"What's the difference between Sparta and Brownsville? Based on the accounts provided by Billy Danze and Fizzy Womack since their 1994 debut "To the Death," one might almost confuse the two - both are zones of constant warfare over disputed territory marked by armed combat, mean mugs, horn fanfares, pounding battle drums, and, oh yeah, a lot of yelling. Only two years removed from their celebrated "Foundation" LP in 2009, the Brownsville bullies are back with a lean ten-track album fully produced by the German and Danish production duo Snowgoons, which on paper sounds like a match made in heaven - or depending on your perspective, hell. Snowgoons have made their mark on a bevy of hardcore East Coast rappers' projects over the past decade, including their full-length collaboration with Reef the Lost Cauze released only two weeks ago, and given their track record a more appropriate title than "Sparta" could hardly have been chosen - their music is loud, epic, violent, and tailored for the battle arena, a description that also captures M.O.P. to a T. Whether you've been down since '94 or your First Family knowledge only goes as far as "Ante Up," you know generally what to expect on an M.O.P. outing: furious beats and livid, in-your-face rhymes. Somehow, this formula never gets old, and at this point it's conceivable that a second generation of stick-up kids and high school football players appreciates the fact that nothing pumps you up or entertains like a Mash Out Posse track."
" "Name a rapper that I ain't influenced..." Yes, that's what Nas spit exactly a decade ago, and it was absolutely spot on. However, bizarrely enough, a certain Canadian MC could almost say the same thing in 2011. I'm certainly no Drake "Stan" but this year has seen the release of so many rappers that have either displayed a lot of Drizzy in them, or have flat out copied his style. Keep your ear to the streets, and watch out for promising young rappers: what really brings home just how much Drake has influenced the rap game is the sheer volume of artists that clearly idolise the T-Dot singer/rapper. They sound JUST like him. Only not as good. Having everyone from top level MC's to kids biting your style must be somewhat of a headfuck for Drake, and surely the temptation to go left must have crept into his mind when conjuring up "Take Care." However, that was never going to happen, because his debut, last year's "Thank Me Later," wasn't really his grand vision. On TML, it was startlingly clear that Drake had one goal and his label had another. In the end, they won - obviously - and he had to make numerous concessions. He hasn't gone as far as to disown it, but even a cursory listen highlighted his ambition ("Fireworks"), contrasted with Young Money's goal ("Fancy"). As a result, the waters were muddied and it just didn't work well enough. But, luckily for Drake, it sold healthily and he has since earned the right to put out an album that conforms to his ideology."
"There are many theories as to the origin of the phrase "it's raining cats and dogs out here," but only a few are prevalent and given a significant amount of weight by linguistic scholars. A less likely culprit seems to be the idea that mythology associates dogs with Odin, the Norse God of War, who was also considered to control storms (thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening). By extension the "cats" in the phrase would be familiars (guides) for witches, who were fantastically believed to be able to fly through windy air with the grace and agility of birds using nothing but a broomstick. As you can see the different sources for the two animals in the phrase makes their being used in combination unlikely. A far less whimsical but more likely explanation is that London floods in the 17th and 18th century carried the corpses of dead "cats and dogs" down dirty and polluted streets, something written about by poets and playwrights of the day, which eventually became a phrase in popular parlance to describe a violent storm. After all if it was "raining cats and dogs" it would explain why the gutters were suddenly full of them. Popular underground rapper and producer Evidence has long associated himself with meteorological conditions. If you've listened to his tracks for long enough you've no doubt heard a sample of Ev rapping the phrase "rain was on the way because the weatherman predict it" from the Dilated Peoples song "Back Again." Now as much as the hip-hop heads out there might wish they'd do just that, their last group release was back in 2007, and they've all stayed busy with solo projects ever since. "
