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The (W)rap Up - Week of November 17, 2015

If you missed any of the new reviews this past week, including Logic's "The Incredible True Story" then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!

[The Incredible True Story] Logic :: The Incredible True Story
Visionary/Def Jam

Author: Clara Wang

"Logic is the "good boy" of Hip-hop, a young man from the projects who is determined to do better as he grinds his way to the top. He exudes positivity in all his interviews, and his frankness about the difficulties of his past and straightforward lyricism has built him a cult-like following of mostly middle-class young adults. Logic's debut album "Under Pressure" focused on his personal struggles and the drug-riddled home. Now his sophomore project, "The Incredible True Story", is a moment the young man is taking to appreciate his growth and where he's at now. The album is mainly narrated by two people on a spaceship in the post-apocalyptic world of 2115, heading to the planet Paradise. An electronic voice, Thalia, who narrated the last album, makes an appearance in this album again. Logic's partiality to theatrical orchestral instrumentals and basic refrains echoes throughout the album. There's enough variation in energy and production to keep the listener engaged throughout, and several times there are sudden drops into another beat entirely in the middle of a song. Drake's OVO sound seems to have started this trend, recently used by the likes of Travi$ Scott. Opening with music as grandiose and uplifting as the album's astronomical theme, the intro slides into "Fade Away." Here he shows off his rap skills with some impressive linguistic gymnastics, twisting and playing with syllables at Twista-style speeds. The track fades out to "Like Woah," with jazzy lounge music, laid-back synths and a trumpet riff."

Bless :: Spoils of War :: URBNET Records 
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Spoils of War] "The hype machine behind Bless is roaring down A-15 at high speed, coming straight outta Montreal, Quebec, Canada to the United States. Guest appearances by Vado, Fred the Godson and Statik Selektah ensure the delivery will be well received in the state of New York, and along much of the East coast. Once it meets up with I-87 the wait at the border shouldn't take long. The 18 wheeler is examined, the driver is questioned, and that cargo full of "Spoils of War" compact discs will continue to be exported far beyond his French speaking province.  The funny thing is Bless sounds as American as me, almost indistinguisiable from a New York rapper. The attached bio goes out of his way to promote his Canadian heritage and contains bold proclamations you have to question at face value such as "the most important rap CD to emerge from Canada." I think everyone from to Dan-e-o to D-Sisive to the Swollen Membersand more would have an objection to that statement - but I digress. There's nothing inherently Canadian about Bless, and I mean no offense to dude, but I kept waiting for an obscure reference that only residents of Canada or citizens of Montreal would get - and instead he's rapping about renting cars from Enterprise and Avis. What? "Pop Off" is good especially with Statik Selektah blessing the beat and scratches, but tell me how tracks like "These Streets Don't Love You" featuring Alan Prater couldn't come from any reasonably decent white rapper from Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Denver or Providence. Given he drops Biggie references he could even be from Brooklyn or Bed-Stuy. On "Paid the Price" Bless refers to his style as "American dreams, Canadian schemes" and I think it's telling that it's not the other way around. I searched hard for the distinguishing characteristics in nearly 40 minutes of "Spoils of War" and was instead met with samples of Nas ("Luxury Rap") and Jay-Z (the album's title track). I'm dead ass serious. It's like when Maestro Fresh-Wes once said "Naah, Dis Kid Can't Be From Canada?!!," only Wes (another Canadian rap legend) was trying to show haters South of the border that he belonged and was just as good if not better than many American rappers. I don't get that feeling from Bless at all. He blends in like he was a naturalized U.S. citizen and never once had free health care."

