Album Review

Beats as Life is Released!

By admin on Apr 17, 2016 in Album Review , Upcoming - 0 Comments


Been a minute! But you know I wasn’t going to leave you hanging. So, it was a year in the making! The album “Beats as Life” officially released 4/16/16! It’s a 14 track album filled with everything from Boom-Bap to Pop and Trap to Soul. It’s one of the most complete albums I’ve ever made. It is currently available to listen to on Bandcamp before purchasing. However, it won’t be available to listen all the way through for that long. You can purchase it through Bandcamp and CD Baby right now! It will be out on iTunes and Spotify later this month. I appreciate all the support. Please listen, share, and most of all, enjoy!

Purchase Album here:

CD Baby –
Bandcamp –

Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

By admin on Feb 13, 2015 in Album Review , Mixtape - 0 Comments

So, what a surprise, right? Drake dropping a surprise album on us. I’m a little surprised no one saw this coming though. Especially in this day in age where if an album is leaked before it comes out, it can kill the hype. I’ve been going back and forth with Drake. While I do understand his appeal somewhat, he has yet to completely impress me. His appeal has gone down a little for me since he’s started getting way cocky. It shows in his rap and only seems to be getting worse. This is what happens to most emcee’s that make it as big as Drake has. With that said, let’s get into this album.

1) Legend – Okay, you going to flip a pretty recognizable sample. The question is, why flip So Anxious by Ginuwine at the hook? Especially when there’s plenty of instrumental parts of the track? My bet: because you can and you have the money. The thing is though, you really don’t need to. And all that is different is you put a really loose trap beat on top of the sample (that filters in and out through the whole track). PartyNextDoor made the beat and I’m really not impressed. On top that, Drake is just putting his cockiness out there and telling people “If I was to die today, I’d be a legend”. You’re popular right now Drake, but I think it’s a little premature to call yourself a legend already.

2) Energy – This has more of a boom-bap feel. Boi-1da made the beat and it’s not too bad. I like the piano in the background and the synths are okay too. Drake’s theme is enemies on this track. Not anything too exciting and actually really redundant, especially right now in Hip-Hop.

3) 10 Bands – Question, is Drake a drug dealer? Was he ever? Because right now, he’s acting like he is on this track. Another Boi-1da beat. This one is nice with it. The 808’s are on point and that synths are crazy in the background. The problem though is that I don’t know really what Drake is trying to do on the track. Mostly talking about money, which you’ll notice is basically what he’ll talk about when he’s not talking about women.

4) Know Yourself – Another Boi-1da beat with a little bit of help from Vinylz and Syk Sense. The way they filter the synth keys in this are nice. Drake is biting deliveries though. He’s trying to sound like 2 Chainz and maybe even like O.T. Genasis. I’m getting so tired of this type of delivery. I really was hoping to hear something different.

5) No Tellin’ – Another Boi-1da beat. I’ve got to hand it to Boi-1da, he know’s how to make a good synth beat that doesn’t sound like all the other trap beats. But, I’m getting a little tired of the filters synths. This track sounds exactly like 0 to 100. In fact, so much so that if it wasn’t for the different key signature, you would think it was the exact same track. As for Drake, he actually is telling everyone that he had to “switch the flow up because it was sounding to predictable”. If that’s the case, I would expect you to not sound like 2 Chainz. Again, why say your switching up your flow if you actually sounding like someone else?

6) Madonna – Man, Noah “40” Shebib is dope! This track is nice! Drake has been messing with this producer since his beginning. I wish this track was just a little longer just to hear this beat more! I don’t know what Drake is doing though. Drake is sing/rapping, something that has been his signature. His rap actually works well over this track. But, it’s the production that makes this track worth it! Definitely dope!

7) 6 God – Trap beat by Boi-1da. Not really that impressive to me. Again, Drake is biting others deliveries. It’s not the lyrics, it’s how he’s delivering them. If I wanted to hear a 2Chainz album, I would go out and buy it. I wish Drake would talk about something else too. It’s getting old!

8) Star67 – This is a refreshing beat, especially after hearing all those trap beats. Vinylz, Most High, and Amir Obe got together to make something pretty original. I like how the beat keeps on going in and out. Drake is talking about coming up in the industry on this track. At least it’s a different subject. The switch midway in the beat forces Drake to switch up to another style. This part of the track isn’t bad at all. At least Drake is rapping about things he knows something about. This is probably the most real I’ve heard him sound on this album so far.

9) Preach – I want to like this track. PARTYNEXTDOOR made the beat and is featured on the track singing. I get so tired of this type of autotune. Sounding like a cross between Young Thug and B.O.B doesn’t work for this track. Drake isn’t biting anyone’s delivery on this track (which is a welcome improvement). Drake only has one verse on this whole track, the rest is, you guessed it, PARTYNEXTDOOR singing. This song didn’t need to be on the album!

10) Wednesday Night Interlude – I actually don’t mind this track. It’s a nice R&B sounding beat. I can’t understand Drake all the time because there’s so much filtering and reverb going on. I get the fact that he’s saying he’s lonely though. PARTYNEXTDOOR is singing again, but I think Drake just needs to be singing honestly.

11) Used To – Wondagurl made the beat. I’m glad to hear a woman producer pushing herself out there. You may know her from the beat Crown off of Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail album. She’s still in high school too! I think her future is pretty bright. Those trap beats though are getting old on this album. I know it’s what people want right now, but damn, ENOUGH already. Drake is again taking other people’s deliveries. It’s getting to the point where I’ve stopped listening to what he is saying because he reminds me too much of other rappers. Lil Wayne is featured on this track. Of course we’ve heard better from Wayne. But seriously, he sounds better on Drake on this track.

12) 6 Man – This sounds like a down south beat. It’s not too bad of a beat. Pretty simple though. I usually give Noah “40” Shebib mad props, but this doesn’t sound much like him at all. The question is, what is Drake really talking about. I tried to break down his lyrics and it’s pretty incoherent. It’s not that I can’t understand his words, it’s just the connection he makes. And why is Drake singing the hook from You Got Me by The Roots?

13) Now & Forever – This beat sounds a little too synthed out. I get that synths are in style, but because this whole album just seems like a big synth loop factory (some of it actually works though), my initial feeling is that I want to skip to the next song. The hook is killing it on this song! It’s catchy and poppy. Drake is singing on the track and it’s a nice change of pace.

14) Company – It’s all sounding the same! Where’s the uniqueness in this album? Travi$ Scott really isn’t adding anything to this track either. Drake is rapping mostly about women on this track, mostly the stripper variety. I wish there was more to this track, but there isn’t.

15) You and the 6 – Drake bounces around to different subjects way too much. He’s got some serious ADD. At one point he jumps from talking about his mom to the women of his life. But, at least it’s mostly about his mom. Unfortunately, it seems like he’s whining about his life. I guess this is supposed to be his emotional track. He talks about his dad at the end and about how he’s frustrated that people want him to be more “black” and talk about where he comes from. Well, there you go. You be the judge of this track. To me, he’s just jumping around too much.

