Friday, August 10, 2007

What’s New In Dart’s iPod? AKA An Excuse For Me To Review New Leaks And Releases

I know I usually write a long ass lead in to these posts but I've been away from the blog for a minute and to quote one of my favorite openings to a mixtape:

"Fuck intros!" © Kano

I will instead explain my three point "Cop It Or Not" rating scale 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.

Kano-London Town (11 song sampler)

I’m a big Kano fan. If his name’s on it, I’m copping it...bottom line. After Kano’s classic (yeah, I used the C word. You see it on the blog, don’t you?) debut “Home Sweet Home” and his “Beats & Bars” mixtape he had cemented himself as one of the best and most marketable British emcees. Of course, Def Jam passed on signing him away from 679 Recordings and instead decided to offer Lady Sovereign a contract (who in turn moved less units than a HD midget porn DVD). All Kano did was hit the stu, drop a crazy mixtape and now here’s the sampler for his highly anticipated second LP “London Town”. Although Kano is considered a Grime emcee he is accepted by wider audiences (and also chided for not making enough Grime sounding tracks). Will he reach for the brass ring with this offering? Let’s find out.

Kano is a master of flow, worldplay and delivery. He says some clever shit in his rhymes and he can evoke a range of emotions with his songs. This is Kano’s greatest strength as an emcee. To some he’s very reminiscent of Jay-Z, I see why people say that but I don’t really think the two are all that similar. The best songs on the sampler are “Bad Boy”, “London Town”, “Production Of My Environment”, “Buss It Up” f/Vybz Kartel, “On & On”, “This Is My Life” and “Sleep Tight”. Even the Kate Nash featured “Me & My Microphone” bangs when I was expecting the worst before I actually heard it. I was underwhelmed by Kano’s lead single “This Is The Girl” f/Craig David and the Damon Albarn assisted “Feel Free” just didn’t do it for me. The part acoustic track “Fightin’ The Nation” is far from wack but just not what I wanna hear from Kano.

This album sounds like it’s gonna be another good one, but I reserve full judgement until the whole album drops but so far it looks like this:

Home Sweet Home>Kano Mixtape>Beats & Bars>London Town Sampler>85% of major label Rap/Hip Hop releases from the last 5 years.

I’m most def coppin’ “London Town” when it drops. For the rest of y’all, start with “Home Sweet Home”, download “Beats & Bars” from this blog and search for the Kano Mixtape available online now.

M.I.A- Kala (I would post a picture of the album cover but it gives me nightmares)

Yep, I’ve been waiting for this album for a minute, too. You can lump me in with all of those hipsters that heard the “Piracy Funds Terrorism” mixtape back in 2004 and have read every piece of press written about her since she first appeared on the music scene (it probably didn’t hurt that she’s cute..that tends to make people tolerate you if you have radical political stances and dress weird). The album “Arular” took many music fans by surprise...especially when “Galang” ended up on car commercials and on the TRL countdown. I still haven’t recovered from the shock of hearing “Bucky Done Gun” on the Live 2006 soundtrack. I liked “Arular” overall, but wasn’t blown away by it. Of course Diplo was given a huge amount of credit for the album, which apparently was a mistake (If you didn’t read the Pitchfork interview where she Yoga Flamed the interviewer over the phone, do so).

Leading up to this album, I was really liked “Bird Flu” and “Hit That” (which isn’t on the album) and after I heard a leaked version of “Boys” a while back I was really looking forward to hearing this joint. I finally received an advance of “Kala” a while back and I tore into it immediately. I usually am not into music like hers, but I really like these tracks. This should sound like noise to me...her outfits should make my eyes bleed. Why am I nodding my head to this album like Pete Rock, Primo, Large Pro, Diamond and Erick Sermon were behind the boards? Why isn’t her voice making me want the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse to gallop onto the horizon and order everyone outta the pool that is Life? I don’t fuckin’ know.

“Bamboo Banger” opens up the album the right way and leads right into my joint “Boyz”. The next track “Jimmy” is a quasi remake of a Bollywood hit...I feel like I don’t get the joke. Next up is “Hussel” featuring emcee Afrikan Boy, I’m back to nodding my head again. The song “Mango Pickle Down River” features a chorus of kids called the Wilcannia Mob. I like this song and I cannot explain why (which is disturbing because I write for a living). As the album runs on down into “20 Dollar”, “Down River”, and “XR2” I’m still aboard, I haven’t thrown off the headphones in disgust or skipped a track once. Next up are probably the two most accessible and marketable song on the entire project, “Paper Planes” (which sounds like snap music) and the Timbaland produced “Come Around”.

