Wow! What’s really funny is when you’re surfing Twitter, browsing random “tweets” you often learn that a certain emcee has just returned from the booth where he has, in turn…”blacked out”. Yeah right, muhfuc*as! After hearing “Exhibit C” the term “black out” now belongs to Jay Electronica, book it! Also, is it me or does it seem as if Just Blaze is storing the majority of his “heat” for a certain emcee who’s roots where sewn in the Magnolia Projects (which is somewhat unbelievable in itself, to think that Jay and B.G. share the same background)?
Lord knows, “Exhibit A” has garnered more plays on my Ipod than any other track within the last 18 months or so, but it appears as if it will soon be overtaken by the most recent leak of “Exhibit C”. Leaked during the middle portion of the week, “Exhibit C” has generated about as much buzz as this ridiculous dunk by Shannon Brown last nite. Jay and Just, can we get an album already? “Exhibit C” just isn’t fair to other rappers, Jay is doin’ emcees dirty with this sh*t!
Now over ten years and seven albums deep, People Under the Stairs (the duo of Thes One & Double K) have built a genre and fan-base within hip hop of their own. Upbeat, crazy, full of energy and creativity, “Carried Away” follows in true P.U.T.S tradition. Let it be known that “Carried Away” was recorded entirely on reel to reel with an overabundance of rock samples, distorted vocals, drum machines, etc. Quite truthfully, up until this album, I’ve never been a big follower of P.U.T.S. Not that Thes One & Double K are “wack” by any means whatsoever, it’s just that their style has always been a bit too much “Hip Hop and ya’ don’t stop” (translation: Old School) for my progressive taste, different strokes for different folks, right? However, “Step Off” and the majority of “Carried Away” for that matter has “Johnny Gill’d” me (rubbed me the right way), and is quite possibly the duo’s best work to date.
L.A. emcee Destuct (who’s a dead-on Braille look-a-like) and Sweedish producer KG Boom, whom you may recall has down a fair amount of production for tha Connection, released “Raw Slice” as a free download back near the start of Summer. While the album is fairly solid, I’m not completely sold on Destruct’s lyrical abilities just yet, although I need to check his collabo with EQ (who also has done production for the aforementioned Connection) “Non-Flaco”, which is also available as a free download. I gotta’ give KG Boom his propers though, as this cat has created his own quick-hitting, bass-heavy sound that is a throwback to the mid-nineties. Fueled by a “DJ Premierish” hook where Boom has spliced a number of vocal samples together quite nicely, “Keep It Live” may not be one of the year’s more lyrically-inclined tracks but it’s still one of it’s funkiest.
If you haven’t peeped Aarophat & Illastrate’s “Black Noise” yet, you’re missing out on one of 2009′s finest albums. I even slept for a quick second until Dart put me on to these cats, and I gotta’ admit…”Black Noise” sounds even better with each passing listen and this album has received ALOT of burn in my ride lately. Aarophat & Illastrate have created a masterpiece, “Black Noise” will not generate the sheer amount of sales that it truly deserves, yet I GUARANTEE you that in a decade or so, this album will be held in the same light that Da King & I’s “Contemporary Jeep Music” is held deep to the hearts of the “Golden Era’s” die-hard listeners.
Hailing from Youngstown, Ohio, lead vocalist Aarophat has been making his presence felt in Hip Hop’s underground for years. His breakthrough to the world arena came via Rasco (Cali Agents), who noticed the emcee is star quality in his hunger-laced confidence and highly potent delivery and immediately inked Aaro after having his first listen. He soon sided with Pockets Linted/Fat Beats and later with Rawkus being hand picked by Slopfunkdust as one of the “certified” fifty most prolific emcees in the underground hip hop circuit today.
Illastrate’s phenomenal qualities are always approaching newer levels as well, along with his knack for top-notch production, quality and style. Illa’s name now reverberates in the industry like his trademarked “dirty drums”, which most recently have appeared on Akir’s “Legacy”, as well as Dynas’ most recent LP” The Apartment”.
It’s hard to imagine that Aarophat & Illastrate recorded “Black Noise” within 14 hours of first meeting one another, yet results that are astonishing as “Driftin” make for the case that it paved the way for the spontaneity to evolve into one of the top 5 albums of 2009.
