Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lupe Fiasco - Who Are You Now ft. B.o.B

Download: Lupe Fiasco - Who Are You Now ft. B.o.B

I'm not sure where this unfinished collaboration between Atlantic label mates has come from, but it's welcome nonetheless. I would have liked to hear the finished product though with what sounds like it probably would have been a third verse from Lupe. The track itself has both MC's talking on identity and we tend to identify it through material possessions. Lupe's conceptual verse ties in really well B.o.B's more 'statement-ridden' follow-up. One of Lupe's greatest strengths is certainly how he manages to approach an issue from a creative angle and still manage to get the point across.
No colleges no scholarships so she put on some Navy clothes
Pregnant now its bigger clothes
Delivered now back in littler clothes
Different girl when the liquor flow
Stripper name, stripper clothes
Stripper pose on stripper poles
Then take off her stripper clothes

Rating: 7.5/10

Previously: Album Review: Lupe Fiasco - LASERS | Lupe Fiasco - Stereo Sun

Shad - Give You All I Can (Prod. Skratch Bastid)

Download: Shad - Give You All I Can 

This here is Shad's gift to his fans after winning the Juno Award for Best Rap Release for his brilliant album, TSOL. Indulging in nostalgia follows. A better quality recording coupled with some better mixing wouldn't have gone astray but it's a dope track nonetheless.

'Check the thermostat, it's not cool to have degrees'

Rating: 8/10

Previously: Shad - Time ft. Promise | Shad - Yaa I Get It

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Has-Lo - Forgotten Styles

Download: Has-Lo - Forgotten Styles

Off Has-Lo's new album, In Case I Don't Make It. To be perfectly honest there isn't a lot to differentiate Has-Lo from your everyday run-of-the-mill rapper. He is consistently superior in almost every category to 'generic MC number one' but he's not the sort to stand-out and grab your attention on first listen. There is something however about his unorthodox rhyming, smooth flow and laid-back delivery that keeps catching my interest. Roll up a joint and chill out to this right here.
'Life's a short story where you build wealth
an the cost is you, 
lose touch with the old you, a lower class nobody'
Rating: 7.5/10

Previously: Apollo Brown - Heirlooms ft. Has-Lo

Joe Budden - Ayo ft. Emanny

Download: Joe Budden - Ayo ft. Emanny

I've always found Emanny's choruses REALLY hit or miss...but thankfully he did a great job on this track here, purportedly set to be released with Mood Muzik 4.5. As for Joe, sometimes I find it a struggle to locate anything worth quoting when I throw a track up on the blog...with Budden this is literally never the case.
They tell me to calm down, n***a relax
I tell 'em calm down, let me relapse
On a somewhat related note, follow this man on twitter. He could have been a writer for Seinfeld with some of the observations he comes up with, I swear.


Rating: 8.5/10

Previously: Saigon - Bring Me Down Pt. 3 ft. Joe Budden | Joe Budden - Ordinary Love Shit pt. 1 & 2

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kendrick Lamar & Ab-Soul - Rapper Shit

Download: Kendrick Lamar & Ab-Soul - Rapper Shit

Almost 6 minutes straight rap here. For the most part both Black Hippy members are showing their skills off on the mic but they both (though Ab-Soul especially) come rather close at times to crossing over the line towards corny attempts at lyricism (ala Lil' Wayne). Still, a dope track.

Rating: 7.5/10

Action Bronson - Cliff Notes (Prod. Statik Selektah)

Download: Action Bronson - Cliff Notes

I'm still trying to get over just how similar to Ghostface Killah's voice, Actions Bronson's is. Wow! The similarities don't end there either, his erratic yet charisma filled content and dominating personality are also reminiscent of the Wu legend.
'Pussy Rap, dental dam, beaver trap
The thrill is gone, i'm hear to bring the fever back'
That's how you open a track. Happy to hear a chorus full of cuts as well. Great track.
Rating: 8/10

B.o.B - NY NY

Download: B.o.B - NY NY

All the new B.o.B material released since The Adventures Of Bobby Ray dropped has been pretty, well....meh. Not so NY NY which see's B.o.B (the rapper, not the singer) go in over some emotive production courtesy of the game, Crysis 2. B.o.B himself lays down some urgently delivered 'get up and fight the system' bars that bring to mind the 'old' pre-TAOBR MC.

'You wanted a Benz, you couldn't afford it / Now you'd kill to put your foot in a Torus'


Rating: 8.5/10

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Apollo Brown - Heirlooms ft. Has-Lo

Download: Apollo Brown - Heirlooms ft. Has-Lo

This beat here's off  Detroit producer Apollo Brown's latest release, Clouds, and it's a brilliant piece of production. I can't say i'm too familiar with Has - LO, the MC who decided to jump over it, but he seems like someone to look out for in the future. He has a great flow, nice rhyme schemes and his lyricism is above average.

