This week I’ll be reviewing nine new projects that recently hit the ‘net/bloggerverse and/or will be landing on store shelves soon in the following order: Agartha Audio “The Hollow Earth”, City Slickers “Hurry Up & Wait”, Decon presents Never Not Fresh, Erykah Badu “New Amerykah Part Two: Return Of The Ankh”, K-Beta “Inglorious Beta”, Method Man, Raekwon & Ghostface Killah “Wu-Massacre”, Sadat X “Wild Cowboys II”, Teebs & Jackhigh “The Tropics EP” and Trek Life & J. Bizness “Rhymes Within Reason”. 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.
“The Hollow Earth”-Agartha Audio
Best Jawns: Reptilian Rollcall, The Butterfly Effect, Hollow Earth Memoirs, The World Became Fresh, Mkultra 2, Red V. Blue Blood, Twist Blissfully Cromantic Interlude, Unleashing Bio-Engines, Spring Came [Holy Fallout] and Together
Meh: I Hate Sleep, Researching 0157h7, Fat Kids Taste Better, The Tallest Trees and Life In The Camps
Hot Garbage: Angilas
Dart’s Take: Producer Dig Dug and crew take us on a trip and spit tales of a shadow government run by reptilian aliens that want to fatten up the populace to eat them & infect them with E. coli & other bacterium to kill them. Also several of our previous presidents were actually androids under the control of reptilians in high government offices. If you’re a conspiracy theorist you may love it. If not, I doubt it. I give “The Hollow Earth” a maybe overall.
“Hurry Up & Wait”-City Slickers
Best Jawns: Spell It Out, Rockin’ With You, Kinda Like A Big Deal, Hurry Up & Wait, Rock Shit On, Black, Beautiful & Bold, Much More, Launch Pad, Can’t Relax (ATCQ Tribute), Get In The Car, Don’t Believe Us, Look So Good and Love 2.0
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart’s Take: The purpose of a mixtape is to not only promote said artist or artists by allowing you to get a fell for what they bring to the table but to heighten your anticipation of the upcoming full length project. The Boston crew City Slickers have succeeded on both fronts. Not only will you want to play this mixtape in your iPod or Zune but your car as well. The bars are there and the mix of industry beats & original production is blended perfectly by Nelly ProToolz.
Production from Nelly ProToolz, Joe Politics & Capital J & Mr. Moses of City Slickers is mixed with classic instrumentals plus hot bars from City Slickers and guests Termanology, Dre Robinson, E-Flash (NBS), Strategy & S-Money. The end result? A must download mixtape. Mos def. Get it here
“Never Not Fresh”-Defcon
Best Jawns: All For You, Ducky Boys, Take It Back, Head On Str8, Top Qualified, Fresh Rhymes and Videotape Anthem, Don’t Stop, Spit It Clearly, I’m Gonna Make It, Ride, Exhibit A (Transformations) and A Beautiful Mind
Meh: Ooh La La
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart’s Take: This compilation of some of the best material recorded on the Decon Records label dropped back on March 9th. Since I actually owned most of the releases that most of these tracks are taken from I forgot all about it. The truth is that most heads didn’t hear all of these projects so I recommend that they at least hear this.
“Never Not Fresh” features bars and production from such Hip Hop luminaries as The Alchemist, 88-Keys, Evidence, RJD2, Aceyalone, Skillz, Dilated Peoples (Rakaa Iriscience), Jurassic 5 (Chali 2na), Del The Funky Homosapien, Zion I, Latryx (Lateef & Lyrics Born) and Jay Electronica. If you slept on Decon before now, use this compilation to play catch up. I give “Never Not Fresh” a recommended maybe.
“New Amerykah Part Two”-Erykah Badu
Best Jawns: 20 Feet Tall, Window Seat, Agitation, Turn Me Away (Get Munny), Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long, Umm Hmm, Love, You Loving Me (Session), Fall In Love (Your Funeral) and Out My Mind, Just In Time
Hot Garbage: Are you fuckin’ kidding me? Why did I even keep this here?
Dart’s Take: You know when you hear a great R&B album in this era you seem to be taken aback by how good it was? That didn’t happen this time because I expected great things from this album and my expectations were met and exceeded. This rarely happens and when it does it’s a great feeling for a jaded oldhead like myself.
I replayed “2o Feet Tall”, “Window Seat”, “Agitation”, “Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long”, “Umm Hmm”, and “Love” so many damn times that an album that clocked in at just over 50 minutes took me just under 3 hours for my first full listen. Enough writing. Mos def. Cop it on March 30th. Please.
Best Jawns: Black Business, Surrender, That Black Man, Suicide, Come Closer, Another Day 2, Soul Cry, DTLR (Down The Line Rhyme), Burn Through the Journal, I’m Bleeding, With The Family, Infinite Possibilities, Smoke With Me, Life Of Crime and Outchea
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart’s Take: I’d first like to congratulate K-Beta. Then I’d like to congratulate all of the people that contributed to this project (Kev Brown, Diamond District (yU, X.O. & Oddisee), J-Scrilla, Judah, Sketch, Team Demolition, Soulful!, Overok, Grussle, Kokayi, Median, Mina, Ill Ghee, Laelo Hood and Kevlar) and Inner Loop Records. You all have crafted one MONSTER of an album. DMV stand up!
