11/16/08

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
NOW YOU’VE OFFICIALLY BEEN CHOPPED N SKREWED”


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

11/11/08

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.

11/5/08

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"

-Overkill

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