BadBadNotGood – III Review

The Nu-Jazz duo, BadBadNotGood gathered a cult fanbase around the release of their debut electronic, live instrumental remakes of popular Hip-Hop songs from Kanye West and Tyler, the Creator.

Since then, they’ve released two studio albums, collaborated with Mick Jenkins, Kaytranada, Earl Sweatshirt, Danny Brown and a collaboration album with the legendary Ghostface Killah.

Released May 2014, their first debut studio album contained no remixes or material that had already been heard before; but all new music created by the funky Nu-Jazz band.

bbng

Beginning with “Triangle” a heavy piano and drum record, it paints vivid pictures in my head of just a wicked jam session of all members composing this light but uptight track. It also has towards the end dark synths floating in the background that add to the omnisciency of the track. The first track that really stands out on this album though is the only one with a feature, “Confessions”. Starting with spacey keys, light drums and cool piano loop it finally transcends into this beautiful melody performed by Leland Whitty on the saxophone. Out of all their original music, this track is up there in their top three. It changes pace every now and again and the saxophone only gets sexier as the seconds go by.  The following track “Kaleidoscope” is also another great track on the album. Soft drums, a 90s Red Hot Chili bassline and magnificent keys dominate it and at 7 minutes long, it’s still an easy listen and a track that can’t be skipped.

Another track that stands out and changes drastically as it goes in is the dynamic “Eyes Closed”. This track in particular also shows off their ability to mix their heavy weed-smoking Jazz with Rock. Other tracks that stand out are “Hedron” and “CS60”.

bbngsnooker

In all, for a debut, fully instrumental album, it’s not disappointing to finally hear the band start producing their own records as well as incorporating all their influences into the pitch of the piano keys or the break of the drums and bass. While it does have its letdowns, it’s still a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Advertisements

Ab-Soul – Do What Thou Wilt Review

Following up his 2015 studio album ‘These Days’, Ab-Soul returned to our ears in December of last year with ‘Do What Thou Wilt’. The album title and cover both set immediately an edgy, dark and honest project from the Black Lip Pastor.

From the very beginning with the Rock-Inspired “Raw (Backwards)” to the final track, “YMF”, there’s nowhere on the album that Soulo doesn’t keep me interested. His choice of beats are experimental, yet fit his astounding lyrics and themes that he explores on every album. However, on his latest release, Soulo sounds more dominant and ready to go head-to-head with anyone who aims at him.

Not that Ab shines brighter than anyone else on this album, but, the first feature that stood out was the aggressive final verse provided by New Jersey MC, Da$h on “Huey Knew THEN”. His quick-sporadic flow glides blissfully over the glitchty, edgy guitar loop courtesy of Willie B.

“Threatening Nature” is one of the most artistic products from Soulo. The eerie loop of the choir and church bells give Ab enough space to provide absolute vocal heat. He discusses feminism, Trump and Clinton and how his style of rap is “over niggas heads like ceilings and bright ideas”. Another great track on the album and amongst Ab’s building discography is the Kokane ad-libbed “INvocation”. Production by Rahki on this is catastrophically amazing with manic drums and funeral service horns that add a wave of Nu-Jazz to the track.

SOULOENGINO.jpg

While the majority of the album is focused on politics, religion, the idea of women being of a more dominant figure in general (TRU), there are also the club-orientated and as easy-going as an Ab-Soul(o-Hoe) song can get. This includes the Mike WiLL-cut “Womanogamy”, “Wifey vs. WiFi” and the raunchy first half of “God’s a Girl?” which includes the comic as fuck bar, “I ain’t gonna lie you got me crying with a hard dick”.

“D.R.U.G.S.”, one of the final tracks on the album is one of the best Soul tracks ever. It sees him reflecting on fame, how friends and others want him to hand out money, his addiction to (surprise) drugs and that, at the end of the day, he’d still be as good or better a rapper when he’s sober.

In all, ‘Do What Thou Wilt’ is one of Hip-Hop and Top Dawg Entertainment’s most overlooked projects’. It’s filled with jaw-dropping rhyme schemes, out-of-this-world production and great fluidity as a solo studio album.

Gucci Mane – Coachella Single Review

Last year, Gucci Mane returned healthy, motivated and at a peak musically and as an artist. He went on to drop three albums, an EP and collaborative tapes with Future and Lil Uzi Vert. Since his latest album, ‘The Return of the East Atlanta Santa’, he’s been quiet. However, last night, Gucci released his latest single inspired by his performance from the track title, “Coachella”.

