Reviews / Music

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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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Pride (Film)

Artist: Movie ReviewTitle: Pride (Film)Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Omar Mazariego Whoever tried to tell Jim Ellis that black people don’t swim must’ve not known that their words were falling on deaf ears. Pride (Lions Gate Films) is the true story of former competitive swimmer Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard) who takes on a city job… Read more »

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Ridin’ High

Artist: 8Ball & MJGTitle: Ridin’ HighRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Adam Thomas How would one explore the Memphis Hip-Hop sound? Well, one of the first acts that come to mind is 8Ball & MJG. They have been dropping their signature sound since 1993 with their debut Comin’ Out Hard. Now after their longest span between… Read more »

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Gutterfly: The Original Soundtrack

Artist: LifesavasTitle: Gutterfly: The Original SoundtrackRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Felipe Delerme Typically, when a music album title contains the words, “The Original Soundtrack,” there is an accompanying movie, of which the music was either used for, or in the least inspired by. In the case of Gutterfly: The Original Soundtrack (Quannum), the sophomore album of… Read more »

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Hated On Mostly

Artist: Crime MobTitle: Hated On MostlyRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine As Lil’ Jon reportedly is incorporating Rock music into his music, it may fall on Crime Mob to uphold the Crunk party that they helped kick off in 2004. The co-ed quintet went from teenagers to 20-somethings since their last album, and Hated on Mostly… Read more »

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Abandoned Language

Artist: dälekTitle: Abandoned LanguageRating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Michelle Cavanaugh It’s hard to believe that dälek has been around for almost two decades. Carrying the name of extraterrestrial mutants from the British science fiction show Doctor Who, you think you would have heard of them sooner. However, there bizarre sounds might leave listeners skeptical. Abandoned… Read more »

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Total Chaos (Book)

Artist: Book ReviewTitle: Total Chaos (Book)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana There are people out there who are as expert on the subject of Hip-Hop as Bubba, Forrest Gump’s homie, is on shrimp. Jeff Chang is one of them. He serves as the editor of Total Chaos The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop (Basic Civitas… Read more »

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The Scope Of Things

Artist: Move.meantTitle: The Scope Of ThingsRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Max Herman Nowadays when heads listen to an album, they’re probably not going to mind hearing a feel good joint here and there. But the reception may not be as welcoming to an album entirely comprised of upbeat material. On its full length debut, L.A. trio… Read more »

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The Most Underrated

Artist: DomingoTitle: The Most UnderratedRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Bill Zimmerman After more than a decade of making beats for a variety of artists including Big Pun, Fat Joe, Masta Ace and KRS-One, and getting no mainstream recognition, Brooklyn producer Domingo puts his skills at the forefront. On the The Most Underrated (Latchkey) the NYC… Read more »

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300 (Film)

Artist: Movie ReviewTitle: 300 (Film)Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Edwardo Jackson “This is madness!” “This! Is! SPAAAARTA!” [Black dude gets kicked down a well.] And so begins 300 (Warner Bros.), a cinematic adaptation of Frank Miller’s dramatization of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. King of male-dominated, warrior culture Sparta Leonidas (Gerard Butler) defies the… Read more »

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Ruff Draft

Artist: J DillaTitle: Ruff DraftRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Alex Thornton A musician’s death will inevitably cause debate over their unreleased work. The often incomplete music no longer has the artist to guide its exposure to the public, leaving record labels in the difficult position of faithfully carrying on the artist’s legacy while still releasing something… Read more »

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Popular Demand

Artist: Black MilkTitle: Popular DemandRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jessica Dufresne While most of the spotlight shines on the next big thing from the South, the East and the West, the Midwest has always quietly but consistently cranked out its share of potential stars. Next up, reppin’ the Motor City, is Black Milk with Popular… Read more »

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As The Tables Turn (DVD)

Artist: Rob SwiftTitle: As The Tables Turn (DVD)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Paine Along with DJ Q-Bert, Rob Swift is the face and hands of turntablism. The Jackson Heights, Queens native has evolved from Akinyele’s DJ to the spokesman of the X-Ecutioners to a true advocate of the turntable’s capability as a musical instrument. As the… Read more »

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Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Artist: ConsequenceTitle: Don’t Quit Your Day JobRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Aqua Consequence rhymes better than Kanye West. But we all know actual lyrical talent is only one aspect of rap success. On his very late debut, Don’t Quit Your Day Job (G.O.O.D./Columbia), the former A Tribe Called Quest affiliate asserts he indeed has a… Read more »

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Serve & Collect

Artist: Boss Hogg OutlawzTitle: Serve & CollectRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Alex Thornton Taking a break from his solo career on Star Trak/Geffen, Houston’s Slim Thug has reunited with his Boss Hogg Outlawz crew for Serve & Collect (Koch). A major label artist quietly releasing a group project might make some expect a glorified mixtape, but… Read more »

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Game: Chronicles Of The Street (DVD)

Artist: DVD ReviewTitle: Game: Chronicles Of The Street (DVD)Rating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Maiya Norton Any documentary starring “hustlers, ballers and gangsters” sprinkled with a cameo from Pimpin’ Ken and Big Slick has the potential to be really fly or flop. The Shoot II Films Production, Game: Chronicles of the Street (Shoot II Films) weaves… Read more »

