It’s time for me to review 17 more jawns the way only I can do. It might get a little crazy around here considering that it just turned Fall and Summer is officially a wrap. When this finally gets posted I imagine that I’ll have a captive audience for the time being. Here goes:
Andreya Triana “Lost Where I Belong” 8.30.2010 (UK)/9.7.2010 (US)
I first wrote about Andreya Triana back in March after hearing her contributions to the Bonobo LP “Black Sands” and I really anticipated her album after her appearance @ the 2010 Red Bull Music Academy. Five months later, “Lost Where I Belong” finally materializes with only 9 songs (two of which, “Lost Where I Belong” & “A Town Called Obsolete” were singles).
The album clocks in at just 37 minutes but reaches back to the time of vinyl albums and 8 track tapes when album were only 9 excellent songs as opposed to 9 excellent songs, 4 meh ones, 2 throwaway tracks & a goddawful Hip House remix. I can honestly say that this album is as good as I hoped it would be and if you add the three Bonobo songs you can create your own special edition Andreya Triana album. I highly recommend this jawn for the adult types. Cop it here
AUTOmatic “Transistor” 8.28.2010
Hailing from Milwaukee’s House Of Mutants crew comes duo AUTOmatic’s new LP “Transistor”. This album was brought to my attention by JC Poppe (of Grown Man Collective) and I thank him for it. I walked around Boston playing this album and rewinding tracks. The production and bars could’ve easily fit in fine in either the 2nd Golden Era (1992-1996) or the Backpack Era (1997-2002).
If it wasn’t for JC pointing it out to me I would’ve missed out on another quality indie Hip Hop project from the Midwest. Jawns like “Do You Want It”, “Everlasting”, “Flight”, “The Gauntlet”, “Hands of Fate”, “Nobody” and “The Teenage Love” amongst others are candidates for play on The Scrunchface Show. Check this project out as you’ll be kicking yourself in the ass for sleeping later on. It’s up on CD Baby right now. Cop it and support indie Hip Hop.
Bilal “Airtight’s Revenge” 9.14.2010
Bilal’s return consists of 11 songs that span 48 minutes in total but my first listen of the album took more than 2 hours. I had to walk around the city while listening to it as opposed to just sitting down and hearing it. From the opening bars of “Cake & Eat It Too” you know this album isn’t going to sound like one of those jawns where these songs could’ve went to another R&B singer and they passed on them. Nah. This is Bilal’s album through and through. For those of us that are fans of “1st Born Second” and “Love For Sale” you know what that means. Then “Cake & Eat It Too” bled into “Restart” and I knew this album was serious.
When “Restart” led into “All Matter” after it ended I played the first three tracks back to back again. This was months ago. Keep in mind that I still do that now to give you an idea of how good this album is. Next is “Flying”. I’m like “Are you serious, B?!” Is it even legal to have these songs back to back? I rewound this 3x before I played “All Matter” AND “Flying” back to back before I let it progress to the next track “Levels” which is equally as epic. I decided to let the rest of the album play otherwise I’d never get through it.
It was a fight to keep myself from playing “Move On” & “Who Are You” to death but I finally broke my rule with the final track “Think It Over” which I think I put on repeat for 15 minutes. Then I just listened to the entire album again. That was MONTHS ago and I haven’t stopped playing it since. Cop “Airtight’s Revenge” on September 14th. Shout out to Plug Research. Do it. Here’s the iTunes bonus track version pre-order.
Black Milk “Album Of The Year” 9.14.2010
A mini controversy was created by Black Milk’s album name (which I don’t understand). Some folks thought it was a brazen act for him to declare his project was “Album Of The Year”, let me address that before I even review the album. First off, if you produced your own album and you commit yourself to making the best possible product for your fans and the buying public at large then you BETTER believe that you made the album of the year. Otherwise, why do it? NBA teams don’t come out to lose. They try to compete and win every possible time they step on the court. Every nice emcee thinks he’s the best on Earth. They better, otherwise why even rhyme? Onto the album in question..
The jawn opens with “365″ and your head is nodding from the jump then into “Gotta Go (Welcome)” to the monster “Keep Going”. Then comes the monster “Oh Girl” and the monster “Deadly Medley” right after it. The opening of “Distortion” lets you know that it’s not that these songs are among the album’s bangers but these are album tracks and the entire album itself is a banger. Black Milk has been through a gang of shit this past year and he put ALL of it into this album. There isn’t a weak moment on “Album Of The Year”. No breaks. No letting up. No blinking allowed.