Murda Beatz, TM88 and !llMind linked up for production and provide Gucci with elegant flutes, monstrous 808 bass and heavy Trap hi-hats. Gucci raps, as always, like he’s got nothing to lose. His flow is slow but angry and his lyrics are banal and of regular Gucci standard. However, the track bangs. It’s another great addition to the ever-building discography of Guwop and only builds more hype around the ATLien Trap God.

Cypress Hill – IV

Cypress Hill arose in 1990s as one of the first Latin-American rappers to reach stardom. With stoner-enthusiast B-Real and Sen Dog as the front men and DJ Muggs providing the beats; the group released their fourth album 1998, ‘IV’.

Firstly; the album cover sets the mood of the album. The three skeletons impersonating the Three Monkeys indicates the general tone of the album. From the very first track “Looking Through The Eye of a Pig”, B-Real spits in his regular high-pitched, slow monotone flow about the how it would be too look through the eye of a policeman…The beat is slow and fits Real’s flow and pitch of voice perfectly. The second track, “Checkmate” is a fast-paced bass, piano and drum instrumental. We see Real doing a faster flow than normal, yet, still keeping himself entertaining to his fans. Another track that stands out on the tracklisting is the MC Eiht collaboration “Prelude To A Come Up”. Eiht leads the song with a slow but menacing verse and follows up with an equally aggressive verse of drug-dealing and asserting their weight on the Hip-Hop game at the time.

CH

As well as including the always needed regular-sounding Hip-Hop tracks, Cypress Hill are also great at creating go-to smoke tunes. The first track that sticks out for its haziness is “Audio X”. Over a demonic guitar loop, B-Real spits some of his hardest bars and has one of the most exciting flows on this track. Sen Dog also provides a quick-paced flow over the jumpy but still ultimately chill record. “Tequila Sunrise” is another guitar-driven record and sees Barron Ricks opening the track, yet when B-Real comes in, he gets the attention again. However, it is DJ Muggs production and sampling on this record that really makes it.

One of the most interesting and captivating areas of Cypress Hill is B-Real and DJ Muggs ability to combine and create Hip-Hop beats laced heavily with Rock influence. Tracks such as “Riot Starter” is one of the first on the album to incorporate the sound. Real raps over a trippy-guitar loop and Jazzy drums with tongue-twisting verses and can’t stop you from bopping your head up and down. Another immediate ear-grabbing Rock-inspired record is the first of five features from Barron Ricks on “Steel Magnolia” which has a lo-fi siren and dreamy synth as a pallet to allow the two MC’s to go back and forth on the eerie instrumental.

Other tracks that stand out are “Dead Men Tell No Tales”, “16 Men Till There’s No Men Left”, the ridiculous alter-ego promotional single “Dr. Greenthumb” and another chilled-out tune “High Times”.

In all, it’s not one of my favourite albums, or anywhere near my top ten. Yet, there’s no doubt that Cypress Hill’s style has influenced many Hip-Hop artists such as Yelawolf, D12, Snoop Dogg and ScHoolBoy Q.

Snoop Dogg – Doggystyle Review

Before he was Uncle Snoop, Snoop Lion, and one of the most active and hysterical rappers on social media, Snoop (Doggy) Dogg was a 22 year old rapper under Dr. Dre’s wing. He went on to release his first album in 1993, ‘Doggystyle’. It is one of the most colourful, exciting, fun and best Hip-Hop album to be released. In ode of 4/20, it’s time to rewind, sit back, roll one up and review Snoop’s first album.

Beginning with the oddly comedic and cinematic intro “Bathtub” that opens the album with Snoop being interrupted by some of the homies and living “The American Dream”. Then “G-Funk” follows. Lady of Rage, Dre and Snoop trade bars of their unknown influence that would inspire years of rappers over thumping synths and crisp hi-hats. Snoop’s voice hasn’t changed at all since this album; he still has that high-pitched rugged sound that he uses on his more ‘gangster-esque’ tracks.

DRSNOOP

Following is the undeniable tune that anytime of day is good to have a joint too or some “Gin and Juice”. Dre supplies glossy synths, summer-vibe hi-hats and Snoop goes in with a slow flow filled with house-party vibe lyrics.

