I’m going to review four different albums in this blog. The first being an album I’m not ashamed to admit I didn’t realize it wasn’t already out, Talib Kweli’s “Eardrum”, two instrumentals albums by two brothers, Oh No’s “Dr. No’s Oxperiment” and Madlib’s “Beat Konducta In India Vol. 3 & 4”. To round out the selection I’ll also review the new Kate Nash album “Made Of Bricks”. For you that aren’t familiar with my “Cop It Or Not” ratings system I will review it for you below:
Oh No! This CD is a drink coaster/table balancer/doorstop/gerbil/hamster room divider/frisbee/discus/makeshift shield/last ditch choice for a visor/alternate shuriken choice. Sell this shit to whoever's dumb enough to buy it from you.
Maebe (Maybe)! Depending on your own set of personal preferences you might like this joint. Give it a listen first to see if it's your lane or not.
Mos Def! Cop the album when it drops...'Nuff said.
Now on to the reviews:
“I'm droppin’ jewels like a thief with a hole in his pocket” © Kurious
It’s weird for me to review this album considering that I’ve been listening to what I thought was it already for close to a month now. It turns out that it has about 4 new songs added to it and two songs apparently have different titles altogether (“Electrify” is now called “Stay Around” and “Hell” is actually titled “Give ‘Em Hell”). The other differences involve the addition of a Sa Ra interlude (which sounds like Adult Swim music), “Hostile Gospel 2” featuring Sizzla, “Go With Us” featuring Blacksmith artists Strong Arm Steady and finally the Justin Timberlake guested and produced “The Nature” (which is about 50X better than the 50 Cent coll-aberration (I assure you I spelled it right) “Ayo Technology”). I know what you’re thinking right now, “Who does this motherfucker think he is putting parentheses within parentheses?” “Did I just open up a math book or something?”. It’ll be okay, just focus and stay with me. This album was solid from beginning to end (even before the added tracks), the thing is that if you’re not a fan of Talib Kweli or his style then this album will probably bore the shit out of you.
Songs like “Soon The New Day”, “Oh My Stars”, “The Nature”, “Give ‘Em Hell”, “Stay Around”, “Hostile Gospel” and “Hot Thing” all feature sung choruses. This fact alone can turn off certain listeners, add to that the typical Kweli flow that’s exhibited on joints like “Listen”, “More Or Less”, “Holy Moly”, “Everything Man” and “NY Weather Report” may grate on some listeners nerves (not mine). I’ve heard some folks say that the only track they liked on this whole album was “Country Cousins” featuring UGK. Then again, what do I know? I liked “Kingdom Come” and “True Magic” for God’s sake. If you’re a Talib Kweli fan (I mean the kind that bought “Quality” and “The Beautiful Struggle” plus the mixtapes) go and pick this joint up. If not, don’t even bother with it.
Are you a beathead? Do you actually listen to instrumental albums? Do you know who Fat Jon is? How about Buck 65? Well if you enjoy listening to albums like J Dilla’s “Donuts” then here are two must have joints for you. I’m sure that any of you that are interested already know about the new Stones Throw releases by the brothers from the Ox (Oxnard, CA). Oh No’s “Dr. No’s Oxperiment” and Madlib’s “Beat Konducta In India Vol. 3 & 4”. Let’s start with On No’s joint first.
This is an enjoyable listen from beginning to end. Fans of Oh No’s brand of production (“The Disrupt”, Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms”) will fully enjoy this. Everyone seems to have their own favorite tracks on albums like this, due to the fact that most beats are under two minutes long it usually comes down to personal preference as to which tracks become your favorites. On “Oxperiment” my favorite tracks are the opener “Heavy”, “Higher”, “Bouncers”, “Banger”, “No Guest List”, “Land Mine”, “My Luck”, “Cosmos”, “Emergency”, “Deliveries”, “Action”, “Fast Gamble”, “Oxcity Sickness”, “Smoky Winds” and the closer “Slow Down”. If you’re into that headnod background music that you can just rock in your iPod when you’re doing whatever then you should definitely pick up Oh No’s new shit.