16) Jungle – This is my favorite track off of the album! After that 6 Man track, Noah “40” Shebib redeems himself. This is Drake at his best. It’s a slow R&B track and the sparse singled out singing works well. The hook is nice and you can tell they took some time with it.

17) 6PM in New York – The bonus track! This is what I’m more accustomed to with Drake. He’s actually spitting pretty nice and is actually quotable for the first time! Too bad it had to happen at the end of the album.

Probably forever if I stay in my zone
I speak on this generation , but can’t change it alone
I heard a little, lil homey talking reckless and vile
That’s quite a platform you choose, you should of kept it inside

This seems like such a rushed album. There were some that say that this was the mixtape he was wanting to put out for awhile. If that’s the case, why not make it free for the public? It needs to be, because this album isn’t worth your money. I think gone are the days of So Far Gone. Which to me, he was spitting actual bars. That’s what gave him the hype. Now I know, artists change and music changes. But, Drake is sounding like everybody else. He’s not even on Par with J. Cole. To me, Drake has fallen off and it shows.

This album gets 2.8/5. Step your game up DRAKE!

J. Cole – Forest Hills Drive

By admin on Feb 04, 2015 in Album Review - 0 Comments

So, I know, I’m a little late on this review. I’ve been listening to this album nonstop though, so I’ve had some time to really  absorb the music. Before getting into the review though, let’s go through some things. First off, J. Cole has been steadily building his fan base. I’ve seen this dude go from mixtape, to getting signed, to selling a respectable amount of albums. He hasn’t really had another single like Who Dat. Sure, he’s had success with other tracks, but that track blew him up. And because of that, his first album Cole World: The Sideline Story was much anticipated. That album was certified Gold, which is great considering the Hip-Hop environment today. His follow up album, Born Sinner, wasn’t at all like the previous album. Which I’m sure got some of his fans disappointed. Personally though, I liked Cole’s more dark side on Born Sinner.

What I like about J. Cole is he represents the best of both worlds! He’s a rapper, a singer, and a producer all in one. You’ve got to give the dude respect for that alone. The crazy part is: he’s just getting better. Just to let everyone know, J. Cole’s album Forest Hills Drive has already gone Gold. Record sales aside, I think this album is definitely worth it! With that said, let’s dive into this new album.

1) Intro – This is the best Intro I’ve heard from J. Cole off of any of his albums! Why? Because it’s truly unique! Cole is getting better at singing. But what’s truly impressive is the music itself. You have that melodic roaming piano with brass and strings! Seriously, there’s something just special about what he’s doing with this track. If this is the way Cole is starting out his album, than it just gets me excited! Do you wanna be, HAPPY!

2) January 28th – And from that Intro, he meshes it perfectly with this first track. It’s so refreshing to hear organic sounding music meshed with electronic. The hook is killing it! I think the production on this song is better than the rapping in my personal opinion. Which is okay, because you know he’s holding back!

3) Wet Dreamz – As much as I like this beat, the song is a little gimmicky. I get that he had to have a track for the ladies, but I’m a little confused about why Cole is spitting about his first time having sex. If Cole is trying to show his soft side mixed with his emotional side, that’s cool. But, he’s not really spitting about anything other than the anxiety of having sex. Not my favorite track on the album, but that beat is killing it!

4) 03′ Adolescence – And now we’re back to that smooth sounding organic beat! I almost wish that this was the next track after January 28th, just because it fits the feel better for transitioning purposes. But, I digress. Cole is sounding nice on this track and you can tell he’s been putting in work.

Do you think that you would know what to do if you was me?
I got, four brothers, one mother that don’t love us
If they ain’t never want us why the fuck they never wore rubbers?

5) A Tale of 2 Cities – Okay, finally, a Trap sounding beat that sounds different! Seriously, this is so refreshing because it’s just enough of the Trap feel. And that sample is CRAZY! It’s creepy and grimy at the same time. It’s also nice to hear Cole delivering his flow differently. Actually, that’s ultimately what makes this track so energetic. One of my favorite off of the album! Definitely turn this one up!

6) Fire Squad – Nothing to amazing about this beat. Nothing really new about the topic either. I find it a little confusing that J. Cole is talking about the fact that white people have been stealing black music for a long time when in fact, J. Cole himself is half white. Not only this, but J. Cole (along with many Hip-Hop artists) sample white artists music all the time. I get it if Cole wants to identify with his black heritage, but seriously, it just comes off as being a little hypocritical. I think it’s pretty clear that Cole is frustrated with people who are phony and not “keeping it real”. It’s pretty clear to me on this track however that he himself is the one acting a little phony.

7) St. Tropez – I like this beat! The hook is CRAZY! Sonically, this is one of my favorite tracks off of the album. The dynamics are great! I’m digging Cole’s singing! I go back and forth with him singing on his past albums, but this time I think he’s finally figured out how to sound good and unique when he sings. The other good thing about Cole is that he doesn’t seem to need auto-tune. So, it makes his voice sound truly unique! The brass, background vocals, and beat though by far are better than his singing. It’s just the combination that sounds so good. Definitely dope!

8) G.O.M.D – Yeah, I’m not sure about this track. I don’t know if it needs to be on the album. But, I get what he’s trying to do with this track. It’s kind of a down south beat. It’s strange to hear the synthesizers mixed with the sample though. It’s a little sporadic with dropping the track in and out too. I’m not even really sure what Cole’s theme is over this track.

9) No Role Modelz – This is such a good track! That sample is killing it and the hook is my favorite part! It’s definitely a track you haven’t heard before. The thing is though, we get he’s single. We get that “these hoes aint loyal”. It’s kind of a tired theme in Hip-Hop. Personally for me, it would’ve been more potent if he was identifying the whole music industry (both artists and roadies alike).

10) Hello – Pretty unusual song for this album. It’s pretty personal for Cole and you can tell. I like the idea of this track, but really Cole isn’t saying too much. Especially when he’s repeating the same lyrics over and over again. This is a filler track for sure. Doesn’t need to be on the album.

11) Apparently – Like I said, you can tell Cole has been doing a better job of singing. It’s good the way he’s mixing rapping with singing on this track. He does a good job of sounding sincere over this track. This is that track that reflects the title of the album somewhat. But, Cole is inconsistent with his message. He keeps on jumping around quite a bit in the story. At one point it doesn’t even seem like he’s talking about his appreciation as much as he’s talking about women.

