1. “Long Time Comin”-Special Teamz feat. Devin (click each song title to preview track in Zshare format)
While Special Teamz’ (Slaine, Jaysaun & Ed O.G.) first official full length “Stereotypez” hasn’t made a whole lotta’ noize just yet, I’ve been bumpin’ “Long Time…” ever since I received the promo a few months back. Trav and I have already touched base on the overall quality of the album (click HERE to read the review), “Long Time” finds Special Teamz at their best. With production that is somewhat reminiscent of Rockwilder’s on Red & Meth’s “Da Rockwilder”, newcomer Xplicit delivers a crisp track that should have emcees lined up on his front doorstep beggin’ for a beat. With beats on the album from household names such as Pete Rock, Primo & Jake One, it’s good to see a producer that’s not as well provide the highlight of the album. Also, Jaysaun’s verse is crazy nice but solid performances from both Slaine & Ed O.G. only add to the dopeness dispayed on “Long Time Comin’”. Pick up the album if you haven’t already.
Everytime I see or hear anything from Saafir it’s hard not to get the mental image of him gettin’ blasted while sittin’ at the redlight in his Beemer in his “cameo” in the Hughes brothers’ classic “Menace II Society”. Taken from Saafir’s criminally overlooked 1994 release “Boxcar Sessions”, “Can U Feel Me” is far from cliche as the unoriginal title may suggest. Fueled by rolling piano keys and a thunderous bassline, “Can U….” truly elevates at about the 35 second mark when the hard hitting drums “kick in” (pun intended). I actually picked this album up for about 3 bucks at Hastings earlier this week…a true “diamond in the rough”. Beware, this Golden State Warrior’s distinct flow may not be for everyone but I’d put this album up there against the likes of Souls of Mischief’s debut in terms of quality and originality. Oddly enough, “Can U Feel Me” was actually produced by Jay-Z of the Hobo Junction. “Boxcar Sessions” is yet another album that you need to pick up if you already haven’t!
Damn Trav! When are we gonna’ review this shit! After gaining the top spot on my “Most Played” for last week with the extremely dope “Model Citizen”, Ohmega Watts’ “Watts Happening” found itself blaring from my headphones yet again for the better portion of this week. This go round’ Ohmega teamed up with Kentucky’s very own Theory Hazit to drop another “heater” that is sure to get me through the winter. A more uptempo track than “Model..”, “Triple Double” finds Ohmega & Theory declaring themselves the “Vince Carter & Jason Kidd” of this rap ish’”. I can’t even say enough about what a talent this dude (Ohmega) is, the production on “Triple Double” is BANANAS! The bassline is crisp, the horns are looped to perfection and hell….even the cuts are sharp. Oh yeah, neither Ohmega or Theory Hazit is lackin’ in the lyrical department either. In the meantime, for a real solid review from an impressive new site that I’m really feelin’ head on over to Trading Tapes.
Damn, looking back on the my third favorite album in Common’s discography “Like Water For Chocolate”, it’s crazy impressive to find that most of the tracks on the album were backed by live musicians. While everyone can identify with the album’s smash “The Light”, “Geto Heaven Pt. II” has always been my highlight of the album due to the breezy Soulquarians track and D’Angelo’s mellow vocals on the hook. This album dropped the week before I joined the Military, so just the overall essence and feel of “Geto Heaven” that accompanied the thoughts of fear and doubt during my last week at home will always make this track a personal favorite of mine.
First & foremost, this is not the same Prince Ali who dropped a dope EP back in 06′ titled “I Miss 1994″, I’m pretty sure that he hails from Canada. Oddly, that is basically why I peeped “Curb Side Service” assuming that it was him. However, I was not disappointed to learn that it wasn’t! “Curb Side Service” from the newest Hiero signee, is a solid release that is a little lenghty but still contains enough highlights to make it worth your while. “California Cliff Notes” just so happens to be one of those tracks. Featuring a rejuvenated Pep Love, a rolling drum-track and a dope piano loop “California…” grabbed me immediately upon the first listen. With appearances from Hiero affiliates Casual, Tajai and A Plus, along with drops from Keith Murray & Planet Asia “Curb Side Service” follows in the tradition of solid releases from the Hiero fam. Peep the album HERE.