I can see either of the songs becoming singles, imagine M.I.A. wearing one of those crazy ass outfits dancing around with dudes in tattered gear while Justin Timberlake and Timbaland are rocking suits. Just then here come Keri Hilson and Nelly Furtado wearing some designer outfits writhing around under flashing lights on a shiny set. Make the call to Little X, someone.

I liked this album, but I will acknowledge that it is not for everyone. She co-produced most of the album with this cat named Switch. I can't pigeonhole her music or give it a specific genre name, which I actually find refreshing for a's just music. While I play it and like it, most cats on my block would cover their ears like I was trying to read to them from a Michael Eric Dyson book or prefer to take a running start and go head first onto a Slip N' Slide covered with Wesson and shards of glass from broken beer bottles. If you didn’t check for “Arular” or thought any of her previous songs were noise then steer clear of this one. It’s a good, solid maybe.

Termanology-Hood Politics Vol. 5

I’ve been checkin’ for Termanology and his squad ST since I heard those first Ed Rock & Term joints way back in in the early 00’s. The rest of the Hip Hop world first took notice when Termanology’s breakout joint, the DJ Premier produced “Watch How It Goes Down” took the street and internet by storm. Termanology was the talk of, and even Although heads in New England have known about Term’s skills since before he dropped the first edition of his “Hood Politics” series, the sleepers were now awakening. Since then, Term has continued to drop more and more heat and convert more non believers. Next up is his “Hood Politics Vol. 5” mixtape presented by DJ’s Big Miike and Statik Selektah (who hit me off with this mixtape in a chance meeting in the mall behind my house just last on the lookout for the upcoming Statik Selektah presents...LP coming out this October!)

Once I got back to the lab, I had this mixtape burning a whole through my pocket. I threw it in theMac and threw on the headphones...the CD jumps off with the banger “So Amazing” produced by DJ Premier so I started off nodding my head right away. Next up is “50 Bodies” produced by Marley Marl, pairing Term’s ill flow with another producing legend who brings the heat. The tracks “Has It Ever Occurred?” , “Born Alone Die Alone” and In God We Trust” follow and keep the set live with features from ST. affiliate Ed Rock AKA Easy Money. The smooth “Low IQ” featuring and produced by Evidence follows and brings us to an update of the Everlast (House Of Pain) classic “Back From The Dead” produced by Nick V of the Baka Boyz.

Term gets matched up with rhyme veteran Royce Da 5’9” (if you haven’t heard “The Bar Exam” mixtape yet then stop frontin’) on the J. Cardim (previous winner of the Poisonous Paragraph distinction “32 Producers You Need To Hear On MySpace Right Now”) heat rock “What You Call That”. If I go through this CD track by track I’ll never finish because I haven’t found a throwaway joint yet.

“Squeeze Ya Ratchet” is produced by and features Lil’ Fame AKA Fizzy Womack (who also blessed Term with another bangin’ track called “4 The Fam”) and the Statik Selektah produced “Hardcore” features Boston legend Reks. The production is handled by some of the best beatmakers in the game right now including Buckwild, Moss, Don Cannon, DC The Midi Alien, Domingo & Vanderslice, Jaguar and the heads I’ve already mentioned in this review. The grand finale of the already fire “Hood Politics Vol. 5” is the PeteBeatz track that features an army of the best emcees Massachusetts has to offer the industry. I played this joint to death when it was featued on and it was the perfect way to help educate the rest of nation about the talent we have in this state (a few more heads I’m checkin’ for didn’t make it on to this track but it was a massive undertaking to get this many heads on one track...if you’re from Boston/Massachusetta you understand how hard it is. There wasn’t a weak moment on this whole mixtape, 21 tracks no throwaways and no wack verses. You should mos def cop this shit now!

Siobhan Donaghy-Ghosts

For those who don’t know, Siobhan Donaghy is one of the original members of the successful British girl group Sugababes. She broke camp shortly after their first album dropped in 2000 and pursued her own solo career. She released a solo album in 2003 called “Revolution In Me” that failed to do well commercially. She eventually left her former record label and moved to another one to start anew. After four years, she has completed and released a new album called “Ghosts” in the UK back in late June. This album hasn’t been a commercail success, either...but look at the bullshit that DOES sell. I heard the lead single “Don’t Give Up” and the second single “So You Say” and was intrigued. Especially when I read a British blog that praised this album nonstop, especially the title track. I used my London connects and obtained a copy of the album. Here’s my review:

Do you miss that whole era of different albums coming out from female vocalists with production that made you pore through the liner notes to find out who made the tracks? I used to love albums like Bjork’s early work, Portishead, Joi, Esthero, Amel Larrieux, Ambersunshower and Res (where’s your album at, girl?). Lately, labels have been afraid to release experimental/cutting edge music by women...that is unless they’re half naked. This album is surprisingly really good, my favorite tracks are “Coming Up For Air”, “Medevac”, “Don’t Give It Up”, “Halcyon Days” and the bananas title track “Ghosts” where some of her vocals are played backwards and the beat is crazy. Check it out here .

