1. “Utopia”-Archetype f. Joe Good
Trav slid me this album a few weeks ago, now it’s been a chore to get it off “repeat” and allow myself to open up my ears for anything else (which tends to hurt productivity here). Musically, Archetype’s outstanding sophomore effort “Bleed For Them” is leaps and bounds over the majority of the stuff that I’ve received for review purposes as of late. Producer/sometime mic spitter Nez and primary lyricist I.D. have crafted a nice album that was surprisingly released in 2005 (Wake Up!). While, the “PM Dawnish” utterance throughout the chorus of “Utopia” might rub some the wrong way, it’s hard to front on guest emcee Joe Good (whose voice resembles that of Reef Tha Lost Cauze) and Nez’s intriguing production. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover as this Lawrence, KS (fuckin‘ Kansas!) duo crank out an impressive opus that may take a listen or two to get accustomed to…but, when fully taken in this album will only grow on you as the well-oiled production coupled with heartfelt lyricism is sure to please even the most “underground” Hip Hop headz.
2. “What You Say”-I.N.I.
From I.N.I.’s highly slept on “Center Of Attention”, while “Fakin‘ Jax” may receive all the props as the top cut on this album “What You Say” wins with it’s always on point Pete Rock production and a breezy sample selection (is that the drums from “Funky Drummer” that I hear being sliced and diced?). I was recently reacquainted with “What You Say” thanks to DJ Ragz‘ (of Jazz Addixx) mixtape “Jazz Hop” (click to DL). On “Jazz Hop” Ragz cleverly bleeds the original sample into I.N.I.’s “What You Say” and never misses a beat. Be sure to check out “Jazz Hop” which is a perfect soundtrack for this Fall season. Lots of original jazz samples and a few “underground” classics such as A.D.O.R.’s “Let It All Hang Out” add up to a mixtape that you’ll almost never get tired of. Plus, I’m a big fan of “free shit”.
3. “Time Of Your Life”-Little Brother
Someone needs to leak L.B.’s highly anticipated album “Get Back” already! I’ve had “Time Of Your Life” chillin‘ in my Inbox for a minute, but I was instantly pleased once I gave this track a thorough listen. One would guess that Phontigalo and Big Pooh are valiantly attempting to make sure that “Get Back” doesn’t fall on deaf ears the way it’s two predecessors may have. Including this track, the only other cut that I’ve heard from the album has been “Good Clothes” but both of the tracks are without a doubt aimed at Urban Radio while still sticking to their grassroots. The R & B chick on the hook may turn some “hardrocks” off, but I’m truly lovin‘ this shit. It’s one of those tracks that you could vibe out to while splashin‘ on entirely too much cologne before hittin‘ the clubs, damn…remember those days? I think if there’s any chance of National recognition for Little Brother “Time Of Your Life” is their best bet to do so. While taking out the trash this afternoon I found myself dancin‘ to this shit in my driveway….meanwhile, the neighbors are arriving home from a long work day. Needless to say, I received more than one blank stare…..”people say you look like MC Hammer on crack Eric!!”
Editor’s Note: Uhhhh, after receiving the actual retail of “Get Back” I’ve come to the realization that “Time Of Your Life” isn’t even on the album! So, just disregard the previous statements…apparently, this song was incuded on a Scion sampler. Sorry!
4. “In God We Trust”-Termanology f. Easy Money
I know that the Primo produced “So Amazing” is more than likely bumpin‘ outta’ every car stero & Ipizzy up & down the East Coast, but “In God We Trust” packs enough punch to make it the most enjoyable cut on the “umpteenth” Hood Politics release from Termanology. I recently caught a glimpse of XXL’s recent cover photo depicted the next 10 “big emcees” or the “new school” (Saigon, Young Dro?, Joell Ortiz and a few more that lacked any credentials whatsoever to be anointed as “up & comers” to carry Hip Hop’s torch), sadly Term was left off that list. I really like this cat, he’s got a nice microphone presence, he’s lyrically gifted and with a co-sign from the legendary DJ Premier the sky is the limit for this young, flas
hy and fly Boston resident. “In God We Trust” displays a soothing, uptempo beat that’s very easy on the ears and yes…..again, I fall victim to the R & B hook. Still, you should not only give this song a listen but you can peep the Big Mike & Statik Selektah hosted mixtape “Hood Politics V” HERE. If you’re searchin‘ for the next wave of emcees, you’d be wise to start with Termanology. Don’t let this cat be just another emcee who releases a mixtape everyother week!
5. “Hurt Me Soul”-Lupe Fiasco
I know that Lupe has been scrutinized as of late for forgetting the lyrics to a Tribe song during his performance on VH1′s Hip Hop Honors, but it doesn’t come as a surprise to me one bit. I posted a YouTube clip of Lupe discussing the music he was brought up on HERE(be sure to scroll down to the middle of the page). “Hurt Me Soul” is probably my favorite track that I’ve heard from Lupe during his limited recording career. Hate on this cat on you want, but you can’t front on his skills. On “Hurt..” Lupe delivers a poignant lyrical showing that is only elevated when paired with the rolling drums courtesy of the production from Needlz. Although I should be eagerly anticipating Lupe’s forthcoming LP “The Cool”, the first single from the album “Dumb It Down” really doesn’t do anything for me. Plus, “Food & Liquor” didn’t totally win me over. However, when it comes to lyrics Lupe is up there with the best of em’.
