This week I’ll be reviewing ten new projects that recently hit the ‘net/bloggerverse and/or will be landing on store shelves soon in the following order: Danny Brown “The Hybrid”, Davinchi “The Day The Turf Stood Still”, Dexter “The Hi-Hat Club Vol. 3: The Jazz Files”, Eric Lau “Kilawatt EP”, General Steele “Amerikka’s Nightmare Part 2: Children Of War”, Jose James “Blackmagic”, Kidz In The Hall “Land Of Make Believe”, Ludacris “Battle Of The Sexes”, M-Phazes “Good Gracious” and The Unseen “The Idea”. For those of you new to this blog, I don’t rate albums on a scale or assign them a numerical value out of 5 or 10, instead I merely answer the all important question of “Is it worth buying or not?”. Here’s how my patented “Cop It Or Not” ratings system breaks down below:
Opinions be damned. This particular project has no redeeming qualities whatsoever and should come with a Surgeon General’s warning and/or a biohazard sticker. It should only be handled by hazmat teams or bomb/demolition squads. To quote Common & Canibus, this album is your worst nightmare squared.
Oh No! This CD is a drink coaster/table balancer/doorstop/gerbil/hamster room divider/frisbee/discus/makeshift shield/last ditch choice for a visor/alternate shuriken choice. Sell this shit to whoever is dumb enough to buy it from you.
Maeby (Maybe)! Depending on your own set of personal preferences you might like this joint. Give it a listen first to see if it’s in your lane or not.
Mos Def! Cop the album when it drops…’Nuff said.
Best Jawns: 2010, Need Another Drink, New Era, Exotic, I’m Out (aight then), Re-Up, Nowhere 2 Go, Shootin’ Moves, The Na Na Song, Guitar Solo, White Stripes, Juno, Thank God, Drinks On Me, Generation Rx and S.O.S
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart’s Take: Danny Brown has impressed ever since I first heard his bars on “Hot Soup”, I will forever be indebted to Andres (Sweeney Kovar @ Classic Drug References) for that. Since then he’s pretty much destroyed what beat he’s been given. His eye opening guest spots on J Dilla’s “Jay Stay Paid”, Elzhi’s “Contra” & Danny!’s “Theme Music To A Killing Spree” last year bled into his “Detroit State Of Mind 4″ mixtape and his “The Hybrid” album. That’s 28 brand new Danny tracks after waiting what seemed like forever for new material. Word!
Let me just say that from the opening bars of the kinetic “2010″ you’re already nodding your head. You will be making the scrunchface and/or saying “Wooo!” after some of Danny’s bars over the crack production team of Quelle, Denmark Vessey (both of Crown Nation), Mosel, Nick Speed, Danny Swain, 14KT, Slopfunkdust, Mainframe, Frank Dukes & Chuck Inglish.
Jawns like “2010″, “New Era”, “Exotic”, “Re-Up”, “Nowhere 2 Go”, “Shootin Moves”, “The Na Na Song”, “Guitar Solo”, “White Stripes”, “Juno”, “Drinks On Me”, “Generation Rx” & “SOS” will have you rewinding like crazy and thinking that this may end up being considered a classic at the end of the day. Mos def. Miss me with all that other shit & D/L it for free on March 16th.
Best Jawns: Intro, The Day The Turf Stood Still, What You Finna Do?, Real Niggaz (Somebody), Aristocrat, Ben, Whipflash, Round Me, Do What It Do, Guys Wanna, Long Chain, All I Have, Idle Mind, Concrete Jungle Juice, It’s On Now, Ghetto To Mars and See Another Day
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart’s Take: Davinci reps Fillmore to the fullest on this project. It’s about gentrification, home, issues that not only pertain directly to San Fransisco but so many other urban areas in America. The bars are on point, the production is on point (handled by Al Jieh, Ammbush, Big D & Alejandro) & unfortunately the overwhelming majority of Hip Hop listeners are going to sleep on this project. Luckily, Davinci decided to make his album free for everyone. I give it a recommended maybe now download it and don’t sleep on it.
