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Review Archive 18

9 August 2010 No Comment

Villian – Wa Lahla / S’tina (Virgin Child)

Another group from South Africa! As you should know by now, I tend to get heavily excited whenever I get a package in the post and the stamp is South African. There are people in this country putting in serious work to help build SA’s hip hop scene. 

Wa Lahla 

Heavy kicks, acoustic and voice samples drive this song. Deliveries are laid back and kicked in the home language. Song structure is dope, good chorus and nice production. The emcee has good breathe control and he doesn’t have to shout down the mic to get his point across. He keeps in time with every bar. I can’t really find a fault in this song. I’ll be playing this to everyone who comes to my house.


Jassus. This is tight shit! They utilize a sample from Toni Braxton’s “Heat” and before you phone Arista – they already cleared the sample. Again, just like the previous song they come with solid production, solid verses and good choruses. 

Not much else to say because I have no idea what they are saying. Is it Xhosa, Zulu or Sotho? I’m clueless. But this is some of the nicest local shit I’ve heard for a while. I did play it for a few people and got mixed reactions.  Some looked around the lounge in a blank stare, other’s said “burn me a copy!”.  Best you get your hands on it to make up your own mind. You can phone them to arrange material, not sure how much, but give them a call. Richard @ 072-558-5530 or Nyasha @ 082-882-8582.

Produced by Richard “Virgin Child” Hlungwane

Burgundy Brown (B.L.X Records)

Burgundy Brown is already the second solo endeavour by underground L.A MC, Omni. And yet he is still an enigma to many of us underground heads. But given the industry today, you’re most likely to discover him only after he released a string of albums and done dozens of live performances.

So as to avoid the above-mentioned scenario. I’m a give you reason to check him out and before you know it be on some fan shit. Omni who’s also a member of B.L.X (BassLine Xcursionists) has been putting it down as group member and the solo tip. 

Okay, so why should you check out Onni’s new joint? Well, for two obvious reasons, which are of course the beats and the rhymes. Let me break it down for you:

The Beats: On this album Omni utilises the production talents of various beatmakers. Thus keeping it diverse. His choice of beats are gritty and head nodding and bulk of it very intricate and hypnotic, bordering that of the experimental kind. But not the Tricky experimental type, if you know what I’m mean?

The Rhymes: It would be lazy and unfair of me to compare Omni to the likes of Del, Aycealone and The Grouch, cause Omni’s got his own thing going on. What makes this West Coast rhymer stand out is his attitude, his voice, his buttery flow and lyrical content. Which are of course, key traits of a fresh MC. Although I found the entire album fully enjoyable like a cup of strong Joko tea after a hard days work. Personal favourites include:
American African, Titan Up, Equalize, Addiction, Music, Geneva, What, and Until Tommorrow.

Nine Fifteen – Spilt Milk (CandleWax Records)

Nostalgic is one word to describe Nine Fifteens 12″, Spilt Milk. As the beats of Blake 9 and the rhyme flow of Comel_15’s constantly reminds one of the sounds of the late eighties and early nineties, when groups like, UMC’s and Third Bass brought along with them necessary newness. Label founder, DJ Blake 9 produced, provided the cut/scratches, recorded, mixed and mastered all tracks.

This three track 12″ is with filled Jazz bass &horns and gritty drums that basically gives you an idea what a Nine Fifteen full-length album would sound like. Tracks on side A include Spilt Milk, Dot Dot and Gassed. And the B side, of course, are the instrumentals.

This is classic and rare material. It’s something you can dig up, dust of and listen to when your need to be reminded of hip-hop’s origins.

Mixmaster Mike – Bangzilla (Immortal)

Around 1996 was the first time I received a Mixmaster Mike tape. It was unlike anything I’d heard before. I knew this was a name that was going to be around for a long time and that thought has proved true. Once again Mixmaster Mike comes to the slab with his latest offering titled “Bangzilla”. 

Listening to this is like going on an expedition. While other inhabitants like to congregate in tribes for listening sessions I find albums like this more suitable to the private boundaries of my headphones. This way you get to experience every tidbit that get’s thrown into each ear. The scratching on here is flawless and in the true style of Mixmaster Mike. For those who comprehend his passion for music you will definitely find that coming through here. There is not one inch of monotony on here. He will take a def taster and use it sparingly throughout the track so that you don’t get tired of it. Each little audio piece is thrown in like a madman artist and but done just right without breaking the intent. 

The album is welded together to form a piece of audio art piece as an ode to the hip-hop Gods. The only problem I had with this cd is that it was too short!

I highly suggest you purchase this now. You will find it a valuable cohort to your upcoming journeys. Appropriate for the plane, train, taxi, car and not to mention the occasional horse rides through the Karoo lands. 

African Underground Vol 1 – Hip Hop Senegal (Nomadic Wax)

What I found useful was the short biographies on each artist in the cd inlay card. It’s helpful for us English speaking people who need a bit of information on the artist and the song itself. All of the artists on this album come from Senegal (they have a gigantic hip hop scene). In South Africa it’s quite difficult to get hold of hip hop from other African countries unless you know somebody or have traveled throughout the continent so it’s quite dope to have this in our possession right now. 

It took me the better of one week to align myself with this. No, in fact it took me a few weeks to get this review done (I was traveling a lot). 

Most of the raps are executed in their local language and judging from the text in the inlay card they are expressing issues that concern Senegalese people. The cd grows on you after each listen and once it does, you can easily pick out the tracks that you will either like or skip. 

What I really liked about this album is that you get a sense of “being there”. It conjures up an atmosphere of realness. And even if you don’t understand a word they are spittin you can at least “feel” the flows. 

I think that this album contains tracks on here which show just how far we’ve come. Hip Hop has been in Africa for such a long time that this is just another celebration of that. We do have our American wannabee’s here on this continent but the artists on here are true to themselves and their communities.

While Senegal’s scene is huge with hundreds of artists this is just a small sample of what that country has to offer. But the choice in artists are fairly representative and will give a fair indication of what they are all about.

Benny from Nomadic Wax contributed all the beats on this assemblage to ensure that the album has an unswerving standard throughout it. It’s a pity I don’t understand these languages otherwise I would have given you more detail.

From a musical/flow/delivery point of view I would consider this a sobering cd and a collector’s item. African hip hop aficionado’s will be pleased. 

Produced by Benny (Benny Beats/Nomadic Wax LLC)
Recorded at Scare Keur Community Center Dakar Senegal during Summer 2001.

rEMo`Conscious – Down To The Wire (Soul Cipher Records)

Rebels keep your minds loaded/armed, ready for thought, steady/Rebels keep your nines loaded/aim, ready to fire, cause we’re down to the wire…is the revolutionary chorus from Down To The Wire, by reMo’Conscious’ debut 12” release. Over a self-produced track which is slightly reminiscent to that of a Public Enemy beat, rEMo’ Conscious vocally shoots hard and unavoidable truths.

His sniping continues on Let Me live, on which he takes shots at the US (Bush) administration and crooked police. What’s particularly likeable about this beat is it’s minimalism, with only a ill upright bass sample and a very aggressive, but also very busy drums which camouflages the simplicity of it quite well. Similarly to Down to the Wire, Let Me Live also has a infectious hook. 

Judging by these two songs one can anticipate that reMo’ Conscious` soon to be released EP, Thought Criminal would be both dope and mad controversial.

This Oakland, Cali resident would surely be a nice addition to the likes of Paris, The Coup and others, who have been representing on “harde gat” beats and conscious rhymes for a while.

On The Grind – Mixtape Vol 1 (Mob Life Records)

This mixtape features all new songs by the Outlawz, The Game, Mopreme Shakur (Thug Life), Shade Sheist, Shock G (Digital Underground), Spice 1, Tha Realest, Havikk (South Central Cartel), Assassin, Kre8tor, Big Saccs, New Child and many more. The mixtape also features previously released tracks by Cormega and IV Life Records. There is a total of 30 songs on 2 discs.

I’m not sure why they call these mixtapes when there isn’t a deejay on here. Traditionally a mixtape would be something that deejays would put out, sort of like a resume for the streets. But the term is being used loosely, with a lot of labels calling their “compilations” mixtapes instead.

The compilation opens up with a track from Cormega on “Let It Go”. It features M.O.P. yet it sounds as if it’s a bonafide M.O.P. track. Either that or it shows the dopeness of M.O.P. in their ability to own whatever song they spit on. Cormega is a talented street writer who you need to check out more often. One of the most underated rappers out there. 

On “Hatin On Me” Havikk and Assassin do something that reminds me so much of one of those Camp Lo tracks (I’m talking about the beat). A relaxed beat and you notice Assassin with his signature whisper raps (remember his shit from the Northwest Rain compilation?). 

