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[Melting the Crown] Worth its weight in gold.

Z-Ro Review

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The (W)rap Up - Week of March 15, 2011


"If 40 is the new 30 then 30 must be the new 20, because at 33 years old Reks still sounds like he was born yesterday. After ten years strong in hip-hop he seems to only get better with age, although some may have thought he peaked in 2008 with the critically acclaimed "Grey Hairs." Not so. Quietly behind the scenes Reks was working on his next big release, dropping "More Grey Hairs" in the interim to appease the fans who wanted more. What is it about Reks that creates that demand though? Well for one this Boston based rapper has a witty delivery that mocks the conventions of rap music while at the same time celebrating the art of creating hip-hop classics. On the Blaze P produced song "The Underdog," Reks uses the hook to sardonically call himself "the greatest rapper no one heard about," then goes on to prove it might be true. I'm a sucker for harps in hip-hop beats, but Reks wrecks the best one that I've heard since PaceWon had rap "Locked" while simultaneously threatening to blast Torae with his own double barrel while asking the question on a lot of hip-hop fans minds"

Jesse Abraham :: One Day :: {self-released}
as reviewed by Mike Baber
[One Day]

"And so begins the opening track on Manhattan-born Jesse Abraham's debut EP, coming on the heels of several 2010 mixtapes that garnered respect among the New York underground hip-hop community. It doesn't take long to realize that Abraham is not your typical emcee; one can probably count the number of white Jewish rappers on one hand. In no way, though, is this meant to suggest that he is unworthy of blessing the mic. Growing up during the golden age of hip-hop gave him a deep passion and appreciation for hip-hop and the culture that surrounds it, and these old-school influences can definitely be heard in his beats and rhymes. Simply put, Abraham has been a hip-hop head from day one (he claims to have written his first rhyme at the age of nine), and his understanding for the music itself allows him to come across as an intelligent and well-versed rapper. "

Brand Nubian :: Time's Runnin' Out :: Sound of Dissent/Traffic Entertainment
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **

as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Time's Runnin' Out] 
""Time's Runnin' Out" is many ways a curiosity. This is (to date) the final album in the long career of Brand Nubian, dating all the way back to the seminal hip-hop classic "One For All" in 1990. That career has not been without some tumult in their membership. Founding member Grand Puba left to develop a solo carer and wouldn't rejoin the team until "Foundation" in 1998. The critical acclaim the reunion received must not have been a strong enough motivating factor to record another album, because it would be six MORE years until the Nubians joined forced again to release "Fire in the Hole." All the while the individual members of the group made solo albums and continue to do so to this day - the most recent being Sadat X's "Wild Cowboys II" in 2010. This group often doesn't act much like one at all. Nevertheless the Brand Nubian name carries weight in the hip-hop world, and at times it has carried some controversy as well. They've been accused of everything from being racist to homophobic to anti-semetic, and through it all they've taken the criticism in stride and kept on moving."

Custom Made :: Hi-Def :: Coalmine Records
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

"L.A. rappers Custom Made have had their share of trials and tribulations since entering the rap game in 2002. They’ve had members leave, members incarcerated, and their former label sat on “Hi-Def” for over a year before the group got it released by NY label Coalmine. Custom Made haven’t let any of these setbacks get them down, however. They’ve slimmed down to a trio of  Bluff, Element, and Scoobs, and have kept releasing mixtapes in the interim. “Hi-Def” is their third official album, coming three years and a mess of label drama since 2008’s “Original Dynasty” on Babygrande. Their sound could be described as O.G. L.A. street rap. They come off like veterans who are weary from the life of streets and the life of a hip-hop artist. They are getting it from all sides: when they aren’t dealing with shiesty club owners and labels, disrespectful crowds, and the grind of touring and recording, they are dealing with the daily drama of the streets, ex-girlfriends, and soured personal relationships."

