“The World Is Ours” (2007, Dove Ink)-Ill Poetic (click to purchase)
Act like ya’ know!! Straight up and down, I downloaded Ill Poetic’s sophomore LP, “The World Is Ours” from Hip Hop Bootleggers strictly on the basis of it’s guest appearances. The inclusion of Illogic, Blueprint and Wordsworth (who needs to drop another solo album YESTERDAY) piqued my interest and plus, the album cover art was dope (yeah really, that’s just how damn simple-minded I can be). I thought to myself: “Hmm, if these heavyweight emcees can co-sign this cat the album MUST be decent, right? Yeah, decent and then some, to say the least. What’s most awe-inspiring about this LP is that Ill Poetic not only compensated lyrically with some very introspective, deeply personal, thought provoking lyricism, but he over-compensated on the production tip. I mean, GOD LAWD Ill’s production on this album is some of the finest that I’ve heard in the last 25 years!
If I really had to pick one track from “T.W.I.O” that I could live without, it would probably be “Sugar Shack”. However, with gems like the “The Beautiful”, “Ride Thru It” and the insane posse cut, “As I See It” being some of the finer cuts from 2007, the ultra-sappy “Sugar Shack”, while far from wack, is viewed as a mere oversight. On a side note, while not quite on the pedestal on which I’ve placed “T.W.I.O.” on, Ill Po’s debut “Illumination” still possesses it’s fair share of classics as well, namely “Suicide Note”. Keep your ears peeled for Ill Poetic in the spring of 2010 as a new solo album is peeking on the horizon.
“First Toke”-Uncut Raw (2007, Green Llama) (click to purchase)
The Chicago/Akron duo of Selfish (rhymes) and Fluent (beats), collaborated on their debut as UNCUT RAW, and took it back to a time when “Underground Hip Hop” meant major label refugees: MF Doom’s first solo single on Fondle ‘Em, KOOL KEITH’s post-Ultramagnetic work, Rawkus Records’ earlier work. This album draws very favorable comparisons to both Doom and Madlib, with lo-fi output, dusty samples, soulful and jazzy loops, complete with album crackle, which forms together like a blunted sound collage.
With only one featured artist on the album, Butta Verses, “First Toke” is unpretentious, pure Hip Hop. The initial self-released run of “First Toke” on Green Llama records sold out, but drew heavy internet chatter comparing it to Jay Dee and coming out on top in a side-by-side comparison to the “Madvillainy” album. On OkayPlayer.com, the album got four “Questies” and attained this brash statement: “a raw, dusty, creative effort that deserves to be heard by fans of the most pure essence of Hip Hop. One of my favorite albums to emerge, since my entrance into the blogging world, Uncut Raw’s “First Toke” remains to be one of my greatest finds ever, be sure to peep out my initial review of the album, waaay back in ’07 HERE.
“The Weatherman LP”-Evidence (2007, ABB) (click to purchase)
I was initially impressed that Evidence came with a solo debut that had an overabundance of solid tracks. I’ve always been a fan of Dilated Peoples and especially Evidence, you could always count on EV delivering bar after bar of solid, if not spectacular lyricis. The biggest knock on EV is that his flow is boring and puts you to sleep at times, but I couldn’t disagree more. Unless you can’t expand your listening or don’t understand what he’s saying or have a limited library of music or you simply take these things too seriously, I’d imagine he’s not the rapper for you.
The production on this album was simply breathtaking. It was good to see Alchemist with quite a few tracks under his belt on the album, but it was DJ Khalil whom nearly stole the show. Evidence also had a few productions, “I Know” and “NC to CA” stood out the most to me and were my favorites from him. Sid Roams layed down a few monster beats as well, with DJ Babu and Jake One each doing one track. Two guest spots on EV’s debut that I really liked were from the rappers you can always expect nice verses from, Planet Asia and Defari. I know “The Weatherman LP’ was received quite well by the public and it gave Evidence much more credibility as a solo artist.