Damn…Damn…Damn…I know it’s been quite some time since I’ve been able to update this site. However, don’t fret-the good thing is that I’ve been able to catch more than a few Villanova B-Ball home games (including last week’s first round “scare” vs. American and the second round BASHING of UCLA) and I’m super amped for this week’s Sweet 16 match-up with Puke…errr…Dook….ahem, excuse me…Duke! Peep the history of the site, it’s crazy slow around here when College Basketball season is winding down. Meanwhile, while I’ve been hopping flights between Little Rock and Philadelphia (jet-lag is a Beeeyatch!!) for the last month, my inbox has been flooded with an abundance of BANGING albums that will be released over the next month or two. It looks as if things are slowly starting to pick up after three months of quiet nothingness. Quick, name the best album released thus far in 2009! See, it’s not so easy is it? Trust me, you’ll soon be accustomed to reeling off the names Finale, Illogic and tha Connection soon enough, without much hesitation at all.
First on my plate this week was the forthcoming Feelin’ Music release “Love Royale” from W.T.R. mainstays, tha Connection, fresh off the heels of the duo’s phenomenal effort, 2008′s “Trapeze” (click to read W.T.R.’s take on the album) which was released on Domination Records. One of the strongest albums and biggest surprises of ’08, “Trapeze” displayed a crazy chemistry between emcess SmooVth & Hus (think of a waaay more lyrical Group Home, but with production on the same level of consistency that DJ Premier blessed “Livin’ Proof” with) over eerie RZA-like production from a host of overseas talent (Vans Cal, whoever you are, hit a brotha’ up for an interview….your beats are AMAZING!!). Clocking in at 19 tracks deep, many could argue that albums as lengthy as “Trapeze” and “Love Royale” is quite risky, with most Hip Hop fans electing “quality” over “quantity”. However, tha Connection has mastered the art of “staying in the public eye”, releasing numerous efforts over the course of two years without supersaturation of B.S. material, dropping free releases on what seems like a bi-monthly basis.
Take it to heart when I say “Love Royale” is LOADED with flair and originality. It’s a simple equation for success, really….ill beats and ill rhymes=a dope ass album! As I’ve always mentioned, tha Connection aren’t the most lyrically-potent duo that you’ll ever come across, but it’s their cadence and deliveries that have won me over from day one. Plus, you can’t help but respect the work ethic that SmooVth and Hus put in, persistence is a muhfuc*a’ I tell you!! I don’t just like the music that Hus and Smoovth craft, I fuc*ing LOVE it!! It’s hard to not to argue, that tha Connection isn’t my favorite group that’s poppin’ right about now as “Love Royale” flows seamlessly from end to end.
From the opening moments of the Sade-sampled, Baker produced “Royale” to the bouncy, Sci-Fi laced free-for-all, “Dum Dum Dum” (which uses the infamous loop that fueled Cormega’s “Fallen Soldiers”) to the “Ex Girl ta’ Next Girl” sampled “Fool In Love”, “Love Royale” hits harder than Mike Tyson. Utilizing a wide array of producers from the immensely talented Vans Cal (just WHO is this guy??) to the bass heavy flavor of KG Boom, “Love Royale” is surprisingly as “put together” as Kim Kardashin. One would think that with such a vast contrast in production styles from the contributing beatsmiths “Love Royale” would encounter a few bumps in the road, which couldn’t be anything further from the truth! As impressed as I was with “Trapeze”, “Love Royale” has improved that much upon it’s predecessor (not counting Goon Trax’ “Moon Water” if you wanna’ dig deeper), I’m extremely impressed with this album as tha Connection has solidified themselves as a duo to keep an ear open for in 2009. Oh, and you can’t skip out on the “Revamped” version of the Vans Cal-laced instant CLASSIC “Take It Higher”, as it plays just as elegantly as the original.
It’s only fitting that during this time of “March Madness” and the NCAA tournament that rooting for the underdog is commonplace in today’s world. Well, after cats get hipped to “Love Royale”, the duo of SmooVth and Hus aka tha Connection will be underdogs no more! Do yourself a favor and give “Love Royale” a well-deserved listen, these cats definitely have the “W.T.R.” stamp of approval!