12) Love Yours – Again, this is kind of the same type of track as Apparently. I like the message and it seems like he keeps pretty true to the theme in this. Good message! Not really memorable in the hook, but I like this line:

Always gon’ be a whip that’s better than the the one you got
Always gon’ be some clothes that’s fresher than the ones you rock
Always gon’ be a bitch that’s badder out there on the tours
But you ain’t never gon’ be happy till you love yours

13) Note To Self – Okay, I like loose structures of songs like this. There’s not really a hook. J. Cole is singing again and by this time, even though I like most of his singing, PLEASE STOP! You don’t have to sing everything. I’m a little lost on what he’s referring to in this song. It just seems like a bunch of lyrics, but again the loose structure is kind of nice. I don’t know why he needed to make this song the credits. It’s a little strange because it literally takes like 10 minutes for him to go through all of it. He could have added 2 songs (if not even more) for the length of these credits. This is why you should just be patient and put the credits in on the album booklet/art. At the end, I don’t even know why Cole says he “took the crown” on this album.

Overall, I was impressed by the production and Cole did okay with rapping. There are definitely some tracks worth listening to, but it sounds inconsistent and a little rushed.

I give this 3.5/5.

Big K.R.I.T – Cadillactica Album Review

By admin on Nov 17, 2014 in Album Review - 0 Comments

Big KRIT is one of those anomalies in Hip-Hop. Although he is much revered in underground Hip-Hop circles and has had some success commercially, he has yet to make a “hit song”. Now, I don’t care about this. In all honesty, I’d rather hear emcee’s that are album worthy, not “hit single” worthy. Of course, tell that to the music industry, right? It’s a little strange though to think about how mainstream southern Hip-Hop has become and yet, K.R.I.T hasn’t been welcomed completely by the mainstream.


Here’s the deal though. This guy is ahead of his time! His music seems to gather steam a year or so after he pushes out albums. This kind of reminds me of what happened in the beginning with Outkast. Outkast had a sound that was out of this world and ahead of its time. I won’t compare Outkast to KRIT, but you’ve got to see the parallels of the type of music they create.

Big K.R.I.T’s album Cadillactica might silence a lot of skepticism from critics. K.R.I.T is one talented guy! It’s hard to find an emcee that can make beats as good as he flows, but K.R.I.T can do that. With that said, let’s get into this.

 1)   Kreation – This track is dope! The fact that this first track is so laid back and funky should give you a good idea where he’s doing on this album. This beat is so futuristically synth heavy and does a great job of just finding that vibe. The hook is great too!
2)   Life – You know, I can get down with 808 drums! And this album is full of exactly that. But it’s the way that he decides to use those drums that really works well. This track doesn’t need too much drums, but when they come in it’s just ridiculous. One of the best things about K.R.I.T is he knows how to layer his sound so well. Such is the case with this track. There’s just so much going on! As for K.R.I.T’s rapping, he’s shown quite a bit of progress. He’s not just rapping about your typical subject matter either:
“Transmission, I missed my mark – day one
I was so close to the sun –
I burnt the top off my roof
I’ve travelled a million miles to uncover
What most would doubt
Although I believe in god, I need proof”
3)   My Sub, Pt. 3 (Big Bang) – This is an alright track. Kind of reminiscent of an older 808 style beat from the 80’s. It’s cool that he is telling a story of the idea of bass in the car with those 2 15’s in the trunk. There’s an interlude to the next song right after this. It kind of takes you by surprise that he just ended the track the way he did. Not my favorite on the album, but it holds it’s own.
4)   Cadillactica – This track is the first single off of the album! I didn’t think that K.R.I.T would decide to use an outside producer, but in this case he did and it was definitely a good idea. DJ Dahi and DJ Khalil are both great producers! The good thing is that the track sounds like it belongs on the album. Sonically, the track is just CRAZY! The hook is addictive too. This could possibly be a crossover hit for K.R.I.T! Get some radio play, he definitely deserves it.

5) Soul Food (Feat. Raphael Saadiq)- Raphael Saadiq is still that dude! This beat is definitely soulful with that boom bap sound. K.R.I.T is coming across smooth on this track. But really, what makes this so nice is Saadiq’s singing on the hook. The guitar is killing it on this track. And those piano keys in the background are so nice!

6)   Pay Attention (Feat. Rico Love) – This will probably be the second single off of his album. It’s a more poppy down south track. Rico Love is a good singer and K.R.I.T is definitely doing his thing! It’s nice to hear K.R.I.T willing to change his musical style. It’s also good to see someone else taking the reigns on producing. That’s not to say K.R.I.T can’t produce (like I said earlier, the dude is a dope producer), but this forces him to spit over other type of beats.
7)   King of the South – This track right here is so nice! It’s got almost as much energy as the track Cadillactica. He’s so nice with the flow on this. You’ll appreciate how K.R.I.T is changing his style up quite frequently on this track!
8)   Mind Control (Feat. E-40 and Wiz Khalifa) – I don’t know if this is going to be his third single. It definitely has the power of those features. However, I got to say I wasn’t really feeling E-40’s verse. As for Wiz, I just don’t think this is the right type of track for him. K.R.I.T kills it though. The hook is pretty good, but not memorable. Not my favorite on the album.
9)   Do You Love Me (featuring Mara Hruby) – The interlude before this track is real smooth. I’m really digging how laid back this track is as well! The singing is nice on this track and you get to see a more sensitive side of K.R.I.T. Yes, it is a ladies track, but there’s so much going on in those keys and layers! Think this is my favorite track on the album.
10)   Third Eye – It’s so nice to see K.R.I.T singing on this album! He’s not a bad singer. DJ Dahi produced this track and it feels very soulful. Those Rhodes keys are such a good feel for this type of track. Man, K.R.I.T is just on point on this. And that flute at the end is killing it! Definitely worth listening to!
11) Mo Better Cool (Feat. Bun B, Devin The Dude, and Big Sant) – This is that straight smooth Jazz feeling that is missing from Hip-Hop today! I really like the feature line up too on this song! Much more appropriate for this album then E-40 and Wiz Khalifa. Bun B is so nice to hear on this track too! Those trumpets and horn section on the end put this over the top on production! DOPE!
12) Angels – Wow, K.R.I.T is going to keep on putting us in that laid back funky jazz mood! It’s so needed though! And this is just perfect for what he’s spitting. The singing is dope and the hook is pretty catchy. But really, it’s what’s happening in the background! All those layers are just beautiful to listen to. And it wouldn’t be complete without K.R.I.T’s storytelling ability!
13) Saturdays = Celebration (Feat. Jamie N Commons) – Jamie N Commons is a pretty soulful singer! It just keeps on getting better on this album. Gospel singers cut into the background with a heavy piano just vamping on chord changes. And those drums are so different than what I’m use to hearing on a Hip-Hop album. I don’t think these are even 808’s. This has got to be one of the most personal tracks for K.R.I.T! Man, it’s just so good!
14) Lost Generation (feat. Lupe Fiasco) – It’s over! I mean, I don’t know what happened, but K.R.I.T is on some next level. Seriously, these tracks are just too good not to fall in love with this album. The hook is great on this track, but really he’s just keeping that same organically built sound formula! Lupe is doing his thing, although I’m getting tired of his sarcastic flow.
15) Mt. Olympus – Wow, this is K.R.I.T hungry! Totally agree with his message on this track. He’s just tired of the music industry and those cats that are straight hating on him. It works to perfection and I must say he is straight spitting. I liked Big K.R.I.T before, but this just makes me like him more. And those horns in the background with that marching snare is killing it!
16) Lac Lac (Feat. A$AP Ferg) – This is a good way to end the album. That organ in the background is killing. And once again, sonically it’s just so refreshing! A$AP Ferg I’m not sure what to think of yet. However, I admit that he’s definitely doing his thing on this track.
 I’m saying this, if K.R.I.T isn’t at least up for some award for this album, he will go down as one of the most slept on in the game. Seriously, this album is near perfection in my book! The production style is much needed in Hip-Hop today. And K.R.I.T has really put his all into this album!
I’m giving this a 4.9/5. This is a classic in my book! Pick this one up and turn it up!