various artists :: HipHop World :: Lola's World
as reviewed by Matt Jost

[HipHop World] 
"Musical trend as well as cultural force, hip-hop went global long before the worldwide web became such a handy tool in connecting people all around the world. Yet for all the globetrotting it's done, hip-hop as a global phenomenon is rarely commemorated via compilations. In almost every hip-hop spot there are only two scenes that matter - the domestic one and the North American one. French and British rappers regularly attract their share of international attention, but on a global scale they remain exceptions. On the double disc "HipHop World," German world music label Lola's World gathers over 30 tracks from various local scenes. Led by a handful of familiar faces of international hip-hop such as k-os from Canada, Leningrad-born and London-bred DJ Vadim, Mexico's Control Machete, and Senegal's Daara J, the sampler covers a lot of unknown territory. Unlike the vast majority of compilations on the market, "HipHop World" discloses who picked the songs. That fact alone gives it immense credibility."

June Marx :: Core of Vengeance :: Holographic Pagoda Records
as reviewed by Daniel Oh

[Core of Vengeance] 
"It's hard to apply an opinion shaped by modern trends to this album. Especially when it has an opening sample that goes something like this:

I will tell you why God got furious, we did not teach our children the ancient ways of this land…all they knew were the customs. The opening track of "Core of Vengeance", "Spear of Destiny", is a throwback to the old Jedi Mind Tricks and Apathy tracks from the late 90s and early 2000s. It hits nonstop with violins and ominous bells, with an unmistakable New York accent dropping that intellectual gangsta. There are elements of established New York players like Immortal Technique and GZA/Genius in June Marx's flow, as he aims for the dome with his hard-hitting flow. This type of style doesn't having any unifying plot, gimmick, or theme to really tie a verse together; just a heavy dose of one-two-three combinations of bars that hit like a Manny Pacquiao barrage. It goes well with the unrelenting cadence that frames the song, and gives a good introduction for what's in store for the rest of the album. "

Mad Child :: M.A.D.E. EP :: Battle Axe/Suburban Noize Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"If you heard one sentence more than one time about Shane Bunting in the last 15 years, there's a good chance it's "How is he still alive?" By his own admission, Mad Child is the textbook example of letting fame and fortune be your own undoing. The success of Swollen Members LITERALLY gave this Van City rapper a swollen head, leading him to believe he could consume massive quantities of drugs and alcohol with no consequences physically or financially. His life spiraled out of control to the degree that he decided to go cold turkey in 2009, a decision that was better for his health long run but which caused the already troubled emcee to be on the wrong end of a painful detox. Thankfully when you're a rapper the best way to vent your frustrations is to write rhymes, and Mad Child has been dropping one EP after another to get the shit out of his system, figuratively and literally. And thus on "Dead Man Walking" from "M.A.D.E." you hear Shane Bunting's soul laid bare, stripped of any egotistical drug-addled superstar delusions. It's ballsy in its honesty and a perfect portrait of what coming out of a self-induced haze really feels like. If Charlie Sheen ever decides to take sobriety seriously too he might write a few poems like these. That's right - poems. They are given rap beats and on occasion rap hooks are even scratched in, but they definitely speak of personal hell and torment more than your average braggadocious rapper. "

[The Unkomfortable Silence]

"It's easy for me to believe Melo Kan is a ten year veteran of the rap game with two previous albums out. Even though we've never reviewed either of those previous releases, it may be that Melo Kan's "The Unkomfortable Silence" is a new peak of confidence for the aspiring rap artist, and as such he's seeking a far wider audience for his last album than previously local album releases. And the fact is Melo Kan is not that bad on the mic. He certainly lives up to the "mellow" part of his name - this is not a guy who feels the need to scream and shout and threaten violence to get his point across. There are some solid B+ and up songs on this CD. "I'm Still In Love With Her" has a jazzy piano backdrop from Stan Beats and nicely follows up on a concept Common introduced to hip-hop back in the 1990's. The For'Son laced "Reachin'" has brassy horns, a breezy chorus, and Melo chooses evocative lyrical descriptions you're not used to - his "palpitating heart" instead of his "beating heart" - and that's the kind of creativity that sets rappers apart." Da Legend :: The Myth or the Legend :: NDL
as reviewed by Daniel Oh

