September 2, 2014

Reader Review: De La Soul - AOI: Bionix (December 4, 2001)

(Today's Reader Review comes from Justa, who skips ahead in De La Soul's catalog to talk about their sixth full-length, AOI: Bionix, the second act in a three-part series that has yet to be completed, although rumor has it that De La might just finish this up sooner rather than later.  Anyway, leave your thoughts for Justa below.)

August 29, 2014

Kool Keith - Spankmaster (June 5, 2001)

With that album title and cover art, I imagine you two will be quickly scrolling down the screen, so as not to catch the eye of someone behind you wondering just what the fuck it is you're looking at during work hours.  Either that, or you're reading this in the employee bathroom.  Regardless, it's just an album cover: as we all know, "Kool" Keith Thornton has lots of interests, only one of them being porn, but man oh man, does he love his porn.

August 26, 2014

J-Zone - Peter Pan Syndrome (September 3, 2013)

A lot of hip hop heads didn't realize it at the time, but Jay "J-Zone" Mumford actually quit the rap game a few years after the release of his last solo album, A Job Ain't Nuthin' But Work.  Although he had many Interweb fans, that didn't translate into real world dollars for him to use, which caused him to lose his distribution deal with Fat Beats.  With mounting responsibilities and debts, he was forced to make a decision.  A lot of people can relate to this: it's hard to give up on your dream, even if it is for the greater good (read: financial stability).  So, aside from a few extraneous projects he dropped just to get them out into the world, he quietly exited stage left, choosing a life in the field of teaching instead of the glamour and glitz of being an underground producer-slash-rapper that had absolutely nothing to show for it, aside from boxes of unsold product sitting around the house.

However, this story doesn't actually have an ending yet.

August 22, 2014

Not Available In Stores! "Double L" - Double L Cools Down (Recorded in 1994/1995)

Well, here's something you don't see every day: a "lost" album from one of hip hop's biggest names, reportedly released by the artist himself while in a tiff with his record label.  This kind of shit happens all the time with smaller labels and underground artists who may not have the business savvy or the resources to protect themselves otherwise, but this isn't supposed to happen when you're signed to Def Jam, one of the most dominant hip hop labels in existence even today.  And it's definitely not supposed to happen when you are James Todd Smith, better known as LL Cool J.

August 19, 2014

A Reader's Gut Reaction: Cormega - Mega Philosophy (July 22, 2014)

(To capitalize on its recent release, today's Reader Review discusses Cormega's latest album, Mega Philosophy, which is notable as having been produced in its entirety by Large Professor. Shoe-In takes a break from all of that Hit Squad stuff to lend his thoughts: leave your own comments for him below.)

August 15, 2014

My Gut Reaction: Bronze Nazareth - School For The Blindman (September 13, 2011)

Although I've apparently decided to ignore all of those Wu-Tang Clan affiliates that wave the flag but otherwise have fuck-all to do with the core group (I'm fairly certain nobody wants to read a review about Makeeba Mooncycle, K.G.B., or the Shaolin Globetrottaz, right?), that doesn't mean that I've run out of things Wu-related to talk about. 

This is the point where I'm pretty sure a lot of you have checked out and have probably already left the blog in search of free music and/or medically sound ways to enlarge your penis.  But for those of you who stuck around, until the Clan proper drops A Better Tomorrow (if that's still what it's called), or until some wealthy benefactor chooses to leak Once Upon A Time In Shaolin in its entirety (which will happen: come on, nobody records music and releases it with the intention being that nobody ever gets to listen to it, so I'm convinced someone on the inside will let the water drip if said wealthy benefactor is a stingy motherfucker), what we're stuck with are the leftovers, the projects that I just hadn't had the time to get to until now.  Such as Bronze Nazareth's (official) second album, School For The Blindman.

August 12, 2014

Max's Significantly Delayed Reaction To XXL's Freshmen Class Of 2012: What A Difference Two Years Can Make

When I first wrote about XXL's annual Freshman Class list in 2012, it was more of a lark than anything else: I figured it would be a quick break from album reviews, and this way I could also comment on newer rappers who would probably never see the light of day on the blog otherwise. But when I wrote my follow-up last year, I half-jokingly mentioned that I would like to follow up on these ten artists annually, tracking their progress and their struggles in the music industry, almost like my own version of the UP documentary series, except with far less compelling subject matter.

I can't guarantee I'll have the patience to do this again in 2015, but for now, let's see where these nine guys and one girl have landed.