Reviews / Music

jibbs_rev

Jibbs Feat. Jibbs

Artist: JibbsTitle: Jibbs Feat. JibbsRating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Latifah Muhammad Who is Jibbs? You know you’ve heard the song, “Chain Hang Low”. Admit it, you know the words to the chorus. And though the single serves as a catchy play on a nursery rhyme, the rest of the album, Jibbs Feat. Jibbs (Geffen) sounds… Read more »

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belief_rev

Dedication

Artist: BeliefTitle: DedicationRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine After production stints with Jean Grae, C-Rayz Walz, and Vordul Mega, New York-based beatmaker Belief crafts his own album, Dedication (Green Streets), using a different approach than the norm. While many producer albums utilize a vast array of burgeoning or high-profile feature talent, Belief recruited a foursome of… Read more »

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Superman Returns (Mixtape)

Artist: DJ Mick BoogieTitle: Superman Returns (Mixtape)Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Latifah Muhammad Just when you thought the hunger pains from waiting for Jay-Z’s new album to drop were too much, DJ Mick Boogie releases the Superman Returns to tide you over. This mixtape packages Jay’s post-quasi retirement collaborations and remixes since The Black Album…. Read more »

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nodaysoff_rev

No Days Off

Artist: The AlchemistTitle: No Days OffRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Conan Milne When it comes to The Alchemist certain listeners have got it twisted. Although he has been crafting definitive Mobb Deep material for some time now, and his music is undoubtedly East Coast influenced, A-L-C remains one of the West Coast’s finest exports. On… Read more »

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ladywarn_rev

Public Warning

Artist: Lady SovereignTitle: Public WarningRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Bill Zimmerman In the years leading up to her full-length debut, Public Warning (Def Jam), Lady Sovereign generated the kind of buzz other artists would kill for. From fans clamoring for new content online to publications quickly making her a cover girl, everybody wanted more of… Read more »

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nocron_rev

Beatlovers, Vol. 2

Artist: Nocturnal RonTitle: Beatlovers, Vol. 2Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Maiya Norton Unless you have the signature sound or name-dropping privilege that a Just Blaze, the Neptunes or Swizz Beats share, stealing the attention of the masses with an instrumental album lacking headlining collaborations could be tricky. Despite the odds against him Nocturnal Ron takes listeners… Read more »

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blacksheep_rev

8WM/NOVAKANE

Artist: Black SheepTitle: 8WM/NOVAKANERating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Larusso McFly After a 12-year lay-off, Black Sheep-the “doo-doo eating, vomit tasting,” in a good way, “low lifes” of the Native Tongue family-have laced up the shoes, thrown on the gloves, and returned to rap’s boxing ring with 8WM/NOVAKANE (Bumrush). In an industry where longevity is the exception… Read more »

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hojsoldiers_rev

Soldiers Of Fortune

Artist: Hall Of JustusTitle: Soldiers Of FortuneRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Bill Zimmerman In the music business there sometimes is no justice. Underground heroes Little Brother released a masterpiece on Atlantic Records in 2005 that failed to move units while less talented rappers blew up. No matter, LB presses on and continue playing for the… Read more »

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jediserv_rev

Servants In Heavan, Kings In Hell

Artist: Jedi Mind TricksTitle: Servants In Heavan, Kings In HellRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Omar Hamza It’s very rare to see consistency in the world of underground Hip-Hop. Most groups drop a heralded first album, and then fizzle either from a lack of distribution or the rigors of an intense touring schedule. Jedi Mind Tricks happens… Read more »

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diddy_rev

Press Play

Artist: DiddyTitle: Press PlayRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana This one’s harder than you think. Many Hip-Hop enthusiasts see Diddy as an easy villain to blame for the commercial “setbacks” that rap music has endured over the past one and a half decades. With his latest album, Press Play (Bad Boy/Atlantic), Diddy is schooling his… Read more »

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Hi-Teknology 2: The Chip

Artist: Hi-TekTitle: Hi-Teknology 2: The ChipRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Slav Kandyba It’s hard to find fault with Hi-Tek. Whether it’s his Cincinnati upbringing that enabled him to have a unique and organic sound, his genuine love for music, or the high-caliber emcees and singers he has collaborated with over the years; Hi-Tek is one of… Read more »

