1. “All’s Fair”-Has-Lo (click track title to preview or DL)
The more I listen to Has-Lo’s “Fu*k Has Day” the more impressed I become. Flaunting an ill lyrical flow, with a mounting confidence and swagger, Has delivers an ill tale of cheating, deception and heartbreak over a somber yet funky (damn, those are two words that are rarely used together) track. If you missed my spotlight on Has’ debut EP earlier in the week be sure to check that out as well cause’ dude is definitely one emcee that you’ll be hearing alot more from in the future. Matter of fact, “Fu*k Has Day” should be amongst the “Show’s”, “Daily Converstion’s” and such as your “album” of the year thus far, even though new releases have been somewhat limited. Very seldom do I hear a so-called “new artist” that makes me say “damn, dude is nice”, but Has is that cat. Most definitely an up & comer with major up-side. Did I mention Has is from Philly? Ahh, no wonder he’s nice!
Every-time I hear something new from Blu I walk away, mouth gaping wide open uttering “Damn” to myself over and over again. “Just Another Day” is the newest entry from Blu…and I should probably say producer Exile as well, being that this track was actually left off of “Below The Heavens”. With a dope video to match, “Just Another Day” finds Blu pondering his “importance” in Hip-Hop over yet another ill Exile production. For a glimpse at just how fresh this youngster is, peep an excerpt from the first verse below, which also finds Blu giving an “on-point” analysis regarding the state of Hip-Hop today:
“They say rap’s like a trap/
So I’m lookin’ for a map to the back door/
Sometimes I sit and wonder what the fu*k I’m rappin’ for/
So many rapper’s more talented and they never had to chance it/
Not to mention ni*gas tryin’ ta’ damage it/
Cold-hearted vandals, fu*kin’ up the culture/
They act like it’s kosher, to rap for the advantages/
Makin’ the game scandolous/
Stranded so far from the art/
You start to wonder if they ever was a fan of it/
I’m diggin’ in the crates with the candles lit/
Lookin’ for a record to describe my anger so I can sample it/……
Dope? Yes indeed…however, I’m not too impressed with what I’ve sampled thus far from Blu’s forthcoming collabo with Ta’Raach entitled “C.R.A.C.”-”The Piece Talks” (due in April). Especially “mind boggling” is “Buy Me Lunch”, but “Love Don’t” is at the very least feasible work from Hip-Hop’s “Next School”.
Big ups to W.T.R. contributing writer Spaise for putting me on to this one! While I’m not completely sold on the compilation album that features the likes of Camp Lo, Kweli and Bahamadia just yet, “Can You Let Me Know” caught my ear upon first listen and has been gettin’ constant spins ever since. Spaise mentioned in his write-up that this cut that features current “rapper I hate most” at the moment, Lupe Fiasco, has been circulating around the net’ for more than a minute now. Nevertheless, this track may be labeled as “soft” to some, but to me it possesses that breezy spring/summertime vibe that is perfect for playing in the ride or just kickin’ it with your girl. The track really doesn’t feel like your typical “Lupe” track as Verbal handles much of the lyrics on this one, along with a smooth hook from crooner Sarah Green (who also appeared on Lupe’s “The Cool”) that gives the track an “R & Bish” feel.
I don’t wanna’ let the rabbit out of the hat just yet when discussing the sophomore album “We Get Love”. This six man crew, better known as the Toy Box Scholars, hails from…of all places…Rhode Island. Trav actually posted a link for this album earlier this week, so be sure to check it out as well! “Goya Nectar” is surprisingly refreshing, as is much of the album. I mean really, who makes a track about sitting on your front porch sippin’ “Goya Nectar”, it’s nearly an “anti-alcohol” anthem yet still incredibly catchy. With Busta’s “It’s a sunny day/And the sky is bright” vocal sample in tow, the track truly has that…..and I know I overuse this phrase entirely too much….throwback appeal. Dusty drums (that I know you’ve heard before), gentle keys and smooth lyrics from Studs & Dialect piece together nicely for another “summer” track. While, the album “We Got The Love” may very well be a little rough around the edges it’s sure as hell worth checking out. You can actually tell that these cats had a good time making the album and are truly dedicated fans of Hip Hop’s golden era. Some of the samples that Toy Box Scholars flipped on the album are some of my favorite loops and all the emcees’ skills are unquestionable. Even though Dialect may be the weakest link lyrically, that’s not to say that he’s “wack” whatsoever. Matter of fact, even though his lyrics may not be up to par with J. Hewgs, Dialect has the dopest voice and flow on the album. Like Trav mentioned, there’s something about these guys that remind of Digable Planets (minus Ladybug Mecca) when I first heard them and that’s most definitely a compliment!
