Highly Respectable Albums

Snoop has had a hard time finding a good collaborator after he left Death Row. Master P and The Neptunes were solid, but they didn't hold a candle to Dre. Snoop may have found the perfect team to work around him in Teddy Riley and DJ Quik. They whip up a bouncy batch of funk, soul, and modern bangerism for Snoop to lay his pimp hand around. And this is the Snoop's best lyrical performance since Doggystyle. It's too long like every post-Doggystyle album, but it's an fun effortless listen.

Best Songs: Neva Have 2 Worry, Staxxx in My Jeans, Ridin' in My Chevy

Props to Doc Zeus. Killer Mike is a great MC who specializes in a brutal, but poetic lyrical style. He lays down the law of the land on hustling, inspiration, politics, pimping, balling, and seperating the real from the fake. He's like a one man UGK. He's backed by big, loud junky bangers. Great guest appearances from Chamillionaire, 8Ball and MJG, & even Shawty Lo included.

Best Songs: God in the Building, 2 Sides, Can You Hear Me

T.I. bounced back from his two weakest albums and a missile charge with one of the best lyrical performances of the year. He effortlessly rides synth-laden production and muses about his mistakes and his rawness. It's a cohesive mix of braggadocio and introspection. Just do yourself a favor and download Let My Beat Pound and A Better Day and always skip Porn Star and Swing Ya Rag.

Best Songs: Ready for Whatever, I'm Illy, No Matter What

Take away the mixtapey Reppin' My City and the overwrought I'm Only Human and Trilla is an album that's a pretty good representation of 21st Century mafioso rap. Short on the details Raekwon and Jay-Z provided for us. Trilla is all balling and the ominous presence of a grave ending. Glossy synths are the bed for Ross' commanding voice and baller talk. J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League add a lush, orchestral to an excellent trio of tracks that reflect the downside of a criminal lifestyle.

Best Songs: Maybach Music, Luxury Tax, Money Make Me Cum


The Nigger Tape which the only thing released this year that I have no problem calling classic. DJ Green Lantern gave Nas a set of jazzy, but rugged set of beats that Nas just let loose on. Most of these tracks were a little too junky to be included on Untitled, but they beat some of the more boring stuff that did make the album. An easy, aggressive listen that shows the possibility of a mixtape.

Best Songs: Esco Lets Go, Cops Keep Firing, Association

A cold dirge into a mind of a confused, heartbroken egomaniac.


Jeezy made the best album of the year, by just retouching a popular formula. His production is still deep, dark, and overbearing. Jeezy sticks to the his usual drug-dealing shtick and the results remain banging. The small tinges of political awareness and emotion add maturity to an otherwise derivative album. Effortless listen. BUY IT

Highly Respectable Songs

Some of these songs aren't the best on the album, but they have certain traits that make them more notable than others.

The Game - 911 Is A Joke (unreleased)

---This N.W.A. jack is morphed into a twisted 21st century banger and Game shows off even more excellent mimicking ability, attacking cops using a stereotypical N.W.A. delivery. LAX should've been an album full of mimicking and bleepy bangers.

Young Jeezy - Don't Do It (from The Recession)

---Backed by orchestral synths and a painfully beautiful female voice, Jeezy channels raps greats and damn near becomes one with this gem. A sad story of a visiting a incarcerated homie turns into a anti-commercial anthem and ends with a GZA-esque rant involving Jay's discography.

Nas - Esco Lets Go (from The Nigger Tape)

---Nas has swag. He rarely gets to show it. He gets to show it here backed by heavy, muffled drums and a guitar loop I can only describe as "Fucking Great".

Killer Mike - God in the Building (from I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind II)

---Mad props to Doc Zeus. Killer Mike was one of the those guys that I forgot about and never heard about outside of The Whole World and Southern Takeover. His attribute, other than his unhinged delivery is that he rides the border of elegance & brutality. Here, he rides that border over a swirling choir.

T.I. - I'm Illy (from Paper Trail)

---T.I. is one of the best rappers on the planet and despite the commercial success, I don't think he'll ever truly get the props he deserves. I'm Illy is the top of song he excels at; You ain't the shit, I am. He lets loose over a swirling choir (sound familiar) and Toompish drums.

T.I. - Let My Beat Pound (unreleased)

---Imagine if Top Back was produced in the year 2077. I know, right.

Lil' Wayne - Let The Beat Build (from Tha Carter III)

---It’s pretty self-explanatory as the beat actually builds while Wayne spits over. A bouncy sample with piano, than the claps, hi-hats, 808s, than it finally comes together. Wayne goes in and experiments with his flow (but when doesn't he). The main reason this song is on the list is because you must make this the last song, if you make a C3 mix. It just feels like the victory lap that Tha Carter III should've been.

Chamillionaire - Middle Finger Up (from Mixtape Messiah 4)

---Over the sad keys and rushing synths of Usher's Moving Mountains, Chamillionaire rips apart haters using the most ridiculous rhyme scheme since Nas' Shoot 'Em Up.

Rick Ross featuring Ebonylove - Money Make My Cum (from Trilla)

---I like that Drumma Boy is trying to be a little more versatile with stuff like You Ain't Missing Nothing and Here I Am, but he should stick to his specialty. He has perfected the art of synthy bangers like Put On and 187, but Money Make Me Cum is his magnum opus. His organ doesn't squeal, it blares. The small synths don't squirm, they gyrate. His trademark electronic apex is used to perfecton. Rick Ross is kinda considered a meh rapper, but his voice rests perfectly on top of beats and he's a solid lyricist. He here makes his woman out to be the perfect chick for a boss.

Cam'ron - My Aura (unreleased)

---Cam didn't do shit this year besides go to strip clubs, sell Santana, and record a track every 3 or 4 months. And as long as one of those tracks will be like My Aura, I'm perfectly fine with that. Synthesized string stabs interrupt the other tense, rapid, and synthesized strings and Cam goes in with those weirdo punchlines that has made him a top fiver since Purple Haze.

Snoop Dogg - Staxxx in my Jeans (from Ego Trippin)

---Over a screwed up hook and bouncy synths that T.I., Wayne, or even Plies would annihilate, Snopp uses the simplest rhyme scheme known to man to show these young bucks what swag really is.

Keri Hilson feat. Lil' Wayne - Turnin' Me On (from In A Perfect World)

---Spare, bleepy production seems to be the new fad nowadays. Polow Da Don kills all with this one. Keri Hilson (sexiest chick ever) shows another dimension of her voice as she lets it weave in and out of the hollow spaces of Polow's electronic bloops. Wayne drops his best guest verse of the year, despite the use of a shit metaphor.

Scarface featuring Lil' Wayne and Bun B - Forgot About Me (from Emeritus)

Cool and Dre (producers of the year) deliver a soul-infused banger that allows two southern legends and Lil' Wayne to brag about their realness. Wayne keeps it simple and delivers another one of his better guest appearances this year, Scarface's authority seeps out of that menacing baritone, and Bun B blacks out and spins ridiculous webs of technical lyricism and blunt force.

Young Jeezy featuring Kanye West - Put On (from The Recession)

Mostly because singles sucked this year, but Put On was that large sweeping epic banger that we needed in these tough times.

T-Pain featuring DJ Khaled - Karaoke (from Three Ringz)

Yes, I'm serious. People took the auto-tune thing and ran with it this year. Most of it was terribel (coughDwayneCartercough). Some of it was good (coughKanyeWest). If I was T-Pain, I'd be mad to. Everyone I know looked at T-Pain's auto-tune use as a joke and a gimmick. That's the main reason that this is song of the year. Confronting an issue that really needs to be confronted. And it knocks


Random Post #5

1 - I made another blog for all my old reviews and new reviews of old material DA LEFTOVERS

2 - If you thought that A Millie was wacky, you gotta hear Whip It, a Target bonus track from Tha Carter III. The beat is what Lollipop would sound like if it was made for a rapper and not a singing rapper. The electronic bleeps are there, but it's accompanied by thumping 808s and a rusty sounding tuba. Usually Wayne's verses sound freestyled, but the chorus is the wackiest thing ever. It starts with him saying the "I just do my Wayne" couplet from Let The Beat Build, then he says "do it" 100,000 times, then it evolves into him "whipping it like a slave" 100,000 times, then he "beats the block" 100,000 times. Crazy, man, crazy.


So, Clipse have a new deal at Columbia, but their album continues to be pushed back?? They should just swallow their pride and sign with Koch. They probably won't ever top Grindin' (commercially) and a lot of people think they're dead. That being said Road to Til The Casket Drops is another solid mixtape release from the crack-obsessed Thornton brothers. Stylistically, it's the same as the We Got It 4 Cheap series: Jacked beats, anger at the industry not recognizing them, and coke-influenced punchlines. The most notable thing about the mixtape is that the selected beats represent a possible shift in sound for Clipse. The majority of the beats are made up of spare, bleepy tracks like Pop Champagne or So Fly and buzzy synth bangers like Dumb It Down and Swagga Like Us. Clipse's hollow, cold voices have great chemistry with these type of beats. At Lauren London's request, they flip Slim's So Fly into a humorous tale of a floozy that worked her around the crew. Ab-Liva drops the best verse of his "career" on SLU and the closer is the killing the most defiant and triumphant beat of all time, Feds Takin' Pictures.

Definitely worth a download.


