No joke, no fooling: I'm taking a little bit of a "forced hiatus", as minor computer issues have compounded with conflicts in my daily schedule, making it impossible for me to actually sit down and write (or edit, in the case of Reader Reviews). I plan on being back after regrouping and reorganizing what I have planned for the future of the blog, but in the meantime, leave your thoughts, requests, and questions in the comments below, and I'll try to respond as often as I can.
Just don't ask me about that Mobb Deep album, though. I'm fully aware of its existence and plan on dealing with it accordingly.
Be back soon,
April 1, 2014
March 28, 2014
(There has to be a few of you who hope every day that a Cam'Ron review runs on the blog, right? Well, today isn't really that day, but until someone submits a write-up of their own, you'll have to make do with Taylor K.'s Reader Review for Jim Jones and his third album, Hustler's P.O.M.E. (Product Of My Environment). Leave your thoughts for Taylor K. below.)
March 24, 2014
Since I've already run a Reader Review for Sean Price's third album, Mic Tyson, I figured I may as well scratch the man off of my list today. If/when he sees fit to release another solo project (as I just noticed that there was a five-year wait in between his sophomore album, Jesus Price Supastar, and Mic Tyson), I may or may not throw him back into the mix: most likely I'll be too busy writing screenplays and short stories from the comfort of my hovering skycondo to still pay any attention to this blog. (Does that sound like a future you don't wish to live in? With the blog, anyway: I'm sure you two could care less if I end up purchasing a hovering skycondo. Then help me extend the site's life by submitting a Reader Review or two for stuff I'll probably never get to. Shameless plea!)
March 20, 2014
Reader Review: Large Professor - The LP (originally scheduled for 1996; oficially released July 1, 2009)
(Today's Reader Review comes from Shoe-In, who decided to tackle Large Professor's formerly-lost debut album, The LP, so that I didn't have to. And yes, he even uses that one line from the Tribe song during the intro. Come on, you all knew that was going to happen. Leave your thoughts for Shoe-In below.)
March 16, 2014
In honor of St. Patrick's Day tomorrow, a holiday for which I'm certain the only two known ways to celebrate are to get sloppy drunk and to wear green somewhere on your person, today I bring to you two a review for a project that I was aware existed, but wasn't looking much forward to actually listening to. It comes from one-third of the are-they-or-aren't-they-defunct hip hop trio Tha Alkaholiks, specifically the one-third that you all were frequently naming as one of my favorite emcees when the comment sections of various posts were filled with your best guesses, and to be honest, I'm terrified that listening to this will cause me to rethink my position.
March 12, 2014
(Today's Reader Review comes from Standos, who wrote about West Coast duo Low Profile's debut (and only) album, We're In This Together. Low Profile is considered a footnote in the hip hop history books today merely because Cali stalwart WC was a part of the duo. Leave your thoughts for Standos below.)
March 8, 2014
(After a brief four-day nap (you two realized that running three posts in one day would probably lead to me skipping a round, right?), today I run a Reader Review for an artist I pretty much know nothing about, which makes for the best kind of Reader Reviews for me personally. Crazy Dave (better known as the commenter Dave Tarantino) takes on Decatur-based Jarren Benton's debut album, My Grandma's Basement. I've since figured out that Benton is known for his shock-value punchlines and use of trap-ish beats, which at least makes it seem like he isn't gunning for the Odd Future throne. After a really quick intro, he jumps right in, so get settled in and leave your thoughts for him below.)
February 28, 2014
A fun game is to bury yourself in work, declare that said work is a “project” that needs to be completed in a timely fashion, and then you keep pushing the deadline further and further into the future as you add new work on top of said “project”. Today's post is an example of such a phenomenon, with a twist: although it will appear as though I'm adding Schoolboy Q to my list of artist catalogs I need to complete, I'm also fucking finishing it. Today.
Yep. You should probably get a snack.
February 24, 2014
(This is a perfect example of what I call 'running a Reader Review in order to buy myself some time'. Which isn't much of a nickname for a process, but whatever. Today's contribution is an admittedly old one submitted approximately nineteen years ago by Sir Bonkers (of the Diggin In The Crates blog), who apparently decided to tackle Lil' Cease (of the probably-defunct Junior M.A.F.I.A. Clique) and his solo debut, The Wonderful World Of Cease-A-Leo, on a whim. Leave your thoughts for him, and that infamous dumbass album cover art, below. And I apologize for the fucked-up formatting: Blogger is acting like a baby.)
February 20, 2014
He doesn't pop up on this site all that often, but Chris “Ludacris” Bridges was, at least at one point, one of the most underrated rappers in the game. His elastic flow, jokes, and genial shit-talking ranks him with some of the best that ever did it, and that's not me being sarcastic. Unfortunately, he is oftentimes discounted because of many factors: his choice in subject matter, his beat selection, the company he keeps, and even his home base, Atlanta, since we're all supposed to only follow one messiah from that region, and that slot was taken by OutKast's Andre 3000 years ago. Hell, he's even distanced himself a bit from our chosen genre, choosing to take roles in high-profile movie sequels that feature cars driving fast instead. Most hip hop heads write him off as a guy who excels at singles, mainly because he has released a bunch of catchy-ass singles, but they don't dig far enough to discover that Ludacris can actually rap, and is also pretty funny when he wants to be.