[The Myth or the Legend] 
"Versatility is an underrated talent for a lot of artists. I think it takes a lot of intelligence, deep understanding, and raw talent to be able to switch up style, flow, and tone to fit any beat. That would be the most redeeming quality of Napoleon da Legend on his 9-song release "The Myth or The Legend". That's not to say that Napoleon isn't skilled with his flow, nor am I saying that Napoleon is subpar with his lyrics. He's sharp on both major qualities of a rapper, but I'd say the one thing that helps tip him over the scales is his versatility. It might be better if I just go focus on a few tracks to describe what I'm talking about. With "The Myth or the Legend", J-Dub the Sound Professor crafts a nice combination of vocals, chimes, and staccato hi-hats and claps to give the beat a feel like a Middle Eastern minefield. Napoleon takes his time to speak over the somewhat chaotic cadence to glue the song together. He's got some nice bars like: "Couldn't follow da Legend with ankle detectors, or GPSes" and "fuck Bonaparte Josephine, I married Joan of Arc." The entire song is just a showcase of Napoleon's lyrical prowess and his ability to drop knowledge, which is pretty nice. "

[Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang] 
"Originally this album was conceived as Raekwon's response to "8 Diagrams", as he stated numerous objections to the sound and style of the album in interviews after it was released. It was stated that "Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang" would be an album of original beats NOT produced by RZA or his affiliates, featuring any and all members of the Clan who wanted to participate on it. Time passed and so did the debate about "8 Diagrams," and while there have been the usual slate of Wu solo albums and a few compilations, that "response" never emerged and in all likelihood was forgotten about by all but the most dedicated Wu-Tang Clan heads. A little over three years after "8 Diagrams" the idea of "Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang" has resurfaced in the form of a solo album from founding Wu member Raekwon the Chef. He's long been a fan favorite for his storytelling raps, raspy voice and colorful slang, and came correct in 2009 with a long awaited Part Two sequel to his classic "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx" album. Raekwon's never been the type to rest on his laurels though, whether his albums have been critically acclaimed or strictly for the underground hardcore Wu heads. It makes sense for Rae to drop "Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang" on a variety of levels." 

The Adam B Experience (ABX) Podcast #44

Adam: "There's a lot of music that I'm really excited about in this month's installment of my Adam B Experience podcast. From killer collaborations, like the ones with Navegante and iLLspoKinN, and Doug Simpson and Coole High, to some really strong solo work from some longtime ABX faves, whether alone, or with a crew, everyone shines brightly. It's 40+ minutes of music, and if you're an emcee please pay special attention to the first few minutes of the podcast, there's an opportunity in there for ya! Follow me on Twitter at @AdamsWorldBlog or hit me up with feedback at" The Adam B Experience is 100% PODSAFE and TOTALLY FREE so tell your friends to download ABX right here at!

Download Here (right click to save)

The Hip-Hop Shop #116 - Names You Know & Trust

It's time for another dope edition of The Hip-Hop Shop! This episode is called Names You Know & Trust which means we'll be bringing you some familiar faces like Savant, Cormega, Pete Rock and 9th Wonder just to name a few. If you like the show or have some feedback follow me on Twitter @angrymarks; or send your podsafe (RIAA free) music and advertising requests to Thanks for listening and remember to share the show with a friend and tell them to check it out every Tuesday on!

Download Here (right click to save)

Tracks featured this week:

* Camp Lo & Pete Rock - Mic Check
* Apollo Brown & Has-Lo - Heirlooms
* Cormega & The Revelations - Live and Learn
* Lil B f/ 9th Wonder, Jean Grae, Phonte - Base For Your Face
* Savant f/ Dee 'Shogun' Jackson, Dominique Larue - Rely On Me
* Foreign Legion - The Ultimate

Video: "MilzDaGifted Presentz HooD PoLiTiC$"

From CeedaCuban:

Video: "MilzDaGifted Presentz HooD PoLiTiC$"

Check out the Flushing Documentary Hood Politics feat Milzdagifted Nutso.