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lakecormega_rev

My Brother’s Keeper

Artist: Lake & CormegaTitle: My Brother’s KeeperRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Martin A. Berrios From MC Shan to “God’s Son” the Queensbridge, New York housing projects have been known to produce Hip-Hop royalty. Under the radar Cormega has kept the pride alive with two well-received offerings (The Realness, The True Meaning), remaining one of the… Read more »

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clintoncon_rev

The Cons, Vol. 4…Finish What You Started (Mixtape)

Artist: Consequence/Clinton SparksTitle: The Cons, Vol. 4…Finish What You Started (Mixtape)Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: KeiSaundra “K Sincere” Henderson Get familiar! The Cons, Vol. 4…Finish What You Started (MixUnit/G.O.O.D. Music) is worth more than a listen, or even more than syncing with your iPod. Kanye’s “protege” Consequence is worth marking your calendars for his major… Read more »

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sadatblack_rev

Black October

Artist: Sadat XTitle: Black OctoberRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Robert Longfellow Sadat X should have known better. Caught up with a gun when the boys in blue ran up on him in late 2005, the Brand Nubian rapper is stuck with a year long jail sentence. While getting his life in order for his mandated “vacation”,… Read more »

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swollen_rev

Black Magic

Artist: Swollen MembersTitle: Black MagicRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Alex Thornton Despite commercial and critical successes in Canada, Swollen Members remain firmly in the “underground” category in the United States. Even on their home field, the crew is releasing Black Magic (Battle Axe) on less than firm footing; their last album, Heavy, was received so poorly… Read more »

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Rotten Apple

Artist: Lloyd BanksTitle: Rotten AppleRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jamiyl “J Boogie” Samuels The last time Lloyd Banks released a solo album, New York Hip-Hop wasn’t in “crisis”. There were no D4L, Dem Franchise Boyz, or a “Whisper Song” carving genres of “snap rap” or “intimate club music”, respectively. No one knew who Mike Jones… Read more »

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kingstim_rev

A Kings County Tale

Artist: StimulusTitle: A Kings County TaleRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Latifah Muhammad On his debut solo album, A King’s County Tale (Sugar Water), Stimulus provides us with lyrical ear candy, by impeccably telling one story after the next on this 15 track disc. The Brooklyn dwellers album opens with “The Story”, a well-written tale of… Read more »

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zgrouch_rev

Heroes In The City Of Dope

Artist: Zion I & The GrouchTitle: Heroes In The City Of DopeRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Kathy Iandoli The California independent Hip-Hop scene has been seriously slept on since the dawn of its inception. Whether inhaling the THC-induced sounds of the Bay Area or improving your swagger to the rugged LA street beats, Cali is… Read more »

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wiz_rev

Show And Prove

Artist: Wiz KhalifaTitle: Show And ProveRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine Pittsburgh’s Wiz Khalifa is finally getting well deserved nods after a sparking grassroots movement from an unheard city and without major cosigns. Since his Big Mike hosted mixtape Pittsburgh, Pistolvania at the top of the year, Wiz achieved tremendous buzz and Show and Prove… Read more »

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redstarsoul_rev

Heineken’s Red Star Soul (Concert)

Artist: Concert ReviewTitle: Heineken’s Red Star Soul (Concert)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana Who would have thought a Dutch brewery company could create one of the finest soul concerts of the year? We’re talking City High’s Ryan Toby and Claudette Ortiz, Raheem DeVaughn, and Raphael Saadiq. On October 2nd, Heineken blessed NYC with its stop… Read more »

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flowseason_rev

Flow Season

Artist: Main Flow & 7LTitle: Flow SeasonRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Bill Zimmerman His name is Main Flow and his latest album is called Flow Season, but his skills go beyond just lyrically riding a track. On the follow up to his 2004 solo debut, Hip-Hopulation, Main Flow joins with producer 7L to reiterate what… Read more »