"It can't be easy for an up-and-coming MC to make a breakthrough in the already overcrowded New York rap scene. It seems that every other person in the Big Apple raps as CD-Rs of the latest 'hot' new rappers are thrown around like confetti at a wedding. With so many artists vying for the listener's attention, it's now almost the norm for newcomers to release their albums online for free hoping that it will reach the right person's ears. The internet, much like Manhattan, is absolutely full of rappers trying to push their free goods and it's getting harder and harder to grab people's attention. To quote a post that I read on a forum a few months ago; "everybody raps and my hard drive doesn't care". Maybe that's a little blunt but I do feel that it is a fairly accurate summary of how the rap game seems right now. Brooklyn-based Puerto Rican rhymer Gees Extortion attempts to stand out from the crowd with his new release "Organized Rhymes: The Original Mixtape". Although billed as a mixtape, this eighteen track release has the feel of a polished album with entirely original production and properly constructed tracks that all stand alone as their own piece of work. Although there is the occasional obligatory shout-out, this is a very cohesive listen. The album opens with an excerpt from Carlito's Way before some moody strings are joined by a kick and a snare to form the backdrop to the title track "Organized Rhymes". "
Japanese Jesus :: Oh My God :: Bandcamp.com as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez
"I don't know much about Japanese Jesus, other than the fact he's relatively well known on the rap battle circuit. A quick youtube and google search pulls up videos and posts about various battles he's been in and from the feedback he's won his fair share of them. Battle rappers have always been rap's big enigma. Immensely gifted in one sense and the foundation of hip-hop, battle rappers have the tendency to be completely inept at making well rounded music. It's difficult to explain why this is the case, as most people would agree the pressure to perform improvised rhymes in front of a crowd is higher than recording rhymes in a controlled environment. Still, from Canibus to Jin, battle rappers have tanked time and again when it comes to parlaying their battle skills into a career as a recording artist. Unfortunately, it seems like Japanese Jesus is no exception to this rule. "Oh My God" is largely a generic and uninteresting EP that shows close to none of the charisma and talent that make battle rappers successful. The EP kicks off with "Oh My God," a decently produced track that tackles the cliche concept of hustling and overcoming the haters. The track isn't bad, just incredibly average and vague. Japanese Jesus drops bland lines like "I'm unfabricated, the most agitated, I make music to leave the world captivated." "Blow" follows and doesn't get much better."
"The term "socially conscious rap" is one that is often thrown around too freely. There are hundreds of emcees who claim to represent the views of the people and preach about the inequality of wealth and corruption in the government, but only a small percentage can actually back up their arguments with facts and reasoning. The result is that socially conscious rap is diluted with sweeping statements and irrational accusations that fail to do the subgenre justice. In addition, some artists who are educated and informed enough to deliver accurate social commentary choose to temper their opinions and take a moderate stance on issues rather than risk alienating themselves from the commercial market with an extreme viewpoint. The bottom line is that, while it's easy for rappers today to label themselves as socially conscious, few truly deliver on this promise. Enter Junkyard Empire, a five-man band from Saint Paul, Minnesota, that isn't afraid to broadcast its political views and call for drastic change. Without even listening to "Acts of Humanity," it's clear that the band has a rather extreme viewpoint on American government and society. The first item listed under "band interests" on Junkyard Empire's Facebook page is "fighting against the most counter-revolutionary force in the world: CAPITALISM, and the inequality, tyranny, theft, racism, sexism, disrespect for the arts, and general malaise that is fostered by its tyrannical reign over the lives of people everywhere."
"MC Zulu is a Chicago by way of Panama MC who mixes dancehall with dance music, doing what his bio calls "post-dancehall." He has put out a handful of albums and EPs, and has just released his latest, "Electro Track Therapy." The beats combine elements of trance, dubstep, dancehall, and hip-hop, mashing them together into one pulsing, party-starting hot mess. "Festival Madness" is a soca song that uses a trance beat and throws in some dubstep bass wobbles at the breakdown. The effect is similar to Major Lazer's work, throwing a new spin on dancehall using elements from other types of contemporary dance music. One difference is that rather than there being just two producers, as with Major Lazer, there are many. Poirier, Dawgz and the Bumps, BIONIK, Brotha El, Chrissy Murderbot, Mochipet, Liondub, Searchl1ght, Top Billin', Maga Bo and Kush Arora are among the many producers here, each offering a slightly different take on ragga and dancehall. MC Zulu adds a different lyrical spin as well. Zulu's lyrics are less violent and raunchy than your average slack dancehall MC, and while many of his lyrics are positive, he doesn't have the Rastafarian bent of conscious dancehall artists like Sizzla."
