Big Boi – Boomiverse Review

One of the most significant Southern rappers for his contributions to the legendary group and forever timeless discography alongside Andr√© 3000 in Outkast; Big Boi returns to the scene with a devilishly addictive album. Not only do we hear ‘Daddy Fat Saxxx’ over Organized Noize production once again, but we also have Mannie Fresh, Scott Storch, TM88 and DJ Dahi instrumentals throughout. As well as production notes being exciting, guest appearances also add undeniable dope flavour of dopeness to the album. Whether it’s a killer Killer Mike verse or late Pimp C vocals, the album oozes out great music.

Beginning with the Big Rube outro-assisted “Da Next Day” is filled with gritty drums, bouncy horns and a reflective verse from Big Boi to start the album off. He looks back on his influence of the rap game. Comparing himself too “a broad” for working so hard and keeps “soul searching” for his rightful place in the elite MC’s.

As the album progresses, seeing immediate highlights like “Kill Jill” and “Order of Operations”, Big Boi’s development as a solo artist is unfathomable. Not only does the legendary MC incorporate and bring to the table his normal Southern sound, but also experiment with Nu-Jazz and R&B. While tracks like “All Night”, “Mic Jack” and “Chocolate” are all radio friendly and use elements of the genres previously mentioned, these tracks in particular add no weight or interest to the overall sound of the project.

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“Made Man”, “Freakanomics” and “Follow Deez”, the final three tracks of the album, are the most gripping instrumentally, guest features and Big Boi’s timeless flows and charismatic bars.

In all, it’s a great LP and only proves that the Big Boi as a solo artist has as much potential to receive acclaim and keep the sound that Outkast started as relevant as it was when they first appeared on the scene. While not all the songs intrigue me, it is definitely one of my favourite Hip-Hop projects to drop this year.

2 Chainz – PGLTM Review

The ever evolving artist, originally named Tity Boi, now, is one of the most in=demand featured Hip-Hop artists, enthusiast of some of “the mooryst expensive shit” and is now the charismatic MC, 2 Chainz. Since his debut ‘Based On A T.R.U. Story’ LP, Chainz has continuously through the years reinvented himself over his solo-effort projects, as well as a collaborative project with “the best rapper alive”. ‘Pretty Girls ūüĎ欆Trap Music’ is filled with various influences of past and present Hip-Hop/Trap and R&B. Whether it be Travis Scott’s excessive auto-tuned vocals on the hyped-up Murda Beatz produced “4AM” or the odd Asian-inspired Pharrell assisted “Bailan”, in-between the smoked out Chainz verses, smooth guest verses and¬†out of the ordinary¬†instrumentals, the sound and direction of the album is an interesting one too listen to.

The opening record, “Saturday Night” is a smooth and reliable instrumental filled with heavy Rock guitar strings and light but aggressive snare claps produced by Mike WiLL Made-It and Ducko McFli. Chainz ‘s flow is slow but motivated and hungry too let his competition and peers to know that although he’s boxed into the ‘mumble rappers’¬† and how he was unfairly “charged by Luda to dip”. Although it doesn’t necessarily relate to the dark yet enlightening title name of the album, it shows off the aggression and passion that he has for the industry as well as his motivation for Hip-Hop’s ‘C U L T U R E’. While the subject matters, rhyme schemes, lyrics and flows aren’t in anyway evolutional for the genre or change the soundscape for Trap, there are some lowkey entertaining Chainz verses, amazing production and standout moments on the project. Production wise, the first beat that stands out is “Riverdale Rd”. Chainz relives the Trap and how he came from “getting bands” to “grams to Grammys”.

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The highlights of this project come from the occasional guest verse or the influence Trap now has on the mainstream music industry. One of the songs that cement this is the raunchy collaboration between TY$, Trey Songz and Jhene Aiko on the finger-clicking and jumpy guitar-led “It’s A Vibe”. Not only do the featured artists provide smooth melodic verses of sexual desires, but 2 Chainz verse is a swaggy and fun as hell verse to listen and rap along too. Aiko’s contribution to the track is the sexiest and most unexpected feature on the album as well.¬†¬†However, Chainz’s solo efforts, “OG Kush Diet”, “Sleep When U Die” and “Rolls Royce Bitch” are all standouts for their aggressive production styles as well as the energy that allows Chainz to push out this content.