“Me and My Mufuka’z” by The Realest and Twin reminds me of some of the earlier Pac work. The beats are melodic with subtle snares, in fact you couldn’t even call that a snare. I can’t even hear a kick on here. It’s just a bassline, piano hits, synths and percussions. It’s a dope track. 

“Such A Feeling” by Hassachi Ryda and Muszamil is typical New York, with it’s sped up vocal samples it’s starting to sound tired. You see it depends on the way you flip it. Sometimes it can come out dope or other times it just starts to sound like everything out there. I can get used to this track but it’s not moving me right now.

“Snitch” by QU has some good instrumentation and a good hook. Lekker to listen to for the subject matter but a so so song overall.

A lot of people are talking about The Game. They say he’s gonna be the next big thing from the West Coast. But guess what, I’m still waiting. The beat on this one is catchy but overall the song is boring.

Napolean and Val Young want us to “Never Forget”. These kind of songs have been done to death by artists like Master P, Tupac etc etc. Rule of thumb is that you can apply this kind of song to a moment in your own life. We all go through these things. There’s nothing else I can say right now.

Aman’s “One World” is a dope track. The beat uses what sounds like an Enya type sample chopped. Interesting but that type of hook has been used so many times (not necessarily the words, but the format). The beat fucks up with those synth keys playing from the middle.

“And They All Fall” by Big Saccs with Wallet & XL got that Chuck D sample (1,2,3 etc) being cut up. It’s got this symphonic loop running throughout the track. Not a bad song but can come across as repetitive.

Kre8tor brings a clean crisp flow and brags with nice breathe control on “You Wanna”. A tight beat with a banging drum pattern. Nice one.

“Keep On Grindin” by QU is a hella tight track. Beat comes across as being influenced by a certain track on D12’s Devils Night album. But it has it’s own character, especially the synth kaleidescope in the chorus. Dope.

“Cali Swangin'” is one of the dopest songs on here. This one is handled by Young Buc & Too Cool and features Tray Dee. Beat is done by DJ Slip (legend – remember him from CMW?). A typical underground West Coast joint. Head nod!

There’s a lot of underground artists on here. For instance you got Shade Sheist, N.U.N.E. & Skanless who contribute a track titled “Tonight”. It’s difficult to keep up with all these artists bringing stuff out today. Anyway the beat on this one is dope, and does to a certain extent remind me of the type of programming/keyboard/synth structures you would find in a Dre/Shady track. 

“Swear 2 God” by Outlawz and featuring Petey Pablo starts off with irritating percussions. These bouncy tracks are starting to sound tired.

“Tha Life That We Live” from Cablez starts off with female vocals and she continues to moan throughout while Cablez, Napolean and Muszamil handle each verse. Not a bad track. Liked the ragga slant towards the end.

Mopreme Shakur comes through with a lot of potential with his song “On Sight”. The hook and the beat work well together. It’s quite addictive. Not a bad track.

“Bay 2 NJ” starts off slow. I like to listen to Assasin’s choice of instruments on here. You’d expect a certain type of snare for this or for that but he goes and uses something quite different. And it works. I’m used to Assassin’s music since I have one of his Cd’s in my collection. He has a trademark sound and flow. An acquired taste.

“Las Ones Lef” by New Child starts off with all this talking and it’s irritating. Not feeling this one.

If you were a fan of Digital Underground you will like the last track “Hurry Up Run” by Shock G. It’s been a while since I listened to Shock G, in fact I wasn’t even sure if he was still releasing music. It was an added bonus. As always he has not lost his touch. His humourous lyrics and creative / original hooks end off this cd on a high note.

On Disc 2 we are treated to a bunch of freestyles and a couple of new tracks from Q.U. Sounds promising, especially with songs like “Gamez Over” which features Spice 1. 

At the end of the day you wanna know if you must buy this or not. Now I’m not gonna make that call for you. You gotta walk into that record store and sample it yourself and make up your own mind. But here’s my opinion. There’s a good range of artists on here, some of them legendary and some underground. I find value in this compilation for some of the tracks either because of who features on it or who produces on it. But some of the tracks just didn’t do it for me. Luckily not the majority of them. It remains solid. 

Disc 1

1. Cormega Featuring M.O.P. – Let It Go
2. Havikk Featuring Assassin – Hatin’ On Me
3. Tha Realest Featuring Twin – Me And My Mufuka’z
4. Hassachi Ryda Featuring Muszamil – Such A Feeling
5. QU – Snitch
6. The Game – Street Kingz
7. Napoleon Featuring Val Young – Never Forget
8. Aman – One World
9. Big Saccs Featuring Wallet & XL – And They All Fall
10. Kre8tor – You Wanna
11. QU – Keep On Grindin
12. Young Buc & Too Cool Featuring Tray Dee – Cali Swangin’
13. Shade Sheist, N.U.N.E. & Skanless – Tonight
14. Outlawz Featuring Petey Pablo – Swear 2 God
15. Cablez Featuring Napoleon & Muszamil – Tha Life That We Live
16. Mopreme Shakur – On Sight
17. Assassin Featuring Arsonist – Bay 2 NJ
18. New Child – Las Ones Lef
19. Shock G – Hurry Up Run

Disc 2
1. Q.U. – Intro (Freestyle)
2. Q.U. – Get High
3. Q.U. – Freestyle 1
4. Q.U. – Freestyle 2
5. Q.U. – Freestyle 3
6. Q.U. – U Think U Gangsta Huh?
7. Q.U. – Freestyle 4
8. Q.U. – Freestyle 5
9. Q.U. – OTG’d Up
10. Q.U. – U Don’t Want No Problemz
11. Q.U. Featuring Spice 1 – The Gamez Over

Meddafore – F**k the Radio (Meddafore)

I was first introduced to the name, Meddafore when I read his 12″ reviews in URB magazine a few years ago. Today, I’m pleasantly surprised to find out that his still putting down text. But among the many activities Meddafore occupies his time with like, MCing, A&R repping and writing, Djing seem to be the craft he’s best known for. 

With a growing catalogue of mix CD releases behind his name, he’s steady gaining respect as the hottest mix-tape DJ around.

His latest offering, Fuck the Radio is enough to make you understand why many consider him the Philly’s mix-tape king. Among the many elements that any good mix-tape is composed of, selection is what I consider most important when putting together a hot joint. 

Rather than sounding a patchy compilation CD, it is a clever combination of choice underground MC’s and beats that maintains its energy throughout. This CD truly lives up to its title, as it features mostly freestyles by underground artists from Philly and elsewhere with only a few familiar names like; Royce da 5’9″, Stimuli, Guru and O.C making the odd appearance. 

The choice of instrumentals ranges from underground classics to today’s hot, but sometimes annoying beats. And although some might consider some of the beats tired, the MC’s keep interesting by breaking it down properly. 

Top-of-da-head verses that are particularly likeable are by Wreckonize, Clipse, EL Gant, Garcia, Tribeca, Stimuli and K Sparks.

Wolftown – Wolfstrumentals (WolfTown Records)

Wolftown Records is a conglomorate of artists operating from the UK. They have pushed nothing but appetizing recordings in the past 2 years since I’ve known them. Their work has reached the shores of the US and have even resulted in collabo’s with some of the tightest underground artists. Their own artists shine too, with their polished beats and consistent album releases it was destined for them to become one of the top UK hip hop unions in recent years.

What we have here are 30 beats from the Wolftown stable. It features beats from their previous albums and there are a few bonies on here too. Beats are all done by Tricksta, JT, Jay-Are and Pez respectively.  It also features hard to get instrumentals by the Villians, Vicious Circle, Wolftown Commitee, High Timez and Late.  Each of the tracks are at an acceptable 2 to 3 minute duration. Suitable for bedroom emcees and open mic sessions but more enjoyable for producers to compare notes.

Willie Ringo – Likwid Lava (Mobbfyblakk Records)

This album has been moving around our offices like a mutha, hand to hand, and this is in all probability the reason why it’s taken so long to evaluate it. First Oopy wants to use it for his Eastridge barbeque, while I want to use it for driving 20km/h through the Grand Parade on a Saturday afternoon. But I managed to impound it back and write a review. Before we launch let me just state for the record that Willie Ringo is a triple OG, a real gangster. This is not studio gangsta rap. 

When I first got this cd I was to some extent unconvinced of the name since I’d never heard of it before. I pride myself on knowing my shit when it comes to the West Coast but this was a new one for me. So anyway I popped this cd in and all of a sudden my computer screen goes blank and I’m offered the video of his hit single, “Bell’z Up Da Blok“. As my Zambian comrade Mr Chilufya would cry, “It’s powerful, powerful!”. 