"Supreme General comes straight out of Buffalo, NY with a lot of the brash, in your face attitude you expect of a rapper from New York City. His music is all about hustling and getting money so in a way he's a mix of the NYC sound and the Down South attitude. "Supremacy" is an EP, but it has six bonus tracks that make it clock in at a total of 12 tracks. Buffalo isn't a city known for hip-hop music, so it seems natural that the city still seems to be searching for a musical identity. Supreme General's influences range from Nas to 2Pac, but the common theme is street music over hard beats. The EP starts with "Puffin On That Good..." which, as the title reflects, is a song about smoking good weed and living it up. No points for originality, but the dark, bouncing beat is reminiscent of good Dipset music and the track works for what it is. "Stacks" follows and the beat is actually on a different tip with the mellow horn sample giving the track an eerie feel. Unfortunately, Supreme General focuses on hustling and the track doesn't offer much in the lyrical department. "The Supreme General" is an anthem espousing all the positive attributes possessed by the rapper of the same name. The southern bounce and epic horns give the beat a rowdy appeal and Supreme General's attitude is on full display here. "
"The term 'sequel' often raises the question "To what?" In this case, there are two options - Three Times Dope's "The Sequel" was meant as a follow-up to either the first album, "Original Stylin'," or the second, "Live From Acknickulous Land." The evidence at hand suggests that the North Philly crew meant to go back to their heydays in the late '80s when they had the rap world's attention with the singles "Greatest Man Alive" and "Funky Dividends." Recorded around 1994, "The Sequel" spent a few years in the vaults before it got a limited run in 1998 in two different formats (the CD being labeled "The Sequel 3") and on two different labels. In 2011, it is being reissued under the resurrected Joe 'The Butcher' Nicolo imprint Ruffhouse Records. While EST (acronym remains unsolved, something with Sinister) still kicked the rhymes and Chuck Nice (not to be confused with the comedian of the same name) did the beats, DJ Woody Wood was replaced by DJ Jake Da Stripper (it's probably too late to suggest a name change). After the short big band introduction "Enter Acknic[k]ulous Land Intro," the first song, "Hell Yeah It's On," indicates that the previously inoffensive 3-D had updated their formula with the hardcore data. But where other rappers between '89 and '93 flipped the script completely and banked on profanity and violence, EST adjusted only his vocabulary, despite the aggravation stressing, "I like to be at peace with my brothers." The next song introduces the album's main theme - 'freestyle type rhymes' as a vehicle 'to go back to the essence of Hip Hop,' as the liner notes put it. "
"If the phrase "up-and-coming rapper" is an overused cliche, then we're going to have to come up with a brand new one to describe Brooklyn emcee Torae. Judging by the off-color parody of a high school graduation on "Intro" from "For the Record," there's no question Torae would mind new definitions himself. "How are you gonna leave your mark? How are you gonna let 'em know you were alive?" It's clear that simply being one of the top mixtape emcees who's not a household name isn't enough for him. How many years did fellow Brooklynite Saigon struggle with being one of the greatest rappers never paid in full? Torae can't be blamed for wanting to speed the process up just a lil' bit. Songs like "Alive" are a non-stop barrage of cult hip-hop references splashed with pop culture and spiced up with the comedy punchlines. The upside and perhaps to a much smaller degree downside of Torae's flow is that he hits you so rapid fire with thoughts and ideas that you rarely have time to digest one before the next comes. A lot of rappers like to brag that you gotta rewind their raps and "figure that shit out when you get home" like Redman once famously rapped on "Dare Iz a Darkside." Torae doesn't just talk that talk on "For the Record," he lives it.Thanks to an all-star list of producers boosting his music, there's no reason Torae shouldn't push it to the max then see if you can keep up or not. There are only two repeat performances behind the boards on the album, and we'll get to those in a minute; let's start with the dopeness of the one-offs. We've already mentioned "Alive," which was produced by Khrysis, but Large Professor's "Do the Math" deserves a shoutout. Quietly the old Pro has been making new noise in hip-hop over the last couple of years, so it's good to hear him drop in here and put strings behind Torae's musings."