Rating: 8.5/10

Axis - Muzik Is My Drug

Download: Axis - Muzik Is My Drug

This is the lead single of upcoming MC Axis' new project, Imagination. It's a creative concept track where various drugs and substances are used as metaphors for the general influence an artists music has upon him. The concept's executed well and the track has a great hook and has some beautiful oriental style production to top it off.
I take a razor to some lines of Cole
It makes my nostrils cold as my high unfolds
And I have been told it's the best Roc in the Nation
So I hop to the block for investigation
My dealers waitin', plastic case in hand
We exchange a glance, I have paid in advance
And he hands me over some Kanye West
Told me to wrap it up in Common and Mos Def

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekly Hip-Hop Recap: Mar 14th - Mar 20th (Downloads/Playlists/Albums)

CunninLynguists alone insured this was a great week in Hip-Hop.

In general order of quality

CunninLynguists - My Habit(I Haven’t Changed) | Review
Co$$ - Walking Through The Flames ft. Blu | Review
J.Cole – Killers | Review
Jon Hope – Unplugged ft. Reks | Review
Paul Thompson – Audrey Hepburn | Review
Wale – Jump (Freestyle) | Review
Dela – WhatUWanna ft. Blu | Review
Paul Thompson – Curtains, Pt.4 | Review
Apathy – East Coast Rapist | Review
Jay Electronica – Prelude To A Freestyle | Review
Omen – Speak For The Public (Freestyle) | Review

For download links to individual click the 'review' link next to each track


CunninLynguists - Oneirology

This is without a doubt my favourite album of the year so far. Kno’s production is possibly superior here to anything he’s ever done and I could probably say the same thing about Deacon and Natti. As it stands right now this is probably my favourite CunninLynguists release to date (though it’s hard to say after only a week) which means it could be pushing for entry into my top 10 GOAT albums…


MF Doom and Thom Yorke Doing A Whole Record Together | More Info

Pusha T, Fear Of God Artwork



Weekly Rap Battle Recap: Mar 7th - Mar 13th | Here
Weekly Rap Battle Recap: Feb 28th - Mar 6th | Here
Monthly Recap: February | Here

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Co$$ - Through The Flames ft. Blu (Prod. Beatnick Dee)

Download: Co$$ - Through The Flames ft. Blu

This joints is off Co$$'s latest Mixtape, The Future's Past: A Collection of Rejected Excellence, and for a cut that didn't make the album this goes hard. First off, the Blu verse is fantastic. I'm still digesting his latest single for No York! but this 16 here is familiar territory for any seasoned Blu fan. Co$$ himself has two fairly nice verses and performs a strong hook and Beatnick Dee maintains the excellence with some fantastic production. If this collaboration is a throwaway I can't wait to see what these two have in store for Co$$'s album.
Blend it in, sittin slim, with them pockets sittin fat
Wishin that, maniphest metaphysics you give it and give it back,
Simple stats, add it up, count blessings, stack a buck,
Facts of life, almost had me flaggin life and givin up
Download: Co$$ - The Future's Past: A Collection of Rejected Excellence (Mixtape)

Rating: 8.5/10

Previously: Blu - Everything'sOKDela - WhatUWanna ft. Blu | EP Review: Blu - Amnesia

Blu - Everything'sOK ft. Jack Davey (Prod. Flying Lotus)

Download: Blu - Everything'sOK (Prod. Flying Lotus) 

This Blu and Flying Lotus collab off the upcoming No York! LP sounds like a Hipster's wet dream, but instead of being featured as a part of Pitchfork's 'Best New Music' this track is being almost universally derided. Most of this stems from the production. I might not be as big of a FlyLo fan as some but I am a fan. This beat though just isn't doing it for me, it's way too cluttered, busy and domineering for my liking.

The Jack Davey hook is probably the tracks strongest feature, it's a subtle yet catchy number. As for Blu himself, he seems to be out attacking the generic, empty platitudes of so-called 'positivty'. 'If you set your mind too it who knows what you can achieve!'. Blu mimicks these sentiments in the first two verses before bring some reality to the table in his third. I like the concept and for the most part I like the execution but the FlyLo beat is just too prominent for Blu to really shine through. Let's hope this isn't a sign of things to come ala No York!

