May 19, 2020

Revisionist History #1: Two Alternate Takes on Wu-Tang Forever (1997)

An idea I had been toying with for a long time, but only for the better part of a year as a serious endeavor, is a new series that will be referred to, for now anyway, as Revisionist History. With this, yet another excuse for me to not write an album review (I'm not exactly hurting for those, right?), I aim to explore just how important an album's sequencing is for its success. Putting songs in a specific order on any project is an art form, one that I am currently practicing through the trial-by-fire that is recording any episode of RandoMax Radio, and the way one song flows into the next deeply impacts how it is received by the listener. Or at least it does when the artists gives a shit.

Not that sequencing even seems to matter in the streaming era, when anyone can simply just hit 'next' whenever they don't want to listen to a thing, but there are some artists that do seem to treat this seriously, and I wish to honor them by, basically, trying to make their projects sound better.

I plan to do this through a combination of editing and re-sequencing - the "editing" being, simply put, getting rid of the filler shit that doesn't work for me, while the "re-sequencing" is exactly what it sounds like. The first entrant into this series is the Wu-Tang Clan sophomore album Wu-Tang Forever, which has been redone by both myself and Lord AAA (of the No Knockoffs Radio Wavecast and Boom Bap Reviews), also known as frequent contributor shoe-in.

May 12, 2020

The Max-Approved Mix - Test Episode #D! (Brought to you by RandoMax Radio)

Today brings with it the fourth and final test mix from the Max-Approved Mixtape podcast recording sessions, encompassing tracks 31 through 40 of the 2015 article series that helped steer the site in a different direction, one of long-form critique and discussion, while also allowing me the freedom to not review actual albums, which, at the time, had me burned the fuck out, man. It's ready to be utilized as a work soundtrack or as a way to help pass the time during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place weirdness, whichever describer your current situation and/or state/country.

The tracklist appears below. For the last time, each song title links to an accompanying post I wrote about it back in 2015 or thereabouts. As a reminder, should this spinoff get picked up to series, I won't be able to write a detailed essay about every single entry on the playlist, as that would prevent me from writing about literally anything else.

6. Busta Rhymes - "Abandon Ship" (featuring Rampage the Last Boy Scout)
7. De La Soul - "Big Brother Beat" (featuring Mos Def)
8. Cannibal Ox - "Stress Rap"
9. Craig Mack - "Real Raw"
10. Mos Def & Talib Kweli (Black Star) - "Respiration" (featuring Common)

If you listened to the previous three test mixes, I encourage you to give this one a chance and leave me your thoughts. There's some excellent stuff here - the whole concept behind the Max-Approved Mixtape was to provide an assortment of songs I genuinely love, and you know I wouldn't steer you two wrong.
Thanks in advance for your support, and wash your hands!


May 5, 2020

RandoMax Radio's Producers Guild Episode #4 - Easy Mo Bee

Producers Guild is a series celebrating the creators behind the boards of your favorite songs. Listen to today's episode and leave your comments, suggestions, questions, criticisms, and/or whatever you have for me below so we can continue the conversation.

Osten "Easy Mo Bee" Harvey Jr. is a Brooklyn-based producer (and occasional rapper) held in rather high regard within our chosen culture, for good reason. His sound is usually described as the score to walking around New York City in the mid-to-late 1990's, a very specific claim that holds up under scrutiny, as his jazz influences and harder drums hit much differently than those of his peers at the time. Not only was he primarily responsible for the eventual rise of the Wu-Tang Clan, having provided his musical expertise for early projects from a pre-Killa Bee The Genius and Prince Rakeem, he was also Bad Boy Records' secret weapon, helping craft the debut albums from both of the late artists in Puffy's early stable, Craig Mack and The Notorious B.I.G. In short, he's more than deserving of a Producers Guild showcase, and you two will find many enjoyable treats in today's mix.

April 28, 2020

RandoMax Radio Episode #18!

In these uncertain times, routine can be key in maintaining mental health. With that in mind, since it's now the end of April, it's time for another entry in the RandoMax Radio content catalog.

As usual, the tracklist is secret (unless you support my work via Patreon, in which case, it's available over there right now), but that's okay - these kind of things play much better if you don't know what to expect.

EDIT: Okay, you've waited long enough.

1. "Survival of the Fittest" - MC Lyte
2. "Pain" - Boy Harsher
3. "Get Dealt With" - Mobb Deep
4. "Point of No Return" -  Exposé
5. "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun" - Beastie Boys
6. "Full Mode" (featuring Pharrell)- Noreaga
7. "All You're Waiting For" (featuring Nancy Whang) - Classixx
8. "N----z Done Started Something" (featuring Mase and The Lox) - DMX
9. "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" - Deftones
10. "Parental Advisory" - Jay Rock
11. "Gold Rush" (featuring LBC Crew and Kurupt) - Snoop Doggy Dogg
12. "Underdog" - Kasabian
13. "Walk in New York" - Onyx
14. "Christmas Island" - Depeche Mode
15. "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" - Saint Etienne
16. "Happy House" - Siouxsie and the Banshees

If you've ever taken the time to listen to any of the episodes of RandoMax Radio, just know that I appreciate the support. Don't forget to subscribe to the RandoMax Radio feed to listen to previous episodes and to receive updates before they appear here. You can also troll me on Twitter at @hhid_Max. And of course, you can leave your comments, thoughts, song and/or article suggestions, and whatever else you two want me to see.

April 21, 2020

Erick Sermon - React (November 26, 2002)

React is the fifth solo album from Erick Sermon, the producer-slash-rapper that will forever be remembered as one-half of the seminal hip hop duo EPMD. Within the parameters of its forty-six minute run time, Sermon accomplished the following: outsourced production duties for a third of the project; managed to alienate and offend the world’s Hindi-speaking community with the first single and title track; and, worst of all, failed to move many units, the utmost cardinal sin where it comes to the music industry, resulting in his label home, Clive Davis’s J Records, dropping him from the roster with the quickness.

Considering that his previous album for Davis, Music, contained the biggest hit of the man’s career, this clearly wasn’t the outcome anybody expected to see.

April 14, 2020

The Max-Approved Mix - Test Episode #C! (Brought to you by @RandoMax_Radio)

When I finally decided that the Max-Approved Mixtape (everyone's talking about it as the #Maxtape, but I would never be so driven by my ego to put my own name into a hashtag like that, but if it's what the people want, who am I to judge) might be a spinoff worth pursuing, I set out to record some test mixes based on the series of articles I ran back in 2015 as an alternative to writing full-length reviews.

Today brings forth the third segment from those test sessions - ten more slices of whole-grain hip hop, chock-full of the gluten you may not be able to ingest, but your mind absolutely craves.

The tracklist appears below. Each song title links to an accompanying post I wrote about it back around 2015 or so, and, as a reminder, should this series continue, that's one component that won't survive the transition, so hell, may as well enjoy the writing while it's here, right?

1. Showbiz & A.G. - "Represent" (featuring Lord Finesse, Deshawn, and Big L) 9. The RZA (as Bobby Digital) - "Don't Be Afraid"
If you listened to the previous two test mixes, I encourage you to give this one a chance and leave me all of the feedback. I need to know if this is something that should continue beyond the testing phase (there's still one mix remaining, if you're wondering).

Thanks in advance for your support!


April 7, 2020

Onyx - Triggernometry (August 12, 2003)

A quick rundown of Onyx’s career before I trash the group’s fifth full-length, Triggernometry: