Reviews / Music

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Super Chron Flight Brothers: Emergency Powers-The World Tour

Don’t let the stoned sprawl fool you.  As serious as a heart attack, Emergency Powers: The World Tour (Backwoodz) faces gentrification, the drug war, and terrorism; all in dope, bud-fueled streams of consciousness.  Priviledge and Billy Woods are funny—“You’re like Dexter Manley in English class, straight dunce,” and they are high—“I’d rather blaze till I… Read more »

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The Alchemist Presents: Rapper’s Best Friend

Instrumental albums are always hit-or-miss since they are niche items. Constructed of a particular producer’s beats from various artists—sometimes even various genres—the beats are never truly defined as to whom they are catered to. Alchemist hopes to do away with all the confusion by letting you know exactly who Rapper’s Best Friend: An Instrumental Series… Read more »

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Deep Crates 2

Diamond D said it best: “You’ve got to get your fingers dusty.” For anybody subscribing the Hip-Hop sub-culture of crate-digging, Deep Crates 2 (Beatdawg Films) is the sequel within an essential documentary series told by the most respected producers. Although the first installment covered ground with Premier, Madlib, Evil Dee and the aforementioned D.I.T.C. member,… Read more »

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Marco Polo: Port Authority

Self-proclaimed as his ode to Pete Rock’s Soul Survivor LP,  Marco Polo’s debut album Port Authority (Rawkus) lives up to that lofty standard.  The Toronto-born, Brooklyn-bred producer takes you back to a time when Hip-Hop really did live at Hot 97 and fans still got excited when albums dropped. Overall, Port Authority is reminiscent of… Read more »

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Wax Tailor: Hope & Sorrow

Only a year after making his stateside debut with Tales Of The Forgotten Melodies, Frenchman Wax Tailor (a.k.a. WT) returns with another quality release, full of cinematic beats. But on Hope & Sorrow (Decon), this producer is less concerned with making his mark as an instrumentalist and more invested in collaborating with others—a move that… Read more »

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Bravez Team Hyphy: All Systems Go

  With the hyphy (or hyphie) craze invading the music industry and permeating the ears of the Hip-Hop lovers the last few years, it was only a question of when – not if. With Bravez Team Hyphy, the sub-genre’s first foray into the boy band idiom has officially started. Unfortunately, it’s not All Systems Go (Stand Up/Green Light), as… Read more »

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Phat Kat: Carte Blanche

Phat Kat has a lot to be passionate about. As a matter of fact he should be pretty damn frustrated. Aside from the passing of his longtime friend DJ/Producer J Dilla, the lyrical go-getter rarely gets the credit due for putting Detroit on the map.  His name is often lost when Eminem, Slum Village and… Read more »

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Over Time

Artist: HieroglyphicsTitle: Over TimeRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Stewart Rudy If the Oakland-based Hip-Hop collective Hieroglyphics had ever gained the mainstream recognition they deserved, then it would seem strange that their first release of studio material in four years is largely made up of remixes and B-sides. But given their history of under-appreciation, Hieroglyphics latest release,… Read more »

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Hieroglyphics: Over Time

If the Oakland-based Hip-Hop collective Hieroglyphics had ever gained the mainstream recognition they deserved, then it would seem strange that their first release of studio material in four years is largely made up of remixes and B-sides. But given their history of under-appreciation, Hieroglyphics latest release, Over Time (Hieroglyhics Imperium), is a perfect addition to… Read more »

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The Rush

Artist: The HeatmakerzTitle: The RushRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Adam Thomas The soul sample is heavily used in Hip-Hop as inspiration for the current street sound. There are many producers who use them—sometimes too much—but there are few who distinguish themselves. The Heatmakerz , the production duo consisting of Rsonist and Thrilla stay among the… Read more »

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I Am (T.I. Vs T.I.P.)