If you’re looking for some new shit to listen to and love the type of music that I mentioned above then you definitely need to find this on the UK iTunes store or peruse the Amazon UK website. I definitely recommend this although it’s slept on even in the UK. Everyone can’t get buzz like Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone, Lily Allen and M.I.A. after all. I'll give this one a maybe...although I'll be banging it in my iPod Nano as I read Planet Hulk issues in Newbury Comics (check for me). You should also check for her videos on YouTube, she has a couple of live performances on there as well.

What I’m Looking Forward To Cop When It Leaks...I Mean Drops:

Littler Brother's first album without 9th Wonder won't be much of a dissapointment to fans of Khrysis, Illmind, Nicolay and Oddisee (check his blog out here)'s production. Little Brother will pretty much be the same group as long as Big Pooh and Phonte are still on the mic spittin' that raw. After hearing "Good Clothes" I can't wait for this one. I'm even feeling this EPMD style lettering on the cover.

So let's get this straight...Havoc will be handling all the beats himself and spitting that certified Queens thug shit like he's been doing since '91? Where's my copy?

I loved the first one and I can't wait to hear 9th Wonder's solo debut. He has guest appearances from members of the Justus League as well as some of the best underground emcees in the games right now. We all know 9th is gonna bring the heat, that's a given. As for Ayatollah, I don't even need to write anything about this man's instrumental albums...he drops 'em I cop 'em. That's all.

That's all I have for today. Special thanks to my boy Big K.A.R., Statik Selektah (spell his name right!), my brother Buctayla and the good people at Newbury Comics who tolerate me reading every damn thing in sight. 



elgringocolombiano said...

Dart, nice post on the new albums.

Do you use If not, pls consider joining it. We need more insightful rap heads like yourself there.


alex said...

Thanks for the heads up on Siobhan Donaghy, your enthusiasm for it has me intrigued. I'm usually wary of female singer/multiple producer album setups, but undoubtedly some great records have been created using that blueprint.

Also, I want the Hav album to be good really badly. Also, for Prodigy not to release HNIC2.

Boomer said...


I usually agree with your thoughts/insights on music, but I think you are really over-looking one fine album when you call Dr. No's Oxperiments a table coaster. Sure its not gonna be bangin in the club, but its got plenty of head turnin cuts on there like track 12, Cosmos, that are as neatly orchestrated as anything his brother is puttin out. The flow of the album is amazing, and the fact that Oh No created such fluidity with such off-the-wall samples from all over the world puts the album in the upper echalon discussion for '07 in my mind. Oh No is able to walk the line between atonality and consonance throughout the album, while maintaining a steady vibe throughout the highs and lows.

If you go into this album expecting hip hop or even just hip hop beats, then yea youll be dissappointed, but if you go into this with an open mind and listen beginning to end, I am sure that you will come around on it.

Now Im not saying that this is the next Donuts, or that Oh No is as good as Madlib (who is a modern-day jazz/fusion/hip hop pioneer on another level, who will one day be looked back on as one of the great musical minds of the 21st century), because this isnt donuts and he isnt Madlib.....but this is a really quality release that shouldnt be considered coaster worthy.


Dart Adams said...

@ Boomer:

I'm a huge Oh No fan...Look at my myspace friends, about 50 of 'em are from the Ox. I'm saying that his name/picture represents the phrase "Oh No!" as in, this album is bullshit. I'm gonna review the Oxperiments album two review blogs from now. I agree with you about Oh No's production...I own "The Disrupt" and his Galt McDermot LP and I haven't heard Oxperiments yet...I'm looking forward to hearing it, though.

That's why the maybe was Maebe Funke from Arrested Development (Alia Shawkat's picture).And Mos Def was Mos Def's pic...Get it?


Boomer said...

lol, my bad, totally missed the whole scale thing, i just saw the blurb and freaked out.

It's good to read your stuff again, though. Ill be back on the blog scene in the near future once I get my shit together.