Rating: 6/10

Previously: Dela - WhoUWanna ft. Blu | EP Review: Blu - Amnesia

O'Doyle Rules - Diabolic, Apathy, Paradime, Joe Scudda, Rob Kelly, Ryu, Mac Lethal

Download: O'Doyle Rules ft. VA

Here we have a posse cut full of MC's who all share an Irish heritage with the track being released the day before Saint Patty's day. As expected the production is dominated by an Irish 'horn' sample and obligatory Irish references are included in the verses. Diabolic and Apathy (unsurprisingly) have the two best performances here, the 3 relative unknowns who make up the tracks middle are alright and Ryu and Mac Lethal finish the track off well enough. Decent, but nothing special.

Oh, and does anyone else think Paradime sounds like Joell Ortiz with an Irish accent?

Rating 6.5/10

Previously: Apathy - East Coast Rapist | Apathy - Most Murderous Music

Friday, March 18, 2011

Track Review: Wale - Jump (Freestyle)

Download: Wale - Jump (Freestyle)

Wale's flow is on-fucking-point right here. He rides the hell out of the beat while detailing exactly why he's better than you. Nothing else needs to be said tbh.

Rating: 8/10

Track Review: Jay Electronica - Prelude To A Freestyle

Download: Jay Electronica - Prelude To A Freestyle

This is a poor quality recording of Jay Elec going in over Kanye's 'Devil In A New Dress'. Jay.E's one of the best MC's out right now and he doesn't disappoint right here. Act II is one my most anticipated releases across all genres and I can honestly say that I'd be happy for Detox to be shelved permanently if it meant that Act II saw the light of day sometime soon.
The credits rolled:
Below average seemed lavish,
Garbage ass rappers
With a gaudy no class chain and a fitted turned backwards
You'd be hard pressed to find a more original style.


Rating: 7.5/10

Omen - Speak For The Public (Freestyle)

Download: Omen - Speak For the Public

Best known for his collaborations with J.Cole, Omen continues to drop tracks off his upcoming release, Afraid Of Heights. The track itself is fairly decent, if a little monotonous. 3 minutes of straight rapping with little to no change up in delivery, flow and rhyme schemes does tend to do that.

Rating: 6.5/10

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Paul Thompson - Audrey Hepburn & Curtains, Pt. 4

Download: Paul Thompson - Audrey Hepburn | Paul Thompson - Curtains, Pt.4

Some great new music from upcoming artist Paul Thompson. Expect some fantastic introspective lyricism and personal insight in these two tracks. Audrey Hepburn is one of my favourite tracks by Paul to date, where he speaks on the girl he wants but can't have. Curtains, Pt.4 is the lead single to his upcoming release, Escapism, and see's Paul rapping over some brilliant production courtesy of Doomtree's Paper Tiger remixing one of my favourite Gayngs tracks.
I'm not sure what type of reality i'm after
If the only honest person I know is an actor
Be on the Lookout for Escapsim, dropping June 2011

J.Cole - Killers (Prod. J.Cole)

Download: J.Cole - Killers

I've mentioned this before but it needs to be said again, J.Cole is an extremely talented producer. I'd love to see some other artists utilise his production for themselves. Anyway, back to 'Killers' where J.Cole gives the listener a less glorified more reality based perspective of what it might mean to be a killer. How such actions might effect your loved ones and how it might feel to see someone free one day and then locked behind bars for the next 20-odd years.
'Chalk lines by the 'Do Not Walk' signs'
The contrast between the levity  and the 'removed', observer-like feeling of the samples (audio from stand-up comedians using murder as a talking point) and the Point of View, 'in their shoes' nature of the verses works really well. My only complaint would be the persistence of the odd corny line J.Cole seems to throw into most tracks. 'fold like laundromats' type bars aren't necessary.


Rating: 8/10

Previously: J.Cole - Nothing Like It

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Apathy - East Coast Rapist

Download: Apathy - East Coast Rapist

Of all the rappers that complain about how wack other rappers are few do it as well as Apathy. Just check out his observation on 'grinding' in the songs intro and straight away you know you've found a breath of fresh air from all the manufactured image obsessed artists polluting the airwaves. As for the track itself, Apathy goes HAM for most of the first verse before easing off and spending the rest of the track on cruise control. Honkey Kong can't come soon enough.