Tyme :: The Screen EP :: Bandcamp.com as reviewed by Matt Jost
"The city of Melbourne is well represented on RapReviews.com, and the reputation that precedes its hip-hop scene is that of hard-nosed, hard-working folks who put the needs of hardcore hip-hop heads first. Stylistically Tyme, who also hails from Melbourne, doesn't follow in the footsteps of Brad Strut, Maundz, Tornts, Pegz, Fluent Form, or Eloquor. He tags his music not only with 'hip-hop and 'rap' but also with 'jazz' and plays the sax on his own tracks. And yet he shares a general awareness/anxiety with many of his Australian peers who rap. He takes the classical route by bringing up two of the 20th century's most visionary works of literature. "1984 (Interlude)" quotes from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, while "Soma" is inspired by Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, the song named after the infamous drug that keeps the subjects seemingly perfectly happy. Tyme uses soma as an umbrella term for all our little helpers that promise to relieve some of the daily pressure. The second half of the song, where Tyme's sax and Gabriella Moxey's jazz vocals engage in conversation is more than an afterthought, it's a musical metaphor for the detatched state drugs put you into. Conversely, "The Screen" is on some Big Brother ish, dealing with the ubiquitous presence of screens in our society that have come to figuratively and literally monitor our lives."
"Much has been made of Wale's recent "defection" from kind of conscious/hipster rapper to Maybach Music flosser. To be honest, after I revisited his debut album ("Attention: Deficit") in preparation for this review of his sophomore, "Ambition," it all made perfect sense. In that review, I was particularly critical of Wale's complete lack of charisma, and went as far as to claim complete indifference to his lack of identity. Let me crystallise that for you: Wale was boring as fuck on his debut album. Seriously. Forget the fact that it didn't sell many copies; that it wasted a feature from soon-to-be biggest artist on the planet; that he had somehow created a buzz after three years of grafting/connections. Yes, he's done a complete volte-face and thank goodness. The result is almost irrelevant - at least he's a bit more interesting now. Let us first clear up this nonsense that "Ambition" might somehow be considered "a classic" album: no, no and no. It's not. Whoever told you that was lying (actually, it was probably Wale himself). However, it is an LP with various merits, and the most important thing that MMG have managed to accomplish is lighting a fire up the MC's backside - he sounds really amped up, straight from the off. In the first four tracks, culminating in the searing "Legendary," Wale sounds focused, direct and brutally effective. His lyrics were never the question, so it's no surprise that he's utilising those skills in an all-together different realm. "
It's time for another new edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #148 is Guess Who's Still Rappin'? Inspiration struck when I heard a new track by Doodlebug of Digable Planets fame (thanks to Wanja Lange) so I went diggin' in the podsafe crates for Saukrates, Quan, Blaq Poet and Thirstin Howl III. They're not coming out of retirement - they just flew under the radar for a little while! Thanks for listening and remember to share the show with a friend and tell them to check it out every Tuesday on RapReviews.com! Don't forget to subscribe to our RSS newsfeed so you never miss a new episode.
* Doodlebug f/ DOR - Shine (U Can't Stop the Shine) * Thirstin Howl III - Return of the Polo Rican * Saukrates - Say I * Quan - Feel So Good * Lord Jamar - G-to-tha-O-to-tha-D * Blaq Poet f/ Blacastan - Butcher Shop Remix
Video: B.o.B. Birthday Party Nov. 15th in ATL @ Wild Bill's
Courtesy BF Blasts.
"november 15th is bob's platinum birthday party at wild bill's in atlanta. hosted by sway from mtv & shady 45 morning show. tickets $15 ticketmaster & wild bill's box office. greg street, jermaine dupri, b rich, tj's dj's, travis porter, future, j-dash & more special guest. the king ti may even rep the grand hustle family."