Common - Universal Mind Control

Common's feeling pretty good. Be and Finding Forever were both releases that brought Common back critical acclaim and respectable sales, so he decides to go to a more " Universal Mind Control. Universal Mind Control is the result of self-consciousness. Common knows that he could probably make another Be-type album and retire for Hollywood, but he'd rather make an album that adds some versatility to his catalogue, despite the weakness of it.

The production, done entirely by The Neptunes and Mr. DJ, is ooook. It seems like Common just took whatever Chad and P were offering, instead of finding a common ground between his sonic style and their sonic style. It sounds like 10 different Neptunes tracks that were supposed to go to a rapper, a singer, a techno band, and they were gonna keep a couple for the next NERD album. Loose percussion and off-kilter synths make up the entirety of the production. Nothing is downright horrible, its just that few of these beats actually cohere with Common's kinda light voice and lumpy flow. Lead single Universal Mind Control illustrates this with Common adapting the flow of an alternative rock-band's rapper and sounding as corny as an alternative rock-band's rapper would sound.

Sex 4 Sugar is definitely one of the worst songs ever made. The beat is all cheap synths and shuffly drums and Common rapping about sex and actually whispering "Sex 4 Sugar, Sugar 4 Sex" is just......ugggghhhhhhhhhh. Common is supposed to rap about love and the love he makes, not how he's "gonna touch you where the sun don't shine". The other gross mis-step is the breezy Changes where Common becomes the annoying preacher-man that made me hate the 2nd half of Be (Besides The Food).

Four pretty good songs save UMC from being an abortion of Curtis or Encore proportions. Punch Drunk Love is the best beat on the album. Floating synths, auto-tuned background vocals, and electric bells. Kanye's chorus is catchy and Common's lazy, trapped delivery is just right. Announcement has a nice beat and Pharrell drops a pretty Biggie-aping verse. Common is cool, but his Biggie impersonation is a scary glimpse at what Biggie would sound like if he never adjusted his flow or dated punchlines. The album's gold star is Gladiator, a ruckus merger of blaring, blotchy synths, dusty horns, and some braggadocio I would've doubted was capable from Common. What A World is all bells, synthed horns, and Common using a nursery-rhyme flow to tell his story.

Everything falls into the category of mehness. Nothing great, but nothing terrible. The best thing about the album is that it's cohesive and it's short, so if you're one of the people that enjoyed Universal Mind Control, you should love this album. This album could've been good, if The Neptunes would've contributed some breezier material ala Excuse Me Miss or Someday or Lonnie could've went to Kanye or No I.D. and gotten some soulful, easygoing summertime stuff. Now I'm gonna quote myself, because I'm so right.
Universal Mind Control is the result of self-consciousness. Common knows that he could probably make another Be-type album and retire for Hollywood, but he'd rather make an album that adds some versatility to his catalogue, despite the weakness of it.

Overall: 2.5/5 - 5/10 - C

Best Songs: Gladiator, Punch Drunk Love, What A World


Grammys 07-08

Most rap fans don’t care about the Grammys and for good reason. The Grammys (At least in the rap category) is all about who sells the much and who can move away from traditional rap the most (Eminem, Outkast, Kanye West). But being the awards show addict that I am, I have to review the 5 albums nominated for Best Rap Album.

I know, I know, I’m late, stop bitchin’.

Best Rap/Sung Performance
American Boy - Estelle feat. Kanye West
Got Money - Lil' Wayne feat. T-Pain
Green Light - John Legend feat. Andre 3000
Low - FloRida feat. T-Pain
Superstar - Lupe Fiasco feat. Matthew Santos

This category is pretty weak. Superstar is clearly the best song on here. American Boy is pretty good. Estelle and Kanye West have some nice sing-songy chemistry and Ye kills his verse. Green Light is ooooooook. Kinda schmaltzy and Dre's verse is definitely his worst verse since he came back, but it has a nice groove. Low and Got Money both have solid beats and great T-Pain choruses, but Wayne and Flo-Rida both do nothing to help the tracks.

WILL WIN: American Boy. Low and Superstar have solid chances
SHOULD WIN: Superstar
SHOULD'VE BEEN NOMINATED: Live Your Life - T.I. feat. Rihanna, Turn Off - Keri Hilson feat. Lil' Wayne

Best Collaboration Song
Mr. Carter - Lil' Wayne feat. Jay-Z
Put On - Young Jeezy feat. Kanye West
Royal Flush - Big Boi feat. Raekwon and Andre 3000
Swagga Like Us - Jay-Z and T.I. feat. Kanye West and Lil' Wayne
Wish You Would - Ludacris feat. T.I.

They hit it out of the park with this one. Royal Flush is probably there just to include Outkast and because of Dre's societal examination. Big Boi's verse is the best, despite Dre's show-boating. Mr. Carter and Wish You Would are dope-ass album tracks, that are kinda surprises. Wish You Would is better just because it doesn't have Wayne's weak little attempt at besting the better rapper. Swagga Like Us is an ll-star collabo, where only one of the all-star actually comes with all-star material (T.I.), but it gets by on the beat and the outrageous amount of swag that is seeping from the song. Put On is pretty much the best single of the year.

WILL WIN: Swagga Like Us
SHOULD'VE BEEN NOMINATED: My Life - The Game feat. Lil' Wayne

Best Solo Song
A Millie - Lil' Wayne
NIGGER (The Slave and The Master) - Nas
Paris, Tokyo - Lupe Fiasco
Roc Boys - Jay-Z
Sexual Eruption - Snoop Dogg

Best category, by far. The schmaltzy Roger Troutman jacking Sexual Eruption, the wacky non-sequitor fest A Millie, the breezy and uplifting NIGGER, the glossy club track Roc Boys, or the jazzy grooves of Paris, Tokyo. You're in good hands in whatever you pick.

WILL WIN: A Millie or Sexual Eruption
SHOULD WIN: Pick one

Best Song
Lollipop - Lil' Wayne feat. Static Major
Low - Flo-Rida feat. T-Pain
Sexual Eruption - Snoop Dogg
Swagga Like Us - Jay-Z and T.I. feat. Kanye West and Lil' Wayne
Superstar - Lupe Fiasco feat. Matthew Santos

Lollipop and Low suck, but alot of girls downloaded these songs, so.... Swagga Like Us is pretty good, but it could've been so much better. Sexual Eruption and Superstar are the only really great songs here.

WILL WIN: Pretty hard to call. I'm leaning towards Lollipop
SHOULD WIN: Sexual Eruption

Best Album
American Gangster - Jay-Z
The Cool - Lupe Fiasco
Paper Trail - T.I.
Tha Carter III - Lil' Wayne
Untitled - Nas

Wayne has this category wrapped and it's sad, because his album is the worst. A sprawling mess that has no type of flow and displays Wayne's two personality: The dude who really wants to be the best rapper alive (Dr. Carter, Tie My Hands, A Millie) and the dude who wants to be the biggest rapper alive (Lollipop, Got Money, Mrs. Officer).

Nas and Lupe both made very good albums that could've been great if A) Lupe cut off some of the fat and maybe had a couple of rappers to be his foil and B) if Nas' beats didn't suck and he used some gems from The Nigger Tape.

T.I. and Jay-Z have the only great nominated albums and both are return to forms. After getting a little lazy and catching a case, T.I. wrote some shit down and came with his hardest lyrics since Urban Legend. One of the best mergers of braggadocio and introspection since The Blueprint. If only he would've cut Swing Ya Rag and Porn Star for Let my Beat Pound and A Better Day. Jay went to the drawing boards after Kingdom Come. American Gangster works as a perfect companion to the film. Deep, lush production and nimble storytelling. Yes, a classic.

WILL WIN: Tha Carter III
SHOULD WIN: American Gangster
SHOULD'VE BEEN NOMINATED: The Recession - Young Jeezy


Scarface - Emeritus

Pain, Pride, and Paranoia. While Tupac's fear of life drifted along parody at times, Scarface's has always seemed natural, mostly due to his towering baritone. Beneath seemingly shallow gangsta lyrics is the fractured mindset of a man at odds with his environment and the insanity that brews inside him. He's a natural lyricist who has grown better with time, has worked with some of the best rappers ever; Jay-Z, Nas, Tupac, UGK, and he is the owner of the best discography in rap. Scarface has delivered his allegedly final album, with Emeritus (He tried this trick with The Fix).

Emeritus is really no different from any other Scarface album since Last of a Dying Breed. Bruising reassurements of his realness, societal examinations, and cinematic street tales. Emeritus' main flaw is the production. Its not bad at all, but it never develops a flow and some of it is stripped down to an elementary level. From the bouncing drums and jagged synths of High Powered, to the bruising soul of Forgot About Me and Cant Get Right, to the 2001-aping Who Are They and It's Not A Game, Emeritus lacks a sonic identity.

The first half is pretty flawless.It begins with J. Prince airing out snitches and corrupt officials in Texas over a militant Mike Dean production. It blasts right into High Powered, a banging diss to Lil' Troy's snitching accusations. Forgot About Me is a Cool and Dre banger featuring Lil' Wayne and Bun B. Lil' Wayne (actually awake) and Scarface go in, but Bun B comes through and murders it. Arguably the best guest appearance this year. Can't Get Right is this album's What Can I Do? or Who Do You Believe In. A painful examination of society's ills dealing with inner-city violence, politics, and the economy (even though gas prices have become regular again). Still Here is a funky lament for the destructive environment that America has become. It's Not A Game and Who Are They sound like tracks straight out of 2001. It's Not A Game, a less in-depth In Cold Blood, has a slinky piano melody and vibrating synths. Who Are They might be the best beat on the album. Crisp drums, funky sound effects, and swirling, stringy synths. Scarface, K-Rino, and Slim Thug diss the women who wouldn't be bothered with them before their fame (who is K-Rino?).