Video: KeeM the FranchiZe - "Still Standing"

From ISLH:

Video: KeeM the FranchiZe - "Still Standing"

About KeeM the FranchiZe:

Presently and without question the world of Hip Hop continues to expand and be influential. Influenced by Hip Hop, KeeM The FranchiZe, is now part of that expansion. Born Juaquenn Gunn II, the Detroit native recalls listening to a broad range of music growing up which helped to shape his musical interest. However, there was something magnetic and fascinating about Hip Hop that later inspired him to pursue being an Emcee.
At an early age he joined his first group, and finally performed at his first show. KeeM recalls, “That the feeling was liberating.” He was in awe of the power of the mic, and that it could cause such change in a person's life. At that moment KeeM decided to use his skills and talents to ignite a positive change in the lives of others.
KeeM was later signed to his first record deal as part of a three man group. One album and many singles later, KeeM decided to branch out as a solo artist. Influenced by artists such as Lupe Fiasco, Q-Tip, Common, Mute Math, and Daft Punk, KeeM continues to develop his style and lyrical ability. Listening to everything from Rock, R&B, Gospel, Jazz and Techno keeps KeeM well rounded and versed in multiple genres of music. Every genre is special and inspires KeeM to be a diverse artist. Audiences will witness this thought-provoking and unique fusion on KeeM's up and coming Debut Album entitled ARENA READY!
This songwriter / author / actor / student filmmaker / philanthropist is determined to make a global impact. His mission is to ignite, inspire, and influence through his words and music, and the visual presentation of his songs. After listening to his music and seeing him perform, KeeM’s hope is that audiences will feel the desire to Dream Big & Live Free!

MP3: Swazy Styles f/ 50 Cent, Mann - "Buzzin"

From Yo! PR:

MP3: Swazy Styles f/ 50 Cent, Mann - "Buzzin"

DOWNLOAD: Swazy Styles ft. Mann & 50 Cent .

"Buzzin" is was best describes the heavy grind from Miami rap juggernaut Swazy Styles, who is setting the city of Miami and the rest of the southern hemisphere on fire with his blazing and electrifying club hits. Heavy influenced by modern Electro/House music, Swazy's hypnotizing musical creativity combined with his hit-making formula has catapulted the refreshing hipster in a league with MIA's most rocking rap stars.

Currently gearing up for the release of his new mixtape "Fist Pumpin Music", hosted and mixed by Miami Power 96's DJ Def, Swazy Styles drops his fire remix "Buzzin", featuring Mann and G-Unit honcho 50 Cent.

What's more? Swazy Styles' rocking "Like This" video received more than 250,000 views on YouTube in only (4) weeks!

To watch the video, visit .

Video: Fatnice - "Peace Love Unity and Havin Fun"

From Joe Left Hand:

Video: Fatnice - "Peace Love Unity and Havin Fun"

Here’s some new ish from my mellow Fatnice of 84 from the South Side of Chicago b/w of Philly. We’re cooking up a mixtape fresh for 2011. Prepping for the release of his forthcoming project ‘It’s Nice To Meet You’ Fatnice of 84 let’s loose the feel good anthem Peace, Love, Unity and Having Fun. Produced by Brizzo and inspired by the Afrika Bambaata/James Brown collaboration ‘Unity’ released in 84, Fatnice says that he wanted to create something that spoke against the violence that was occuring in Chicago and simultaneously remind the world what the culture of HIP HOP was founded upon. Enjoy and get loose!!

Peace Love Unity & Havin’ Fun. Word to the Zulu Nation.