This single has everything to be called a hit. Now contrary to popular faith a hit is not something that is minced into your ears every minute to make you assume it is one. A hit is something that instantaneously grabs you when you listen it. I couldn’t be bothered with what radio says. We all know that record labels who need to recuperate have to spend a lot of money pumping a song to make it sell. But this song does not need to be pumped. It’s a hit already. The chorus, the hook, the rhyming, the beats, everything fits like a glove.

I didn’t want to go in-depth with this album because on the whole I’m happy with it. Normally I know already if I’m going to pay attention to an album again, and this is one of them. Around 80% of the songs on here are more than bearable and worthy of replays. 

For fans of: C-Bo, Cool Nutz, Mr D.O.G., Yukmouth

1. H.P.T. (Intro) (4/10)
2. 2-5 Wit An “L” (6/10)
3. Jealous Niggaz & Bitches (8/10)*
4. Mess My Name Up (7/10)
5. Dis Is How We Do It (6/10)
6. Momma Pray For Me (7/10)
7. Slow Yo Roll G’ee (9/10)*
8. Bell’z Up Da Block (G-Style) (10/10) *
9. Playa Hata’z (6/10)
10. Playa Pleeze (7/10)
11. Everywhere I Go (8/10)*
12. Who Dat Dat Want Dis Gangsta (8/10)*
13. I Thought You Knew (9/10)*

Q Unique – Vengeance Is Mine (Uncle Howie)

I guess ultimately vengeance is in the hands of the beholder I read that somewhere and it stayed embedded in the back of my mind. Anybody remember the Arsonists? Well out of this group was a hombre that dubbed himself Q-unique who wrote and produced the Arsonist album ‘As The World Burns’. Exchanging the rap stage for the catwalk since 1992 when he made an appearance in a Armani ad, this emcee has been holding it down for Dickies, Ecko etc

This guy’s resume is pretty impressive. He toured with Public Enemy, The Beatnuts, made a cameo and produced some music for “The Freshest Kids”, a 1993 release that focused on the element of b-boying. In 2004 he featured on Ill Bill’s album “What’s Wong With Bill”.

I have been reading and hearing a lot about Hispanics role in hip-hop and Q is definitely one that’s been holding the Rican flag flying high. “Vengeance Is Mine” is a 15-track opus by the Non Phixion affiliate that released this album on Uncle Howie Records. Uncle Howie happens to be related to Mr Pshycological himself Necrodamus who happens to handle some production on this new joint.

The album open up with a intro that basically breaks down Q’s resume.

“Q-unique the name speaks for itself I done it all but not so much to peak at my wealth, I spit on Broadway and ghost written some big hits”.

The one minute 30 second intro basically breaks down his whole career but in the end none of it matters or gave him the same joy as seeing his son take his first step. Beatnuts affiliate Juju drops some production skill on “Diamond In The Ruff” and on “Me, That’s Who“. We all know the Beatnuts have been dropping classic hip hop tracks for years now and the production on “Diamond In The Ruff” should give the Beatnuts back the respect they been receiving for years since they entered the game in the early 90’s.

With the lyrical play of Q and the ill production of Juju the track has been dubbed the best on the album. The grimey piano and guitar strings on “One Step” has Q venting at labels that’s trying to jerk him off so much that the C.E.O’s got hairy palms, he speaking about his split with Arsonist a grizzly track that exposes a lot of the cons of the game. The next track is very dear to my heart as Uncle Howie explains on the intro, produced by Necro it’s a look into the life of Q-unique, his struggle growing up and his questions going unanswered.

“I don’t understand why God put us through pain cast me in the storm and left me standing in the rain…..what’s the purpose of life if you can never prevail tell me what should I expect when I was set up to fail?”.

Me, That’s Who” should bring back memories of the Arsonist and the fast flow that was synonymous with the group, the piano ridden beat should have heads nodding. The ugly place has Necro written all over it I just cant help but to expect Necro jumping in somewhere on this track dropping his sadistic rhymes that made him famous with the Australian authorities. Now this was expected, Q teaming up with Goretex, Ill Bill and Necro who handles production once again and spits some strange German line he must have learned on one of his porn tours of Deutschland. “Fashion Victims” has the former Armani model producing the track and spitting lines that lingers between clothing and the streets, a track that would definitely have Ecko calling on Q-uniques catwalk/hip hop skills to promote their latest line of clothing. The last track on the album features Mr how to kill a cop aka Ill Bill on the outro.

This is definitely a release that should bring Q out of the basement. A tight release from this multi task man.

“Q can flip an MPC, or he can flip AS an MC, but either way he flips shit like the Poopsmith”

Note:  Win a signed copy of this CD!  Answer this simple question and email your answer to:  rush@africasgateway.com

Question:  Who produces the track “Diamond In The Ruff”?

Rugged Man – Die Rugged Man Die (Nature Sounds)

When one goes back a few years ago and notice the sudden emergence of white mc’s, the name R.A. the Rugged Man doesn’t spring to mind immediately. In fact, to the average radio listening hip hop head,Eminem aka Slim Shady’s name will lead the revolution of white mc’s. However, to the serious Hip Hopper, R.A. has been around for a while and has dominated the underground scene in New York for many years. Rugged man signed his first deal at the age of 18 with Jive records. He didn’t last long with the label, as he didn’t see eye to eye with the corporate executives over at Jive. This Long Island native soon found himself ripping through the battle scene and later collaborating with Hip Hop heavyweights such as Mobb Deep, Mos Def, Biggie as well as numerous other established mc’s in the mid nineties. When the late, great Biggie Smalls was once asked about R.A., he’s response was simply “I thought I was the illest”. Biggie couldn’t have said it better as R.A. dishes up a feast of lyrical assaults on his latest offering Die, Rugged Man, Die.

The album kicks off with “Lessons”, and R.A. doesn’t hold back when he makes his intensions very clear when he spits:

“Hey, yo people wonderin’ where the fuck I been/ at the v.i.p. Section they ain’t lettin’ me in/ they say maybe if you had Dr Dre or Timbaland/ they say a white boy need a black boy to win/ Ah Bubba Sparxx did it and so did Slim/ Just Blaze is hot now why don’t you get wit’ him”.

Produced by Koran The L.t.d., R.A. sticks to the basics and refuses to give in to the masses as he so proudly states on this track. “Casanova (fly guy)”, is a funny rhyme as R.A. portrays himself as this monster who can still get it on with the ladies. The synthesizer chord blends in well with the subtle kick and snare. What makes it work even better is the fact that R.A. chooses to rhyme over beats that he knows he’s comfortable with.

Chains” is a funky track with it’s reggae like influence which is currently on repeat mode on my sound system. Produced by Ayatollah, Wu affiliates Killah Priest and Masta Killa lend their support toward the Rugged Man’s cause. The experiment works well as they feed well off each other blending powerful lyrics to make sure you feel their presence. This one definitely goes on my “phat tape” list for 2005!!

Dumb”, produced by Nigga Nilez, also gets the thumbs up for a showstopper. R.A. uses his witty rhymes to play on the whole “whiteboy got skillz” topic. He’s voice resembles a cartoon character thus making the whole listening experience a delight to the ears. His ability to use his vocal capabilities to full potential, makes the whole track damn near flawless.

Notable standouts also appear in the form of “How Low”, “On the Block”, and “Da’ Girlz, They Luv Me”. I know we only just gave birth to 2005, but this album will no doubt be one of my top five albums for 2005. I finally managed to get my hands on a album which actually made me want to sit down and give my views.

What makes this album such a pleasure to listen to is the fact that both mc and producer gets equal attention. R.A. is a serious lyricist of note and I don’t care how many millions of albums Eminem sold, he’ll never have the credibility and character R.A. the Rugged Man has built up over the years. The difference between the two is simple: R.A. appreciates the art form while Eminem exploits it. R.A.’s lyrical ability does not border on fantasy or shit talk, it’s as hard-hitting and factual as the eight o clock news. This boy has been through some real shit, and if you ever want to know what sort of childhood his had, go do some research and you’ll appreciate what he’s saying so much more.
reMo’ Conscious – Journal of a Serial Thinker (Soul Cipher) Being introduced to reMo’ Conscious politically driven lyrics and aggressive rhythms on his 12″ single Down To The Wire. I was anticipating more militant musings on his new EP, but found Thought Criminal: Journal of a Serial Thinker reflects a more versatile reMo’ on both beats and in rhyme.

This message filled 6-track EP differs conceptually from cut to cut. Opening with like the funky The Real Bogeyman, on which he explains how crooked police personifies that monster you feared as a child. Not only is this CD socially conscious, but also cover matters of the heart as relayed on the love inspired I’ve Been Waiting. Time is yet another track that’s on the personal tip (produced by Donnan Linkz) on this one reMo’ touches on the issue of being single father and also an artist trying to pursue a career in music.