After processing all 12 tracks of “Album Of The Year” you just want to play it again immediately, same as it was with “Tronic”. I thought it would be a tall order to top “Tronic” but Black Milk did it. What else does he have to do to be considered one of the nicest in the game? Hex Murda told us all via Twitter back in 2009 that Milk’s next album would body “Tronic”. His exact words were: “”Album Of The Year” is “Tronic” on steroids” and he was right. “Album Of The Year” lives up to it’s name and it drops a year after we almost lost the big homie. Now he gets to tell us all “I told you so”. Plus Random Axe is dropping in December? Sheeeeit! © Clay Davis. Cop it.
Cymarshall Law & The Beatnikz “Freedom Express Line” 8.31.2010
Cymarshall Law’s collaboration with the The Beatnikz makes for an enjoyable listen but it did seem to be a bit repetitive at times. The flow was essentially the same on each track and there was a a stretch of about 6 tracks where it sounded like a continuation of the same song. While it’s far from wack it was just hindered by coming out near the same time as some other monster albums. If you’re a big Cymarshall Law fan then cop it but if you have only so much money to spend on music that dough should go to a better album. Why lie?
DJ Mitsu The Beats “Universal Force” 8.4.2010
DJ Mitsu The Beats returns with an 11 track project for heads worldwide. Unless you’re a hardcore DJ Mitsu fan you don’t need to put up the cash & cop this from the Japanese iTunes page as it’s 95% Japanese (thanks Zeebra) and kinda experimental as it’s not straight up Hip Hop like previous releases on Jazzy Sport. If you’re not as familiar with his music then start off with older releases and don’t bother with this one. I give it a maybe but it’s in iPod Touch at the moment so take from that what you will. 1500 Yen on iTunes Japan ($16.99 USD)
DJ Muggs vs. Ill Bill “Kill Devil Hills” 8.31.2010
Cop this shit NOW. Hard beats from DJ Muggs & hard rhymes from Ill Bill, Sick Jacken, Sean Price, O.C., B-Real, Q-Unique, Slaine, Everlast, Chace Infinite & Raekwon. If you loved “Grandmasters”, “The Mask & The Assassin” & “Pain Language” then you shouldn’t even hesitate to cop “Kill Devil Hills” @ Amazon for only $6.99. Mos def.
Esperanza Spalding “Chamber Music Society” 8.17.2010
If you’re an adult that actually enjoys music then you’ll be able to appreciate this album fully. Since I’m 35 you’ll catch me listening to stuff like this when I’m not playing Hip Hop. I recommend the hell out of this album but you’ll only hear the 8 minute opus “Knowledge Of Good And Evil” if you buy the physical copy instead. Cop it here.
Fel Sweetenberg “The Sophomore Jinx” 8.24.2010
People are gonna sleep on this album so hard and it upset me. Fel Sweetenberg is a former member of the group Da Nuthouse (“A Love Supream” & “Deez Nutz EP”) as well as a noted producer (“Lost Dreams, Wasted Talent” & “Sweet’s Day Off”) that’s been slept on for what seems like his entire career. He drops yet another nice album under the radar on Break Bread Projects/Slow Flo Entertainment.
“The Sophomore Jinx” is powered by jawns like “Look Into The Eyes of Fel”, “Light Em Up, Blow Em Out”, “Save Ya Life”, “$$$$$$$$$$$” & “Ecetera”. Guest bars from Ethel Cee, Dave Ghetto & Baby Blak amongst others help raise the album to another level. Dope shit. Highly recommended. Check it out here.
Kano “Method To The Maadness” 8.30.2010
Production from Boys Noize, Hot Chip, Craigie Dodds & Chase & Status means that Kano has gone the way of Dizzee Rascal. I don’t know what the fuck this album is supposed to be but I DO know that I don’t like it. Not one bit. This is even worse than that godawful “MC No. 1″ bullshit from a few years ago. Kano & Wiley are my favorite all time Grime emcees, I regard them as the Rakim & KRS One of Grime respectively but this album is fuckin’ terrible. I’m sick of Grime emcees making bullshit major label albums in hopes of making hits. It looks like I need to review the Grime mixtapes and disregard the albums, huh? Fuck this bullshit ass LP.