Cavanaugh :: Time and Materials :: Mello Music Group 
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Time and Materials]"What do you get when you combine Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti? You get Cavanaugh, a first ever collaboration between two artists who have known each other since they went to school together at Southern Illinois University. (Go Salukis?) The question one might ask is why they haven't done it sooner. The question I might ask is why I've known Serengeti longer if they were in school at the same time. He's been on my radar since 2005, while our first OME review was three years ago. To be fair though Patrick does state in his review that Eagle had been on the scene since at least 2007. It won't take you long to get to know Cavanaugh, and not just because the two have plenty of exposure to fans of independent hip-hop, but because the whole of "Time and Materials" takes 26 minutes. It's an album produced entirely by Eagle, and his musical sensibilities fit the experimental and disaffected vibe of the album. Songs like "Pinky" are a deliberate middle finger to trying to get a leg up out of the underground. Does it seem depressing? Maybe it is. So is the conceptual story behind the album - an apartment building where luxury condo owners and section 7 housing exists side by side under government decree. The residents from each side of the economic divide don't speak to each other and exchange angry glares, and only the maintenance men ("Mike" and "Dave") talk to each other. You can see this play out on "Screen Play" as the two sit at the bar and put down drinks while they discuss their sad lot in life."

Estelle :: True Romance :: Established 1980 Records 
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[True Romance]"Okay she may not be known PRIMARILY as a rapper, but when we first covered her back on 2008's "Shine," she was actually doing quite a bit of rapping. Our man Jay Soul was not a fan of her rap though, noting she should either "learn how to rap or let someone else do it." Ouch baby. It seems she heeded that advice though, because she's since become very well known for her singing, and has gone on to be nominated for and win numerous awards (including a Grammy). There's little doubt the West London product can not just sing - she can SANG. The biggest surprise in the last few years though was that Estelle picked up a side job which could actually rival her fame as a musician. She voices the character Garnet on the hugely popular cartoon series Steven Universe, which yours truly is an unapologetic fan of. At times it seems unfair that a woman with such a lovely voice plays such a quiet and stoic character, but it in fact has the opposite effect. When Garnet does speak, you cling to every single word, and in the episodes where she DOES sing it's powerful and poignant - and her rapping has gotten better too. It's no surprise that show creator Rebecca Sugar adores her, nor that she drew the cover art for "True Romance." I admit I'm biased toward Estelle as well, but what immediately surprised me on her latest album is how much of a throwback the track "Something Good" was. The D. Smith/Soundwavve track and Estelle's high energy delivery over the uptempo beat rewound me to the early 1990's. I could hear both Black Box's "Strike It Up" and C+C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat" in this track - and I'd even say that Estelle and Martha Wash compare favorably to one another."

Lewis Parker :: The Puzzle: Episode Two - The Glass Ceiling :: KingUnderground Records 
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[The Puzzle: Episode Two]Lewis Parker's is a humbling presence. If you think you're dedicated to this hip-hop thing, I guarantee you that Lewis Parker is twice as dedicated. Commitment oozes out of every groove of his work. Everything he has to say is inextricably interwoven with hip-hop music. Greater success may have eluded him, and even knowledgeable discussions frequently omit his name, but this man is one of the most formidable delegates of hip-hop made in Britain. At the same time he's virtually an international man of hip-hop, born in London to Barbadian parents, growing up in Canterbury, relocating to London where as a teenager in the mid-'90s he released his first records, and finally returning home after a decade-plus stay in New York.  Lewis Parker is a quintessential producer/rapper whose professional pride demands that he raps over his own beats and that his beats are complemented by his own raps. He's a self-sufficient artist, and to a certain extent his music sounds accordingly. Opening up more than usual on key track "Hard Endeavour." Still he undertakes the endeavor. On the surface it may seem like Lewis Parker prefers a secluded lifestyle, "The Glass Ceiling" finding him in a contemplative mood throughout. In reality he is on a mission with a message. And make no mistake about it, this is rap music with potential majority appeal. Lewis Parker is not alone, he has many kindred spirits - every post-Tribe jazz-nurtured act, almost all of Canada's rap output, beatmakers around the world, etc. Even in these times you will find albums who operate under the same basic premises, such as Adrian Younge's collaborations with Ghostface Killah, which combine rap with the musical narratives of the 1960s and '70s. "The Glass Ceiling" is not only chock-full of samples from that era, it also seeks nostalgic inspiration via artwork, name-dropping and an overriding secret service theme. Though Parker flirts with the conspiracy gimmick and inevitably gets tangled up across 30 tracks (Is this a spy thriller or a ghost story?), lyrically he makes remarkable sense throughout, going from "You chasin' pop fame / I'm a b-boy, I rock the break and maintain" to "The path of righteousness is a hard road to choose / But ignorance can only be bliss to fools" within just a few bars. "

