and Messy Marv lay their vocals on here neatly like that sexy maid at the Waldorf Astoria. The hook is mad ill, got a fat Sac Town feel to it.

The head nodder on here got’s to be “That’s Gangsta” by Oral Bee. Guaranteed to shake asses and snap necks.

Man, geez, why do people gotta be making such ill tracks? I’m at the parking lot and I put on “Shake The Spot” by Young Dru & Jay Tee and all of a sudden all these fine ass honeys are surrounding my car and ever since then ma crew have called this one the punani magnet. Works good on the club floor in the early hours of the morning.

Overall this is a brilliant album. But I was not surprised coz I knew that these people had the goods to deliver an unbelievable album. I was not disappointed at all, they exceeded my expectations in every way. Their productions are constructed utilitzing clever and well thought out keyboard playing and the beats are bass heavy. You can hear that they put a shit load of work into this. Now I can’t wait for the next one! Recommended!

Mcenroe – Disenfranchised

What you know about Canadian hip-hop? There’s this crazy cat, Rod Bailey, who once went by the name Roddy Rod, and now calls himself mcenroe, and hails from Vancouver BC, and wants to do nothing more than produce and rhyme. Wearing his producer ‘hat’, he once quipped that he didn’t not want to fall off like RZA did; and while donning his MC ‘hat,’ he puts forth, on “can’t get there from here,” the album’s second track: 

“I used to be embarrassed by my nasal delivery
in fact I almost let the critics get the best of me
but the day I stop writing rhymes, stick to making beats
is the day I sample ‘Between the Sheets’
by the Isley Brothers and hook it up with ‘Impeach the President’
it won’t happen, got no time for hesitance […]
I don’t talk shit just to make you believe it
it’s called freedom of choice, you can take it or leave it
I’m an acquired taste with a second listen every night
they say I sound white, guess what? I am white…” 

No one with the requisite skills to critique will make this ‘farm boy’ clam it shut. Blessed with an astute ear for music (from his youthful days listening to Elton John, Van Halen and the Dead Kennedys), mcenroe’s production is astounding, and he says it results from “digging in the crates” with the conviction and backbone of a coalminer. The opening cut “documentary” has an ominous interlude at the beginning. As the deep bass and drums catch on to the plot of the track, your neck muscles involuntarily begin to contract and snap your head rhythmically back and forth in a jerk-to-the-beat head nod. Such is the impact of mcenroe’s production. A skillful composer and arranger, he admits that “his favorite part of this music thing is coming up with a whole song, meaning making a beat, writing a rhyme, maybe singing a bit.” This first track asks the question “do we mind giving up true freedom as long as our grass is green and our food doesn’t get served cold?” Food for thought? 

Mr. Bailey is well aware of the fact that most think that he does not have “the voice” nor the “juice” to leave a skid mark on the “tightey-whiteys” that is hip-hop. Regardless of what they will say, he asserts that he “has too many ideas to not want to rap for” himself. Sounds like dude has plenty on his mind, and wishes to express himself through an art form created for such. He further feels that “his songs are not a measure of his vanity,” but are simply a way for him “to fight the insanity.” 

Needless to say, production was handled wholly by mcenroe, and all cuts on the LP were done by Peanuts and Corn Records crew mate Hunnicut. The third anthem “got away with one” will unnecessarily draw parallels with that ‘other white boy’ as he spat on “Brain Damage” on The Slim Shady LP. The content of both tracks are quite similar, save for the fact that Slim’s verse about “brawny bullies pickin’ on” him resonated more; simply because of the “urban angst which makes most rap artists” like Em “so fiercely captivating.” Not to say that mcenroe was outdone though: 

“He sized me up, licked his chops
Prepared to kick my ass
cause I hardly had a muscle in my body
except for my monstrous calves
Which I developed everyday 
riding a skateboard endlessly
And this was all by instinct, as we were natural enemies
as he played hockey for the team
just another one of the fellas
But all the pretty girls dated skaters
So they were probably jealous…” 