The 2nd half is a little sketchy. Soldier Story is a monotonous urban decay track, made specifically to showcase his meh crew The Product. We Need You and Unexpected have meh beats and bad choruses from Wacko, and Face sleepwalks through the former. It's not all bad. High Note showcases Face's wit and sexual prowess over a dusty soul sample and Face murders the rugged boom-bap of the title track.

Emeritus is a solid release from one of the best to ever do it. It pales in comparison to the rest of his excellent material, but it's a worthy addition to his catalogue. The Fix was allegedly his final album, but Emeritus feels more like a true finale because Face always sounds more alive when bragging about his realness and accomplishments.

Overall: 3.5/5 - 7/10 - B

Best Songs: Can't Get Right, Forgot About Me, High Powered


Kanye West - 808s and Heartbreak

This last year has been a pretty rough one for Kanye West. His mother died due to complications from plastic surgery and he broke up with the fiancée he has been with for the last couple years. He has concentrated his efforts of the last three or four months to creating 808s and Heartbreak, a daring piece of work that further pushes the boundaries of urban music and solidifies Kanye West’s status as one of the best producers, rap or otherwise, to arise from the 21st century.

Kanye has said that he made this album for himself and only himself, and it shows. The production reflects the pain and emotion that he has experienced in this past year. Skeletal drums, creeping keyboards, ominous strings, and techno-influenced synths build to a cold environment that matches Kanye’s auto-tune-assisted singing. His voice isn’t as bad as one would think, even though some high notes leave him out to dry. His voice isn’t traditionally great, but he does obeys rule number one of auto-tune: Let auto-tune do what it is supposed to do; TUNE. He doesn’t go into histrionic yelps and off-key crooning all in the name of “emotion”. He sings like a real singer is supposed to sing and succeeds for the most part. His frigid emotions have sucked most of the humor and slyness out of his lyrics, but he retains his everyman relatability and gets off the occasional smirker.

The majority of the album is a representation of the cycle of emotions that occurs after a break-up: Depression, the attempt at reconciliation, anger, and acceptance. Say You Will is a slow creeping opener expressing his sadness at his parasitic relationship. After his verses, he lets the spare drums, electronic bleeps, and ominous strings continue for two minutes, setting a frigid tone for the rest of the album. Heartless and Paranoid are the only sonically upbeat songs on the album. Heartless is a bouncy single with blooping flutes and Kanye’s only traditional rapping. Paranoid is a nice adaptation of 80s schmaltz, but the lyrics never allow it to get too “happy”. Bad News is the strongest lyrical track on the album, playing like the conversation that occurred after he realized it was over. Cloudy waves of distortion and background vocals mask Kanye’s voice on the breezy, organic Street Lights.

His combo of losing mom and fiancée has made Ye begin to question the true worth of his fame and materials. Welcome to Heartbreak develops scenarios that show that there is more to life than the material things; His friend showing pictures of his kids when all Ye can show is pictures of his house and car, being late and leaving early from his god-sister’s wedding, etc. Stiff drums, a simple keyboard pattern, and a chorus choir make up the egomaniacal Amazing. He flips his highly publicized ego trips on the public and even admits that he’s the only thing he’s afraid of. Young Jeezy appears and drops a verse that represents the other struggles Kanye has faced on his way to the top. Pinocchio Story is a live six-minute sung freestyle that is one of the most touching moments on the album, because it was freestyled. Ye expresses his internal emptiness and his desire to be one of the normal people in the world. The cheering and clapping of the live audience somewhat reflects the idiocy of the average listener. He doesn’t want to be applauded and cheered, he wants to be understood and sympathized with. The album’s gold star, Coldest Winter, is a repetitive, haunting, and cinematic longing for his deceased mother. It’s also Ye’s best vocal performance of the album.

Only two songs keep 808s from being a stone-cold classic. Robocop is the Bring Me Down or Drunk and Hot Girls of the album. The joyous strings blot the mood Ye is developing and he doesn’t even use the potentially great ricocheting drums. See You In My Nightmares is a solid track, but Lil’ Wayne’s mediocrity could’ve been easily replaced with T-Pain, an artist who actually knows how to use auto-tune.

Overall, 808s and Heartbreak is a transcendent work of art that transplants the listener directly into Kanye’s depressed mind. The only true flaw is that Kanye West is a rapper, so listeners expecting an album like his previous three will be disappointed. There is only four rapped verses on the album and it’s a cold listen. There is no New Workout Plan or We Major or The Glory to lift the spirits. The closest you get is Heartless and that’s pretty early on. It’s an album meant for isolated listens and not a group session.

Overall: 9/10 – 4.5/5 – A

Best Songs: Coldest Winter, Pinocchio Story, Say You Will


Ludacris - Theater of the Mind

For a while now, Ludacris has been emersed in the world known as Hollywood. He won a SAG award for being a member of Crash's excellent ensemble, appeared on Law and Order, and attended the Oscars. To a certain extent, his musical reputation has suffered from it. His last two albums have both went platinum and he's still a monster on guest appearances, but Red Light District and Release Therapy have stretches of boredom and overreaching that never plagued his first three releases.

Theater of the Mind's concept is that every track is cinematic and like a mini-movie and for the most part he succeeds. The production is thick and layered enough to get every track an aura of the situation. Producers are composers and guests are co-stars, so Luda is fully dedicated to the concept. Release Therapy had some great moments, but this is Luda's best lyrical performance of his career. Always known for his killer punchlines and comedic delivery, Luda provides every track with his dexterous flow and slinks around beats with ease. There is an abundance of guest appearances which takes away from Luda's star performance, but most of them are good enough to be acceptable foils and stand on their own.

Don Cannon has kinda replaced Just Blaze as the go-to guy for soulful chipmunk bangers. He produces Undisputed and Everybody Hates Chris. Undisputed finds Luda in a boxing ring being coached by Floyd Mayweather and throwing brutal punchlines at his imaginary opponents. Everybody Hates Chris begins and ends with Chris Rock flipping Luda's accomplishments into hilarious disses and Luda gets to playfully brag about his riches and accomplishments. Nas collaborator Wyldfyer joins Don Cannon as the only producer who delivers two tracks. Last of a Dying Breed is a banger filled with bombastic fanfare, regal horns, and brutal drums. Luda loses his mind addressing his position as one of the only lyricists in the game and his unspoken nature addressing the presidential election. Lil' Wayne's delivery adds intensity to a already intense situation, but his lyrics leave something to be desired. I Do It For Hip-Hop is a slow syrupy ode to hip-hop featuring Nas and Jay-Z. Ludacris does his thing, but Nas and Jay-Z both underwhelm.

Luda balances the fact with fiction with tracks that have a darker aura than the others. Wish You Would is a dark celebration of wealth where T.I. joins Luda over DJ Toomp's squirming gothic synths. The Game is probably the closest thing to a true co-star that Luda has on the album. Call Up The Homies is a brooding track where Luda and Game visit each others respectable hometowns and get into sticky situations. DTP weed-carrier Willy Northpole is featured, repping Arizona, but his solid verse could've been excommunicated. Southern Gangsta is a menacing track that plays like a spin-off of BET's American Gangster. Ving Raimes' authoritative voice does the intros for Luda, Rick Ross, and Playaz Circle. Dolla Boy's verses have made me a fan.

Ludacris' love for females is represented here by four tracks aimed at females. One More Drink is a slinky club track where Luda illustrates the term "beer goggles" with his liquid flow. What Them Girls Like is an overly sing-songy club track where Luda explains.....what them girls like. Chris Brown's hook and Sean Garrett's Mase impression are not welcome at all. Nasty Girl has a surprisingly great Swizz Beatz production. His keyboard funk is a nice bed for Luda and Plies' dirty talk about the perfect woman. Contagious is a lush R&B track featuring Jamie Foxx that confirms Unpredictable's chemistry.

Luda has the esteemed honor of being the first southern rapper to ever have a track produced by DJ Premier and its as great on CD as it it on paper. Swooping strings, christmas chimes, scratches, and Luda's shit-talking make for one of the best tracks on the album. The final track, Do The Right Thang, is the album's gold star and also the most cinematic. Backed by dusty horns and flexing flutes, Ludacris and Common beg lower-class black people to stop adding to their communitie's ills.

Overall, Theater of the Mind is a return to the old Luda. Punchline exercises, gangster bangers, club joints, lady jams, and a solid conscious. Some iffy guest appearances and the flow is iffy at times, but Luda's lyrics and the purely great songs make this one of the years best releases.