This album will drop for FREE on April 1st but it’s FAR from a joke. This is yet another independent project made by heads without any corporate major label help that SMASHES 90% of the albums released by major labels with exorbitant budgets that took years to make. I give “Inglorious Beta” a highly recommended maybe. As soon as it becomes available DOWNLOAD IT! If you like what you hear then dig into your pockets for the deluxe edition that’s dropping on April 12th. It’ll be worth it.
“Wu-Massacre”-Meth, Ghost & Rae
Best Jawns: Criminology 2.5, Mef Vs. Chef 2, Smooth Sailing Remix, Our Dreams, Gunshowers, Dangerous, Pimpin’ Chipp, Miranda, Youngstown Heist and It’s That Wu Shit
Meh: Ya Moms Skit (this should’ve been a goddamn SONG) and How To Pay Rent Skit (How about “How To Make Another Five Songs”?)
Hot Garbage: Smooth Sailing Remix (a Theodore Unit track with extra verses ProTooled on it? C’MON SON!) and a total run time of 30 minutes for 12 total tracks? That’s some serious bullshit.
Dart’s Take: C’mon son! “Criminology 2.5″ is 2 minutes long. “Mef Vs. Chef 2″ is 2 minutes long. Next we got a 36 second long skit. The next track is a remix that’s under 3 minutes. The album is already a quarter over and less than 8 minutes has passed. That’s some ol’ bullshit right there. The songs that are on the album are cool but nothing mindblowing. I honestly can say that this “album” is nothing more but a glorified thrown together EP. On dogs.
I honestly can’t believe Def Jam (or ANYONE else) can justify selling this project for anything more than $7.99. Even the physical copy. It’s like way more work went into the packaging than the album itself. I have to give it a maybe because it simply isn’t what it was advertised as. A Method Man, Raekwon & Ghostface Killah full length collaboration project. Not really. Only in name. Maybe.
“Wild Cowboys II”-Sadat X
Best Jawns: Turn It Up, In Da Jungle, Nuclear Bomb, Still On Deck, Roll That, Wherever, Swerv, Pray, We Kewl, Knock Me Down, Long Years, Bargain With The Devil, Everybody Know, X & Bill and Last Time Out
Meh: Return Of The Bang Bang
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart’s Take: Let’s not waste any time here. If you’re a Sadat X fan? You’ll dig this. If you could never rock with the great Dat X previous to 2010? Don’t even fuck with this album.
Production from Pete Rock, DJ Spinna, Diamond D, Buckwild, Minnesota, 9th Wonder, Sir Jink, Will Tell & Thanos and guest appearances from Brand Nubian (Grand Puba & Lord Jamar), Money Boss Players, Vast Aire, Pete Rock, AG, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Rhymefest, M-1 (Dead Prez) & Kurupt round out this veteran emcees project. Sadat X is an acquired taste so I have to go with a maybe for “Wild Cowboys II”.
“The Tropics” EP-Teebs & Jackhigh
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart’s Take: Teebs was featured in my “Producers You Need To Hear Right Now” list last year. Jackhigh’s feature if I haven’t done it yet will be coming this Summer. Teebs & Jackhigh combined to craft an EP called “The Tropics”. The best way to describe it is: Holyfuckingshit.
If you’re a fan of the beat culture (Brainfeeder, Dublab, Blackdown, Moovmnt, 92bpm, Chrome Kids, Smashcartel, Klipm0de, etc.) then you’ll need this in your life. It drops April 5th via Svetlana Industries & a couple weeks later the digital/mp3/FLAC version drops. 7 sick tracks. Highly recommended maybe.
Best Jawns: Intro, Back Again, Clap, Can’t Complain, Stay Raw, Intermission, K.I.S.S., Remain IllRegular, Temporary Goodbye (Peace Peace, Y’all) and Outro
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart’s Take: Trek Life. J.Bizness. “Rhymes Within Reason EP”. RIDAMNDICULOUS. It’s crazy how much quality music is out there. I played this album from 4:45 AM until 6:15 AM nonstop. Go see why here. Highly recommended maybe
Some of you may not know but the studio that the members of Crown Nation (Denmark Vessey & Quelle) used to craft gems in burned down Monday. They are currently in the process of rebuilding & recovery. They’ve already dropped two ridiculous projects, Quelle’s “Blue Mondays” & the Crown Nation debut album “Slut Bag Edition” last year.
This year we’ll get a new Crown Nation project as well as a Denmark Vessey solo LP in addition to more Quelle material. If you want these talented cats to continue making classic material then please donate whatever you can @ http://www.crown-nation.com/ . We always talk about how we wish cats would make better music so let’s put our money where our collective mouths are and SUPPORT those that are keeping the culture that we love alive. Real talk.