Dilated People – Directors of Photography – Album Review

By admin on Aug 13, 2014 in Album Review - 0 Comments

With west coast Hip-Hop being dominated by Black Hippy this year, it’s nice to see some of the older guard coming back into the game! If you can believe it, Dilated has been around for 22 years! Amazingly, in that time they’ve only come out with 6 official albums. Their work tends to be intermittent only because they slowly build albums. Well, that and Evidence and Babu stay pretty busy touring and whatnot! I got turned on by Dilated People’s through listening to Babu and Alchemist heavily in the 90’s! It wasn’t until in the 2000’s that I realized Evidence produced a lot of Dilated albums. I gave mad respect to Evidence after that!

Speaking of which, the production on this album is nuts! You’ve got Alchemist, Babu, Evidence, DJ Premier, Diamond D, 9th Wonder, Oh No, and Jake One! You want to talk about an all-star cast of producers! DAMN! With that said, let’s get into this album.

1) Intro – No need to get into this track. Just introduction…

2) Directors – Man, right off the bat you can tell what this is going to be like! This is the reason why you like Evidence. The dude can produce a dope track. That piano and marching snare is dope! But Babu is the ultimate on this track. He just is so dope the way he scratches! Evidence and  Rakaa Irisscience hold their own. Although they haven’t switched up their flow throughout the years, you’ve got to admire that in Dilated. It’s old school style Hip-Hop at it’s finest. The hook is nice, but again, you know the hook is always going to be nice when you have Babu cutting!

3) Cut My Teeth – This beat is grimy! What do you expect though, it’s Alchemist! And he’s so good at what he does. The hook isn’t that amazing, but again Babu in the background is nuts with it. This is one of those reminisce type of tracks. Evidence seems to be growing as an emcee, but it’s really what he does with his voice and delivery that really stands out. And when can you say about Rakka! The dude still has natural emceeing ability! Even though he has only one solo album to his name, think how many times you’ve heard him featured on other artists album.

4) Defari Interlude– Man, again it always amazes me that Evidence produces! He’s such a slept on producer. Of course, when you run with top notch producers, it’s bound to rub off. That’s the case with Evidence both in the booth and behind the scenes. This is definitely a freestyle track and there’s not much to it. It’s grimy though with that sped up sample. Too short though, but that’s why they call it an interlude.

5) The Dark Room (featuring Vince Staples) – Damn man, Evidence is really HUNGRY on this track. Check this:

I didn’t slur shit I just kept quiet and made a note of it
Before the poetry is out the fire and I’m over it
Retire notably and every moves a curtain call
Smooth with the groove, so honey don’t take it personal

I first heard Vince Staples on 50 Cents Animal Instinct album! He’s holding it down! I really think that this dude is on the come up!

6) Good As Gone – Man, Premier is just so crazy! Premier is one of the few beat makers that can chop a sample and use it like he does. He truly is the chopped sound effect beat maker artist and it’s so street gutter sounding! And man, Babu is so NUTS the way he’s scratching. I will say this though, Evidence and Rakka aren’t really doing anything amazing on the hook. But again, you don’t need to do much when you have Babu in the background!

7) Show Me the Way (featuring Aloe Blacc) – Wow! Jake One is one of my favorite producers! And this track completely validates that for me. He makes it sound so easy, but believe me what he’s doing is not. And Aloe Blacc is perfect for the hook! I always like listening to some Aloe Blacc, and it’s great to hear him on this type of track! I know this is one of their singles and it’s definitely understandable!

8) Figure It Out (Melvins Theme) – DAMN! Babu, this isn’t fair. I mean, you make a whole beat just to scratch on. But why not, you’re just too good! And I could listen to you all day scratch. DOPE! Definitely don’t miss this. Although Evidence and Rakka spit, they’re just basically giving mad props to Babu scratching! It’s nice to know their giving props to Babu and also homage to where the beginnings of Hip-Hop came from.

9) Let Your Thoughts Fly Away – Diamond D! Man, you still got it! Love the beat, it’s just a perfect mix of smooth rhythms mixed with a little bit of Jazz. Those guitars are just ridiculous on the hook! Good effort by Rakka and Evidence, but it’s not their best.

10) Century of the Self – Oh No is still one of the most slept on producers and beat makers! But, if your brother is Madlib, it’s hard to follow in a genius’s footsteps. But you know what, I would say that Oh No is just as good as Madlib! Genius runs in the family, and it’s apparent on this track! You wanna hear a completely different track, listen to this one! Props to Oh No for keeping it original! I mean, I’ve never heard something quite like this before. Those drums are just so grimy, but the real gem is that sample! DAMN! I’ve got to hand it to Oh No, he digs deep for his samples! That piano sample in the background! The way it just lags behind is NUTS too! This is probably the best produced track on this album!

11) @mreevidence Interlude – Funny and true!

12) The Reversal – Man, Babu is so good! A DJ that makes a beat as well as he scratches is a rare thing to find! That sample is so nice! Evidence is nice, but again, the production trumps the lyricism throughout the album.

13) Opinions May Vary – (featuring Gangrene) – DOPE! Man, Gangrene just lays into the flow on this. And, Rakka is coming with some of his best stuff:

Existentialist in my temple
I shift the world with exasketch
force to sketch a masterpiece with a pencil

And the delivery is crazy! His whole verse is nuts! I think Rakka got Evidence and Gangrene on this one!

14) Trouble – Evidence and Babu are the perfect pair! This whole album is heavily soulful and they love using piano samples! This is a perfect example. The hook is definitely worth paying extra attention to. They completely flip the sample and it makes for a unique idea on a hook!

15) L.A. River Drive – (featuring Sick Jacken) – I’m not overly impressed by this Alchemist produced joint. The sample isn’t really amazing and the way Alchemist flips it isn’t anything special. The rhymes are also not that impressive. This is probably the worst track on the album in my opinion. I know that Sick Jacken is a part of Psycho Realm. Their claim to fame came from the fact that B-Real saw them at a concert and inspired him to join the group! The problem with this track is that when it’s the worst on the track, Sick Jacken kind of gets lost in the mix. Not to say he’s not a good emcee, this is just not the best track for him.