Most of the songs take on a mellow tone. With the exception of Justified Homicide, which squashed my assumption that reMo had totally abandoned his hardcore musical tendencies. 

The only track that might put some gloom in your day is the apocalyptic The Future Is Doomed. Which reminds me of music I would hear on that TV series The Third Wave.

This six track effort by is surely a comprehensive display of reMo’s capability as an artist.

And as the EP title indicates, it seems that reMo has a lot on his mind so we can expect some mo’ conscious material from this rebel.

Sektion 31 – The Boat With Two Anchors (Olde Cycle Records)

This group’s background maybe as incognito and cryptic as their album title. But who cares when the beats are fresh and rhymes on point.

Sektion 31’s The Boat With Two Anchors jumps of with a high energy and funky Jooky Toothles with a very ill hook. 

When listening to the beats and rhymeflow by Appelratus, Tolk Minus and Joe Harvey, one can detect that they are heavily influenced by late 80’s early 90’s Hip-Hop sound. 

Songs like Bass Checkers, Walk Alone and Sea of Discontent ensures that your head stays in a vigorous nodding mode. While cuts like Deep Sleep, Dandoline Wine and Veteran’s Club might take a few listens to get into. 

I recommend that one should get into the beats first then check out the rhymes. With help the printed lyrics on the CD sleeve you’ll able to decipher some of the somewhat incomprehensible verses.

If you consider love songs where the MC spit the verses and the RnB cat sings the hook a bit cliché? Well, One is another just beautiful cliché, only this time without the cheesy lyrics and over saucy chorus singing. 

Although all tracks aren’t bangers, one can definitely appreciate instrumental songs like, Walk Alone and Let’s All Sing. Cause instead of sounding over produced, it’s rather intricate, with its clever sampling, gritty drums and live instrumentation. And that seems to be case on almost every track.

Sektion 31 is hip-hop with substance. So, if consider these cats unconventional or hard to listen to. Well then this is, like the UMC’s said: a “One To Grow On”.

Nine Fifteen – Deluxe Laminated (CandleWax Records)

In today’s, cut-throat HipHop jungle, a good survival technique aka marketing strategy would be to release a string of 12″ singles before putting out a full-length joint. Or, better yet, sticking to putting out back to back 12inches, keeping your beats & rhymes fresh in the heads of ones who dig underground hiphop. I’m sure, anyone who follows this plan will be certain of having a thick fan base and reach cult status. In the case of Candle Wax’s Nine:Fifteen this might be their recipe to success. But, that we’ll leave up to them to consider.

Deluxe Laminated, their sophomore three track single release, continues to bring you that raw & wholesome hiphop. DJ Blake_ 9’s beats & cuts provide one with necessary musical roughage that will get you open and keep you regular for days. While Comel_15 drops everyday realism with his lounging rhyme delivery over the musical base.Which makes their combination work well and very likeable.

This joint opens with a high energy beat and up tempo flow by Comel_15 and guest rhymer Jaysonic, (who are also both members of the Time Machine crew), who takes on humorous angle in our day-to-day anxiety, inadequacies and overall craziness on “Freaking Out”.

For those, like me, who are often reminiscent, there’s the retrospective “No Stylegia” with a hypnotic beat over which Comel_15 explains how his book of rhymes is also a dairy.

When enjoying Nine:Fifteen songs one would notice that a lot of the tracks are quite short. And just like their debut offering Spilt Milk, most of the tracks on this one end just as you start getting into it. But hey, perhaps that’s a good thing, like Comel_15 says: “You Deserve Less”.

Besides, there is always the instrumental B-side with a bonus Blake_ 9 beat which compensates for the short track duration.
Track info: Side A 1. Freak Out(F/Jaysonic of Time Machine) 2. NoStylegia 3. You Deserve Less Side B 1. Freak Out Instrumental 2. NoStylegia Instrumental 3.You Deserve Less Instrumental 4. Party In My Neighborhood Bonus

Beat Damizza Presents – Baby Ree Mixtape Vol 3 (Baby Ree)

I must disclose that this cd has been all over the place since I first got it in the post. I should’ve reviewed it a long time ago but as you know, things happen and time get’s the better of you. But since this thing has been playing often in our administrative centre (and in Tafelsig I’m told) I thought that Baby Ree deserved an assessment. 

This is not an awful mixtape/compilation, in fact I would go so far as to say that it’s something that you can listen to quite often without getting sick of it. It has proven to be a fine soundtrack to my drinking sessions and doesn’t interfere especially when your house is full of people. It provides a perfect setting to those kind of situations.

Baby Ree is a producer and he probably used this mixtape to showcase his beatmaking skills. However one should take note that not all songs were produced by him. So to break it down exactly here it is:

1, 5 and 8 were produced by DJ Quik
19 by Scott Torch
3, 6 and 7 by Bear
16 by Middleton and Big Syphe
and the rest were done by Damizza.

Once you’ve recognized which ones he did you can then get into seeing exactly how dope this producer is. One can easily tell that he’s almost up there with legendary producers like DJ Quik. 

The quality of the recording is first-class. It makes for an interesting listen because I was totally unaware of the “This is what they think about” track by DJ Quik and Nate Dogg – a killer track that made the aperture of this mixtape a kind of torment which prompts you to persistently play it.

It’s kinda dope to discharge something like this, put a few tracks on that you produced and add something else from other artists (that you are probably associated with).

I presume we’ll be hearing more of Damizza in the future. I hope so. Check it out.

1. This is What They Think about You – DJ Quik and Nate Dogg
2. Sunnydaze – Knocturnal, Damizza and Boo Ya Tribe
3. Titus Fuk – Titus featuring Butch Cassidy
4. Lights Out – Westside Connection
5. Chip tha Curb – Damizza featuring Kurupt and Roscoe
6. Born a Rider – Jayo Felony
7. Blookie Blookie – Y.A./Anterazh Ryders featuring Kurupt
8. When Daddy Calls – Butch Cassidy
9. Dirt – Damizza featuring Fat Joe and Mack 10
10. Top Billin – Damizza featuring Butch Cassidy
11. Hood Patrol – Tri-Star
12. Word up (Remix by Damizza) – Korn
13. Gangsta Walk – Nate Dogg
14. Bitches – Kurupt featuring Butch Cassidy and Roscoe
15. They Act Like They Don’t Know – Sly Boogie and Damizza
16. Balls Out (Remix) – High Skillz and Young Tremayne
17. Odd Squad – TQ and Kurupt
18. Cry Baby – Mariah Carey and Snoop Dogg
19. Major Leagues – Stacee Adamz
20. Do My Thang – 3rd Degree

Backyard Bangers – Get That Shit Outta Here (Backyard Bangers)

Backyard Bangers are E.Moss and the Troublemaker. This is the first time I’ve heard of them (maybe my mind is getting old now and I have actually heard of them) but there’s always a first time for anything and in this case it’s working out to be a good thing. 

This is a mixtape with around 42 tracks that will keep you active until the cows come to the dwelling. Not just any mixtape mind you. These djs/compilers have a good ear for breaks and funky tracks that are not found on typical mixtapes. The rule of thumb here is that good music is good music and that one shouldn’t impound oneself to one genre only. If it’s funky it’s funky. If it’s dope it’s dope. Doesn’t matter whether it’s Digital Underground or Frank Zappa. 

The first thing that strikes you about this cd is that the sound quality is damn good. Thank the omnipresent Lord that there is no deafening shouting from the likes of Doo Wop or Kay Slay and no diminutive gimmicks like horns or gunshots stuck between each song. That shit is getting played out. 

Mixing is unblemished and well thought out. Though I shouldn’t make assumptions about deejays thinking their sets through well in advance coz it often turns out that it is never the case. Regardless each track assortment works extremely well keeping you interested until the next one comes in. And the breaks, oh my, I’m not going to get into that. Damn! Never a dull moment on this one. 

I’d recommend this right away. Take my recommendation folks, I get a cargo of music every week and this is one of the mixtapes that I’m continuously playing. The other stuff just gathers filth.

DJ Storm – Kunta Kinte Mixtape Vol 1 (Independent)

Kunta Kinte and Ghettobass along with Dumi Right have put together a Zimbabwe Style mixtape featuring the best and brightest emcees from that country just located north of the Limpopo.

I don’t have the benefit of a having a track listing here but I’ll try and do this review without one . I gotta say that these Zimbabwean artists are on a way other level and we all need to take note. I’ve only had the opportunity to listen to a handful of Zimbabwean artists but their scene is rich with many talented emcees yet to be discovered. I think that this mixtape helps put the scene into perspective for those who know nothing of it.

This mixtape features artists like Metaphysics, O.U.O., Karizma, Begotten Sun, Migrant Soul, Dizee Rascal & Dumi Right. Most of the stuff on here have lyrical content that is interesting to follow. I’m sick of mambo jambo emcees rapping in tongues and when you hear this mixtape with real stories about experiences and shit it makes all the difference in an oversaturated market.