Artist: T.I.Title: I Am (T.I. Vs T.I.P.)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Alejandro Mojado Following the huge success of last year’s aptly titled King, the King of the South has continued to pound the air waves with hit after hit. It’s almost summer time and T.I.P is still giving the public what they want…more music.  This time… Read more »

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Hidden Gems

Artist: O.C.Title: Hidden GemsRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jake Paine Through defunct labels and poor distribution channels in his 13 years of releases, it could be argued that most O.C. albums are rare treasures. However those that have collected the Brooklyn/Queens MC’s work will find <i>Hidden Gems</i> (Next Mill) to be an accurate extension of… Read more »

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In The Streets Of Africa

Artist: Richie SpiceTitle: In The Streets Of AfricaRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Metanoya Z. Webb An ambassador for Jah, who claims responsibility for “all di youth dem worldwide.” Richie Spice is to roots reggae what Marcus Garvey was to the fight for freedom: persistent, courageous, focused and strong.  Whether it’s liberating the minds of African descendants… Read more »

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Hip-Hop Colony (DVD)

Artist: DVD ReviewTitle: Hip-Hop Colony (DVD)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana We chubby Americans don’t know nothing about Kenya. We may hear the country’s name flash in a news report and dismiss it as another poor war torn East African country. Most will not even realize that the culture and music coming out of this… Read more »

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Hip-Hop Colony

We chubby Americans don’t know nothing about Kenya. We may hear the country’s name flash in a news report and dismiss it as another poor war torn East African country. Most will not even realize that the culture and music coming out of this third world spot on the map has more integrity than the… Read more »

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Son Of A Refugee

Artist: PatriarchTitle: Son Of A RefugeeRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Omar Hamza What do you get when you mix Bay Area hyphy, global politics, ‘90s West Coast bangin’ and a revolutionary emcee?  You get Patriarch, the Hayward, CA native, who has been writing poetry since the age of 11 and has now unleashed his unabashed brand… Read more »

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Patriarch: Son Of A Refugee

What do you get when you mix Bay Area hyphy, global politics, ‘90s West Coast bangin’ and a revolutionary emcee?  You get Patriarch, the Hayward, CA native, who has been writing poetry since the age of 11 and has now unleashed his unabashed brand of Hip-Hop onto the music world.  Through a somewhat long 21… Read more »

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The Undisputed Truth

Artist: Brother AliTitle: The Undisputed TruthRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Alex Thornton When an MC isn’t right for the gun-toting d-boy image but doesn’t want to carry around a backpack full of spoken word poetry either, what does he rap about? Typically, he simply raps about rapping, harping on how much better he rhymes than… Read more »

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Grindhouse (Film)

Artist: Movie ReviewTitle: Grindhouse (Film)Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Stracy Wilson By the mid 1990s, Mayor Giuliani had already begun his mission to clean up Times Square. A few porn theaters and peep shows remained (Show World Center hadn’t yet been turned into a comedy club), but the remnants of the world depicted in Martin… Read more »

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Get Money, Stay True

Artist: Paul WallTitle: Get Money, Stay TrueRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Adam Thomas Houston Hip-Hop has never been shy about its hustling roots. Being shunned for years and finally receiving your shine has that effect. Hip-Hop’s own king of shine, Houston’s Paul Wall, has his imprint on the tongue of many an artist, from T.I… Read more »

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The Beat Of Urban Art

Justin Bua is getting closer and closer to being immortal. The Beat of Urban Art (Harper Collins), assembles all of the New York bred artist’s captivating artwork on the innercity Hip-Hop experience into a colorful, well-crafted book. The release has been overdue; his most faithful fans have been coveting his full catalogue in a tangible… Read more »

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The Beat Of Urban Art (Book)

Artist: Justin BuaTitle: The Beat Of Urban Art (Book)Rating: 4 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana Justin Bua is getting closer and closer to being immortal. The Beat of Urban Art (Harper Collins), assembles all of the New York bred artist’s captivating artwork reflecting the inner city Hip-Hop experience into a colorful, well-crafted book. The release… Read more »

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German Lugers

Artist: SnowgoonsTitle: German LugersRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Rashaan Meador The world of Hip-Hop has been increasing and, at the same time shrinking. The fact that a team of German producers would be making beats for US artists is a testament to this statement. This bridging of two sides of the world is done through the… Read more »

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Shock Value

Artist: TimbalandTitle: Shock ValueRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Paine Timbaland and his partner Danjahandz owned the charts in 2006. Whether with Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado or Omarion, the Virginia veteran brought out a new sound that brought out the wallflowers and skeptics. It’s only right that in a year expected to see albums from Dr. Dre,… Read more »

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Hip-Hop Is Dead (Concert Review)

Artist: NasTitle: Hip-Hop Is Dead (Concert Review)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Paine On March 31, Nas cracked off his Hip-Hop is Dead Tour in The University of Pittsburgh’s packed Field House arena. MTV cameras combed the crowd throughout, adding more excitement to one of Nas’ most elaborate stage shows in his 15 year career. Though there… Read more »