So Solid Crew :: They Don't Know :: Independiente/Relentless Records 
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Grant Jones

[They Don't Know]"A period of time to many, but mention this three word phrase in the company of a Brit in their 20s, and you'll likely be greeted with a "tut tut" to follow. They aren't necessarily tutting your time-telling skills, but reciting back the classic Garage single from 2001: "21 Seconds" by So Solid Crew. This single was so huge that it almost single-handedly pushed UK garage from the sun-soaked party anthems it was known for, towards the gritty, street crews that aligned themselves with Grime in subsequent years. I was 14 at the time, and this song was huge at school - everybody had it on their Nokia phones as a ring tone. Everybody had their favourite verse (Romeo's, naturally) and while Garage as a genre has disappeared off of the map for many, this album found itself in to plenty of homes. "They Don't Know" hasn't aged particularly well however, when compared to other popular rap albums of the year, in fact listening in 2015, it's clear that the crew carefully balanced the line between big budget productions and material that's recorded in an up-and-comer's bedroom. The best tracks are those that stick to the usual Garage sound - thick, warped bass and quick, light snares. The remix to their debut smash "Oh No" is club fodder yet remains enjoyable thanks to Lisa Maffia's vocal work - arguably her best. As the lone female in a male-dominant crew, Lisa's delicate presence is very welcome even if her vocal range is decidedly limited. Outside of "21 Seconds" which is oddly placed at the very end of the album, "They Don't Know" is the focal point with its "WUB WUB"-style bass-line - think dubstep without the extra loud snares. It even comes with an alternative version immediately after - "Envy (They Don't Know)" is a remix, but this time with Ms. Dynamite tearing the mic to pieces, before she drifted in to R&B territory in the coming years. It's easy to forget how good an emcee she was."

Wordsworth & Donel Smokes :: New Beginning :: Wordwide Communications 
as reviewed by Grant Jones

[New Beginning] "Over ten years ago, put me on to Wordsworth's "Mirror Music", and it remains one of my favorite hip hop albums to this day. It was one of few CDs that I've studied the rhymes in the liner notes, and it surprised me how complex Wordsworth's flow was whilst remaining completely down to earth. He was telling stories yet packing in intricately written verses that are normally reserved for pure braggodicio. Following the disappointing "The Tonite Show" from eMC earlier in the year, "New Beginning" is a very apt title. With Punchline leaving Stricklin, Wordsworth and Masta Ace to keep the eMC name alive, Wordsworth lost his partner in rhyme of twenty years - musically at least. "New Beginning" is a damn good record though, one that steers clear of the corniness affecting "The Tonite Show". This is proper grown-up Hip-Hop music. Donel Smokes is largely unknown, but instantly proves he is capable of crafting some truly timeless music; "Spanish Guitar" and "Test of Time" highlighting this. The former is a filthy head-nodder reminiscent of Da Beatminerz best work showing Wordsworth can mix it with the more aggressive emcees; the latter is just as satisfying, but touches on the more serious theme of death - specifically his wife and the prospect of potentially witnessing her breathe her last breaths. There's a more mature selection of themes tying the strong production together. Charitable behavior and the feeling of being taken advantage of ("Help"), maintaining a positive attitude and believing in others' abilities ("Believe") and forgiveness and regret alongside Masta Ace on "Another Day". It's a very adult record, and thanks to Wordsworth's storytelling skills, it's often difficult to gauge whether every tale is personal. What I love about Wordsworth is his relatability - he's still a regular guy, it just so happens he's an excellent emcee. He tells us he listens to Coldplay and Adele rather than underground Hip-Hop, which is hugely refreshing. Granted, he does let slip he listens to Pharcyde and Redman's "Dare Iz A Darkside" on the closing track "Validated", but the song itself is a thank you to the fans and the industry that has supported him."
Editorial: Twenty Important Rap Videos From 2012 (Part Two)

Editorial courtesy of Steve 'Flash' Juon.