The oft described as a “chunky white kid” manages to turn the listener into someone who begins to realize why this cat is “already a legend in this (Canada) country’s hip hop underground.” Sure, the laid back drawl may sound characterless and monotonous, however, it is precisely this trait that ensures that mcenroe’s verbal badge stays imprinted in the fibers of my grey matter. The manner in which he flows matches the “electric piano, guitar, organ and bass” laced beats permeating throughout this sonic dissertation. Standout cuts are “convenience now redux,” “let’s pawn the bracelet (and head for vegas)” and the LPs title track. On “redux,” and “disenfranchised” he “dissects the greed of multi-million-dollar conglomerates” and governments. The Vegas track is described by its scribe as a song that “might blow up, but it won’t go pop.” It has the type of “Fear and Loathing” carefree aspect, with a great guitar riff and hook; and Bailey also sings to the bassline. Production wise, I think this dude has a lot to offer to many an artist. On the real Son – kid’s kinda nice with the beats! The former Roddy Rod “builds lush soundscapes that serve as a perfect tonal complement” to his erudite and insightful views. 

Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10

Jay Z – Blueprint 2.1 (Rocafella/Universal)

OK, OK, Yep I know y’all are checking watgatan? No need to fret, Jigga just thought he’d drop a budget read: cheap version of his Blueprint 2 double disc. Featuring his tightest tracks from the double disc on one CD ala Biggie style. (Only the folks in retail would understand this).

The cover of this here disc is red, just so that all my kugel chickadees don’t get confused. Jay’s ‘moerse’ (fat/big/dik) ‘lippe’ (lips) still grace the cover of the CD, so no need to fret!

Tracks like the heavily rotated ’03 BONNIE & CLYDE’ features on here. As well as the Brilliant ‘THE WATCHER 2’, featuring Dr Dre, Rakim and Truth Hurts. ’03 BONNIE CLYDE’ is still the shizit, blizit. Just peep the rhymes and panning. Beyonce adds her sexy ass 21-year-old vocals to this bonk ditty. ‘EXCUSE ME MISS’ the second single is still one of my favourites. Look for Pharrel from the Neptunes doing some dangerous Marvin Gaye-usque vocals like he is the pimp of the century.

But it is the three ‘new’ cuts that make this here disc a must have. ‘EXCUSE ME MISS AGAIN’ is a Neptunes remix that flips the script 360 degrees. Jay flows on here like he be the Matrix’s tightest Mc. By the way what is it with Jay and his Manolo Blahnik references? Anyway a bouncy track, word! 

‘STOP’ has Swizz Beats lacing a track that has his signature horns and drums all over the show like a ‘jas’ (horny/nymph) 15 year old on heat. This cut has got Jay bragging about his clout as a rapper, the usual ‘kak’ (shit/manure). But he sounds a bit different on here, like old school? WATGATAN?

‘BEWARE’ is that track that y’all heard by know. Also known as the ‘Punjabi Mc track’ it makes you wanna drink beer and ‘fuck all night’. But Jay is basically saying that he can do what the hell he wants to do with rap with this track.

In closing Jay will be Jay and rap will be rap so yep that’s a rap.
Bubba Sparxxx – Deliverance (Beat Club/Interscope/Universal) Athens, Georgia, home of Julia Roberts, Tomatoes, Moonshine, Betty’s, Turnips, John Deere tractors and pigs (the kind you eat). This is also the hometown of Bubba Sparxxx.

