Thursday, September 20, 2007

What’s New In Dart’s iPod #7 AKA From Boston To Philly

What up, humans? I’m back to review three new joints that’ll hit store shelves soon, Special Teamz Duck Down debut “Stereotypez”, Army Of The Pharaohs new album “Rituals Of Battle” and Hezekiah’s “I Predict A Riot”. Before I get into the reviews I’ll do lay down the groundwork by once agin explaining my patented three point “Cop It Or Not” ratings system 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 is 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.

You’re now listening to a different type of boss, abstract they cut him from a different type of cloth © Joe Budden

The first album I’m reviewing is the long awaited debut album by Boston supergroup Special Teamz. They consist of Boston legends Ed O.G (formerly of Da Bulldogs), Boston legend Jaysaun (formerly of the Kreators) and certified flamethrower Slaine (La Coka Nostra). These cats put out a track called “Get Ready” on Statik Selektah’s “The Champs Are Here Vol. 2” followed by “Special Teamz-The Mixtape” a while back (that means 2005) and the buzz was ridiculous. Now I finally hold the advance copy of the album in my hands. Import it to iTunes and on to the write up.

The album opens up with the banger “Get Down”. Jaysaun and Slaine murder the track and Ed bats clean up. “Three Kingz” is an ill joint that shouts out the hometown. “Stereotypez” is a kind of song that addresses racism and ignorance that I’d at first think is made for Bostonians but judging by some events depicted in Raven Mack @’s latest blog you can run into ignorant and racist idiots anywhere. “Boston To Bucktown” features Sean P. and Buckshot and I wish it were a minute and a half longer. Then comes another banger called “Classical” that I wish was a minute and a half longer. Lyrically these cats are murking shit all over the place. The following track is theDJ Premier produced “Main Event”. This song sounds as fresh to me as it did when I first heard it on before the mixtape dropped. My neck fuckin’ hurts now.

“Long Time Comin’” is the fly official lead single featuring Devin The Dude on the hook. I likes. “Home 2” is yet another song shouting out the hometown and features local lyricists Frankie Wainwright of Team 220 and Dre Robinson alongside Boston legends Akrobatik (of The Perceptionists) and Twice Thou (of The Almighty R.S.O. and Made Men). ‘Clap Your Handz” is yet another nice track. “Story Of My Life” is a fly joint with a sung hook that could easily be a single. It’s followed by a banger with a sung hook where Jay and Slaine kill it again. “One Call” is a another dope track with a crazy beat. “Fight Club” is a song about failed relationships...this is easily my least favorite song on the album so far.

“Dirty Money” features former Non Phixion frontman Ill Bill and it’s crazy track to keep your head nodding. “Pushaman” tells the tale of a cat slingin’ krills on the block. “Race Riot” is a banger that is the calling card of the group telling the story of each individual member’s experiences growing up in Boston. I love this track. The final track on this album is the bonus track “Gun In My Hand” featuring Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed on the’s meh to me. Not feeling it. It doesn’t suck but Jamey annoys me on the hook.

My verdict is that if you love hip hop and want to cop an album with bost beats and lyrics then cop this joint when it drops on September 25th. It gets a mos def from me.

Massive hip hop supergroup Army Of The Pharaohs boasts members from New York, Boston and Philadelphia. After last years release “The Torture Papers” the Army is back once again with a different lineup with “Rituals Of Battle”. Enough talk, I’ll play the record.

The opening track “Swords Drawn” is a banger that gets your head nodding from the jump. “Time To Rock” is nice and the emcees on the track spit some hardcore thugged out Five Percenter space hybrid shit. “Dump The Clip (Jet Jaguars)” is yet another banger. “Black Christmas” drones on for more than 5 minutes. The beat is subpar and this song is at least two minutes too long. “Blue Steel” gets us back on track and “Gun Ballad” is nice as well. “Strike Back” is just okay and now all of the songs are beginning to string together and sound the same. It’s like listening to a bunch of B and C team Wu Tang members spitting about the same themes over and over again.

“Frontline” is a nice track but I’m having trouble telling some of these cats apart as they spit their verses. “Through Blood By Thunder” is just okay...nothing really stands out or grabs me. “Murda Murda” is a banger! Those are becoming far and few between on this album. “Bloody Tears”, “Seven” and “Drama Theme” all seem to run together rehashing the same old themes and references. “Pages In Blood” is another banger that leads into the almost boring “D&D”. The project closes with the heat rock “Don’t Cry”. I will now make my judgement.

This album just didn’t do it for me at all. It all sounded the same to me after the fourth or fifth track. A Korean crime drama might be dope the first time you watch it but after seeing five more of them that are similar to the first you get kind of burned out on them and maybe it’s time for a (dare I say it) romantic comedy (No I didn’t just write that!). You CAN overdose on this kind of shit unless it’s done perfectly. It wasn’t so this album gets a maybe from me.

The last album I’m reviewing is Philly resident Hezekiah’s second album “I Predict A Riot”. For those of you unfamiliar with Hezekiah’s classic (yeah, I used the C word!) debut “Hurry Up & Wait” or his lead single “Looking Up” with Bilal. This album has all of the earmarks of a potential classic reup. I’ll press play and see if my suspicions are correct or not.

The project opens with “The Beginning”. What’s that I hear? Live instruments? Say word! Crazy ass arrangements and sick vocals open the project on a high note...I hope there’s no letdown coming. “Wild & Wreckless” doesn’t disappoint. Horns, strings and congas can be heard all throughout the track as Hezekiah disses the state of the current music industry. “If One Falls” is yet another ridiculous track with vocals on it. Freeway is featured on the banger “That Filling”. Where’s Freeway’s fuckin’ album? “Looking Up” is the smooth lead single and “Single Now” has Hezekiah telling all the girls on the road that he’s single and down to smash without sounding ig’nant.

“Let’s Get Involved” is yet another sweet sounding banger with vocals over it. “Bombs Over Here” is fuckin’ bananas! The horns are sick. This is some fly shit. y’all. Two short interludes bookend “I See Yaw” and the banger “Moments In Sometime”. I’m gonna have to go back and replay about 5 of these tracks before I continue this reveiw...Okay I’m back. It’s still heat. The title track “I Predict A Riot” is straight up fire. Next up is the smooth “Gotta Love It” which followed by the composition “Ghetto People” that’s dedicated to James Brown. It’s dope as hell and bangs in the headphones. The album closes out with another short interlude and an outro. This is what I originally imagined Mos Def’s “Tru3 Magic” would be like. The jury has finished it’s deliberation.

Do you like music? I mean REAL music. Do you like when you hear strings, horns or piano on Hip Hop tracks? If so, this album is for you. If not, avoid it like the plague because it’ll just sound like coffee shop/Def Poetry Slam/uber backpacker music to you. Hezekiah damn near killed it with this one. I can see this album spending quite a long stay in my iPod. I give “I Predict A Riot” a mos def. When this album drops, cop it ( that is, if you’re into that sort of thing).

And I'm out like shout! © Charlie Brown


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