Best Jawns: The Future, Piano, One For Yusef, Heavy Horns, Spaceways, Astro Thoughts, Practice, Sonny Ray, Deep In The Juju, Stardust, Tune After Tune, WR Anybody, Montgomery, Raw Jazz, Sounds Great Les, Swing Is A Must and P.O. Box 450, NY 19, NY
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart’s Take: The third installment on the Hi-Hat Club series dropped on March 9th. The last entry was Suff Daddy’s slept on “Suff Draft” and this project by Dexter “The Jazz Files” tackles some of the legends and giants of the genre and does them justice. Although the project is 17 tracks long it clocks in @ slightly over 36 minutes. This adds to the replay factor because it took me an hour to get through it the first time due to rewinding several selections. I wanted to break out some old Jazz records as well as my copy of Sun Ra’s cult film “Space Is The Place”. I give “The Jazz Files” a highly recommended maybe as well.
Best Jawns: Always Will, Under Standing, No Regrets and One
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart’s Take: I can’t even feel my face right now. Far too many people slept on Eric Lau’s brilliant debut “New Territories” and they cannot afford to make the same mistake now. Just go here & listen to this EP then cop it AND “New Territories“. You can even lie and say that you were up on him since about 2008. Seriously, his music/production is THAT ill. Go. Do it. Mos def.
Best Jawns: Amerikkka’s Nightmare, Pledge Allegiance, Cry Freedom, Tomorrow’s Children, I Had A Vision, Child Of War, State Of The Union Address, We On The Move Now, Amerikkkan Skemin, Home Of The Brave (Jimmy’s Song), Patriot Games, Rebellious and Amerikka’s Nightmare Remix
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart’s Take: This was a solid album from beginning to end as General Steele does the revolutionary/political Hip Hop thing at a time when it’s needed the most. The production and content are both on point. Even the rock songs are dope. If you’re a fan of Dead Prez or Immortal Technique then you should definitely give this jawn a listen. I give “Amerikka’s Nightmare: Children Of War” a recommended maybe because honestly the replay value isn’t as high as other releases (at least for me it isn’t).
Best Jawns: Code, Touch, Lay You Down, Promise In Love, Warrior, Made For Love, Save Your Love For Me, The Greater Good, Blackmagic, Detroit Loveletter, Love Conversation, Beauty, No Tellin’ and Bonus Track
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart’s Take: Jose James’ “Blackmagic” is easily one of the best and most slept on albums of the year in any genre (this is R&B at it’s finest). Case in point, it’s March 11th and this album dropped on February 1st via Giles Peterson’s Brownswood label. I’ve been listening to it for a month plus nonstop & I’ve yet to review it. Shit, my boy Soul Supreme @ Potholes In My Blog had it for the same amount of time and loves it but they just reviewed it last week!
Best Jawns: Traffic, Flickin’, Out To Lunch, Bougie Girls, Jukebox, Will II Win, Take Over The World, Fresh Academy, Do It All Again (I Am), I Am (Reprise) and Rise & Shine
Meh: Intro, L O V E, Simple Life and Running
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart’s Take: Kidz In The Hall are constantly evolving & growing. I’ve been a fan ever since they dropped their “School Was Our Hustle” LP back in ’06 and I have every single project they’ve ever dropped, mixtapes, solo projects & iTunes only jawns included. This album is a sort of concept album based on the pursuit of superstardom hence the more radio friendly sound of previous releases (save for their last album & mixtape).
See, the difference is that Kidz In The Hall make steps so that the “new” sound of this album shouldn’t take anyone by surprise and Double 0′s production is top notch. The few songs I couldn’t rock with with just due to a severe case of Backpacker’s Ear that I picked up back in ’97 that flares up from time to time.
This was a concise album and an enjoyable listen from end to end with a fairly high replay value. Some of these jawns will be getting spins for years afterwards so I give “Land Of Make Believe” a recommended maybe and hope these cats reach the level of success they rightfully deserve.
