Friday, March 21, 2008

What's New In Dart's iPod #24 AKA Mixtape Murder

Last week was hectic, this week was a logistical nightmare due to my much delayed Top 50 G.O.A.T. Hip Hop Producers List. It was so big and required so much rewriting, reordering, cut and pasting and transcribing that it took two extra days to write...and this was after it was done! I had pushed back my posts by saving drafts everyday so it would still appear to be a fluid week of posting on my blog for indexing purposes.

I had a considerable logjam and all of my entries for the week were backed up. In addition to that, I decided to transcribe the considerable list of producers that didn’t make the Top 50 list so I didn’t look like a complete asshole and that I did in fact do painstaking research and asked for outside opinions. I did a final reordering of that list, did some more cut and pasting of names and I e-mailed it from my G3 iBook to my G5 and posted it up.

After that, I went back and finished writing all of the other blogs I had planned for the rest of the week and I had to go run some errands and hurry back to the house before the Kansas State/USC game and the Boston Celtics/Dallas Mavericks game started. Little did I know that I had e-mailed to wrong fuckin’ draft of my Top 50 Producers List and posted it but I STILL had omissions on both the final list AND the list of producers that missed the list.

That’s what I get for trying to do the job that a team of people usually do by myself. I left off Prince Paul, Timbaland, Organized Noise, Necro, DJ Mighty Mi, Rob “Reef” Tewlow, and a couple of others I don’t remember. The list came out looking amateur when it was first posted, I was pissed off with myself about it for a minute but I decided to keep it moving and finish out the week strong.

Today’s reviews will consist of three mixtapes that hit the ‘net this week and the order will go as follows: Ali Vegas and Statik Selektah “Leader Of The New School”, Focus presents “Dedicated” and Tanya Morgan & DJ Soul “Tanya Morgan Is A Rap Group”. Since I spent enough time copping pleas for this past week let’s get down to business. I don’t rate albums on a scale or assign them a numerical value out of 5 or 10, instead I merely answer the all important question of “Is it worth buying or not?”. Here's how my "Cop It Or Not" ratings system breaks down 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.

Maeby (Maybe)! Depending on your own set of personal preferences you might like this joint. Give it a listen first to see if it's in your lane or not.

Mos Def! Cop the album when it drops...'Nuff said.


Right here this is just “semi”...if I really tried to camouflage it you probably couldn’t even read it © Kase One

Ali Vegas has been on the scene for years now and due to some label issues that have hamstrung a bunch of his brethren that were once held up as the new generation of great New York emcees (Jae Millz, Papoose, Saigon, Tru Life, etc) he has yet to release a proper album. Here’s his brand new mixtape mixed by Statik Selektah featuring Ali Vegas killing it over same classic instrumentals with some of his new tracks mixed in. How’d I feel about it? Read below:

Best Joints: Everyday Is War, That’s Nothing, The Future, The Town Brought It, Be There, Av Freestyle, Cold Steel, Geto Boy, Point Blank, You Know My Steez, MC’s Act Like You Know, That’s Where I’m From, Can’t Believe It, In Love, Faithful, Breakadawn, Check The Rime, Paper Thin, No Money, Creole, Lack Of Respect, What’s Goin’ On

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart’s Take: If you’re a fan of Ali Vegas than you should definitely cop this. He’s always been nice so it should come as no surprise that he kills it on quite a few of these tracks. If you’d prefer to get more of an album type mixtape rather than a bunch of freestyle verses over classic beats then you’d be annoyed by this. I give it a recommended maybe because I’ve been hearing Ali Vegas mixtapes for more than 5 years now...I wanna hear an ALBUM. Download it here



Next up is Aftermath in house producer Focus and his new free mixtape/album called “Dedicated”. Focus is not only an accomplished producer but he’s an emcee as well. I figured that since he was down with Aftermath I’d hear a steady diet of hardcore rhymes and gangsta shit... boy was I wrong, Focus is more on that “grown ass man that grew up in the Golden Eras” steez. His project has features from Little Brother, Stat Quo, Busta Rhymes, Bishop Lamont, Illa J, Teena Marie, Raphael Saadiq and a host of others. Read my take on it below:

Best Joints: Shine, Music Grinder, It’s Not Hard, S.T.M.S., I Ain’t Gone’ Do It, Back When.., 8.18.01, Feels Good, 4 The Luv, Weekend (Deray Davis, step away from the microphone), Watchu’ Workin’ Wit, Dedicated, Affairz, I Rock It, Let’s Go

Hot Garbage: N/A (My least favorite track was We Do This)

Dart’s Take: I was surprised by this one, even though I was familiar with Focus’ production I wasn’t aware that he rhymed. On songs like “Music Grinder” and “S.T.M.S” he addresses some real issues in the business like copycat producers, producers that charge exorbitant amounts of money for tracks that make it impossible for artists to recoup in an era of low record sales and East Coast emcees on Southern sounding beats rapping like their from the South because those are the songs that get on the radio now.

