Reviews / Music

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Lady Beat Makers Vol. 1

Where are all the female producers?  The director of Lady Beat Makers, Vol. 1 (Femmixx.com), Tachelle “Shamash” Wilkes embarks on a passionate journey to answer this elusive question.  Wilkes is a Hip-Hop artist and journalist with an impressive resume stemming from opening for KRS-One to contributing articles to Vibe Magazine and holds an MA in… Read more »

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Blue Scholars: Bayani

Blue Scholars wear their ideologies on their sleeves. The three years between their self-titled debut album and its follow-up, Bayani (Rawkus) have been remarkably turbulent. Let it be the politics of government, cultural developments, or economic depletion, there are opinions to be had and to be shared. On their sophomore LP, MC Geologic and DJ… Read more »

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Ali Rap

“Sammy Davis told me it was the most beautiful fight he had ever seen, and he only has one eye.” This citation is one of Muhammad Ali’s many historical witticisms, frozen in time from the storied boxer’s life and career, and recently compiled by George Lois into the photo art coffee table book release Ali… Read more »

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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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