Overall: 9/10 - 4.5/5 - A

Best Songs: Do The Right Thang, Undisputed, MVP


T-Pain - Thr33 Ringz

I never realized how much of a T-Pain fan I am. I actually bought Thr33 Ringz. And it's worth the buy, because T-Pain is a musical genius. A bunch of purists would disagree because "He uses auto-tune" or "That shit ain't hip-hop, that's pop" or "Wu-Tang 4 Life". It's not really hip-hop (a term I hate using). I'd classify it as pop rap. But, it's great regardless. His vocoder-assisted singing (which sometimes isn’t needed, because he’s a pretty solid voice) is probably the catchiest thing to enter rap, since chipmunk soul. He’s a pretty good rapper, who employs the straight-to-the-point flow ala Kanye West or 06-07 T.I.. His true genius lies in his producing and song writing. Thr33 Ringz is futuristic club music, filled with quaking 808s, ethereal synths, and slinky keyboard/guitar combos. His crafty writing skills have been proved with his catchy-as-hell hits “Bartender” and “Buy U A Drank”. Here, he continues to craft catchy, clever, and often-humorous club tunes.

Eddie Griffin acts as a disgruntled employee of Pain’s circus on a handful of funny skits. The song topics are split between fun club stuff and some salty club experiences. The first real song, “Ringleader Man”, is one of the best on the album. Pain dismisses introduces you to an experience unlike the monotony that modern hip-hop is pumping out. The solid collabos with Chris Brown and Ciara, Freeze and Blowing Up, are brief and placed right next to each other, making both songs useful and giving the album a steady flow. Can’t Believe It (featuring a solid Lil’ Wayne) and Superstar Girl both celebrate wonderful women in life, the former by what Pain and Wayne can do for her, the latter by what she does for him.

Truthfully, the more downbeat topics make for better songs. Lead single Chopped-N-Skrewed (featuring the most reliable rapper ever, Ludacris) is a sad banger about women who mislead men at the club.

“Have you ever seen a dime piece all alone at the bar
Straight out of a magazine and you just want to let her know who you are
So you say let me buy you a drink or a little conversation if that's what you want to do
And she said love is about to end and you said y dont u come to my crib and She said I can't leave my friends

It Ain’t Me is a bouncy diss to the gold diggers out there (featuring the other most reliable ever, T.I.) and Therapy is the “fuck u bitch, this shit is over” song featuring the “fuck u bitch, this shit is over” man of the moment, Kanye West. The album’s gold star is the thundering closer “Karaoke”, a diss track where Pain goes in at all the rappers using auto-tune and not giving him his credit. DJ Khaled actually helps the song with his hyperactive n-word spouting over the squirming synths and holy choir.

The album isn’t without its flaws. Reality Show would’ve been a lot more interesting with rappers instead of meh singers (Redman would've been great here). Digital is filler with a weed-carrier, and Change is one of those cheesy “Lets Help The World” songs rappers think are obligatory.

Three Ringz isn’t for everybody. Purists will most probably hate it. For partygoers and casual listeners, this is a great buy. For those in the middle, its pretty good.

Overall: 8/10 – 4/5 – B+

BEST SONGS: Karaoke, Ringleader Man, Chopped N Skrewed


Random Post #4

1 - Yesterday was my birthday. I am now 18. Bow down, bitches

2 - Isn't the year pretty much over??? The abundance of guests have kinda turned me off of Theater of the Mind, Detox ain't dropping, 808s and Heartbreak isn't really rap, and Before I Self Destruct will probably be garbage. The only thing I'm really looking forward to is Emeritus.

3 - So, Wayne is gonna drop the most disappointing and the most disappointing mixtape in the same year?? Bravo, Wayne, Bravo.

4 - Isn't it hard to seperate Jeezy's good punchlines and bad punchlines??

5 - Barack Obama is the president elect. Anything can happen between now an January 20th. Not trying to ruin it, just keeping it real.

EDIT: I forgot about Clipse's CD. And I am still extremely hyped for TOOM

6 - Jadakiss' single is kinda conflicting. It's a great song. Jada's a great rapper, so his girl stuff will be much better than Plies' or Yung Berg's, Eric Hudson's production is mature and jazzy, and Ne-Yo's hook is nice. But the fact that he's still trying to achieve commercial success with songs aimed towards females is kinda sad. Kiss of Death could've been a really great album, if he would've sticked to the bruising bangers and storytelling that he's so great at. The Last Kiss should be nothing but hardcore NY rap. Not too mixtapey, but not too ambitious. And Primo has to do at least 1 track.


Joe Budden - Halfway House

The picture was wayyyy too big

There is something about really shitty hit singles. Not singles like Oh Boy or In Da Club, that some purists disliked, but the majority of people truly love that song and will continue to love it. Songs like B.G.'s Where Dey At or Project Pat's Chickenhead, where there is a momentarily liking, but over time they become the "We used to like that???" songs. So was the fate of Joe Budden's 2003 hit "Pump It Up". Blazing east coast horns and Joe's hyper-Cam flow was one of the many jams to crank out of 2003. Then, Joe Budden disappeared. His 2nd album went through development hell and he was dropped from Def Jam. After that, he released the Mood Muzik mixtape trilogy, filled with self-deprecation, anger at hip-hop's direction, throwback NY bragger rap (I know he's from NJ, but come on), and a whole bunch of great lyricism. Halfway House is his first release since signing Amalgam Digital.

Halfway House is a prequel to his first real album, since his debut, and it represents a nice transition from the mixtape game to the real world. The running time is shaved down from the Mood Muzik average of 78 minutes to 58 minutes and their are, no skits (just an intro). The production, done by Amalgam in-housers, isn't as forgettable as MM3's or as vibrant as MM2's. Fierce rock, whistful chipmunk soul, and earthy loops are all a solid bed for Budden's rhymes, but some of it lacks the sonic detail to make it sound like more than an underground rap album.

The content is the same of his Mood Muzik series. the bipolar combo of trying to find his spot in the rap world and trying not to dumb down for the masses. Just to Be Different represents the former and the album's main highlight Go to Hell illustrates the latter. Other great tracks are Sidetracked, which delves into the nature of procrastination, the nostalgic The Soul, the single-worthy groove-track Anything Goes, and the 7 minute posse track Slaughterhouse which puts Budden next to mixtape regulars Joell Ortiz, Nino Bless, Crooked I, and Royce Da 5'9". Joell Ortiz opens with the best verse.

"The streets is watching, but it's outlook is not important
I'm trying to pocket a fortune, without the stock soaring"

-Go To Hell

"Hopping out, chain dangling, poker grill, sober still
Except for the occasionally dose of pills
Show to steal, all of it, 'til it's overkill
For Oprah bills, I'll turn this BITCH into Cloverfield"


Joe Budden is an excellent rapper. Technically, he can weave some top-notch webs and realistically, he channels his emotions with a self-conscious intelligence. His bipolar nature comes across genuinely because his lyrics and delivery show that he's usually talking to two different type of people. To the person who's willing to give him a chance, this is what's going on (i.e. Just to be Different). To those people who won't give him a chance, FUCK OFF (i.e. Go To Hell).

The only skippable song on Halfway House is the prospective single Touch and Go. The beat is a really bad Timbo rip-off and Budden's mechanic delivery and lyrical digression is just shameful. Other than that, Halfway House is a nice predecessor to Padded Room and worth a download.

Overall: 4/5 - 8/10 - A-

Best Songs: Go To Hell. Just to Be Different, The Soul


Random Post #3

1 - I listened to a shitload of Ghostface over the weekend and he entered my top 5. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx is great, too. Fuck was I thinkin'?? The next post I do will probably be a discography review, even knew I still haven't did my Scarface post.

2 - Speaking of Scarface, two tracks from Emeritus (allegedly his swan song) have been released: Forgot About Me (with great verses from Lil' Weezyana and Bun Beater) and Emeritus. Both are great.

3 - CAMRON SIGHTING. He dropped two upcoming songs from Crime Pays: Still The Reason and Go In. Still The Reason is solid, Go In is meh. I really wanna love 'em both, but it seems like Cam really isn't trying anymore. He's just coasting. Hopefully, I'm wrong.

4 - My New C3 Mix: I'm Me, I'm A Beast, A Millie, Phone Home, Playin' With Fire, Gossip, Dr. Carter, Kush, La La La, Mr. Carter, Something You Forgot, One Night Only, Tie My Hands, Love Me or Hate Me, Let The Beat Build.

5 - RIP Paul Newman. Haven't seen alot of his "classics", but I've seen him in a handful of movies and he has ridiculous screen presence and acting ability.

6 - Why is the Love Lockdown chorus so shitty??



T.I. - Paper Trail

Following the solid T.I. vs. T.I.P., T.I. got arrested for trying to buy some big fuckin' guns. Money talked and he ended up getting 366 days and 1000 hours of community service. While on house arrest, he built an Eiffel Tower out of legos and recorded Paper Trail.

The title comes from T.I. going back to the old school method of writing his lyrics down on paper. Sitting down and editing his verses to perfection has resulted in T.I.'s best lyrical performance since Urban Legend. He sleptwalk through King and was half-woke for TIVSTIP. His underrated technical abilities have always taken the backseat to his ability to easily bounce complex rhyme patterns with his southern drawl. Here, he has returned to his Urban Legend ability to blend technical lyrics with substance, emotion, and relatability.

The production is typical of any recent Southern release: Great. Rhythmic, blaring synths and brutal drums. DJ Toomp's (absent from TIVSTIP) return is welcome, as he delivers the gutter 56 Bars & Every Chance I Get. Drumma Boy (producer of the year so far) shows some versatility in his four produced tracks, including the standout What Up, Whats Haapnin. Danja produces the multi-instrument lead single No Matter What. Other contributors include Kanye West, Swizz Beatz (worst producer alive), and Justin Timberlake.