MP3: Apollo Brown f/ Has-Lo - "Heirlooms"

From Mello Music Group:

MP3: Apollo Brown f/ Has-Lo - "Heirlooms"

Detroit producer Apollo Brown recently released his new instrumental opus Clouds to universal critical & popular acclaim.   A lot of emcees have been laying down vocal sessions over the inspiring collection of beats, but when the newest emcee to sign with Mello Music Group decided to jump on Apollo's Heirloom instrumental, we had to share it with the world.
Has-Lo begins his verse over the relaxed beat contemplating the discovery of priceless treasures lost to time, then lays "a partition between me and the sea of emcees" that casually weaves it's way between claps, glimmering strings, and starightforward drums.  As a bonus, the track fades out with cuts from Has-Lo himself.
You can check the whole Clouds album of 27 Apollo Brown instrumentals everywhere and tomorrow you can check Has-Lo's debut MMG Album In Case I Don't Make It in an exclusive week early pre-release at itunes!  Stay tuned for the vinyl edition of Apollo Brown Clouds coming soon!
Enjoy this free download and feel free to post and share.

MP3 Download: Apollo Brown "Heirlooms" f/ Has-Lo at .

Video: Pharoahe Monch Speaks On His "W.A.R." Album

We'll have a review of "W.A.R." up later tonight but in the meantime check out this video.

Video: Pharoahe Monch Speaks On His "W.A.R." Album

PR Co. Kicks Off Search for the Next Great Female Rapper

From S&H:

PR Co. Kicks Off Search for the Next Great Female Rapper

In Honor of Women’s History Month, Newly Launched S&H Public Relations Celebrates Kick Off with National Campaign to Find the Next Great Female Rapper

PR company searches for independent female MC to lead the next generation of female rap artists.

Los Angeles, March 2011 – S&H Public Relations is positioning itself as a new leader in the world of entertainment PR.  Catering to independent Hip Hop artists, S&H aims to shine the spotlight on quality artists who lack proper promotion.  Disturbed by the lack of women in an overwhelming male-dominated industry, S&H’s first order of business is to address the issue by holding a national talent search for the next great female MC.

“No disrespect to Nicki Minaj but she shouldn’t be the only one to come up in most mainstream conversations about women in Hip Hop.  This tells us that something is very wrong with the way women are perceived in this field,” says S&H Public Relations’ co-founder Sebastien Elkouby.  “Though female rappers such as Sha-Rock, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, and Lauryn Hill have all made history, women who rap have always been underrepresented.  We decided to launch S&H in March to coincide with Women’s History Month to send a message about the need for balance in Hip Hop.”

During the month of March until April 15, 2011, S&H Public Relations is accepting music from female rap artists around the nation.  S&H co-founder, Carey Harris says, “We’ll listen to as many artists as we can and select the one who truly brings something new to the table.  We’re looking for independent and unsigned artists who have that “it” factor but simply lack promotion.”  Artists are required to have some basic online presence as well as music available for download on their own site or sites such as ITunes, Napster, Amazon, SoundCloud, ReverbNation, or BandCamp.

Elkouby comments, “I’m confident that we’re going to find someone who’s going to change the game and inspire a new wave of talented female rappers.  It’s just a matter of time now.”

For details and information, artists are encouraged to visit S&H Public Relations at and click on Talent Search.  Candidates are encouraged to send their links and copyrighted music to

About S&H Public Relations

S&H Public Relations is a Los Angeles - based company dedicated to promoting Hip Hop artists and culture. We pride ourselves on working with artists who aim to push Hip Hop music forward.  We believe that many talented Hip Hop artists, usually referred to as “underground”, are often overlooked due to lack of resources.  S&H’s goal is to provide affordable public relations services to quality artists who are looking to receive greater exposure.

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Welcome to for the week of April 14th, 2015!! Please like us on Facebook and shop Amazon through RapReviews so we can bring you new material every week. This week we have TWELVE new items for you to enjoy: Clear Soul Forces' "Gold PP7s," an editorial on Twenty Important Rap Videos From 1992 that's delivered in two installments, Zach Gase's Red Pill interview, Jellyfish Brigade's "Diving Lessons," Steve 'Flash' Juon's The Hip-Hop Shop #321, Open Mike Eagle's "A Special Episode Of," Poe Pro's "The Sedated Hype Man," Red Pill's "Look What This World Did To Us," the "Uni-Fi Records Mixtape Vol. 1" compilation, Emanuel Wallace's The (W)rap Up for Apr. 7, 2015 and Z-Ro's "Melting the Crown" (our featured review)!

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