SINGLES REVIEW

Verbals by Mistajam
Eminem – Like Toy Soldiers (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope)
Definitely one of the highlights from Encore – the blonde bomber delivers a perfect commercial radio track displaying a rather mature and sensible look at his current hip-hop beefs. Unfortunately, we seem to live in an age where ignorant fools have forgotten about the essence of the hip-hop battle and reach for their gun and crew when someone disses them on record. Krs-One style rants aside, it’s a solid track with less boring production than Eminem has displayed recently that should do well. Did I mention it’s got a Martika sample? I used to fancy her…
RATING: 4 / 10

50 Cent – Disco Inferno (G Unit/Shady/Aftermath/Interscope)
Typical 50 Cent: catchy chorus, heavy but radio friendly beat, 15 hooks in the one track! Does exactly what it says on the tin, turns the disco into an inferno by getting ladies’ arses shaking, which is exactly why I became a DJ so it’s all good with me! Don’t listen to it expecting anything deeper than you’ve come to expect from fiddy, but hey, it works. Disposable.
RATING: 5 / 10

Snoop Dogg – Lets Get Blown (Geffen/Doggystyle/Startrak)
Not the obvious choice for follow up single, the 80’s soul sounding Lets Get Blown wouldn’t sound out of place in-between tracks by Cameo and Club Nouveau. Pleasant enough, but not heavy enough to follow ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’. I’d choose ‘Step Yo Game Up’, ‘Fresh Pair of Panties’ or ‘I Miss You’ over ‘Lets Get Blown’… but that’s just me!
RATING: 4/10

2pac – Thugs Get Lonely Too (Afeni/Interscope)
Just when you thought the man’s memory couldn’t be pimped anymore by his momma, along comes another remix album. Where this succeeds (and many others fail) is that the production is actually good this time. Eminem delivers one of the best beats of his career on this single, if only 2Pac was still alive to give us a new verse… but he isn’t and hopefully this will be the last of the remix albums. Please Afeni. You’ve got enough cash now.
RATING: 6 / 10

Trick Daddy – Lets Go (Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic)
Wow. This could be Trick Daddy’s biggest UK hit and for my money, his best effort since ‘In The Wind’. My major beef is that it’s finally being released over here in the UK donkey’s after it was released in the USA, but that’s how it goes… To be honest, with the dream team of Lil Jon & Twista on the track, could he fail? Makes me want to mosh – does that have anything to do with the Ozzy sample?
RATING: 7 / 10

Amerie – One Thing (White)
I’ll sum this up in one sentence: if you don’t buy this and play it loud, you don’t like real music. Dope, dope, dope, dope, diddope.
RATING: 9 / 10

Fat Joe – Safe To Say (Da Incredible) (White)
“Fat Joe and Just Blaze in bang-your-head hip-hop shocker” would be The Sun newspaper headline if in my fantasy hip-hop world, newspapers only reported the latest hip-hop news. Think a You Don’t Know/Breathe/Public Service Announcement Just Blaze meeting a Flow Joe/DITC/John Blaze Fat Joe. An anthem as big as Ante Up. MistaJam seh so.
RATING: 9 / 10

The Game – How We Do (G Unit/Aftermath/Interscope)
Even though The Game is more hype than skill, I prefer him to any other G-Unit/Shady/Aftermath representer at the moment. He’s got a talent for picking the right beats and writing the simplest gangsta-ish rhymes over the top of them, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Dre and Mike Elizondo take it back to NWA on this 808 filled beat while The Game spits like a simpler, more East Coast Eazy E with a less nasal voice.
RATING: 7 / 10

John Legend – Used To Love U (Very Good Music/Columbia)
You either think this guy is a breath of fresh air, a really good singer/songwriter who has a genuine soulful talent or you think he’s boring. Along with Trevor Nelson, Kanye West and numerous other connessiours of real music, I’m in the first camp. John Legend has the makings of the first ‘real’ soul singer of the 2000’s (Dross Stone need not apply). ‘Used To Love U’ aka ‘Get By’ pt 2 is a club and radio banger – yeah we’ve been hearing it for over a year, but it’s still dope. Buy it. Now.
RATING: 7.5 / 10

Handsome Boy Modelling School – If It Wasn’t For You (Atlantic)
For those backpackers who scream that De La Soul ‘fell off’ after Bulhoone Mind State and that they should only ever work with Prince Paul, your cries are answered with this one. My only stand-out track from the Handsome Boy Modelling School album “White People” (is this one of the first hip-hop albums where the target audience is mentioned in the title?), IIWFY is a feel good, bouncy hip-hop track very reminiscent of PP&DLS collaborations in the past. Good, but I liked the AOI series and prefer anything off Grind Date to this…
RATING: 5 / 10