Might as well chalk Median’s solid full-length debut “Median’s Relief” up as yet another album that will probably never receive it’s due props. Personally, I love the album and feel that it ranks right up there with his Justus League croonies’ efforts….Little Brother’s “Get Back” & 9th Wonder’s “Dream Merchant II”. “Right Or Wrong?” is just one of those tracks that you can close your eyes and nod off to…but, in a good way. The subtle production fits perfectly with Median’s “ricky-icky-iddic” flow that seems to come effortless from one of the more lyrically inclined members of the J.L. Producer Centric get crazy kudos for the ill piano solo that takes the track to it’s closing.
Damn, after peepin’ Nomak’s instrumental opus “Calm” last week I was pleasantly surprised to find Nomak’s mixtape/compilation over at the reincarnated BossPlayer this past weeken. When previewing the track for “Act Right” be patient until about the 10 second mark when the track actually blends in. The whole album is blended together so there’s no real “start” and “end” point to the track. Nomak is known for giving tracks a more “emotional” feel and judging from the ill violins displayed on the remix of Zion I’s “Act Right”, he does a helluva’ job in doing so. The compilation itself is pretty dope and features clever remixes of Nas’ classic “Life’s A Bitch” and Outkast’s “B.O.B.” and an ill rendition of the Common Sense gem “I Used To Love H.E.R.”.
I don’t know if I’m completely sold on Funky DL’s “The 4th Quarter” just yet. I’ve seen a few reviews around the net’ proclaiming it as one of the top albums of the year…..I don’t know about all that! I will say that is indeed a solid album, with above average beats and rhymes. At times, it does feel as if DL goes a bit overboard with the whole “Tribe Vibe” theme….go figure, the track that I enjoyed (“Pay Check”) the most from “4th Quarter” sounds more like the Tribe than any other cut on the album. The one thing that I don’t get is..how does dude go from a colorful, attractive album cover for his previous release Music From Naphta to the cover art for “4th Quarter”? Which looks like it was scanned through a copier at Kinkos and sent to press.
….And now for a “non-Hip Hop moment at W.T.R.”. Major props to Dart Adams @ Poisonous Paragraphs for putting me on to Kenna’s “Make Sure They See My Face”. Now, this shit isn’t usually my type of thing….although, I can’t front the first half of Timberlake’s shit was dope. However, I feel that this dude is gonna’ make some major waves in the music world. Incorporating elements of Hip Hop, Pop & New Wave, Kenna hits a home run with his own unique style and production from the lesser known half of the Neptunes, Chad Hugo. I picked this up at Best Buy last week simply based on Dart’s review and I must say it’s been an album that’s been tough to put down, even if it is categorized as “pop”. Better than Timabaland & Timberlake’s albums combined, don’t even front on Kenna’s sophomore effort.
“Mums the word” on “American Gangster” for me with Jay-Z’s new leak. If you read this Interview you’ll see who my favorite emcee (present day) is…so there’s no “hatin’” whatsoever goin’ on here. It’s just that…..man, nothing….and I mean, nothing….has grabbed me on this album. I’ve taken time away from the likes of Ohmega Watts and such….to try to like this album. I must have listened to this album 30 times this week and it’s hard for me to even make it through the whole album each time. I’ll shut up now…I wanna’ like this album, but I’m just not seein’ it. Sorry Jay, the beats and the rhymes sound not only generic but lackadaisical as well. Then you go and throw a so called “revamped” edition of “Ignorant Shit” on there….hasn’t that track been floating around the net’ since 2001? C’mon man!