He also references the four elements of Hip Hop often in his rhymes, something I wouldn’t expect from anything with the Aftermath logo on it. Focus is a more than decent emcee and the guest spots were on point for the most part. The beats on this album were crazy and the diverse selection of tracks made for enjoyable listening. Focus is a beast and I give this project a mos def. Download it here



Back in 2006, Tanya Morgan first appeared on the Hip Hop radar with the release of their debut album “Moonlighting”. Unless you were up on Hip Hop blogs or a member of the Okayplayer community chances are that you didn’t even know that the album ever even came out or that Tanya Morgan wasn’t some new R&B singer...it was a group consisting of three dudes (DonWil, Ilyas and Von Pea) from Brooklyn and Cincinnati.

Tanya Morgan is back at it again with a new mixtape by DJ Soul aptly named “Tanya Morgan Is A Rap Group”. It leads up the the release of their new project called “The Bridge”, is it worth it to even know who Tanya Morgan is or isn’t? I’ll let you know right now:

Best Joints: Waiting For You, You Should Know, Shake It Off, Got Fans, So Sweet, Walk My Way, Stay Tuned, She Moved Outta Cincy, Four Men, Hello Brooklyn 3.0, Go To Get It, Chez Tanya, Brazilian Wax, Come Here Shawty, Take The W, Bout To Be Some (I almost thought it was 1994 again), Tanya Morgan Is A Rap Group, And You Say

Hot Garbage: N/A (Even the skits and interludes were ill!)

Dart’s Take: I loved “Moonlighting” and I played it to death when it first dropped and I have to say I was waiting on this mixtape ever since I saw it announced on Okayplayer a while back and the first track from it leaked. When it finally was available for download through Tanya Morgan’s MySpace page I downloaded it immediately. Within the hour it was all over the internet and the bloggerverse. This entire mixtape is bananas from beginning to end from the verses to the production on down to the skits.

The skits are another story altogether as they recreate some of the classic skits from throughout Hip Hop history. If you love Hip Hop and you’re not familiar with Tanya Morgan then let this be your introduction to them. I had “Waiting For You”, “You Should Know”, “Shake It Off”, “Got Fans”, “Walk My Way”, “She Moved Outta Cincy”, “Four Men”, “Go To Get It”, “Tanya Morgan Is A Rap Group” and “And You Say” all on repeat after hearing them. It goes without saying that I give this mixtape a mos def. Download it here


Late Passes (For Doz Dat Slept):
Albums I'm Looking Forward To Reviewing Once They Leak...I Mean Drop:

I'm Also Looking Forward To Reviewing The Following Projects:

Tanya Morgan-The Bridge EP
Rhymefest-El Che
Skillz-Million Dollar Backpack
Joe Budden-Padded Room
Jay Electronica-Act II: Patents Of Nobility
Jay Electronica-Abracadabra: Let There Be Light
Soul Assassins III-DJ Muggs vs. King Madallions (Planet Asia)
Big Boi-Sir Luscious Leftfoot
Magnif & J Dilla-Detroit Royalty
Blu-God Is Good
Snowgoons-Black Snow

Dart's Fat Tape/CD-R (as of March 22nd, 2008):

Royal Flush-Big Boi f/Andre 3000 & Raekwon
Heavy In Da Game-AZ f/Consequence
It's Not So Hard-Focus f/Stat Quo
Paper-Pacific Division f/TiRon
Why-The Camp
I'm Back-Rakim f/Lil' Fame (prod. by Fizzy Womack)
Tanya Morgan Is A Rap Group-Tanya Morgan
Ghost Rider-The Game
Small Town USA-Foul Mouth Jerk f/Masta Ace
Lights, Camera, Action-Busta Rhymes (prod. by Teddy Riley)
U Don't Know-Smoke Bulga f/Max B & Roc Dukati
Hustla-Magnif & J Dilla
Zock On-Teriyaki Boyz f/Busta Rhymes & Pharrell
FU-Devlin
The Rap Kevin Garnett-La The Darkman f/Willie The Kid
Reckless Driving-Zilla Rocca
Everyday Is War-Ali Vegas (prod. by DJ Premier)
Hostile Gospel Remix-Talib Kweli f/Joell Ortiz & Blu
Unsigned Hype-Ghetto
Jimmy Choo-Mickey Factz f/J.A.M.E.S. Watts
The Meaning-Dice Raw f/Freeway & Truck North
Back When..-Focus f/Little Brother
It's Okay (Part One)-Blu f/Definite & Myth
She Moved Outta Cincy-Tanya Morgan
Lifetime-Magnif & J Dilla

I walk past mirrors like "That's the man!" © Von Pea of Tanya Morgan

One.

4 comments:

restless_438 said...

Back When..-Focus f/Little Brother

this is one of those 'how to introduce someone to hip-hop' tracks as far as i'm concerned..

an easy favorite off that new Focus mixtape..

i wish i could shake theses artists hands that are coming out with this quality for absolutely nothing (Focus, Tanya Morgan, etc).. hip hop is far from dead.. one

angrycitizen said...

has the wale mix-tape dropped yet? I've been looking all over for it.

Dart Adams said...

@ Angry Citizen:

Nope, it isn't finished yet (at least as far as I know).

One.

the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusiness said...

Are you sure that isn't a Jay Electronica sample? I know that's at the end of Dimethyltriptamine from the Style Wars EP but I suppose he could have sampled it from Kase One.