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thickeev_rev

The Evolution of Robin Thicke

Artist: Robin ThickeTitle: The Evolution of Robin ThickeRating: 4 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jasi B It is said that great albums never initially get their proper due, sales wise. Robin Thicke has felt that wrath with his critically acclaimed 2002 debut, A Beautiful World (Interscope), which has sold only 58,000 copies in the US to date…. Read more »

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legendarymusic_rev

Legendary Music, Vol. 1

Artist: Living LegendsTitle: Legendary Music, Vol. 1Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Matt Crawford “Legendary Music, Vol. 1” (Legendary Music) picks up where the Cali underground crew the Living Legends’ previous release Classic left off. It’s a good collection of songs, but after a couple of spins there’s not much shelf life. The album has its gems…. Read more »

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footindoor_rev

Foot In The Door

Artist: OddiseeTitle: Foot In The DoorRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine Washington DC producer/MC Oddisee stays busy. In two years, he’s released several instrumental mixtapes, produced on Kenn Starr tapes, and official and unofficial remix tapes. For his lyrical talents, he consulted the legendary Jazzy Jeff to get on the CDJs to take it a… Read more »

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buju_rev

Too Bad

Artist: Buju BantonTitle: Too BadRating: 4 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Metanoya Z. Webb The language is plain and simple. No hype, pop sheen, just 17 raw tracks that will undoubtedly take a 1990’s certified reggae lover down memory lane. Why is it that an ostracized, slick-talking, Rastaman veteran deejay had to usher in a wicked dancehall… Read more »

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fergie_rev

The Dutchess

Artist: FergieTitle: The DutchessRating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Kathy Iandoli The fact that duchess is spelled incorrectly in the album title could very well be an omen of what’s to come from Fergie’s solo debut The Dutchess (Interscope). Saturated with early 80’s spandex rap mixed and attempts at soulful coos, The Dutchess sounds more like… Read more »

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sleepy_rev

Mr. Brown

Artist: Sleepy BrownTitle: Mr. BrownRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Alex Thornton Sometimes called “the third member of Outkast,” Sleepy Brown is perhaps the best known solo artist to never have released a solo album. Not only has the world heard his voice frequently on hits like Big Boi’s “The Way You Move,” his song-writing and production… Read more »

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themedicine_rev

The Medicine

Artist: Planet AsiaTitle: The MedicineRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Dr. Zero Planet Asia should be an emcee that every fan of indie or West Coast Hip-Hop should know or have at least heard about. The Source Magazine (before the issues) gave Planet Asia Independent Album of the Year credit in 2000 for his How the… Read more »

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kidkoala_rev

Your Mom’s Favorite DJ

Artist: Kid KoalaTitle: Your Mom’s Favorite DJRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Dustin Glick Kid Koala is dope, plain and simple. Hailing from Canada, the 31-year-old DJ has been cutting up vinyl since he was 12. If you’re not familiar with his work, you may be aware of his classic track “Drunk Trumpet,” where he scratches out… Read more »

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pressplay_rev

Press Play PREVIEW

Artist: DiddyTitle: Press Play PREVIEWRating: 5 StarsReviewed by: Robert Longfellow No, that’s not the album’s rating, we haven’t heard the whole thing yet. Sheesh. Anyway, we at AllHipHop and the usual assembly of industry insiders, movers, shakers, street team lackeys and baggage handlers–shout to Diddy’s new tall, blonde haired manservant–packed into NYC Meatpacking District hotspot… Read more »

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tooblow_rev

Blow The Whistle

Artist: Too ShortTitle: Blow The WhistleRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Latifah Muhammad Don’t call it a come back…he’s been here for years. After a hiatus, and a “retirement” before it was fashionable, Too Short is back and nastier than ever with his 15th release Blow The Whistle (Jive). The first track titled “Call Her a B*tch”… Read more »

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kelis_rev

Kelis Was Here

Artist: KelisTitle: Kelis Was HereRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Alex Thornton While Kelis’s two previous American releases (1999’s Kaleidoscope and 2003’s Tasty) each produced a hit single, her spot has not been as solid as one might expect from an artist aligned with names like Nas and The Neptunes. Her versatility has been both her… Read more »

