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"It's Been A Long Time"….."Most Played For The Week"

by Eric on February 2, 2008

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!

2. “Another Day”-Blu

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”.

3. “Can You Let Me Know?”-DJ Deckstream ft. Lupe Fiasco, Verbal & Sarah Green

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.

4. “Goya Nectar”-Toy Box Scholars

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!

5. “Drivin’ Down The Block”-Kidz In The Hall

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!”

6. “To Serve With Love”-Black Spade

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.

7. “Radiant”-Nomak

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″.

8. “U Let Me Grow”-EMC

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.

9. “Switch”-Torae

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.

10. “QT” (Quality Time)-Substantial

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.

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AaronM February 2, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Nice picks. Not totally wowed by C.R.A.C. either, I thought “Juice N Dranks” was the weakest track on “Below The Heavens”.
Ta’Raach is a good producer, not a great rapper.
I hope that “Powders & Oils” comes out, Blu is turning into the MC version of Madlib, with about 10 albums coming out.

linkel February 2, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Yeah Aaron….I also thought that “Juice N Dranks” was the only “skip-worthy” cut on the album!

CL February 2, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Mostly agree about “Juice N Dranks” and TaRaach. The only thing I disagree about is I don’t think he’s that great a producer either. This guy is bad news for Blu. Blu has to scrap this C.R.A.C. Knucles stuff (but “Buy Me Lunch” is an interesting non-hip hop track though).

CL February 2, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Mostly agree about “Juice N Dranks” and TaRaach. The only thing I disagree about is I don’t think he’s that great a producer either. This guy is bad news for Blu. Blu has to scrap this C.R.A.C. Knucles stuff (but “Buy Me Lunch” is an interesting non-hip hop track though).

Jonzard February 2, 2008 at 9:53 pm

Unsigned Emcees > All’s Fair

With that said, I just found this blog and have really enjoyed it and found the suggestions to be helpful.

Edward February 2, 2008 at 9:08 pm
andrew February 3, 2008 at 10:44 am

I’ve been looking for some new Black Spade since he was on the Nicolay “here” album….

and that lupe joint is nice
good picks this week.

What It Is February 3, 2008 at 8:36 am

I’m totally slacking on new ish this year too.
Looking forward to checking out that Black Spade

leroi February 3, 2008 at 1:53 pm

fine picks sir…and thank you for that comment on the eMC album. Yes its not a definite classic like some of Masta’s other memorable pieces. But what is up with all the unwarranted criticism. Everyone is talking about how disappointing the album is…compared to what? Flo rida? Shawty lo? Soulja Boy? The Show is a regular masterpiece compared to the contemporary garbage on the radio, so “Show me some love like I’m Bernie Mac!”

(Ok…I’m done…peace)

CheezPizza February 4, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Thanks for these. That DJ Deckstream track is fresh.

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