[Kendrick Lamar courtesy Wikimedia]Some names just suit hip-hop artists better than others, and Kendrick Lamar used his name to make a rapid ascent in the 2010's from mixtape to major label superstar seemingly overnight. I remember sitting in a hotel room with family members during a get-together and discussing hip-hop with my sister, as my nephews were at the age I was when I was a young music consumer with disposable income and college looming on the horizon. She asked what I thought they were listening to and I said "Probably Kendrick." She asked what he sounds like and I sang "I'ma show you how to turn it up a notch! First you get a swimming pool full of liquor and you diiiiive in it."

She cut me off immediately. "NO WAY they're listening to that. I wouldn't allow it. That's a horrible message to be giving teenagers. Terrible."

Sorry sis, I guarantee you, they were listening to Mr. Duckworth.

Part 1 of the "20 Important Rap Videos of 2012" HERE.

11.) Flo Rida - "Whistle"

12.) Meek Mill f/ Drake - "Amen"

13.) 2 Chainz f/ Drake - "No Lie"

14.) Future - "Turn On the Lights"

15.) Young Jeezy f/ Ne-Yo - "Leave You Alone"

16.) Future - "Same Damn Time"

17.) Ca$h Out - "Cashin' Out"

18.) Wale f/ Meek Mill, Rick Ross, T-Pain - "Bag of Money"

19.) Drake f/ Lil Wayne, Tyga - "The Motto"

20.) J. Cole f/ Missy Elliott - "Nobody's Perfect"

Editorial: Twenty Important Rap Videos From 2012 (Part One)

Editorial courtesy of Steve 'Flash' Juon.

[Kendrick Lamar courtesy Wikimedia]Kendrick Lamar Duckworth probably made the right choice to not go by his last name as an artist. I'm not hating on "Duckworth" by any means - most people can't even pronounce my last name let alone spell it (everybody seems to think the "O" should be an "A" instead) - but it's just hard to imagine Lamar getting the same kind of buzz in the underground as "Kendrick Duckworth."

Some names just suit hip-hop artists better than others, and Lamar used his name to make a rapid ascent in the 2010's from mixtape to major label superstar seemingly overnight. I remember sitting in a hotel room with family members during a get-together and discussing hip-hop with my sister, as my nephews were at the age I was when I was a young music consumer with disposable income and college looming on the horizon. She asked what I thought they were listening to and I said "Probably Kendrick." She asked what he sounds like and I sang "I'ma show you how to turn it up a notch! First you get a swimming pool full of liquor and you diiiiive in it."

She cut me off immediately. "NO WAY they're listening to that. I wouldn't allow it. That's a horrible message to be giving teenagers. Terrible."

Sorry sis, I guarantee you, they were listening to Mr. Duckworth.

Part 2 of the "20 Important Rap Videos of 2012" HERE.

1.) Kendrick Lamar - "Swimming Pools (Drank)"

2.) Kanye West f/ 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Pusha T - "Mercy"

3.) Flo Rida f/ Sia - "Wild Ones"

4.) Future f/ T.I. - "Magic"

5.) Wiz Khalifa - "Work Hard Play Hard"

6.) Nicki Minaj - "Starships"

7.) Drake f/ Rihanna - "Take Care"

8.) Juicy J f/ 2 Chainz, Lil Wayne - "Bandz a Make Her Dance"

9.) Waka Flocka f/ Drake - "Round of Applause"

10.) Pitbull f/ Chris Brown - "International Love"

The Hip-Hop Shop #352 - A Radical Comeback for Eternity

It's time for another edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #352 is called A Radical Comeback for Eternity! Enjoy new music from Dugee F Buller, KJ Golden, Serge Severe and MC WhiteOwl among others! Follow us @RapReviews so you never miss a new podsafe free show.