Note that the title of this blog entry reads “Most Played For The Week”, not “Best Tracks Of The Week”. There’s not too many jewels to be found on “Drivin’ Down The Block”, nor have I ever felt that Kidz in The Hall were lyrically superior anyway. However, “Drivin’…” is what you get when you mix one part “Sittin’ On Chrome”, one part “Grindin” and one part “Black Mags” and that equates to some serious “rattle” in your trunk. Taking a page from Masta Ace’s classic thumper “Jeep Ass Nig*h”, Kidz in The Hall have successfully laid the foundation for a tremendous buzz with their forthcoming Duck Down debut. I’m really interested in this whole Duck Down affiliation as well, cause’ Kidz In The Hall is not what comes to mind when you think “Duck Down”. “I’m jus’ swervin’ mayne!”
Yet another unique album that Spaise introduced me to. Man, I’ve been slackin’ on the new ish’ so far this year. Funny thing is, frequent WTR visitor Lafayette (of “4 Brothers Beats”) posted a comment about this album last week stating: “To Serve With Love” is the best album this year…Dilla/Prince/Common rolled into one…just plain awesome!” Hmm…album of the year? We shall see, but the Dilla/Prince/Common comparison is fairly accurate and it is pretty “awesome”. The self titled cut is hands-down the most conventional track on the album and also the most addictive. Featuring a soulful, studder-step backdrop sprinkled with echoing bells, Black Spade delivers well-thought out lyrics along with his…get this…crooning abilities. Much of the album is a “grower”, but with ample time in the headphones “To Serve With Love” has all the makings to find itself amongst the giants of 2008.
Similar to DJ Deckstream’s “Soundtracks” minus the big name artists, “Saudade Compiled By Pandeiro” is a collective of overseas producers such as Nujabes, Shin-Ski & Nomak along with a few other acts that I’m not very familiar with. You may recall Nomak from his appearances on my “Most Played Lists” on separate occasions last year for his albums “Calm” and “Eternal View”. “Radiant” is a slammin’ instrumental track that is fueled by a booming drum track and caressed with subtle keys along with a beautiful string section. Don’t really know if I’d tag this as “Hip Hop”, and some of you may say “man, this bullsh*t sounds like just like Moby!”. Whatever the case, this is….along with the majority of Nomak’s production, some dope ass music! Perfect to play in the headphones while doing work around the house or while takin’ it to the hoop in “College Hoops 2K8″.
Probably the most heartfelt track from EMC’s new “leak”, “The Show”. Yep, I’ma eat my words once again…another sped up sample is utilized to perfection over another track that sounds like it could have produced by the likes of 9th Wonder, M-Phazes, Analogic or a collective of beat makers who use those heavy bass knocks and that crisp snare so effectively. I’m not that big on “The Show” just yet as I felt that there are a few things that could use some improvement. Still, a solid 3 1/2 maybe even a 4 outta’ 5, the lyrical performances alone from Wordsworth and Ace are more than worth the price of admission.
From Torae’s album/mixtape “Daily Conversation”, “Switch” is an electronic Black Milk production that changes pace as Torae “switches up” each verse, imitating the flows of everyone from Tupac to 50 Cent. You gotta’ hear this just for the 50 mocking, and the Pac cover is “dead-on” as well. As for the album? “Daily…” is fairly well-rounded, solid but unspectacular if anything. Even though Torae does have a dope lineup of producers (9th, Khrysis, Black Milk,etc.) for “Daily”, the album is lacking that one true “knock-out” track that would push it over the top. However, “Daily Conversation” is a very lyrical album as Torae comes off as an upgraded version of Skyzoo.
Another Spaise recommendation, Substatial’s “Sacrifice” is a dope album that would have been amazing had he dropped some of the obvious filler. “QT” produced by Final is the most superior beat featured on “Sacrifice” as the smooth sax nearly forces you to close your eyes and nod away. Substantial’s flow is eerily similar to that of his homeboy ToneDeff, but with a more baritone delivery. This is one album that has remained a constant since the beginning of the year, even though some of the beats are somewhat stagnant and lacking originality.