It opens with 56 Bars and I'm Illy, a two headed battle-rap combo that establishes he can still talk shit with the best of 'em.

"Somebody betta tell 'em mayne
They swag owe my swag everythaing
Very plain to see you studied me awful hard
To the point that my swag need a bodyguard
I'd like a thank you card ordered, yall oughta be
Having yall swag send my swag an apology"

The best track, Ready For Whatever, comes next. Over a synthy guitar, he explains the reasoning for his convictions.

"I'm a father to my sons, asset to my community
Look all that I done, my good outweigh the negativity
Mentally, I was focused on not letting history
Repeat itself, thats why heat was kept in the vicinity
Yes officially, I broke the law, but not malicely
Through all of the publicity, was anyone considering
My position and the logic hid in my decision
But they caught me with 'em now I'm off to prison, period
But is it, the heart to understand if you listen
Either die or go to jail, thats a hell of a decision
But I'm wrong and I know it, my excuse is unimportant
I'm just trying to let you know, that I aint think I had a choice"

The rest of an album is a combination of enjoying the pleasures of life and analyzing the mistakes the he's made. Smash hit Whatever U Like is simply a warmer version of Lollipop and thats what makes it a great song and so much better than the original. He attempts to make the most of a shitty situation on "Live Your Life" and "My Life, Your Entertainment" which feature Rihanna and Usher, respectively. What Up, Whats Haapnin is an intense diss track aimed towards those who tried to keep him down (Shawty Lo, Ludacris, bloggers). Ironically, Ludacris is featured on the triumphant On Top of the World, dropping another great verse. Every Chance I Get is a balls-out (no homo) flossing track and T.I. throughly dominates the Kanye West produced Swagga Like Us, which also features West and the Carters.

It ends with three somber introspective tracks. SlideShow has TI analyzing his life and the decisions he made as a young buck. You Ain't Missin' Nothin' is a dedication to all his incarcerated comrades, seeing as he will be one of them soon. Dead and Gone has T.I. wiping his hands of his prior recklessness over a Justin Timberlake that sounds like one of Timbaland's "futuristic" tracks.

Paper Trail is one of the best releases so far this year and it would be the best and a classic if the lame commercial attempts Swing Ya Rag and Porn Star had been removed and the futuristic Let My Beat Pound would've been kept.

Overall: 9/10 - 4.5 - A

Best Songs: Ready for Whatever, I'm Illy, No Matter What


Kanye West: My iTunes beatdrop

Swaggerjacked from Metallungies

NOTE: My comments will not be as half as engaging as the comments on Metallungies.

---From Jay-Z's The Blueprint: Takeover, Izzo, Heart of the City, Never Change, Girls Girls Girls Remix.

Kanye's big startup point and he definitely impresses. More than Just Blaze? Nah. But he definitely shows that he could be the premiere producer in the game. He was a lazy bastard on damn near every beat here, mainly just altering the pitch and adding some drums. It resulted in some great music though, so I can't really complain.

When the beat finally comes in at around 0:11 on Takeover, my head automatically starts bobbing. Of course, we've heard Jay straight go off on Nas, Mobb Deep, Jadakiss, and anyone else who thought they were ready. "And all you other cats throwin' shots at Jigga, you only get half a bar fuck yall niggaz". How do you come back from that?

Izzo is nice and it's always my main reason why singles don't have to be complete bullshit. I never noticed the little piano thing at the end of every second bar.

Heart of the City is the best beat on The Blueprint besides U Don't Know. It's just perfect and Jay straight spazzes.

My uncle is an inspiring rapper and he got ahold of the Never Change instrumental. He made a remix called "Rain" and he had my little sister on the hook saying "Rain, rain, rain". He kept on blast for at least a month, so anytime I listen to The Blueprint, I automatically skip Never Change. It's still a great song though. "I'm like a dog, I never speak, but I understand". That's the type of shit that makes Jay better than 98% of the rap world, dead or alive.

The Girls Girls Girls Remix is much better tha the original and thats really saying something. The 808s, the vocal sample, and Jay's arrogance are bumped to a higher level of bangerism (Yes I can make up words).

---From Jay-Z's The Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse: A Dream feat. Notorious BIG & Faith Evans, Some People Hate

The Blueprint 2 is sooooo underrated. It has some of Jay's best technical lyricism and arguably the best production he's ever been given. A Dream is a perfect opener, mainly because of the Biggie sample and also because the transition into Hovi Baby is so liquid.

The vocal sample in the beginning of Some People Hate is really deceptive. It sounds like it should be on the start of a Sunshine remix or something. The sample on the chorus is one of the choruses you have to sing along to. Jay gets gangsta on these haters mayne.

---From Cam'ron's Come Home With Me: Dead or Alive feat. Jim Jones

Hands down, one of the sickest tracks Ye has ever produced. This dusty cowboyish chipmunk sample comes in, Killa says "Wha-oh", and then the strutting guitar rocks in. Perfection. Killa and Jones straight demolish it. It owns. It takes until the vocal sample drops out, about 20 seconds before the end, to notice the xylophonic taps.

---From Scarface's The Fix: In Cold Blood, Guess Who's Back feat. Jay-Z & Beanie Sigel, Heaven

His work here is pretty solid. The most interesting thing about his work here is that he doesn't even produce the most Kanye-sounding track on the album: Safe. That honor goes to no-name, China Black.

The first eight seconds of In Cold Blood is probably the most menacing thing Ye has ever made. A disembodied Gladys Knight sample is tuned down to a gothic level, 808s knock, and some subtle strings swoop in. The finished product has these really catchy knocks that sounds like a xylophone or someone banging on a glass bottle. The string and piano thing that comes in during Face's first verse is the funniest indulgence ever. Face proves why he's the best storyteller alive (Nas and Ghostface, SIT DOWN!!).

Guess Who's Back is the 2nd worst song on the album and that shows how great The Fix is. The beat is just the first twelve seconds of The Original's Sunrise, stretched and looped, with a boom-bap added. I always disliked the fact that Jay has his own verse, and Face was forced to share a verse with Beanie Sigel. Still a great track.

Heaven has Face waxing poetic about his wife or child and then his Christianity and faith. The beat is all funky guitar plucks and subtle strings. Things get serious about forty-five seconds from the end, when an echoey sample says "Heaven" and it slams into a really sorrowful boom-bap. Face talks to the government about the state of the hood, in a really calm voice, but you can still hear the "what the fuck is going on?" in it.

---From Jay-Z's The Black Album: Encore, Lucifer

Change Clothes catches alot of shit, mainly because of the sub-standard beat, but Encore is definitely the worst track on The Black Album. The beat is vibrant, mainly because of the crowd in the background and this riff-type sound. Jay doesn't sleepwalk through it, but he doesn't really go in. It sounds like a great freestyle that was turned into a couple of really boring verses.

Lucifer is Dead or Alive's sexy sister (Dead or Alive is sexy too). It starts with a sick piano loop and drops into guitar struts and plucks with a great vocal sample. Jay is on his murder shit and he shows off some excellent technical lyricism.

---From The Diplomats' Diplomatic Immunity: Un Kasa

This, In Cold Blood, and The Truth are the best examples of Kanye's minimal approach. This track has nothing but squirming electric guitars and some popping drums. Un Kasa goes off and rides the same rhyme scheme foreeeevvvvveeeeerrrrr. Cam's adlibs are hilarious.

---From T.I.'s Trap Muzik: Doin' My Job, Let Me Tell You Something

In the blogger world, their seems to be an automatic Tupac backlash. Well, I'm apart of the group. He doesn't suck or anything, but he's definitely overrated. I catch alot of shit for the statement I'm about to make, but I still stand behind it: T.I. is a better version of Tupac. He takes everything the Pac was great at, except the paranoia, and steps it up a notch. Trap Muzik is the album that Tupac never got to make. Me Against The World is a classic, but it still has filler that gets a pass, because of the production and Pac's charisma. Doin' My Job is the track that best enforces what makes T.I. better than Pac and one of the best rappers alive. He can communicate exactly what goes through the mind of a young dude forced to sell dope. Those are the type of songs that Pac was good at, but he lacked ability to create a picture. Ye lets the vocal sample howl and the stressed out guitar helps TIP create a very cinematic aura.

Let Me Tell You Something is a vibrant Roger and Zapp jack where TIP gets to show off his lady-fetching skills. Ye strips away everything except a light synth layer and the vocoder sample and he adds some conga drums.

---From College Dropout: The entirety

College Dropout is pound for pound one of the best rap albums ever. Excellent lyrics, excellent themes, excellent production, funny but real skits, excellent sequencing. Their's a ninety percent chance, that if someone says "What is the most (insert positive adjective here) Kanye West beat ever, that beat can be found on College Dropout. The best tracks include the kitchen-sink soul of Never Let Me Down, the ultra smooth R&B Slow Jamz, & the epic anger of Two Words.

---From Cam'ron's Purple Haze: Down and Out* feat. Kanye West & Syleena Johnson, The Dope Man* feat. Jim Jones, Dipset Forever

*I don't really know if Kanye West produced these tracks. On Fade to Black, Kanye West was shown auditioning the Dope Man beat to Jay-Z, but the beat is credited to Bang. And Kanye has admitted that Brian Miller actually produced Down and Out and he just cleaned it up. So the only song that I know for sure Ye produced is Dipset Forever.