Bubba is part of a whole new breed of southern Mc’s calling themselves the ‘spirit of the new south’, Check Haystack if y’all are lost. Bubba was rolling with a crew of rappers circa 2000 and passed his demo to Jimmy Iovine via some dude, (his name is evading my beer drenched brain at the mo). At the time Timbaland just inked a label deal with Interscope Records for his Beat Club Records. Jimmy (CEO of Interscope) told Timmy, “Yo man check this here tape out, this redneck mu’fucka outta Athens is hot! What you think you can do wit’ him?” The rest is lovely or should I say history. Bubba’s debut album, ‘THE DARK DAYS AND BRIGHT NIGHTS OF BUBBA SPARXXX’ of 2001 featured the hits ‘UGLY’ and ‘LOVELY’. This album showed that Eminem is not the only white boy rapping with commercial acceptance and skill, and that Timbaland is the man, or as Jay-Z says Timbo the KING.

So while Julia Roberts is getting $20 mil a flick, Bubba is still sipping Moonshine (mampoer) in Athens and dropping gems like his sophomore album ‘DELIVERANCE’.

The opening track ‘JIMMY MATHIS’ sets the mood for the album with a harmonica sample and Timbaland’s trademark drums. ‘COMIN’ AROUND’ has it all with Bubba ripping the track ‘stukkend’ (broken) with his witty and humorous lyrics. Timbo adds his ‘gevaarlike’ (dangerous) beats, which are too much to handle, like Britney in bikini. This track also at the end incorporates Missy Elliot’s ‘WORK IT’ like Bubba did on ‘UGLY’ with ‘GET URE FREAK ON’.

‘SHE TRIED’ is straight up Timbo! With a ‘woer waai’ (hot/bomb) down south, Hill Billy, violin swimming over a drum track, that is a track ‘duisend’ (worth millions). This beat is just plain ‘JAS’ (horny/hot/on heat)! 

‘NOWHERE’ sounds like a score from an art gangster movie directed by Steven Soderbergh starring James Gandolfini and Benicio Del Toro. This track with a horny sounding vocalist on heat is straight, yes again, “JAS” (horny/hot/on heat)! (By the way waar de fok kry Timbo al dai fokken beats?)

The title track ‘DELIVERANCE’ has got that Whitey Ford feel to it, with a Timbo twist. The chorus will have you singing along till the ‘cows’ (koeie) come home. This track is pure country, like Don Williams but 2004 style. Timbo’s neck snapping kick drum adds a ‘lekker’ (sweet/nice/good) twist to this lemon. Not that it’s sour, it’s straight butter baby.

‘TASTY’ is classic Timbaland, Bubba Sparxxx SHIT! See ‘Jas beats’ (hot beats). This is my favourite cut like that 13-year-old Nadine I got licking my ass at home, I think Ms Jade is on here. The chorus, “I would like to fuck your crew/would you like to fuck me to…?” Interesting shit and I like it. I like what Timmy says at the end, ‘what goes in the mouth/stays in the mouth’. But it’s the Irish flute in the background that makes this track straight sex on CD!

‘TAKE A LOAD OFF’ is a bring the ruckus track similar in ruckusness like EPMD’S ‘HEADBANGER’. With a twist, (I like that word) of Lil Jon and the Eastside Boys. Man it’s straight gutter! ‘DISAPPEAR’ is also a song of note with on point lyrics and it’s witty as hell. A simple beat with some old school sample stabs.

‘LIKE IT OR NOT’ features production from Organised Noise and features Sleepy Brown on the vocals. Outkast fans will dig this ditty.

This album is on sum other hip-hop shit, all about experimenting with new sounds and lyrics and vocals that make you wanna cum. To some up this disc, all I want to say is that I feel so at home with Bubba’s rapping. This CD makes me wanna skommel, over a copy of FHM with Megan McKenzie on the cover, yep sticky pages, so it’ll be sticky CD players and CD covers.

Tha Hymphatic Thabs – Perfect Times (A Taste Buds Album)

South African Hip Hop just get’s better and more interesting. 16 Tracks is what you get with this R60 purchase and it’s worth it. I don’t know where you can get it but this copy was bought at a Black Sunday session in Johannesburg. So maybe if you hang around there you can get a copy or if you see him walking through town call him over and fork him some rands for this cd. I’m sure he’ll have a copy in his back pack somewhere. Hymphatic Thabs has literally kicked all his critics in the teeth with this release and if you liked his previous album (even if you hated his previous album) you will love this album. 

