Verbals by A to the L
Hello. Remember me? Consider this my attempt to shake writers block. Here are some reviews of some cds and 12’s that I’ve been kicking around my floor for the past few weeks. I think some of these might be old and have just decided to come out of hiding to show me that they’ve been languishing behind my turntables for a year or so. There’s just TOO much music shit going on right now, and separating the good from the bad is a monumental task right now.
Oh CONGRATS MISTAJAM on his engagement. Holla at him and send him pictures of bunny rabbits and shit.
Styles P – Who Want A Problem (Interscope)
Most people know by now that The Lox are not my favorite people in the world – they hold it down big style for the ‘consistently average/ultimately boring’ rapper collective. They just seem like they’re trying TOO hard to BE hard most of the time, and this constant ‘thug-ishness’ often leaves them looking and sounding insincere when they venture off the ‘keep it real’ blueprint. Here Styles tries to toss out one for the clubs, but the whole thing just sounds ultra lazy – from his redundant, cliched flow to producer Neo Da Matrix’ flipping of the same style that Swizz Beatz has already been milking to death whilst putting on everyone’s records for the last year and half – the whole thing just sends me to sleep. If being consistently average was the true benchmark for greatness, the Lox would hold the crown.
RATING – 4.5 / 10
Damien – Bad Blood (200ProofEndeavorz.com)
Bloody hell, Kevin Federline dropped his shit on the low. Damien looks like the ‘token white guy in rap video’ – you know the dude… the one rocking the oversized tall white tee with the hat cocked to the side, WISHING he could pull that look off like his melanin-filled crew… the one who moves stiffly in the background of the G-Unit vid like he has arthritic knees while everyone else is bouncing perfectly on beat… we all know that cat. Anyway, ‘Bad Blood’ sounds like Eminem produced the beat using only a little Casio keyboard, while Damien gets his Styles P on, talking about ‘mawfuckas’ every three bars. On the flip, ‘Why Mama’ attempts to step into 2pac terrority and fails dismally – partly due to Damien’s journeyman flow, but mainly due to Bernice’s offkey murdering of the hook. Indie rap has never sounded so turgid.
RATING – 2 / 10
Jair Dynast – Vicious (Emultimedia Group)
Hmmm… it seems that I’m doomed to be reviewing coasters tonight. Jair’s single ain’t BAD… but its certainly nothing memorable either – plagued by a ropey, Hiphop EJay-esque beat, his rhymes are lost amidst clouds of apathy that result in a switch-off well before the end of the track. The B-side, ‘Pull Up’ finds Jair rocking over a Southern-influenced beat and sounding decidedly ‘forced’ whilst doing so… when will emcees learn that hopping on a bandwagon isn’t a good move when you never practiced riding it before? ‘Pull Up’ sounds like little more than an attempt to cash in on the current popularity of music from the South, and thus must be shitted on by moi immediately. Who’s the next victim?
RATING – 4 / 10
Twisted Black – I’ma Fool Wit It (TVT Records)
Finally! This is not so much someone riding a bandwagon – this is someone up front driving the fucking thing. Despite the idiotic name, Twisted rides DJ Toomp’s bouncy beat expertly, delivering standard ‘look at me’ rhymes that we all know only serve to break up the killer chorus. The chorus though is going to slay dancefloors – asses will be ground on, dollar bills will float to the ground after being tossed in the ‘urr’ (and yes I said ONES, because we all know regular people can’t afford to act like their Hiphop heroes with nothing BUT ones). Lyrically, its generally accepted that this will be nonsense from start to finish, but when the overall product sounds like this, do you really care THAT much?
RATING – 8 / 10
Fyre Department ft GZA – Animal Planet (Scion)
I have no idea what this is about. There’s no label notes, no cover… nada. Have Scion moved from making shitty little box cars into producing indie Hiphop, or is this just an end result of their little turntablist sponsorship contest thing they run each year? ‘Enter our contest and YOUR beat will be released to a rabid audience of underground Hiphop fans, eager to hear a member of the Wu-Tang Clan spitting over YOUR darts!!!’ Unfortunately, the small print doesn’t seem to have provided for the fact that GZA either
a) drank eleventeen thousand 40’s before he hit the studio, or
b) decided to overdose on sleeping pills whilst in the studio, or
c) performed both of the above.