Of the 19 real songs on Purple Haze (one of the best albums ever, by the way), about 13 of 'em could contend for best song on the album. I think most would pick Down and Out. Popping drums, chipmunk sample screaming "DOWN, DOWN", and yelping brass that sounds like train whistle. To quote Tom Breihan "Cam's flow is a thing of beauty.".

The Dope Man is a ruckus NWA jack, where Kanye adds some crisp snares to the whining synth line and the old lady talking about funk and shaving powder. Before Jim Jones discovered swag and started writing his own rhymes, he was arguably the best pure lyricist in the Diplomats. He was kinda the star of Diplomatic Immunity and his West-Coastish voice fits perfectly here.

Dipset Forever would be the closing track on any other album, but Purple Haze isn't just any album. Smooth chipmunk vocals and cinematic strings. Cam gets kinda introspective despite choking a chick while she's giving head.

---From The Game's The Documentary: Dreams

Dark strings and conga drums. Game catches alot of shit for name-dropping and being a weirdo, but when he goes in on a track, he's pretty great. His cinematic lyrics and gruff voice go perfectly with the beat.

---From Late Registration: Wake Up Mr. West, Heard 'Em Say feat. Adam Levine, Gold Digger feat. Jamie Foxx, Drive Slow feat. Paul Wall & GLC, My Way Home feat. Common, Crack Music feat. The Game, Roses, Addiction, We Major feat. Nas & Really Doe, Gone feat. Consequence & Cam'ron, Diamonds from Sierra Leone, Late

I think Late Registration is a damn good album, but I must agree with Brandon Soderberg when he says that its a just a bunch songs thrown together. I highly recommend his REDUXED version. I like the Diamonds Remix and Hey Mama, but they're pretty useless when you really sequence it with some thought. I'd add Roses at track eleven. Most of my feelings on this album have already been stated. Lush production, great rhymes, great guest appearances. A few random thoughts.

Their is something really great about Paul Wall's verse on Drive Slow that I just can't put my finger on. It's really just another pretty good verse about cars and other Houston things. I think its "I could still catch boppers if I drove a cab". Uber-confidence.

My Way Home makes alot more sense in the reduxed version. It comes right before Crack Music, which gives it some sort of moral significance, but it isn't lost in all the skits and stuff that messes with the proposed darker tone of the 2nd half (Hey Mama, Celebration)

Why is Game's voice on Crack Music???????????????

In the reduxed version, Gone becomes the best song and Cam has the best guest appearance.

---From Common's Finding Forever: Start The Show, The People, Drivin' Me Wild feat. Lily Allen, Southside feat. Kanye West, The Game, U Black Maybe, Break My Heart, Forever Begins

Be isn't really all that. It's a solid album, but after Testify it gets pretty boring. Finding Forever is an upgrade, because Ye adds some pop to the drums and it's more focused.

Start The Show is a pretty good opener, with popping drums, rising strings, and metallic string plucks. Common goes in at wack gangsta rappers.

The People is essentially a more upbeat version of The Corner. Rugged guitar alternating with electric piano taps.

Drivin' Me Wild has a really low piano sound running through it, but on closer listen, its Lily Allen's voice. Popping snares, light piano, and Lily Allen's voice is basically it. Common spits about putting too much pressure on yourself. I really like the "Astronaut lady" line. He catches shit for that, but come on, its pretty relevant.

Southside has a rugged, strutting guitar and a masculine, yelling vocal sample. Kanye drops by and gets royally served.

The Game is definitely the best song on the album. Kanye does some great Premo-aping. Heavy dusty drums, flaring horns, and great scratching. Common goes off on some conscious battle rhyming shit.

U Black Maybe has a high vocal sample, some nice drums, and some type of key arrangment. Common spits about what "black" really is. Getting on and leaving the hood?? Staying in the hood and "keeping it real"?? Deep ass song.

Break My Heart has another great chipmunk sample and alot of quirky synth taps. Common tries his hand at seducing some chick and he does a pretty solid job. "She said I aint the type to be dating rappers, I said I got my SAG card baby I'm an actor". GOLD

Forever Begins is arguably the soulful apex of the album. Tambourine, sub-militant drums, disembodied vocal sample, & piano work. Common's thousand-year old father talking was unnecessary though.

---From Graduation: Good Morning, Champion, Stronger, I Wonder, Good Life feat. T-Pain, Can't Tell Me Nothing, Everything I Am, The Glory

His work on Graduation is about on the same level as Late Registration. The great stuff is great, but the bad stuff is bad. Luckily, iTunes has a delete button. Ye is, lyrically, doing his thing throughout and the beats compliment him well.

To quote myself:

Techno-influenced synths are spread everywhere, low and booming like Can't Tell Me Nothing or high and squirming like Stronger and I Wonder.

Most of my thoughts can be read in my Graduation review.

---From Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3: Jockin' Jay-Z

So far, Ye's 08 work can be marked by the overall simplicity of it. Jockin' Jay-Z has a screwed up chorus, shotgun drums, and strutting synths. Jay swags all over it.

---From The Blueprint & T.I.'s Paper Trail: Swagger Like Us feat. Kanye West & Lil' Wayne

Shuffling drums, somewhat sad synths, and a MIA sample for thsi "event" record. Ye is solid, Jay brings it, Wayne drops the ball, and TI comes in for the grand slam.

---From Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III: Let The Beat Build

I'll do an updated version of my C3REDUX later on. Let The Beat Build should've been the final track. Wayne saying "I'm not racing, I'm just sprinting" would've held alot of significance if C3 was a classic and this would've been the final track.


DJ Khaled - We Global

NOTE: DJ Khaled is the most annoying person to ever enter the music industry. EVER! His overzealous yelling, repetitive catchphrases, and unnecessary N-word drops on every track on the album automatically drop the album's score down. Let us move on.

We Global follows the same formula as Listennnn and We The Best. Throw a bunch of rappers (good or bad) on a solid beat with a somewhat catchy hook and have DJ Khaled yell over it. This can lead to either a hardcore banger, or a solid track, or a straight stinker. We Global is filled with all of them. We The Best was pretty good, because Khaled's roster lineup was top-notch. He spends too much time promoting wack young artists, instead of sticking to the reliable veterans.

It opens with Standing on a Mountain Top. It has an epic towering, almost Jeezy-esque, beat, but once Khaled starts half-talking, half-rapping it turns into a Dipset-like parody without the comedic value. Ace Hood isn't very good. He sounds like a younger Rick Ross and since Rick Ross' voice is his best quality as a rapper, Ace Hood sucks. Go Hard is a certified banger. Kanye West & T-Pain have great chemistry together and it shows. They should also be the only people allowed to use auto-tune. The lead single, Out Here Grindin', is solid. Beat is standard Runners shit and every is pretty solid except Ace Hood. I really can't decide who had the best verse, because everybody is just solid. I'm leaning towards Trick Daddy.

Go Ahead is a weak lady-fetching track. The only thing it has going for it is the beat, Lloyd's hook, and maybe Rick Ross going double-time. Maybe. I'm On is the 2nd best track on the album. Nas gets to be flossy over a jagged Cool & Dre beat. The Game's solo Red Light really should've been on LAX. Game's main appeal is his balls-out (no homo) personality. He puts everything on his mind on the page, from his constant Jay-baiting to criticing the NBA for not choosing *** for the all-star game.

Khaled was supposed to assemble his ultimate all-star lineup for the title track. Instead, we get Fat Joe, Trey Songz, & Ray J. This songs suck alot. And I don't believe Fat Joe when he says he made 20 mil off of Koch. She's Fine is a great lady-fetching track. Danja's beat is verrry Timbo sounding and it features Sean Paul, Missy Elliot, and Busta Rhymes, who has been on fire this year. Final Warning is sooooooo terrible. Khaled makes another retarded roster decision, putting one of the best rappers ever (Bun-B), alongside a bunch of bottomfeeders. Thankfully, Bun has the first verse.

Fuck The Other Side would've been a great Trick Daddy solo, but again Khaled promotes the DunkRydas and kicks to Trick to the chorus and a hard final verse. Bullet is the only time that album actually goes global, adding some Jamaican flavor, courtesy of DJ Nasty & Cham. Rick Ross continues to express me. Blood Money is a terribly boring song. Standard beat, standard verses, standard concept. Standard. The closer, Defend Dade, really surprised me. Pitbull doesn't do anything special, but his charismatic voice over the rising synth is intense, especially his third verse.

Overall: 5/10 - 2.5/5 - C+

Best Song: Defend Dade
Best Song, Lyrically: Go Hard
Best Song, Production: Red Light
Album MVP: Pitbull
Album LVP (tie): DJ Khaled & Ace Hood


Young Jeezy - The Recession

Your favorite's rapper favorite rapper is back with another delivery for the streets. And it's predictably great.

Young Jeezy has said that The Recession is like Thug Motivation on steroids. I thought this was impossible because Thug Motivation 101 is already a regular album on steroids. Clearly, I was wrong. The production is humongous, made up of blaring, gothic synths and clobbering drums. Small details in the production are altered in an attempt to eschew monotony (eschew is my new favorite word). Female vocals are added to the mix on the defiant "Word Play" and the damn-near heartbreaking "Don't Do It". Don Cannon cooks up some bouncy soul for "Circulate" which is allegedly about a constantly disproved Republican economic method (See here, 5th paragraph). The only problem is that some of this production can get a little samey and that results in filler like "Got Alott" & "Hustla's Ambitionz". The latter could've been a song that adds to Jeezy's slowly revealing character.

