Verbals by A to the L
Tame One – Da Muzik / Lets Get Fucked Up (Ahead Recordings)
The ransom note probably said, “We have your kids. You will not get them back until you go to the studio shown on the attached map. Here you will find a microphone linked to a computer, and a cd of beats. You must quickly compose 2 raps and record them using the computer. Ensure that the lyrics are as ridiculous and as forced as possible. Take into account that the beats sound like they were made by a small demented chimpanzee forcefed 3 kilos of amphetamines, and make sure that your mic performance sounds equally amateurish. Complete the 2 songs as directed and your kids will be released unharmed.” Poor Tame One… at least he got his kids back though.
RATING: 1 / 10

Twista – Sunshine (Atlantic)
While the US gets the sultry R Kelly-featuring ‘So Sexy’ as their single release, the poor sods in the UK get this drivel. Blatantly jacking Bill Withers, for the beat and the hook, this is soft, sappy, and far, far away from an authentic summer track. Even Twista’s trademark rapidfire delivery is almost entirely absent here, and despite guest vocallist Anthony Hamilton valiantly trying to make things better, nothing can be done to make this ‘lovely’. Once again US>UK in terms of single releases.
RATING: 3 / 10

Harli P&L – NaStyleJah (GMF)
After a short hiatus, Harli (formerly Harli Heartz) returns to the game with a more refined, more mature sound. On NaStyleJah, she moves away from the nut demands of her debut, and instead speaks on how things used to be. Yup, its another back in the days type cut, covering ground that’s been covered a squillion times before, though on this outing Harli flips it. No teary-eye, soft focus memories here – this is a look back at how the drug game used to work back in days of crack, on one side narrated over some grinding guitars, on the other over some rather amateurish orchestral beats. Stick with the first mix for the real banger. Now when’s the album dropping?
RATING: 6.5 / 10

Proverb – Proverbs (Daydream Entertainment)
Proverb comes to us by way of Miami and Boston, and it should be little surprise that has music contains influences from both cities. The beat on ‘Proverbs’ sounds like some typical crunk music, but lyrically Proverb throws down in a more standard ‘East coast’ fashion. Its a strange but accessible mix – its definitely odd to find someone spitting ‘message’ raps over crunk beats, but not only does Proverb do this, but he also does it with a confidence that masks the fact that this is a debut single. Watch for more from this cat.
RATING: 7.5 / 10

K Hill – Da Instigator (Neblina)
Oh my God. First of all, apologies to the cats at Neblina, and to K Hill for sleeping on this for so long. Ladies and gents, this is one of the best songs of the year right here. From K Hill’s superb outing on the mic, to Nick The 1nda’s Primo-esque beat, to the equally strong B-side cuts from Chapter 13 and Medinah General, everything about this screams quality. K Hill’s comes off as a hyperactive Common Sense (not the hippy Common that my man became) with skills to the 10th power. Example – “I’m the definition of nice – you’re the definition of Cool C and Steady B pulling a heist.” This man is NOT playing. Check the website link above to hear the streaming audio, then go buy it.
RATING: 9 / 10

Norman Brown – I Might (Warner Bros)
Norman Brown follows up the Grammy-winning “Just Chillin'” with “West Coast Coolin'” this October. ‘I Might’ is the first release from the new album, and indicates that the longplayer will also possess the urban feel that many felt Brown exhibited more on “JC” than on any of his previous work. Definitely material more suited to the ‘grown ‘n’ sexy’, ‘I Might’ features a snappy beat layered with sassy strings, bubbling piano keys, and a catchy hook which could well see it make inroads to your local R’n’B station in addition to the smooth jazz spots its bound to dominate.
RATING: 7 / 10

Shyne – More Or Less (Gangland / Def Jam)
Many will have heard this before, as its been doing the mixtape rounds for a couple of years now. Spruced up a little now for the release of the new Shyne album, this cut now features a strange Foxy Brown guest appearance. Strange because she tries to sound EXACTLY like Shyne, going as far as waiting till she had a bad head-cold before recording her verse, in order to replicate Mr Barrow’s 6-gallons-of-mucus-up-my-hooter flow. “Muhliss, muhliss” she snots as the Kanye beat plays on – you just want to put the child to bed with a hot water bottle, a couple of Lemsips, and a box of Kleenex. Oh, and Shyne is on this track too by the way.
RATING: 6 / 10

J Kwon – You And Me (So So Def)
Absolute shite. Really it is. The poison dwarf Dupri has seen how well Cassidy’s ‘Get No Better’ has done, and in his usual bandwagon-jumping way has decided to release his young puppet’s sappy attempt to match it as the next single. Of course you know who this single is aimed at, and of course you know that those mindless bints will lap it up. Fools. Why doesn’t Jermaine Dupri just stick to banging Janet, and keep this and his shite Usher remixes out of my earshot? Little fucker.
RATING: 1 / 10

Petey Pablo & Rasheeda – Vibrate (Jive)
The bonus cut from Petey’s “Second Entry” gets its expected single release. Crunchy, techno-esque production from Bangladesh supports PP’s gravelly tones as he lets us know how much he likes a lady’s posterior to move. Rasheeda’s response verse is a little ticklish, as she directs other females to move up and down strip poles in a manner that suggests its not all done for the mens’ satisfaction. Whatever… the shit bangs.
RATING: 7.5 / 10

Estelle – 1980 (V2)
For those in the US who are unaware of Estelle, you need to go seek this out. An autobigraphy squeezed into 3 and half minutes over the warmest strings ‘n’ piano combination this side of a Pete Rock record, this begs to blow up. Mixing amusing anecdotes from childhood with gritty realism of life as part of the great unwashed. Its commercial success in the UK was almost expected, but now its time for the US to recognise not only the quality of the music, but the quality of the emcees coming out of our patch. The flipside features the bumping ‘Don’t Talk’, in its original form form with Baby Blue, and reworked with vocals from Kardinal and Skeme. A must-have.
RATING: 9 / 10

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