This album is a lyricists goldmine. Double meanings coupled with off the wall deliveries makes good emcees wonder if they can ever receive respect when he’s around. The average listener will probably only get to lick the surface and will miss the genius of the lyrics. For more fine tuned ears he will tickle your brain and create the same sensations as those caused by sucking on mescalin bought at a Stodels sale. 

The track listing is confusing so I’m not going to list it here. I’m kinda drunk and don’t have the patience to figure it out. The album features guest appearances by Gini Grindith, Robo, Sling Shot, 43 and Kanife. The majority of the production is done by KataQuomB, with additional producers Kanife, Omen and Captain doing production on the rest.

I was impressed with this album and have been listening to it ever since. I’m not going to go into detail coz listening to this album is like getting shot at from all directions. The beats and deliveries switch when you least expect it and keep you sitting up and rewinding until you get what he said. Sometimes it’s like listening to a Big Jus album, but you know, I don’t want to make comparisons. Hymphatic Thabs is an original emcee with his own style. Recommended.

Apocrophe – The Many Lives Of Main Rock 12inch Vinyl

There are 3 tracks on here with your usual street, radio and instrumental versions. “Namedrops” is the first track that we get into here. It features DJ Dise. The first thing I notice about the beat is that Labratz and JK 47 who produce it, sample Billy Ocean’s “Suddenly” track which they speed up so much it’s almost unrecognizable. However it creates a tight vibe which keeps the track rolling. I like the cutting in the chorus, they cutting up Big Daddy Kane’s vocals on this one. Apocrophe is a dope lyricist, firstly because his delivery changes all the time and he’s good at doing the switch. Secondly he keeps it local by rapping in his British accent, without any hint of an American influence. Many times when I review tracks I either lean towards the production or the lyrics but this track kept me perfectly balanced.

Flip this piece of wax over and we got “Mic Life” featuring Scor Zay Zee, Scalpels and DJ Casio. This one is more noisy and the cutting in the chorus is mad sick retarded. 

The bonus track on here is the very nicely produced “Butterfly Life”. The foundation of this track rides on a fat bass line. 

Overall this is a lekker piece of wax to own and spin at your local hip hop gig. Original rhyme styles combined with fine production makes this a winner.

Raw Produce – The Feeling Of Now (Female Fun Records)

The skits on this album reminds me of 70’s deco and the Waltons Family. You heard Cadence implode gall bladders with “Poisen’s The Mind..” which in my opinion was a beautiful album. Now together with Pitch collectively as Raw Produce they release “The Feeling Of Now”.

Again let me state that I appreciate the fact that they skratch/cut their hooks/choruses. We need more of this.

On “Decomposure” it starts off with this jazzy misty type sample which is cut off at the end, it’s centered then like a speech bubble in the left hand corner a nice sax tickles your ear. You can tell that the producer isn’t lazy, some would just loop it trying to make it sound clever and underground at least they cut it off towards the end and play around with the panning and shit. Hey then it jumps to the right, then the beat comes in with such crispness you can actually see the sparks fly out the speaker. The flows are on point and you can feel that Cadence and Pitch really wrap themselves up in these tracks. You can sense that they understand their beats as they flow over it, they not just adding to it, they become part of it.

“Wack MC” is another one I’m feeling. No second guessing for what this song is about. I gotta get this album on vinyl man. I like the crystal sounds, it adds a nice touch. They both make this track sound funky on the rhyming tip and the chorus is lovely, they have this little formula for cutting up vocals and it works all the time. They asking who these wack mc’s are since nobody’s naming names and pose philosophical questions like “Are we all wack mc’s?”. 