Best Jawns: Intro, How Low, My Chick Bad, Can’t Live With You and Tell Me A Secret
Meh: Everybody Drunk, I Do It All Night, Sex Room, I Know You Got A Man, Hey Ho, B.O.T.S. Radio, Feelin’ So Sexy and Sexting
Hot Garbage: Nicki Minaj’s verse on My Chick Bad, Lil Kim’s Nicki Minaj impression on Hey Ho, Party Ho Mo and My Chick Bad Remix
Dart’s Take: This was supposed to be a collaborative album with Shawnna. Shawnna left DTP. They removed the majority of Shawnna’s bars save for some background vocals & hooks and decided to release this as a Ludacris solo album with a gang of features. The production lineup boasts a bunch of cats that I really don’t care much for (XCel, T-Minus, DJ Montay, B Crucial & Tony Dinero, Kajun, Infinity, Khao, The Runners, Gaggie & Swizz Beats)
The feature lineup also boasts a gang of humans I couldn’t give a fuck about even if I had enough compassion in my cold, cold heart to try (Nicki Minaj, Lil’ Scrappy, Flo Rida, Lil’ Fate, Lil’ Kim, I-20, Gucci Mane, Diamond, Trina, etc.) . The end result is an uneven, boring ass album with mediocre production that made my ears bleed on multiple occasions. The features were like a bad cellphone commercial. Zero bars.
How can Ludacris go from attempting to make a classic LP on the surprising “Theater Of The Mind” to this drek? It boggles the mind. I wouldn’t use this CD for any purpose other than a drink coaster. This album was absolutely ludicrous (that’s how you REALLY spell the word). I give it an oh no. *Plays “Ethiopium” to clean ears out*
Best Jawns: For What It’s Worth, Where’s Elvis?, The Freak Show, Goodbye Gravity, Home, Blind Man, Long Winding Road, The Club Song, Keep Running, Triumph, Walk On Clouds, The Facilitator, That’s What We On and Take It From Me
Meh: Music Box
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart’s Take: M-Phazes is one of the best Hip Hop producers in the game & has been for years. The Australian producer has some impressive credits but when his new LP “Good Gracious” hit iTunes & Amazon on February 26th damn near no one stateside seemed to notice. The project features some of the best & brightest in Australian Hip Hop and it bangs from beginning to end.
If you can listen to jawns like “Where’s Elvis?”, “Home”, “Blind Man”, “Triumph”, “Walk On Clouds”, “The Facilitator”, “That’s What We On” or “Take It From Me” without either making the scrunchface or saying “Good gracious!” then frankly I don’t think I feel comfortable being on the same planet with or sharing oxygen with you. Hopefully M-Phazes drops the instrumentals, too. Mos def. Don’t sleep.
Best Jawns: Intro, Stand Strong, Interlude 1, Keep Movin’, More, Movement, Funk Intermission (Space Pimp), Check The Notion, Shake It Up, Dreads Due, Beat Fanatic, Reach For The Sky, Outro, More (M-Phazes Remix), More (!llmind Remix) and More (Mega Mix)
Hot Garbage: That it took so long for us to get this gem released in North America…
Dart’s Take: I remember my brother from other mother & father Eyeznpowa telling me about this album back in ’05. The cats from Florida in the crew Goldminerz swore by this album. It was made back around 2001 & 2002 but was released on a Japanese label back in ’05 called Swamp. Listening to this album is like hearing the beginnings of the now legendary Beat Fanatic/Beat Society crew. This album is legend like Robert Neville to many and it’s finally being released stateside.
Production was handled by Slopfunkdust, Illmind, M-Phazes & Dela among others and features verses from PK The Gift & Double L. As I listened to this album all I could do was lament the fact that more people couldn’t have heard this project or it would’ve easily made a bunch of favorite albums of the decade lists alongside modern classic LP’s like Asamov’s “And Now…” or Y Society’s “Travel At Your Own Pace”.
As I listened through tracks like “Stand Strong”, “Keep Movin’”, “More”, “Movement”, “Check The Notion”, “Beat Fanatic” etc. I just knew this LP was going to get mad burn in my iPod Touch alongside those other jawns that never leave it. I have to give Unseen “The Idea” a mos def based on bars, production, total plays & replay value. I walked around Boston & rode the iron horse many a time with “The Idea” as my soundtrack music. RIP Rek One. Now maybe the world will recognize how nice you were. Do yourselves a favor and cop it on March 16th via SoulSpazm Digital.