This is 16 tracks of pure phatness that cannot be ignored. I don’t know about you but if you don’t peep this you will be missing out on something. Highly recommended.

Prokid – Heads and Tales (Independent)

You know a CD that you pay 75bucks for is like sex with a really sexy broad that you been tryna shag for a minute.  There is no way you in hell you will not enjoy the first time you hit it or in the case of a CD the first time you bump it from track one to track 16 as in the case of the PRO Kid. But when the novelty dies out, its just sex with a sexy broad or a dope Hip Hop album.

There is no mistaking this album for anything else, it is a proper Hip Hop album, no kwaito, RnB or any other genre blends like most local “Hip Hop” acts that are making hiphopish albums. So yeah I liked it.

So now that the novelty is dead I can review this from a somewhat objective view, I’ve bumped this album for heads, pseudo-heads, kwaito cats, cats from the hood, white boys, bitches, broads, females, I even played it at this spot where I drinks at where there are a bunch of people that don’t fall in any particular grouping, so the review will be from mostly how they reacted as opposed to how I reacted.

PS I haven’t written IsiZulu or Venec as most heads call it…since Primary school so the grammer and spelling is a bit off…if you don’t like it..nxaaaa voetsek…nat’sikwaz’uk’phushub roughneck!

Well there’s nothing special about the Intro.


Most people have heard this before, Dome goes for the jugular with the beat , and the PRO does not disappoint, the hook is sufficient, Soweto count number one.  The beat sounds basic but its layered with many layers of layers..hahaha..yeah I know that’s corny but fuck I am no producer so I dunno the lingo – what I mean to say is that there are many things happening.


Soweto count two everyone has heard this one I assume, and I got nothing to say about it. Maybe a big up to Omen for the beat, what I can say about Omen’s production is that he makes beats that are not too busy, Kick and snare, high hats, bassline and melody done, he loops that shit, fades the volume here and there and then he’s done., but when you least expect it when it comes to the hook you hear all sort of shit, he works on his hooks to give the track that edge that makes it memorable..

Ungaphel’umoya Son

This is Venac rapping, this was first-time I heard this, the beat is beautifully done, it’s a heartfelt inspirational track, that gives hope to the cat down to his last 1 rand for a ciggy. Inspirational and all that sappy shit he drops some really dope punch lines rather entertaining.  Bringing hood mentality here and executes perfectly. Some hoodrat heard this and was like “shit! What kinda music is this, I like it!” I was “um..thats why we make a big deal about it” she wanted to by my copy of the CD, so I suppose it appeals to the un-stereo-typical-type-type as well.

“I can’t even drop a verse without a punchline
Fuck backstabbing u..mina nzok’gwaza ninenine
Ok nsukelen!
Senz’ifilim basbukelen
Nig’buyisel’muva like a car estukemnyukelwen”

Let’s Wait A While

Nyambz fucking hell!  This cats beats are beautiful, I have no words for how dope the beat is, then Syd Money just fucking rides the beat the way it should have been ridden, murderous flow, I dunno I really dug this cats flow, I was actually expecting something else like with a name like that he would suck, I guess you can’t judge an MC by his name.  PRO actually struggles to keep up, the beat is to fast for him I think, the bass line, the vocal sample blending into the hook, “let me sit down”. Dope track definitely not one of PRO’s best ..moving right along…

It’s Over 

Not my cuppa tea, I don’t like the beat, but PRO maintains the flow. Hear this one for yourself.  It is however a passionate track. Not much to review its just a straight track 

I Don’t give a f—-!

Hoodlum delivers a dope ass beat..  Probably one of the best beats in the whole Album. PRO does justice to it. This is one of his best “English” verses he goes all out and raps like rappers rap, it does have a Jay-Z typa feel to it. Solid nothing to report. Out!

No Mans Land.  

Shout out to DP for the beat, its not the kinda beat I am used to, I dunno it sounds like I dunno, not “simple” beats I am used but coz briCK is like, "ay yo loop that sample to death motherfucker!"  But I appreciate “composed” beats, the hard work put in and its sounds really dope, the sirens and gat corking enhance the theme of the track.  I dunno if I feel the hook, actually no I don’t like it. But yeah straight.

I Made It

Beat Maker! When I heard this cats beat on the O Mang? I was like yeah this cat got skill, and I maintain up to now cats dope, who the hell is Carla Diamond? Well she sings the hook and its hooky. I love hearing tracks like this, when a cat tells you how he got to where he is makes you fell good that you supported and bought his music, its hard work getting to the point of seeing you album in Music store. 

They Fell

Amo-mo this beat is too fucking beautiful. I dunno how to describe how genius this track is. On the first listen its sounds off or rather phase shifted to the left if that means anything to you..take a sine wave at a particular constant frequency, shift the entire wave to the left, that how this beat sounds, the snare is right where it should be but it has a time lag, like if you have a metronome, where the metronome marks the note, add a split second and try to bop your head to that, the rest of the beat is in sync.  I dunno if that’s too spaced-out but take it as I give you.  The vocal sample wow, there you have it ladies and gents, briCKs favourite beat on the album.  Unbelievable I tell you, could be the THC inside but yeah.

Ghetto Science

I believe Relo is responsible for much of Skwatta’s popularity, don’t get me wrong, they deserve to be where they are, they are smart Artists and know talent when they spot it and their ability to fuse this woman’s voice in the mix, was a smart move for they way forward.  This woman’s voice has a way of touching you, I don’t care what background you are from her voice just hits that spot, so here she does not disappoint either heart felt track.


Omen ..I dunno man this beat is hype and worthy off Video and single material. Perfect Choice for a Single. Hoodlum on the hook…too many one liners everyone I bumped the CD for loved it so yeah. 

“siphuze’snanek….and hang-around like a nut sack”

Living The Way I Should

Every album has to have one of these tracks “girl’s” track so I won’t really go into it that much, Amu production on point PRO delivers but Nothende sings her heart out, first time I heard this broad was in Mr Selwyns Formula she is a very talented individual.


"Alla de monkies back in de cage kno” Drastic Drastic…until you here this beat for yourself you will not believe how this beat is, I am out of words, if it was not for the technical genius of the Amu track this is easily the dopest beat I have heard this year and that saying a lot.

Fede Fokol

If ever there was a Zol anthem this would be it, I dunno something about this track screams weed.  My favourite Total package in the Album, I just like it I cant vocalize or in this instance verbalize. 

Fuck I am tired I ain’t gon review the last track..just props to Maggz, Sgebi , Dome and PRO.

Fuck this album is for certain people, if it was not for the fact that Soweto has so many people this album would not be so popular its too “kasie”, it excludes many many heads.  The beats are sharp.  I don’t think there is any producer who dropped the ball too much. From the reactions I have seen from various different people this album is really extreme, those who like it like it a lot those who hate it hate it a lot, I don’t think anyone I bumped this for sat on the fence. The problem with rapping in Venac is clearly illustrated by this album, it divides heads and fans alike, for those who don’t really understand tsotsi taal are left out, those who don’t speak Zulu same story.  The English raps dropped are not as hot as the Venac raps.  The Venac is as good as it can get, so we are trapped at a point where those that understand the Venac like it for the Lyrical Ingenuity, clever wordplay, punch lines that can not even be translated to English or any other language for that matter, metaphors alliteration ALL the traits of dope English raps but only done in Venac. I tried to explain how dope…

“Ungacwicwizi sun Ungangingizi sun
wenza kancane ngat’ usisi son easy sun
Loku qinis ikhanda ngat’ manj’ ushayifreezi son”

is in English to one of my boys and found myself unable, he liked the “flow” but missed the simile, metaphor and alliteration.  Just because of the language barrier. 

Guru – Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures (Seven Grand)

It’s hard to believe that Guru, one half of Hip Hop duo Gangstarr, is still plying his trade as a mc. I mean, this Brooklynite first blew up our hearing aids back in 1989 when he and producer extraordinaire DJ Premier dropped their debut classic “Step in the arena”. And now, 15 years later at the ripe old age of forty plus years, Guru still brings that nostalgia back to any serious Hip Hop head who knows what time it is. Guru’s longevity is a direct result of his intelligent rhyme skills and musicianship that will continue to shine for as long as he sees fit. On his latest solo project, “Version 7.0”, he continues his journey with the help of French based producer MC Solar. Make no mistake, Solar is not here to compete with Premo, but simply to show the Gangstarr faithful how he can keep their legacy going.

“False Prophets” gives the album a great kick-start with Guru doing what he does best. Solar rides shotgun with a mid tempo kick drum and a dark, choral like voice loop that’s addictive like the six cups of coffee Solar must’ve had when he laid down this beat.