“Sometimes I wonder if another rapper designed him
so they can sound hard while it was hard to find him”

“I hear him called out but never hear names or faces
it’s like we all the wack mc but on a rotational basis”

This is a humorous track and it makes me wonder if Cadence and Pitch discuss these things till the early morning.

On “The Feeling Of Now” you are lead through their example on how you should enjoy and live in the moment. They tell you to forget about tomorrow and live in the now:

“my vision is corrected, so why would I do what’s ineffective
forget about tomorrow and start to live for today
so when your baby starts to cry listen up to what they say
it’s in the moment the now, that you somehow miss
coz you were too busy making up your to do list
and that’s the risk of basing life on future yearnings
past performance is no guarantee of future earnings”

After you listen to this track a couple of times and actually listen to the words you will probably make this a personal mantra. 

On “Metastasis” Cadence is talking about his mother, who recently died of lung cancer due to smoking cigarettes. He’s taking his personal experience and relaying it to you, the track is personal, it will make you think. It’s about consequences. It makes me think that I gotta stop smoking too. I also lost my grandmother to lung cancer and in many ways I can relate to this track. We watched her take her last breath as the plug was pulled. 

The entire album is like a trip, coz you can’t just wanna play this song or that song, you gotta let it play and do something, like wash the dishes or take a crap, but let it play the entire way through. I’m not gonna carry on with the other tracks here, as I will have too much to say about the dopeness thereof. I could talk all night about the samples used on here and get real technical trying to sound clever and shit.  Just like Cadence’s album “Poison’s The Mind Of Children”, Raw Produce come off correct and produce an album that is timeless filled with real messages. During a period in my life where I’m coming across more and more wack hip hop, I’m glad to say that this album has declared that real hip hop is not dead, but alive and kicking. If you like authentic honest hip hop then this is for you. 23 Tracks of real hip hop.  Highly Recommended.

B.A.R.T. to the 91Siccness – Double Album (Tact Out Muzic)

Probably one of the best resources for independent West Coast rap has to be the BART RapTalk and 91Sicness Forums. The amount of independent artists on the site and the huge networking potential is staggering. The sites have proven to be a great resource for the artists, the labels and the fans to connect, give feedback and fuels discussion on the scene. Tact Out Muzic drop a double album consisting of 44 hardcore independent rap street tracks that will knock the coverings off your wharfdale speakers.

The artists who appear on here, although easily recognized if you are a fan of Bay Rap, might remain unrecognizable to the average hip hop listener. There is a good mixture of established and up-and-coming artists on here. While your more purist hip hop heads might not even bother to check this out, and you know, my thinking is, they probably wouldn’t dig this album anyway, this album wasn’t really meant for them. This album was made for the streets. If you can relate you won’t hate. For me I’m liking this album for two reasons. First, because I’m a fan of bay rap since day one. Second, because I’m interested in this regional sound, especially from a production point of view.

There are a good number of tracks on here that I’m feeling. To go through all of them in this review will be a cumbersome task but I’ll try and list some of them here. The group that continues to impress me is Mac and AK who contribute a track on here “Felenious Behaviour”. Although I’ve failed to acquire their material since I heard them for the first time (Mac Money’s Tales Of A G album), I’ve been blessed with their various guest appearances. They have such a good sound and I’d even go so far as saying they are the UGK equivalent of the West Coast. “Thugg Thang” is a track that is festooned with the moog sound and features Spice 1, J-Locc, Main , Double O’Sick, Young Oh and C-Lim. It’s the production on here that is ill. This sounds better during the night than it does during the day. I’m also feeling “Thugged Out” by Mr Kee, J-Locc and Jiggalo. It features production by Larry K and it’s the hook that catches me like I’m a barbel. One of the those dirty gritty tracks is “Do As I Do” by Nasty Nate, Mr Kee and Shady Shay is mad, especially the baseline. “Natural Born Playaz” by JT The Bigga Figga, Iced Out, Otis and Shug is a fresh one too. This one is produced by K-Lou and dude still got crystallized production. I like the sick grimy shit like “Never Be Famous” by Mr Sche and Immortal Lowlife. Creating the same vibe as Eightball and MJG they create music that would be perfect to play under the bridge that you would never walk under alone. I was also feeling Black Madness’s flow on “Trippin Witta 44”. NBD and Trav Sev kick it on a nice Ready Rux beat on “Natural”. This track has a nice atmosphere and although the production is kept very simple, it does it’s job well. One of those tracks that bump is “Money and Game” by Game Insane. Larry K once again blesses his fingers on this one. This is one of those that are guaranteed to shake that ass. 

