Artist: Termanology Title: Talking to God Label: St. Records/Nature Sounds/EMI
"I'm talking to God/when you got, Kanye comparing Soulja Boy to Nas/I used to pray, used to pray for the cars/and the jewels and the money now I pray for rap stars... Puff Daddy comparin Lil Wayne to Biggie Smalls." This may be one of the most timely hip-hop singles released in a long time, as Termanology goes out of his way to reference feuds as recent as Shaquille O'Neal dissing Kobe Bryant, which is dope to listen to present tense but could just as easily result in the song becoming quickly dated. Nevertheless the somber strings and symphonic backdrop put across Termanology's point well, and hit the right note of nostalgia when he complains that "nowadays there's no graffiti on the train." Highly recommended for the headphones or an underground mixtape but definitely not a club banger.
Artist: Spit Syndicate Title: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow Label: Obese Records
Enjoy today, because tomorrow is promised to no one. We have all heard that message a million times. The overall message is that, since death is inevitable, you should not waste time allowing the barriers created by living from enjoying the actual state of being alive. This message is hammered home when one experiences the death of someone whom you are close to, or if one should experience a close engagement to a potentially life-ending event. According to the notes delivered with this single by the duo from Sydney, Australia, that appears to be their motivation for recording this song. The track, produced by M-Phaze, is an almost Kanye-ish confection that manages to rock mellow drums over a disco-based sample. The two emcees from Spit Syndicate do an adequate, but not magnificent, job of delivering the message I stated above. With this being their debut single from their new album "XXX", they should have come with something a little harder. Though this track does not do anything wrong, it does not do a whole lot to leave a lasting impression after the last snare track drum fades from your headphones. Though it would work well in a club environment, and would probably sound a lot nicer in a blend; it just does not do enough to make what I hear TODAY excited about what they might have to say TOMORROW.
Smooth lyrics centered on sensuality and romance. Soulful production with one foot firmly planted in R&B terrain. A guest vocal by Dwele. This song sounds as if it could have been recorded by Slum Village, and comes across in the same vein as their smash hit "Tainted" from a few years ago. However, though the chorus is fleshed out by Dwele, the track is not produced by Karriem Riggins; it was produced by Blackout Movement. In addition, the vocals are not by T3 and Elzhi; they feature a young emcee out of Youngstown, Ohio called Prycelezz (pronounced Priceless). It is an easygoing selection that falls in with the legendary Detroit collective's recent spate of radio hits (the aforementioned song and "Selfish"). However, Prycelezz executes an imaginative sing-song flow that simultaneously aligns him with SV, yet it differentiates him at the same time. For anyone who enjoyed those songs by SV, you will want to pick this one up as well.
Artist: Nas f/ Keri Hilson Title: Hero Label: Columbia Records
Something magic happened the night Nasir Jones met Polow Da Don in the studio. There's no question the two come from different rap backgrounds and styles, let alone completely different generations, but this track is as epic as anything on "Illmatic" or "Hip Hop Is Dead." Polow's beat goes old school with a tinkling electronic backdrop from the days of Afrika Bambaataa yet switches to new school with heavy synth change-ups and a bass drop designed to rupture even the best designed woofer box. This would be for naught if Nas wasn't spitting fire, but there's no question he was feeling the beat when he wrote these raps: "This universal apartheid/I'm hog-tied, the corporate side/Blocking y'all from going to stores and buying it/First L.A. and Doug Morris was riding wit it/But Newsweek article startled big wigs they said, Nas, why is he trying it?/My lawyers only see the Billboard charts as winning/Forgetting - Nas the only true rebel since the beginning/Still in musical prison, in jail for the flow/Try telling Bob Dylan, Bruce, or Billy Joel they can't sing what's in their soul/So UNTITLED it is." Nas may or may not be your "Hero" but after hearing this song he's STILL mine.
Artist: The Game Title: Dope Boys Label: Geffen Records
I don't know 1500 or Nothin' from Adam, but I do know that 1.5KN produces a very heavy hitting beat for The Game's "Dope Boys." It seems I hear a new song from "L.A.X." every two or three weeks, leading me to believe the entire album will be leaked out before the CD ever hits record stores. That's not a complaint though; it's more of a question as to whether Game's camp needs to tighten up the studio access or if they're releasing these on purpose to hype things up. Don't bother to answer though - we can all assume it's the latter. Lyrically this is pretty standard fare, with Game shouting out Luda and D.T.P. and spitting drug related raps like "a boss never touch work" and making veiled references about fucking Curtis like Shawnna. Game, your narcotic rap is all good to me since you've got the charisma and flow to pull it off, but it's about time to kill the beef with 50.