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Black Snake Moan (Film)

Artist: Movie ReviewTitle: Black Snake Moan (Film)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Edwardo Jackson How do you follow an Oscar-nominated film about a pimp turned rapper? Why you make a film, Black Snake Moan (Paramount Classics) about a white girl chained up by a black man in the South, of course… Beyond this salacious setup-and the playfully… Read more »

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Street Fame

Artist: Twisted BlackTitle: Street FameRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Paine Dallas’ rap prospects looked pretty good at the end of 2006. Big Tuck signed a multi-million dollar deal with Universal while underground veteran Twisted Black caught the attention of TVT Records. Shortly thereafter, Black caught a bad one, and it appears as though Street Fame (TVT)… Read more »

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Renaissance Child

Artist: Hell RazahTitle: Renaissance ChildRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Adam Thomas What do you get when you mix an experienced street sound with a political voice? Hip-Hop’s version of the political pundit, and contrary to what the mainstream would tell you, there are many that use their music to get their thoughts out about the… Read more »

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Cocaine Cowboys (DVD)

Artist: DVD ReviewTitle: Cocaine Cowboys (DVD)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana Apparently, the real Noriega owes Rick Ross a hundred favors. But while we determine whether or not the Miami rapper’s lyrics are fictitious or not, let’s direct our attention to the rap Noreaga who personally endorsed the film Cocaine Cowboys (Magnolia Enterainment) in a… Read more »

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And Justus For All

Artist: Little Brother/Mick BoogieTitle: And Justus For AllRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Martin A. Berrios When you take into heavy consideration the great make up of Little Brother, you notice that the math just doesn’t quite add up. As the heirs to the Native Tongue dynasty, the North Carolina troop has dropped plenty of dope material… Read more »

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Collaborations

Artist: Jill ScottTitle: CollaborationsRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Aja In an effort to ward off zealots, the release of the compilation Collaborations (Hidden Beach) is sure to appease the hankerings of even the most passionate Jill Scott fans. As a bona fide collection of some of Jill’s most eclectic works, the trauma of having to purchase… Read more »

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Lionheart: Tussle with the Beast

Artist: Joe Buddha Presents: KlashnekoffTitle: Lionheart: Tussle with the BeastRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Anna NathansonKlashnekoff is widely regarded as one of England’s most talented lyricists, and this, his second album to date, has a long time in the making, coming three years after his debut. Originally scheduled for 2006 release, the agonising wait for UK… Read more »

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Atlantis: Hymns for Disco

Artist: K-OsTitle: Atlantis: Hymns for DiscoRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Rodney Dugue His name is K-OS (Knowledge of Self) and he raps frighteningly well with a conscience cadence and a demagogue’s virtue. That’s all you should care to know. Really. It’s a shame everything is closeted and cost-effective; he’s fluffily content with cheap ambition because… Read more »

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Lovework

Artist: Gabriel TeodrosTitle: LoveworkRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jason NewmanPerhaps the most telling line from Seattle emcee Gabriel Teodros’ Lovework (Massline) comes from “In This Together,” when he rhymes “There’s so many raps labeled as conscious out there/A label people get no matter what they share.” After a few listens all the way through, it’s… Read more »

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Bastards Of The Party (Film)

Artist: Film ReviewTitle: Bastards Of The Party (Film)Rating: 4 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Slav Kandyba Rare is a documentary made by someone it is actually about–the biggest exception being celebrity sex tapes, of course. It is a whole other matter if the film is any good at all, and in fact, documentaries frequently fall short of… Read more »

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Wu-Tang Clan & Friends: Unreleased

Artist: MathematicsTitle: Wu-Tang Clan & Friends: UnreleasedRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Felipe Delerme Wu-Tang Forever once spoke to the invincibility of one of the premier artist collectives in Hip-Hop, but is now little more than an album title. While there is no erasing history, outside of critical darling Ghostface, the Wu aesthetic continues to fade…. Read more »

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ABBRACADAMN!!!

Artist: Clan DestinedTitle: ABBRACADAMN!!!Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Adam Thomas North Carolina has been abuzz on the underground scene for a long time. The most prominent example would be Little Brother, which dropped a indie classic in 2002’s The Listening. Now, five years later, there is a group that is trying to match that success. Known… Read more »

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The Best Of N.W.A

Artist: N.W.ATitle: The Best Of N.W.ARating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana A quick search on amazon.com will reveal that an N.W.A greatest hits CD has been done over a decade ago. So, to what do we owe this sudden Priority release? Dre is still gainfully employed off his Pro Tools. Cube is still living fruitfully… Read more »

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Tru York (Mixtape)

Artist: Tru Life/J-LoveTitle: Tru York (Mixtape)Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Rodney Dugue This is a pretty cute mixtape, cover and all. Well, that’s if lime-green hyper-extended male thongs are your type of thing. Sure, the added linen strips and the blonde wig and any horrifically placed couture alignment make for a gussied premium whore. But,… Read more »

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