16) The Bigger Picture – This is a nice track produced by 9th Wonder. As much as I like 9th Wonder, this track isn’t one of my favorites from him in recent memory. I like the concept though and Babu always comes through on the scratching. Nice track, but nothing amazing.

So, that’s the album! I’ve got to hand it to Dilated, there always coming through with some great Hip-Hop! Even if it’s considered “old school” to some peoples standards, I don’t really care. I grew up listening to old school and I still think there’s plenty of relevance to keeping it that way. This album will probably go over most of the teenage crowd unfortunately. This album is for the Hip-Hop head that appreciates production, DJing, and emceeing.

I give this 4.5/5!

50 Cent Animal Ambition Album Review

By admin on Jun 26, 2014 in Album Review - 0 Comments

Okay, so I got to admit, I didn’t jump on the bandwagon quite as hard as some of yall did when 50 first came out. I understand his popularity, but I figured between the strength of the producers and his squad G-Unit it was a lot easier for him to make moves. And yet, I still had to listen. I figured the strength of the beats alone would warrant a listen, right?

I knew 50 was going to go all in with the producers. The likes of Dre, Jake One, and Ty Fyfe just to name a few. I also knew that 50 hadn’t done anything for a minute and obviously, he really doesn’t need to anymore because that dude made his money. 50 still wants to be relevant though. So, with that said, let’s get into this.

1) Hold On – How can you not like a good soul sample! I mean, throughout Hip-Hop history I will always be drawn to a soul sample flip. I had never heard about Frank Dukes until this album so I didn’t really know what to expect. Here’s the deal, it’s a little gimmicky. This type of soul sample has been done before and it’s really not anything impressive. The drums really aren’t impressive either. So, with that said let’s get to 50. One thing I can consistently say about 50 is he’s always slurring his speech (that adds to his authenticity I suppose). 50 isn’t really saying anything that we don’t already know. If anyone is buying the fact that 50 is still “hood” or “street” is lying to themselves. This dude has been a millionaire more than a couple times over and he’s been that way for a minute now. His voice still sounds nice over the beat but it’s all been done before!

2) Don’t Worry About It – This beat is NICE! It’s got that old school boom bap with some far out pianos and synths! Man, I’ve got to hand it to Charli Brown Beatz, this dude knows how to make some seriously fierce stuff. 50 actually switched his style up (no pun intended if you remember the Kanye/50 feud back in the day). I’m glad he did so, because by doing this he’s made his voice sound unique over this beat! As far as content though, he’s rapping about the same thing. Rhythmic creativity with a flow doesn’t relate to content creativity. The dude is still rapping about the same thing. The hook is killing it though! And Yo Gotti, he’s doing his thing, not very memorable though.

3) Animal Ambition – I want to like this beat because it’s kind of an untraditional style. Unfortunately, it’s really gimmicky too and 50 wants you to know that. I know that gimmicks sell records and all, but for us Hip-Hop heads it also sounds hella cheesy. In this case, lay on that cheese because 50 is going to make animal noises to make sure everyone know’s he’s got that Animal Ambition. And we’re back to 50 associating himself with gangsta life even though, again, he hasn’t been gansta for some time now. Don’t buy it 50, stop rapping about stuff you haven’t done for YEARS!

4) Pilot – Man, this is a SMOOTH beat! Who is Shamtrax though? He’s 1/5th of the Soundkillers. This dude puts some thought into his beats, you can tell. As for 50, the hook is great! At least he’s talking about things he knows a little bit more.

5) Smoke – Trey Songz knows how to sing! With that being said I was excited to see him on a track produced by Dre (among others). The hook is good, but that beat: DAMN! You can never hate on Dre because he’s still got it! This is such a beast of a track. 50 is actually telling a story on this track (believe it or not)! That’s right, he’s actually rapping a story. The best saving grace for 50 is when he does decide to rap about other things, he can do it. However, he still doesn’t step much outside of his element. But again, much like Pilot, at least he’s rapping about stuff he knows.

6) Everytime I Come Around – Wow, I’m saying this! BEST SONG OVERALL ON THE ALBUM! Why, the hook alone is gimmicky but oh so nice! The beat is nice but it’s just produced so crazily! It’s easy to find a beat similar to this, but those drums and claps are classic! Steve Alien is another unknown to me, but damn man, I’m definitely going to follow this dude! 50 is actually spitting ferociously, I don’t really care if he’s rapping about gansta shit this time. And the feature Kidd Kidd is good! I was wondering what he was going to do with this, but he killed it! I wish more Hip-Hop was still like this!

7) Irregular Hearbeat – I’m going to say this, the beat is not much at all. It was kind of disappointing. However, I understand what they were trying to do with this. The hook isn’t interesting. Jadakiss just killed it on this one. In my opinion, he is better than both 50 and Kidd Kidd on this one. I will say this though, 50 isn’t hungry anymore and why should he be? You can tell though that his flow isn’t quite up to par compared to Kidd Kidd or Jadakiss. Not that it hasn’t happened before, but his features are better than 50 over his own album!

8) Hustler – Grimy! That’s all I have to say about this! Jake One has been one of my favorite producers for some time. He’s also really slept on! Heavy on the snare and synths, but that’s okay! This is the BEST BEAT on the album hands down. There’s so much intricacies with this beat alone! 50 could have done a lot more with it, but it’s really hard to hate when he copped that Jake One beat!

9) Twisted – JustHustle and Kyle Justice teamed up with for a nice beat! I mean, it’s got that slow west coast vibe to it. But damn, it just knocks so nice! The Feature Mr. Probz isn’t bad at all. He’s got a nice voice, but you could tell he was probably holding back. 50 is actually being a little sincere on this one. He’s reminiscing but it’s nothing over the top this time. I’m glad he’s toning it down a little for this one. Good track!

10) Winners Circle – This beat is okay, but isn’t really anything special! I do mean that, because it’s the same with 50 too. He’s not really rapping about anything interesting. I can see why 50 put his slow songs towards the middle end. But this is kind of a buzz kill for me. I could have done without this track on the album. The once saving grace for this song is Guordan Banks (strange version of the name, I know). He’s got a real soulful type voice and you can tell he’s a good singer!

11) Chase The Paper – Yeah, this could have been a lot better. But, I can’t hate on the beat! Ty Fyfe is nice on the beat. It’s soulful, got that old school Organ, guitar, and bass. That’s really all you need for this type of beat! But, 50 aint a rider anymore, what is he really trying to say. Not that I was ever down with the gangsta lifestyle, but I can tell when someone hasn’t been about it for a LONG time! This dude is trying too hard to still be relevant on the streets. Okay, even if you still have Prodigy, Kidd Kidd, and Styles P on this track, it doesn’t really matter.

