Several of my favorite blogs have either been missing in action, suspended, hacked, erased or just inactive lately. Among them personal favorite Stuntin' On Prose (404...What up J. Burn and Tank!), Konstant Revolution (404), Steal Bars (404), Universoul Productions has been under construction since September 16th, Hyperfrank hasn't posted since September 19th, The Dice Game was completely wiped of all of it's archives on October 27th (keep ya head up, Bankhead) and Model Minority has been down since October 30th but M. Dot'll be back sometime down the line.
I also had to fix a situation in which there was a warrant out for my arrest since November 6th for allegedly dodging jury duty. I spent the past week plus running around Boston trying to get the situation squared away and on the 12th I finally served and everything's been resolved. Nothing is scarier than the prospect of police officers knocking on my door in the morning or possibly facing either jail time, a fine or community service because of something as trivial as jury duty. According to records, I hadn't served since February 2000 so I was gonna get the proverbial book thrown at my ass.
I'll filling out my posts for the week this weekend again and I'm not sure if I'll be doing the Fat Tape/CD-R anymore as it's getting to be more and more of a chore to do it with all of the extra shit I've had to focus on lately I'll just play it by ear in the future. This blog may also go into hibernation one day as I'll be taking a break from it for a while in or after March 2009 and then I'll determine the future of Poisonous Paragraphs from there.
This week I'll be reviewing five new projects that either leaked or recently hit store shelves in the following order: Blue Sky Black Death "Slow Burning Lights", D.I.T.C. Records presents "The Movement", T-Pain "Thr33 Rings", Von Pea "The Further Adventures Of Von Pea" and Kanye West "808's And Heartbreak". For those of you new to the party, 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.
Spit that Kurt Vonnegut/that blow your brain Kurt Cobain that Nirvana shit © Jay Electronica
Best Joints: Secrets, Once Away, Hot Night, Honestly, Stillness, Movements, Come Inside, Tokyo Underground, Pretend and The Darkest Time
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: Blue Sky Black Death has put in quite a bit of work so far in '08. They've put out the excellent instrumental album "Late Night Cinema", the Jean Grae collaboration "The Evil Jeanius" and the headache inducing "Heads Will Roll" by uber gangsta rapper Gutta. This album is much in the vein of "Late Night Cinema" but with the vocals of Yes Alexander added to the equation it's reminiscent of the type of albums that were coming out from popular groups and vocalists circa 1997-2000 (I won't name them because people will scream on me for comparing this release to some of those classic albums).
After hearing tracks like "Secrets", "Hot Night", "Honestly", "Pretend" and "The Darkest Time" you'll feel the same way I did (provided you're into that sort of thing). This album was like an atmospheric soundtrack to an ultra emo indie film about isolation and teenage angst and as anyone who reads this blog knows that type of shit appeals to my failed artist/film geek side. I give "Slow Burning Lights" a highly recommended maybe.
Best Joints: Time Travel, Mad Live, Experience, Shine My Way, Hard Hit, Energy, Air Y'all, Insomnia and True Lies
Hot Garbage: When We Rollin', Bow and Boys Is Doin' It are all just meh.
Dart's Take: The best thing about this album is that it carries the prestigious D.I.T.C. name on it. The biggest problem with this album? You guessed it, it carries the prestigious name on it. When you think of the legendary Diggin' In The Crates crew you think of top notch beats and rhymes and and a list of names that includes some of the best that ever done it...and their extended families. This album is more like a short compilation with some D.I.T.C. heavy hitters sprinkled sparsely throughout.
Lord Finesse handled three tracks, Showbiz contributed three joints (one was co-produced by E Blaze), Buckwild was behind the board on one jam and the rest of the project was handled by Drawzilla (Premo, is that you?) who did his thing on 3 tracks, and Amed and E. Blaze each did boardwork one cut each. Surprisingly enough, the joints that made want an instrumental both came from Drawzilla ("Mad Live" and "Shine My Way") which featured Gwetto Dwellers D Flow and Party Arty. The other standout track that made the rounds in the bloggerverse was the Lord Finesse produced Joell Ortiz track "Air Y'all", everything else was just standard fare.
Other than a few album tracks from O.C. and A.G. there wasn't much to get excited about. D Flow, Party Arty, Boss Money (Players) and A. Bless are not going to have you hitting the rewind button too often and the other beats aren't really going to have your neck hurting if you know what I mean. The project is missing Finesse on the mic and Diamond D both in front of and behind the boards. There is very little special here so the best I can do is a maybe.
Best Joints: Welcome To Thr33 Ringz, Ringleader Man, Chopped N Skrewed, Freeze, Blowing Up, Can't Believe It, It Ain't Me, Therapy, Long Lap Dance, Reality Show and Keep Going
Hot Garbage: Superstar Lady and Karaoke were both meh while Change and Digital just straight up sucked.
Dart's Take: I thought I would hate this album but it turns out that it's pretty good once you gaet past the obvious attempts at singles and the godawful circus themed skits featuring Eddie Griffin. Tracks like "Chopped N Skrewed", "Freeze", "Can't Believe It", "Long Lap Dance" and "Reality Show" could easily stand up next to the best joints from classic R&B albums circa 1996-2000.