His flow is stunted and erratic on ‘Animal Planet’ and whilst ‘Fame’ on the flip is a marked improvement in terms of HIS performance, the beat sounds like its been recycled from “Beneath The Surface”. Its still sounds better than the Styles and Damien joints, but me shitting into a bucket of jelly and then setting it on fire would also sound better that those two horrors – so its difficult to gauge how interesting this joint might be to you.
RATING – 5 / 10
Insane Macbeth ft Icepick – True Heart (Insane Recordings)
I’ve been forever meaning to write this up, but was always put off due to the fact that it came on a burned cd-r with no other info… but joy of joys, I’ve been reunited with the press-sheet, which allows me to inform you that this joint has been available since um… June 2005. Anyway, for those who are unware Icepick is/was down with UK legends Hijack, and appeared on the absolutely phenomenal ‘Burial Proceedings In The Coarse Of Three Knights’ which I really need to dig out again. Missing in action for donkey’s years, he reappears over Insane Macbeth’s Primo-esque beat sounding as fluid and hungry as he did back in 1989 (no homo.) This is fucking bananas, and I’m truly ashamed that its taken me over a year to listen to this. Go out and find this now.
RATING – 9 / 10
The Game – Its Okay (One Blood) (Interscope)
Of course the whole world has heard this by now, so as per usual with most things lately, I’ll bring up the rear (Ay!) This is alright – not great, but not horrific either. Obviously now this may appear on Geffen, Dr Dre-less, so its somewhat amusing to hear Game talking ‘Dre this, Doctor’s Advocate’ that, when the switched0-on public already know that the Dre he’s referring to here is ‘Cool-N-Dre’ Dre. The beat is decent, but Game’s delivery here rarely moves out of 16-bar-guest-verse-on-some-r’n’b-chick’s-cut territory – this is a definite mail in set of verses. Still it sets the scene up nicely for the push to the album release.
RATING – 6 / 10
Elan – Together As One (Kingsbury)
Elan’s little double-A sampler from his recent album of the same name impresses due to its mellow vibe, and catchy choruses. Over the past 3 or 4 years I’ve been trying to step my reggae game up, and this single, and the flip, ‘Girl’ both point to the possibility of a strong album that I’ll pick up. On the title track, Elan’s husky voice floats easily over the acoustic backing to provide a summery listening experience, whilst ‘Girl’ features Assassin on the hook over a much more club-oriented track. Music this good deserves further investigation – get on it bitches.
RATING – 8.5 / 10
Too Short – Blow The Whistle (Jive)
Don’t start, please – I know this has been out since the turn of the year – its been my weapon of choice since December and is a guaranteed floor-filler. However I do like to write up all singles I physically receive no matter how old they may be when I get them (see Insane Macbeth above for an even worse timeline.) Anyway… surely you’ve heard this by now? Short over Lil Jon etc etc etc. COKE-A-NUTS. Doesn’t he look old as fuck now though?
RATING – 9.5 / 10
Young Buck – Do It Myself (G-Unit/Interscope)
Young Buck is that dude. Straight up. He’s had skills since jump, and its obvious that he’s steadily improving whilst many of his fellow Gorilla Unit soldiers stagnate or decline. Here, over Justice League’s horn-heavy beat he sends what we’ll call ‘friendly warnings’ to several of his Hiphop compatriots regarding their lack of love for G-Unit. Seems that Buck isn’t shy about adopting 50’s beefs when it comes to mic time… and as long as he continues to do so over beats like this, I really don’t have a problem with it. I’m still laughing at all the fools who talked up Tony Yayo so much, whilst completely disregarding Buck’s talents. Suckas.
RATING – 7.5 / 10
Young Hot Rod ft Mary J Blige – Be Easy (G Unit/Interscope)
Its hard to believe that 50, the dude that gave the green light for the Buck record above, also cosigned this piece of shit release. First of all, coming out calling yourself Young Hot Rod is just TOO easy a target to hit. Couple this with Mary’s blatant ‘will-sing-anything-for-cash’ performance on the hook, and you have the perfect recipe for a new frisbee. I guarantee that Olivia’s album will drop before this cat’s joint.
RATING – 1 / 10
Obie Trice – Jamaican Girl (Shady Records)
It doesn’t get any better either. Wayne Wonder wants his production style back. I’d rather throw some paint on the wall and watch it dry than listen to this again. Isn’t it funny how each review is getting shorter as I progress?
RATING: 0 / 10
Fergie – London Bridge (AM Records)
Heh. I swear I didn’t know this was on the bottom of the pile. Perfectly placed innit?
RATING: COMPLETE TOILET