While many have tried and failed to rework the classic, Dilla-produced “Fall In Love”, from Slum Village’s “Fantastic Vol.II”, under-the-radar production maestro Flying Lotus along with Finale has truly “Paid Homage” (pun intended) to one of the greatest producers of our era. “Paid Homage” isn’t just my “Most Played” this week, but this track is hands-down better than any single track that I’ve heard this year. So impressed am I by Lotus’ production on “Paid Homage” that I’ve proceeded to purchase both “1983″ and “Los Angeles”, two stellar releases that showcase the same depth and what Lotus himself categorizes as “headphone music” that appears on this instant classic. Clocking in at just 2 and a half minutes long, the only real beef I have with “Paid Homage” is that it’s entirely too short!!
Now, on the lyrical tip, lemme’ just say this…Finale is that dude! Yes, I’ve been in Finale’s corner since first hearing “Develop”, Finale’s collaborative effort with Spier 1200, and an album that was inclusive in the “Rawkus 50″ movement. Finale is an emcee’s emcee, if you catch my drift. Flaunting potent lyricism and a confident, but not overly cocky aura about himself, Finale has the “it” factor that is needed for a long, prosperous career in the industry. I don’t wanna’ speak on this cat too much, as I plan on reviewing Finale’s solo debut “A Pipe Dream And A Promise” later this week…uh hum, now that Villanova has freed me up a bit with their most recent shellacking at the hands of North Carolina. In the meantime, do yourself a solid and cop Finale’s album when it drops tomorrow!
Simply stated, Illogic’s lyricism and Ill Poetic’s stout production is a good combination like MC Lyte & Positive K. The pairing of “Ills” could not have selected a better track to serve as an opener for Illogic’s stellar LP, “Diabolical Fun”. Uptempo and hard-hitting, “What’s My Name?” is the type of track that you would expect to hear blaring from a high-end sound system at pre-game warm-ups during an NBA or College hoops event as this cut will most definitely get your blood pumpin’. I’ll admit, this one was an eye-opener for me, as I expected Ill Poetic to follow suit and keep the production to a subtle, mid tempo, much of what was witnessed on earlier Illogic albums and in many cases served as a second fiddle to Illogic’s deep and thought-provoking lyrics. However, “What’s My Name?” was a welcome and unexpected surprise that is very easy to digest.
Wooooooooo!!! A track that serves as the defining moment to the second LP, the follow-up to 2005′s critically acclaimed “Feelin’ Earatik”, “The Good The Bad And The Ugly”, from the Chicago-based Earatik Statik, “Knock ‘Em Out” is in the same vein as M.O.P. classics such as “How About Some Hardcore” and “Ante Up” (well, maybe not on that level, not just yet anyway!). Flipping the sample most recently made popular by Kanye West and Cons to tha Quence with “Grammy Family” (Lou Rawls’ “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”), producer Kaz1 completely chops this sh*t to pieces and adds the ever so necessary hint of rolling drums to make this track a true neck-spasm inducing banger!! Of course, it almost goes without saying that “Knock ‘Em Out” also features a stellar, scene-stealing verse from resident sh*t-talker Sean Price who unleashes a flurry, of hilarious one-liners that we’ve come to expect from the man who penned such instant classics as “Onionhead”.
Yes Sir, Ohio is in the house 1nce again!! This time around emcee/producer Blueprint follows up the success of last year’s EP “Blueprint vs. Funkadelic”, with an eight-track, instrumental excursion, “Sign Language”. Of course, many tend to associate Blueprint with quirky, producer RJD2 thanks much in part to their successful collaborative, catered to the underground, efforts (the “Unlimited” EP, “8 Million Stories” and “Things Go Better With RJ And Al”), and after one listen to “Time Management Rebuilt” you could make a case for whom was more influential on the other. Upon first listen, I thought to myself: “Damn, this sh*t sounds like an RJD2 beat”. Well, who knows? Just maybe, RJD2 has taken a page outta’ Blueprint’s little black-book of beats, which is the exact conclusion I’ve come to after listening to “Sign Language”. Of course, I use the term “listening” loosely when applicable to Blueprint, as both “Sign Language” and “Chamber Music” are more of an experience than anything else.
Whatever the case, this moody, neck-snapping, roller-coaster is just what the doctor ordered for those days when you’re stuck in hour-long traffic just trying to make it home in time to crack open a frosty after a long and tedious 10-hour work day. And, let it be known, “Starch” (from Blueprint’s “Chamber Music”) remains as the one and only track that I want to be played at my funeral.
Yesssssssssss!!! Are my dreams coming true? Is it possible that we’ll see a Blu-included edition of Exile’s “Radio” surface on the WorldWideWeb sometime soon? Awww man, just how dope would that be? I’m sitting here just salivating at the thought of it, Sh*t!! Essentially, that’s all that this track is as Blu flows so damn effortlessly over Exile’s “Love Line”. “Love Line” minus Blu is still dope, don’t get me wrong…but, would you take the BMW 7 Series with the sunroof or without it if you had the choice? See where I’m goin’ with this? “Below The Heavens” is a classic, and let’s be honest does Blu sound the same without Exile’s backing? I can’t front, much of the tracks that Blu’s leaked via his MySpace page or elsewhere have been…ehhh. I mean, Blu’s the sh*t lyrically, but when he spits atop a booming Exile production the end result is unmatched. Remember on “Below The Heavens” when Blu spit: “The new Pete & CL/Exile and B-L”? Man, let’s only hope that they don’t end up in a sh*t storm like that. Damnit, give us another “Below The Heavens” already!!!