A timeless album like Snoop’s debut is just pure fire beginning to end. While I believe the majority of the tracks on this album are all of 110% quality, there are obviously my own favourites and tracks that stand out more than others. “Murder Was The Case” is in all of Snoop’s discography, one of his darker and more cinematic tracks. Over horror-themed synths, slow and melancholy drums and a creepy vocal sample, Snoop provides a dark and maleficent side of living in gang-ran communities and how in America, there isn’t a lot of help for those more vulnerable. Another track that stands out is the uplifting and funky piano-driven “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?”. As well as this, other classic smoke-too tracks on here are “Ain’t No Fun” containing some of the smoothest Nate Dogg vocals ever and “Gz and Hustlas”.

In all, Snoop’s debut album is progressive and alike to his predecessors, NWA, Ice Cube, Big Daddy Kane as well as more modern acts such as Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar and J.I.D, he challanges the stigmatisation of African-American’s, poverty in the Black community and how gang lifestyle is prevalent throughout less-focused and supported areas.

Paul White & Danny Brown – Accelerator EP Review

After releasing his latest fan and critically acclaimed LP, ‘Atrocity Exhibition’, Danny Brown and primary producer on Brown’s latest album came together earlier this year to release an EP containing two new tracks.

“Accelerator” – Much alike to the production on ‘Atrocity Exhibition’, White provides a dark, bouncy and always experimental instrumental that sees Danny tackle it with ease. His flow is sporadic and manic. Alike to an accelerator, Danny just makes me want to keep on going and never slow down.

“Lion’s Den” – White’s production on this reminds me of the ‘XXX’ Danny days. Over a head-bopping instrumental filled with lo-fi hi-hats, flutes and a creepy vocal sample. Danny provides gritty lyrics revolving around Detroit, drug-use and how he will never go back to the way he was living since he’s gained the success following his career.

In all, both tracks sound like they were made for two different Danny projects, however, his skill as a rapper and entertainer always keep me intrigued. His style is melancholy and extremely difficult to decide which sub-genre of Hip-Hop Danny falls under.

Curren$y & Harry Fraud – Cigarette Boats EP Review

As 4/20 gets inevitably closer, it’s time to look at another classic stoner mixtape to sit back, roll up and listen to.

Back in July 2012, New Orleans MC, Curren$y (Spitta Andretti) and New York’s waviest beat craftsman, Harry Fraud, linked up for one of the best collaboration EP’s and provided more great music for Curren$y fans to look back and discover discography. So, due to the short length of the EP, I’ll be doing a track-by-track review. (queue Harry Fraud)

CLIVE

“Leaving the Dock” – Over Boom-Bap hi-hats, dreamy synths and a trippy as fuck trumpet sample laced into the beat allow Spitta to rap luxurious bars of the lavish lifestyle he lives and that he’s not into impressing any of his rap competitors but more so, showing off his undoubted talent as one of the chillest MC’s to ever rap.

“WOH” (feat. Styles P) – Starting the instrumental with glossy guitar strings, hard-hitting snares and a wicked chopped up vocal sample with typical but never not-entertaining Harry Fraud production. Curren$y provides one of his quicker flow, yet never not losing my ears’ interest. However, P’s verse is the real standout on this track as he tackles the pace of Fraud’s instrumental.

“Biscayne Bay” – One of the slower tracks on the tape; this track could easily be in a ‘Godfather’ remake (I DON’T WANT ONE THOUGH). The hi-hats are sharp and the loop of the vocal give Curren$y space to slowly speak about keeping yourself motivated to gain your dreams. However HiGH they may be.

“Mirrors” (feat. Smoke DZA) – Another slow record on the tape. Over smokey Jazz samples of colourful keys, trumpets and psychedelic whistle, Spitta and DZA provide both great verses about their dedication of “getting richer” and how “payback is more of a bitch when your bitch is involved”.

HFSDSA

“Sixty-Seven Turbo Jet” – This track, the final track of the EP, is one of the best solo records by Spitta and on the tape. Over lazy horns, snare snaps, a misty vocal sample and the laziest but one of the most entertaining flows by Curren$y. While Spitta shines on this track, it is Fraud that makes this track.

In all; it’s a perfect stoner tape. The beats are as chilled as me after a couple joints and Curren$y’s southern slang over Fraud’s instrumentals are a terrific combo. While Curren$y may not always provide great bars, his hazy flows make up for it.

Playboi Carti – Self-Titled Review

The days of Playboi Carti being a Soundcloud rapper are finally over as he released his anticipated debut project last Friday (14/4). A$AP Mob leader, A$AP Rocky and Don Cannon signee, Lil Uzi Vert appear for guest features, while Carti holds down the majority of the tape solo.