The overabundance of guest appearances, AutoTune vocal effects and recycled hooks ("It Ain't Me" is from June and Johnny Cash) and cliche themes just overwhelmed me in the end. I give this album a maybe but it's a lot more of an enjoyable listen than I initially though with my judgemental backpackin' underground oldhead hater ass.
Best Joints: Introduction, Players!!, Web 2009, All Day Hell, So Supreme, The Bubble, Pea Greenery, Mainjawn, Starstruck, Options (The Great Escape), Love and One Man Circus
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: Madlib/Quasimoto instrumentals + Von Pea vocals + Lessondary Crew guest appearances = the first mos def recipient of the week. If you're a fan of any of the previous things I mentioned then this mixtape should be on your hard drive yesterday. I can't wait for "Brooklynatti" or Che Grand's "Everything's Good Ugly". Download Che's "Breakfast At Wimbeldon" mixtape as well while you're at it.
Best Joints: Say You Will, Welcome To Heartbreak, Heartless, Amazing, Love Lockdown, Paranoid (Any Way), Robocop, Streetlights, Bad News and See You In My Nightmares
Hot Garbage: Coldest Winter doesn't suck but for some odd reason I just feel like I'm hearing something so personal that I shouldn't be listening to it. Strange but true.
Dart's Take: When I think of a Kanye West album I have an idea of what it'll sound like and what kind of tracks will be on it usually before I hear it in most cases. This is not one of those cases as Kanye West has had quite a tumultuous 2008. Sure, his last album was a monster and his subsequent Glow In The Dark Tour was one of the biggest and most successful tours in recent memory but he also lost his biggest fan in his mother and his engagement with his long time girlfriend ended. Kanye was on top of the world but he still had one foot in hell after suffering both traumatic losses.
He had several notable guest appearances on some big tracks but lately he'd been hitting the AutoTune kinda hard when he premiered "Love Lockdown" at the MTV Video Awards he raised quite a few eyebrows. After the second single for "808's and Heartbreak" was officially released and more and more songs leaked from the project it became apparent that the WHOLE album was gonna be like this. Some folks were already skeptical of how the album would sound and others abandoned ship altogether.
Kanye has often said that you can't take the album and dissect it on a track to track basis or remove one track from the rest of the album as the project is a continuing narrative that needs to be heard in it's proper context. Without a good quality version of these tracks it's a waste of time to even listen to it as certain subtle things in the track can change the entire atmosphere of the track. You should just sit down and listen to the entire album from beginning to end and put yourself in the mindstate of the person who created the music so you can understand where he's coming from on each song.
After listening to the album all the way through songs like "Heartless" and "Robocop" that you'd hear on their own and think "WTF?" make all the more sense and when you hear "Love Lockdown" bookended by the Joung Jeezy guested "Amazing" and the Kid Cudi assisted "Paranoid (Any Way)" you further appreciate the tone of the album.
As the exceptional 'Streetlights" blends into "Bad News" and the Lil' Wayne appearance on "See You In My Nightmares" goes into the final track which takes on much more of a meaning after hearing the rest of the album "Coldest Winter" since this Winter/holiday season he won't have either of his greatest supporters by his side anymore it makes you really grasp what he was trying to do with this CD rather than just rap about how dope or fly he is and how much shit he has and how many hits and accolades he's accrued over the years. I can't hate you for that, Mr. West.
This album is not for everybody (Duh!). Just like when people were telling me that "The Love Below" sucked (Huh? What! © Joeski Love) when it first came out because Andre 3000 "sang too much" and it "wasn't Hip Hop" heads will not really be embracing this album like that. This album, however, is NO "The Love Below" as I think it fell well short of being a masterpiece. The important thing is that I'm sure that his mother Donda would've loved it and that Kanye thinks it's dope which is all that really matters anyway since he's the one that performs these songs onstage. I give "808's and Heartbreak" a recommended maybe.
Late Passes (For Doz Dat Slept):
Projects I'm Looking Forward To Reviewing Once They Leak...I Mean Drop:
Jay Electronica-Act II: Patents Of Nobility
Jay Electronica-Abracadabra: Let There Be Light
Royce Da 5'9"-Street Hop
Big Boi-Sir Luscious Leftfoot
Mos Def-The Ecstatic LP
Royce Da 5'9"-Street Hop
Magnif & J Dilla-Detroit Royalty
Blu-God Is Good
Sean Price, Guilty Simpson & Black Milk-Random Axe
Platinum Pied Pipers-Abundance
Method Man & Redman-Blackout 2
Redman-Muddy Waters 2
B.O.B.-The Adventures Of B.O.B.
Billy Danze-Behind Gatez
AG & O.C.-Oasis: Together Brothers
Phat Kat and Elzhi are Cold Steel
The Beatnuts-The Planet Of The Crates
Wiley-I See Clear
Ski Beatz-Half Man, Half Amazing
Evidence-Cats & Dogs
MF Doom-Born Into This
50 Cent-Before I Self Destruct
Jadakiss-The Last Kiss
Let me know...Do I still have time to grow? © Kanye West