6. “Humble Beginnings”-Reef The Lost Cauze
Everytime I head home to PA I like to prep myself listening to one of Philly’s finest, Reef The Lost Cauze. To be honest, I don’t know what I bumped more this past week from “Feast Or Famine”, the album’s opener “Humble…” or it’s follow up “Sound Of Philadelphia”. Reef is on point lyrically, when coupled with an imposing delivery and decent beats “Feast Or Famine” is one of the most criminally overlooked albums of the decade. Here’s a fair warning, I’ll be the first to admit that the album does taper off a bit towards it’s closing, but whatever you do be sure to peep this 2005 release on Eastern Conference records it’s well worth the price of admission. With head nodding drum kicks, rolling piano stabs, violins and a whiny vocal sample producer Emynd laces Reef with a fitting opener to “Feast Or Famine” that is a sure bet to make it into your “Most Played” by the end of next week.
7. “E=MC2″-J Dilla f. Common
Why in the hell didn’t Common include this on “Finding Forever” as opposed to the D’Angelo featured “So Far To Go”? Which was also included on Dilla’s posthumous release “The Shining”? I can’t even front, I bet I haven’t listened to “The Shining” since the week it was leaked. I was so engulfed in Dilla’s instrumental opus “Donuts” that I never gave this compilation much of a chance. However, since I have an incurable addiction to NBA2K8 and “E=MC2″ also happens to be on the game’s soundtrack, my love for this song has increased by leaps and bounds. On that note, for anyone that has NBA2K8…just how dope is it when you can watch the individual “Signature Highlights” from each player from the game played while this is blasting in the background? Crazy! Oh yeah, let me just go on record and state that NBA2K8 is hands down the most complete and enjoyable sporting experience in gameplay quite possibly ever!
8. “Scratch Bring It Back”-E.P.M.D.
Taken from what I consider to be E.P.M.D.’s best album “Business Never Personal”. While the track’s intention is to more or less be a DJ “showcase” for this Brentwood duo’s party rocker DJ Scratch, it’s far from your average run of the mill “hey, let’s put a track in here for some filler material on the album” type of DJ cut. While the E Double verse is aight, the track soon takes a quick turn for the better at approximately the 1 minute 27 mark when E suggest to partner in crime Parrish aka Mr. SlowFlow to “Get off that Bullshuck”. Soon thereafter, the track is lifted with a booming bassline that is sure to give you whiplash. Even better, is the cut techniques displayed by DJ Scratch as he takes the track out entirely too soon leaving the listener eager for even more funk from one of rap’s most important duos.
9. “Live Ya’ Life”-Cormega
Click To Download
If you ever have $13.99 burning a hole in your pocket, you may want to head on down to Best Buy and pick up Cormega’s “The True Meaning” & “The Realness” which is being packaged as two discs for the price of one. I always liked Cormega since first hearing him on Nas’ posse cut “Affirmative Action” from Nas’ “It Was Written”. Of course, the history between Cormega and Nas is well documented as well as often disputed, I’ve always felt that Cory got the shitty end of the stick. Instead of making a name for himself, Cormega has been subjected to releasing both of the aforementioned albums on Landspeed Records which in turn
went largely unnoticed. I think that both “The Realness” & “True Meaning” are solid albums that feature the always on point lyrics of Mega’ and notable production from the likes of DR Period, Alchemist, Buckwild, J-Love, Hi-Tek and Large Professor. However, “Live Ya’ Life” is laced by J Waxx Garfield (Lil Kim, Noreaga) who supplies a familiar and “oh, soo soulful” sample that finds Mega’ urging single Mother’s to keep on keepin’ on.
10. “Quills”-The Roots
Out of all the Roots’ albums that I’ve enjoyed since 1994, “Phrenology” has probably been the album that I devoted the least attention to (I’ve never been crazy about “Things Fall Apart” either). I can remember picking this up just shortly before I shipped over to Iraq, which didn’t help matters much as far as listening time is concerned. Fortunately, I was able to find this album at Hastings for $4.99 and over the last few weeks I’ve really grown to love “Phrenology”. Many will recall “The Seed (2.0) as the evident “banger” from this album, “Quills” is simplistic, not much more than a bassline, morrocos and some heavy breathing but damn, when all pieced together it sure does sound fonkay! Black Thought is one of my top 15 emcees and while I love him as key ingredient in the Roots’ formula, I’ve always wondered if we’ll ever hear a solo album from him. Still, it’s hard to argue when the Roots drop phonomenal discs like last year’s “Game Theory”.
Editor’s Note: “I know it’s been a minute since I’ve updated WTR and the posts are not quite as frequent as they have been prior to last week. Unfortunately, the “real world” has been kicking me in the ass lately. I lost my Grandmother on Friday which was unexpected and to top that off my Dad was in intensive care for the better portion of the last week. Plus, today my wife and I both tested positive for strep throat, my diet since Sunday has been nothing but Protein Shakes and Yogurt as I feel like I’m swallowing glass. This Monday, I will be heading back to PA to spend a week with my Father who will be entering a Long Term Care facility so just bare with me, the posts will be slow this coming week as well. However, I do appreciate the “die hard” readers who stop by and drop a comment or two (minus the dipshit who loves to start trouble in every blog’s C-Box), as well as all the other blogger’s who dedicate their valuble time and effort to keep me stoppin’ by their sites even though I don’t have the time to piece together a decent post of my own. Have a good weekend and take care!…-Eric