Jeezy catches a slack for not being lyrical and moreso, for not caring about lyrical. Despite what Jeezy cares about, he has taken major strides as a lyricist. At times, he still rhymes bars with the same word, but his gravelly voice fits perfectly with the dark production and his technical lyricism is improved. His most improved quality is his ability to express emotion in a given situation. He takes his album title seriously and even though their is plenty of trap-flossing talk, The Recession Intro and Crazy World show that Jeezy is aware of the lower-class struggle. I believe anyone who has ever been stressed, for whatever reason, can relate when Jeezy says "Woke up this morning, headache THIS BIG!!" on My President.

The constant baller talk is broken up by a handful of topical tracks. On "What They Want" Jeezy uses a bunch of sports terms as a drug-dealing metaphor. It's less of a story, and more of an endless lyrical exercise. "Don't Know You" is battle rap towards those who claim to have sold dope (Gucci Mane, most likely). His first verse is damn good account of drug-dealer paranoia.

"Not only have I done it, I did it, I lived it
Delivered 'em myself, yeah I'm making house visits
I'm praying while I'm driving, it's making me religious
And the headlights behind me, it's making me suspicious
And maybe I'm tripping and maybe I'm not
And maybe it's nothing, just hope it ain't the cops."

"Everything" and "Takin' It There" are two aggressive thug lust tracks. Everything is notable for Anthony Hamilton being able to adapt his soulful voice to the bombastic production and also a pretty good verse from Lil' Boosie. Lead single Put On features a stressed out Kanye West using a vocoder/autotune and not sounding terrible (coughsLilWaynecough). Album closer "My President" is a bigger better version of Nas' Black President from Untitled and it also features Nas dropping a hard verse. The golden star of the album is unquestionably "Don't Do It". Backed by a Mary J-esque sample and a majestic orchestra, Jeezy's first verse is a tale of a trip to visit an incarcerated comrade. This verse ranks along with Jay-Z and Scarface's most cinematic, emotional tales. It really is that good. After his 1st verse, it becomes a track about not selling out, something I highly doubt Jeezy will ever do.

Overall: 9/10 - 4.5/5 - A

Best Songs: Don't Do It, Crazy World, Put On


Random Post #2

1 - The Recession is a classic and album of the year so far. Review by Wednesday. The only other albums that could come close to it are Paper Trail and Theatre of the Mind. Maybe Detox if Dre finally gets bored with the questions and just puts it out.

Other albums worth caring about
II Trill
Ego Trippin'
I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind II
The Nigger Tape
Trilla (Just my luck. Soon as I start liking the dude, the truth is revealed.

2 - Two of the best rappers alive have just announced that they have upcoming albums: Cam'ron - Crime Pays & Scarface - Emeritus. Their just may be a god. I've been procrastinated on my Scarface discography review, but The Fix has officially become my favorite album in the last week or so. And High Powered is a monstrous track. To quote my best friend "Scarface raps just to make everyone else sound like a bitch".

Cam'ron has been "missing" for a while, but he's still been dabbling in music every now and then. My Aura still goes harder than most tracks out there.

3 - I don't know and I don't even pretend to know shit about politics, but what the fuck is McCain thinking??? The governor of Alaska??? Really, McCain??? Are you that desperate to pick up leftover female votes??? FAIL!!!

4 - Somebody please tell Lil' Wayne to stop. Just stop. You sold a gazillion records and you're skipping court to drop terrible verses like on Swagger Like Us (which is great besides his verse).

5 - Common's video for Announcement is raw as hell. Almost makes up for the mess that is Universal Mind Control. I only have 21 Neptunes produced tracks on my iTunes. hmmmmmmmm

6 - Chamillionaire loses alot of points for selling Mixtape Messiah 4. Mixtapes are supposed to be free man. Don't be a douschebag just because Ultimate Victory flopped. It was still a great album.

Upcoming posts
The Recession review
Kanye West production discography review of my iTunes
Scarface discography review
Ludacris vs. T.I. Discography review

(The chick to the left of me is a dime)


The Game - L.A.X.

The Game claims alot of things. He claims that their is no rapper on earth that he can't lyrically fuck in the ass. He claims that he single-handedly ended G-Unit. He claims that he has three classic. He claims that L.A.X. is his last album, unless he gets to make his dream West-Coast project DOC. If this is true, than Game has ended his wacky career on a low-note.

Game continues to show that he has an excellent ear for beats. LAX has great production full of West Coast bangers and West Coast funk. Cool & Dre do themselves particularly proud with the emotional banger "My Life" and the guitar smashing "Money". Game is damn near as good lyrically as he was on The Documentary and his flow is much more flexible and he even shows some excellent mimicking abilities without sounding like a parody.

The problem with the album is a lack of focus. The Documentary was Game proving that he deserved the backing from Dr. Dre and 50 Cent. Doctor's Advocate was half Chronic 06 and half emotional expungement. LAX feels alot more like a debut album than a final album. DMX's intro and outro are kinda moving, but predictable and unnecessary. State of Emergency, Bulletproof Diaries, and Ya Heard seem to exist just for the purpose of Game getting to collaborate with artists he respect; Ice Cube (who's only the chorus), Raekwon, and Ludacris, who continues to prove why he's the best feature man in the game. Cali Sunshine is just a sonically calmer version of State of Emergency or LAX Files. House of Pain has a brutal DJ Toomp production, but Game doesn't really attack it like he does on previous battle-rap tracks like Church for Thugs or Scream on 'Em. Let Us Live has Game doing an excellent imitation of Nas' Escobar persona, but it's pretty useless on a track called Let Us Live when he makes no type of social commentary. And his two attempts at lady songs, Gentleman's Affair and Touchdown, are the two worst tracks he has ever made. Special from the Documentary is ions better.

It's not all bad though. LAX Files is a dreary opener where Game semi-documents his life as gangbanger. My Life is an emotionally draining track where Game pours out his feelings about the hood and his life. This is hands down, Lil' Wayne's best use of the vocoder (or autotune whatever) and Wayne really drenches the emotion of Katrina onto the chorus. It rivals Start from Scratch in pure emotion. Money has a great Cool & Dre production and Game is lyrically on fire while bragging about the almighty dollar.

Angel has a funky Kanye production and is great just off of the irony of the track. Common appears and raps about weed and Game spits about what hip-hop means to him. I know, right? Never Can Say Goodbye has a brilliant concept as Game takes on the personas of 2Pac, Biggie, & Easy-E just minutes before their deaths. Game really flexes his impersonation skills and he does a damn good job, even though his Big mimic sounds sort of like a parody. After so much laid-back funk, the bleepy synths and rock drums of Dope Boyz is a banging breath of fresh air. Pain is a laid-back ode to all the pioneers of hip-hop (Isn't that Game's career?). Letter to the King is a haunting track where Nas joins Game to share some thoughts about the sacrifices that civil rights leaders like MLKJR & Rosa Parks made for the future and questioning the integrity of current leaders.

Overall: 6/10 - 3/5 - B-

Best Songs: My Life, Money, Angel

The Bonus CD is half and half. Big Dreams is definitely album worthy with an epic Cool & Dre production and Game stomps all over this track. Spanglish has a great beat and Game raps about the presence of Latin bangbangers. That's the good half. Camera Phone is even worse than Gentleman's Affair and Touchdown and Nice has Game throwing generic punchlines over a paper thin beat. Not worth buying.


Ice Cube - Raw Footage

I'll be honest and say that I've never listened to an Ice Cube album. Besides a couple of singles (Go To Church owns) and a hanful of great guest appearances, I'm not familar with much of Ice Cube's work. So, uh, Ice Cube - Raw Footage.

Raw Footage is for the most part, raw. Cube, one of the originators of gangster rap is still all about representing and defending it, as seen on "Gangster Rap Made Me Do It" and "Thank God" which has a dead-on attack on gangster rap critics. Cube does offer some deeper numbers like the smoothed-out "Why Me" where he asks murderers to think about the overall effect that murder has on the world before they do the deed and "Hood Mentality" where he takes on the persona of an ignorant black teenager as a criticism of the mindset that young black men possess. Everything else is pretty much hard-ass gangsta tracks with small bits of mature insight in the hood. See the funky "Stand Tall"

"Everyday I think about my color
And all the crazy shit that we do to each other
I ain't ya blood brotha, but I'm ya cuz brotha
Let's take it back to the love and how it was brotha
If not we gon' be pull these triggas
And show the world we deserve to be called niggas"

Cube is still a solid lyricist, but his slow, predictable delivery and his crisp enunciation make his flow very dated and at times he can drop some corny lines.

"They music is fluffy, my shit is so gutter
That shit is kinda popcorn, my shit is so butter"

-It Takes A Nation

The corny lines are made null and void on the anthemic "Thank God". And Cube proves he can still be a menace on "Here He Comes"

"When I hit the block, watch 'em scatter like roaches
So don't be fake, cause I know what a hoe is
Handle my business, no playing cause I'm focused
You the definition of what a fuckin' joke is
When they see you coming they play with yo emotions
Fuck with my emotions and they'll found you in the oceans
Yeah I said oceans, thats right I mean plurl
My boy got a knife that turn a boy into a girl"

The production in pretty good overall. Trademark West-Coast beats; aggressive bass and bleepy, tinged synths. DJ Toomp delivers the best track with "Got My Locs On". It sounds like something straight out of Thug Motivation 101, with booming gothic synths and Young Jeezy's uber-cool voice on the chorus. The Game, who is evolving into the Johnny Depp of rap, perfectly imitates Cube's vintage flow on "Get Used to It" which also has a useless WC.