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Veteran

Artist: Marques HoustonTitle: VeteranRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Shanita Riquel If ever it were possible to use the words “underrated” and “overexposed” to describe the same person, Marques “MH” Houston would be the strongest example. MH has been entertaining us since he was 12, and still his level of skill as a singer and songwriter… Read more »

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Return Of The Mac

Artist: ProdigyTitle: Return Of The MacRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Martin A. Berrios From sickle cell anemia to malicious ballerina pictures, Prodigy of Mobb Deep has endured a lot since the conception of the Dunn language. Compared to his long time partner in rhyme Havoc, P’s lyrics have always represented the darker mind state of… Read more »

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Dogg Chit

Artist: Tha Dogg PoundTitle: Dogg ChitRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Bill Zimmerman Tha Dogg Pound sure doesn’t keep fans waiting. Since debuting during Death Row’s glory days in the mid-’90s, Daz and Kurupt have released a slew of solo albums and group projects on both independent and major labels. Now, less than a year since they… Read more »

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Music Is My Savior

Artist: MIMSTitle: Music Is My SaviorRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine Music is MIMS’ savior, but many New York Hip-Hop enthusiasts refuse to accept the first new face to top the charts as their own. No less, Music is My Savior (EMI/Capitol) is saving his label after three years of lackluster efforts from veterans and newcomers… Read more »

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Red Gone Wild: Thee Album

Artist: RedmanTitle: Red Gone Wild: Thee AlbumRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Robert Longfellow “Redman ready to rock rough rhymes, renegade rapper, rip when it’s rhyme time.” So yeah, that bit of a verse from EPMD’s “Hardcore” (that’s was in 1990) should let the Papoose disciples know the upstart was a little late on the whole alphabet… Read more »

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Buck The World

Artist: Young BuckTitle: Buck The WorldRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Alex Thornton By now, G-Unit has become almost an institution of rap music. What began as 50 Cent’s requisite side group has grown into a confederation of artists from all over the country and as G-Unit South’s flagship artist, Young Buck represents the beginning of… Read more »

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Waitin’ To Inhale

Artist: Devin The DudeTitle: Waitin’ To InhaleRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Adam Thomas To those who find themselves never shying away from the radio, you may never discover subgenre’s in Hip-Hop other than the party and bullsh*t that usually permeates the airwaves. He may not feature 1000 spin anthems, but those who hear Devin the Dude… Read more »

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Shooter (Film)

Artist: Movie ReviewTitle: Shooter (Film)Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Edwardo Jackson Jaded patriot and retired gunnery sergeant turned reclusive mountain man Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg) is recruited to plot a Presidential assassination attempt in order to prevent one by the shadowy Col. Isaac Johnson (Dannny Glover). Guess what…setup! Bob Lee goes on the run… Read more »

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The Weatherman LP

Artist: EvidenceTitle: The Weatherman LPRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Omar Hamza Evidence, of the seminal L.A. collective Dilated Peoples, is showcasing his skill behind the boards and behind the mic with his first solo shot, The Weatherman LP (ABB). For those that don’t know, Dilated is one of those rare collectives to showcase true Hip-Hop…. Read more »

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Live Convention 77-79

Artist: Various ArtistsTitle: Live Convention 77-79Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Paine For second and third generation Hip-Hoppers, the old singles are too rare and expensive to find, and one must watch Wild Style to get the block party feel of the late ’70s. Kenny and Reggie Wilson, two South Bronx residents of the day started compiling… Read more »

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Introducing Joss Stone

Artist: Joss StoneTitle: Introducing Joss StoneRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Kathy Iandoli After listening to Joss Stone’s third album Introducing Joss Stone (EMI/Virgin), one thing becomes clear. Joss Stone can’t sing, she can sang. Laced with tales of heartache, revival, and maturity, the album can only be considered an Introduction, as it’s our first glimpse into… Read more »

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Back To Black

Artist: Amy WinehouseTitle: Back To BlackRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Robert Longfellow Okay, it’s true. This Amy Winehouse character can really sing. She’s not a bad songwriter either as her generally melancholy but engaging blues make for an intriguing stateside debut in Back to Black (Universal Republic). Weariness of another white girl singing colored style hype… Read more »

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