“Step in the Arena 2” features Doo Wop spitting some crazy ish over a track that would’ve turned M.O.P into drill sergeants, Full Metal Jacket style. Solar’s production skill on this one qualifies him for instant Brooklyn citizenship. Guru gets equally hostile as he holds your eardrums for ransom, forcing you to listen.

“Surviving the Game” borrows a portion of the Paul McCartney hit “Live and let Die”. The production style is similar to a Kanye West track, except on this one, the speeded up vocal gets used to damn near perfection. Guru’s rhymes are precise as he yet again gives you the low down on surviving the hood life as only he can.

“Talk to Me” features a female vocalist by the name of Jaguar Wright. One of the highlight tracks on this album, Guru narrates a love story that even a thug can get down to.

To truly appreciate this album, you have to spend a quiet Sunday afternoon by yourself and examine the artistry on display. The nineteen tracks on this album is a hardworking effort from a hardworking mc who deserves all the credit in the world. It is also clear that MC Solar put a lot of thought into this project as the end result proves what great respect he has for Guru. Styles P, Talib Kweli, and even Cypress Hill’s B Real throw their weight behind this one. “Version 7” is just another reminder of what a humble servant Guru has been to Hip Hop over the years.

Tommy Boy Presents Hip Hop Roots (Tommy Boy)

“In his liner notes, Silverman hearkens back to 1980, in the “Breaks Room”, at Downstairs Records, where a “music revolution was being born.” In this room, one could buy vinyl by artists such as “Dennis Coffey, Bob James, Jimmy Castor, The Eagles, Incredible Bongo Band, Herman Kelly and Life, The Monkees and so many more that seemingly had nothing to do with each other” except for the fact that the founding fathers of Hip Hop were digging them up and rocking them in the Bronx. “

The songs from this compilation have been sampled to death. When you look at who sampled what for each track the list can go on forever. This compilation highlights some of the many tracks sampled by hip hop producers. It’s fascinating listening to this as it conjures up memories of this song or that song.

What’s the difference between listening to this and hip hop? It’s an inside-out type of situation. You can’t have one without the other. They are linked. Hip Hop is like a ship that drags the past with it on it’s anchor.  If you don’t have the time to dig for these records then buy this, it’s a collectors item.

1) It’s Just Begun – The Jimmy Castor Bunch (RCA, 1972) 
2) The Big Beat – Billy Squier (Capitol, 1980) 
3) Think (About It) – Lyn Collins feat. the JB’s (People, 1970) 
4) Take Me to the Mardi Gras – Bob James (CTI, 1975) 
5) Fame – David Bowie (RCA, 1975) 
6) Happy Music – The Blackbyrds (Fantasy, 1975) 
7) Express Yourself – Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band (Warner, 1969) 
8) Bra – Cymande (Janus, 1972) 
9) Mary Mary – The Monkees (Colgems, 1967) 
10) Let a Woman Be a Woman, and Let a Man Be a Man – Dyke and the Blazers (Original Sound, 1969) 
11) Give it Up or Turnit A Loose – James Brown (King, 1970) 
12) UFO – ESG (99 Records, 1981)

Backyard Bangers – Get that sh-t outta here (BackYard Bangers)

E.Moss and The Troublemakers are the Backyard Bangers. This mixtape was delivered to our offices a few months ago and we have been very slack in getting it reviewed. One of the reasons is that everybody wanted to borrow it and so it happens that it has changed a few hands before we go it back. So it’s back now, with finger marks and a coffee stain but the cd itself is still in perfect condition. 

So what is this mixtape about? Think of it as a bit of old and new songs with a lot of blends and scratching. It’s not too complex but not boring either. It’s easier on the ear if you know what I mean. Like you know, if you listen to a DJ Babu on your headphones it’s ill, but when your mother in law comes over for lunch and you got kids running around the house it’s just not appropriate to play – because it’s just too hectic. But this is just right, easy to digest and enjoyble on both the head and on the open system. 

The Beat Bangers play a good selection of tracks (different genre’s). With 42 tracks it’s going to be too cumbersome to go throw each blend and mix so I’ll leave it at. This is a good quality mixtape and you need to keep your eyes peeled for this crew.

Masked Avengers & Maylay Sparks – So Wonderful EP (48 Music)

Just so you know Maylay is from Philadelphia (USA) and the Avengers are from Switzerland, sorta like the same type of connect deal you saw with Foreign Exchange. 

The intro was rather boring but then we forgive them when the piano laced and string infested “Small Time Thing” get’s layed on the table by Hands Solo. Fico jumps in on “Through These Veins” which has a serious slant to it with vocal scratching in the chorus. Next is “Early Morning”, another skit, I hate skits so let’s skip!

“Soopa Freak” is next, also produced by Fico and this time around it’s got a funky vibe with a subtle horn on the kick as opposed to the jazzy stylings earlier in the EP. Next is “Love Supreme” which uses a Ronny Jordanish lick to move the track which is one of the stronger tracks on here. Then there is the remix of “Too Much” by Tibner 97er but this is heavily overshadowed by the ultra True Classic remix from Lexx. 

As an added bonus you get all these tracks repeated at the end of this cd in the form of instrumentals. 

What is my opinion of this album? Well it’s a bit hard to tell because it has a purist taste to it which means it will be enjoyed by many “heads” purely by how it sounds. It has that good quality sound and you can hear that the people who made this album are purists. I can appreciate that. I can appreciate the skills in the deliveries and the skillful compositions of the beats. But it was missing something. I just can’t put my finger on it.

1. Intro
2. Small Time Thing
3. Through These Veins 
4. Early Morning (Skit) 
5. Soopa Freak 
6. Love Supreme 
7. Too Much (Remix)
8. True Classic (Remix)
9. Outro
10. Small Time Thing 
11. Through These Veins 
12. Soopa Freak 
13. Love Supreme 
14. Too Much (Remix) 
15. True Classic (Remix)

DJ Woodo vs J Loop – Together Forever (Soul Vision)

DJ Woodo, born in Switzerland has been a b-boy since the early nineties and has entered various competitions such as the famous Battle of the Year. Soon he got himself a pair of turntables and, to cut a long story short, started getting heavily involved in showcasing some of the illest breaks from the veins of timeless vinyl. 

This album is actually meant for bboys but it’s a joy to listen to for crate diggers. He recorded this album together with Switzerlands top funk drummer J Loop. This cd contains unheard bboy breaks from different genre’s and this is made bigger and better because J Loop adds kicks, snares and hi hats. However it does not detract from the soul of the original breaks, it makes it stand out.

In an instant your ears will be pounded by hard ass rock beats and then all of a sudden you will be taken on a soul / funk journey. I like it how he just slaps on bridges and occasionally a fat ass drum roll. Everything is pieced together nicely as Woodo stitches them with his turntable needles. Some of the breaks on here are so ill that it’s almost impossible for you to stand / sit still. 

A well thought out album that might just be a bboy classic. Get it now. 

1. How to cook a break
2. Elevating you to the next level
3. You have to walk
4. A tribute to break DJ James Leacy (RIP)
5. My thoughts
6. As long as we remember him
7. Two cool cousings and one DJ
8. Believe in fate?
9. You already made it
clip 1
clip 2
clip 3

Meddafore – Let ‘Em Know Vol. 7 (Meddafore)

Meddafore then Volume 7 of the Let ‘Em Know series is a definite must get, if you’re a mixtape junky. This new installment is 33 tracks deep and pure fire. It features mostly freestyles by artists not only from

Philly but there’s also appearances by We-N-Us (Baltimore), Sean Jay (Hawaii) and SNC (Canada).

The mixtape industry being so saturated with the same ol rhymes over popular instrumentals, it’s refreshing to hear ninety-seven minutes of raw and habitual spitting over beats rarely heard on the radio, which makes this as a true underground tape. 

There are definitely beats that are hot but not reaching classic status. Comparing and rating the freestyles however could be difficult as each artist come of different as far as skill, style and their region is concerned. Verses that impressed me most were by Bathgate, Teefa, Doppelgangeer and rowdy Philly cats called Da Hyytaz, which seem to be making appearance on the Meddafore CDs 

Among the thinly spread original songs on this CD, the most memorable would be Gimme Dat -Young Zee, Rah Digga, Stat Quo, We Got This by Alchemist & Prodigy, I Wish You Would by Nitro, Do That by Bishop Lamont & Chevy Jones and song by 50 Cent’s cousin, 2-5 called Go Hard.

Once again Meddafore’s love for subterranean hiphop and good selection will ensure his position as one the illest mixtape makers around. 

Unlike many mix CDs today, that come out patchy, making you hit the skip button on the regular. Let ‘Em Know Vol. 7 however, is a fast moving- hardcore- hiphop- bonanza that never looses momentum.