Rating: 7.5/10

Previously: Apathy - Most Murderous Music

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jon Hope - Unplugged ft. Reks

Download: Jon Hope - Unplugged ft. Reks

This is off Jon Hope's new EP, Words From A Fairview, out now. The EP itself shows Jon has potential but this track here is the only joint where I feel he really shows what he's capable of. For those who haven't heard of Jon Hope before i'd compare him to J.Cole stylistically (admittedly, on the EP's other tracks the similarities are more apparent) but less polished and 'commercial'. In brief though he has a great flow, decent rhyme schemes and is a reasonable lyricist with the ability to cover a wide variety of topics.
'Is it all by design? Consider me a skeptic
journalism tainted, poison is accepted
carefully protected, to hell with our welfare
richest of the world with the poorest of the health care'
Rating: 8/10

Download The Full EP Here

Dela - What U Wanna ft. Blu

Download: Dela - What U Wanna ft. Blu

Off Dela's upcoming release, Translation Lost. These two have worked together before, most notable on the Mars(remix), a personal favourite of mine. With this track here however Dela's production is a little disappointing. There's a dope rift amongst that piano sample but instead of isolating and looping it some accessory notes were tacked on and the beat falls flat because of it. That atrocious vocal sample needs to go as well. Luckily Blu is fantastic and elevates what would be a fairly average track in the hands of another MC to something approaching great (depending on how bearable you find the production).

Rating: 7/10

Previously: EP Review: Blu - Amnesia | Blu, Freddie Gibbs & Homeboy Sandman - In

Weekly Rap Battle Recap: Mar 8th - 14th

I hate to say it but this was another week filled with disappointments. To varying extents I was anticipating all three of this weeks major battles and while they were still entertaining to watch not a single one of them lived up to expectations. Hopefully you'll find them more enjoyable than I did. Maybe next week Grind Time will finally release one of the bigger battles from BOLA 4.


Pat Stay v Arsonal

Pat Stay's comments on the battles many incidents can be found here and a live spectator at the event gives his thoughts here. Pretty much, Arsonal agreed to having the battle judged, then changed his mind and said only if unlimited time rounds were allowed. Pat said no to unlimited time rounds, hence the fact the battle was promo. Check the above links for a more detailed break down of the situation.

As for the battle itself, I found it to be pretty disappointing (though judging by the reactions across the net I'm in the minority). Arsonal has a great delivery and flow but anyone that's seen more than one or two of his battles starts to realize that these just cover up the fact that he rarely saids anything personal or clever. Half his bars are corny 'I fucked your momma jokes'. Pat Stay himself had a decent showing but it didn't compare to his last battle against Hollohan.

If performance is what you're looking for then you'll feel Arsonal won, if it's lyricism then Pat Stay. Personally I feel Pat Stay took it but the battle was a bit of a let down regardless.

Yung Ill v Rich Dolarz

Rich Dollar was a little better than expected...which isn't saying much. Looking at the performance aspect Yung Ill killed it. Unfortunately he was really weak lyrically. Pretty average battle all in all.

Cruger v Madness

I won't spoil it but this was a robbery. Which isn't to say that the person who should have won really did that well, it was just that the other person was that ordinary.


Album Review: Lupe Fiasco - Lasers

This is an album where knowledge of it's inception and development is required to understand why Lasers 'is how it is'. I could fill up a whole post on the context behind this albums release, but in brief: Atlantic (Lupe’s record label) delayed the albums release indefinitely because they weren’t satisfied that the albums direction was commercially appealing to a suitable extent. After three years and still no release date in site Lupe’s fans organised an online petition and staged a protest outside Atlantic’s head office. Subsequently a compromise was reached between Lupe and the label and the album was given a release date.

Unfortunately the aforementioned compromise resulted in Lupe having less creative control over this album than he normally would, and it shows. Long time collaborative producer Soundtrakk is out the picture and in his place we have much more pop influenced production and chorus work. That’s not to say that the production and hooks are necessarily bad – their decent for the most part – but they don’t fit in with the album’s vibe. You have these creative, politically rebellious, anti-status-quo lyrics juxtaposed against a backdrop of fairly generic beats and hooks you’d expect to find on a B.o.B album.

Lyrically the album ranges from possibly the most personal and confronting introspective tracks of his career to the most commercially uninspired joints to ever be found on a Lupe album. The latter of which go against everything that Lupe has stated Lasers stands for. You have I Don’t Wanna Care, which practically promotes ignorance, Out of My Head, which is devoid of any substance and Coming Up, where Lupe takes an important issue and glosses over it’s surface rather than adding any depth to the discussion (to be fair the hook and production didn’t really allow for it).

