If you missed any of the new reviews this past week including Trinidad James' "10 Pc. Mild," then do yourself a favor and check out this week's edition of the (W)rap Up!
Trinidad James :: 10 Pc. Mild
Think It's a Game Ent./Dat Piff
Author: Emanuel Wallace
"For all intents and purposes, I'm STILL sure that Nicholas Williams is a nice guy. His on-stage persona, Trinidad James is STILL making people feel a certain way about him and the state of hip-hop. The jokes are STILL plentiful, but James is STILL getting the last laugh - all the way to the bank. In the year that has passed since "Don't Be S.A.F.E." was initially released, James' profile has certainly increased. He's doing live shows in some of the biggest venues and making guest appearances along this side some of the greatest in today's hip-hop stratosphere...not to mention the major label deal from Def Jam. The video for "Females Welcomed" was actually filmed in Trinidad & Tobago and directed by legendary photographer, Jonathan Mannion. A great number of people have labeled James as a one-hit wonder, but he's going to keep riding that wave until the tide dies down. So what's all the fuss about this time? Well, Trinidad James is back with his latest offering "10 Pc. Mild." The title is a reference to his favorite meal from American Deli and true to its name, the project is ten tracks deep. Production is handled by the likes of Childish Major, Travis Scott, J. Padron, Kyle King, Villo, Young Chop, K.E. On The Track, Jack Donaghue, XXYYXX, Westwood and Young Roc. This time around the featured guests include some big names like Cyhi The Prince, Danny Brown, Childish Gambino and Gucci Mane, to name a few. When asked about the feel of this project, James basically said that it was a tape filled with real turnt up music, a contrast from "Don't Be S.A.F.E." which James described as "chill." Things open up with "WutElse" which is comprised of a short medley followed by a mellow Trinidad James speaking over soft piano keys welcoming the listener to the affair before turning up and taking aim at any would-be naysayers. "Material Things Hard To Deal With" follows and features Cyhi The Prince as the two pontificate about the finer things in life - hoes, clothes and that money, of course. If nothing else, "Shut Up!!!" has the potential to get the club crunk after things have dulled down some. The vibe is decidedly more mellow with "Hipster Strip Club." At first listen, the song has a sonic feel to it and with subsequent spins, the question becomes just what is going on here? Is James telling the story of a troubled dancer? Is the track a big drawn out metaphor of him waving goodbye to Molly? Perhaps it's yet another trip. Mentions of the drug are almost brought to a screeching halt on this project, so it's hard to tell for sure."
Daz n WC :: Westcoast Gangsta Sh*t :: Dilly Recordz/Bigg Swang Recordz
as reviewed by Matt Jost
"If DJ Quik and Kurupt's "BlaQKout" brought together two different characters exploring - admittedly conceivable - common grounds, "Westcoast Gangsta Shit" adds up so nicely it will have fans of the subgenre the album is named after wondering, 'Why didn't this happen sooner?' Daz and WC sport very similar forceful, resolute flows, which not only makes them seem like long-lost cousins but also guarantees that what you see is what you get with "Westcoast Gangsta Shit." This record is about its two leads and the life and music style they represent, nothing more, nothing less. "You fuckin' with two legends, veterans, all that," Dub declares on the opening title track, and they are not about to jeopardize their standing by exploring new terrain the way Quik and Kurupt did (at least to some degree). Instead they present themselves as patrons of traditional West Coast rap values. They make sure the majority of the tracks have the bounce that has been a trademark of the later g funk era. Broadway and Touch Tone give "Westcoast Gangsta Shit" a light bounce by way of harp-like strings, The Arsonists do it with the help of pianos on "Stay Out the Way" as Snoop (no Lion) takes us back on the hook. Kuddie Fresh strings things out on "Don't Call it a Come Bacc," stretching both bass and synth lines. Meanwhile tune in to the rappers, and they haven't changed their topic of conversation. On "When the Shit Goes Down" they turn the tables and impose the burden of proof on those who "false represent." After the contribution from Houston's Beanz N Kornbread, they take the foot off the gas pedal with the Kj Conteh-produced, Eazy, Pac and Dre-sampling "Late Night." David Gold & Dae One and an uncredited singer make "Blam Blam" a sonically pleasing affair, even so it would be wrong to assume that Daz n Dub are any less unapologetic. And "Don't Get Wet," laced by production legend Battlecat, is the archetypical West Coast rap song that combines the peaceful musical vibes of funk with aggressive lyrical content, resulting in what we call gangsta funk. The spartan "Roll & Smoke" by Broadway & TJofthewest leaves room for imagination as the duo serenades the ladies. Trippy Keez is responsible for the album's only recognizable interpolation (Club Nouveau's "Why You Treat Me So Bad"), but "Wha'chagondo" is as far from wallowing in heartbreak as the Luniz' "I Got 5 on It" was."
Hieroglyphics :: The Kitchen :: Hiero Imperium
as reviewed by Jaroslav 'Czechone' Lavick
"Unless you're relatively new to hip hop or your tastes in the genre don't run very deep you'd be pretty familiar with the Hieroglyphics collective by now. At the very least names like Del and Souls of Mischief should mean something to you, and if you're a more dedicated hip hop fiend you were already thinking of Casual and Pep Love as soon as you saw the title of this review. Despite Hiero's existence for the past 20 years or so via numerous solo and collaboration albums, we've only had two albums from the crew as a whole (plus a few compilations) i.e. 1998's "3rd Eye Vision" and "Full Circle" in 2003. After so many years are this veteran crew still cooking up lots of fresh treats or things have gone a bit rotten on their third album called "The Kitchen"? I can't help feeling that the group are a little over-confident in telling us "ain't no debating they be waiting on Hiero" on "Immortals", as I'm not convinced there's a great deal of anticipation for Hiero's music nowadays (except from those who are staunch followers of everything related to the crew). Recent solo efforts from crew members have generally flown under the radar and I wonder how many people are still closely paying attention to releases from within the collective (did anyone check out the fantastic "Fallacy Fantasy" album by First Light AKA Opio and Pep Love?). Sure, Del seems to have high levels of expectation with his upcoming "Deltron Event II" album, but I wonder who can name his five most recent releases without looking them up (he was quite productive for a while on Bandcamp)? I think the lack of recent hype is quite a shame as there have been some great releases from individuals in the crew in recent years and hence some quality music has been overlooked (Opio's "Vulture's Wisdom" albums in particular are gems). However, there have also been moments of less than stellar work from within the ranks of Hiero (e.g. A-Plus with his long-awaited but disappointing solo "My Last Good Deed") so you can't totally blame people for losing touch with them. The diminished pressure that results from the lack of overall expectation can go two ways; it can allow their creativity to surprise people and regenerate a much needed buzz for the crew, or it can leave them complacent, leading to substandard product. I'm happy to announce it's mostly the former, but the release is not without some negatives."
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