In all, not only is the album a LP primarily for those who are die-hard fans of the sub-genre of ‘Trap’, but also, an ode to ‘The Trap’. Whether it be the production handled by The Honorable C-Note or un-credited OJ Da Juiceman vocals, 2 Chainz created the album with the purpose to expose, commercially, a friendlier Trap sound.

SZA – Ctrl Review

Since hitting the Hip-Hop/R&B and Neo-Soul scene; collaborating with major industry names like Chance the Rapper, contributing additional un-credited vocals to her label mate, Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ LP and struggling pushing out her debut album under TDE. However, on 9/6/17, the talented vocalist finally dropped ‘Ctrl’.

Filled with heart-broken vocals and lyrics on past and previous relationships, as well as interludes from the singer’s mum, the album projects a intimate and overwhelming pouring of emotions that have bubbled under the surface; something everyone can relate to. Beginning with the Scum produced and Pharrell songwriting assisted “Supermodel”, SZA airs out her grievance of an ex-boyfriend where she’s “been secretly banging” his homeboy and not letting anything un-surprise first listeners and fans.

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Another immediate standout is the solo slow trippy synthesized “The Weekend”. It’s one of her more opening records, and the instrumental, produced by ThankGod4Cody is blissful to listen too as well as the underlying background vocals SZA provides. As well as those, “Anything” and Isaiah Rashad’s verse on “Pretty Little Birds” adds another male voice to the album, giving it that extra contribution from someone who can add more than just vocals but emotion onto a track.

Not only does the album explicitly explore her sexuality, relationships and the overall desire to not have the anxiety of not being in ‘Ctrl’ of ones life and what entails it. One thing is for certain throughout the album is how gripping it is; whether it’s the psychedelic guitar solo towards the end of the Kendrick Lamar featured “Doves In The Wind” and mellow stripped back keys on “Go Gina”. “Garden (Say It Like Dat)”, a personal vent of how she sees herself as a woman is also a standout from the album for its Trap and R&B interlace of sound, similar to Bryson Tiller.

Although the album is filled with hefty emotions, bitterness and anger resonating through her pained vocals or smooth but airy production, tracks like”Broken Clocks”, “Normal Girl” ¬†and “20 Something” don’t add much to the album. In all, it’s a boastful debut album. SZA adds more diversity to the ever-growing TDE rooster but also shows off her ability as a solo artist and gives first-time listeners a side of her that hadn’t be seen before on a wider audience level.

Young Dolph – Bulletproof

Young Dolph, one of the least known Trap-rappers, has had an exciting and promising first months of 2017. In the years that have preceded too now, Dolph has collaborated with a handful of well-known Hip-Hop figures; from being featured on Gucci Mane’s ‘Trap House 3’-cut “Muddy”, working with Juicy J, Peewee Longway, Migos and Young Thug, Dolph has a fanbase and following that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Although Dolph, in the least harshest way, isn’t a diamond in the rough, his loud and aggressive voice, punctual pronunciation of his favourite weed strains or bragging, specifically on this project, of how untouchable he is. Without any further slack, here goes the review.

Starting off the album with the DJ Squeeky produced “100 Shots”, Dolph brags about “fucking in traffic like Chris Tucker”, his ruthless spending sprees and influencing his listeners and followers to get whatever they want. Alike too Gucci, Dolphs’ album is only 10-tracks long and contains easy to listen too but violent and abrasive topics. “In Charlotte” is one of these examples as ominous keys and late night church bells give Dolph enough time to give props to Biggie, “shutting down parties” and how he can’t respect a¬†“lying ass bitch”.

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However, it doesn’t take long for¬†the project to get slow or unmemorable at times. The only song with a featured artist, “That’s How I Feel” has an enthusiastic verse from Dolph and while Guwop handles the chorus and the last verse, it can easily be forgotten amongst other better collaborations between the two. However, one of the catchier and club-friendly records is the quick-paced Zaytoven-produced “All Of Them”. Zay’s glitchy and monumental production is just an instant highlight. “I’m So Real” is also another catchy and better quality song on the short but eventful project.

While there are other standout tracks, “SMH” and “But I’m Bulletproof”, Dolph still sounds like he’s trying to create his own sound while using major influences from Atlanta (Young Jeezy), Memphis (Project Pat) and Texas (Paul Wall). However, while he does lack lyrically engaging an audience, his energy and connections within Hip-Hop is evident and there’s still time for him to put out a greater quality project.

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