Jumping over to the more positive end of the spectrum, the standout tracks on this release can compete with the best of his previous two albums. Beautiful Lasers see’s Lupe tackling his own depression and speaking on his contemplation of suicide, a side of his we’ve never really seen before.
All you see is all my feats,
All I see is all my flaws,
All I hear is all my demons,
Even through your applause,
All you see is all my flights,
Well all I see is all my falls,
All you see is all my rights,
All I see is all my wrongs,
The records political nature is present throughout the album but no more so than on the brilliant single, Words I Never Said, where ‘The War On Terror’, the education system and the media (amongst many others) are all targets. There’s no lack of Lupe’s trademark conceptual or metaphor riddled tracks either:
We interrupt this broadcast
To bring you a special message bout the forecast
The futures cloudy and its raining on the poor class
Road to peace is closed heavy traffic on the war paths
All the insight, lyricism and creativity that Lupe is known for is present on the album. It’s just mixed amongst some of his weaker tracks to date.

Track Scores:

01. Letting Go (Feat. Sarah Green) 10
02. Words I Never Said (Feat. Skylar Grey) 10
03. Till I Get There
04. I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now (Feat. MDMA) 6.5
05. Out Of My Head (Feat. Trey Songz) 5.5
06. The Show Goes On 8.5
07. Beautiful Lasers, (Two Ways) (Feat. MDMA) 10
08. Coming up (Feat. MDMA) 6
09. State Run Radio (Feat. Matt Mahaffey) 8
10. Break The Chain (Feat. Eric Turner & Sway) 8
11. All Black Everything 7.5
12. Never Forget You (Feat. John Legend) 10


- Not a fan of how in All Black Everything Lupe inserts a ‘white 50 cent’ and has Ahmadinejad winning a peace prize. I understand what he was trying to do but it just comes off as corny.

- The double choruses that signal the end of Break The Chain and State Run Radio were unnecessary and should have been cut.

- I think the album finale, Never Forget You, is being heavily underrated. It has great production, – one of the few tracks on Lasers that sounds like it could have been on The Cool or Food and Liquor – an amazing chorus from John Legend and Lupe exercising his inner Kanye with simple yet deceptively poetic and touching lyrics.
Moments of the past, comin’ back to find us
Not to relive them, just to remind us
 If Kanye had of performed this exact same track I think people would be raving about it but because everyone expects Lupe to be as cryptic and complex as possible the tracks being underappreciated.

Highlights: Beautiful Lasers, Words I Never Said, Letting Go, Never Forget You

Lowlights: I Don’t Care Right Now, Coming Up, Out of My Head

How Does It Compare To Previous Releases?: The highlights are up their with the best of his first two LP’s but the weaker tracks are much worse than anything you’re likely to find on either album. The production is completely different as well, much more pop influenced.

Rating: 80

Previously: Lupe Fiasco - Stereo Sun | Lupe Fiasco - Words I Never Said | How Hype? Lupe Fiasco - Lasers

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekly Hip-Hop Recap: Mar 7th - 13th

Well there wasn’t much in the way of projects being released this week but there was still plenty of individual tracks and even a bit of a ‘beef’ to spice things up.


Hopsin v Novi Novak Beef:
For a rundown of how it all got started head over here
Hopsin Diss 1 | Review
Novi Novak – Marcus Who | Review
Hopsin – Don’t Tell Smokey Doe | Review
Novi Novak – Marcus Who? (Part 2) | Review

Single Tracks:
Khaled M. & Lowkey – Can’t Take Our Freedom | Review
Lupe Fiasco - Stereo Sun | Review
Grieves – Lightspeed | Review
Asher Roth – More Cowbell | Review
Atmosphere – She’s Enough | Review

Travis Barker Pack:
This album was such a mixed bag I decided to single out the tracks I felt were worth listening to.

Lupe Fiasco – If You Want To
Slaughterhouse – Devil’s Got A Hold of Me
Clipse – City of Dreams
The Cool Kids – Jump Down

Reviews and download links to the individual Travis Barker tracks can be found here

All the review links contain download links for individual tracks


New Mos Def - World Premiere (Prod. Madlib)



Unrelated Bonus:


Lupe Fiasco - Stereo Sun ft. Eric Turner (Prod. Ishi)

Download: Lupe Fiasco - Stereo Sun

Thanks to StudioLeaks the long awaited release of Lupe's 'Stereo Sun' is here. Though both the production and the chorus are very much of the Lasers mold - heavily pop-influenced - Eric Turner (chorus) and Ishi (production) still did amazing jobs. Lu' himself 'gets his metaphor on' and holds up his end of the track. While it may not have been one of the albums standout tracks 'Stereo Sun' would have made a great addition to Lasers.