Overall: 7/10 - 3.5/5 - B

Best Songs: Hood Mentality, I Got My Locs On, Here He Come


Nas REDUX!!!

Untitled should've been a masterpiece. Nas has always been kinda conscious and slowly, but surely as his career progressed he got angrier and angrier at the way things in the world are and Untitled/Nigger was gonna be Nas focusing all his anger on the pen and pad. The album being names Nigger just insured that Nas would be criticizing the government, society, and the black community to a lesser extent and that is basically what he did sans Breathe, Make The World Go Round, Queens Get The Money, & We're Not Alone. The Nigger Tape is arguably the best mixtape ever made with the only competition being Dipset Vol. 5. It had a handful of tracks with great production, lyrics, and themes that support what Nas was trying to do. So here's my version of Untitled with songs from Untitled, The Nigger Tape, and two random tracks. The pace rises from calm to banging frequently in my attempts at cohesion.

1 - Nigger Hatred
2 - Be A Nigger Too
3 - You Can't Stop Us Now
4 - Hero
5 - Esco Lets Go
6 - Cops Keep Firing
7 - Sly Fox
8 - America
9 - Association
10 - Ghetto Remix
11 - N.I.G.G.E.R. (The Slave and The Master)
12 - Fried Chicken
13 - Project Roach
14 - Testify
15 - Black President

I guess Nas couldn't clear the sample or he just liked Queens Get The Money better, but this is clearly the better opener. Queens Get The Money is more like a really dope "freestyle" that has no type of meaning. It's technically better than Nigger Hatred, but Nigger Hatred gets the point across better and really prepares you for the album.

The transition from the somber piano to the anthemic hi-hats and drums show Nas means business. Hero and Esco Lets Go are the commercial minded bangers, but Hero is basically summing up the deal with whole Nigger controversy and some flossing layed across a glittery Polow Da Don production. Esco Lets Go is the best Nas song ever. This beat is something serious and this one of maybe 3 or 4 times in Nas' career where he shows some "swag". I'm not big into "swag", but Nas is just too raw on this.

Cops Keep Firing, Sly Fox, & America is the attack on the government and society section. Great production on all 3 of those. Association is about how the people around you affect how you're viewed. Nas drops 2 serious verses and stic.man from Dead Prez drops a hard verse. The chorus kinda sucks when it changes to woman. The Ghetto Remix, NIGGER, Fried Chicken, & Project Roach is the hood observation section. Nas and fellow NYer Joell Ortiz both go in over DJ Green Lantern's jazzy production on Ghetto Remix. NIGGER is their because it's great and DJ Toomp's drums make the transition to the great concept tracks Fried Chicken and Project Roach that much better.

Testify's production is a true experience. It doesn't register at first, but on repeat listens the piano, sample, and subtle choir is truly moving. Black President has an anthemic quality about it and it's a look to the future, so it's only right that it's the closer.



DJ Drama & Ludacris - The Preview: Gangsta Grillz

To gain some buzz for his upcoming album and my prediction for album of the year, Theater of the Mind, Ludacris teams up with DJ Drama (AKA Mr. Thanksgiving AKA The iPod King AKA Barack Odrama AKA Dram Cruise) for the mixtape The Preview.

The results are pretty good. Ludacris takes his comedically dramatic liquid flow and clever punchlines and applies it to a gang of jacked beats. From recent bangers like Jay-Z’s Blue Magic, Mike Jones’ Still Tippin’, & Young Jeezy’s Put On to vintage classics like Outkast’s Get Up and Get Out, Tela’s Sho Nuff, & Prodigy’s Keep It Thoro.

Luda adds his own spin on the mixtape by adding some comedy to the mix. The “Vocalizer Skit” is an advertisement for the ubiquitous vocoder being used by Lil’ Wayne, T-Pain, and others. Officer Ross’ The Boss is turned into Bigg Ass House where Luda brags about the size of his domain. The funniest track is when Luda transforms John Legend’s Ordinary People into a drunken club night entitled “Ordinary Negroes”. Throw It Up, which I guess is gonna be on Busta Rhymes’ Blessed, is a banging posse track with Luda, Lil’ Wayne, & Busta Rhymes. It’s one of Wayne’s best guest verses since he got kinda wack, Luda proves why he’s the best feature rapper alive, and Busta, who’s been on a tear this year with brutal verses on LaLa and Fried Chicken, drops a hard verse.

It’s not all peaches and cream though. Luda comments on the state of rap beefs on the Heart of the City-esque “Stay Together” and he uses Young Buck’s sinister “Get Buck” to support Barack Obama on the gold star “Politics As Usual”. It’s main flaw are the boring tracks used to promote low-level DTP and AMG artists.

Overall: 8/10 – 4/5 – A-. Trademark Luda, but too much weed-carrier promotion.

Best Song
1 – Politics as Usual
2 – Throw It Up
3 – Ordinary Negroes



Random Post #1

I have a bunch of posts I really wanna get to, but I'm an intense procrastinator and my computer has a cold. Time for some random thoughts

1 - Only Built for Cuban Linx is the worst album I have ever heard. It is mind numbingly bad. I burned it the 1st day that I downloaded it because my speakers were fucking up. I got to prolly track 10 or 11 then turned it off. Everyone once in a while I'll throw it in to see if I'm missing something, but I always get to Rainy Dayz and just turn it off. The facial expression I have when I turn it on was exactly the same when I turned it off.

The beats are uber-depressing and not in a good Momma Loves Me or Misunderstood way. I try reallllllly paying attention to what Rae and Ghost are saying but it never really leads anywhere and it just seems like a bunch of random uninteresting thoughts.

I disagree alot about so-called "classic" albums that are just decent to me, but I understand the reasoning behind all of them, except OB4CL. I think I'm a fairly smart person, but this one just flew over my head.

2 - You've probably heard about Rick Ross being exposed as a former CO. It doesn't really matter to me, cause I never really liked Rick Ross and casual rap fans tend to throw alot of shit under the rug.

3 - Lloyd's new CD "Lessons in Love" is raw as hell. Their's no clear-cut "OMFG!!!!" track like Certified (Year of the Lover and Party All Over Your Body come close though), but its tight, cohesive, and puts you in a lovemaking mood.

4 - I wanna ramble about "Put On". Why haven't Jeezy and Kanye did a song before?? They seem like a retarded combination, because they're so different in basically every way. Jeezy's from the hood, Kanye is from the upper-middle class. Jeezy is a gangster rapper, Kanye is a backpack rapper. Jeezy relies on his charisma and realness, Kanye is a great lyricist. Jeezy raps over epic synthesized organs and such, Kanye raps over soul samples and orchestral strings. Jeezy doesn't care about being a good rapper, Kanye is obsessed with being the best. But when they finally appear on a track together, it seems right, cause they share a very important trait: Relatability. Jeezy is a just a regular dude who raps about what he knows and he sounds really cool doing it. Kanye is just a regular dude who raps about regular stuff; self-consciousness, wanting to strangle your boss, mom, dead grandmas.

The production is trademark Jeezy. Gothic synths and blaring organs. Jeezy drops a kinda goofy verse and Kanye laments about his mother and some chicks that "owe him sex" using the dreaded vocoder. It sounds pretty weak on paper, but it all works.

5 - Sans his iffy verse on Lupe Fiasco's Pressure, Jay-Z has been murdering high-profile guest verses for a long time. He has truly perfected the art of writing a 16-bar verse. His verse on the Put On remix isn't really lyrical for his standards and thats why it's so great. Put On has this bull-headed "I don't give a fuck" type of vibe that eschews flashy, technical lyricism ala Chamillionaire, Nas, or Cam'ron to a lesser extent. So Jay doesn't go for flashy assonance or crafty punchlines. He comes in like a rapper who has nothin else to do except put on for his city (pardon the pun).

6 - I'm a black, teenage male so Sex in the City is supposed to be the worst show evvvvvveeeeerrrrr created. But it's actually good. I grew up around all females, sans my drug-addict grandfather and an uncle or two that bobbed and weaved in and out and my life, so I had a pretty good understanding of the female point-of-view at a fairly young age. After the back-forth combo of Scrubs and The Bernie Mac Show, Sex in the City comes on, so I usually throw in Solaris or Troy to fall asleep to. Last week, I finally watched it. It wasn't bad. It's kinda in my past midnight lineup now.

The stories aren't really compelling, but the acting is solid, the voice-overs are on a Dean Koontz level of wit, and it's legitimately funny every once in a while. Take this episode I watched last night.

Samantha, bisexual, is talking with her girlfriend, Maria. Samantha's old boyfriend knocks on the door for a booty call. She tries to get him to go away, but he can tell someone is in there. He guesses a guy, but is surprised/instantly turned on that Samantha was bi.

Dude: Can I come in and you guys can make me a "sandwich" or something"

Door slams.

I don't recommend it, but if you're terribly bored and it's on, take a look at it. Plus, Sarah Jessica Parker is borderline sexy, despite her ugliness.

Tis' all peasants.