M-Dot & DJ Jean Marion “Run MPC” 8.31.2010
“Run MPC” is a dope album that deep with dope beats, hot bars and a gang of guest appearances from a loaded lineup including Kool G. Rap, Ed O.G, Akrobatik, Big Shug, Singapore Kane, Reks, Revalation, Craig G., Masta Ace, Chino XL, Tek, Billy Danze, Keith Murray, Punchline, Sha Stimuli, Tribeca & Torae. Your head will be nodding from beginning to end. Don’t sleep on it, avoid the iTunes release as they used that partial album tag that fucked up the pricing so just cop it direct from SoulSpazm Digital.
Madlib “Medicine Show No. 8: Advanced Jazz” 8.24.2010
Love Madlib mixes & beats? Then cop this jawn yesterday. What’s next?
Mega Ran & K-Murdock “Forever Famicom” 6.1.2010
If you’re a fan of K-Murdock, Random & laidback rhymes over videogame samples then check out the Forever Famicom Bandcamp to preview it first. If you like what you hear then cop it. If not? Keep it moving. I do miss “Electronic Gaming Monthly”, though.
Q-Unique “Between Heaven & Hell” 9.7.2010
I’ve been waiting for this album to drop on Psycho + Logical Records since early 2009, it instead dropped on Fat Beats a week ago. In any event, it’s a solid concept album about the everyday struggle of living in the inner city and just maintaining without going insane or snapping. All of the Arsonists (D-Stroy, Jise One & Freestyle), Slaine, Mr. Hyde, Ill Bill, Realm Reality & Cashis make appearances as well. If you’re an Arsonists or fan of the old Uncle Howie/Psycho + Logical clique then pick this one up @ Fat Beats (it was also available exclusively @ Fat Beats NY before it closed).
Qwel & Maker “Owl” 9.14.2010
This album is pretty damn nice. I was so wrapped in the Bilal, Black Milk & Rah Digga LP’s that when this promo showed up I was taken aback. Several other albums I heard recently sounded less than stellar in comparison to them so I was afraid that would be the case with “Owl”. I was wrong. I had to play “The Game” twice then for an impartial third party to ensure that it was as dope as I thought it was and I wasn’t buggin’.
Jawns like “The Down Dumbing”, “Holler”, “El Camino” & “Gin River” have you thinking that this isn’t the typical Hip Hop album that drops. This LP is in a the special category thanks to Maker’s sonic backgrounds and Qwel’s bars. “Cookie Cutter”, “Letting Life Pass By” & “Word To The Wise” all are competing with the album’s finale “Pitching Pennies” to earn a spot on the Scrunchface Show.
If you’re into indie Hip Hop like Galapogas4 and are a fan of Qwel’s bars and Maker’s production (“Maker vs. Now Again”) then don’t hesitate to spend dough on Qwel & Maker’s “Owl”. Highly recommended. Cop it here.
Rah Digga “Classic” 9.14.2010
Rah Digga & Nottz got together to embarrass a ton of muthafuckas with “Classic”. 10 songs on the advance version and 11 on the retail version (but if you include the “This Ain’t No Lil’ Kid Rap Remix” featuring Redman that would make 12) give you 35 minutes of hot beats, lines that’ll have you rewinding and laughing and tracks that will end up getting played multiple times each.
Jawns like “The Book Of Eli” inspired opener “The Book Of Rashia”, “Who Gonna Check Me, Boo?”, “This Ain’t No Lil’ Kid Rap”, “Classic”, “Solidified”, “Viral” and “You Got It” will have you realizing exactly how much the game missed Rah Digga these past few years.
Cop this jawn then look out for Nottz “You Need This Music” dropping on October 12th from Raw Koncept. Go here or here or here to pre-order the physical copy (it looks like there are three different bonus tracks, “Smoke Your Life Away” “Do Your Numbers” & “Look What You Done Started” depending on where you copped it from for a total of 14 possible tracks including the Redman remix). Don’t sleep, y’all.
Various Artists “The Heart” 9.17.2010
Digital music specialists Tokyo Dawn are back with a new compilation of electronic beat culture centric music with vocals dedicated to the heart & love songs. If you might be a little bit apprehensive to the overall concept then just go here to check it out for yourself and if you dig what you’re hearing you can cop it. It drops officially on September 17th.