Rating: 8.5/10

Travis Barker - Give the Drummer Some [Quality Control Review] | Lupe Fiasco - Joaquin Phoenix ft. Travis Barker | How Hype? Lupe Fiasco - Lasers

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grieves - Lightspeed (Prod. Budo)

Download: Grieves - Lightspeed

This is the first single off Grieves upcoming Rhymesayers release Together/Apart. The track shows you're never too young to 'wonder where the time went' as Grieves reminisces on his journey through life and how he arrived at where he is today. Don't expect rhyme schemes or any of the more common variations of 'lyricism' but instead enjoy the relatable and sincere music that effortlessly builds image on top of image for the listener to experience. Also, look for some fantastic production by Budo, a stunning chorus and a voice that couldn't be further from what appearances suggest.

Rating: 8/10

Novi Novak - Marcus Who? (Part 2) [Hopsin Beef Cont.]

Download: Novi Novak - Marcus Who? (Part 2)

And the diss tracks continue...After Hopsin released 'Don't Tell Smokey Doe (Part II)' a couple of days ago Novi's hit back with this track here. Quite simply, this is bodybag material. From the humorous intro to the hilarious 'Stan' parody this track has made it real hard for Hopsin to come back from. A lot of what he said was on point; the fact that most of Hopsin's disses weren't even personal and that touring is far from any sort of excuse for a sub-par effort. It was nice to see Novi's dodgy flow even improved a little from this track to his last (it could still use some work though). I can only hope he channels this kind of creativity into his music in the future.
I just don't want you to go and do some crazy shit,
I saw this shit on Youtube a couple days ago that made me sick
Some guy was whack, start dissin like a bitch
Then this white guy came back and completely killed his shit
And on the song it said a name, but not the rapper it was to,
Come to think about it...the name was you...

Previously: Hopsin - Don't Tell Smokey Doe (Part II) | A Look At The Hopsin v Novi Novak Beef (Round 1)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Atmosphere - She's Enough

Download: Atmosphere - She's Enough

This is the second single off Atmosphere's upcoming LP The Family Sign and it (unsurprisingly) see's Slug relating more of his personal life. In a change of tone from the previous single 'Just For Show' this track see's Slug expressing his devotion for his woman and singing her praises. Of course a Slug track is not always what it seems and theories abound as to what the track may potentially be a metaphor for. At first glance though the track is certainly nothing special lyrically. A strong chorus and some fantastic production from Ant however help alleviate this somewhat.

Rating: 7.0/10

Previously: Atmosphere - Just For Show

Hopsin - Don't Tell Smokey Doe (Part II) [Novi Novak Beef Cont.]

Download: Hopsin - Tell Smokey Doe (Part II)

After the first round of diss tracks Hopsin has hit back with this record here. The consensus (so far as it's possible to determine one on the internet) seemed to be in favour of Novi but this track here is the best of the three diss records released so far. Hopsin finally decides to get personal and while he doesn't have as much ammo as Novi does his superior skill when it comes to, you know, rapping, helps ensure that Hop's first lacklustre effort is overlooked. My only (regular) complaint is his persistent use of corny lines which doesn't show any signs of stopping. 'Flows nasty like anchovies' and 'Only time your nuts is when licking your daddy's ball sack' are oh so cringe-worthy.

Previously: Hopsin & Novi Novak Beef, Round 1

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Travis Barker - Give the Drummer Some ['Quality Control' Review]

 I quite often see great tracks overlooked and slept on because they're apart of mediocre albums that people don't bother to listen to. On the other hand I see people slugging their way through mediocre albums to find a couple of gems. With these 'Quality Control' reviews i'm going to be separating the sub-par from the great so you don't have to waste your time listening to garbage.

First off, Travis Barkers drumming is, as expected, fantastic. If that was the albums main attraction for you then i'd recommend listening to the whole LP.

Recommended Listens:

If You Want To ft. Pharrel & Lupe Fiasco:  8/10
As expected, Pharrel is this tracks biggest let down. His weak excuse for a chorus was completely unnecessary. Luckily Lupe puts together a couple of great verses (for the most part; WTF was he thinking half-way through his 2nd verse?) and Pharrel (together with Chad Hugo) redeems himself somewhat with the production. If you enjoyed Lupe & Travis' previous collaboration 'Joaquin Phoenix' then you'll dig this.

Devil's Got A Hold Of Me ft. Slaughterhouse:  8/10
More great production, this time with a real eerie vibe that sets the track's tone perfectly. Joell, Royce & Crooked (yes, even Crooked) all put out decent verses. Joe, however, steals the show with his stand-out, in your face aggression. If self analysis is called for in the track Budden is always going to outshine his compatriots. This is might be the best Slaughterhouse track to come out since 'Warriors'.
I belong in prison, crazy by my own admission
On a mission to grab a podium
Let me tell the public that I’m self-destructive
I aint looking for no help, f-ck it
Look for a way to get high
I’m still alive, 6 million ways to die and still a few more left to try

City Of Dreams ft. Clipse & Kobe:  7.5/10
Not a lot to say about this one. Productions impressive, Kobe contributes a nice hook and both brothers are on point.