PBCAR

While I’ve never been a big fan or gone out of my way before Friday to listen to Carti, his debut project was definitely one of the Hip-Hop projects to keep an ear out for this year. Although he had the nerve and confidence to drop the tape the same day as Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DAMN.’, his fanbase embraced the tape and I even saw one Instagram caption this weekend that said “Lowkey thought Cartis album was better than Kendricks” – I thoroughly disapprove with this but, each to their own.

Anyway, to the review! While Carti’s lyrical content, isn’t anything spectacular or of evolutionary standards, his ear for beats is his selling point. While the majority of his tape is produced by Pierre Bourne (“Magnolia”, “wokeuplikethis” and “dothatshit!”), Southside (“Kelly K”) and Harry Fraud (“Location”) appear for track highlights as well. While the first two tracks are, undeniably, hard as fuck, the other tracks that caught my ear was the turnt-to-the-fucking-max “New Choppa” and “Kelly K”. The production over the tape fits the mood and vibe Carti talks about on the tape; trapping, sex, women, drugs and all the other typical mainstream/”wack rapper” content. Yet Carti does fall through when it comes to keeping me entertained throughout the 45 minute tape.

For a debut project coming from a rapper who has no official work on recognisable Hip-Hop sites such as Datpiff and DJ Booth, Carti has come out strong. His fans remain insistent he is of great quality. While I will disagree (profusely), I do believe that Carti still has a lot to give his fans and critics and only time will tell whether Carti is just another fifteen-minute rapper.

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN. Review

“WHAT HAPPENS ON EARTH, STAYS ON EARTH” – Kid Capri

After vigorously teasing an impending project with the promotional single “The Heart Part 4” and the single “HUMBLE.” produced by Mike WiLL Made-It, King Kendrick returned. ‘DAMN.’ is one of the most beautiful, pain-driven, political and best storytelling projects in Hip-Hop for a long time.

Featuring production from TDE in-house beatmakers, Sounwave, Tae Beast and DJ Dahi, as well as other timeless producers like The Alchemist, BadBadNotGood and 9th Wonder; they all came together for a project that they and Kung Fu Kenny knew would be an instant fan-classic and one of the most critically acclaimed albums of this year already.

Alike Kendricks’ previous albums, ‘DAMN.’ gives his critics and fans another wormhole into the mind and past of Comptons’ own. From the very beginning with the Jazzy spoken word intro “BLOOD.” that follows with the abrasive Mike WiLL cut “DNA.”. Kenny speaks of the fakeness in one’s “DNA” as well as calling out FOX News for their..uncultured and uneducated reaction to Kendrick’s previous black-empowerment record “Alright”.

KFK.jpg

The standout on this track is when the beat breaks into distorted vocals, Trap chimes and heavy 808s allowing Kendrick to go harder than hes done in a long time. Another solo track that stands out (not that any of the tracks don’t) is the Nu-Jazz-cut “ELEMENT.”. Over melodic hellish keys, Trap snares, hi-hats and creepy vocal sample, Kendrick details the ‘elements’ that have made him the focused, ever-entertaining and claims his position as “Mr One through Five”. That, I totally agree with. Another track that stands out amongst the tracklist is “LUST.” One of the slower and darker songs on the album, light strings, cool bass and psychedelic synths, Kendrick provides a story of sexual desires and biblical reflections of one who is lustful.

However, out of all the tracks on this album, the one that shines brighter than any other and is already in my top 5 kendrick verses, is the final and connector of the loop of the album, “DUCKWORTH.”. Over three different instrumentals provided by 9th Wonder, Kendrick details the life and gang activities that Anthony ‘Top Dawg’ Tiffith took part in as well as the jaw-dropping final bars that reveal that Kendrick’s dad and Top Dawg had met early on in their lives under unseen predicaments.

As most Kendrick albums go; they are all pretty spectacular. Although, his latest studio album ‘DAMN.’ is a majestic and gritty piece of audio art. It sees Kendrick vigorously rapping passionately about his triumph of the Hip-Hop game, Black-on-Black crime, living in anxious political situations while growing up (“FEAR.”) and how his competitors need to “sit down”. In all, this is another great look into the mind and body of work that is Kendrick Lamar and as always, he provides a timeless project to be ravaged for his lyrics and production.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