Damn, Timbaland must be pissed! Considering that Polow The Don’s (of the “Throw Some D’s” fame) production not only has the opportunity to be showcased on Nas’ long-awaited, controversial follow-up to the disappointing “Hip Hop Is Dead” but he has also seemingly crafted a track that sounds eerily similar to Timbo’s production style. Sh*t, “Hero” even follows suit and jerks R & B chick, Keri Wilson who appeared on three cuts from Timbaland’s “Presents: Shock Value” to fuel the hook for this banger. Whatever the case, “Hero” has truly got me amped for Nas’ new shit (hell, by the time you read this the title of the album may have even changed names once again!) and this is comin’ from someone who all but wrote Nas off after his last album….especially, when you consider that the best produced track on your album came from the likes of the Black Eyed Peas’ Will I Am (“Can’t Forget About You”). “Hero” is one of those “momentum-builder” type tracks that always do the job in “hyping you up”, much like Jay-Z’s “P.S.A.”, Redman’s “Time 4 Sum Akshun” or the Mash Out Posse’s “Ante Up”, a great track to listen to while your running, working out or even preparing yourself for a long night out on the town. I’ve also included the full version of the track for download, not the version that appears on Nas & Green Lantern’s “warm-up”, “The Ni**er Tape”, so it’s void of Lantern’s overtones. I can only hope that Nas delivers this type of quality on his forthcoming LP.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve never been a big fan of overseas rappers. I know that’s a shame to say, but I just can’t get used to all of the “accents” and such, much of the time it just feels as if some on these non-stateside residents are a step behind…both lyrically and content-wise. However, not only has U.K resident and producer Metabeats totally opened my eyes and changed my thinking, he’s also crafted one helluva’ album with “Metaphysical”. After peeping the samples last week on Itunes, I didn’t hesitate for one moment to shell over me hard-earned $9.99 for the digital purchase of “Metaphysical”. ”The Coming” has the feel of an early Wu-Tang track, not only with the simple drum patterns but the sudden “breaks” within the track serve as a nice change of pace, keeping you tuned in all the while. Metabeats doesn’t have have a defined ‘sound’ per se. However, that’s not to say that he doesn’t carve out his own niche as a very effective beatsmith . With an album that’s only 13 tracks deep, it’s damn near flawless. Please, check this out if you haven’t already, and don’t make the mistake of being as close-minded as myself.
Whether it’s URB Magazine giving him a half a page in their “Next 100″ (artists on the rise, so to speak) issue, or Portishead’s Andy Smith speaking his praises, Shawn Jackson is building up quite a head of steam for “First Of All…” his forthcoming full-length on Tres Records. From the bits and pieces that I’ve gathered thus far, “First Of All…” is set to feature beats from Mekalek (Time Machine), Jack Sample (SA-RA, Too $hort), Newman (Giant Panda), and Thes One (People Under The Stairs) so you already know what you can expect production-wise. The album is also slated to feature the D’s very own underground fav, Guilty Simpson. I know that Dart (Poisonous Paragraphs) had mentioned to me earlier in the week: “Hey, have you heard of Shawn Jackson?”, but I may have to battle him out for this cat as a “flagship artist” for W.T.R. ’cause I’m really feelin’ what this West Coast resident is bringin’ to the table. Remember the quality that was evident with Blu & Exile’s “Below The Heavens”? Well, prepare yourself, as I truly feel that “First Of All…” is gonna’ find itself amongst the big-hitters when it comes to the best albums of ’08. Remember where you heard it first kid!!!
Oh, and speaking of Blu. Have you ever in your vivid imagination wondered what the always charismatic and lyrically inclined Blu would sound like atop a breezy Pete Rock production? What if that same production, as a bonus,was also was layered with sleigh bells? Which, by the way is always a winner when it comes to Golden Era beats. You mean Blu actually did a track with the “Soul Brother #1″ (*gasp*). Ehh, not quite, but we may very well possibly have the next best thing here. Matter of fact, the MAJORITY of the beats for producer Presto’s “State Of The Art” LP will instantly take you back to the days when we had to patiently wait for “The Main Ingredient” to drop nearly three years after “Mecca & The Soul Brother”. Oh, and did someone mention CL Smooth? What a coincidence!!! Fortunately, CL Smooth also makes an appearance on Presto’s “compilation” of sorts on the elegant “Part Of Greatness”, another true banger. Man, I can already see Jaz & Trav (old headz, much like myself) salivating over the production that supplies the backbone for “State Of The Art”. Not only is the production a true “throw-back” (damn, I hate that word!) to the days of 1995, but lyrically with appearances from the Pharcyde’s Fatlip, Sadat X, O.C., the aforementioned CL Smooth and the always sharp, Large Professor (who also remixes “Conquer Mentally”, damn that CL vocal slice was slick!) the album in general makes you wanna’ dig out your Karl Kani and your Triple 555 Soul skullies. This album may not play out so well with the younger crowd, but if you’re in your late 20′s ta’ early 30′s then State Of The Art” is right up your alley!!
Is that even the accurate artwork for Saigon’s (forever, it seems) pushed-back-yet-again “The Greatest Story Never Told”? I thought this sh*t was slated for a December, 2007 release, WTF?? Anyway, Saigon better be thankin’ the Lord for having Just Blaze as his producer for his highly anticipated debut. As I’ve mentioned before, I really don’t see what all the fuss is about Saigon lyrically, but if Just Blaze keeps churnin’ out heaters like this…well, shit, I’d even listen to Soulja Boy over productions like “Believe It” & last year’s “C’mon Baby”. And even though the voice encoder is the certain “it thing” of the moment now, not only in Hip Hop but in R & B as well, it doesn’t really take anything thing away from Just Blaze’s throbbing track. Simply put, “Believe It” is just catchy as all get out….even with a bootleg T-Pain belting out the hook! Now, if only we could get “The Greatest Story Never Told” in our hands!