Jump Down ft. The Cool Kids:  7/10
Your typical Cool Kids track. One of their better recent efforts.
If your money did talk, it'd probably be a mumbler
Unfortunately there isn't a freely available mp3 of these tracks at the moment.

The Rest:
Nothing else on this album really stands out. The Kid Cudi track isn't bad; if you're a cudder fan i'd recommend giving it a listen but otherwise I wouldn't bother. RZA wrecked Carry It with his awful off-beat flow and I wouldn't recommend Let's Go unless generic boring verses somehow become bearable just because they're rapped twice as fast as normal.

For the most part, what you expect from this album is what you get. There's no surprises here, every MC (except maybe RZA & Raekwon) is going in on the type of production you'd normally hear them over and for the most part if a track's a let down it's due to the MC's, not Travis' drumming or production.

Asher Roth - More Cowbell (Prod. Blended Babies)

Download: Asher Roth - Cowbell

Asher goes in for almost 3 minutes straight here over some great production by the Blended Babies, sampling the infamous Will Ferrel and Christopher Walken 'Cowbell' skit from SNL. Ever since Asher left behind the mediocre album that was 'Asleep in the Bread Isle' his style's gone from a gimmicky persona to a more well-rounded artist. There's no comparison between what he was putting out in '09 and the flow and rhyme schemes evident on this track here. As he saids in the last bar of the track..
'My styles like a mix of Kool Keith and Roofies'
..and i doubt I could find a more apt description for the random, off the wall yet intriguing lyrics he brings to this particular track


Rating: 8/10

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Khaled. M - Can't Take Our Freedom ft. Lowkey [NSFW]

Download: Khaled M. - Can't Take Our Freedom ft. Lowkey

In light of the current situation in the Middle East Khaled M and Lowkey put out this inspiring track couple with a rather confronting and disturbing video. Definately NSFW.

It doesn't feel right to 'review' this track like i normally would so i'll just post up some choice quotes and let the music (and video) speak for itself.
We are not afraid anymore, you can not play god with our lives,
You're attempting to cage every thought, but the resistance is locked in our minds
I taste the blood, taste the sweat
Taste the tears aint taste regret
This aint about my father getting retribution
or my uncles getting tortured by electrocution
other uncle's getting hung at public execution
just simply coming up with the best solution
An I don't know why it seems that this guys regime
keeps pushing through the silent screams
Won't take half an hour to figure that this coward
only gets his power through violent means

Previously: Track Review: Lowkey - Relatives ft. Logic

Weekly Rap Battle Recap: Mar 1st - Mar 7th

Well this week was certainly quiet. A couple of smaller battles were released but none i would really recommend viewing. There was quite a bit of news however.

Grind Time's 'Most Hated' Tournament:

Poison Pen and Immortal Technique announced in a video blog the upcoming GTEC tournament, where the final will be held at Immortal Techniques release party for his long awaited 'Middle Passage' album. The winner will be given the opportunity to tour all around the country with Immortal Technique on his 'Middle Passage' tour.

Pat Stay v Arsonal:
There was drama at KOTD's latest event with the main battle between Arsonal and Pat Stay. Promo versus judging, round times and promo OT's were all involved in the discussion. For a better idea behind what went down check out:
A Fan's Recap of the Drama | Here
Pat Stay's Response to the Battle | Here

Hollahan In Prison:
It looks like Hollohan has been on the run for the last couple of years and the law finally caught up with him. According to KOTD President Organik, Hollohan is going to be doing some 'hard time'.
Organik's Statement | Here

Release Schedules:
KOTD's Release Schedule | Here
Don't Flop's Release Schedule | Here

A Look at the Hopsin & Novi Novak Beef, Round 1

Cue angry stare in 3, 2, 1...

