“The Light 2008″-Common (click track title to preview or DL)
Produced by “legend in the making” Just Blaze, “The Light 2008″ revisits Common’s smash “The Light” that was originally laced by the late, great J Dilla. Dare I say that this “2K8″ version trumps the original? I don’t know, but it’s pretty darn close! Some of you may have first heard the loop that fuels this track on Consequence’s “Pretty Little Sexy Mama” (from “Don’t Quit Your Day Job) around this time last year, matter of fact, Quence’s joint also found it’s place atop my “Most Played” once or twice. I have to disagree with Trav’s sentiments (at least with the lazy part), just why can’t there be more tracks that deal with “love” in Hip Hop and when you improve on the orginal, why not? Hmmm, I guess it’s not cool for a rapper to express his true emotions on record anymore. Whatever the case, this sh*t is crazy nice, slick drums, a nice sample and a sultry hook make for the perfect track to bump with your better half.
Consisting of 12 MC’s and producers: Theory Hazit, Cas Metah, Justme, WonderBrown, Mouth Warren, Motion +, Kaboose, Ruffian, EliasGriffin, Re:Flex the Architect, and Mattman. However the core emcees of S.I are: JustMe, Cas Metah, Mouf WarrenTheory Hazit and Wonder Brown….whew, this Cincy/Kentucky-based crew are back with their first follow-up in nearly 10 (!) years. With plenty of dope cuts for your to sink your teeth into, “The Have Nots” is one of those albums where everyone will find at least a track or three that is appealing to them in some way, shape or form. For me it was a clear cut choice, “Start Livin”, featuring rhymes from Theory Hazit (who also dropped a real nice album last year, “Extra Credit”), Re:Flex, Cas Metah and Justme. This track unveils descriptive first hand recollections of experiences from each of the emcees that nudged them to start “livin’ every day like it’s your last”. Yet another track that breaths emotion and honesty, be sure to check this album out….good stuff, trust me!
Damn, I honestly don’t think that I’ve ever bumped an instrumental track in succession as I did this week with Sid Roames’ (aka Joey Chavez) “Fly High”. Brought to you by the mastermind who blessed Evidence’s “Mr. Slow Flow” with one of the strongest beats of ’07, Sid Roams unleashes even more of his ear-shattering treats via his appropriately titled instrumental album “Strictly Nstrmntl”. A somber yet somewhat uplifting track, “Fly High” is highlighted with escalating synths that…at moments, sound as if they’re actually trying to speak to you. Many of the instrumentals that appear on this beat collection have already been supplied for the likes of Dilated Peoples, Ev and such, however, I’m not sure if someone has laid lyrics over “Fly High” or not….at least I can’t find anything on the net’ stating differently. If not, someone needs to scoop this one up ASAP! This instrumental would be the perfect backdrop for a good ole “lost love” or “ode to the dead homiez” track. Be sure and peep the rest of the LP as well, not one of those looooong ass instrumental LPs that have you reaching for the “FF” button every other song or so.
Score me a late pass for “Tight Eyes”! Man, I can recall seeing this single posted throughout “blogosphere” waaay before the official release of “Time Line”. Damn, I’m a sucker for a smooth hook, and “Tight Eyes” most definitely has one! As far as the rest of “Time Line” is concerned? Not quite sure just yet, I’ve only given the album…maybe….two (?) full listens since it’s leak. And while I will say this, the sequencing of the album is on point. Meaning, the tracks bleed into each other after their completion, providing a cohesive and fluid album that is more like an actual album rather than just a bunch of singles compiled and packaged to the consumer as “finished” product. Of course, I, much like many of you (from what I’ve been reading at least) also feel that the emcee, Kay, is an odd pairing with Nicolay. His lyrics are decent, but his drawl and delivery just doesn’t match up to Nicolay’s beats (which, by the way, don’t light a match to his production featured on “Connected”). Still, I plan on sitting down with “Time Line” again just as soon as I finish up this post to give it another ‘go round. I don’t know, maybe we just got spoiled with the chemistry between Nicolay and Phonte on “Connected”?
Taken from what has been the most enjoyable album thus far, nearly two months into 2008, Chaundon’s “Carnage”. Lyrically, Chaundon has what so many up and coming (although, after being featured on countless Justus League releases over the last few years, dude isn’t much of one) emcees lack when on the M-I-C….a “presence”. This card-carrying member of North Carolina’s Justus League surprised the hell out of me with his latest offering “Carnage”. Featuring an all-star production team (9th Wonder, Illmind, Khrysis, etc.) that an aspiring emcee would kill for, this album is loaded with heat and very few, almost forgotten missteps. I see “Carnage” being to me what Evidence’s “The Weatherman” was for me last year, an album that stays in rotation for 12 months providing me with a new “favorite” from the album every other month or so. Nothing really “ground-breaking”, but still VERY solid, kinda’ like what Horace Grant was to the Bulls during their championship run…ahh, that may actually be discrediting “Carnage” but it’s the best I could think of at 1 a.m. And wouldn’t you know it, after leafing through various sites and finding the actual production credits, on every page that I found the credits for this album “Everything Ain’t Easy” was left unlabeled. My best guess is that this is a 9th Wonder beat, however, it could just as easily pass for Khrysis. Whatever the case, this sh*t is a certified “head-nodder”, with Chaundon and guest emcee Charlie Smarts revisiting the days of their youth over the undeniable, soulful production. Do yourself a favor this week, prop down in your favorite chair, relax, put in some Madden or NBA2k8 and enjoy the dopeness that is, “Carnage”.