Faster Than You Know…

Artist: SpooksTitle: Faster Than You Know…Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine Three years ago, Spooks brought the five deep crew to our ears with “Things I’ve Seen” off of their debut S.I.O.S.O.S., Vol. 1. Still with an eerie video presenting the crew’s####, few people cared to check for more. Thanks to overseas success, the group went […]


Artist: ChopsTitle: VirtuosityRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Toshitaka Kondo Being the first Asian American hip-hop act signed to a major label, the Mountain Brothers dropped real s###, no gimmicks. Unlike potential flash-in-the-pan rappers who want you to learn Chinese. Their debut Self: Volume 1 established them as a humorous and talented outfit repping the Philly proletariat. […]

MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water

Artist: David BannerTitle: MTA2: Baptized in Dirty WaterRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Yama Caviness MTA2: Baptized In Dirty Water is the follow up release to David Banner’s certified platinum album Mississippi: The Album. Impressive collaborations include Scarface, 8-Blall, Busta Rhymes, and Nelly. Despite all of this potential on paper, the album still feels more like a […]

RZA Presents Northstar

Artist: NorthstarTitle: RZA Presents NorthstarRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Paine After the Wu-Tang Forever album, RZA’s work has often been over the heads of many of the people who adored him all along. In time, Hip-Hop may learn to appreciate RZA as a daring, unconventional artist, or a man who experimented too deeply and lost touch. […]

Juve the Great

Artist: JuvenileTitle: Juve the GreatRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Raheim Shabazz Die-hard Juvenile fans have been waiting in the wings, anticipating a release from the Magnolia rapper from “The Big Easy” since his 2001 set, “Project English.” After his sophomore album Solja Rags (1997) became an underground classic-selling over 200,000 copies-the stage was set for him […]


Artist: Sol UprisingTitle: SolpowerRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Fat Tony Sol Uprising is the earthy and conscious alter ego of respected underground emcee Lil’ Sci (Scienz of Life) and vocalist/emcee Stacy Epps. After Stacy’s several appearances on S.O.L’s album Project Overground, the chemistry she created alongside Sci and ID4 Windz was so strong that eventually it […]


Artist: Memphis BleekTitle: M.A.D.E.Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jayson Rodriguez On what was then supposed to be Jay-Z’s final album, Vol 2…Hard Knock Life, Memphis Bleek was billed as Hov’s heir apparent: a new, improved Jay-Z. Two albums later, he was still trying to live up to the hype. But after three years away from […]

The Lex Diamond Story

Artist: RaekwonTitle: The Lex Diamond StoryRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Toshi Kondo There will never be another Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…. So get over it and stop comparing it to Raekwon’s third solo release, The Lex Diamond Story. Despite telling myself this, thirteen different producers, generic-ass Ice Water shout outs, and the lack of concepts […]

Total Eclipse

Artist: Black MoonTitle: Total EclipseRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: A P Special Correspondent Though they may not get all the “props” they did in ’93, Black Moon has returned with a vengeance. Only their third album, Total Eclipse takes you back to a time when lyrics mattered and beats made your neck hurt. Buckshot, 5 FT […]

Lost & Found

Artist: Pete RockTitle: Lost & FoundRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jason Newman Remember back in ’92 when you first heard the first few bars to “T.R.O.Y.” and you instantly thought, “This is one of the greatest beats I’ve ever heard!” Then you purchased Mecca and the Soul Brother and thought, “Is it possible for Pete […]

Beg For Mercy

Artist: G-UnitTitle: Beg For MercyRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Deacon Naz 21 questions later everybody’s favorite currency, 50 Cent, and his G-Unit crew are once again out to get their man. Only this time they are bringing it to the masses since before the album, you could only catch ‘guh guh guh G-Unit!’ on mixtapes. […]

48 Months

Artist: The Unspoken HeardTitle: 48 MonthsRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: N. Context “Anything worth having starts with a plan. Our plan was to make music, and to offer a different and honest perspective to the music. The ground work that we chose to lay the foundation of our plan is, in my opinion, quite revolutionary, simply […]

Weekend Warrior

Artist: Biz MarkieTitle: Weekend WarriorRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Toshitaka Kondo<font face="verdana" size="2" Hip-Hop is still fun. Seriously. If you don’t believe me listen to Biz Markie’s new Tommy Boy release Weekend Warrior. It’s an hour of funky fresh music that’ll take you back to fat laces and air-brushed t-shirts. I guess that’s not too far […]

Big Shots

Artist: CharizmaTitle: Big ShotsRating: 4 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Brolin Winning The past year has been a good one for fans of early-nineties hip-hop. We’ve seen the release of some crucial, previously shelved albums (Dooley-O’s Watch My Moves, Pete Rock’s work with INI and Deda), and discovered new artists who flip the classic styles of old […]

Always Will Be

Artist: J-LiveTitle: Always Will BeRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Toshitaka Kondo Who’s J-Live? He’s could be the best rapper who you’ve never heard of. The Source Unsigned Hype alum has all the symptoms of the “good rapper, bad luck” syndrome. A heavily praised, yet bootlegged and unreleased debut, The Best Part. His nomadic label situation. […]

The Black Album

Artist: Jay-ZTitle: The Black AlbumRating: 4 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Quia Querisma It’s no secret that The Black Album was anticipated. The real secret is whether or not Jay-Z is really going to call it quits. Doubtful, but if he does, he’s leaving the game the way you should, while he’s on top. Jay pulled no […]

Nu-Mixx Klazzics

Artist: 2 PacTitle: Nu-Mixx KlazzicsRating: 1 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Damainion Ewell It would be very interesting to hear what 2Pac would have to say about the state of his music. While his legion of fans continues to grow to enormous levels, a lot of the music made before his untimely demise should have been kept […]

Life Sentences

Artist: Greenhouse EffectsTitle: Life SentencesRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine Ohio is clearly starting to make more of an impression on hip-hop than just Bone Thugs. RJD2, Copywrite, and Blueprint are making exciting records that have the mainstream media talking. The Greenhouse Effect is an eight-year deep bond between Blueprint, Inkwel, and P-Dunbar. After a […]

Brutality Part 1

Artist: NecroTitle: Brutality Part 1Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine Necro is Brookyn’s answer to Brotha Lynch Hung. He has established himself as an MC limiting himself to tales of detailed violence, rough sex and a heavy scoop of first amendment testing lyrics. Necro, as a producer, is known for his scary movie-inspired themes. Necro’s been […]