The Acorns – Dropping From The Trees (Candlewax)

After your first listen to the The Acorns, you might be thinking that these cats are on some clown type shit. But after closer inspection you’d come to understand and appreciate their silliness, in fact you’ll find out that they are actually serious. This duo called The Acorns comprised of producer/DJ Blake 9 and rhyme-spitter Mad Squirrel is yet another partnership to be formed under the Candle Wax Records label.

Their debut release Dropping From The Trees is a very unfashionable hip-hop album in the sense that deviates from today’s trendy sounds. Instead of bustin iced-out rhymes or being extra complicated, Mad Squirrel, in his loony-tone style drops hip-hop prerequisites like; Mic Device and Mad Stiles and real-life experiences on Five She and Tom Donivon over Blake 9’s rough & raw SP1200 beats.

Blake9’s bare-bones productions may not be appreciated by rookie hip-hoppers, because of its old school origins but are nevertheless banging and still very relevant. Tracks that will keep you’re head in a nodding mode are: Big Words featuring Prego 3.5, Those who Know Networks, Comcast with Prego 3.5 and the hypnotic X- country Skier.

All in all, Dropping From The Trees is a fast moving album varying in style and mood, which Mad Squirrel seems to adapt to with ease. And although this tea-sipping emcee, who also put it down for the Forest Fires Collective, possess a crazy flow that one might consider elementary. His lyrics however are not simplistic in content. Like he said: You thought that this was nonsense/It’s not, it’s complex concepts in a hip-hop context.

DJ Jessie Felluss – 6 Great Albums Volume 2 (Independent)

To show you how DJ’s are trying to differentiate themselves from the mass offerings out there look at this conceptual mixtape. While it’s not a new thing it’s a concept and that’s what we need more of. In this case it’s in the celebration of the great hip hop albums we all know. In volume one he decided to showcase the finest tracks from DoggyStyle (Snoop Dogg), Low End Theory (A Tribe Called Quest), Illmatic (Nas), The Chronic(Dr. Dre), Ready to Die (Notorious B.I.G) and Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers (Wu-Tang Clan).

In this volume he takes us through another 6 great albums (see track listing below). It’s always useful to have these mixtapes lying around, especially when one is often a victim of never having your original cd’s returned. There are some good choices on here and each song is given enough time to shine before he mixes the next one in. Mixing is always on beat and the songs follow each other without breaking the rhythm. So don’t expect heavy bpm differentials because those normally throw you off base – not with this one. It’s perfect for driving around, having a braai (barbeque) and for the gym or taxi (if you have an Ipod).

1. Intro 

2-7: Eric B and Rakim – Paid in full 

2. paid in full (Eric B and Rakim intro)
3. I know u got soul 
4. eric b is president 
5. my melody 
6. eric b is on the cut
7. I aint no joke

8-16: Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt

8. friend or foe (jay z intro)
9. brooklyn’s finest 
10. can’t knock the hustle 
11. aint no ni**a 
12. dead presidents 
13. feelin’ it 
14. d’evils 
15. politics as usual 
16. can I live 

17-23: N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton 

17. dopeman (nwa intro) 
18. 8 ball 
19. gangsta gangsta 
20. a bitch is a bitch 
21. f*ck tha police 
22. express yourself 
23. straight outta compton 

24-31: Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minded 

24. south bronx (bdp intro) 
25. super ho 
26. the bridge is over 
27. the p is free 
28. dope beat 
29. criminal minded 
30. poetry 
31. 9mm goes bang 

32-48: 2 Pac – All Eyez On Me 

32. can’t c me (2pac intro) 
33. wonder why they call you bitch 
34. all about you 
35. 2 of amerikaz most wanted 
36. how do u want it 
37. got my mind made up 
38. all eyez on me 
39. when we ride 
40. thug passion 
41. california love 
42. ambitionz as a ridah 
43. I aint mad at cha 
44. rather be your ni**a 
45. life goes on 
46. no more pain 
47. holla at me 
48. picture me rollin’ 

49-62: Raekwon – Only Built For Cuban Linx 

49. incarcerated scarfaces(raekwon intro) 
50. criminology 
51. guillotine(swordz) 
52. rainy dayz 
53. knowledge god 
54. ice water 
55. verbal intercourse 
56. ice cream 
57. knuckleheadz 
58. wu-gambinos 
59. spot rusherz 
60. glaciers of ice 
61. wisdom body 
62. can’t it all be so simple(remix)

Summer Pimpin – DJ Supreme and Lil Raskal (Independent)

I was never really a fan of blends mixtapes because e.g. if you listened to a song on it and you didn’t hear the original then it’s kinda weird hearing the original after hearing the blend. But there might be some cases where the blend is better than the original and for that it can be kinda interesting. This mixtape features new remixes with 2pac, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Luda, Game, Nelly, Lil Flip, Snoop, Fabolous, Akon, Kanye, Nate Dogg, Biggie, J-Lo, Young Gunz and others. 

This mixtape is easy to listen to and not as noisy as those from the kind of mixtapes that have sirens, shouting, gunshots etc. It’s the kind you put in and just let it play while you go on with your business. It’s not going to invade your discussions. It’s perfect for background music. But how are the blends you might be asking? While as I type this nothing sounds out of sync. The accapella’s sit neatly on top of the beats and there are no runaways to report. What I can report though is that the essence of the original is not lost in the blend. 

1 – Styles P. – Tag Team Champions Intro 
2 – Jay-Z – Summer Pimpin’ Intro 
3 – Tupac – Fake Ass Bitches (Raskal blend) 
4 – Tupac – Do It For Love (Raskal blend) 
5 – Ludacris feat. Bobby Valentino – Pimpin All Over The World (Silencer blend) 
6 – Nick Cannon & Jadakiss – We Love Them Hoes (Raskal blend) 
7 – Stat Quo feat. The Game – You Know I Could… (Silencer blend) 
8 – Bobby Valentino feat. 50 Cent – Wanna Get To Know You Part 2 (Raskal blend) 
9 – Ja Rule – If It Wasnt For… (Raskal blend) 
10 – Nelly feat. Tim McgGraw – Can’t Go On Not Loving You (Silencer blend) 
11 – Lil’ Flip feat. Lea – Summer Sunshine (Raskal blend) 
12 – Deemi feat. Fabolous – Keep It Movin (Silencer blend) 
13 – Young Gunz feat. Young Buck – Set It Off (Raskal 2 Beat blend)
14 – Nate Dogg feat. Warren G – 2 Man Crew (Raskal blend) 
15 – Warren G – Back Then (Raskal blend) 
16 – Snoop feat. Nate Dogg – Where The Summer Groupies At? (Silencer blend) 
17 – Snoop feat. Pharell – Srop It Like A Playa (Silencer blend) 
18 – 50 Cent – Playa’s Inferno (Raskal blend) 
19 – 50 Cent – Just A Little Bit More (Raskal blend)
20 – T.I. – All My Hot Girls Yellin (Raskal blend) 
21 – CL Smooth – I Don’t Know Why I Love You (Silencer blend) 
22 – Akon – Lonely (Silencer 5 Beat blend) 
23 – Lil’ Romeo – Lookin For Love (Raskal blend) 
24 – Mario – If I Was Your Man (Raskal blend) 
25 – Cam’ron & Juelz – What We Gonna Do Tonight? (Raskal blend) 
26 – J-Lo – Gettin Right At The Party (Raskal blend)
27 – Slick Rick & Jay-Z – Can’t Make A Hoe Into A Lady (Silencer blend)
28 – Angie Stone feat. Snoop – Your Love Is Gangsta (Raskal blend) 
29 – Freeway – What We Do Is So Seductive (Silencer blend) 
30 – Ludacris feat. Shawnna – When I Move You Move (Raskal 3 Beat blend) 
31 – Jay-Z feat. Kanye West – Fiesta (Silencer blend) 
32 – Rupee feat. Lil’ Kim – Get Your Freak On (Silencer blend) 
33 – Alfonso Hunter feat. Fabolous – Don’t Stop (Silencer blend) 
34 – Baby Bash feat. Akon – Lovers And Friends (Raskal blend) 
35 – Game feat. 50 Cent – Hate You And Love Me (Raskal blend)
36 – Young Gunz feat. Snoop – Back In The Day (Silencer blend) 
37 – Britney Spears feat. Fat Joe – I’m A Slut For You (Silencer blend) 
38 – Notorious B.I.G. feat. Rah Digga – Freaky Bitches (Raskal blend) 
39 – Cause Disaster feat. Michael Jackson – The One (bonus blend) 
40 – Mariah Carey – We Belong Together (Raskal bonus blend) 
41 – Outro

Cornerstone Presents Mixtape Vol 73 (Cornerstone)

One of my favourite movies this year is Hustle and Flow and for one reason only. I just love the shit you find coming out of Memphis. I’ve been a collector of hip hop from the Memphis region for a couple of years now, obtaining anything from Mr Sche to 36 Mafia and a ton of other artists. For me the illest scene was where they were in the process of making the “Whoop That Trick” track. That just blew my mind. Anyway, so Cornerstone brings out this mixtape to showcase what you can expect to hear from the Original Soundtrack and it gave me enough of an appetite to acquire it using my connections. 