The original "Don't Touch Me (Throw the Water On 'Em)" was already one of the most bouncy pop songs released from Busta's (continually) delayed new album. As far as I can tell the only difference the "Travis Barker Remix" adds is a layer of guitar and a little bit heavier drums, but otherwise the song is essentially the same. Busta rips through the song in typical high-speed high-octane format and also uses his familiar gimmick of changing volume throughout the song - pulling the beat and delivery down to a whisper until to bring it back it up to scream DON'T TOUCH ME when necessary. The funniest part of the song may actually be when he stops flowing for a few seconds just to suck wind for a minute on the mic. As for the remix, I can't see how it adds to or improves the song, but the track is another surefire club hit for Trevor either way.
I was originally introduced to 2 Hungry Brothers, the duo of Ben Boogie and Deep (pictured Left to Right), by my friend Substantial a little over a year ago. Ever since that first conversation with Deep I’ve noticed more and more emcees I know and respect in the New York City area have been working with them. When Deep hit me with Table Manners, which is 2 Hungry Brothers’ latest release, and I saw the lineup on it, I knew it was time to find out more about them. This week I sat down with Deep, who is the more vocal of the two, and learned all I could about this dynamic duo that has both Portished and Homeboy Sandman in their CD changers, including what they look for in artists and how food brought them together.
In a surprising new twist on Young Buck's high profile feud with his former G-Unit comrade 50 Cent, The Game and Young Buck have united on their first record since the pair's separate ousters from the G-Unit family. The remix to Game's "Game Pain" is even more impressive as it features Unit rivals Jadakiss and Fat Joe, as well as Bun B, Pusha T and Queen Latifah. On the song, Game raps "Young Buck, welcome home." Thanks to www.udubnews.com for this update.
Clearly at this point the man is trying to break a record for the most incarcerations in a one week span. DMX was arrested yesterday on charges of purchasing cocaine and marijuana from an undercover narcotics officer in Miami. According to authorities, the Dark Man X attempted to cop "30 Powder & 15 Weed" before he was bagged up. Thanks to www.udubnews.com for this update.
Norfolk, VA – A music performance at the Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival by Boots Riley, the well-known front man for The Coup, ended abruptly with police charges of "abusive language." Boots was charged with an obscure law even the police had difficulty finding; citing him with § 18.2-416. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+18.2-416. This law has never been applied to a performer. In this situation, Boots' lyrics were only "provoking" a good time, as the vast majority of the people in attendance were dancing and visibly upset when the festival pulled the plug. The city is pressing forward with the charge – which the city is enforcing for the first time in 26 years. Since the incident on June 21st, numerous false reports have emerged, and Riley is looking to set the record straight. Riley claims the charges were racially motivated as they are part of a backlash from the recent Afr'Am Festival in Norfolk in which Gospel and R&B performances generated "noise complaints," despite the performers adhering to the same decibel parameters as all of Norfolk's other festivals. The Afr'am fest has been the subject of controversy since. Both festivals occurred at Towne Point Park, an area where high-priced condos have recently been built and an impending $11.5 million makeover is in the works. "City Officials claim that they are making the statement that profanity will not be tolerated," says Boots Riley. "Obviously, since no one has been charged with this in 26 years, profanity IS tolerated. The statement they are making is that the culture and the people they feel I represent won't be tolerated. I was already off stage; the man they asked to leave the stage was Trombone Shorty, another Black man who looks nothing like me. This happened at 10:00PM, and it was far from a 'family' atmosphere, most of the audience was intoxicated after drinking at the festival's bar - 'The Missing Kidney'. There was also a VIP section where free alcohol was distributed by the keg. Anyone who has been to a music festival on a Saturday night understands the scene. I did not leave the park afterward, as was claimed by FestEvents, the organizers of the Bayou Boogaloo Festival. I stayed and debated the validity of the charge with police and festival promoters. It is clear that this is part of a larger debate that has nothing to do with profanity, one that is being dealt with nationwide. That debate is about racism, gentrification and the ownership of public space." Neither FestEvents nor the city indicated that swearing was a concern at this paid-admission festival. Additionally, the chorus of the only song Riley performs on the album, the release of which brought him to Norfolk, VA in the first place, contains the phrase "What the F--k?”, inferring FestEvents knew what they were getting. There was never a "slew" of profanity as reports indicate, only a few words that were meant to flatter, explain a life situation, or used as a lyrical device to provoke positive thought. FestEvents' statement that Riley's act was a "surprise" to them is false. It was and is currently posted on their website with a hyperlink to Boots Riley and The Coup’s MySpace, under the link “The Bands of Bayou Boogaloo”. http://www.festeventsva.org/events.php?event=102&mini=122&events_site_PSID=hld8jgenmj8tjfggfpf2nej8c6 . Also, FestEvents-sanctioned and paid-for advertising for the event billed Boots Riley as a featured performer, indicating the city's claim of "not knowing he would perform" is false.