Jennifer Lopez – Get Right (Columbia)
Why Rich Harrison, why? You do no wrong with beatmaking in R&B right now. From ‘Didn’t You Know’ to ‘Crazy In Love’ to ‘One Thing’ to Usher’s unreleased ‘Ride’ you’ve been making club R&B hits that hip-hop kids would have no shame in rocking doubles of. Were you pissed off because Usher didn’t release ‘Ride’ that you decided to give the beat to the eternally terrible Jennifer Ho-pez to warble some out of tune shit on it? I can’t knock your hustle, but Jennifer Ho-pez? Please tell me you got head from her for it…
RATING: 8 / 10 for the beat
RATING: 0 / 10 for Jennifer’s “singing”

Mariah Carey – Its Like That (Virgin)
We all know the leprechaun of hip-hop Jermaine Dupri is a thief. He’s never made an original beat in his life, preferring to reproduce the hot sound of now. While there’s nothing wrong with a little mimicking, he manages to rip off Just Blaze, Lil Jon, The Neptunes and Scott Storch with this one! Now that’s talent! Mariah “sings” lyrics adapted (aka nicked) from Mr Vegas’ recent hit Tamale (why does he always seem to be getting ripped off? First Pitbull steals ‘Pull Up’ for ‘Culo’ and now Mariah steals ‘Tamale’ for this!). To be honest, if this is the kind of thing that Jermaine will be releasing now he’s head of Virgin’s Urban music division then I don’t hold out much hope…
RATING: 4 / 10

Kyza – Real Rap – Devil In A Dress (Kemet Entertainment Records)
Seriously, honestly – if you claim to be a hip-hop fan and haven’t heard of Kyza, Klashnekoff or Terra Firma you’re missing out on a lot of good hip-hop. Real Rap/Devil in a Dress is no exception. Get this. This is real British rap, not The Streets as many are led to believe. Joe Buhdha (Supernatural/Jurassic 5/Estelle ft Talib Kweli & John Legend) produced both sides of this double A side 12″ – so go cop it now.
RATING: 9 / 10

TI – Bring Em Out (Atlantic)
You will have heard this. You will have been told that this track is a big club banger; that TI is the self-proclaimed King of the South and that this is Swizz Beats’ return to form. Well, that’s all true! Bring ‘Em Out is one of the biggest tracks in the club right now – a must play that definitely gets people going crazy. Lyrics wise, TI does TI – southern gangsta ish spitting. Beat wise, Swizz has brought out the Casio’s again creating a Ruff Ryders Anthem 2005 style. The sound of hot HipHop in 2005.
RATING: 8 / 10

Cam’ron ft Kanye West & Syleena Johnson – Down And Out (Roc-A-Fella)
Imagine Cam’ron spiting sharper than he has in the past few years over a Kanye beat that hits you like the first time you heard ‘Jesus Walks’. Now stop imagining and put this track on. Those who have signed Byron Crawford’s petition will say it’s typical Kanye fayre, Cam’ron does his usual uber ignorant rap performance (at one point rhyming “shit” with “it”) and Syleena Johnson is a second rate Faith Evans – and I know that you’re scurred to hit tha blunt. Me on the other hand, I’m married to tha blunt and love this track.
RATING: 7 / 10

Ludacris – Da Potion (Def Jam South)
Some beats only Timbaland can get away with. This is one of them. Not satisfied with sampling a baby cooing on ‘Are You That Somebody’, trashcans on ‘Da Jump Off’ and every Bollywood soundtrack since 1972; he draws for the sound of a woman saying “ah”. Abstract I know, but this is Timbo at his best – sounds like it could have come straight from the ‘Sign O the Times’ sessions. Luda, a man who can do no wrong for me at the moment, spits his usual flames. If you don’t like new millennium funk, don’t listen to this.
RATING: 7 / 10

ODB ft DJ Premier – Pop Shots (JC/Sureshot recordings)
Rest in peace Old Dirty. This is the first posthumous release from the ODB and a collaboration a long time in the making. Hip-hop legend DJ Premier laces the ODB accapella he was sent with one of the illest beats he’s produced in a long while while the RZA recorded accapella is one of the finest lyrical displays I’ve ever heard from the ODB – he’s actually flowing people! Ason Unique will definately be missed.
RATING: 7 / 10

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