12) The Funeral – Jake One did it again! Damn man, this dude knows how to make a soulful old school beat! Seriously, you can tell he’s been influenced a lot by Dilla! The beat is the second best beat on the album! 50 is doing his thing, and actually not sounding too bad over this one. I think these bonus tracks don’t really show 50 flexing though. He’s just trying to make it longer. But thank goodness for Jake One!

13) You Know – I want to like this song. Really, it’s got that old school soul vibe to it. Soul Professa did the beat, but he could have done a little more with it. 50 is up to his old themes, and I think you understand by now what I’m going to say, so I’ll spare you the tangent.

14) Flip On You – Okay, this sample flip is NICE! Nascent and QB did the beat. Really digging the flip. School Boy Q is also straight spitting it! He’s got some serious bars! 50 could have done more, but he didn’t. His flow sounds nice over the beat, but I think it’s safe to say his violent days are over with.

So, that’s the album. I was impressed only because 50 hadn’t done anything for awhile. And he’s smart on the marketing! He made a video for every single one of these tracks too! DAMN! Now that’s smart. You can charge more online for it and it gives him some style points. So, what’s the final verdict?

I give this a 4/5.

50 might not be as relevant as he use to be, but the production is undeniable!



Skyzoo & Torae – Barrel Brothers – 2014

By admin on May 28, 2014 in Album Review - 0 Comments

Had to cop this album! I’m a big fan of Skyzoo and although I haven’t heard much from Torae since his collabs with DJ Premier back in’08, I was definitely down for this colalb! I was pretty sure from the beginning of hearing about this it was going to be FIRE! And, when I saw the producer line-up, it was over: Oh No!, Illmind, Black Milk, and Antman Wonder just to name a few. With that said, let’s do this!

Who would have thought 2 emcee’s that have been part of the underground circuit for a minute now would join forces to make an album like Barrel Borthers? Not sure exactly how it happened (besides being both from Brooklyn, it had to be fate)! This album is just NASTY! These 2 emcee’s are those dudes in many rapper circles. Especially Skyzoo, who I’ve been following since his humble beginnings in 2006 with Cloud 9: The 3 Day High. That’s not to take anything away from Torae, because this dude can spit his ass off. Both are heavily influenced by the East Coast Hip-Hop culture. Both rhyme styles remind me of the Golden Nineties battle emcee that is still relevant because of their punchlines and wit. To me, these guys are your rappers rapper.

1) Even the Intro is dope! What better away to start an album than to have Flavor Flav kick off a new year and a random sample (don’t know where from) talking about the idea of “Your Brothers Keeper”. In the background, you here O’Jays classic “For The Love of Money” song from a lone trumpet! Okay, we can all dig where this is going, right?

2) After the Intro, it just starts with Talk of The Town! Oh No is such an under-rated producer! He flipped this sample crazy! It’s so dirty and jazzy. Skyzoo and Torae jump in with complete confidence on this joint. Torrae comes in with heat:


This all what they been waiting for aint it/why people paid paper for, aint it?/While niggaz got famous

I was camped in the lab and made bangers/The more hein-ous – the bars – the more flame it is/

what’s more dangerous than I in the pad/a beat-tape from Oh No/My brother Sky in the lab/

I’ve been dying to spaz…


You get the idea, the wordplay is there from the get go. What a great introduction to the album. Torae has been putting in work lyrically, developing his own set of punchlines that sound like he’s boxing you. And of course, Skyzoo is just finding those words that are going to embarrass your idea of how they should be put together. DAMN!

3) I’m sure you’ve heard of Jhalil Beats. If not, you’ve been living under a rock. This dude has more instrumentals floating around for mixtape use than anyone I’ve ever heard. If you’ve never heard of him, I’m sure you’ve heard his tag: “Jhalil beats, holla at me”. This producer got heat and he doesn’t sample very frequently. He doesn’t disappoint in Make You a Believer. It’s good to hear Torae and Skyzoo rapping over newer style beats! Both just murder this beat. This is basically a track with one statement: Don’t Sleep On Us! DOPE!

4) Man, Illmind is that dude! I got put on to this producer from the “Blaps, Rhymes & Life mixtape”. He always has a way of making beats that are different, infectious, and devious (in a good way). Tunnel Vision has that new school feel laced with an old school feel. Very little sampling (or at least none that I could hear). 808’s, a haunting synth reminiscent of one you hear from a B rated horror movie from the 70’s, and plenty of boom-bap! The hook is one of the most infectious on the whole album! Skyzoo comes with some heat:

Naw, homey I rap/as far as throwing a rap/mine throwing your clothes – if your trying to go for your strap

Mind giving ’em doe like I’m trying throw you a pack/my model is for the low and she’s riding low in the back…

The wordplay is definitely there! His whole verse is just ridiculous!

5) Once again, Illmind drops another gem! Actually, I like this beat better than the previous. But I’m always attracted to that Jazzy sounding old school sound (which this beat has in SPADES)! Wow! This is hard for me to say, but this is probably my favorite beat on the whole album. Sonically, it screams city scape! It feels Premierish (if that’s a word). Yankee Fitted is CRAZY! The production is nuts, the lyricism is at it’s finest on this track. Torae says some of his best punch lines for this track:

Ben was in the Duffel/I lift that up above you/fans is bamboo and they been that on the humble/

Youngins trying to get in the way like they divvying up the gold/I Chris Paul on the draw/put clippers in the hole

Yes, this is the SINGLE:

6) What’s an album without collabs, right? And this is such a NICE collab! All In Together is that track! Sean Price has been around for a minute and still goes hard! And, how can you go wrong with Guilty Simpson (dude has some of the best punchlines I’ve ever heard in Hip-Hop)! This album just keeps getting better! Black Milk is a cold producer! I mean, he’s one of the most under-rated producers out there. And this track displays his gritty beat making skills at its finest. LOVE IT!

7) Man, they’re giving MAD props to Illmind! And why not, when you’re making those CRAZY beats (if it aint broke, don’t fix it). This beat is all over the place. But it’s still got that reminiscent old school feel. The synths are ridiculous on this track. No hook needed over this track either. Oh yeah, and there’s one more surprise: another feature! Sha Stimuli is nice with it! Though I hadn’t heard him in a little while, dude still got heat!

8) Movie Album (skit) is a nice concept. This is straight free styling. It’s funny and pretty true!

9) Man, I hadn’t heard of the producer Praise before. I’ve been looking all over for anything on him and all I can find is a bandcamp page (hoping this is the right link). Albee Square Mall is nuts! I’d say this is my second favorite beat on the album! Skyzoo is bringing the heat as usual! It’s nice to hear Sky talking about where he’s from and the fact he hasn’t conceded to the industry. Oh, and did I mention another collab! Yep, this time we’ve got Living Proof! Never heard of this dude, but he’s sounding nice!

10) The Hand Off is smooth. Khrysis and Cyrus The Great are killing it on the beat. Man, Skyzoo and Torae got RHYMES FOR DAYS! They just keep on getting more nastier as the album progresses. They definitely came hungry over this album, but this track in particularly is just murder.