On Disc 2 there are some nice tracks, not as much as on Disc 1, but anyway let’s peep them. The first one that I was feeling is “What You Do This 4” by Dubble Negative and Chuck Chuey. The production on this one is nice courtesy of Rock It. Another sick track is “Dumping Somethin Sicc” by Sac-Sin and Yun-Gun. The quirky production, the 808 and cheap hi-hats make it sound even more sick. The testosterone filled rapping, while not appealing to most hip hop heads, I don’t know, I just feel it, it’s hard man. I’m feeling the mobbed out production on “Theme Music To Drug Dealings and Killins” by ADR, RJ Tac and Dretti. ADR did a mad job on the production. This is the kind of shit you play in your car before you shoot down your enemy. I’m not one who likes to endorse violence but it just makes me wanna beat somebody down when I hear this. The fucking smooth production on “206 Ways” by Syko and J-Dub comes courtesy of D-Sane. I’ve actually got Syko’s album and people should peep that album from a production point of view. I’m also into “In The Time Of War” by Black and Young Droop. The first flow on here is spit fire and I’m amazed by the delivery. The rapping on here is mad fast, with a lot of lip overlapping flows. Does that make sense? Man, I see they got my main man Woodie on “Northen Cali” which features Shadow. This is not really his strongest track but I’m so used to his sound that I’m feeling this. The hook on here is mad ill. 

Overall this was a good album and I’m listening to this as often as I get a chance. Since I’ve been a huge supporter of West Coast rap, more specifically the Bay and NW, it’s been easy for me to get into this regional sound. Not everyone will like this because it’s more regional than anything else. But this double disc definitely deliver the goods for the streets. If you like hardcore street rap with that mob sound then peep this.

C-Bo – The Mobfather (West Coast Mafia Records)

This man is a living legend period. From his classic “The Gas Chamber” and “Till My Casket Drops” plus many other albums C-Bo has managed to keep it realer than most with his hard stories from the streets. Just listening to him you can tell without second guessing that he has experienced so much shit in his life that it easily comes through on his lyrics. This is a sampler that I recently received from Crazy Pinoy which showcases a few tracks from his upcoming album dropping July 22. 

C-Bo just improves with every album (with an exception of the disappointing Life Of A Rider). The first thing I’m really feeling with this is the dope production. I don’t have the producer’s credits on this sampler but whoever is doing the beats on here did a damn fine job. Listening to C-Bo rap is like listening to somebody who’s got years under his belt. This is a rapper who has put in such a lot of work it’s easily picked up by the listener. 

The sampler features 7 snippets and just from listening to these little tidbits makes me think this album might just be another C-Bo classic. The album features guest appearances from Yukmouth, 151, Killa Tay (11/5), Cyco, Speedy and the Thuglords. 

His newly formed label West Coast Mafia Records will even be re-releasing his other classic albums “The Autopsy” with 2 bonus cuts available in August 12, 2003. Also on that date they will be re-issuing “The Final Chapter” with 2 bonus cuts as well. 

Coupled with this album he has released 2 albums in June namely C-Bo’s “West Side Ryders” and 151 “Code Of Tha Street”. His newly formed label is something surely to look out for and watch out for an exclusive telephonic interview with him on this site soon. This new album “The Mobfather” comes highly recommended by this site so check for it. Expect a full review soon!