February 16, 2014
So today features yet another Wu-Tang Clan-related post. At least it's regarding an actual member of the group, as opposed to one of their zillions of offshoots, weed carriers, or U-God, so I expect to see only a mild amount of complaining. Once again, if you're violently against seeing any Wu stuff on the blog, (a) why do you keep coming here, anyway?, and (b) just give it a few days. Change is constant, at least as long as I have my regular schedule going.
February 12, 2014
Seven years ago today I decided to start writing the type of album reviews that I wanted to read myself: reviews that both included track-by-track analyses of each song, intro, interlude, and skit, and tried to place each entry into the overall pop culture consciousness. And also with a shit-ton of italics and some much-needed humor, because writing reviews of music is inherently silly and, of all genres, hip hop takes itself rather seriously for what it is.
February 6, 2014
Rawkus Records released Soundbombing III, the third (and as of now, final) installment in the series, in 2002. That year was one of great change for our chosen genre, and even though they were seen as an underground label (or “the” underground label, depending on where you stand), Rawkus wasn't immune to the necessity of having a cash flow in order to keep their company afloat. As such, Soundbombing III marked a transition from aiming squarely for the backpackers to trying to appeal to all audiences, a paradigm shift that didn't sit well with most hip hop heads, and which eventually led to the implosion of the label. But that's getting too far ahead of myself.
February 2, 2014
In 1996, Donnie “Mad Skillz” Lewis released his debut album, From Where???, on Big Beat Records. He received this opportunity based on a second-place finish in a freestyle competition (where he lost to underground stalwart Supastition). Even with the little promotion he received (relative to actual known artists, anyway), he still managed to secure two minor radio hits, “The Nod Factor” (for the heads that like to nod) and “Move Ya Body” (a R&B-flavored song for the ladies), thanks to his need to satisfy all demographics. Donnie even secured some A-list assistance on his debut, in the form of Large Professor, Jay Dee (or Dilla, as he is better known today (R.I.P.)), Q-Tip, Buckwild, and The Beatnuts (who actually produced “The Nod Factor”).
However, mild critical acclaim and two radio hits failed to translate into a project that moved millions of units, so, branded as a failure because that's how the major labels worked back then, Donnie was cast off to be with those who hadn't ever signed record deals. So, you know, regular people.
January 29, 2014
My Gut Reaction: Dreddy Krueger Presents...Think Differently Music: Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture: The Lost Files (June 21, 2011)
WARNING: Today's post is Wu-Tang in nature. Most of you two already know my deal when it comes to this blog, so you'll probably just keep quiet and move it along. However, if you are vehemently and violently against the Wu-Tang Clan for some ungodly reason and refuse to see anything written in virtual ink about the group as a whole, I advise you to step away from the blog for a few days, and maybe, just maybe, there'll be something else for you to bitch about.
Still here? Seriously? Alright then.
January 25, 2014
My Gut Reaction/Something Different: Kenna - Land 2 Air Chronicles II: Imitation Is Suicide - Chapter 3 (December 3, 2013)
Finally managing to fulfill one of his promises, Kenna Zemedkun released the third and final entry in his Imitation Is Suicide series in December of 2013. I say “finally” even though it was hardly the dude's fault that all of his other rumored projects and release dates fell by the wayside: that can easily be blamed on his record labels and the music industry as a whole, running with the current trends instead of trying to build an artist from the ground up. So maybe this joint venture with Dim Mak, Steve Aoki's label, will pay off handsomely in the end.
January 21, 2014
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” My use of that quote was unintentional: the fact that it is attached to a review that is running so close to the holiday named after the man is just a happy coincidence. But I believe that message certainly applies to the subject of today's post, Ryan “Royce da 5'9”” Montgomery, who has certainly seen his share of both challenge and comfort.
January 17, 2014
Hey, you're still here. That's awesome. I'm going to let you in on a secret: I'm as sick of that picture from the previous post as you are. So as a reward for sticking around, today I'm running a review that I actually meant to run sometime last year, but never did, as I wasn't really inspired to finish listening to the album until now. Whether that's a signifier of my overall feelings of the fourth full-length album (and sixth project overall, counting EPs, but skipping instrumental discs) from The Beatnuts, Take It Or Squeeze It, is something you'll have to wait until the end of the write-up to see. Or skip ahead, I don't give a shit; they all count as page views anyway.
Apologies for the weird spacing throughout. Oh, that Blogger has a mind of its own.
December 29, 2013
As we come to the end of yet another year, it's time to reflect on how far our chosen genre was been able to progress, and also on how many steps back it was forced to take thanks to the quality of the output this year. 2013 wasn't a bad year by any stretch of the imagination, but it had its fair share of disappointments, and I want you to discuss both your favorite and most hated moments of the year, in addition to you rfavorite and least favorite posts, in the comments below. Here, I'll even start.
December 26, 2013
Back in 2012, Cypress Hill were at a crossroads. Having released their last project, Rise Up, two years prior, the founding trio of the group, made up of rappers B-Real and Sen Dog alongside their producer-slash-deejay Muggs (Eric Bobo also counts as a member, but he has nothing to do with today's article), counted themselves as members of a musical genre that none of them felt as comfortable with as they may have before. This was evident when you recall their excursions into rap-rock and reggae, which I'm sure most of us would like to gloss over, but that shit really happened, you can't will it out of existence. So they did what any reasonable rap group might do when faced with career-altering decisions: they went to the club.