As for his older brother Otis, unless you’ve been living in a cave since 1998 I’m sure you’ve heard of Madlib AKA The Beat Konducta. This man has released so many albums over so many different aliases over the past 5 or six years it’s ridiculous. He’s back to catch wreck once again, this time sampling from classic Bollywood movies. As you may have guessed, this is yet another collection of bangers. My favorite joints being “Indian Hump”, “Movie Finale”, “Raw Tranquility Pt. 3”, “Freeze”, “OnThatNewThing”, “Indian Deli”, “The Rumble”, “Piano Garden”, “Dark Alley Incidental Music”, “Sitar Ride”, “More Rice” (which is the star of the show in my opinion), “Indian Bells”, “Duel”, “Organ Stroll”, “Smoke Circle”, “New Bombay”, and “Another Gateway”.
This CD makes me want to shell out an extra $9.99 each month to get the international channels package so I could get ZeeTV. As much as I enjoyed this album, there are some heads that prefer straight forward beats that they could spit on as opposed to hearing someone flip samples from classic Bollywood flicks. Oh No’s joint was more straightforward beats while this album was more like an experiment to the casual listener. Both of the releases are must haves in my opinion, but if I have to tag them differently them Madlib’s joint gets a maybe because of the source/sample material. Madlib fans are already gonna cop it, though (myself included).
The final album I have to review is from across the water. I have for you all Kate Nash’s new album “Made Of Bricks”. I’m sure all of you regular readers of my blog know about how bored I am of the female artists that major labels trot out for public consumption. In between Ciara (who I can tolerate), Rihanna (kinda sorta), Paula DeAnda, Kat Deluna (were they both created from the same parts or something?) and whatever chicks the Disney corporation toss into the marketplace. Very few of these female artists are actually singer/songwriters and even fewer make their own material. This fact annoys the hell out of me. That’s why I end up looking for alternative elsewhere.
This past year, record labels have imported several British females to infuse some excitement into the dismal record industry. Amy Winehouse, Corrine Bailey Rae, Joss Stone and Lily Allen have all released albums to critical and commercial acclaim stateside. The question remains, who’s next? It may turn out to be this young lady named Kate Nash. Her style sometimes sounds like a mix between Lily Allen and Fiona Apple. There are also stretches where she’s reminiscent of Tracy Bonham circa her debut album. Either way, her sound is a lot heavier than Lily Allen’s (who often sung over familiar samples) while her songwriting style is somewhat similar.
Where Kate Nash (pictured above) differs most from a Fiona Apple is her lyrics. Fiona Apple will flip words and phrases in a colorful ways to infer that the subject of her song is being a dickhead. Kate Nash will just come out and call the subject of her song a dickhead...and then name the track “Dickhead” (as exhibited on the track “Dickhead”). This album is 11 deep and features some interesting material, opening with “Play”. Next up is the bouncy “Foundations”, which leads into the equally catchy “Mouthwash”. Then comes “Dickhead”, this song is pretty cool. Of course by now the comparisons I made above will have listeners going “This sounds kinda like...”. The acoustic joint “Birds” follows and sounds wholely original (unless you heard Jewel’s debut album, that is...I’m kidding). Next is the syrupy “We Get On”. There hasn’t been a song on this album that’s skippable yet and we’re already halfway through.
The song “Mariella” will remind most listeners of Fiona Apple and/or Tracy Bonham, that’s unfortunate because it’s one of the standout tracks of the album. The next song is called “Shit Song”...yeah, it’s catchy as hell, too. “Pumpkin Song” is another cool song and on “Skeleton Song” we delve back into Fiona territory again (which isn’t bad..I love Fiona). The album finishes with the acoustic “Nicest Thing”. This song rounds out what is a strong debut album if not a little too reminscent of too many already popular artists. Due to the fact that she sounds like so many other female artists that are already on the market, I’ll give this one a good solid maybe. Check out previews of this album on the UK iTunes store and her videos on Youtube.
These joints are all currently in heavy rotation in my iPod Nano:
I’ll be back tomorrow with some more randomness. One.