Only because I’m a true romantic, does “Cunt Renaissance” belong on this week’s “Most Played”, also the pure nostalgia factor of first enjoying this slow jam via Mister Cee’s”Best Of Biggie Smalls” tape back in the mid-nineties, before B.I.G.’s “jiggy” phase. This gem, which was originally intended for release as part of the lost Crustified Dibbs album (“Night Of The Bloody Apes”), now sees the light of day via R.A.’s “Legendary Classics Vol. 1″, which is a collection of The Rugged Man’s music from the early 90’s up until present day, mostly collaborations, bootlegs and B-sides but all re-mastered with an accompanying DVD. Oh yeah, please make sure your kids (and possibly your wife, you know how women love hearing the word “cunt”..yeah right!) are outta’ ear’s length when previewing this “one for the ladies”.
Straight up, no flame, but for some odd reason “Hofi Geza” sounds like a lost track from Total Devastation’s 1993 debut, which featured the weed-anthem, “Many Clouds Of Smoke”. However, the production on this track is in the Pete Rock/Dilla mode of sequencing and clarity. Also, hailing from the Left Coast, the Los Angeles-based Aesthetics crew is here to put the fun back in the funk. In the hallowed brew-school tradition of cup-in-hand rhyming at backyard house parties, Indy, Aidge and DJ Props fuse candid rhymes with melodic beats to create a refreshing sound. Aidge & Indi’s vocals are distinct and unique. Unlike many artists who separate their lyrics from the instrumental side of the art, their lyrics will make you think, laugh, and more than likely, crack a brew.
Complemented by DJ Props & DJ Gazoo’s nimble fingers, the Aesthetics Crew is the complete package. No gimmicks — just raw rhymes, neck-snapping beats, and a live show that brings down the house every time. The Aesthetics Crew is exactly what their name implies; they represent everything beautiful about this art form.
An alumni of The Source’s “Unsigned Hype”, as well as the younger brother of Lord Digga (aka the “Inc.” of Masta Ace Incorporated), Sha Stimuli has finally released his full-length debut “My Soul To Keep” after a string of successful mixtape releases. “My Soul To Keep” features introspective lyricism, solid production and insight from an emcee who was once also tagged as the “next big emcee to emerge from New York”. While I’ve just skimmed through the album, one track that caught my attention was the thought-provoking and heartfelt, “Sometimes”, which is a few notches above the Just Blaze “throwaway” beat (insert: sarcasm) that also serves as the first single from the album, “Move Back” (f. Freeway & Young Chris).
Damn this chick is FUNKY!! Produced under her alias of Ms. One, Georgia one ups the original version of “Drugs Outside” with electo/futuristic production that would put a smile on Dilla’s face. While I have semi-mixed feelings regarding the rest of the album, there’s no fronting on Ms. Muldrow’s talent as a producer…she’s most definitely one of a kind! Also, is it just me, or does it seem as if Rapper Big Pooh utilizes the line “I don’t cry over milk spilt” on more than a handful of tracks that he appears on? The only beef I have with “2Mc” is that under two minutes, it definitely leaves you wanting more goodness from the eclectic Ms. One.
Though label politics may have left this ATLien feeling like he’s stuck in in a rut, these frustrations only seem to have strengthened his artistic vision. The title track (and first official leak) off his mixtape “Suspended Animation” (Click To DL) finds Novel delivering poignant verses and a sung hook over his own densely-layered blend of finger picked guitar, synth arpeggios, and soulful backing vocals. Complete with an equally insightful guest verse by Virginia Beach rapper/producer Ced Hughes, this cut only ups the anticipation for Novel’s official debut.
It’s been over four years since the release of his debut album, the cult classic entitled “Project Mayhem”. Matter of fact, I recall a certain Small Professor stating that “Project..” was perhaps the best Justice League album to date. L.E.G.A.C.Y. (Life Ends Gradually And Changes You) has fed starving fans with a slew of guest appearances and album-worthy mixtapes. The obvious “black sheep” of the Hall of Justus finally returned with his highly anticipated sophomore release “Suicide Music”. The album is a dark and strange ride with cutting edge wordplay being backed by beats handled solely by Khrysis (9th Wonder who?). The fire fueled by the eerie single “Four Cornered Room” (which borrows the Scarface line from the Geto Boys classic “Mind Playin’ Tricks..”, is the perfect invitation to a “love it or leave it alone” album. Boasting features from Foreign Exchange/Little Brother frontman Phonte, H.O.J. co-hort Chaundon and Bootcamp wordsmith Sean Price, the album has flown under the radar to date, but it demands your attention.