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hoodstar_rev

Hoodstar

Artist: ChingyTitle: HoodstarRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Jesse Fairfax Upon scoring their first hit song, every rapper hopes their success isn’t a flash in the pan. 2003’s “Right Thurr” was monstrous for Chingy, catapulting him to superstardom as he rode in on the crest of the industry’s St. Louis wave. After defecting from Ludacris’ Disturbing Tha… Read more »

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norefam_rev

Ya Tu Sabe

Artist: N.O.R.E. Y La FamiliaTitle: Ya Tu SabeRating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Alex Thornton Part tribute to his heritage and part attempt to capitalize on recent trends, N.O.R.E. has finally released his long discussed Reggaeton side-project Ya Tu Sabe (Roc La Familia/Def Jam). Fitting the party vibe of the genre, N.O.R.E. invites a long list… Read more »

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littleegypt_rev

The Crown Heights Affair

Artist: Little EgyptTitle: The Crown Heights AffairRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: N. Context Straight Out The Sands of the underground, Little Egypt re-emerges to bring you The Crown Heights Affair (East Park). Comprised of Visual Poetics, Forge, Taajwar, Bravestar and Khordz, Little Egypt (L.E.), has been making waves in the underground since their breakthrough single… Read more »

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20yo_rev

20 Y.O.

Artist: Janet JacksonTitle: 20 Y.O.Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Eb Haynes “I wanna keep it light. I don’t want to be serious, I wanna have fun.” Janet makes this declaration at the beginning of her ninth release 20 Y.O. (Virgin). She is referring to the past twenty years of being a trailblazer, addressing serious issues such… Read more »

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bmrc_rev

Boost Mobile Rockcorp @ Radio City Music Hall (Concert Review)

Artist: Concert ReviewTitle: Boost Mobile Rockcorp @ Radio City Music Hall (Concert Review)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Dove ~Sheepish Lordess of Chaos~ When the average person thinks of volunteer work, one of the last things that come to mind is the word “fun”. Boost Mobile’s RockCorps has set out to change the face and attitude of… Read more »

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britneyex_rev

FutureSex/LoveSounds

Artist: Justin TimberlakeTitle: FutureSex/LoveSoundsRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Kathy Iandoli The best way to sum up Justin Timberlake is in two simple words: damn lucky. For the most part, the life cycle of an ex-boybander is relatively short and unprogressive (i.e. Ricky Martin). The listening population struggles with the guilt of actually liking the work… Read more »

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ludarelease_rev

Release Therapy

Artist: LudacrisTitle: Release TherapyRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: KeiSaundra “K Sincere” Henderson Five albums later, Ludacris is much more than a Hip-Hop artist, but an activist for the black community. His latest, Release Therapy (Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam) is exactly what is says-therapy to release his irritation with the Hip-Hop game. With plenty of jabs… Read more »

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cham_rev

Ghetto Story

Artist: ChamTitle: Ghetto StoryRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jamiyl “J Boogie” Samuels Ever since Sean Paul dropped Dutty Rock in 2003, dancehall artists young and old have been trying to duplicate Paul’s penchant for attaining crossover success while remaining true to his dancehall roots: a feat unmatched since Shabba Ranks pulled off the trick over… Read more »

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youngdro_rev

Best Thang Smokin’

Artist: Young DroTitle: Best Thang Smokin’Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Alejandro Mojado Grand Hustle is quickly becoming a house hold name among Hip-Hop heads outside the southern states and and the label is on par to make 2006 their year with another release. This time Young Dro drops Best Thang Smokin’ (Grand Hustle/Atlantic), his first major… Read more »

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lupefood_rev

Food & Liquor

Artist: Lupe FiascoTitle: Food & LiquorRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Paine One leaked album don’t stop the show. After Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor (1st & 15th/Atlantic) was made illegally available several months ago, fans reacted with strong opinions, both championing and ridiculing Chicago’s next MC. Endorsed by Kanye West and Jay-Z (who executive produces), the… Read more »