Download Here (right click to save)

Tracks featured this week:

* KJ Golden - The Comeback
* Dugee F Buller - Radical
* Serge Severe - Emptied Cup
* MC WhiteOwl f/ DJ FredOnesTME - Hatchet
* Lil Ru - Will Destroy (RockMix)
* Knightstalker & Falling Down - Built 4 Eternity
* Jared Xavier - Sincerely Yours
* Gu Mitch x Murdah Baby - Some Dirty

Video: @Alert312 - "Everyone Eats" (@sohhPR @hifinative)

Video: Alert312 - "Everyone Eats"

SOHH: Alert312 is staying busy promoting their recent release, The Upside Eternal. They're dropping a new music video today for song "Everyone Eats". The story is told in parable format.

Video: @YellowClaw @DJMustard @TyDollaSign @Tyga - "In My Room" (@Biz3)

Video: Yellow Claw & DJ Mustard f/ Ty Dolla $ign, Tyga - "In My Room"

Biz 3: On the heels of their debut album Blood For Mercy that dropped last Friday via Diplo's Mad Decent, Yellow Claw releases their new video for "In My Room" with DJ Mustard featuring Ty Dolla $ign & Tyga.

Video: RRose RRome x Pj Ghost - "M.O.E" (@RRoseRRome @PRDean)

Video: RRose RRome x Pj Ghost - "M.O.E"

Dean: Money Over Everything "M.O.E" is a high strung street banger that will live on both RRose RRome's upcoming mixtape Take This Serious 2.0, and PJ's upcoming mixtape hosted by Dj Drama dropping sometime this winter. Coney Island and Canarsie connect! Don't miss cameos from former welter weight champion Zab Judah , and high school/NBA star Sebastian Telfair.
Video: @ProbCause - "Same Thing" (prod. Drew Mantia) @AudibleTreats

Video: ProbCause - "Same Thing" (prod. Drew Mantia)

A.T.: Following the Release of His Drifters Album Earlier This Year, the Chicago Rapper Shares His First Animated Music Video, Premiered by Mass Appeal

Video: G-Eazy - "The Rise Episode #5" (@G_Eazy @Biz3)

Video: G-Eazy - "The Rise Episode #5"

Biz 3: Welcoming G-Eazy to the Biz 3 family, we have the pleasure of revealing episode #5 of his recent YouTube series titled "The Rise" chronicling the path leading up to the release of his forthcoming major label album When It's Dark Out on December 4th. The video depicts rare and compiled footage of life on the road; from live shows to interacting with fans and behind the scenes moments for the recently released "Me, Myself, and I" video.

Audio: @Bugatti203 - "Lately"

Audio: Bugatti203 - "Lately"

RRP: Hip Hop artist Bugatti203 is back with the brand new banger, "Lately." This track is from his upcoming EP, Last Don't Exist, which will drop soon.

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Welcome to for the week of November 24th, 2015!! Please shop Amazon through RapReviews and like us on Facebook so we can bring you new material every week. We're back in effect for UK Month this week with Ten NEW ITEMS for your perusal: the Twenty Important Rap Videos From 2012 in two separate installments, Emcee Killa & Grim Reaperz' "Zapatista," Ghostpoet's "Shedding Skin," Illinformed's "The Mould Tape," J-Live's "How Much Is Water?," Steve 'Flash' Juon's The Hip-Hop Shop #352, Onyx' "Against All Authorities," Erick Sermon's "E.S.P. (Erick Sermon's Perception)" and Emanuel Wallace's The (W)rap Up for November 17, 2015!

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