The Cornerstone mixtape series are one of my favourite because it’s such good quality. The track selections are always on point and they always throw in some exclusive shit. From what I remember these mixtapes are free but I could be wrong (things change you know). It starts off with a screwed Nicole Wray song and jumps into a DJ Boogaloo intro where he talks over Three Six Mafia’s “Stay Fly” instrumental. PSC set it off with “Set It Out” and it’s a banger from the moment that kick kicks in. The sickest crunkest track on here is “Whoop That Trick” from Terrance Howard. This song makes me sweat bullets. Another one that makes me get erratic heart beats is Al Kapone’s “Get Crunk”.

This mixtape is worth having just for the few tracks I mentioned. This is a rowdy mixtape and be warned, if playing it don’t expect yourself or any other people listening to be in a calm mood. It’s crunk after all.

Track Listing
01. Nicole Wray f. Mike Jones It’s A Man’s World (Screwed Version) Swisha House/Asylum/Atlantic*
02. DJ Boogaloo Intro
03. PSC Set It Out Grand Hustle/Atlantic Records
04. Terrence Howard Whoop That Trick Grand Hustle/Atlantic*
05. Al Kapone Get Crunk Grand Hustle/Atlantic*
06. Lil Boosie & Webbie Swerve On Em Trill Ent./Asylum/Atlantic*
07. T.I. & PSC ASAP Remix Grand Hustle/Atlantic
08. Boyz In Da Hood Don’t Put Ya Hands On Me Bad Boy
09. Paul Wall f. Big Pokey Sittin’ Sidewayz Swisha House/Asylum/Atlantic
10. Terrence Howard Hard For A Pimp Grand Hustle/Atlantic*
11. Lil Boosie & Webbie Bad B*tch Trill Ent./Asylum/Atlantic*
12. 8 Ball & MJG Tell Me Why Bad Boy*
13. Trina f. Lil’ Wayne Don’t Trip Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic
14. Juvenile Sets Go Up UTP/Atlantic
15. Trick Daddy Jump On It Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic
16. Trey Songz Life Of A Hustler Song Book Ent./Atlantic
* Denotes songs that are on the upcoming Hustle & Flow Soundtrack on Grand Hustle/Atlantic

Vocab Malone – Happy Hardcore (Makeshift Records)

I don’t know much about this guy but on first play it appears he has a sense of humour. The opera singing in the intro is kak funny and gave me stitches as I imagined a 17th century tart being schooled about the streets by a time traveller from 2005. DJ Skribe scratches all over the place to get rid of the itch that usually irritates me everytime I have to write a review. Everything is going smooth and it sounds like this cd might just be a banger.

“Sup” is a funky cheeky track which in my mind is nothing but a fun song. Nothing wrong with fun songs but will there be anything with substance on here? Let’s carry on and press next…

“Prime of Life” features Lightheaded Pros. This is a bit better than the previous song. The production is nice and the programmed stuff is plastered with live bass and percussion. 

But it’s when “Lot 2 Lose” with Pigeon John comes on, it’s at this point where I’m starting to get into the album. The construction of this song is well put together. Nice hooks, nice subtle beat. Good stuff. Next…

“Happy Hardcore” a funky track and borders on what some of you might refer to as a ‘pop’ song. I can already hear this on the radio…

“Boo Hoo” is a funny track where he is feeling sorry for himself talking about having no money and friends. Check this out:

“Life is a bully, I’m weak I can’t fight/
I just lost a battle to this cat who was tight/
after it was over, I said that was it/
I asked him who he is and he tells me Will Smith”

“Rodeo” is a weak track and needs to be skipped. “Ode to Dr King” is also another one for the bin.

“Notalotalove” with Red Cloud repairs the damage that “Rodeo” did to my perception of Vocab Malone. It features Red Cloud, who released one of the nicest albums about 2 years ago. The highlight of this song is the water tight production. 

Man of War and Devon (the opera singer) step into the studio to help out on “Hollow Sleep”. The production on this one is weird but interesting and this is one of the stronger songs on the album.

“I Now Know” contains a beat that leaves little to be desired. I wasn’t feeling this song…

“Yes/No” is like a pendelum as it managed to make me nod my head and I like the bass work on here. The album then ends off with “The TV Poem” which is him performing live at the “Enter the artist” open mic at The River of Life. This rhyme he drops is ill talking on the damage that TV does to us and even him being a Christian he justifiably lashes out against hippocrites like those on TBN. I’m too lazy to retype it all out here but best you check it out.

Overall what did I think? There were a few bangers on here but on the other side of the scale there were a few weak ones. Vocab Malone is not exactly one of the tightest on the mic either, but then again I think he realises that and doesn’t care. One thing I can say is that if you are looking to listen to something that contains positive messages without being too preachy then it’s worth checking this out. Best songs: Lot 2 Lose
Boo Hoo
Hollow Sleep

Malkovich Music – Skeletons (BLX)

LA emcee Malkovich drops his debut album. The album took 4 years to make and features production from Nocturnal Ron, ABCDEFG, Earganic, Obi and Noble.

The album starts off with an inconspicuous hard ass unorthodox beat by Nocturnal Ron while Malkovich layers his verbal vibrations over it flawlessly. Breath control is top notch. Scratches in the chorus are provided by DJ Nonetheless.

I’m feeling the beats on this album. “Old Soul” is painted with a VST-ized / filtered sample over a chopped up break while Malkovich once again rhymes over the beat without sounding tiresome. There is no peak, no plunge just a steady procession of dopeness.

“Sinkorswim” get’s annihilated by the production techniques of Nocturnal Ron. Mr Ron got a production approach where he basically hides the drums in the folds of the entire composition. The bassline that runs through this can put you in a trance like those Shaman’s in Peru who sniff the bark residue.

“Trippin” is a cranium nodder that will toss your sun glasses across the room. The bassline will incite the ass to swing like a pendulum.

I like it how “Quartertothree” starts; it basically keeps you in anticipation. It kinda goes on for too long, but then as soon as that drum roll comes in I’m practically spraying mayo all over the speakers. Oh shit I actually thought this was a track, but it’s just an interval. He should’ve chopped it up and made a beat from it. Okay, well there you go…

“Train” features an ailing piano loop and I love those looped voices / talking in the background that pops in now and then. “Eventually” got some Cuban or South American sample going, let’s see what happens next… Oh man another interlude, okay here we go. Now the track kicks in. Nocturnal Ron lays a simple drum pattern and lays the audio table with a comforting sample table cloth. Malkovich provides the food and keeps you hooked on the story without diverting onto other topics.

“To Be Or Not To Be” starts off with a percussion type loop while keys lay on top of it. The name of the producer on this one is Earganic. This one creates a focused skull nod while Malkovich once again kicks his verses with exactitude like power steering on a BMW.

Man we already got this far into the album and I can’t find anything wack about this album. “Everythings’ Perfect” must be trying to tell me something I already know because that’s the name of the next track. Again Earganic does the beat, while Malkovich doesn’t display once quantity of lyrical weakness. “Homecoming” is another one that doesn’t fail. DJ Noble does the beat on this one and it’s a delicate but satisfying head nod.

On “Empty” watch out for this guy named “Nocturnal Ron” coz he got some overwhelming production that will force bedroom producers to uninstall their copies of Fruity Loops. Malkovich owns these beats with his rhymes.

The last song on here is “In The Dark” and is done by another producer I’m familiar with, DJ Obi. It’s a pity he only got one beat on here coz I’m feeling this guys productions. Listen to those drum patterns man, it’s so nonconformist and eccentric.

Overall this is one the tightest albums I’ve heard this month. Even though he has chosen different producers they are aligned to his style and one doesn’t get a sense that the hands on the pads have changed. The entire album sounds consistent. Malkovich is comfortable behind the mic and his lyrics are descriptive giving you a sense of “being there”. I will be adding this to my play list. Very few releases managed to grab my balls and I actually still maintain this was the worst year for hip hop releases ever. But hey, this album was laying on my shelf for a good 2 months before I even bothered to review it. I was so exhausted of the wack ass shit that people were sending me. I just had no oomph left. But after listening to this I can tell you that hip hop is still breathing. You just got to have patience and dig deep to find the real good stuff. So you owe it to yourself to seek this album out and buy it. Highly recommended.

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