Romeo – Controllin’ Tha Game (Gangsta Island Records)

The land of true freedom, built by gangsters, for gangsters. A place where gangs from different origins, race, creed, color, and goals can get along. Kicc bacc have some cognac, a cigar, primo pine, some nice chocha, and live stress free…It is a real place, it’s Gangsta Island!

Romeo, born in the year 1981 and living in the state of Florida, delivers an album that tells the stories of gangsta’s. In the intro he’s saying that if you can relate to the shit he’s talking about, then you might just be a gangsta. 

The beautiful production on “You Ain’t Gangsta” featuring T-Loc and Jestah, is a track that attempts to define what a gangsta is, and is relevant today, as the term “gangsta” is being used loosely by a lot of wannabees from all over the world. But the beat on here is nice, it just creates this nice vibe, and suits my rainy Saturday morning perfectly.

The second track I’m feeling is “The Otherside” featuring T-Loc. Again it’s DJ JB who blesses Romeo with the beat. He just has this nice way of creating this sick atmosphere with his production. In this one they asking what it’s like to live on the other side of the gangsta life, he’s talking about fuck money and gold, he wants to be a father to his kids and not locked up for 10 years. So it might appear that the song is talking about being a gangsta and wanting to get out.

On “That’s How” featuring T-Loc you are treated to a fat 808 type beat while “Damn Baby” attempts to get the club hopping but fails.

One of the standout tracks on this album is “Thug Friends” featuring Mr Sche. I feel this to be the strongest track on here.

Overall this is a decent effort however there were serious holes on this album. If the formula’s for the strong “You Ain’t Gangsta”, “The Otherside” and “Thug Friends” were repeated throughout the album then this might have been a solid album.

The Sceptre – The 90-Minute Show Ep (Independent)

This Ep/Demo was recorded in 90 minutes! Nyambz is a young hip hop producer originally from Zambia but now living in Pretoria (of all places). Sceptre is an emcee from Lesotho and currently lives in Berea, Jozi. Together they put together this EP. Hey man enough of the bio, read the full interview here if you want to learn more about this crew. In the meantime let me review this cd.

While I’m going to keep in mind that this was recorded in 90 minutes and that they did not have access to a top notch studio they still came off strong with this release. The first track that shows their power is Haunted fort All-stars Feat. Ram shock, Black Substance & Meskaline. The production is head nod material and this compliments the different flows of each emcee. The chorus is mad as the DJ cuts up vocals. The last verse by Meskaline is mad sick. The next one I was feeling is Wings (Produced by Dj Illete). The production I can appreciate as it is sample heavy and you can hear that they have a true appreciation for sample-based production. The nice chopped up sample on What Then (Liquor) Produced by Lootchiano and the tight lyrics make this track that can easily compete overseas. Nyambz did a good job on Tap-Dance. His use of non-generic samples shows us that he is not a lazy producer. Nyambz does it again on the brilliantly produced 2 My Baby Girl as he unconventially provides the rhythm of the track utilizing a well thought out drum pattern.

Overall I appreciated this album, especially since it comes from South Africa. I’m of the opinion that Nyambz is one talented hip hop producer. People should hook up with this guy and get his beats. I think that this album could be described as an authentic hip hop album as it has the elements like the often forgotten DJ. If they were to release this nationally and properly through a label they would make an impact and obtain respect from the underground. 

1) Intro (Produced by Nyambz)
2) Haunted fort All-stars Feat. Ram shock, Black Substance & Meskaline (Produced by Nyambz)
3) Noble Path of Mine (Produced by Styalz)
4) If (Produced By Nyambz)
5) Wings (Produced by Dj Illete)
6) What Then (Liquor) Produced by Lootchiano
7) Death Draws Near Feat. Self-Sufficients
8) Tap-Dance (Produced by Nyambz)
9) 2 My Baby Girl (Produced by Nyambz)

NATIONWIDE R.A.N. – United We Stand (Realizme)

This tight ass compilation features Too $hort, E-40, Nate Dogg & host of other rappers. Put out by Realizme Entertainment out in Oakland, Cali (the bay). I gotta say that the beats on here is the bomb. Of the 15 tracks on here, the majority don’t disappoint.