11) I had never heard of the Stuyvesants either! I’m going to have to start paying attention to these guys though. There a collaborative effort between Algorythm and Flwrpt. 4 Bar Friday is crazy! The sample flip is pretty good and the drums are layered nicely. This is a feel good beat for sure! And those scratches at the end are FIRE! Of course, Torae and Skyzoo go! This is a strong effort by the two but not the best on the album.

12) Antman is Skyzoo’s go to producer! The dude has close ties with DJ Premier and you can tell he’s definitely influenced by one of the G.O.A.T.’s. The hook is pretty infectious and live instrumentation is so good! The sample is jazzy as hell! This is one of the better dynamical beats. The beat drops are infectious too. Definitely digging this!

13) The beats just keep coming! Rediscover is a track produced by MarcNfinit. The sample is a great flip! But those low, hard hitting drums and hard hitting snare are what really makes the track go! And you ready for another feature? That’s right, we’ve got my man Blu on the track. Blu has been working on his skills for along time on the underground circuit. Always love what I’m hearing from him and it’s no different over this track.

14) What a way to end the album! DJ Premier and Antman Wonder working together to give you a classic track. The sample is cut up so nicely and the beat is just super jazzy. The hook is nice over this beat and I can tell Torae and Skyzoo wanted to go out with a bang! They leave you wanting more too!


I’m giving this 4.7/5! The beats alone would have made this album that rating! But Skyzoo and Torae are definitely skilled in their craft! It’s crazy how this album is going to be slept on because it’s not poppy enough for radio play. That’s okay with me though. We’ll keep the best kept secret of the year so far!


Album Review – Pharoahe Monch – PTSD (2014)

By admin on May 05, 2014 in Album Review - 0 Comments

You know, I really have to hand it to Pharoahe Monch. For a dude that can rap his ass off, I’m really surprised how slept on he still is. Here’s arguably one of the best lyricists of all time and he never gets the respect of more major artists. In all honesty, I’m okay with that. I don’t think I’d want Monch to go mainstream. Just think about how toned down his records would be if he didn’t have creative control over them. Which brings me to the review.

I love Pharoahe Monch! His technique is off the hook and he goes over a lot of people’s heads. Why? My guess is because he’s using metaphors with such crazy delivery that you have to slow down the album, listen to it a couple of times, or just read the lyrics afterwards. He doesn’t create Hip-Hop hits though. Let’s be honest, if you’re introducing someone to Monch for the first time, you’ll probably start by playing his classic Simon Says track. They’ll be a lot of people that will automatically recognize the beat and the crazy flow. However, he’s not one to create catchy hooks or songs you remember.

Enter his newest album Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). With all of the underground hype around this album, you think we were looking at the Holy Grail of underground albums here. Here’s an emcee that has giving us solid material with Internal Affairs, Desire, and W.A.R(We Are Renegades). All of those albums have been completely different and have really shown off how creative Monch can be. But here’s the thing, as much as you like Pharoahe for his imaginative mind frame, creativity, and killer flow, he tends to be stuck in a box in some ways. Have you noticed how much Pharoahe tends to use the same multiple rhythmic placing with his delivery? He doesn’t really venture out into changing his style up at all. Sometimes, you need that to happen. Especially when it comes to just how much knowledge Monch is dropping on you. So, with that said let’s get to this album.

We start off in the recollection facility. This seems to be a medical facility used to recondition the brain from stress disorders. You’re not supposed to know anything further, as it’s just an intro to the album. Automatically, you’re thinking, “this should be interesting”.

Times2  opens up with a sparse beat track with Monch singing the hook. Here’s the deal, although Monch does sing better than many emcee’s, that doesn’t mean he should. He’s a pretty nasal singer and it doesn’t always work well with the track. In this case, I don’t think it does. But, that being said, this dude just starts his flow crazy! This dude is so creative, at one point in this track, he starts stuttering to the beat like he’s lost his mind:

“La-la-la-last ye-ye-year they hired me/And this-s-s-s we-we-we-we-weekend the-the-they fired me/And I g-g-g-got all these b-b-b-bills to pay/And what the f-f-f-f-fu-f-f-fuck am I supposed to say/T-t-t-t-to my wife she’s p-p-p-pregnant/And if the kid does not go to college his life’s irrelevant.”

Damn Pharoahe! Talk about hitting the nail on the head with this one! For many, these ordinary stressors when it comes to day-to-day can start to wear down on anyone. And that’s exactly where Monch wants to take you. How even the most mundane schedule can start to eat away at you.

Losing My Mind has an old school rock feel! The track sounds live with those guitars and live drums feel. I’m glad to hear that Pharoahe left the singing for the most part to dEnAun. However, the dude still got to sing a little bit, right? The hook is smooth, catchy, and pretty frightening. Which is probably where Monch wants you to be. The flow is classic, but I don’t know if you’ll remember the track.

This gets us into a kind of prelude to the next track. Heroin Addict is a very rock influenced heavy guitar-sounding track. Can’t say I particularly understand why he needs an introduction to the next track. But, nonetheless:

Damage is a nuts beat! I mean, this turns the whole Heroin Addict track before on it’s head and makes it a slow rock beat. This dude is completely going nuts with his delivery! He’s doing everything he can to switch it up, which I love. At one point, he almost sounds like a serial killer but it could also like he’s a gang member looking for revenge. The opening to his second verse is just ridiculous:

Nigga I will twist your liver like Oliver (TWIST)
Scratch your name off my calendar
See that was me thru a silencer
What you just heard was a .44 caliber
Now you can fill in the blanks
I will pillage your town
Killing them with Dillinger rounds
Nigga fill in the clip cause I’m willing to flip

Again, I will say this however. This track is not catchy. Sure, Monch is doing his thing but I wouldn’t remember it. There’s no hook that really catches on, which seems to be a problem with this album overall.

Monch loves those heavy beats! This is one of the funkiest off of the album, but it’s definitely rocky. Bad MF is pretty much exactly that. And man, for once on this album Monch makes a pretty catchy hook. In fact, it’s almost enough for me to remember it! I can’t say this is the most lyrical of his tracks on this album, but that beat, hook, and background vocals makes it one of my favorite on the albums!

Friendly reminder that we’re still in a reconditioning medical facility and that he’s dreaming. Makes sense, I think…

Which brings us to one of the most energetic tracks on the whole album! Rapid Eye Movement is fun, fast, and furious! Oh, and the hook is memorable! You heard me right, he finally made a track on this album where I remember the hook! He gets help from another ill emcee that’s been at it for years: Black Thought from The Roots. Both of them are completely killing this track. The beat is just ridiculous! Probably the most “mainstream” tracks on the album too.