Sellassie announces the release of Stop Hatin' in the Bay Remix on January 1, 2011. You may ask yourself, what does Sellassie mean when he says "Stop Hatin' in the Bay." If you're a native to the San Francisco bay area, you've seen the posters. They are on thousands of poles in your neighborhood and on hundreds of liquor store and smoke shop windows across the Bay Area. Stop Hatin' in the Bay is Sellassie's plea to independent artists to support each other's music and movement, by first and foremost; LISTENING TO EACH OTHER. Stop Hatin' in the Bay is not just Sellassie's new single, it's a representation of who he is as an independent artist and entrepreneur, making marks in the bay area scene and nationally. It is a movement. Sellassie has built a name out of no name, a career from scratch as one of the most progressive and popular independent emcees in the Bay Area, while dealing with the same issues he describes in the song. As an innovator, Sellassie is the creator of the 2Racks Rap Contest and We All We Got Independent Concert Series. He has booked over 85 events with over 1,000 independent artists from across the country since mid-2009, creating opportunities as a young entrepreneur. At these shows, he's been exposed to upcoming, talented artists, some that can be easily be household names if the industry was more inviting and had the intentions of exposing new talent. Creating his own movement, Sellassie's trademark is to include not to exclude.
An aggressive and progressive lyricist, Sellassie's message in this song is positive and inspirational. It puts you in the shoes of the struggling independent artist trying to make it in today's unwelcoming and uninviting rap industry. Sellassie says, "I don't speculate on someone's music if I haven't listen to it, I think that's the fundamental problem with Hip Hop today. From mainstream to independent, somewhere along the line, we stopped listening to each other."
Initially released on the Sins of Your Forefathers Album, Stop Hatin' in the Bay remix offers a new sound to those familiar with Sellassie. The beat, produced by one of the West Coast's hottest music producers, Traxamillion is so unique, full of energy and sonically charged. Sellassie is defining as a voice of an independent artist, and as the underdog, consistently working to bridge gaps. Sellassie travels with his music and sees the same challenges across the country and plans to release additional remixes this fall for Stop Hatin' in LA and Stop Hatin' in the A (Atlanta).
Mickey Avalon has announced the dates for his upcoming Hi-5 Australia Tour in March of 2012 presented by RVCA, VonZipper and Suburban Noize Records. This tour marks the fifth year in a row that Avalon has returned to the land down under to perform his majestic live show. Tickets are now on sale at www.oztix.com.au and the tour is set to feature Australian Kid Mac as direct support.
Mickey Avalon struggled through many long, lonely, desperate nights under the dizzying city lights. It was there that Avalon made a personal vow that he would never forget the magic of things he loved the most in this world: his first fix, his first girl, and most importantly the first time he rocked a microphone. Mickey Avalon has done whatever it took to get him to and off Hollywood Blvd and is now inviting everyone into his world through his music.
Making a name for himself on the Hollywood club scene, Mickey's unique rhyming style showcased his brash bravado and focused on his experiences on the streets with drugs and prostitution. After countless sold-out shows along Hollywood’s legendary Sunset Strip, Interscope Records took notice and signed Avalon for the release of his now classic self-titled debut album, which led to tours with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stephen Marley, Snoop Dogg and performances with Travis Barker and DJ AM. Now free from his major label deal, Mickey Avalon is back in the studio putting the final touches on a new EP for release through Suburban Noize Records. Mickey Avalon's new video for the song “Tight Blue Jeans”, which was produced by Mike E Clark, can be viewed online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_7XsFsjefU&feature=channel_video_title .
MICKEY AVALON TOUR DATES: Dec 30 – Honolulu, HI, USA @ Blaisdell Arena Mar 01 - Adelaide, Australia @ HQ Complex Mar 02 - Melbourne, Australia @ ESPY ROOM, St, Kilda Mar 03 - Perth, Australia @ Villa Night Club Mar 09 - Gold Coast, Coolangatta, Australia @ Cooly Hotel Mar 10 - Sydney, Australia @ Manning Bar Mar 15 - New Castle, Australia @ Fanny's