GORILLA MILK, with E-40, Skarface Al-Kapone & 8Ball is a nicely put together ditty. Pure mob shit with bit of Lil Jon chanting on here. This takes me back to 93 shit ‘mobbing in my old school’. Nate Dogg pops up on the mellow SO GANGSTA with D-Shot on the raps. This one is hooked up by The Gov. 

ALL I KNOW by I.B.G. has got a bit of a Manny Freshesque sound to a it, with a dope ass vocal on all verses by I.B.G. NO SNITCHES features Keak Da Sneak and Kamikazi of Fatal Konektion over smooth beat by Theo and J Cutt. I like the keyboard work on here. Kamikazi sounds like some young ass rapper on here.

US REAL NIGGAS with Too $hort and J Slim IS TYPICAL $hort dog shit. Fans of $hort’s shit will like this track. Lots of base on here, whish means this shit is strictly for the trunks. Kid Frost and Jay Tee of N2Deep mob over a Philly Blunt produced beat called PARTY GOING DOWN TONIGHT. Peep the lines; “….what’s his name/’it’s playa Jay Tee homie’/I’m in a big long caddilac/MOBSHOP four door….” 

PIMP’S AND G’S has Rappin’ 4-Tay & Suga Free laying down pimp game over a track by the unknown J Cutt. A very bare bones cut you have here. This one reminds a bit of Bosko’s production. Don’t let the cover of this disc fool ya, this disc is on point, ya smell me?
OBSTACLES – Soundtrack (Shot/Navarre/Liquid) The Hip-Hop soundtrack has come along way since Above the Rim and Juice. Since then everyone and they cousin has put out a soundtrack with tracks featuring the hottest artists out at the time. Many have complained saying that artists submit throwaway tracks for soundtracks.

Obstacles the movie features D-Shot who produces, directs and stars in this hood movie. Y’all know that D-Shot is from the bay area group The Click. First up is the new mayor of the bay, E-40 and the boss baller D-Shot. Over a bangers an’ mash Rick Rock track, just cut is just damn dope. BOSSIN’ is the name of the track, ya smell me! Levitti and O Cooper on vocals.

Veteran bay area mob music producers, Robert Redwine and Kevin Gardner makes an appearance by hooking up the mellow/mobbish SHO’ NUFF’ for E-40. Gotta say that I really dig this soundtrack. It’s gutter. Another notable track must be the bouncey CAN YOU DEAL with C-Bo, Big Lurch and Killa Tay. Rick Rock is one of the tightest, if not the tightest, producers out today. He’s work on the dangerous I’M SINGLIN’. Man this cut is straight butter. It even has Rick Rock rappin’, damn! You have to peep this track out.

The bumpin’ SO HIGH features The Click, Kurupt, Too $hort and Bosko over a beat by west coast cat Fred Wreck. WATCH OUT by The Federation is also a ‘lekker’ ditty. Suga-T, E-40’s sister pops up on the cute HEADS UP, production via Rick Rock for Sharick and Mook Inc. The down south WORK IT BABY by Al Kapone, which features
the overused Trigger Man sample, is tight. MONEY ON MY MIND is the track that plays when the movie starts. It features D-Shot, B-Legit, E-40 and Bosko. JUST A PLAYA’ features Too $hort and the currently incarcerated Pimp-C from UGK. Levitti does the hook. Veteran bay area producers Sam Bostic and DJ Fingers laced the beats on this one. I like the moogish baseline, it takes me back to 94. All in all, this soundtrack is all gravity!

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