Back to some abstract. It’s not that Scream is a bad track at all. However, after hearing Rapid Eye Movement, I just wasn’t expecting it. By the way, the track list for this album is very dissonant. What I mean is, he doesn’t place songs in this album the way a lot of emcees would do it. He tends to put you on this emotional rollercoaster of fast songs right after slow songs. I’m sure he does this on purpose though, as it gives you that crazy, multiple personality effect. He is singing over this track, which might not be the best idea. However, he has the ability to spit that undeniable flow. Dude is straight spitting!

The skit is funny and a little scary after Scream, enough said.

The Jungle is tamer on the beat. Which is a nice break, considering that he’s been taking us on an emotional rollercoaster with the sound. The hook is dope and memorable (score 2 for Monch). I think this might be a possible second single after Rapid Eye Movement. The beat is a little more acceptable for mainstream and Monch is taming his flow down a little (probably on purpose for a possible single format). However, he’s straight getting it! I mean, it’s just that good with his word play!

I don’t know if Monch is singing the hook on Broken Again, but if it is, GOOD JOB! If you haven’t noticed, I’m not big on Pharoahe singing on his tracks. For the first time I’m really liking it (if he’s actually singing on the hook). The track is a huge dynamic of sorts. You go through the different volumes as Monch is flowing. It’s a nice departure from his other tracks. It’s a smooth beat with him “calming down” on it. He’s got a nice contrast flow:

Family infuriated by the myriad of tracks but my train never came
So humiliated, started begging for change
Failed rehabilitation so the scars still remain
Nice clothes became frayed


Okay, so Monch is getting a little happier over this album I guess. Here he is in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder talking about living! I got to admit, after all the emotional roller coaster of feelings, experiences, and craziness, I think I would have problems understand what’s to live for too. But I think the perseverance to stay alive is inherent in everyone, which is definitely noticeable through this track.

Another pleasant reminder from the medical “Recollection” facility as we go to the next track.

I’m saying this, I don’t know what it is, but Eht Dnarg Noisulli is my favorite production wise. There’s so much happening but cohesively it just works. This track is so crisp and clean! Don’t know who the Stepkids are, but it’s nice to hear a different sound from a feature! Pharoahe kills it on the track. I don’t know what the significance of the title means, but it doesn’t really matter. This track takes you into a dreamscape.

Which gets us to the last track, a bonus track called Stand Your Ground featuring Vernon Reid. Wasn’t completely impressed by this track. The hook is kind of catchy, but truthfully I could have done without this track on the album. It’s pretty funky though.

So, overall PTSD is a rollercoaster of ideas and sound. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Hip-Hop album with such multiple personalities. Its heavily rock influenced which is definitely needed in an era of repetitive beats and rhymes in the Hip-Hop world. Pharoahe is also stretching out with his style as well! For the first time in any of his albums, I could hear him breaking away from those repetitive delivery placements. Sure, he still does it from time to time. Hands down, this album is the most creative I’ve heard in quite some time. Great idea for a theme and it’s one that is seldom talked about in the Hip-Hop world. I still think he needs to stop singing on his tracks, but that’s a small price to pay for such creative wordplay!

I give it 4.5/5! Monch is just going crazy!




ALBUM REVIEW – LOCAL – Stik Figa’s “The Pookey Tape”

By admin on Apr 29, 2014 in Album Review - 0 Comments

This week’s local album review is The Pookey Tape from local emcee Stik Figa. First off, I’m going to be a little bit bias. Why? Because Top city is where I grew up and I’m going to support anyone coming out of my hometown! With that said, Stik Figa is one of the illest emcee’s to come out of Top city! Stik is so descriptive with his verses and can easily set up the scene!

So, I’ve been listening to this album solidly for about 2 weeks now. I pop it in on the way to work and listen to it on my iPhone. It usually takes me a couple times around before I can really soak it in. First off, shout out to Tony Gaines and Reggie B! Those dudes definitely know how to mix an album down. It sounds crisp, clean, and dynamic. Hard to find producers around here that mix albums down like this!

The first track is called Charlie’s Liquor. The beat comes in with a nice quote from a sample. Good to hear my man Irv da Phenom as a feature! You can tell Stik has made this a personal album from this track alone.  Stik reminisces about his youth while making a solid effort to explain the disparities of Top city and his environment. It’s a good positive message and Stik easily gets it done on the hook!

The second track called Knowhere is crazy! Surgeon General produced the track and it’s got that boom-bap Jazzy sound often missing from Hip-Hop today! It’s a laid back track with Stik flowing in the pocket. The hook is nice too. You can tell Stik has improved with his detail within the rhymes. It’s funny that he talks about Topeka in this way: might not ever know where it is, but it’s home to the people that live there.

Back of Ya Neck is crazy funky! Reggie B always making those funky beats though. This is a fun song for the most part. Don’t always have to be serious on a song and you can tell Stik is just having fun. Sly word play makes this a feel good track. The hook isn’t as infectious as some of the others on the album, but it really doesn’t matter when you got that beat!

November First  is another Jazzy track. Tony Gaines is bringing the goods on the beat! Stik sets up the scene fast, talking about getting that cash while avoiding the negativities. Feezi Cash, the feature on this song, sounds refreshing to hear. His flows meld nicely with Stik. The hook is what really makes this track work so well. It’s so infectious and makes the track ride along nicely. 

Back to a Reggie B beat! Let Me Know beat isn’t quite as infectious as Back of Ya Neck, but Reggie is killing it with his voice! It’s nice to hear him featured on the hook. This is a song for the ladies, and Stik definitely shows off his game. I’d like to hear Stik rhyme a little more on this track, but I can’t be mad when Reggie B is singing!

The Book of Chad has a real thematic sound to it. Which is perfect because Stik is really bringing his own personal experiences to the table. This to me is his most personal track and you can tell he has a lot of emotion. It’s sort of a track for those haters out there, but it’s much more than that. He gets deeper on ya and puts you up on what he’s been through to get where he is.

Chicot County Summer is an interesting beat. It’s got that high-pitched sample with a soulful feel to it. The hook is killing it on this track! Stik is reminiscing on the verses while also comparing injustices of the world. It’s a little on the long side and the track at times seems to go all over the place with structure. But overall, Stik keeps it together with a nice flow.

Which gets me to the last track, Pookey’s Theme. This beat is funky, Jazzy, and has some Rock elements to it. At times the beat almost seems too energetic for Stiks verse. Stik still got that unmistakable flow though. He’s really showing off on this as he describes his personality in a nutshell. Good way to end the album though with this type of energy!

This is what true Hip-Hop is about! Stik represents Top City and the Midwest nicely on this project. The Pookey Tape is almost too good to simply be a mixtape. I said that right, with a few more tracks this could have been a commercial album for Stik. But, he’s willing to let us download for free. Can’t wait to hear what he has in store for his next project. The album is definitely worth listening to and I would put it up against any mainstream mixtape coming out right now. Stik is in his own lane and doing what he does best: being creative!

I give this album 4/5! 

00 Cover