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.

August 8, 2014

My Gut Reaction: Memphis Bleek - 534 (May 17, 2005)

(What follows is an excerpt of a screenplay that was found in the remnants of a house fire in the Marcy Projects.  The fire appeared to be set deliberately, as though the owner had bills piling up and his income wasn't matching his lifestyle, almost like his music career wasn't paying as many dividends as they once might have.)

August 5, 2014

The Roots - The Tipping Point (July 13, 2004)

2004 was apparently a transition year for Philadelphia-bred hip hop band The Roots. After the release of their fifth album, Phrenology, two years prior, the group saw their numbers dwindling a bit. In the span of two years, they lost several band members, secondary emcee Malik B. (who, sadly, chose drug addiction over making music, although he's gotten a lot better, as I understand it), and human beatbox Scratch, best known for not being Rahzel, the Roots Crew's other human beatbox, who had left to pursue solo ventures quite a while ago. (They also lost guitarist Ben Kenney to the rock band Incubus. Seriously. I like a couple of Incubus songs, but honestly, he may as well have defected for Limp Bizkit or some other band so irrelevant today that they don't even make radars capable of measuring their impact.)

August 1, 2014

My Gut Reaction / For Promotional Use Only: Fat Joe - The Darkside III (August 26, 2013)

One of the problems with trying to be clever and writing about an active artist's back catalog in reverse chronological order, thereby tracking their progress (or regression) throughout their career, comes when the artist in question continues releasing new material. I sort-of have that problem with LL Cool J, and I most certainly am seeing that with Joe “Fat Joe” Cartagena, whose discography I've barely touched since I threw him onto my list, mostly because the man won't stop working. I suppose it isn't really a “problem” to Large Joseph: at least he derives some sort of financial reciprocation for all of the work he puts in? One can only hope.

July 29, 2014

Reader Review: Das EFX - Dead Serious (April 7, 1992)

(After a discussion on Twitter, in which I revealed that I don't give that much of a shit about Das EFX (nothing personal against the guys: I just picked the side that Reggie Noble ended up with and kind of ran with that), Shoe-In took it upon himself to at least try to convert others who hadn't yet made up their minds about the duo. Continuing with his Hit Squad theme, here's the write-up for Das EFX's debut, Dead Serious. Leave some thoughts for Shoe-In below.)