Download: Hopsin's Diss | Novi Novak's Diss

 On Sunday night Hopsin took to Facebook to post this comment:
OK. Someone tell this IDIOT Novi Novak That I will personally MURDER ANYTHING he stands for in rap if he speaks my name again...Test me! you do not want any problems with hopsin. I promise.
I'm still unsure as to what triggered that comment from Hopsin. Novi Novak then replied with the following comments:
lol dude sounds identical to Eminem in 2000. I mean COMPLETELY Identical. COMPLETELY... Flow delivery style etc. lol I dont even need to talk to him he's giving me FREE publicity on his facebook page lmfao. I'm already further than him and ...ive been around 1/3 of the time. My lyrics speak for themself.. Hes talking about sneaking in drakes crib and killing and a bunch of other shit he would never do in his life then calling other rappers fake and wack. This guy has lost his chex mix.... Hypocritical in each and everyone of his own songs... lol G/l fuckin with me man

Faggots riding around on a skateboard with zombie eyes in... this is hip hop you moron

lol what a waste of time.... Ill just shit on him with my fan base and Album hit songs. Im real as they get. I dont care about him lmfao

lol bro has his eye pierced... Ill beat his head in with his skateboard... tellm i said that.. haha im out though I got ish to do LMFAO sag my pants... he dissin wayne and everybody tryin to get a name for himself. dudes covered in wack juice. Tellm make a diss song then. Im outtttt.
Now, normally this type of drama doesn't really interest me but then Hopsin dropped a diss track which was nice enough for me to post, so i figured that some background on the situation was warrented. Then, an hour or so ago Novi Novak decided to respond.

Hopsin's Diss

Novi Novaks Diss

I think the song titles and the fact that Hopsin mentions Novi's name a couple of times and Novi declines to mention Hopsins once shows who has more to gain from this beef. Still, popularity has never been an indicator of musical talent so let's see what the diss records were like.

Hopsin's Diss:
Clocking in at just under 1:30 it seems pretty obvious that Hopsin put this out ASAP to capitalise off the beef as quickly as possible. That said, apart from the tracks length there's no indication that the diss was rushed in anyway; it's a trademark Hopsin track, great delivery, great flow, decent lyrics. As per usual you get a couple of corny shock-value lines from Hop (though his fans eat them up so it's no wonder they're always included), a couple of lines that sound forced and a couple of harder-hitting lines. I especially liked
'Lil B's level is one, but yours, it goes below that'
Novi Novak's Diss:
Content wise, as in personal disses at Hopsin, this track takes the cake no question. He goes at Hopsin's acting career, his attention seeking namedropping, how his style is incredibly similar to Eminems and how Hopsin's first diss really didn't 'diss' Novak much at all. Generally I agree with everything he saids. The problem, though, is that Hopsin is clearly the better rapper. Novak's flow is constantly thrown off when every couple of bars he throws too many syllables into the line. Lyrically he comes across as pretty standard. He has a couple of nice lines - the' fur ball' and the 'blood spots' lines in particular - but there's a lot filler as well.

As for who 'takes the first round', it really comes down to what your looking for in a diss record. Is it more important to show who's the better MC or is it all about who can point out the most flaws in the other person's persona?

I'm sure in the end this whole beef will be just another opportunity to witness the stupidity of Hip-Hop fans who like to choose sides, become complete dickriders for one artist and proclaim everything the other side puts out as wack, no matter what.

Winner: Charlie Sheen

Weekly Hip-Hop Recap Feb 28th - Mar 6th

For most people this week probably failed to live up to the high expectations they had, but for all that there was still a lot of good Hip-Hop released.

Tracks are in order of quality

Shad - Time ft. Promise | Review
Side Effekt - The Essence (Instrumental) | Review
Reks - This Is Me
Intution - BSTU (remix) | Review
Treble and Blues - The First Time (Instrumental) | Review
CunninLinguists - Hard As They Come | Review
Big K.R.I.T - Dreamin'| Review

If you're looking to download an individual track just click the review link next to each song, there’s a link on that page


Lupe Fiasco - LASERS

 While pretty much everyone was disappointed by this release it’s hard to deny that it’s still at the very least a good album and its standout tracks hold up well against the high points of Food & Liquor and The Cool. It’s the low points the album experiences that ensure it’ll never be seen on the same level as his previous two releases.

Raekwon - Shaolin v Wu-Tang

 I tend to judge Raekwon releases by the production and the guest verses as raekwon himself doesn’t hold that much interest for me. I thought the production was a mixed bag and ditto for the guest verses.

Reks - R.E.K.S

 Really enjoying this. A little inconsistent (like every Reks release) but I’d say this is his strongest album yet.

Treble and Blues - The Blue Note

 Not much to say about this except that if you enjoy jazz influenced Hip-Hop you’ll love it.


Pharoahe Monch 'W.A.R' Final Artwork & Tracklist

Details On Pusha-T's 'Fear Of God' Mixtape, Dropping March  21st

Scientists Identify The Correlation Between Jay-Z's Face and Album Sales


Monthly Hip-Hop Recap: February