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outerspace2_rev

Blood Brothers

Artist: OuterspaceTitle: Blood BrothersRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Omar Hamza Holding the underground torch high while stressing how it is no sin to like money and nice things seems to be the trend of the day for many a subterranean rapper. Outerspace, the Philly duo who have been putting in work for many years is… Read more »

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deeprooted_rev

The Second Coming

Artist: Deep RootedTitle: The Second ComingRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine San Diego’s conscious Hip-Hop comes to the light by way of the experienced collective Deep Rooted. Former Battle Axe Records producer Mr. Brady backs a group that features the talented songstress Brea with MC Johaz and DJ Artistic. The Second Coming (Open Myndz) is… Read more »

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pharrell-4

SO SO Gangtsa

Later, people would also recognize D-A-Z as the producer of classic Death Row jams like “Tha Doggfather” and “Ambitionz Az A Ridah”. Unfortunately, after swooping under the mainstream radar following his departure from Tha Row, the West Coast figure would become as well known for his controversial interviews and questionable independent output as he would… Read more »

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bday_rev

B’Day

Artist: BeyonceTitle: B’DayRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Eb Haynes Beyonce Knowles, street alias “B”, has emerged into a limitless talent, poised to approach any challenge with grace while possessing an almost surreal foresight for revolutionary creativity. The curvaceous B has conquered the hearts and minds of lusciously proportioned women, adoring male fans and aspiring superstars in… Read more »

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potluck_rev

Straight Outta Humboldt

Artist: PotluckTitle: Straight Outta HumboldtRating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine While Dr. Dre admitted that he didn’t “smoke weed or ‘sess’” on Straight Outta Compton, Potluck is unashamed of their green fingers on Straight Outta Humboldt (Suburban Noize). The Southern California duo of 1-Ton and UnderRated enter their third album with an impressive list of… Read more »

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nba2k7dan_rev

Dan The Automator Presents 2K7

Artist: Dan the AutomatorTitle: Dan The Automator Presents 2K7Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Max Herman After releasing arguably the best video game soundtrack of 2005 (NBA 2K6: The Tracks) the folks at 2K Sports and Decon are back to try and reclaim the crown. With Dan The Automator Presents 2K7 (Decon), the lineup of MCs… Read more »

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glue_rev

Catch As Catch Can

Artist: GlueTitle: Catch As Catch CanRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Jessica Dufresne Listening to Glue is like being transported somewhere between two decades ago when the Beasties ruled and into the future where one can imagine anything goes sound-wise. That being said, it’s sound that takes center stage on Catch as Catch Can (Fat Beats Records)… Read more »

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strangefruit_rev

The Healing

Artist: Strange Fruit ProjectTitle: The HealingRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana Seeing a group name like the Strange Fruit Project grace a Hip-Hop site, one won’t be surprised also to see a word like “alternative” or “conscious” next to it. Depending on the boldness of the pen, you might even see the phrase “real Hip-Hop”… Read more »

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summerjohn_rev

Pigeon John…And The Summertime Pool Party

Artist: Pigeon JohnTitle: Pigeon John…And The Summertime Pool PartyRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine To some, Pigeon John has engaged audiences in his music with a homogenous blend of humble humor and blunt honesty on his three previous albums. Others argue that John’s singing and off-color topics violate the conventions of what a master of… Read more »

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choiceorforce_rev

By Choice Or By Force

Artist: Pastor TroyTitle: By Choice Or By ForceRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Matt Caputo Pastor Troy returns to the altar with By Choice or By Force (Fast Life/Koch), his eighth solo sermon. The album is a complete and concentrated effort from a veteran southern MC. Its weaker production is made up for with Troy’s sheer ability… Read more »

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No Friends

Artist: LoonTitle: No FriendsRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Latifah Muhammad Falling into virtual obscurity after splitting from Hip-Hop and MTV staple Diddy, Loon is back with a less than perfect, but decent effort in his latest release No Friends (X-Ray/Cleopatra). Proving that his rap persona is rawer since leaving Bad Boy, this album is a more… Read more »

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